One of the joyous things about Twitter is book recommendations. When a book takes off on Twitter it's like everyone's talking about it and you absolutely must go out and read it.
Two recent books that come to mind are CODE NAME VERITY and ELEANOR AND PARK. I've read both (well I'm a few chapters shy of The End for the latter but should be done at time of posting) and all I can say is, meh. (I have amended my thoughts on this below since I finished Eleanor and Park - but figured the post was still good enough for conversation ;0))
Not really meh. They are both wonderful books in their own right. But neither is making me breathless. So it has me wondering, where does the hype come from?
I have a theory. These books hit the marketplace when people are needing different. And both are different.
Did this book live up to the emotional hype for me? No. And I was disappointed. I love a good tear jerker. But unlike Patrick Ness in the Knife of Never Letting Go who made me BAWL or Nina LaCour who had me chugging down tears in Hold Still, I shed not one drop.
ELEANOR AND PARK is another beautifully written gem. Rainbow Rowell is a subtle, delicious writer who with perfect timing creates a perfectly nuanced relationship. But this book is also different. It's dual POV, 3rd person, and set in the 1980's. Because this was my time period, the book in ways feels like an adult has written it for adults of that time period. As I read about Eleanor's physical self-loathing, I think about myself at that age. I looked great in a bikini but thought I was obese. Do I care about these characters? Absolutely. Like I said, it's a gorgeous book. But here's the thing. I've been able to put it down every single night after a chapter or two. I'm not with these characters. I'm not intensely emotionally invested. Did I think I was going to be based on the hype? Yes. (Edited to add: I finished Eleanor and Park, I was wrong. I DO THINK IT WAS WORTH THE HYPE - it's just what I expected was different than what I got. Definitely a hug the book sort of a book!)
So, in conclusion, does the hype kill the book? I don't know. The hype drove me to buy the books. It set up expectations. If I'd discovered each of these on my own would I feel different about them? Who knows. They're both five star books based on the writing - but emotionally? Definitely not for CNV. I'll let you know when I come to the end on EP.
What do you think about how hype affects your reading habits?