Goodreads What Were You Thinking? All The Times I Questioned The Goodreads Choice Award Winners…

While I religiously await the announcement of the Goodreads Choice Awards Nominees and Winners every. darn. year, I am nearly always disappointed by the outcome. Not just because I don’t want to read a lot of the books on the list, but because there are so frequently WTH moments, where I question the reading gods and why they chose to put such blatantly bad books at the top of the list. So, following up on my last post where I discussed the winners I actually liked I’ve decided to discuss some of the stinkers and meh reads that somehow managed to win this (perhaps-not-so) prestigious award.

Now, as much as I’m tempted to simply stick all my one/two banana reads on here, I am not going to just be playing into my own specific biases (*though obviously there will be some bias because you can’t have an objective opinion* 😉) I’m going to be talking about some books I quite liked- yet where I *DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY IT WON*. Because there’s some weird shit going on sometimes with these votes and I don’t get it. On the more positive side, I also won’t be sticking books I hated (*ahem* TFIOS) just because I hated them- even I can see why they were popular. Finally, while I’ll give an honorary mention to Cursed Child and Go Set a Watchman, I can’t give them a proper spot on this list because I haven’t read them (and actively don’t want to- which is why I question the fact they won!!)

Alright, enough of a preamble- onto the books!

Lessons in Chemistry– and I’m instantly breaking my own rule by including a book I’m not surprised won. It’s not a terrible book by any stretch of the imagination and it does appeal to a certain kind of ideological thinking- HOWEVER it’s this that frustrates me in the sheer arbitrariness of why a book becomes popular. As much as it’s not terrible, it’s also not great. If not for *the messaging* making certain people with a very slanted (and somewhat childish) view of history happy, this book would not have had the crazy success that it did.

The Maid– moving onto a book that’s not bad at all and that I actually LIKED… Look if this had been up for a contemporary award, I wouldn’t have minded so much (although I still wouldn’t have voted for it). What I object to is that a book with such a poorly written mystery plot won in that category?! When I read this, I distinctly remembered enjoying it *in spite* of feeling it was mismarketed as a thriller- and you want me to accept that it won over *so many* genuinely suspenseful and well-plotted books in that category?!? Nah man, it feels like I’ve been had.

Spanish Love Deception– okay this one was just lousy. There’s nothing else to say. It’s hundreds of pages of nothing. Whatever made it popular on Tiktok made it popular on Goodreads- and I don’t get it.

House of Earth and Blood– I like this less and less over time. Maas’ foray into adult fiction didn’t distinguish itself from her YA, except that it was more convoluted and boring. But hey- at least the characters and their romances felt like they’d been copied straight from her other books (except with new descriptors). This was not it for me.

Court of Silver Flames– yeahhh I’m not sorry for including Maas twice on this list. I’m just so unimpressed with the continuation of this series (that didn’t even satisfy me with its first conclusion). I felt like a sucker for reading it. And though this may be a case of me not being into Maas’ books anymore, I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m tired of Maas winning fantasy category every year when there are so many better fantasy books out there. I want to see another author who actually brings something exciting to the genre win this for a change!

It Ends With Us– when this first came out, I felt like a pariah for not liking it. I personally find it a crass representation of domestic violence with an oversimplified plot and some tropes that are questionable (particularly the way it represents the abuser as just a poor damaged soul rather than the narcissistic prick they actually are according to science 😉). I thought I was alone in this, yet more recently, I’ve found I’m not so alone in my opinion. So at least that’s comforting. It winning an award for this shoddy job is still salt in the wound.

Still Me– such a nothing book. I cannot fathom why this lousy follow up to Me Before You was so well liked. Someone will have to explain it to me, because I don’t get it.

Truly Madly Guilty– I can barely even remember this book, but I can see from the average rating of 3.59 that it’s not super well-loved- so why the hell did this win an award?? Was it simply a matter of author recognition? Is that the secret to all of these?

The Last Thing He Told Me– yet another nothing burger with a side of empty fries. This is one of the most forgettable books I’ve ever read- so much so I can’t even remember the story! How then did it win an award when it was competing with books that contained an actual- ya know- memorable story!?!

Girl on a Train– because this wasn’t Gone Girl and this trainwreck was the start of a Satanic spawning of a whole subgenre of thrillers I am not here for.

So- here’s the moment of truth- do you agree or disagree with these books? Can you tell me why they were popular? AM I MISSING SOMETHING??!! And are there other winners you didn’t like? Let me know in the comments!


22 thoughts on “Goodreads What Were You Thinking? All The Times I Questioned The Goodreads Choice Award Winners…

  1. I hate Colleen Hoover so with you there. But still disagree about Lessons and the maid. Thought they were both excellent examples of the genre. Strong, quirky women. We need more books like this with strong female protagonists, who break barriers and beat odds. Chemistry was great because the protagonist is unapologetic , so is the maid now that I think about it. And they are probably on the spectrum…but again…unapologetically

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I don’t know why I keep reading colleen hoover tbh. I actually liked the maid- the only reason I don’t think it should’ve won the award is because I found the mystery element to be the one weak spot for the book. I wish that part had been better- and if it was, I’d have wanted it to win. As it was, I felt there were other books in that category that did the mystery and thriller part really well. That said, I did actually like the characterisation in the Maid and enjoyed her character arc.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t even bother with the Goodreads choice awards. Just like the book “community” Goodreads seen to be ideologically skew to one side and the choice awards reflect that.
    I disagree with the top commenter. There are tons of books women protagonist. that can appeal to everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I completely agree with you. And I absolutely think there are a lot of better books with interesting female protagonists (books that will sadly never win these awards because they’re not ticking the right boxes).


  3. When it comes to the Goodreads choice awards I don’t actually think I have read many books on the lists but I do agree that sometimes it’s the authors name that get them the top spot and not the quality of the books.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear… I haven’t read most of these (although I do still intend to read Lessons in Chemistry and The Maid, despite (because of??) how much people talk about them). I agree about The Girl on the Train — trash book! I did actually enjoy The Last Thing He Told Me, and I thought Still Me was okay but not award-worthy. Overall, I think the Goodreads choice awards are so arbitrary, and the winners often don’t match my idea of what a “best” book should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually liked the Maid, I just didn’t think the mystery element was done well (which is what it won for). And there were some good parts to lessons in chemistry (I just felt overall that it was a bit contrived and emotionally manipulative). But yeah, Girl on the train was trash. I just didn’t click with last thing he told me. And I agree about Still Me- though it wasn’t for me, it’s not a bad book- I just don’t get why it won an award. I completely agree!


  5. None of these titles rung a bell, but then I remembered that we’re not always on the same page when it concerns what’s interesting. So I’ve checked a couple of blurbs and reviews and found out that for above mentioned books I concur with your judgement. Especially The Girl on the Train seems to be a cobweb of alcoholic paranoia held together by an unlikely plot.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Disclaimer: I haven’t read ANY of the books on the list but The Maid was on my TBR! I heard soooo many people gushing over it I had the impression it was really good! And idk why but CoHo is a huge thing on tiktok and I also saw people gushing about it on my local social media so I can see why that one won

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually liked the Maid (it’s the only one here I actually enjoyed). I just wasn’t at all impressed with the mystery element, so I don’t get why it won for that. If it had won in another category I wouldn’t have thought much of it. But I found it frustrating when there were so many other books with better mysteries that were overlooked, you know? haha yeah I don’t get why it’s so popular on tiktok, but I reckon that’s why she wins everything


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