The 10 Worst Books I’ve Read (According to Goodreads)

I have gotten into the habit of watching a bit of BookTube (you know, book-related YouTube) while I drink my coffee in the morning. I’ve found a few channels I quite like and I may post about them in the future, but that is not why I’m here today.

I came across a prompt that a number of BookTubers have done that I just couldn’t resist. One could probably argue that I should just start my own BookTube channel to do these sorts of things, but editing videos is far too intimidating for me. Therefore, you all get it here on the blog.

These are the 10 books that I’ve read that have the lowest average ratings on Goodreads, although my personal ratings may not correspond with what the hive mind of readers thought of a particular title. If nothing else, this is an interesting little thought experiment, so let’s start the countdown!

Number 10:

Cutting Teeth by Julia Fierro
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.96 stars
My rating: 2 stars

It’s been a while since I read this one, so I’m glad that my review is there on Goodreads for a refresher. This is a mommy-drama book and it looks like I hated every.single.person. To be honest, I probably shouldn’t have been reading mommy-drama because my kids were at the age at the time that I was probably living in the midst of mommy-drama. I did note in my review that Fierro’s writing style is strong and I wouldn’t be against reading something by her in the future but, as of now, that has not happened.

Number 9:

Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.96 stars
My rating: 2 stars

I really should have known better than to read this one. I really hated the book The Devil Wears Prada. I just thought is was axe-grinding fluff. Then, I saw the movie–which I did like (thank you, Meryl Streep!). In doing so, I must have forgotten how strongly I disliked the book, because I do remember being really excited to read the follow-up.

And I was quickly reminded of how much the first book didn’t work for because this was just more of the same. I didn’t care about the characters, I found the whole thing unbelievable and annoying. Just writing this makes me wonder why I even bothered to finish it.

Number 8:

I’m Glad About You by Theresa Rebeck
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.92 stars
My rating: 3 stars

I had to read my review of this one several times before I started to have even a vague memory of it–I and think that was kind of telling. This book was…okay…but completely forgettable. It did sound from my review that this was one of those books of people crossing paths over and over again and, honestly, those books just don’t work for me. It is possible that this is the first of that trope that I read so I didn’t know that I didn’t like it. However, I’ve read a few since this one and I remember saying every time that I do not like the paths-crossing stories. I guess I should consider this is a reminder that I’ve learned a lot about my reading likes and dislikes over the years.

Number 7:

Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.91 stars
My rating: 2 stars

And here is another one I do not remember, although I was pretty specific in my book review. I did like the “lovable curmudgeon” hero, and that was about it. I noted that the writer doesn’t do anything to build a sense of place but instead writes a list of attractions in Paris (I think I said it was like reading a Rick Steve’s travel guide). I also seemed to hate the main character and that’s usually the kiss of death. I’m guessing that the lovable curmudgeon is what kept me reading this, because it sounds like I hated pretty much everything else.

Number 6:

Sakina’s Restaurant by Aasif Mandvi
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.85 stars
My rating: 3 stars

It had to happen…I never posted a review on this one! Ugh! Let’s see what I can remember. First off, I’m an Aasif Mandvi fan (if you don’t know who he is, he used to be on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and he’s currently Ben on Evil) so I was already predisposed to like this one. I did listen to it and it is performed, not read. I think I enjoyed it well enough, but I’m a little perplexed at the 3 star rating if I did enjoy it. However, I’ve said before that my rating scale isn’t static and I may have rated this at a time when 3 stars was a bit higher in my mind. Who knows, I may go back and listen to this again whenever I catch up on all the audiobooks I have (and she laughed and laughed…)

Number 5:

The First Warm Evening of the Year by Jamie M. Saul
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.83 stars
My rating: 3 stars

Another book without a review and, to make matters worse, the synopsis says nothing specific. Ugh! Actually, I kind of remember absolutely nothing happening in this book. I do remember giving it to my mother to read and I believe she quite enjoyed it. The fact that I passed it onto her means I must have not hated it (and, again, who knows what 3 stars mean?). I’m guessing that I read this in the early days on my book blogging so I hadn’t yet gotten a feel of my rating system yet. Heck, I feel like I only got a feel of it this year and I’ve been book blogging for over a decade! Oh well, there you go…whatever this was, it wasn’t memorable.

Number 4:

Off Season by Jennifer Weiner
Goodreads Average Review: 2.82 stars
My rating: 4 stars

So, we have a big discrepancy between my rating and the average rating. Jennifer Weiner has been releasing short stories around Halloween that are kind of creepy, which is not her usual style. Personally, I think this is a great way for her to experiment with a new style and I found it to be a great little read. As I’ve said before, I’m a big Jennifer Weiner fan so I eat these up when they come out.

I did look at some other reviews to see what people didn’t like about it and I get the feeling that many don’t like getting something different from her. I mean, I can understand that–but I’m not in that camp. I thought this one was fun.

Number 3:

Tender Wings of Desire by Harland Sanders (who is a colonel…)
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.80 stars
My rating: 2 stars

Okay, let me be honest here…I don’t think this book belongs on this list. Yes, it is low rated and, yes, I gave it 2 stars. It is a 2 star book and I know it would be. But, people, THIS IS A KFC-INSPIRED ROMANCE “WRITTEN” BY COLONEL SANDERS! It is utterly and completely (and, dare I say it?, finger-lickin’) ridiculous. I read this book BECAUSE I knew it would be hilariously bad and it delivered! The most shocking thing about this is there are 97 5-star ratings of this book on Goodreads!

I guess this calls into question if a book that you expect was supposed to be bizarrely horrible ends up being exactly that, is it really a bad book? Or is it some sort of twisted success?

Number 2:

Dog People by Jennifer Weiner
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.61 stars
My rating: 2 stars

So remember everything I wrote a moment ago about Off Season. Sometimes that formula doesn’t work and this was one of those times.

I get what Jennifer Weiner was trying to do and, again, this is sort of a safe way for an author to experiment. No, it didn’t work. But the stakes for the reader are actually pretty low with a standalone short story and I can forgive a bad short story. Although, this one was hard to forgive (and I do not recommend it for actual dog people).

And finally…the worst book I’ve read, according to Goodreads (but I agree on this one…)

Cleaving by Julie Powell
Goodreads Average Rating: 2.45 stars
My rating: 1 star

I read this book almost 12 years ago and I still remember quite vividly how much I HATED it. I was lukewarm on the book of Julie and Julia, mostly because Julie Powell was annoying. Then, along came Meryl Streep AGAIN to make me forget how I didn’t enjoy the first book and to lull me into reading the second.

Putting the overly graphic descriptions of butchering aside (I have a strong stomach for what I read I was bothered by it), this book does one thing. It proves that Julie Powell has some serious issues. I try not to be an (unqualified) armchair psychologist, but her behavior in this book is…not normal. I honestly believe that I was so shocked that someone would admit this behavior and then act like it was acceptable that I kept reading. Also, I wasn’t DNF-ing a lot back then. I have since learned my lesson and this was one step towards that. This book was just garbage and it isn’t surprising that Julie Powell has pretty much disappeared after its publication.

So, there you go! If any of you want to give this a try, drop a link to your post in the comments as I would love to see what you come up with!

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About Melinda