Least Favorite Reads of 2020

Well, it’s that time of year again – list time! 2020 has been a real turd of a year but it was a banner reading year for me. I’ve read more than 260 books this year and I’m going to spend the next few days counting them down. I thought I’d start with the negative so that we can get it out there and move on. I hate to dislike a book. I am a rare DNF-er, I will push and push and try to find the lesson or the glimmer of love in a story but this year I’ve got 7 books that just were not for me. And believe me, this is more of a judgement on me than the books, I know that! Feel free to leave comments when you think I’m wrong… I’m happy to chat or reconsider.

#1 – Anxious People – Fredrik Backman

I had never heard of Backman before I joined Bookstagram, but he is a well adored legend over there so when I saw that his new release was coming up on Book of the Month, I decided to go for it. This book is about a group of hostages and they’re not interested in being hostages. It’s meant to be a clever, witty story with a heart at it’s center. Which, it was. It was just a story that was trying to hard to be witty and clever for my personal taste. Everyone else seems to love it but it just frustrated me. The very end gave me pause and redeemed my rating slightly but still this one hangs for me as one of my least favorites.

You can read my full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3400968633?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

#2 – The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Sorry, I don’t have a photo of my own for this book because it didn’t last long in my house. It was a rare DNF for me at 150 pages. When I saw the gorgeous cover and the interesting description, I scooped this one right up and dove in. 150 pages in, there had yet to be one page that interested me. I just had no interest in Linus and the folks he met in the house just seemed too contrived for me. Maybe I’ll try it again someday but the 500 books on my TBR shelf would be quite cranky if I did.

There is no review on this one for you to check out because I don’t review books I don’t finish.

#3 – The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Unreliable narrator. Harpy women. Backstabbing. It has lots of elements that make modern thrillers excellent. But this one was everything that holds women back in this world and I despised it!

You can read my full review here https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3141939843?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

#4 – Saint X by Alexis Schatkin

Saint X was one of my most anticipated books of 2020, I was so intrigued by a fictionalization of the Natalee Halloway story. I expected it to be a twisty thriller with lots of interesting clues and suspects. But it was a much more psychological delve into moralities and ethics and while I did push through to finish it, there were big sections I found myself skimming. I’m not sure whether it was the angle of the story that didn’t do it for me or the writing style but this one was a disappointment for me.

You can read my full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3127824395?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

#5 – The Dutch House by Ann Prachett

This one goes into a category with Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone for me, it’s a well written book and an interesting story but way too depressing for me. It’s a story about divorce and the impact on the children even as they grow. I know that my dislike of this one is all me but this one put me in a real book slump and it took quite a while for me to pull out of it.

You can read my full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3100681502?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

#6 – A Song Below Water by Bethany C Morrow

Another rare DNF for me, I was so excited for this story. It’s about sisters and has magical elements but the way it was written was so confusing for me that I really struggled. I gave it 100 pages and then bailed. Unlike The House in the Cerulean Sea I have kept it because I know in principle it should work for me so maybe I’ll pick it up again in the future and feel differently.

There is no review on this one for you to check out because I don’t review books I don’t finish.

#7 – The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry

I really branched out this year into trying some contemporary romance and rom coms and found that they are very hit or miss for me. The thing I hate most are books that make women look stupid and flighty and act as though that is cute. Well, this is one of those. I finished it as I was hoping for a conclusion that worked for me but alas, no. Roxy remained utterly a mess throughout.

You can read my full review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3034142227?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

So, there it is your first countdown of the 2020 wrap-ups. Sorry to start with the negative but it’s a Monday so why not? I consider it pretty positive that I could only find 7 I disliked enough to talk about them out of more than 260!

What was your least favorite book of 2020? Do you think I’m wrong about any of the choices above? Which one should I reconsider?

~ Dana

Published by openmypages

I am the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for a medical device company where my job is to promote the utility of the device to doctors. I have science and business degrees and have editorial experience in medical communications. In college, I served as an Editorial Assistant for a healthcare communications company and have served on two editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals. In my free time, I always have a book in my hand... or two or three! On average, I read 20 books a month. I have looked to combine two of my skill sets to review on Goodreads and promote books on Instagram that I love to other readers. I'm open to partnering with publishers as an influencer for book tours, giveaways etc.

2 thoughts on “Least Favorite Reads of 2020

  1. I had the very same feeling with Anxious People. I might try with another book of Backman’s, because there were bits where I genuinely smiled, but this one just wasn’t that good for me.
    I was sorry to know you didn’t enjoy The Dutch House! 😦 I really liked it, listened to it on Audible with Tom Hanks as narrator and fell in love with Maeve and with the story as well.
    I hope you have a great 2021 filled with lots of great stories!


    1. I’ve got another Backman on my TBR shelf as well, it was in the bargain bin so I’ll likely try him again as well. Maybe I should re-read The Dutch House on audio, in my eyes Tom Hanks can do no wrong so maybe he’ll turn me around!


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