Reviews and Essays

Book Tag – Unpopular Book Opinions

Hi all — It’s been a while since I created a book tag, so here goes…

As the year comes to a close, I’m reflecting on books I read and realizing that I definitely have some unpopular opinions. But don’t we all? Beloved books we don’t care for, or ones we love despite their shortcomings… or the way some of us secretly relish a good book bail. It can be uncomfortable to share those unpopular opinions, but honesty is refreshing, so I thought I would make a tag that let’s us all celebrate those tiny controversies in a safe space 🙂

The Rules: 

  1. Thank the person who tagged you
  2. Answer each of the questions truthfully, and don’t worry about what others will think
  3. No attacking others for their unpopular opinions!
  4. Spread the love by tagging a few other bloggers ♥

A Book You Dislike with a High Goodreads Rating


Carry On (Rainbow Rowell) has a 4.23 rating on Goodreads. That’s super high. After I read and LOVED Fangirl, I thought to myself, why not? And then I spent the next 400-something pages asking myself, why?! I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story, and that I had to puzzle out what I had missed. The way the characters constantly referenced pre-book events made me feel like the new kid at the cafeteria table who just isn’t in on the inside jokes. It’s exactly the kind of party I try to avoid in real life!

A Book You Like with a Low Goodreads Rating


Sourdough (Robin Sloan) has a 3.76 on Goodreads, which is not bad, but didn’t give me very high expectations. But it was so unique, and I really connected to it. It was perfect for people who may be a little disenchanted with high tech, but still appreciate what it has to offer. The stakes were also quite low, which made it a perfect comfort read. The magical realism and the whole baking bread thing was delightful and really lifted my spirits, which were low at the time. I followed it up with Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and was far less impressed with Sloan’s style that time around.

A Book that Felt Good to Bail On (Or, Would Have)


Dime Store Magic (Kelley Armstrong) — This is the 3rd in the series and I almost didn’t read it because I was so frustrated by book 2 (and book 1, to a lesser extent). Since Book 3 was moving on to a new protagonist, I thought it was only fair to see if this new leading lady would be more worth my time. I really wanted to love her, but I didn’t. And I was bored. Finally, I moved on, and it was really refreshing. I know some people refuse to bail on books, but I started giving myself permission to a few years ago and I feel much better.

A Book You’re Glad You Didn’t Pay For


Splintered (A.G. Howard) — You might know that I’m a self-proclaimed sucker for retellings. This Wonderland retelling was gifted to me for a birthday and I was really excited. But just a couple chapters in I felt myself losing interest. I don’t mind YA, but something about the narrator was a little too immature. I couldn’t just sit there with her, so I ended up borrowing the audio from my library and listening while I did chores. It passed the time but I feel no desire to read book 2. I’ve since donated my paperback, and hope it finds the right reader. I know we should support authors by buying books, but at least I supported my library and a thrift shop!

A Book or Character You’ve Found Yourself Defending

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) — I have had people argue with me that The Hunger Games is bad because it’s just about child-on-child violence. I love that trilogy, it was basically the book that made me realize the YA shelf is worth browsing (it honestly hadn’t occurred to me before then). I defended the book, arguing back that the Capitol’s glorification of violence is actually commentary on everything from violence to reality TV, and that the book is about fighting against oppression and status quo.

A Movie Adaptation You Preferred to the Book


The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus) — This book was not for me. I wanted it to be a dark fairytale that maybe twisted the Little Mermaid story (RE: retellings-obsessed, see above), but that’s not what it was. The multiple POVs made me spend too much time with that Government jerk, and not enough time with Elisa. That said, the movie DID focus on Elisa, and even gave it more of that fairytale feeling I felt the book was missing to really make the story work. Also, it had Doug Jones 🙂

A Book You Love, But Know is Problematic


Cinder (Marissa Meyer) — I’ve heard the book’s New Beijing setting was purely a reference to the earliest “Cinderella” story being from China, but the culture is so unexplored here that it feels like an un-thoughtful backdrop. That the book doesn’t do the work of respectfully weaving in Chinese traditions is shameful and cringe-worthy. I think the futuristic elements of New Beijing are supposed to excuse this (it’s a cultural pastiche now!), but that’s not good enough. Regardless, I was totally hooked and read the whole series (almost shamelessly). I just loved all the strong female leads coming together to save the planet.

Any Book Apps You Recommend, Other than Goodreads

I use Goodreads. It’s a great way to get recommendations and track reading, but the structure is very rigid and the groups can be overwhelming to jump into, so I started using some other platforms too.

  • For organizing/tracking, I recommend the My Library app. Completely customizable and totally private, which is kind of nice
  • For socializing, I recommend Litsy. The people on there are so friendly and it’s a really safe space to just share all your nerdy bookish things, in a really easy format (follow me there as ShyBookOwl :))

I tag Kathryn, Roxanne, and Diana

No pressure, but if you’d like to play along and get some unpopular book opinions off your chest, I’d love to see your responses.


7 thoughts on “Book Tag – Unpopular Book Opinions”

  1. Good picks. Like you, I’ve only just started giving myself permission to bail on books and, yes, it does feel much better than persevering through a book I hate.

    I can’t believe some people complain about the violence in the Hunger Games without noticing the subtext. Classic case of being unable to see the forest for the trees. Are you going to read ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ when it comes out next year?


    1. Thanks. Yeah, I decided life is too short for books I don’t enjoy. And yes! I will definitely be reading that (I didn’t realize they had released an official title!). I really like the idea of revisiting the world with different characters. How about you? Are you interested in the prequel?

      Liked by 1 person

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