Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
You have no idea how this prompt sings to my soul.
I love supporting books, I love boosting authors, I know firsthand just how much goes into writing and publishing and everything else involving words to document to paper, but there are just some books that need to be chucked into the ocean (responsibly, of course), or better yet, launched into the sun.
The reasons vary, but one thing remains constant—my hate fire for these awful creations will never fade.
Of course, all of these reasons are personal to me. I have read the books on the list (so, unfortunately, Fifty Shades will not be on this one), and have rated them all one star or below. And, for the most part, I picked books that I have finished completely.
You Tried, and You Failed
Let’s be real here. Was anyone surprised by these two on this list? I have not been quiet about my absolute hatred of these two books. While most of the rest of the items on this list have my utter content and loathing, these two I actually hate.
Because one tries to be cute and quirky about a sexual assault survivor and trivializes both animal abuse and the horrifying effects of a natural disaster, and the other pretends to have positive infertility rep while actually repping emotional cheating, godawful misogynistic military stereotypes, then pointlessly murdering off a side character so the MCs can realize their feels, and then completely invalidating the infertility rep because 1) magical sperm and 2) a woman is not complete without a working womb. And to cap it all off, I am still insulted that term Gunny Sergeant exists in this world now.
You know those books where the main character is so perfect and beautiful and smart and everyone (and I am everyone, to include the baddy) praises these characters for being so perfect and beautiful and smart despite all evidence to the contrary?
Yup, that’s these three. I read all three books in the A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy because I was damned sure I was missing something, somewhere, but instead I’m fairly certain I read something completely different than everyone else. Sovay was just vomit inducing, and Forbidden was equally bad—insta love, a mega-hot 300 year-old vampire trotting off to high school, and cherry red Ferrari! Stick a fork in my eye, I’m done.
This is Not Romance, This is Abuse
I have no idea about either of these two. Both are well loved. Again, did I read something different from everyone else?
November 9 is about the most misogynistic 18 year-old boy I have ever met, who emotionally manipulates, abuses and stalks this poor girl because he has serious issues with her father. And that summary only scratches the fucking surface of this shitshow. I hate every thing about this book, including all of the love it gets for being a romance. It’s not a romance. It’s a love story to Stockholm Syndrome.
Openly Straight is about a gay teen with super duper accepting parents and friends and acquaintances who is just tired of being the gay kid, so he travels across the country to an all-boys school where he lies about his sexuality (I have nothing wrong with this aspect of the story, it’s what follows that enrages me), where he finds a boy, and emotionally manipulates, abuses and gaslights him for pretty much the entire book. Oh, and the tender love scene is filled with dubious consent, as the prey was intoxicated and the main character knew that and took advantage of it.
I Forgot the Details, But My Rage Remains
I remember very, very little about either of these two books, except that both have incredibly horrifying sex scenes that have scarred my retinas, given me grey hairs, and completely ruined all of my hope for humanity and the future.
Both exist in a world of okay, I see what you were trying to do, but you punted it to the stands. Additionally, The Kingdom of Little Wounds is frequently marketed as Young Adult for reasons I don’t know why, because this is very much an adult book (and honestly it’s kinda okayyy but it’s also very not good). And The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is not at all what the title implies and that upset me.
Yes. I hated Glass Houses. I tried. I tried to love it. I read a couple more books (they are very short), but the writing was horrible, the pretenses were really bad, and the character dynamics and really everything else was just so terrible and dated and well, really predatory on so many levels? I was not a fan.
The Queen’s Bastard and The Decoy Princess make this list not just because they are incredibly awful books from previously favorite authors (truly, I used to really love CE Murphy and Kim Harrison…until these books), but because the main characters have the most annoying fucking quirks in the entire planet. They suffer from Sovay Syndrome, where they are “highly skilled” spies or assassins or whatever and yet throughout the book completely fail to demonstrate any talent or cunning or skill whatsoever despite the praise heaped upon them and the men (and women) fawning over them. But that’s not the reason. If I had to read another sentence of Tess checking her fucking topknot or Belinda mounding her breasts into shape, I was going to scream.