First impressions and expectations about books vs. reality

Being a book blogger is a complicated adventure and, whether you notice it or not, it kind of changes our perception of books. More often than not, our first impressions and expectations about some books are wronged, completely tainted by this beautiful, yet complicated bookish community.

  • There are the expectations we set ourselves about a book – because it’s an author we love,
  • because it’s SO REALLY HYPED and everyone loves, it,
  • because the cover is stunning so the inside HAS TO BE AS GORGEOUS, RIGHT?
  • because bookish friends, their friends, their dog, grandparents and even the plushies they own are screaming about said book….
  • because the synopsis, blurb, comparison to The Wrath and The Dawn or whatever just made it seem REALLY appealing all of a sudden…

That list could go on and on and on.

I feel like, overall, I know my bookish taste fairly well and I also feel like I know kind of quickly if a book could be for me, or not. There are books I’m always on the fence about, usure whether or not they could be the ones for me, while some others simply just, click.

Yet, sometimes, it’s hard to know the books that actually are for us, with so many exterior factors weighting in the balance. YES, I’m talking about you, reading this post. Everyone is an influence in the bookish community, whether they’re big or small bloggers, as long as they talk about books, they are bound to influence us, me, throw our expectations out the window without even us wanting to.

Today, I wanted to talk about my first impressions about some books and how these expectations were somehow met…. or not. Let’s do this.

Books I had a feeling I would enjoy and ended up…. LOVING TO PIECES

I thought I’d enjoy these. Turns out I’m screaming about them forever now.

Emergency Contact, Mary H. K. Choi

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: DIGITALLY INSEPARABLE? SO FOR ME.

How I felt after reading the book: AN EMOTIONAL MESS, all expectations met, will scream about the book forever. #sorrynotsorryΒ 

The Color Project, Sierra Abrams

How I felt while adding the book to my TBR: Sweet contemporaries are TOTALLY MY JAM.

How I felt after reading the book:

Nothing Left To Burn, Heather Ezell

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: I love stories with flashbacks. That sounds cool.

How I felt after reading the book: WOW.

 

Other books I could mention in this category would be…

Books I thought I’d LOVE, but ended up just enjoying

I thought these would end up being favorites, turns out they were STILL GREAT, but… missed the 5th-star-favorite-book mark.

The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: Now THAT world sounds fascinating. Also everyone is talking about it, so………

How I felt after reading the book: It could have been paced a bit better. Still amazing world.

The Square Root of Summer, Harriet Reuter Hapgood

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: This book sounds fascinating.

How I felt after reading the book:

The Becoming of Noah Shaw, Michelle Hodkin

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: MORE MARA DYER AHHHHH.

How I felt after reading the book: Enjoyed it, but… it didn’t captivate me as much as the previous series.

 

Other books I could mention in this category would be…

Books I thought were not for me, but I ended up enjoying them anyway

A.k.a the category where I discover my first impressions and what I thought I knew about my bookish taste, well… it’s ALL WRONG. Thank you, bookish community.

This Savage Song, V. E. Schwab.

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: I’m doing this because Kat made me.

How I felt after reading the book: Schwab is a master at world-building and I want to hug August. Thank you Kat.

Illuminae, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

How I felt when I added it to my TBR: Only adding it because of the hype. Space-things… not used to it.

How I felt after reading the book:

Other books I could mention in this category…

 

 

 

Also, yes, no “books I thought I’d love but hated, because I want to be positive here.

Are your first impressions about a book often right, or do you find yourself surprised by them sometimes?!

Do you feel like you were more surprised (in a good way), or disappointed by books on your TBR lately?

Do you have some books you expected NOTHING from, yet you ended up falling in love with them? Let me know in comments!

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

77 thoughts on “First impressions and expectations about books vs. reality

  1. Hahahaha I am so glad you don’t hate me for making you read This Savage Song??? Although I don’t feel like I pressured you that much haha I just mentoined my love for August 234293859 times and you ASKED for Fantasy recs πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes the hype around a book gets me to read outside my comfort zone? So, then I’m really really surprised when I like it and also kind of proud of myself for trying something different. The books with beautiful covers that aren’t as beautiful on the inside are the biggest disappointment! They just look like they should be great! Loved this discussion as always! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES I have to agree with you here, wehn a book is really hyped and… even if it’s not my usual kind of read, I read it and love it… I just feel SO, so happy when this happens. ❀
      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment Deborah!! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I try to keep my expectations low before reading but like you, I have a pretty good idea of what books I will like and which ones I won’t. Something has been telling me to read Emergency Contact and you have definitely sold me on it! I felt the same way about Illuminae! I didn’t expect much but read it because everyone was talking about it. It was amazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AHHH I am so glad I sold you on Emergency Contact. I can’t STOP thinking about it haha, it was just so good. I hope you’ll read it and that you will enjoy it πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much Kristin!! πŸ˜€

      Like

  4. Generally I normally stick to my favorite genre’s of contemporary and fantasy, and they’re normally the first books that I pick up while the others get pushed to the back. So I’ve never felt too disappointed with super hyped books because I feel like I always choose the books that stand out the most to me? Also because books can be so expensive, and I don’t own an electronic reader I’m super picky with what I buy. But my favorite part about the blogosphere is finding books that I wouldn’t normally think I would like because if it wasn’t for blogging I most probably wouldn’t have picked it up! It’s always so fun finding those kind of books! The unexpected favorites are normally the best sometimes, haha. Lovely post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get that – I am also very picky with my books, mostly because I can’t get all the books I want at all times and buy most of them, so… I don’t want to spend money on books I’m not sure I could enjoy?
      I agree, yes, it’s pretty amazing to find out about new books thanks to the community and even more amazing when we fall in love with these πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much!! πŸ™‚

      Like

    1. Oh no I’m sorry to hear that :/
      The Belles was still a good book for me – if you don’t mind slow beginning and enjoy GREAT world-buildings, you should give it a try πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an amazing post! Thank you for sharing all these expectations vs realities. Also, I just added The Color Project and Emergency Contact. I’m highly influenceable, especially if it’s contemporary… πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CONTEMPORARIES? YES, LET ME RECOMMEND ALL THE CONTEMPORARIES TO YOU.
      Sorry, I got a bit excited there πŸ˜…πŸ˜… I’m so glad you added these to your TBR, they are in my favorites’ list, I really hope you will love them πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much!! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Marie I’m laughing so hard at that ‘fuck you science’ gif πŸ˜‚ Does that mean there was too much science talk for you to enjoy it? If so I might have to stay away from it πŸ˜‚ I think science is fascinating but it was not my best subject in school lol

    Once again a lovely post Marie – it’s always so interesting to compare your expectations and how you end up feeling about a book once you read it. It’s such a good feeling when you expected to love a book and you do, or even better, you somehow love it even more than you thought you would (that happened to me with The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue). But on the other hand it is such a disappointment when you expect to love a book but… it’s only okay. Or even worse it’s horrible and I don’t understand what went wrong haha excuse me while I cry

    I think it’s been a mix lately for me? Like I expected to love Starfish and I absolutely did, but I also expected to love The Nowhere Girls and that was just an okay read for me. Again, great post Marie ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That GIF just fitted so well for that book πŸ˜… The story was really interesting and original, but… there were complicated moments in the story with some sort of wormholes and time-travel and physics explanations that just left me confused and made me lose track of the story a bit :/
      I really should read The Gentlemen’s Guide, then? πŸ˜›
      I get it when we expect to love a book and it is an actual mess and we don’t understand where it went wrong… THE FRUSTRATIONπŸ˜…
      I’m sorry you didn’t love The Nowhere Girls, that book sounded really interesting! I really want to read Starfish though πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much Michelle ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I can completely relate with this post! There have been so many books that I thought I would adore because there was so much hype about them in the blogosphere, but they ended up being just okay when I read them. Pleasant surprises are always the best– it’s so nice finding an unexpected favorite! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel so guilty when picking books for the sole reason that their outside is gorgeous and knowing well that they are not my cup of tea and not liking them after reading their inside. I’m so shallow. πŸ™ˆ

    I so want to read Emergency Contact! 😍 I thought I’ll always be a science-fiction type of girl, now contemporary books almost fill all my reading queue- that is surprising in a good way! Thanks To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before I ended up LOVING TO PIECES. πŸ’œπŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH no you are not shallow at all, pretty covers are WAY too hard to resist at times πŸ˜…πŸ˜…
      I’m so happy to hear that! I love contemporaries so, so much, they are my favorite kind of books ❀ ❀ I hope you will read Emergency Contact sometime soon and that you will love it ❀
      Thank you so much Morgane! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well yes. My biggest (positive) surprise was Eidolon by Grace Draven. I never expected to love it so much! Now for The Belles that’s too bad 😦 Happy Sunday marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing when you are surprised by a book in such a great way, isn’t it? πŸ˜€
      The Belles was still a very good book, I think my expectations were sky-high so that didn’t help πŸ˜…
      Thank you so much, Sophie! ❀

      Like

  10. This post is so interesting, Marie! One instance where I thought I’d hate the book but ended up loving it was the Hunger Games…and one time when I thought I’d love the book and ended up disliking it was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Well, that’s not exactly a book, but sort of. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have a lot of first impressions when it comes to books, and nine times out of ten it’s of the “well the cover is gorgeous so you know the book itself is going to be just as amazing” variety! πŸ˜€
    I’m very glad to see This Savage Song and Illuminae made your books you ended up enjoying despite not thinking you would list. Actually when I picked up Illuminae I kind of had the same thought, the main reason I read it was because the hype and I had no idea if it would be a book for me (it was before I was into sci-fi) but I ended up loving it. Oh that’s a shame about The Becoming of Noah Shaw, but I felt the same way about The Square Root of Summer, I still have no idea what that book was even about.
    Nine times out of ten I do end up enjoying books more than I thought I would, but there have been a few notable expectations. It always seems more disappointing when a book lets you down right?
    Great post Marie. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This happens to me way too often, pretty covers influence me WAY too much πŸ˜‚
      I’m so sad about The Square Root of Summer, it had tons of potential and I wish it wasn’t so confusing :/
      Thank you so much, Beth!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I typically know which books I’m bound to like, hence my rarely negative review rate, but some do catch me by surprise. I almost wasn’t going to read the Wrath and the Dawn because people kept telling me there was a love triangle but when I read it I found that that was so NOT the case. Since then I try to make my own judgment calls instead of relying on hype and they’re usually right.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Marie, I agree with you on hype and how it can be misleading. For some very odd reason, I try to tell myself that I need to push myself and read things that I normally wouldn’t. So, like the Mara Dyer books (I only tried the first one) was so intense and it gave me anxiety. But, like, everyone liked it and I wanted to be relevant.

    Oh, I loved This Savage Song so much. Kate and August have such a contrast between them in terms of personality. The second book in that duology destroyed me in the best way possible. I still haven’t read Vicious by Schwab but it’s the only one I have left to read. I kind of avoid her The Archived books because I feel like maybe the series is not complete and that would just irk me.

    An Ember in the Ashes was so good, I agree. And, I also did not expect to like it because it seemed like a grim story. Have you read the second book in that series (A Torch Against the Night)? Laia and Elias go through all the pain. It was amazing.

    Oh, I need to get to The Young Elites. I have Marie Lu’s first two series (Legend and The Young Elites) and I haven’t read them yet. Chewbacca screech!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so sorry to hear that the Mara Dyer book was not for you :/ For that, I am thrilled that trigger warnings are more and more present whenever someone talks about books, to avoid these kind of things from happening.
      I really want to read Our Dark Duet, but… I got spoiled. I know how it ends and I’m SO FRUSTRATED AND MAD about it, I’m not ready to read it now πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      I haven’t read A Torch Against The Night just yet, but I can’t wait, it sounds amazing. Am I ready for the pain? Probably not, but… I want to read it haha.

      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment, Dina!! ❀

      Like

  14. Lool, I feel like I’ve been playing it safe lately with my books. I recently bought about ten books in a batch but because I KNEW they were right up my alley. I also consider I know what I like in books and usually when I hear about a book I can immediately tell if it’s something I would enjoy or not. If I’m not sure and just interests me for some reason, I still add it to GR until I can be convinced I NEED TO READ IT ASAP, or it just sits there forever.

    That said, I have had many books that I thought would be absolutely amazing but were just great. They were good but didn’t quite reach the level of epicness I was expecting. For example, An Enchantment of Ravens, Wintersong and Hunted. Man, I wished I had enjoyed them more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I pretty much do the same thing, I’m quicker to add books on my Goodreads TBR than gettin them, for real, and I think that serves me well – I leave them on my virtual TBR for a while until I know for sure whether or not I want to read it πŸ˜€

      I’m so sorry you didn’t love these books! I heard mixed reviews about all of these, actually, but I am still intrigued about Hunted the most, because…. Beauty & The Beast haha πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Pam! ❀

      Like

  15. Yeah I find this happends to me quite often. Expectations are powerful. Sometimes I even find it retroactively changes my opinion about a book, because when I’m reading I’m absorbed by the story and not concerned about what my expectations were and weren’t if that makes sense. And then I think about what I expect and feel disappointed. I was really surprised by how much I liked You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone because I wasn’t sure if fighty twin sisters was my kinda thing at all but it was very well done and compelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh same here – I don’t realize it, sometimes when I read, but once I’m done…. sometimes I think back of my first expectations when I read the book’s synopsis and… I feel sad. I hate that feeling of disappointment :/
      I’m so glad you enjoyed You’ll Miss Me when I’m Gone, I SO want to read that book! πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Shanti ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I typically don’t immediately form opinions before I read a book–it’s within the first 10 pages where I decide what to think of it, and ~most of the time~ my first impressions are right, but sometimes I still find myself shocked!

    Now I NEED to add The Color Project to my TBR because you’ve totally piqued my interest. And I miiiight bump up Illuminae on my TBR? I mean, I’ve had it on for there for YEARS but am so friggin’ intimidated and can’t bring myself to start it. SOON, I SWEAR.

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HOW do you do this, Aimee, give me your magical powers right now haha. I have no idea how to NOT have any kind of expectations or opinions before reading a book, there are so many outside factors influencing me.

      OH YES PLEASE! I’d love for you to read The Color Project, it was such a beautiful book ❀ ❀

      Thank you so much for your comment, Aimee! ❀

      Like

  17. This is a super interesting post! I definitely agree, a lot can influence your first impressions of books especially in a world where the internet is so accessible. I find that I usually end up enjoying books I add to my TBR on goodreads and actually read, I don’t really take book recs because I think I know my taste the best, but then again I do follow the hype around the blogosphere and I’ll often end up reading hyped up books just to see what all the buzz is about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so much, Cas, so happy you enjoyed this post! πŸ˜€
      I so get your feeling about this, I often want to read some books, just because I am curious and wonder what all the hype is about haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. need need need to kill a kingdom in my life. Heard so many amazing things. I’m normally so lucky with the books I choose because I always look them up in advance so much and when it’s an auto buy author like Cassandra Clare i’ve been lucky so far and enjoyed everything.
    I picked up The 5th Wave and thought I would like that but didn’t and also The Raven Boys (that one will get me killed). I expected so much from both and was so disappointed, they just weren’t for me.

    Fab post as always love xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES YOU DO NEED IT, I’m sure you would LOVE IT πŸ˜€
      I’m sorry you were disappointed by those books :/ I enjoyed The 5th Wave, but didn’t really like the second book in the series, so… I kind of gave up haha.
      Thank you so much, love xx

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I wouldn’t call myself someone who’s in the book community, so I’m not really influenced by the community. I would definitely say that once you read a lot of books, my expectations definitely rise loads. Great post Marie!

    Ps: I was so excited when I finished Isla and the Happily ever after, that I actually sent you an email (I swear I’m not that weird). The book was so great, that I hope Stephanie Perkins writes another book asap. This was my favorite, or maybe tied for first with Anna’s story? I don’t know. They’re both really good, but really different. I definitely felt myself really relate to Isla, but Anna’s back story also related to me loads. Then there’s the boys, which I absolutely love both of them. ughhh, it was so good, so thank you so much for the recommendation xxx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH MY GOD MELINA I’m so sorry?! I missed your email, I just went to check my inbox and realized that it had been sitting there this whole time, hidden behind all of my unread emails. SO sorry about that πŸ˜­πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ
      I am so, so happy you enjoyed Isla – and sending an email isn’t weird, I tend to miss emails a lot sometimes, since I get a lot of promo and blog emails and it’s a bit of a mess, I need to be more careful!πŸ™ˆ I’m so happy you thought of me and sharing your thoughts with me, that means the world ❀ ❀ I'm SO glad you loved this series and I really hope to recommend you more books to love in the future! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hello Marie!
    I felt the same way about This Savage Song and Illuminae. Though they are usually not the type of books I gravitate towards, I ended up loving them very much πŸ™‚
    Lately I’ve been enjoying the books I read. Currently I am re-reading Harry Potter, which I loved 10 years ago, and I am glad that my feelings haven’t changed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OHHH you’re re-reading Harry Potter, that’s SO cool! I would be terrified of not enjoying my favorite childhood books, but… I really want to re-read some of them sometimes, like the His Dark Material series πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much, Sophie! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was a bit nervous as well since I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy HP as much as I did the first time. However I am loving it so far and I think I appreciate it in a different way now that I am an adult πŸ™‚ I think I must have read The Golden Compass a while back but I don’t remember much about it haha

        Like

  21. I can’t believe I again forget to comment, though I swear I read this? 😦 This is a fantastic post Marie. There are so many books for me too, which turned out to be totally good or bad as per my expectations. To Kill A Kingdom is definitely a book which I hadn’t thought to be so good, and you know how much I loved it πŸ˜€
    The Hazel Wood is a book which I practically wanted to love more, but simply couldn’t. It disappointed me 😦

    The Color project and Emergency Contact are the books that I am dying to read πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much for your sweet comment, Sim! I’m so sorry you were disappointed by The Hazel Wood, at least you are not the only one? ❀
      I can't wait for you to read both Color Project and Emergency Contact, they are some of my favorite books ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  22. As always, an excellent post! πŸ’—
    There are definitely a lot of expectations involved when I pick up a book, because I think we all can never truly escape the influence of everyone around us.

    I totally feel the “Books I thought I’d LOVE, but ended up just enjoying” category, because sometimes I’m so sure I’ll love a book but then it doesn’t quite hit the 5 star mark for me 😦 I had this with both Turtles all the way down and A Darker Shade of Magic. Both were 4.5 star reads, so I really liked them, but I didn’t ADORE them like I thought I would. For me it’s really sad and frustrating if I ALMOST 5-star love a book 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I so get that feeling. There are books I thought I would LOVE, but I just… well, there is this little something clearly missing for me to give it 5-stars and it’s SO frustrating when that happens :/
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Caro! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I love how the first category is full of contemporary and the last one is full of fantasy books – soooo Marie.
    This is such a lovely list and yaay, you enjoyed Emergency Contact – I really have to read this one soon since you ended up loving it so much ❀
    Lovely post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes that’s so me – I’m proud of myself for reading more fantasy, I barely did a couple years ago hahaha.
      Thank you so much, Marta! YES PLEASE READ EMERGENCY CONTACT IT WAS TOO AMAZING. ❀ ❀

      Like

  24. Ohh what a good idea ! yeeeah, I feel like I know my taste pretty well too; but im also careful of what I buy xD if i’m not so sure by a hyped book or whatnot (ie; all the bright places) I’d go ahead and loan it to my library first !!

    hah, so that way if I don’t like it – I can DNF it in peace without feeling guilty, while if I do like it I can go ahead and get myself a copy ! Win-win 😘

    I SO wanna read Emergency contact !! I just know im gonna love that one, as it’s in text format and my favorite books of years is in form of emails !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here – I’m always extra-careful, because I wouldn’t want to spend money on something I hate, either, hahaha.
      I hope you’ll read Emergency Contact and that you will love it as much as I did! It’s not in text format, though, there are texts, but it’s mostly narrated πŸ™‚ BUT IT WAS SO AMAZING πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment!! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, well close enough ahah I’ll see if I can find it somewhere near me – though I still have some peas to eat as of review requests first x)

        Like

  25. Ahh yes I definitely get taken in by hype and stunning covers πŸ˜‰ And am definitely influenced by the blogging community! So I really relate to and love the idea behind this post. I love the look of the books that blew you away πŸ˜€ I especially love that Illuminae was a book you thought you wouldn’t enjoy, but ended up loving- cos I felt the same way about it! And yay that Young Elites was that for you too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you so much, so happy you enjoyed it πŸ˜€ I was really surprised with Illuminae, I wondered for so long if I should even bother picking it up, given how far from my comfort zone it is. I’m glad I did πŸ˜€

      Like

  26. I am so glad you ended up loving This Savage Song, Illuminae, and The Young Elites after not expecting to do so!! I know you’re a huge contemporary lover so it’s great to see that you love some sci-fi/fantasy books too. 😊 (And of course, those are some favorites of mine so I would have had to scream at you if you hadn’t loved them.)

    You know what books I bet you would enjoy and end up LOVING? Six of Crows. And Starfish. 😏😏😏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is amazing – and also quite unbelievable, if you asked past-me, haha. I’m loving sci-fi, but ESPECIALLY fantasy more and more, thanks to book bloggers’ incredible recommendations and I can’t wait to discover more of them ❀

      I KNOW. I NEED these books so, soooooo badly. Hopefully I will buy and read them soon, I can't WAIT. But the expectations are really high haha.

      Thank you so much, May!! ❀ ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.