Help Me Deal with HYPE!

Posted December 17, 2015 / Discussions, Features / 39 Comments

headerAfter reading yet another book I felt like a huge black sheep about, I decided to work through my feelings about hype and how much I often want to punch it. There have been lots of books that bloggers love and I feel the need to add to my TBR. I’m totally okay with this because GIMME THE BOOKS. But, sometimes the books are so effing hyped that my expectations skyrocket. I don’t mind hype it leads me to great books, but I hate when I have the highest of hopes that this book will be utter perfection. Anything less than than that leads to utter disappointment, regardless of how good the book actually is.

I try not to get bogged down by the hype, but I can’t help it.
Usually my expectations are too high and the books won’t meet them.

Here’s my hype-o-meter to show seven levels of hype that I see surrounding some books. This is just my personal opinion and scale, so hop off me if you don’t agree. It’s just based on what I’ve observed and how I’ve perceived certain books.

Let me explain my categories a bit more:
  • Level One includes books that are very under the radar, underrated, or not widely buzzed about. Not a lot of people have read them or heard about them. Not many reviews = not a lot of expectations. You can set your own.
  • Level Two are books that you personally hype up for yourself, even if others haven’t. (For me, this was definitely Even In Paradise. I waited forever to read it because I was so excited… and became so disappointed. SIGH)
  • Level Three includes books that have a lot of pre-release buzz. The early reviews may or may not show how great the book is, but there are Bestseller talks before publication. I think of Red Queen when I think of Level Three. Lots of people loved it right away; even more people felt MEH about it after some time. (Yet it won the GR awards…..)
  • Level Four has books that receive a good mix of reviews. Some people loved it, some people didn’t. You have reasonable expectations because it could go either way.
  • Level Five includes books that pretty much everyone loved. There are a few outliers, but it seems like the majority of people are huge fans of the book, or at least generally enjoyed it.
  • Level Six starts getting to intense hype. Just about everyone screams that you NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE. It became some people’s favorites and pretty much every blogger agrees it was wonderful. Lots o’ hype.
  • Level Seven is the hypey-est of all. This book will crush you, murder your soul, make you cry, make you laugh. It will make you feel ALL THE THINGS because it’s perfection and anyone who doesn’t love it is a big, huge weenie without a heart.

With all of this in mind, I want to explore some different reactions I’ve personally had to hyped books. Sometimes I get lucky and I feel like the hype was well-founded… but (more often than not) my expectations can get the best of me and I end up as the black sheep. There are also a few books I haven’t read yet that I know I need to get a round to, but hype is scaring me away.

well deserved

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios | LEVEL 6 | four-half-stars I wasn’t sure I wanted to read this one – not even just because of the hype, but also because the subject matter didn’t interest me. I finally decided to give it a go and really ended up enjoying it. Sometimes it’s nice to try something new and be pleasantly surprised. I will say that this book didn’t murder me as much as everyone else, but I did highly enjoy it.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick | LEVEL 5 | four-half-stars I’ve seen primarily wonderful reviews for this book and knew I would love it. It took me a while to read it (not necessarily because of the hype), but once I did, I wondered what took me so long! I loved the entire family next door and relationship between Samantha and Jase.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | LEVEL 6 | four-half-stars The number of M/M books I’ve read is close to zero. (Not for any particular reason; just a fact!) I heard lots of wonderful Oreo-related things about this book and was so excited to feel all the feelings. It definitely kept me engaged at the beginning, tapered off a little in the middle, and then improved a lot at the end. I SHIP IT HARD GUYS.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven | LEVEL 4-7 | five-stars This book definitely didn’t have ALL glowing reviews, but it does have a 4.21 rating on Goodreads – so yeah, super high – but I know a lot of people who didn’t connect as much as I did. I had to keep the hype rating somewhere between “mix of good/bad” and “this book will crush you.” It CRUSHED ME REAL HARD. The last 50 pages = the death of me.
black sheep

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson | LEVEL 6-7 | three-stars Lots of people list this as one of their favorite books, or Jandy Nelson as a favorite author. I could kind of appreciate her writing style, but anything overly metaphorical is just NOT for me. This one definitely had too much of that. I predicted the major twists in this book, too. It just didn’t work for me overall but I increased my rating because the ending left a cute impression.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta | LEVEL 7 | two-half-stars Ugh I could go on about this one for a while 🙁 Everyone told me to get past the first *insert number here* of pages and the book would click into place. Unfortunately, that number kept increasing and I kept reading. I was expecting some huge reveal that broke me or shocked me, but it never happened. I felt ridiculously disconnected from everything. To be fair, I probably will reread at some point now that I know what happens. Maybe the audio version will give me feels? Until then, this remains one of the biggest black sheep incidents of my life.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | LEVEL 6 | three-stars I feel like a jerk for not liking this book. So many people say that they relate to Cath or just ARE CATH in real person form… and I did not like her at all. I don’t know what it was, but I couldn’t get past it. She annoyed me. I PROMISE YOU GUYS DON’T ANNOY ME IF YOU ARE A SELF-PROCLAIMED CATH. I don’t have issues with people with anxiety by any means. I really don’t. I just felt so bored by the whole story.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller | LEVEL 6-7 | four-stars I guess it’s not a huge black sheep issue because I still gave this book a good rating, but it’s worth mentioning for me. I didn’t feel a lot of connection to anyone or anything in this book for some reason. I really enjoyed reading it overall and the premise was interesting, but nothing hooked me like I expected. Most people L O V E this book.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley | LEVEL 7 | three-stars Sam was a fucking badass in this book; there’s no doubt about it. However, this book was really repetitive for me. Also I was not a fan of the ending. I can really appreciate the message of this book and the GIRL POWER vibes, but nothing else worked for me. I was bored. Everyone else wasn’t.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | LEVEL 7 | two-half-stars This one was a little polarizing, especially for the people who were able to guess the twist. I didn’t see it coming and it pissed me off when it was revealed. I couldn’t stand the metaphorical writing style. It made me feel confused, and as a result, stupid. I just didn’t connect with anything and the ending pissed me off quite a bit. This was my first review on the blog and my snark levels are off the charts. The audiobook bugged me as well.
nervousYou all know the hype is real for these! There are plenty more on my TBR but these ones have been more recent. I have a hard time with fantasy occasionally. If there’s not a perfect mix of action and world-building, I’ll either become bored or confused. I’ve heard almost nothing but fantastic things about these three books (two of which are series-starters), so I’m nervous! [The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows | Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas | Uprooted by Naomi Novik]


Now I need some advice! How do you deal with hype? Does it affect you as much as it affects me? Why or why not? SHOW ME YOUR WAYS.

Seriously though. Do you have any tips for drowning out the hype? My expectations skyrocket before reading these books and there’s almost no way for them to measure up. If you’re someone who doesn’t get intimidated by it or manages it all somehow, tell me your secrets.

39 responses to “Help Me Deal with HYPE!

  1. Kim

    Hey Lauren :-)!
    This is such a cool post :-)! I sometimes have the same problem. For example Fangirl: I did like the book, but it didn’t match my expectations. The same happened with Illuminae, because it was just TOO hyped. It’s really not that I didn’t like the books, but I might have enjoyed them more with lower expectations. (Even if it sounds weird.)
    But you definitely need to read “Throne of Glass”!! You shouldn’t get up your expectations too high for the first book of the series, though. This series gets better and more epic with each book and “Queen of Shadows” is pure perfection. “The Orphan Queen” is also an absolutely amazing book :-)!
    xx Kim

  2. Great topic! Honestly, if a book as so much hype around it, I refuse to read it. Throne of Glass, Six of Grows, Illuminae, Lunar chronicles (I read the first two) to name a few. And I do this for two reasons. (Also, I didn’t see a lot of hype for I’ll Meet You There! but it was good!)

    1.) It never lives up to the hype. NEVER. Like you, my expectations are HIGH and I hate setting myself up for disappointment. I know there are 1001 people that think said book is THE BEST EVER and everyone needs to read it – but I will be THAT person that hates the book.
    2.) I hate disliking a book so many of my friends love. This causes tension between us even though we don’t want it to. So to avoid it, I just don’t read em!

  3. I’m right there with you!!! When books are hyped I tend to step away from them. It’s like the more hype a book gets the less I am to read it. And I think that’s because I don’t want to be let down!!!!

  4. My personal hype is actually worse than some of the ones you mentioned! I did that with Six of Crows and yes, I still really enjoyed it a ton (and read it twice) but I was just SO excited and had EXPECTATIONS that the way I thought the book would go just didn’t quite align. I think personal hype kills a lot of books for me because I start imagining things and when they don’t go the way I imagined — even if they are good — it really throws me off.
    I am with you on some of those because of hype!! Jellicoe Road, We Were Liars… nope. I didn’t get it. We Were Liars was so predictable to me and I didn’t connect to the characters.
    I was THE BIGGEST black sheep with Uprooted, not gonna lie. It was really hard for me to read and I felt like a total freakin’ idiot because everyone was so in love with it. I honestly felt DUMB. But I do know that the style of writing isn’t something that I really connect with. I’ve tried a few other books that felt similar and they were hard to read as well. It’s beautiful but I just don’t connect with it.
    I was SO SCARED for Throne of Glass because I tried it when it first came out and I was like…. MEH. But once I tried again when I was more of a fantasy person, I really enjoyed it! The first book was like 4 stars for me and I was like “omg what if I don’t LOVE this? What am I missing?” But the rest of the series is so freakin’ fantastic and really grows!
    I have no advice on what to do with hype LOL. I try to avoid it for some books and others, I’m my own worst enemy 🙁

    • I hate when that happens! I felt dumb while reading Jellicoe because people kept changing the page number when things “click into place.” Like, some people said page 80 and some said like 200! I kept reading and meeting each milestone people set, then I was like uhhhhhh what? How? lol

  5. My expectations are critical to begin with. The hype surrounding certain books makes that go through the roof. I recently reviewed a hyped book and that is still people are raving about (hasn’t come out) and I am one of only few that had my opinion.

    As for Throne of Glass series (got to Heir of Fire) my opinion is so black sheep that I refuse to write a review on it for fear of how it will be received. So I understand how you feel too.

  6. Love this post!!! I try to wait on the books with lots of hype so I miss the bulk of the craziness. I almost go in with lower expectations for this books because I expect not to like them as much as everyone else. Not sure of that makes sense. I think books I’m personally excited for sometimes let me down more.

  7. Hype doesn’t actually affect me THAT much. I do sometimes finished a much loved book and kind of go “that’s it?” And I sometimes end up HATING a hyped up book (*cough* Red Queen *cough*) but for the most part I’m usually okay. I try to think of things in terms of “well, they really liked it but I maybe won’t.” I also make an effort to often read books I haven’t heard much about. A good way to clear my way between books I’ve heard a lot of great things about.

    Tamara @ Tamaraniac recently posted: The End to the Endless TBR
  8. This is such a great post! My most prevalent hype levels are usually levels 2, 3, 6 & 7. And my own personal hype almost always leads to level 7. Once I get something in my mind that I feel like I NEED, it’s all I can think about! Then sometimes I get whichever book that was and it’ll sit on my shelf for months before I decide to read it.

    ♡ Kristin ♡ (@SuperSpaceChick) recently posted: ‘Tis the Season: Bath & Body Works Holiday Candle Haul
  9. Ughhh hype usually always leaves me feeling so confused. I’m like THIS is the book y’all were raving about??? THIS?!?!? I can name like 2343234 books that were better than THIS. It’s probably about the expectations and all that, or maybe I really just am a black sheep. I read Illuminae and thought it was good… but it wasn’t some epic masterpiece IMO. It was just a book written in emails and stuff about a space attack. There were some emotional stuff, but it didn’t change me as a person.

    I also felt the same about Jellicoe Road 🙁 I never got to that magical “point” where things make sense. Things never really made sense to me. But it was good writing. And WTSSS… I didn’t like the main girl at all. I liked the family and the friend and even the guy, but Cadie or whatever her name was….. BLAH!!! I want to read the Throne of Glass books but YIKES!! I almost Don’t want to because it’s just too much!!! And I also really like to use my blog to talk about lesser known books. I don’t think TOG needs any more reviews or talk about it 🙁

    • I feel like expectation is the biggest issue! TOTALLY AGREE ABOUT ILLUMINAE! I liked it but didn’t understand how everyone felt so broken and awed by it. I agree about lesser-known books too.. ToG gets soooo much hype in general. Doesn’t need our help!

  10. I love this post. Unfortunately I don’t have any tips for you. Hype is hard for me as well. I usually wait a while before reading seriously hyped books, so I can forget the hype a little bit. But I know it can lead to high expectations…i.e. Anna and the French Kiss, and then I feel terrible for not liking the book.

    It’s also the reason why I read books I’m anticipating ASAP, so no one else’s thoughts can taint my own excitement or increase the hype…i.e. Winter.

    Kate @ Mom's Radius recently posted: Book Review: Let It Snow (YA)
  11. Oh, hype. Like you, I love hype for the fact that it draws my attention to books I might not have heard of otherwise. I also love that it helps me discover other people who love the things I love. But I DO NOT love when it influences my opinion on what I’m reading. I’ve found my own personal coping mechanism, and that’s waiting until the substantial levels of hype have died down before I actually read the hyped book in question. I did this for Uprooted (which I liked, by the way, though I didn’t love it as much as others did). I SHOULD have done it for The Wrath and the Dawn (which I didn’t love either) and The Winner’s Curse (which I didn’t love on my first read, but liked better on the second). But seriously, I let the hype wave die (as much as it can), wait till my own emotions feel settled and then I’ll read it. If it means waiting for a while… That’s okay.

    Now, I’m going to tiptoe away and leave you to read The Orphan Queen and Throne of Glass which, as you probably already know, are two of my all-time favorite books by two of my all-time favorite authors.

  12. This is a great post. The truth about hype, at least for me, is that when I don’t like a book that everyone else was crazy for, I feel like I just, like, read it wrong or something, because why couldn’t I see what everyone else saw in the book? I tend to hop on the hype wagon really easily, too. If a ton of people are buzzing about the book, I feel like I NEED to read it. And then sometimes I let the pre-reading hype affect my final opinion. Sometimes I think I like it more than I actually did because of how much everyone else liked it. I don’t know if that even makes sense. But it’s hard to completely condemn hype, because it’s part of what makes booklovers booklovers. It gets us excited about books and reading and, as you said, it leads us to some amazingly spectacular books.

    Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover recently posted: Lefty's Lowdown: Did I Mention I Love You by Estelle Maskame
    • SAME! Even if the book doesn’t appeal to me, I will end up wanting to read it and do it anyways. I also totally agree about liking it more – or convincing yourself you like it more – because others did. Like wait, did I really love this or do I just THINK I do? lol

  13. This is such a great post! I love that you even made a graph to explain your levels. I completely agree though. I think in 2016 I’m going to try and make a conscious effort of reading more books I haven’t really seen that much on the blogosphere. I want to find some overlooked gems! The hype has also let me down several times, like with The Maze Runner or Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. So many people love those, and I just didn’t…

    Jolien @ The Fictional Reader recently posted: My Holidays in Books and Movies
  14. I LOVE THIS. I have definitely been struggling with this lately as I have been reading quite a bit of backlist and just . . . not loving it as much as everyone else. We Were Liars definitely has definitely been up there on my own disappointing hype list–I tried the audiobook at the beginning of this month because I just absolutely hated all the characters and the narrator. ToG definitely didn’t live up to the hype for me either, but people do say that the series gets better as it goes on.
    Normally, I just try to avoid too many praise-worthy explosions of love for books; however, that is harder for some books–like ToG & We Were Liars–than others.
    Uprooted, however, sounds like one that I will absolutely love. I have heard some mixed reviews, but all the rave reviews I have heard have been from people with similar tastes to me.

    Monica recently posted: Bookmas Day 5: Cry-Worthy Books
  15. Book hype definitely influences my reading of a book. I notice that I tend to be much more critical of books that everyone loves, so I end up being a bit of a black sheep as well. But it’s a bit of a double edged sword, you know? If the hype didn’t exists, I may not be aware of a book or be compelled to pick it up. Sometimes though, feel like I would enjoy certain hyped books more if they weren’t hyped. The only advice I have is wait for the hype to settle, when it’s not fresh on your mind, before picking up a book.

  16. This post is so accurate! The more people talk a bout a certain book, the more I want to read it! But it also means my expectations would go higher and most of the time, well, I felt dissapointed. I’m with you on Fangirl, and I also didn’t like Red Queen. I enjoyed Throne of Glass, but I feel it lacks something so… idk. Usually I wait until the hype is settled, and then I read the book 🙂

  17. Hype is such an evil, complicated, and yet sometimes wonderful thing. I love your chart! I get so nervous when I read a hyped book. So far I have had mostly good luck with them, but there have been a few times I have been the black sheep and that isn’t always a good feeling. I am really not good at ignoring hype either…. if you find a way please share!

    Kay @ It's a Book Life recently posted: Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Come Back to Me by Mila Gray
  18. I wrote about the hype monster once, as I like to call it. I hate hype before I read a book, as it sets such high expectations. Like with I’ll Meet You There, I read it when it was everywhere and felt a little underwhelmed, but then 12 months or so later, it’s still with me. I LOVE that book, but the hype made me expect more. (My 63 year old Dad just read it, his first YA ever, and gave it 5/5, so it’s totally worth the hype obvs). On the other hand, when I’m one of the first to read a book and it starts getting hype, I LOVE taking part in the hype and fangirling with everyone else who loves it.

    As for Throne of Glass and Uprooted. Uprooted is very original and unique, and well written. Throne of Glass is one of my favourite series, though I prefer book 1 and 2, whereas most people seem to love book 3 and 4, but I’m dying to see where it goes. You should DEFINITELY read these! R xx

    Rachel (Confessions of a Book Geek) recently posted: How Much Do You Spend On Books? 2016 Edition

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