It never ceases to amaze me all the books that escape my radar during the year. While I tend to stick with certain genres within the young adult genre (fantasy/adventure, usually) I like to spread out and try new things. The ‘Best Books of 2014’ lists have been circulating during the month of December, which have been writing down a list of all the new potential “best books” I missed and intend to read in 2015. It’s going to be a great year.
However, there are some books that just didn’t do it for me this year, which is a shame. Since we’re all too busy wrapped up in the best books, let’s turn our attention to some of the hardcore-failboaters of 2014.
I want my reading time back!
1. EYE OF MINDS BY JAMES DASHNER
Dashner, what happened? I adored The Maze Runner, even gave you some props at the strange twists in The Scorch Trials, but I waned around Death Cure and definitely have Kill Order collecting dust on my bookshelf. But, I figured getting burnt out on a series can do that to a person and gave Eye of Minds a shot.
A future where people can practically live in a video game? It felt so Surrogates (the comic, not the movie) to me that I couldn’t resist. And then with poor storytelling, long cyclical sections that did nothing for pacing, and strange chapter breaks within chapters, and I could definitely resist. I kept wanting something to happen, but nothing did. So by the time the “big reveal” at the end happened, it felt forced and completely nonsensical.
2. DANGEROUS CREATURES BY KAMI GARCIA AND MARGARET STOHL
My foray into the Garcia/Stohl team-up started and ended with Beautiful Creatures. Not because I was done with the Ethan/Lena love story, but because I had other books to read and a desire to take a break from paranormal romance (but I never came back). With that in mind, I saw that Dangerous Creatures was coming out; a whole novel series about Link and Ridley, who my all accounts were far more fun and interesting to read than the protagonists of Gatlin.
Alas, Link and Ridley were not what I remembered. Even with my own missing knowledge of the three other books where they appeared, I couldn’t find myself sympathetic or cheering on Ridley. This badass, independent woman turned into a sniveling, doubtful heroine who fell in love with some other “bad boy”. Excuse me while I puke on my shoes from the high-school level storytelling.
3. CONVERSION BY KATHERINE HOWE
Salem witch trials are my jam. Okay, partial jam. I am a sucker for stories from that time period or relating to Salem. The actual kitschy town of Salem is just a 30 minute train ride from my house, so you know I was definitely all about a modern spin in the YA genre.
Unlike most of the other titles on this list, Conversion suffered not from the plot (although it was abominable) but from the completely unlikable main character, Colleen. The expectations of the book hinted at an almost murder-mystery-esque, detective-like plot, but Colleen only cared about getting ahead and not about the fact that her best friends were puking up pins and having seizures. The sheer selfishness of the main character mixed with the poor writing and the completely anticlimactic ending made Howe’s Conversion a frustrating and equally boring read.
SEKRET BY LINDSAY SMITH
Young, Russian spies with super powers during the Cold War? Too bad the rules for using said powers were never established, which made the kids a constant deus ex machina. Lazy, convenient storytelling.
THE ONLY THING TO FEAR BY CATHERINE TUNG RICHMOND
Hitler won WWII (my other jam of story types) and this alternative history novel fell flat on its face. Not enough world building, and too much protagonist-Mary Sue symptoms.