I cannot tell you the sheer amount of times in my life that I have been walking along, minding my own business and living my best life, when someone slams into me with unsolicited book recommendations. At various points, I will admit I was led to discover some of the stories I still cherish reading today. But that was not always the case. Straight out of nowhere, folks would just assume that it was my 11-year-old dream to read about sword fighting owls when all I cared about was the tragic premature deaths of the subpar husbands of mail order brides in the Dear America series. (Like, did they even know me? Was it not clear that romance in a coal mining town was of the utmost importance to me?) It would have almost been easier if people could have prefaced their well-meant but woefully inadequate recommendations with a statement about what kinds of books I’d have to dislike in order to enjoy their third favorite book.
But alas, that was never the case back then.
If you too have ever felt the desire to gauge whether a book is meant for you by finding out its direct nemesis, then I have some — lifechanging, I’m sure — recommendations for you.
If you liked The Odyssey by Homer, you definitely shouldn’t read…
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Are you super into books with 300 plus pages? Do you salivate over long winded, twisting and turning, mythical, monster-filled poetry? Was the hottest part of The Odyssey Penelope’s undogged faithfulness, even though her husband was out there being faithful only to where passion — or Athena — led? If you answered yes to the last, please seek help. If you answered yes to anything else, then I hate to break it to you but perhaps you should avoid reading Rupi Kaur’s debut book of poetry. For one, Kaur’s poems only span an approachable handful of pages in comparison. The lines are concise and straight to the point, ripe with passion for empowerment and uplifting women who exist beyond the purpose of pleasing wandering husbands! If you live for the un-relatability of the cyclopes and sirens, you’ll find no solace in the quotability of Milk and Honey.
If you liked Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi, you definitely shouldn’t read…
Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
Pablo is leading a fantasy life in Permanent Record: he lives in New York City in the winter, is considering dropping out of college, and has a secret celebrity girlfriend who requires a signed NDA before PDA. If all this happiness is your absolute jam, then consider this your sign to absolutely avoid reading Heartstopper. Charlie and Nick’s story is told in graphic novel form. The first volume is hopeful, romantic, happy, and charmingly British. But crushing on rugby lads? Petting adorable dogs? Making snow angels with the love of your life? Who needs that when you have the magic of Pablo going to his mom’s house simply to run a load of laundry!
If you liked The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, You Definitely shouldn’t read…
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
The Fault in Our Stars really decimated the hopes and dreams of all its readers back in 2012. Nothing was hotter than boys with overwhelmingly large vocabularies and love stories that ended in heart wrenching tragedy. If this was you, then please, steer clear of I Believe in a Thing Called Love! Desi is determined to find love — and hopefully her first boyfriend — by following the romance formula found in K-Dramas. But senior year isn’t the easiest time to make it all happen, especially when she’s already president of the student body and on the varsity soccer team. If you want to cry from reading about funerals rather than cry from laughing hard at the antics of an awkward teenager (including a staged car accident), then please avoid all Maurene Goo books!
If you liked The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, you definitely shouldn’t read…
Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola
Enamored by the large family dynamics in the Bridgerton household? Can’t get enough of the 1800s settings? Hoping to catch yourself a duke thanks to a good, old fashioned makeout session? The first book in the Bridgerton series really delivers if you’re a hopeless romantic. However, if you’re thoroughly amused by Daphne’s virginal naïveté and zero ability to decide how to live life without a man’s blessing, then say goodbye to the possibility of enjoying Honey and Spice! The book opens with a scene where Kiki confirms that she does indeed understand how one becomes with child. As her college campus’s podcasting relationship expert, Kiki tells it like it is and has no patience for players. Throw in a fake boyfriend (okay, so yes, maybe this is where the two books meet), and it seems that Kiki does not know it all after all.
Interested in reading more juicy things about books? Check out some of the most controversial book opinions. Want to know what other sassy and sarcastic things I’m thinking when it comes to books? Read about how I create my own main character energy by carefully curating what I read in public.