Top Ten Tuesday | Popular books I didn’t like


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is ‘Unpopular Bookish Opinions (submitted by Kaitlin Galvan @ Somehow I Manage Blog)’ and at first I wasn’t sure what I was going to talk about. I could do the usual ‘people should be allowed to write in their own books’ etc. but I don’t think that’s really an unpopular opinion, is it? We all know people can do what they want with their own books.

I also recently talked about My Unpopular SFF Opinions and I didn’t really want to repeat myself.

So today I thought I’d talk about some well-loved books that I didn’t like. Now if I mention your all-time favourite book, I can guarantee this isn’t a personal attack against you or your taste. These are books that just didn’t work for me!


The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Controversially, I like the movie but I didn’t like the book very much. I know this book is very well loved and I think the issues it covers are important, but personally I found this book super pretentious.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini: This is a classic of the fantasy genre, and I DNF’d it. I didn’t think it was written all that well, and from what I can remember I seemed to spend ages reading it and the plot never seemed to go anywhere. Not for me, sadly!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black: I see so much love for this book and I didn’t get it at all. I loved the first chapter, and then the rest of the book took a bit of a nosedive for me. I found all of the characters really annoying and I can’t really remember anything that happened. Black’s one of those authors I couldn’t gel with for a while, though, and then I read and loved The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King!

Legend by Marie Lu: I still don’t understand the hype for this book. It was supposed to be about taking down a corrupt government, and yet I spent 90% of my time reading this book being told in great detail what someone was wearing. This is another book I can barely remember anything about.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: I adore the Six of Crows duology, but when I finally read the Grisha trilogy this year I was pretty disappointed. I liked the second book more and the third book a lot more, but this first book, much like Legend, spent a lot of time telling me about how Alina was wearing her hair or telling me about her boy trouble instead of telling me about the hole of literal shadow demons in the middle of her war-torn country.


Red Sister by Mark Lawrence: I so wanted to love this book! I’m pretty heartbroken that a book about assassin nuns hasn’t become one of my new favourites, but unfortunately I didn’t get along with Lawrence’s writing style.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal: This is another book I was expecting to love and it just didn’t work for me. I felt like I was getting bashed around the head with the book’s messages rather than being told a story that just happened to include them.

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier: I loved Daughter of the Forest. I loathed this book. Liadan is one of the most hypocritical characters I’ve ever encountered. Some of my favourite characters are unlikable people – why do you think Zoya was my favourite character in the Grisha trilogy? – but Liadan wasn’t supposed to be unlikable and I hated her.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: This is probably my least favourite book of all time. I think it’s pretentious and I don’t care about any of the characters at all. Seriously, Gatsby, just move house.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: I don’t know how popular the original Peter Pan is, but considering how popular retellings of it seem to be, I’m going to guess quite a lot of people love the story itself. I just found it… creepy? And to be honest I think it’s supposed to be, but it’s been remembered as such a whimsical children’s story that it’s pretty jarring when you read the original. A bunch of grown men call Wendy ‘mother’. It’s weird, man.

What did you talk about this week?

48 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Popular books I didn’t like

  1. Rissi says:

    I own “Legend,” but haven’t read it… now I’m wondering if I’d like it. πŸ˜‰ Guess I’d have to give it a chance to find out. Thanks so much for the Finding Wonderland visit last week, Jess!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jaime says:

    I’m not a fan of Perks of Being a Wallflower either. I know people who pretty much swear by it as their favorite book and I read it and didn’t think it was good at all. And while I’ll complain about how terrible Eragon is, I’m also Eragon trash. I listened to the audiobooks more recently to finish the series and I think it gets better with each book.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Jaime says:

        Understandable! I’m am a dragon girl, so even if something isn’t the greatest, if it has dragons, I’m biased. No worries! There are plenty of BETTER dragon books out there than Eragon.

        My love for it probably comes from the fact I read it in middle school, similar to why people are so nostalgic for Harry Potter.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lori says:

    I made my husband read Shadow & Bone a million years ago and that is exactly how he describes the book, too! Whenever it comes up he’s always like, “Is that the book where the girl constantly wonders if she’s pretty enough and if the boy likes her?” So yeah. I still haven’t finished that series. But Six of Crows is one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      I didn’t mind Mal, mostly because he’s a teenager and teenagers do dumb things and also because I never liked Alina or the Darkling or anyone that much, really! My favourite character from the original trilogy is Zoya, but I have a thing for mean women.


  4. Catherine says:

    I quite liked the first two Eragon books, but I’ve not been able to re-read them or carry on with the series. Peter Pan is creepy in every version (although I did love the Jeremy Sumpter film when I was younger!)


    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen that film the whole way through! It’s one of those films I’ve always just seen bits of whenever it’s on ITV2 – I need to sit down and watch it properly one day because I always liked the look of it.


  5. Greg says:

    Red Sister is a book I keep going back and forth on. On the one hand the premise- yeah. But then I just don’t know, and I did read a shorter book by him just recently, and while I liked it okay, it didn’t wow me, so not sure how I’ll react to Sister? So I just keep procrastinating. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brooke Lorren says:

    Okay now it’s unfriending time! You put my favorite book up there!

    Not really, we can still be friends. Sometimes I read 1-star reviews of my favorite books just to remind myself that not everybody likes the same books as I do, and as a writer, it’s okay if someone doesn’t like my stories too.


  7. Jorie says:

    I haven’t read the books on your list, Jess but I have a feeling that I might have a series of DNFs that are on it because like you, the odds are in greater favour I won’t like the seriously popular books vs the books I discover on my own and/or are from authors no one knows about as well as the ones listed here. I think its great you’ve listed all of them! Be proud! Stand your ground and know all of us have a *list!* of stories we don’t like didn’t appreciate it and couldn’t stand reading! lol Its just the way it goes… what I love, you could hate and vs versa. Blessedly that is why there are so many choices out there – love how you talked about what took you out of the stories, too! #awesomesauce

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Exactly, I love it when someone tells me they loved a book that I didn’t like because it just goes to show how there really is a book out there for everyone, and a lot of the time a book stays with us because of when we read it. There are books I loved when I was younger that I probably wouldn’t love as much if I read them now, but they were just what I needed when I read them. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Personally I thought the series got better as it went on – I know a lot of people really didn’t like the third book, but I thought it was the best book in the trilogy – and really it all depends on whether you want to read it or not! If you’re interested in reading King of Scars it’s probably worth reading – I binge read the trilogy (and they’re really quick and easy reads) so I could read King of Scars with all the relevant backstory, and I enjoyed KoS a lot more than SaB. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. J R Lynn says:

        Hmm, okay. I’ll think about it. I did actually want to read KoS and I didn’t realize that SaB gave some backstory for it, so thank you for pointing that out πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisa says:

    Great post! I was very into F. Scott Fitzgerald for a while, but I never liked Gatsby. And Eragon didn’t really work for me either — I read it for my son, and finished it, but then started the 2nd book and just couldn’t take it for one more minute. πŸ™‚ I did love The Calculating Stars, and really need to read the sequel one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Books says:

    When I read the original Peter Pan a few years ago, I was shocked at how bizarre it was. I was expecting the Disney version with older sounding language, and I got something dark and weird. The dad especially weirded me out.

    I also didn’t LOVE love Perks. It was okay– and the author is from the same city I am, so I give it a little more props than I normally would.

    Great List!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Thanks! It’s not a terrible series by any means, but after loving Six of Crows the Grisha trilogy was never going to live up to that duology for me. I think it all depends on the kind of fantasy you like, to be honest! πŸ™‚


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