Given the chaotic state of our TBRs, many book lovers elect to put a book aside if it doesn’t fit their current mood, has too much hype on the internet, or more bluntly, just has a bad beginning. But many have discovered that the books they initially avoided ended up being some of their favorites. Keep reading to learn about some of the books that the Bookstr team avoided but loved once they read them!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I had actually started this book not long after I got it from a school book fair. I think I was 10 chapters or so in before I became absolutely convinced that I knew what the plot was, so I put the book down for being too predictable. A few months went by, and I decided that I hated having an unfinished book on my desk, so I picked it up again and finished it. By the end, I realized that my prediction was wrong (I constantly have to remind myself I was 17 when I originally read the book when I think about what I thought the plot was).
I think what ended up making me love the book was just the major plot twist at the end and the cliffhanger it ended on that made me clamor for Scarlet. Additionally, as the series went on, I just fell in love with the dystopian/sci-fi world Marissa created and the hard-not-to-love characters (except maybe the villain, but even then, you can’t help but be intrigued by her story)!
Ashley Lewis, Editorial
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
So, I put this off for so long, mainly because it was a classic romance. I was expecting it to be incredibly boring, or another classic romance that I wouldn’t like (sorry Wuthering Heights fans), but once I read this, I absolutely fell in love with it.
Elizabeth Bennet is a headstrong, obstinate woman who sticks to her beliefs and doesn’t budge, even when everyone around her (save for her father and maybe Jane) tries to convince her that she should marry for money and not love. She stands her ground and insists that life would not be worth it if she married for money, and this belief is tested many times as she is proposed to twice by two different men. She’s an incredible role model despite her prejudices, and I’m so glad I read this book.
Not only that, but Darcy is one of those morally gray book characters that I’m absolutely in love with, as he’s a bit of an asshole. But that’s fine, who isn’t? The book itself also illustrates realistic situations, with the entire plot being based on misunderstandings and prejudices — things we still struggle with today. I definitely recommend this book!
Alexandra Mellott, Editorial
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
I originally bought the series because the cover was just so darn pretty; then I read the synopsis and was like, yes! I want this. But it sat on my shelf for almost a year before I picked it up. Then I read the first few pages, got distracted, and it took me another three months to pick it back up again. This is now one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. The world-building is fantastic, the characters are relatable despite their magical abilities, and the plot twists are everything! To make it better, the setup and format of the story as a story within a story make it just that much more nuanced and hooked to know what happened and what’s going to happen next. It’s sad I waited so long to read it, but I’m really thankful I finally did.
Kristi Eskew, Editorial
The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon
Amy Harmon is not only one of my favorite authors, but all of her books are made extremely accessible by Kindle Unlimited, so once I found What the Wind Knows, I was hooked and absolutely devoured the next dozen of her books. Again and again, I would see the outstanding reviews and read the synopsis for The First Girl Child — once I even downloaded it and read the first couple of pages — before passing it over for another of her contemporary or historical romance books. I am not a huge fantasy reader, so the mythical world she had created just wasn’t drawing me in like her other settings did. But, after about a year of reading her other books, I only had four or five titles left from her on my TBR and finally dove into The First Girl Child and I am SO grateful that I did.
Harmon can create romance out of any setting and any genre, but the addition of a cursed kingdom doomed to go without daughters for decades, a heartbreakingly lovable male protagonist who mirrors the likes of Thor and Hercules, and the incorporation of Norse culture and mythology completely set this book aside. I am so grateful I finally read it because when I was done, all I wanted was to read it again.
Callie Elliston Smith, Editorial
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I first heard of the series from a friend before I was active on Bookstagram/BookTok. When I first started reading it, it was okay. Once I got a little further I was bored out of my mind and confused why it was such a rage. I stopped reading it and left it on my night table for a few months. One day I finally decided to pick it back up and push through the parts I found dreadful. I’m so glad I gave it another chance because soon enough I couldn’t put it down! I found myself going crazy to buy the rest of the books, and it’s currently my favorite series of all time. You can’t judge a book by its first 50 pages because it may lead to something wonderful.
Sydney Wright, Editorial
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
My aunt recommended The Snow Child to me months ago, and I just recently got around to reading it. Initially, I was hesitant to pick it up because I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it — I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, so I was afraid I just wouldn’t be interested in the plot or the setting. However, my fears quickly dissipated as soon as I started reading. The writing in this book has a lyrical quality to it that perfectly matches the magical realism elements, and the characters’ internal and interpersonal struggles pulled at my heartstrings at every turn. This story is intimate, warm, and thoroughly beautiful. I can’t recommend it enough, even to those who don’t usually reach for historical fiction.
Lauren Nee, Editorial
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I had heard that this was a really good book, but I was skeptical because I loved the screen adaptation so much. I didn’t want my experience with the film to affect how I felt about the book. Also, it’s categorized as a children’s book, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as much as I would have if I had read it when I was younger. I’m super happy I gave it a chance though. It was weird, whimsical, and overall just enjoyable to read. It’s not too long so I had a great time going through it in one sitting. Happy to refer it to others now!
Kendall Stites, Graphics
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I heard great things about this book so I ordered it and put it on my bookshelf. Right next to the others on my TBR list. Then I thought to myself I really should start reading some of these. So I started working backward until my roommate asked to borrow it. She had actually read it before and said it’s one of her favorite fantasy novels, so I read it after her and loved it! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
Olivia Mason, Editorial
Jackaby by William Ritter
I heard about this one and wasn’t sure about it because I was already reading a lot of fantasy novels, and I didn’t want to add another one that I wouldn’t like. But then I managed to borrow it from the library and I read through it in one day! I love how fantasy and mystery intertwine in the story.
Alison M., Scheduling
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