Top5s Thursday

Sigh. It’s Friday. Why do I even bother?

Wait, too negative. Let’s just say that my very precious and limited time on this earth meant that I had to prioritise college work over blogging. That sounds better, right? It’s at least 40% true.

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Anyway, to the important juicy stuff. This week, I was wracking my brain trying to think of an interesting top 5, and largely I was flummoxed by my lack of creativity. I want to do something quick because I’m super busy, but not just any random list. So with that in mind, this week’s topic is TOP 5 BOOKS I LOVE THAT OTHER PEOPLE HATE! 

We all have those books, right? The ones where you read them and your mind is absolutely blown, but when you pop onto good old Goodreads for a little snooping….The comments are complaining about how catastrophically terrible those books are. And then you’re left with the following emotions:

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And sometime around here, you start questioning your sanity. And you do either one of two things:

a) Laugh nervously and agree that the books ARE in fact awful.

b) Say “FUCK IT” and stick by those books, because of subjectivity and right of opinions and all that jazz.

Guess which one I choose most often? 😉

And before I get started, a bit of a disclaimer: these books may not necessarily be hated  hated, but based on what I’ve read and the average Goodreads ratings, these are the books whose unexpected backlash made me reel back.

So, let’s get into this:

At (joint) number 5: The Rest of Us Just Live Here- Patrick Ness and The Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger                
The reason why I loved The Rest of Us Just Live Here, and gave it five stars, is because it managed to mock the Chosen One trope, while also making you want to read a Chosen One story. I just thought it was so ingenious, that the protagonists we follow are only the periphery to a much larger story, because when do we ever get to see how high school explosions and strange alien lights affect the ordinary teenagers? We can’t all be chosen ones, and that’s what this simple but effective book portrayed. People didn’t like the style of the book, the fact that it seemed a downgrade for Ness’s work, and that the Chosen One mini-storyline interspersed throughout the book would have been so much better to read. That’s kind of the point, guys. No one wants to follow the kids on the outskirts because we are so used to the Chosen One cliché. And that’s why I found this book to be marvelous. As for the Catcher in the Rye, I’ve seen it be called a lot of things. Boring. Tedious. Not worth being known as a classic. And I SIMPLY CANNOT UNDERSTAND THIS! Many people hate Holden, and how the book doesn’t seem to have a plot. I think that to understand Holden as a character, you have to be able to relate to him in some way. My teenage years were a mess of disconnected angst, worries and fears. So I connected to Holden. I didn’t find him whiny, I just thought he was a teen who didn’t know what he wanted. I wouldn’t have thought that this book could receive ratings as low as one star, but it did. Is anyone else as surprised as me?

At number 4: Requiem (Delirium #3)- Lauren Oliver    
As the last book in the Delirium trilogy, Requiem blew me away. I screamed. I cried. I had nervous breakdowns. This book had everything I wanted in a trilogy ending. And then when I saw the reviews? Wow. I was floored. People complained about Lena’s character destruction. About diversions from the amazing first book. About the unsatisfying ending. I was so confused. I thought the writing was great, the action explosive and certain events in the book (for those who have read it, I’m talking about things to do with Hana) was outstanding. I wanted this book to be made into a film right at the moment I finished it. I don’t know, I thought it was a fantastic conclusion, full of character growth, love and angst, and some seriously heart-stopping conflict.

At number 3: I Am Number Four- Pittacus Lore

Okay, picture this: A book about a group of teenage aliens who are on the run on Earth, hiding from another hostile alien race responsible for destroying their planet and who want to finish them off entirely. Now imagine that these teens are kept separated, and barely know the others exist or where they are. Now imagine them having powers, which must be trained as soon as they come into effect. And finally, imagine one those teens, Number Four, being found by the hostile race after moving to a small, nondescript  town. Got it? If any of this sounds good to you, like it did to me when I picked up this book, then this book will slay you. In a good way. I mean, who doesn’t love kick-ass teens with superpowers?? I loved the idea of this book. I loved the characters (JOHN SMITH MARRY ME) and the writing is good. So why did so many people dislike it? Not into the idea? Over the whole “group of gifted youths run around away from the bad guys” trope? I’m not sure. All I know is that I metaphorically died from the kick-assery when I finished this and then metaphorically died from a brokenn heart when I did not see the multiple 5 star ratings I expected. Too bad. The reception gets better as the series progresses, but I loved it from the very first book. Again, superpowers. What’s not to like? Moving swiftly on.

Number 2: Twilight- Stephenie Meyer

Before you slam me for being one of those Twi-hards who cannot find a single fault with this series, and who runs around with Team Edward/Team Jacob t-shirts while holding heated debates across the interwebs, I want to clarify that I am most definitely not like that. So why is this popularly-deemed “work of Satan” on this list? Well, I  said this before and I’ll say it again. Despite its faults, and I know there are plenty, I read Twilight in a point in my life where it really spurred my reading on, and it also filled me with joy. For these reasons, and purely the fact that it is just a cute, romantic YA novel that isn’t horribly written, I will continue to stand by this book. I think one of the biggest confusions about this book comes from its movie adaptation; a lot of people confuse the two. A lot of things, particularly characterisation, comes across really differently. Is Bella a great protagonist? Um, not really. But is she as personality-lacking as Kristen Stewart portrays her? No way! She is actually quite cool. She’s clumsy sure, but she has some life in her, and she’s witty and stands up for herself more than the movie shows. Is Bella the human form of an indecisive wet tissue? Yes. But she isn’t awful. And the creeper-Edward that R Patz plays in the movie? NOOOOOOO. Edward is not like that in the book. Why am I getting so heated about this?! Basically, I can’t bring myself to hate Twilight. It has issues, sure. It’s a feminist’s worst nightmare. It’s a vampire-lover’s worst nightmare. But for a book aimed at younger people? I think it made many preteens extremely happy. If, after you read it a second time, you realise that it is in fact the biggest piece of shit ever, then I won’t argue. But I’ll never get over the thrill it gave the 12 year old me. Fight me.

And, at number 1: The DaVinci Code/Angels and Demons/Basically any book by your man himself, Dan Brown

Let’s get all close and personal here. This is a sensitive topic to many people, and it is perhaps a no-brainer to people who side with me why these books are on my list. I don’t want to offend anyone. I mean, who can possibly defend Dan Brown’s work? I CAN, THAT’S WHO!

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There are page-long reviews dedicated to how utterly shite The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons are. People have raged and raged about how awful Brown’s writing is. How terrible the books are. How they are factually inaccurate (I won’t really argue against this much 🙂 ) and how anyone who likes these books must have some deep psychological issues.

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I’d have to respectfully disagree. I for one LOVE Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code, as well as the next books in the series. Why? Because I never treated them as anything other than exciting fiction. I never treated them as 100% factual historical novels. What is fiction meant to do? Entertain. How does it do that? It gives us a cool, likeable protagonist, some creepy bad guys, and a race against time to solve things. I will say this about Brown: he seriously cares about details. He is good at keeping readers (me anyway) at the edge of their seats with cool action sequences. He takes us all over the world and through history and art in intricate plots. I don’t care if some of the facts are off, or just his own interpretations, because I read fiction to be entertained. If you are like me, and found yourself drawn into the wild goose chases in each book, let me know! I’ll never stop fighting on the defence side, even if it makes me “look bad as a reader”. I want to be excited, dammit.

And that’s a wrap! Thanks so much for reading. Do you agree/disagree with any of these books? I’d love to know. Comment below if you do! Bye for now x


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