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It’s that wonderful time of year when Girlxoxo, Traveling with T and Estella’s Revenge are hosting their annual blog event #AMonthofFaves. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of December they share a fun prompt for others to jump in on. Today’s topic is “Popular Books Worth (or, Not Worth) the Hype.” Not surprisingly, I was easily able to generated a list for BOTH!
2018 Books That Deserved Their Hype
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – This January release had everyone buzzing about it, especially Oprah. She picked it up for her first 2018 book club selection AND is reported to be turning it into a movie. (my review)
- I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara – McNamara’s account of the years long hunt for the Golden State Killer was everywhere last winter, and deservedly so. I only wish she’d lived to see the killer captured in April. (my review)
- The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer – It can be a little nerve-racking when an author you love publishes a new book, especially when it gets a lot of pre-publication hype. But, Meg Wolitzer truly delivered with her latest novel. (my review)
- Circe by Madeline Miller – I hadn’t read Miller’s debut, The Song of Achilles, so didn’t really understand all the hype as Circe’s publication date approached. Eventually, I had to find out for myself what it was all about, and wow! I immediately went back and read Song. (my review)
- Us Against You by Fredrik Backman – Like so many others, Beartown was one of my very favorite books last year, so I expected to like its sequel. What I didn’t expect was to like it even more than Beartown, but I did. (my review)
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – This debut has been talked about EVERYWHERE. People who rarely read books are asking me about it. They all want to know the same thing, “Can it really be that good?” Yes! (my review)
2018 Books That Didn’t Deserved Their Hype
- The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – Many, many people thought Finn’s debut was amazing. The movie is already being filmed (starring Amy Adams) and set to release next fall, but I found it predictable and over-the-top from start to finish. (my review)
- Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao – No doubt about it, Rao’s writing shone in her brave debut, but the story also made my skin crawl. Sometimes a book can be good, and still not one to be recommended. (my review)
- The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian – When an author has as great a track record as Bohjalian, it is assumed every new offering will live up to that high bar, so the hype swirls. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t. (my review)
- The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams – Touted as last summer’s must read historical fiction, I saw The Summer Wives mentioned just about everywhere. Not only did I think it was completely overhyped, I’m not even sure I’d call it historical fiction. (my review)
- The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – I didn’t read Sager’s debut Final Girls, so when I began seeing The Last Time I Lied pop up everywhere I was eager to give it a try. Ugh! So disappointing, I devoted an entire discussion post to it. (my review)
- Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller – I so wanted the hype around Fuller’s third offering to be spot on. I even tried to convince myself that it was. In the end, I just couldn’t do it. (my review)
Which 2018 books do you think deserved, OR didn’t deserve their hype?
Disclosure: There are Amazon Associate links included within this post.
Sarah's Book Shelves says
Haha – we obviously disagree on Circe 🙂
I could’ve put Flight Attendant and Bitter Orange on my didn’t deserve list as well – why didn’t I?!!
There are always a lot of options for hyped books that didn’t work. Half of mine were from favorite authors that disappointed me this year. So sad!
Rachel @ Never Enough Novels says
I completely agree about Us Against You but I didn’t think An American Marriage was all that great. Maybe I heard too many stellar reviews before reading and had too high expectations!
An American Marriage won’t be on my top ten this year, but I still felt like it warranted the hype.
Oh, I totally agree with you on I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I LOVED it. And you are the second person where I have seen Where the Crawdads Sing so I’ve put it on hold. I hated Beartown but LOVED Us Against You. I think I’m in the minority on Beartown 🙂
And I had forgotten how much The Flight Attendant disappointed me. I loved Midwives and this latest offering just didn’t measure up.
Crawdads is so good. I highly recommend it. And yay! for Us Against You. I LOVED it, and I hardly ever go for sequels.
I loved An American Marriage and Where the Crawdads Sing as well.
Elizabeth @Silver's Reviews says
I haven’t read any of your worth-the-hype books. I better get busy.
I liked THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, but I agree that is wasn’t worth the hype.
I LOVE Beatriz Williams’ books, and agree about SUMMER WIVES. I thought it was a bit confusing.
I haven’t read any of the others.
THANKS for sharing.
I know I’m in the minority with The Woman in the Window. I felt like it relied on too many gimmicks. .
Elizabeth @Silver's Reviews says
Great post! We agree on I’ll Be Gone but not so much on Woman in the window! 😝 https://orangecountyreaders.com/2018/12/05/amonthoffaves-popular-books-worth-the-hype/
Differences are what makes book blogging so much fun!
Bryan G. Robinson says
Where The Crawdads Sing sounds intriguing. I hadn’t heard of that one before. Many of the others I had.
Crawdads will be a top ten book this year for sure!
Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf says
Oh no, I loved Claire Fuller’s first two books. I’ll probably still read Bitter Orange anyhow, just because of that. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. I haven’t read any of the books you listed that deserved the hype, so I’ll be looking into those for sure!
I loved Fuller’s first two books, two, but Bitter Orange fell flat for me. Give it a try. You may very well have a better reaction to it.
Tamara @ Traveling With T says
I loved The Summer Wives and The Last Time I Lied- but off to read your posts about why you didn’t like them. 🙂
Summer Wives, was okay. Just a bit of a disappointment, but The Last Time I Lied??? Well read my discussion post on it!
Fredrik Backman is showing up on a lot of lists!
I love that the same books show up as deserved on some people’s list and undeserved on others. Ah, books.
I’m a major fangirl when it comes to Fredrik Backman! Books are the best…so much to discuss. Thanks for stopping by.
I actually really liked The Summer Wives, but I’m a huge Beatriz Williams fan!
I’ve love other Williams books, but Summer Wives just didn’t do much for me. Glad it worked better for you.
Interesting! I agree on I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and Circe but was disappointed with the Backman book. It was ok but I liked Ove better than the Beartown series. I found American Marriage just ok too. Crawdads I actively disliked with a passion. After seeing these lists I need to try Female Persuasion!
I loved A Woman in the Window! Loved the homage to Hitchcock and the Black & White movies. I thought the psychological disorder was well done too (not surprisingly given the author suffers from one). I agree that the Riley Sager book wasn’t worth reading. Ugh. I haven’t read the others and definitely won’t now 🙂
You disliked Crawdads? Somehow I missed that. I’m definitely surprised. I’m going to have to check out your review to find out why.
I felt like A Woman in the Window was just too full of gimmicks and I especially DIDN”T like the old movie tie in. Ah, well. Some differences between us, Jan!
I know, right? I seriously felt like I read a different book – overly descriptive with a totally improbable plot and a badly written YA romance. I really disliked it a lot. Funny, my GR review got a lot of comments – seems people either loved it or hated it.
But Woman in the Window I loved so much. But I love old Hitchcock movies so that vibe really appealed to me. I also liked that the clues were sprinkled throughout so the ending made sense.
We agree on more than we disagree on and doesn’t that make life interesting? 😊
Allison | Mind Joggle says
I agree with you about the four I’ve read that are worth the hype! I don’t think I’ll read Circe, and I know that I’ll Be Gone in the Dark would creep me out too much.
The only one of the others that I read was The Summer Wives. It was fine–I didn’t dislike it–but it didn’t stand out as one I’d rave about either.
Great minds think alike, Allison. Always happy to be on the same page with you.
I’m with you on 2 of your hyped books, I’ll Be Gone and Where The Crawdads Sing. For the unworthy, I actually really enjoyed The Summer Wives but wold agree with you on The Woman In the Window…the hype for that boggles my mind! Fun post Susie!
Thank you very much, Renee.
Aj @ Read All The Things! says
I guess it’s a good sign that all of your “deserve” books are on my TBR list. I’m especially looking forward to the Backman book. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him.
Sounds like you have a great TBR list going, Aj. Enjoy!
I also loved I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and did not enjoy The Last Time I Lied. IF you’re going to write a thriller at least make it logical! His first book Final Girls was a bit better but not by much. After two from him, I’m definitely done.
I’ve heard all the good things about Crawdads and need to put this on my list!
I read 4 from your Deserved Hype list and agree I enjoyed them. I also thought Woman in the Window was entertaining enough for the psychological thriller genre. Of course it became over-the-top (to be expected) but don’t they all? Ha. I thought there were good elements to it. Would love to see Amy Adams in the role.
We agree more than disagree! I’m totally with you on Bitter Orange and Girls Burn Brighter, but I really liked Woman in the Window. And I love your hype picks except for Us Against You. So, I guess it would be my overhyped pick!
I was an outlier with The Woman in the Window. I thought it was awful!