In my last post, I talked about wanting to get back in the habit of posting discussions once a month. It’s Sunday, and that means I’m ready with a new discussion post to start my blogging year off right!
This topic is one I think everyone has a strong opinion on: book hype. Generally, the conversation about hype is always a negative one. I mean, who hasn’t felt that disappointment after reading a book you were SO excited for, but it only turned out to be okay? I know I’ve felt that way a dozen times before. But is hype always a bad thing?
Every season or so, there’s a few books with a ton of hype surrounding them. Usually it’s a debut book, because we haven’t read the author’s writing before and we’re eager to see if they’ll be cemented as one of our new favorite authors. That doesn’t mean it can’t be a non-debut book though; was anyone else stoked for Crooked Kingdom or A Torch Against the Night? This past summer, the big book of the season was definitely The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. You couldn’t walk in a straight line without running into somebody saying they loved it.
I’ll admit that the hype surrounding the book made me eager to read it, especially since the concept sounded amazing! There was promo for it everywhere–I even participated in a months long blog tour before its release. When it came time for me to actually read the book, I was convinced in my mind that it would be the best book ever. I mean, tons of bloggers said they loved it, it debuted on the NYT bestseller list, and it promised an angsty love story, which I am 100% HERE FOR.
I read it. And it was so disappointing, after months and months of anticipating its release. The story wasn’t terrible, but it certainly wasn’t one of my new favorites like I’d hoped. I couldn’t help but think, Did I really dislike it this much, or did the hype make me dislike it even more?
Ah, the dreaded hype syndrome. Usually when we talk about hype, it’s in regards to these situations:
- A book is SO overhyped you feel turned off of it, and you’re less likely to read it
- A book was super hyped, but the book itself was subpar.
Both of these situations have happened to me before, and they suck. But is hype always bad? I get annoyed at seeing the same book promoted over and over again on my twitter feed, and it’s never fun when I remove a book from my TBR because I’m afraid of it being too good to be true–but I do think there are situations where hype can be a good thing.
For one, you can hype books that don’t get enough promo on their own! Example: I never ever ever shut up about Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman. Seriously, if you know me and you like books–or even if you don’t–I will recommend Blackhearts to you. IT IS SO GOOD!!! But not a lot of people know about it, so I take it upon myself to shove it on everyone I can (seriously, READ THE BOOK).
Another situation when hype can be a good thing is when it comes to promoting diverse books. YA has a lot of diversity, but these books don’t often get a lot of promo. Nowadays, if you hop on twitter, you’ll see dozens and dozens of bloggers reading and promoting diverse books. My friend, Ava @ Bookishness and Tea, is an awesome person to go to if you’re in need of a good diverse read to add to your TBR! With these fearless champions of diverse kidlit, you’ll learn about book you might not have known about before, and you’ll be able to expand your reading exponentially!
So there you have it. On one hand, hype can be very annoying, and it can potentially lead to a big letdown in a book you’ve been eagerly waiting to read forever. But on the other hand, hype can help shine light on books that might not have otherwise been noticed, and it can immensely help with promoting diverse books + authors. I personally still shy away from hype, but no matter how hard I try, I always seem to get drawn in by a few extra-hyped books every once in awhile.
In what seems like rare cases, the hype for a book can actually be deserved! Here are some books that I believe were well worth the hype:
- Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
- Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco