It’s hard to define what makes a book “hyped.” Does this mean a book was nominated for or won awards? Was being breathlessly chattered about on #bookstagram? Was getting big marketing dollars or a huge advance from its publisher? Was on many “most anticipated books of X” lists? Had glowing early reviews? Based on an author’s previous work? Everyone in your real life was reading and loving it?
The one thing all my 2019 “deserved the hype” books have in common is “tons of #bookstagram and/or regular reader buzz” and that makes me happy. I think this the best source for book recommendations and blows away award winners and “Best of” lists from elite publications for me.
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Eight 2019 Books That Deserved the Hype
Ask Again, Yesby Mary Beth Keane (My Review)
Lots of #bookstagram and regular reader buzz, Jimmy Fallon’s Summer Book Club pick, Amazon Best Book of 2019, Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist – Fiction, Book of the Month selection.
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (my review)
Lots of #bookstagram and regular reader buzz, Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist – Historical Fiction, Book of the Month selection, massive publisher marketing dollars.
The Dutch Houseby Ann Patchett (full review)
Beloved author, tons of #bookstagram buzz, #ReadWithJenna Today Show Book Club pick, Amazon Best Book of 2019, Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist – Historical Fiction, New York Times 100 Notable Book of 2019.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11by Garrett M. Graff (my review)
Tons of #bookstagram and regular reader buzz, Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist – History & Biography, and how has this book not made any of the big “Best of 2019” lists so far?!
You’ll be hearing more about most of these books later, so no commentary just yet!
…and Five That Didn’t
After the Flood by Kassandra Montag
Accolades: Lots of #bookstagram buzz (including from some of my best recommendation sources).
My Take: I finished it, but rated it 2.5 stars. I would rather the author have told an adjacent story than the one she told, plus I got bored with the wilderness survival aspect and the fight scenes at the end of the book.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (my review)
Accolades: Amazon’s #1 Book of 2019, Co-Winner of Mann Booker Prize for Fiction
My Take: The beginning was confusing (who are the narrators? what is the time period?) and the first half was a bit of a slog. While the second half did pick up for me, I was still far more interested in one storyline over the others.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center (my review)
Accolades: Tons of #bookstagram and reader buzz
My Take: I DNF’d at 26% because, though I loved Center’s previous novel, How to Walk Away (my review), I had trouble getting into this one. Cassie is a badass leading lady, but her relentless schtick about not having feelings and not being interested in love got old quick for me.
Three Womenby Lisa Taddeo (my review)
Accolades: Amazon Best Book of 2019, Bad on Paper Book Club pick, Book of the Month selection, lots of #bookstagram buzz, publisher hype.
My Take: I liked this book and was riveted by the three women’s stories, but I wasn’t on board with the overall theme of the book and thought it was a stretch. So, though I did like it, I don’t think it deserved the level of hype it received.
Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
Accolades: National Book Award Winner – Fiction, Lithub’s 20 Best Novels of the Decade
My Take: I was a bit hesitant to include this one since I only read 2% of it, but in that 2%, the writing was virtually nonsensical. There has not been much #bookstagram buzz about this one…the buzz has mostly been confined to elite awards committees and publications, which is usually a “run fast” sign for me.
What books do you think deserved their hype this year? Which ones do you think didn’t?
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