Critiquing my favourite books

Hello my fellow book lovers, I hope you’re all having a lovely day. For today’s post, I’m going to be critiquing some of my favourite books.

Personally, I think it’s important to be conscientious of the issues in your favourite books. I think it’s absolutely okay to enjoy a problematic book, as long as you’re willing to acknowledge it’s problems. While most of these are not “problematic”, they all certainly have problems. Most books are not perfect, and perfection is not an attainable goal. Additionally, I think objectivity is important when reviewing books.

So I thought it’d be fun to talk about the problems with my favourite books. All of these books are rated 5 or 4.5 stars, and I consider them all favourites.

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown: look, this book has so many issues and has the most problems on this list. Most importantly, it uses the “harm women to advance a man’s storyline” trope, which is boring, overdone, and problematic. I wish Brown had another way to make Darrow inspired rather than just his wife dying. Additionally, the Jakal isn’t a very well-developed character in the later books. There’s more telling “he’s evil” than showing how he’s evil. That being said, keeping someone locked in your living room table for six months is sociopathic, so really.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: I mean, it’s a trashy YA from 2010. The characters are juvenile, the story isn’t very original or inspired, and there’s a fair bit of fat-shaming.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: it was written in the 90s, so it’s definitely a product of its time. It’s implicitly racist in some sections, for example (even though every time I go to put on my seatbelt now, I think “prease to frasten sleatbert”). Also, if you’re devout Christian, it’s blasphemous, I guess?

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: the characters don’t always act like real people would act. Would a decently well-adjusted fifteen-year-old really set her house on fire because she’s mad at her mom? Probably not.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: omg does it drag at some points. I get it, Theo’s in shock. Can we please move on.

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak: it objectifies women, including sexualizing an underaged character.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen: it’s 100% a story of women competing with other women for a man. It’s literally just total trash.

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Every Day by David Levithan: Insta Love™. There’s also the issue re: consent when A is in a person’s body. Thinking about it, it is pretty creepy that A kisses people in someone else’s body.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: St. Clair essentially cheats on Ellie for the whole book with no repercussions at all. Slut-shaming™ to the max. Soccer is a personality trait.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: the supposed 17-year-olds act as if they’re 21 at least. Both women have tragic backstories that involve sexual assault. There’s magical yellowface.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: there is literally nothing wrong with this book, it is perfect.


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So those are my critiques of some of my favourite books! Have you read any of these? What are your critiques of them? What are your biggest critiques of your favourite books? Let me know!

Ally xx

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20 thoughts on “Critiquing my favourite books

    1. So glad you agree on both of those! I love both Red Rising and Anna, but they have issues too.

      Thank you! 💖 And I don’t think so, but I could definitely critique more books I enjoy, so I might do a follow-up at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The “characters not acting their age” critique is one I have a lot for books I love. It’s something I can roll my eyes at without it impacting my enjoyment of the story.

    There are other critiques that do impact my enjoyment of the story, though. I’m a lot less tolerant (or a lot more aware of?) racism than I used to be, for instance. I don’t know if I’ll re-read Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy again (even though I love it) because of the racism. And the Nancy Drew books, which were childhood favorites, have so much more racism (and sexism, fat-shaming, etc) than I ever noticed the first time I read them. For these, I’ll just set them aside as “I remember loving them” books, and probably will never read them again.

    However, I do agree that enjoying problematic books can be okay if you acknowledge the problems. I’d just add that different people have different levels of how problematic a book can be and still be enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same!! It’s annoying, but not something that will dramatically impact my thoughts on a book.

      And yes, same! I notice so many more issues now than I used to, which I guess comes with being more educated on certain topics. But same about some books being nostalgia reads, but probably not rereading them.

      I totally agree! There are some things that I’m okay with that other people wouldn’t be (and vice versa), and I think that’s totally fair. Different people have different standards


  2. I agree it is good to acknowledge problems in a favourite book because a lot of the time they will have a few issues!! I remember when reading I Am The Messenger that he sexualized an underaged girl that I thought it was odd and slightly uncomfortable.
    And in six of crows it did feel like they were all much older– a third one is suppose to come out where they are all older so I am curious to see what that one will be like!!
    I loved this idea for a post and really enjoyed reading it!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhh so glad you agree! And same! I was so young when I first read I am the Messenger that it didn’t really register as weird. But then someone pointed it out in a review, and I was like yeah, true, that is awkward.

      Right?? They all act 25! But that’s so exciting!! I really need to read the second one soon.

      Thank you! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 💖

      So glad you agree! The issues in Every Day were things that I didn’t really notice until someone pointed them out, but then I couldn’t stop noticing them lol. And same, I still love Anna and the French Kiss even though it’s so bad lol


  3. Yeah I’m reading Good Omens right now, and it’s great, but definitely got some of that 90’s-style ‘um, that’s a little uncomfortable’ in places.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my favorite things to do after I finish a book I LOVE is to go on goodreads and read all the 1-star reviews haha I don’t know why it’s so entertaining reading new perspectives. From your list I’ve only read Red Rising and Six of Crows and completely agree with you on both. I will add, for me personally, when Red Rising shifted into a tournament style survival test plot I was pretty disappointed. It felt like I was reading Battle Royale or Hunger Games again. Very interesting post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same!! Some 1-star reviews are annoying, especially if they’re just the person hating on the book, but they can often be insightful and interesting!

      I completely agree about that critique of Red Rising, though I also didn’t mind it. I personally love tournaments in books, so it was right up my alley. BUT it felt very Hunger Games-esque and Brown could have done a better job distinguishing it.

      Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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