Today, I am going to talk about some books I won’t read. A couple of months ago, I created a ‘not interested’ shelf on Goodreads (you can have a look at that shelf here). Its purpose is to keep track of problematic books, which I therefore won’t read. Since there are already over twenty books on that shelf, I won’t discuss them all today. I decided I’m going to talk about the most well-known ones and will hopefully be able to convince you why you shouldn’t support these authors or books either.
If you want to read these books for yourself because you refuse to believe what others have said: I don’t care. I’ve made up my mind that I won’t read these books, so don’t try to convince me that I should.
Anyway, let’s get started! These are in no particular order.
Love Is Love: a comic book anthology to benefit the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting
Love Is Love is a comic book anthology dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting and the LGBTQ community. That sounds great, so at first, I was very interested in reading this. Unfortunately, this anthology was written by and for allo cis straight people, instead of the audience it’s supposed to be aimed at. Love is Love is an absolute mess: it’s is trans-, bi- and aphobic and much more and therefore fails to honour the victims of the shooting.
The Graces by Laure Eve
The Graces has received a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads. While a lot of readers complain that this book is cliché and dull, The Bookavid seems to be the only one who discusses the blatant racism, misogyny, ableism, homophobia and biphobia. Niral, the antagonist in this book is the only person of colour. She spreads a rumour that a side-character is a lesbian, because in this book, that’s apparently a horrible thing to be.
I could go on, but you should read The Bookavid’s review instead.
The Color Project by Sierra Abrams
I won’t read The Color Project because of the author. Sierra Abrams made a Twitter thread last year in which she discussed how platonic friendships are much more important than queer representation. She refused to accept that her favourite book series queer-baits and said that people shouldn’t headcanon characters as queer because once a male character has been with a woman, according to Abrams, they can only be heterosexual and certainly not bisexual. She even said that Adam Parrish from the Raven Cycle was straight in the first book, which is incredibly biphobic.
I haven’t seen a lot of people talk about this and I am begging everyone to not read this book when it comes out. I will do everything I can to spread the word on this, but I can’t do it all by myself.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
I unfortunately owned Nevernight, but once I found it is racist, I unhauled it. It’s one thing to appropriate the culture of Indigenous people, but to refuse to listen to criticism… I’m so done with Jay Kristoff. He’s one of the reasons why I won’t finish Illuminae Files either. On top of this, he also wants to read racist books to see for himself whether or not they are racist. So this white man actually thinks he can judge racism better than people of colour!
The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty
Another book with the dark-skinned aggressor trope. What is up with all these racists books?! Anyway, though The Traitor’s Kiss is marketed as a Mulan retelling, it absolutely isn’t. First of all, it’s whitewashed. Secondly, the villains are people of colour. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this author supports The Continent by Keira Drake, which is another racist book (I will get to that soon).
Besides the racism, this book is also misogynist as there is an abundance of girl-on-girl hate.
The Continent by Keira Drake
This review explains the racism in The Continent. Apparently, the release date of this book has been delayed to make revisions. That doesn’t mean anything, however. Harlequin Teen is also going to publish The Black Witch, which is yet another racist book. Harlequin Teen continues to promote that book on social media, even though it has received plenty of complaints by readers. So I don’t see how they are going to do better with The Continent. Clearly, this publisher doesn’t care about marginalized teens and continues to offer a platform to racist authors.
Furthermore, I think there are certain levels of problematic. Some books feature harmful lines. If those lines would’ve been taken out, the book would’ve been fine. Then there are some books that are build on harmful tropes. And The Continent sounds like the latter to me. No matter how much editing they do, the book is going to remain problematic unless they rewrite the entire thing.
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest
I won’t go into detail, since there is a review over 8.000 words that explains why The Black Witch is harmful. You can read it here. This book is not only racist, but also ableist and homophobic. Read this blogpost for prove that these kinds of books hurt teenager. It’s not “just fiction” and that’s why you shouldn’t support this book or author.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
The chances of me reading The Hating Game were very slim to begin with. It doesn’t sound like it would be my cup of tea. But after reading this thorough review, I’m certainly never going to pick this book up. I’ve only seen raving reviews, but The Hating Game is fatphobic, racist, ableist and sexist. I don’t want to say I told you so, but those are the exact reasons why I don’t read (New) Adult romances anymore unless they are written by diverse authors and/or feature diverse characters.
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
I didn’t include the cover of Carve the Mark in my banner because it’s very triggering to some people. Ever since some bookstagrammers decided to recreate the cover on their arm and therefore romanticise self-harm, I have trouble looking at the cover myself. As you certainly know by now, Carve the Mark is not only ableist, but also racist. You can read more information about the racism here. I decided to unfollow everyone who continued to support Carve the Mark. I’m sad I lost some friends over this, but I can’t handle it anymore that some people don’t care about hurting others. When did reading a book become more important than supporting other – and especially marginalised – people?
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
Sad Perfect is a book about a girl with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). This reviewer, who struggles with eating disorders, found this book triggering. Furthermore, the author did not research this topic, as you can read in this interview. Just because her daughter had AFRID, doesn’t make the author an expert on this. This is not an #OwnVoices book! This book is written in second person, so I can totally imagine how harmful this book must be for people with eating disorders.
I also didn’t include the cover of this book as it can also be triggering for some people.
It’s absolutely appalling that this list includes less than half of the books on my ‘not interested’ shelf. On top of that, all these books were released in 2016 or 2017 (or will be released shortly). It saddens me that there are so many harmful books out there. Even though some readers continue to boost diverse authors and/or diverse books, problematic books are constantly being released.
You know what disgusts me the most, though? That there are readers who initially weren’t interested in these books, but once they found out they were problematic, they decided to add them to their TBRs.
Please, do not support these books and authors as they are incredibly harmful for some readers. Instead, I suggest you have a look at my diversity masterpost and pick up some diverse books instead.
What are some books you won’t read because they are problematic? Like I said, there are many more books on my list, but I’m not opposed to adding even more. We have to protect each other and discuss why books are problematic.