Our Least Favorite Books of 2020

Published Thursday, December 17, 2020
Silence of the Sea
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

I was disappointed by this book. It was billed as super suspenseful, but the book started to drag for me after the first couple of chapters. I think my expectations may have been too high.

Check Availability
The Book of Lamps and Banners
by Elizabeth Hand

This book is of the psychological thriller genre. I personally found it to move very slowly and it was too dark for my taste. I did finish it though!
- Mary

Check Availability
The Stars We Steal
by Alexa Donne

Maybe it’s because I read this book immediately after a different space adventure story that I really enjoyed, but I just didn’t care for The Stars We Steal. The premise started as “space regency romance” and then turned into “overthrow the bourgeois” which would have been great, but instead of reading as “progressive and aware of her privilege,” the main character just seemed like a spoiled brat who suddenly started caring about the plight of poor people because she fell in love with one of them. Additionally, there was so much racial and sexual diversity among the characters, but it all came off as tokenism to me, which just didn’t sit right. I wanted so badly to like this book, I really did, but it just wasn’t for me.
- Kaylee

Check Availability
The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

I finally read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for a virtual book club this year. I don’t feel like it was a bad book, but I went into it with very high expectations, and it just wasn’t for me. I felt like it was all a bit too precious, but thankfully it was a quick read.
- Jacob

Check Availability
The Milkman
by Anna Burns

I’ve read other books I didn’t like, but I mention this title because it is a multi-prize winner and liked by many of my peers, but I just didn’t connect with it at all.
- Cary

Check Availability
The Last Magician
Lisa Maxwell

I had really high hopes for The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell, but unfortunately the characters fell flat. A tale about a time-traveling magic user trying to save magic and free a city sounded thrilling, but main character Esta was just too good at everything that came her way. It didn’t feel as high-stakes as a heist novel should. Despite that, the author clearly did her research, and the setting of 1900s New York was incredibly vivid.
- Sam L.

Check Availability
Agnes at the End of the World
by Kelly McWilliams

Sadly, this one did not work for me at all. I thought I knew what I was getting into after reading the first section of this book, but everything changed half-way through and ended up in a completely different place than I was expecting. Because I was disappointed with the direction the book went, I ended up not enjoying it.
- Katherine

Check Availability
People Funny Boy
by David Katz

I was really excited to find this book. I like music biographies and reggae producer Lee “Scratch” Perry is a pretty eccentric character. But Katz was so thorough that I just couldn’t sustain interest. I felt a lot of information was included that maybe could have been relegated to an appendix.
- Mason

Check Availability
Such a Fun Age
by Kiley Reid

I read Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, because it was on the Booker Long List. I have enjoyed many books from this list over the years, and I like to go into them blind, or without reading much about them, to savor the unknown aspect of it. This book brings up some important topics but only skims the surface. Many of the characters were written true to stereotypes and did not surprise me or make me think of things in a different way. The book was fine and would be a good beach read, but it didn’t live up to my expectations of Booker material.
- Jill

Check Availability
Jane, Unlimited
by Kristin Cashore

When I found out we were closing the library back in March, of course I grabbed a stack of books to take home. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore was one of them. I thought this would be a solid choice considering I had read her Graceling Trilogy years ago and really enjoyed them. However, I was deeply disappointed. I have only not finished a book twice in my adult life and this was one of them. Its main character is an ordinary Jane who is whisked away by an old acquaintance to an extravagant island mansion. There is a flirtatious love interest, an art theft, and a house full of mystery. Sadly all of this potential just didn't develop into a compelling story.
- Emily

Check Availability
Disney's Land: Walt Disney and the Invention of the Amusement Park That Changed the World
by Richard Snow

This book is filled with many interesting tidbits and a great source of factual information on the creation of Disneyland. But for some reason I cannot quite explain, the writing just doesn’t do it for me. It’s not bad by any means but I’ve always found it difficult to read. Being about Disney it should be a breeze for me but I find it a struggle. It just, to me, doesn’t flow like it should.
- Jake

Check Availability