Worst Books I Read In 2021

Well Hello, Beautiful People! And how are we doing today? Me, I’m doing fairly well. I just spent two weeks with my family celebrating the Holiday Season. It’s not typically what we do, but there were some things my mom wanted to do with me this year and I couldn’t say no. So yeah, I was gone for two weeks. All of that is to say that this blog post is going up later in the day than I usually do it. Good times.

If you haven’t guessed it from the title, today’s post is all about the worst books I read in 2021. I’m going to try and keep it to the top ten worst books, so lets go.

Crave by Tracy Wolff

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

This book was the only book to get zero stars from me on The Storygraph this year. It brought back terrible memories of why I gave up on YA books in the first place. I have since decided to give YA a second try, but this book almost made me quit again. Zero out of zero, would not reccomend.

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into the light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road…

Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, asks for Wendy’s help to rescue the missing kids. But, in order to find them, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.

I read about 150 pages of this book before I gave up on it. It just didn’t appeal to me. And I really wanted to like it. I like the Cemetery Boys alot, and maybe that was the problem. This book didn’t live up to the potential of that first book.

Low Vol 1: The Delirium of Hope by Rick Remender, Art by Greg Tocchini

Millennia ago, mankind fled the earth’s surface into the bottomless depths of the darkest oceans. Shielded from a merciless sun’s scorching radiation, the human race tried to stave off certain extinction by sending robotic probes far into the galaxy, to search for a new home among the stars. Generations later, one family is about to be torn apart, in a conflict that will usher in the final race to save humanity from a world beyond hope. 

The story was good, but the art style of this story drove me away from it. I couldn’t finish it.

The Hike by Drew Magary

When Ben, a suburban family man, takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania, he decides to spend the afternoon before his dinner meeting on a short hike. Once he sets out into the woods behind his hotel, he quickly comes to realize that the path he has chosen cannot be given up easily. With no choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself falling deeper and deeper into a world of man-eating giants, bizarre demons, and colossal insects. 

On a quest of epic, life-or-death proportions, Ben finds help comes in some of the most unexpected forms, including a profane crustacean and a variety of magical objects, tools, and potions. Desperate to return to his family, Ben is determined to track down the “Producer,” the creator of the world in which he is being held hostage and the only one who can free him from the path. 

This was an online book club pick, and I loved that, as I already owned it, but I had to quit reading it for my mental health. This book got a 50/50 reaction from the folks in my book club, so I can see it having an audience. I was not that audience.

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother’s letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth – and that she will have to bring her family’s secrets to light in order to change their destiny.

I had problems with the writing style in this book. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to like it. It was high up there on my want to read list for the year, and it just didn’t live up to the potential of the synopsis.

Outlawed by Anna North

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw. 

The day of her wedding, 17-year-old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.  

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

I do not like westerns, apparently. I will watch them, but not read them. This stinks, because this is a genre I really want to like, because nostalgia. That being said, I think there is an audience for this book that will absolutely love it, it just wasn’t me.

Child of Light by Terry Brooks

At 19, Auris Afton Grieg has led an…unusual life. Since the age of 15, she has been trapped in a sinister prison. Why? She does not know. She has no memories of her past beyond the vaguest of impressions. All she knows is that she is about to age out of the children’s prison, and rumors say that the adult version is far, far worse. So she and some friends stage a desperate escape into the surrounding wastelands. And it is here that Auris’ journey of discovery begins, for she is rescued by an unusual stranger who claims to be Fae – a member of a magical race that Auris had thought to be no more than legend. Odder still, he seems to think that she is one as well, although the two look nothing alike. But strangest of all, when he brings her to his wondrous homeland, she begins to suspect that he is right. Yet how could a woman who looks entirely human be a magical being herself? 

This book was not it, to say the least. The writing style was disjointed, the dialogue was messy, and the way Auris reacted to her rescuer is ridiculous. I expected better from an author as prolific as Terry Brooks.

You Feel it Just Below the Ribs by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson

Born at the end of the old world, Miriam grows up during The Great Reckoning, a sprawling, decades-long war that nearly decimates humanity and strips her of friends and family. Devastated by grief and loneliness, she emotionally exiles herself, avoiding relationships or allegiances, and throws herself into her work – disengagement that serves her when the war finally ends, and The New Society arises.

To ensure a lasting peace, The New Society forbids anything that may cause tribal loyalties, including traditional families. Suddenly, everyone must live as Miriam has chosen to – disconnected and unattached. A researcher at heart, Miriam becomes involved in implementing this detachment process. She does not know it is the beginning of a darkly sinister program that will transform this new world and the lives of everyone in it. Eventually, the harmful effects of her research become too much for Miriam, and she devises a secret plan to destroy the system from within, endangering her own life.

But is her “confession” honest – or is it a fabrication riddled with lies meant to conceal the truth?

So this is the book that made me realize that I don’t like dystopians. That was fun. This book had everything going for it. I just couldn’t overlook the whole dystopian thing. Sigh.

Bow Legged Buccaneers From Outer Space by David Owain Hughes

The year is 2082 – the not-so-distant future – and Chinatown is a prison. One hundred years ago, between 1980 and 1990, hardcore arcade gamers, cinemagoers, TV freaks, and comic book nerds took over the large oriental area and turned it into a no-go zone. The streets became violent, corrupt, and the powers that be lost control. A large wall and river were constructed around the city; the waters were filled with sharks and patrolled by the government’s secret police, who had more artillery than Rambo. 

Paul “Frank Castle” Hoskins is one of the good guys, doing his best to keep the streets clean and the innocent people safe. When Chinatown comes under attack from space pirates, will Frank have finally met his match? Will he be able to protect the woman he loves and save his beloved home? Bullets will fly, blood will be spilt, and vengeance will be sought. 

This book has the most chaotic writing style. And the premise was equally as chaotic. I thought, space pirates, that sounds like fun. I was wrong.

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.

But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

I really wanted to like this book, but just about every page made me cringe, and not in the fun way. I had to put it down. Luckily, my book club didn’t like this book either, so I don’t feel to bad about not finishing it.

And there we go. The top ten books that I didn’t like this year. I didn’t have as many books on my DNF list as I thought, so picking my top ten of them was a lot harder than originally planned, but I was able to do it! Huzzah! What books are on your worst read list?