my disappointing reads of 2021

A year of reading books means that there’s bound to be some disappointing reads too. While I’ve been lucky enough to have read some really fantastic books this year, I have also found myself utterly let down by some books that just weren’t up to par.

I thought it would be interesting to share some of my disappointing reads of this year, having read some fascinating posts by bloggers I love on the same topic, like Rachel, Lia, and Aarushi.

An aside, these are all my opinions so take it with a grain of salt, and I’m sorry if any of the below are books you enjoyed. In fact, I hope that other people had a better experience with the following books that I did!


Remina by Junji Ito


brief summary: An unknown planet emerges from a wormhole, and its discoverer, Dr. Oguro, names it “Remina” after his daughter. Remina herself rises to fame following the discovery, gaining many admirers. However, once the planet begins to hurtle towards earth, eliminating planets and stars one after another, everyone quickly turns on Remina as they begin to wonder… Is she the true cause of the catastrophe?

I’ve enjoyed all of the other Junji Ito novels I’ve read, but this one fell flat for me. Ito novels are a mix of scares and story, able to create suspense and horror together in the plot, and yet this felt more gore than actual story. There was a lot of horror in regards to fear mongering and mob mentality, and it would have struck a chord in me had it went more into people’s psyches than just the violence and blood.

I was Born for This by Alice Oseman

brief summary: Angel Rahimi’s life revolves around one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world. For Jimmy, the frontman of The Ark, also cares first and foremost about his band as it’s the only thing he’s ever dreamed of doing. Yet, as of late, it’s been turning into a nightmare, ones that fans like Angel aren’t privy to. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing reality can be.

This is another one where I had absolutely enjoyed the author’s other books, but felt let down by this one. Perhaps it’s because I’m not into stan culture and bandom that it didn’t hit like it would for other people – though I did appreciate the commentary it had on parasocial relationships with celebrities and how unhealthy it is. I didn’t feel connected to the characters, and just didn’t intrigue me in a way I expected a Oseman book would.

She’s too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

brief summary: Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this novel tells the story of charismatic photographer Veronica, who quickly becomes enamoured with lonely and magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. Veronica’s best friend, Nico, an activist and performance artist, also is allured by Mick’s beauty. They spend their days together surrounded by art, with Mick and Veronica quickly falling in love…. and falling into trouble. Suddenly involved in fires, murders, drownings, and stalkers – this is a summer they won’t survive.

I had such high hopes for this one. I mean, The Picture of Dorian Grey but sapphic? Count me in. However, this novel lacked the intrigue that the original offered, as the characters were not likeable and the relationship was downright toxic with its back and forth and how they treated each other. Not to mention, there wasn’t barely even any chemistry between them, and the characters were hardly likeable. [full review on goodreads]

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

brief summary: Ariadne, Princess of Crete, spent her childhood dancing, listening to tales of gods and heroes, and all too aware of her brother the Minotaur living underground and taking sacrifices. When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending? And what of Phaedra, the beloved younger sister she leaves behind?

I’m a sucker for a retelling, especially if its one for a myth. I didn’t know much about Ariadne apart from the fact she is the half-sister of the Minotaur, so I was interested in learning more about her – but, much to my disappointment, the story hardly revolved around her at all.

Ariadne was a mere audience member to Theseus and later Dionysus as they would stroke their egos and tell stories about their great adventures. To think that Ariadne wasn’t even a main character in her own story! while she did get s bigger part around halfway through the story, as she realised her worth and independence, I felt it came too late for me to change my opinion on this. [full review on goodreads].

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

brief summary: A year after her girlfriend’s tragic death, Felicity is returning to Dalloway School —which is also where her girlfriend met her demise. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students, girls some say were witches. Felicity is determined to ignore everything to do with ghosts and witches, but it’s hard when new girl Ellis Haley draws her into that world. Ellis, a method writer, pulls Felicity further and further into the world of mystery and darkness in Dalloway—to the point Felicity is unsure she can escape.

I had put this in my post on anticipated thrillers of 2021, because I’m always a fan of dark academia and sapphic representation, but was sorely displeased throughout the novel. I was dragging my feet trying to finish this because I wasn’t interested in the plot at all, despite how fascinating it seemed from the summary.

The writing was incredibly descriptive, but that could only pull me in so much when there felt like there was little plot development going on. The characters also didn’t feel developed, and was overall frustrating to read. [full review on goodreads]


Thank you for reading!
What are some books you felt let down by this year?

17 thoughts on “my disappointing reads of 2021

  1. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy those books this year. I haven’t read any of them myself, so there’s not really anything I can add haha I hope you have found much more great and amazing ones in 2021 though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read any of these, but I’m really sad to see A Lesson in Vengeance on your list! I still think it sounds interesting, but maybe I’ll have to lower my expectations a little to avoid being as let down as you were 😅
    Anyway, I hope you find a ton of great reads in 2022 to make up for these disappointing ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i haven’t read any of these books but i totally understand your reasoning behind being let down! out of all of them, Ariadne was one i was looking forward to reading at some point but it’s so strange that she wasn’t a main character in her story 😳 i hope the rest of your year is filled with great reads! 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ariadne was just not what I expected because she didn’t have a proper storyline until like halfway through :/ the writing was still great so maybe just go in with different expectations to me if you still decide to read it! hope you have a lovely rest of 2021 as well 💛💛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah honestly Alice Oseman’s books get a lot of hype (tho I haven’t read any myself yet), I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy IWBFT.
    And thank you for the shout out Saima!!


  5. A Lesson in Vengance and She’s Too Pretty to Burn has been on my radar but I don’t think I’ll commit to reading them anytime soon after hearing that there’s harldy any plot development and likable characters.

    Liked by 1 person

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