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Feeling some sort of connection with the characters in the novel I am reading is extremely important for me. But once in a while, unfortunately, I come across books that include characters that I just cannot click with. This often leads to me disliking the said book, and I do have to admit that that several books on this list are ones that I have not rated very high.
1. Olivia from Drowning is Inevitable by Shalanda Stanley - I ended up giving this novel 3/5, which means that I actually quite liked it. Though I did not click with Olivia, I found her to be a fairly interesting character and what really bumped up the stars for me was the way this novel was written. Shalanda Stanley's prose is beautifully weaved together and her language is lyrical and at points almost close to magical realism. It is very rare for me to like a book I cannot connect with, but this one is definitely an exception.
2. Ana and Zak from The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher - This book was just a "meh" for me, which is not what I expected, because the premise of the events taking place in a convention made me very excited! Much of the character interactions are build around the fact that Ana and Zak are supposed to be these complete opposites but once they spend time together, they actually connect in ways they never expected they would, Ana is on the road to being the Valedictorian, whereas Zak is this slacker. There was nothing in this book I really disliked or hated. The problem with this one really was the fact that these characters were not memorable at all. It's probably a month from when I read this and I honestly remember very little from it at this point.
3. Tom from Sweet by Emmy Laybourne - Oh man, I really did not like this book. The love interest of the main character is this child star turned actor called Tom. Let me tell you about Tom. Supposedly, he is really hot and all that jazz, but he is also obnoxious and bit of a douche. The book lets the reader believe that he has this sensibility he needs to hide in order to keep up his star image, but really, I never saw that side. Also, he is really obsessed with gym and the whole thing is mentioned way too many times in the novel.
4. Khalid and Shahrzad from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - I know... A lot of people are probably thinking "WHAT THE HELL MILKA!?!? HOW DARE YOU PUT THESE CHARACTERS ON THIS LIST?" If you caught up my review of this book that I posted a while ago, you probably know that I did not like this book. It is not like I hated it or anything... I just didn't feel the hype at all. Or these characters. I can't really pinpoint what it was in this book that made me not like it. Maybe it was the very generic feeling love triangle situation. I think mostly it was the actions of Shazi. She is first portrayed as this kickass girl who hates this monster of a man. Then they spend like a couple of nights together and of course he is not a monster anymore... Recently, I have gotten so tired of these story lines where the main character has to suppress her feelings somehow because with books like this, YOU KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO END UP TOGETHER, AT LEAST FOR A WHILE. So I don't know... This one just wasn't for me.
5. Oakley from Love, Lucas by Chantele Sedgwick - I really wanted to feel for Oakley. I really did. But the more I kept reading, the more convinced I became that I would not start to like her. She is one of those very cliche, clumsy "I am so bad with guys" types that categorizes herself as a dork just because she is in the swim team or sometimes blurts out the wrong things at the wrong time. First of all, isn't being an athlete supposed to be cool in a high school setting? Also, she has this constant need to use the word "cute". There's also a scene in which she cries about the death of her brother and then instantly thinks she looks like a "monster" and is afraid that the guy she likes actually sees her showing some emotion... She is supposed to be 17 in the novel, but for most of the time she really acts like she is 13. Also, THIS GUY CARSON IS BIT OF A DOUCHE! OAKLEY TELLS HIM ABOUT THE DEATH OF HER BROTHER AND THIS GUY RESPONDS BY TELLING THAT HE HAS SEEN THAT OAKLEY HAS A BEAUTIFUL SMILE AND THAT SHE SHOULD SMILE MORE. IDIOT, SHE JUST TOLD THAT HER BROTHER DIED. MAYBE SHE DOES NOT WANT TO SMILE.
6. Kelsey from Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca - This was one of my most expected releases of 2015 and unfortunately it just did not work for me at all. I especially felt very distanced from Kelsey and found myself really disliking her. She desperately tries not to be "one of those girls", thinks that the world revolves around her and is generally very self-centered. She thinks she is better than the "sluts" and "skanks" that she goes to school with. I love opinionated, snarky characters, but I am not fine with slut shaming.
7. Sadie, Darcy and Rosanna from City Love by Susane Colisanti - City Love is one of the worst books I've ever read. It made me want to throw my Kindle on the wall and for most of the time, I was not quite sure whether I should laugh or cry. The book is like an episode of Gossip Girl, written by a set of 14 year old boy-crazy girls. The novel is told through narrative point of views, but very quickly, I noticed that the narration is all over the place and the points of views don't really chance that much. All of these girls are just so incredibly crazy about boys that it kind of gets ridiculous. Every cute guy they meet on the street, they see as their possible soulmates, and after a one conversation, they think they are deeply in love. Also, one thing that droe me crazy was the fact that these girls tend to define themselves through the guys they are with - for example Rosanna feels special for the first time after a guy notices her, not before that. Maybe I can too cynical to believe in the kind of instalove this book features... or maybe this one just sucks!
8. Finch and Violet from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - Alongside The Wrath and the Dawn and The Winner's Curse, this is probably one of those picks that makes other readers question my sanity. All the Bright Places was very hyped after it was published, and I was extremely excited to read it, but it just did not work for me at all. I expected a lot of tears and emotions, but found myself completely unable to connect with this one in any way. As someone who can labeled as a Survivor of Suicide, I do appreciate Niven's courage to write such a story, but since we all deal with grief differently, maybe the way this one was written just didn't match my expectations. One of the main problems for me was the fact that I constantly kept feeling like the characters are bit fake - too quirky, too special, like their characterization had been taken a bit too far. I love interesting and different characters, but in some ways, these characters felt too cliche or something. Also, whereas Finch's characterization was taken quite far, Violet was left a bit bland, at least for my tastes. I don't know...I guess this is one of those cases where it can be proved that really hyped books are not for everyone.
9. Kestrel from The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski - This book has an absolutely beautiful cover, but unfortunately what was written on the pages did not make me quite as excited. The main problem I had with this book was the fact that it did not really make me feel anything - I almost wish that I would have really disliked it because that way I could easily explain myself and my opinions. The more I read, the harder I found it to click with Kestrel. I kept feeling like she felt superior to others, even when she denied thinking so. She does care for her family, but often it seems like when it comes to the people outside her inner circle, she did not care. Yes, she does come through in the end, but for me, it was too much of a too little too late kind of situation.
10. Emmy and Oliver from Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway - This one has also been quite popular after its publication and once again I have to say that it just wasn't for me. I was annoyed by the way the author portrays the parents of Emmy and constantly kept rooting for them rather than for Emmy who complains about the rules and lies so she can do what she wants. I felt no connection towards these characters and almost gave up on this book after reading about 60% of it.