My Most Disappointing Books of 2017

A couple week’s ago the Top Ten Tuesday topic was about our favorite books of 2017. Today I decided to share the books that disappointed me the most in 2017. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad books (though some were admittedly awful), they are just ones that I expected I would enjoy more and didn’t. Links go to my reviews.

1 Star Reviews

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There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. I enjoyed Stephanie Perkins’ contemporary novels (though not without their issues) and have been really looking forward to more from her. TSIYS was her foray into the horror genre and it went…badly. This was basically a romance with a little bit of murder thrown in.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. This was one that EVERYONE was giving 5 star reviews to and I just don’t get it!? It was repetitive and drawn out and unsatisfying to me.

2 Star Reviews

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Final Girls by Riley Sager. Everyone was raving about this one, but it’s incredibly unlikable characters and predictability really left it lacking for me.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. This had a great concept, but really failed in the execution, in my opinion. It was pretty boring and there was a lot more talk of the main character being an honorable warrior than her actually being either of those things. This was also NOT a Mulan re-telling, like so many people said it was. I would say it was more loosely inspired by Mulan.

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I basically disliked every second of reading this book. The main character definitely wins the Worst Mother/Character of the Year Award.

3 Star Reviews

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The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre. I think my disappointment in this was entirely my fault. I think I misunderstood some of the reviews I read on it and thought it was supposed to be incredibly twisty and shocking. Even though I thought it was a pretty good book, there were not really any twists and nothing surprised me and it left me really disappointed.

The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea. I read some terrific reviews on this and decided to snatch it up when it was on sale. While I thought the mystery aspect was well done, I thought the main character really lacked personality and the writing was way too clinical. It made me disappointed that I spent money on this one.

What books did you find disappointing in 2017?

 

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Review: The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Charlie Donlea, one of the most original new voices in suspense, returns with a haunting novel, laden with twists and high tension, about two abducted girls one who returns, one who doesn t and the forensics expert searching for answers.

Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald are both high school seniors in the small town of Emerson Bay, North Carolina. When they disappear from a beach party one warm summer night, police launch a massive search. No clues are found, and hope is almost lost until Megan miraculously surfaces after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods.

A year later, the bestselling account of her ordeal has turned Megan from local hero to national celebrity. It s a triumphant, inspiring story, except for one inconvenient detail: Nicole is still missing. Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, expects that one day soon Nicole’s body will be found, and it will be up to someone like Livia to analyze the evidence and finally determine her sister’s fate. Instead, the first clue to Nicole’s disappearance comes from another body that shows up in Livia’s morgue that of a young man connected to Nicole’s past. Livia reaches out to Megan for help, hoping to learn more about the night the two were taken. Other girls have gone missing too, and Livia is increasingly certain the cases are connected.

But Megan knows more than she revealed in her blockbuster book. Flashes of memory are coming together, pointing to something darker and more monstrous than her chilling memoir describes. And the deeper she and Livia dig, the more they realize that sometimes true terror lies in finding exactly what you’ve been looking for.

I am usually very stingy when it comes to buying books – especially when it’s by an author I’ve never read before. However, I have seen several really great review for The Girl Who Was Taken, so when I saw the ebook was on sale it seemed like a no brainer to snatch it up. Unfortunately, I wish I would’ve waited for it to come to the library. It wasn’t a bad book, but it definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

It took quite awhile for me to really get into the story. While the POV shifted between several characters, the main character was Medical-Examiner-in-training Livia. So much of Livia’s POV was taken up by really clinical details about autopsies and other medical things. While I appreciate the author’s very thorough research, it was just way too much for me. I felt kind of ambivalent towards her as a character. I felt like she had no personality. She had some obvious empathy, but often times she came off as kind of robotic. I also thought it was too convenient in how easy her investigation went. Everything just kind of worked out and led her to the next clue.

In addition to the shifting POV, the timeline shifted as well. I think that the flashback chapters to what led up to the night Megan and Nicole went missing is where the book really shined. The characters seemed a lot more developed and that’s where a lot of the creepy factor came in, which I enjoyed. I was always a little disappointed when the chapters shifted back to the present.

Overall, The Girl Who Was Taken was just ok for me. I thought the overall mystery was pretty well done. I had several suspects and while the culprit ended up being one of them, it wasn’t one of my top suspects. I really enjoyed the flashback chapters, as well. However the lack of personality of the main character, the overly clinical descriptions, and the somewhat open ending left me feeling underwhelmed and a little disappointed that I spent money on this.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars