Popular YA Books I Didn’t Like

I’m going to unapologetically trash some of your favorite books in this post. When it comes to book reviews I turn into Simon Cowell. You have been warned.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 19%

Throughout this book, I constantly had the feeling I was rereading The Hunger Games. The main character, Mare Barrow, comes from a poor family. She has a younger sister whom she fights to protect. She must choose between two bland, boring teen boys. She is involved in a rebellion, and must team up with a class of poor, oppressed people to oppose their rich and powerful overlords.

Aside from slight differences in characterization, Mare Barrow is a poorly-written, much less interesting version of Katniss Everdeen. The lack of originality ruined any potential the story had. It’s a no from me.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 12%

I’ve always treasured strong female friendship in YA books, and I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much from a book that was basically the Bachelor. In this book, there is another (but no less boring) love triangle between Maxon and Aspen (I really don’t hate love triangles, it’s just rare to find one well done). In addition, the main character, America Singer (yes, that is her actual name) had the personality of a lovesick dove.

Fun Fact: Despite the fact that I disliked the book, I named my own main character (Cass Serenhardt) after this author.

Throne of Glass

Rotting Dumpling Rating: 34%

Sarah J. Maas is practically young-adult royalty, and I have a lot of respect for her work and her writing. This book could’ve easily been saved had the main character not been absolutely despicable.

Celaena Sardothien is the product of writing that tells rather than shows. Every paragraph or so I was reminded how beautiful, how deadly, how much of a badass this girl was. But after a few chapters, it was easy to see past the image. She didn’t have the actions, the dialogue, or the character development to back it up. Celaena, who was supposed to be the realm’s greatest assassin, didn’t assassinate a single person in the entire story. The author’s attempts to impress me had the opposite affect. I have yet to hate a fictional character more than Celaena, though Jace Herondale comes close.

Speaking of Jace…

The Mortal Instruments

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 46%

By the urging of my friend Jack, I managed to get through all six of these books. Every word of the writing screamed “pretentious!”. There was little to like about any of the characters, and the villains came across more cheesy than threatening. Nothing about Clary Fray stood out to me, and I couldn’t bring myself to care about her. I quickly tired of hearing how sexy Jace Herondale was. You’d think his bare chest and abs on the front cover would be enough.

I have read Cassandra Clare’s “The Very Secret Diaries”, which I liked much better than this series.

The reason the rating is so high is because I felt like there was a lot of things going for this book. The world building was strong and I liked Clare’s concept concept. The Shadowhunters would’ve been way cooler had she focused on creating more likable characters.

So What YA Books Do You Like Anyway?

I’ll make another separate post about this, but here a few of my certified fresh picks. Feel free to trash them in your own blog posts:

The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 97%

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 98%

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 86%

The Absolutely True Diary of Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 93%

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Rotten Dumpling Rating: 90%

QOTD: What’s a popular book that you didn’t enjoy? Were there any of these books on my hate list that are your favorite?

6 thoughts on “Popular YA Books I Didn’t Like

  1. theunabridgedreader says:

    I can totally relate. I’m quite picky when it comes to dystopian novels so I agree with alot of your dislike list picks! I’m also not a huge fan of John Green… though I feel like that’s a cursed thing to say in the YA community!


  2. auroralibrialis says:

    Clary Fray and Jace are the worst. I mostly really like the Throne of Glass series, but I’m on book 5 and I still don’t know why Celaena’s the main character. Literally everyone else is more interesting than her. I have An Ember in the Ashes on my TBR and I’m so excited to get to it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • kyyuan says:

      I hear the next few books in the Throne of Glass series are really good, but unfortunately the first one didn’t convince me to read the others.😅 I’m kind of sad because I feel like I’m missing out on some great characters.


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