Hey there, everybody! Nominations are closed and voting is open! But before we get to the poll, let’s talk about which books didn’t make the cut despite receiving a high number of nominations. I disqualified three of the nominations for reasons I hope everyone understands. Those books were Faleena Hopkins’s Cocky Roomie, Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck, and Save The Pearls by Victoria Foyt.
Though a large number of you had hoped I would tackle Cocky Roomie for its sheer badness and the fuckery perpetrated by its author, I decided that whatever attention she’s seeking, she won’t get more of it from Trout Nation. If Cocky Roomie had become our 2019 selection, she could have easily spun that into her victim narrative, driving herself back into the spotlight and furthering her sales and support from the “Be Nice” crowd. Since I don’t care to feed her pockets or give her more publicity for her undoubtedly horrible indie movie she’s been working on, I had to take a hard pass.
When I looked into the issues present in Save The Pearls and Tiger’s Curse, I simply didn’t feel like I, a white person, am the right person for the job of recapping them and pointing out their problematic elements. Save The Pearls is apparently like if the Proud Boys decided to try their hand at YA, and Tiger’s Curse is rife with orientalism and poor representation of a variety of Asian cultures. While many of the racist themes in these books are totally obvious, there are probably a lot of subtle issues I would miss as a white reader. I don’t want to swerve out of my lane, speak on behalf of black people or Asian people, or create a situation in which glossing past issues I don’t understand would make the books seem less horrible than they are.
I know that those of you who nominated these books are probably disappointed, but I hope you can understand where I’m coming from on these titles.
Now, onto the books that made the cut.
Modelland, Tyra Banks
No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams.
But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.
Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical. What happens to those who don’t make it? Well, no one really speaks of that. Some things are better left unsaid.
Thrown into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong, Tookie glimpses a future that could be hers—if she survives the beastly Catwalk Corridor and terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp. Along the way, she learns all about friendship, courage, laughter and what it feels like to start to believe in yourself.
When you enter the fantastical world of Modelland, you’ll see that Tookie was inspired by Tyra’s life as a supermodel. All those crazy and wild adventures Tookie has with her friends? Some of them were ripped straight from the headlines of Tyra’s life! Tyra knows all about beauty and fashion and fierceness, and she shares everything here in MODELLAND. It’s fun, zany, and 100 bazillion-percent Tyra.
“1. It’s got so many *different* flaws and plot holes that the review won’t get repetitive and you’ll have lots of material to work with. 2. It discusses beauty norms and tries (and fails) to be progressive. 3. It was very clearly written by the actual Tyra Banks and not a ghostwriter. 4. Tyra’s super rich–you won’t be punching downwards if you get super-scathing. 5. Finally: It’s the kind of incoherent novel that only makes sense to its writer.”
“It’s just….such a trip. And the names are worse than in handbook for mortals.”
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
“It’s boring, overhyped trash produced by an asshole who thinks he’s God’s underappreciated gift to the world without realizing that he’s exactly like thousands of other smug assholes.”
“Some really problematic content, mixed with some really crappy writing. Author does not seem to grasp concepts like “time”. Would love to see you tear apart a book written by a Nice Guy.”
A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J. Maas
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin–one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin–and his world–forever.
“Because it’s a ‘why is this so popular when it’s so bad’ trashfire and I think you would have fun!”
“There’s pretty words and an ostensibly strong heroine, but somehow it manages to pack an unbelievable amount of rape culture into itself.”
Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire
The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.
Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
“Look. You hate her. We hate her. Everyone who doesn’t love her hates her. I read this book at the VERY beginning of getting into indie romance because my friend said it was a must-read, and I think an official record of this book’s horribleness is needed (and also the horribleness of Jamie Mcguire. IDGAF that she’s also from Oklahoma and we should ‘support our own’ or whatever bullshit. She’s shitty AF). I read it and when I told my friend I didn’t love it, she was shocked. People think there is NOTHING WRONG WITH IT. THEY THINK IT IS WONDERFUL. It’s got moments where I actually thought, ‘Wow, this is worse than 50 Shades of Grey.’ And FSOG is probably the worst thing I’ve ever read.”
“It is like 50 Shades of Grey. But written by Jamie McGuire, which SOMEHOW makes it so much worse. So so much worse. If an editor had a nervous breakdown while working on this book, I would understand. Also it would explain a lot.”
City Of Bones, Cassandra Clare
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…
Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.
“Because it’s thinly veiled Harry Potter fanfic with an incestuous twist and a shitty male hero with piss poor writing heralded as one of the greatest things ever.”
“The author has a long history in the fanfiction circles, and has gotten into some epic fights with readers, reviewers, and professional authors themselves. She’s been accused of plagiarism, abuse against other fanfiction writers, stealing money from well-meaning fans, and I believe she’s been sued at least twice. Because she was a fanfic writer first, the book is HEAVILY influenced by Harry Potter and Buffy, so much so even those who didn’t watch/read those saw similarities. The author has also given birth to the trope ‘Draco In Leather Pants’.”
So, there you have it. Now, it’s time to cast your votes. I would super appreciate it if we kept things honest and democratic since I live in a place where there is no democracy and it would be awesome to see what that feels like. Vote, get your friends to vote, but it would be rad if nobody voted more than once.