It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.
This week, we’re talking about book hype:
Book hype is something that most readers will experience – and this can come from many sources: friends, blogs, social media (Twitter, Facebook etc), newsletters from publishers, massive displays in bookstores, even TV. There is no real way to avoid book hype, and that can both be a good and a bad thing.
The ideal situation is when you hear about a book and you pick it up and you love it! There is nothing better than picking up a book that you are excited about and enjoying every word on every page. Especially when this is a book that you can discuss with others that have already read it, or you can recommend it to others that may like it as well.
However, that is not always the case. Sometimes you hear such wonderful things about a book, and you really look forward to it, but it just doesn’t meet the expectations that have been built up for you. Sometimes you just don’t click with the storyline or the characters, other times it could be that the expectation to enjoy it actually created too much pressure to connect to it. And yes, it is very disappointing when this happens.
It really is a horrible feeling to be left disappointed by a book, especially when you thought you would feel the exact opposite, but, it does happen. Some examples of when the hype of a book didn’t live up to my expectations and I was left feeling disappointed are; The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fallen, Horns, Beautiful Creatures, and The Lorien Legacies.
So how can you avoid being disappointed by a book that you have heard so much about? Sadly, you can’t. (Sorry). My personal approach to limit the chance of reading a book that has been put on a pedestal but yet leaves me feeling “meh” is: I will only read a book that interests me, no matter what I hear about it. Of course this does not always work, but it helps as I know if I am not interested in it to begin with, the chances of me enjoying it are slim. For example, to this day, I have not read 50 Shades of Grey. And I will not read it. I know there are aspects to these books that I will not enjoy, so no matter how many people out there say how wonderful it is, I know I won’t like it, so why would I read that when there are so many other books out there that I have more chance of enjoying?
There have also been times that I have read a book that I have heard so many good things about, and while I did like it, I didn’t love it – and in this case, not only can it leave you feeling slightly disappointed, but sometimes you finish the book and wonder if you missed something, as you seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t worship the paper it is printed on.
Thankfully there have been times when I felt the hype has lived up to every word. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover was a perfect example of this for me. As a NA contemporary, I was not sure what to expect when I picked it up – but I had heard great things, and the storyline appealed to me. This book is now one of my favourites. Other books that had massive amounts of hype, and I am very thankful for that exposure, are: The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, The Mortal Instruments, and Throne of Glass.
But if you don’t love, or even if you don’t like, a book that everyone else loves – that’s okay! Don’t feel pressure to “have to” like something. Different people like different books – and personally, I think that is a great thing.
Hype, especially when it comes from people you trust (friends, bloggers and authors), can be a great thing, and can certainly lead you to some fantastic reads. However, I suggest that no matter what you hear about a book, try to forget about what you have heard when you start reading it so that you don’t build up any unnecessary expectations. At the end of the day, you will either like a book or you won’t – and no matter what you hear will not change that. So take on recommendations, but do not take on any expectations :)
Hype is something that will always exist whether we like it or not. There’s two types of hype – publisher hype and reader hype.
Publisher hype is where the dollar are. Publishers invest money in the books they feel are going to be well received by audiences and sell well obviously. So they push these ones more, and you’ll see ads all over the place for them. They’ll talk them up on their website, in newsletters and push them in book stores. In my opinion, I don’t mind publisher hype as long as they can back it up – and to be honest most of the books I’ve read that have been hugely hyped are pretty good. Books that the publishers hyped up and got right in my opinion include the Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, Speechless by Hannah Harrington, The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson.
Whilst I generally think publishers do pretty well in hyping the right books though, they don’t always get this right. And the ones they failed on would for me include 50 Shades (Don’t get me started on how bad this book was), Eve and Adam by Michael Grant (Wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t incredible either), Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult (Disappointing).
Reader hype is a little bit different, since it’s all about the general consumer (ie. you and me) reading the book and loving it so much you rave and fangirl about it in your reviews, you tell your friends to read the book, and generally want to discuss it. Personally, I am much more likely to trust reader hype, but that’s only based on my own experiences. Because of reader hype, I read and loved books that I normally wouldn’t have thought to check out like The Fault In Our Stars, Anna & The French Kiss, Vampire Academy, The Iron Fey Series, Divergent, Wither. And that was purely because everywhere I turned I was hearing more and seeing more about it until I actually decided to pick up a copy for myself.
Sometimes I think we pick up a book that has received SO much hype (of either kind), that it actually heightens your expectations before you read it. Sometimes rightfully so, but often not. And when you read it you find yourself thinking, well… it’s not a bad book, but you can’t help but feel a little disappointed because of how it was hyped up so much. This was my experience with Beautiful Creatures (I reviewed this yesterday). It was good, but I had read people’s reviews saying how incredible it was and I just didn’t get that from this book myself.
I think the only thing we can do as bloggers, but also as readers, is acknowledge hype is always around. It’s good in the sense that it let’s us know what’s out there – but proceed with caution folks! Ultimately you should read whatever you want to read out of genuine interest, not just because you feel everyone else is reading it! You can’t always believe the hype.
What are your thoughts on book hype? Is there any books you’ve read that were really hyped that either exceeded or didn’t meet your expectations at all? Let us know in your comments below!