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!