So You’re a Black Sheep: How to Deal

3dI like to think that I have been spending a lot of time perfecting my black sheeping skills. For I find myself, far more often than I’d like, not liking (or even downright disliking) some ah-maaazing book that everyone in the bookish community has inevitably lost his or her shit over. You know the book: Everyone who has an ARC of it adored it, everyone who pre-ordered it loved it, it has a 4.98 rating on Goodreads (don’t worry, the .02% is my fault), and even the snarkiest of reviewers have nothing but praise.

And I… don’t understand. It’s like crickets over here, and I don’t know what to do next. Obviously, I am going to be the black sheep. Some examples? Certainly!

discussLook, it’s all your favorite books! 

So, what does one do when they find themselves in the black sheep position over any given book? Glad you asked!

Am I Missing Something?

The first thing I do when I realize I am clearly one of three people in the entire literate world who didn’t like a book is wonder if maybe I missed something really big. Maybe something happened to me. Maybe something is wrong with the book. These excuses range from ridiculous to asinine:

  • I fell asleep for a few really huge chapters.
  • I am simply not as smart as I thought I was, and this book contains symbolism that I cannot grasp.
  • Perhaps I am not sympathetic enough to understand the seriousness of the book. Maybe I lack empathy in general. Maybe I need professional help for my newly self-diagnosed borderline personality disorder.
  • My copy of the book could have been missing pages.
  • If it was an ARC, maybe I got some random rough draft version!

Well, Maybe It’s YOU!youre-not-just-wrong-youre-stupid

Yes, after I (and a team of physicians looking for narcolepsy and/or brain disorders) rule out any of the above, I am probably going to start wondering what is wrong with everyone else. Did they not read the same book? I don’t understand! Sometimes, in a case where I know I am the problem (like in the case of Harry Potter, where it is definitely not Harry, it’s me), I skip this step.

The Search for Like Minded Readers Begins!

I can’t be the only one, for sure. Someone out there in the vast expanse of readers must have not loved the book either. Right? So I begin the search for some other soul who maybe even kind of didn’t like it. I start, of course, with Goodreads. Often I will find someone there. If not? Then I branch out to Amazon. And then I Google it… and then I am sitting there, completely mystified that there isn’t another person who agrees with me!tumblr_m6rkviGdD91rxevt4o1_500

To Tell or Not to Tell?

This is the point when you finally know for sure that you are simply the black sheep of this book, and there just isn’t a reason for it. You and this book are simply not a good fit. But, since (quite literally) everyone and their mom adore this book, you have to decide: Do I keep this shame to myself? Or do I be brave, disclose that I just didn’t like it, and hope I am helping some other soul who is also black-sheeping this book? Sometimes, it’s an easy call. Sometimes, (again, let’s use Harry as an example), you fear the wrath of an entire fandom and/or excommunication from the bookish community.

Good for You, You Decide to Review!

More often than not, someone else will end up agreeing with you. Blame Google for not finding them the first time around. And hey, if you don’t like something, you don’t like it, right? But, how?

  • First, look up how to spell “whomp”. It turns out I’d been (and my sheep had been!) spelling it wrong for ages. No one wants that.
  • Gifs make everything better! Who can be that mad at you, especially when you use some beloved character in gif format? Who cares if the gif has absolutely nothing to do with the book, or any book? If it’s cute, funny, sarcastic, clever… well, you get the idea.
  • Do you! You don’t have to like every book. No one does. I mean, I am still friends with people who don’t like The Hunger Games*! It’s okay, there is no book that is actually universally loved.

*This is purely theoretical. Who doesn’t like The Hunger Games

Does the Opposite Happen?

Ah, you know the books. Everyone finds 452 legitimate flaws with it, but you don’t even care. The book is awesome. What then? Same. Exactly the same stuff. Only in the end, you don’t even worry, because you just enjoyed a book! Good for you! yay_gif-3921

Do you ever find yourself the black sheep of a book? Is there one book that everyone adores, but you just don’t see the appeal? 

Posted April 16, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 72 Comments

72 responses to “So You’re a Black Sheep: How to Deal

  1. You know… I wasn’t all that thrilled with The Hunger Games…

    HAH! (Kidding. I enjoyed them). I’ve found myself in your position before. They’re all crazy, everyone else!

  2. I know how you feel. The Sin Eater’s Daughter, The Winner’s Curse, Cruel Beauty and Fire & Flood made me want to jump out of a window. I did the Google thing. I felt alone at first, but eventually I discovered other freaks like me.

    • The funny thing? I loved all those books! But I think it’s so true, there will always be someone who doesn’t like a book. Always, for a myriad of reasons. We’re never alone 😉

  3. the first thing that came to my mind here is how much I didn’t love The Young Elites and Shadow and Bone as much as everyone. I come across a lot of reviews raving about how great these books are especially Shadow and Bone.. -__- but screw that, I won’t force myself to love a book as much as everyone else. lol.

    • I didn’t love The Young Elites either! It was okay, not great. And I agree, you should NEVER suffer through a book or series just because someone else likes it! Good for you!

  4. I felt exactly like a black sheep when I hated The Perks of Being a Wallflower as much as I did. It always seemed like everyone raved about that book, and I was the lone person who disliked it.

  5. Haha, I love your discussion posts – they’re always so funny, and perfect gif usage is perfect. 😀
    When I’m the black sheep I immediately look for reviews that feel the same way for me – I want to feel justified! haha. I actually like writing those reviews, sometimes, because I feel more passionate about why I *don’t* like it since so many people do. It is frustrating though, to not understand why a certain book was popular. The most recent case for me is The Witch Hunter I think. 🙁

    • Awww thanks! You are too sweet 😀 I agree with you about the reviews too- it’s like you have to try even harder to get your point across, and you want someone to listen! Oh no, The Witch Hunter was not good? Sad face.

  6. NOOOOOOOOOOO, Shannon, NOOOOOOOOOOO. Harry Potter. ;( I think I’m going to cry. 😉 So with you on The Walled City though *cough* boring *cough*. Haven’t read Magonia yet so don’t know about that, and after finding out Falling Into Place, could be bothered with it. Haha, this was hilarious (and I can’t even with that Chimp bath gif.)

    I seemed to be the black sheep for Dear Killer. I loved it, I know it had a lot of flaws and you know, a huge dose of unbelievable, but I don’t care, I loved it.

    Everyone seemed to adore A Thousand Pieces of You *cough* And my minds gone blank on any others. Crap. Oh, Jackaby! I liked it, but wasn’t that impressed with it (though I’m not the only one, so I don’t think that counts)

    • I know, I know. This was like, my coming out of the non-HP fan closet. I had to finally admit it to the bookish world 😉 And I am glad you didnt’ like The Walled City too, I agree, I was bored! You might like Magonia! Most people do, I guess they like bird people and sky ships, and apparently, I do not.

      Bwahah you HATED A Thousand Pieces of You! I love when you hate a book, to be honest, because it is so fun 🙂 I liked it, but was underwhelmed. I have Jackaby, I think. On my Kindle maybe? I don’t know, I have too many books. Is that a thing?


    I have a feeling this discussion happened because I (but mostly Holly) gave you poop for not liking Harry Potter hahahahaha. But I have to agree. I am the black sheep when it comes to some books like uh….All Our Yesterdays. Honestly if there’s a book Holly liked and I don’t, then I count myself as being a black sheep hahah. But I THINK THAT HAS YET TO HAPPEN. I mostly am a white sheep when it comes to books.

    • AND IT’S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN, VAL. You and I have very similar tastes in books. I’ll be shocked if we end up having polarizing reactions to the same one sometime.

    • Nooo, actually, it was because while I really liked ADSOM, I was a little confused about the MASSIVE amounts of flailing. Good book? Yes. Best book of all time? Not quite. Bwhaha I find myself constantly wondering about my bookish credibility. It’s tough.

    • Hahhaa well, by the end of the Divergent series, no one else liked it either, so maybe you were right all along 😉 I feel you though, sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with my tastes!

    • I’m going to just chime in this conversation real quick and say….Abundance was sooo incredibly hard for me to get through and in the end, I didn’t even like it.

  8. I may have gasped a little when I saw Harry Potter in your list, but then again, I shouldn’t be surprised anymore — I have a co-blogger who remains completely unimpressed with the idea and refuses to read the books. But I totally understand your apathy for We Were Liars, I DNFed it and I just didn’t get the hype at all. Even now that I know the famous plot twist, my thoughts remain “meh”.

    • I know, this was my “coming out” about not liking Harry Potter 😉 I just… was bored? Some people have said it gets better, more YA than MG, as the series goes on but… meh. I can’t be bothered. Oh good call DNFing We Were Liars, especially because I guessed the ending from like, the fourth chapter or something equally ridiculous, and apparently, the ending was the only point of the book? Cause I didn’t understand what the fuss was about.

  9. First of all, your post title is everything.
    Second of all, I love that you’re writing about this.
    Third of all, you king of broke my heart by listing Falling Into Place, We Were Liars and The Walled City. It’s okay! I don’t hate you at all. Haha.

    “Look, it’s all your favorite books!” you kill me. <3

    But on the bright side, I didn't like Love Letters To The Dead either! 😀

    I'll be honest, I like being the black sheep with liking stuff, especially books. I don't mind not liking a book everyone else has, just because, it's NORMAL. Everyone has their own tastes, it makes sense to be the black sheep every once in a while. 🙂 Plus I like not loving every book that everyone else loves. (Look at: Anna and The French Kiss and Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, then look at me gagging uncontrollably).

    Hahaha, I love the gifs you've used! No one can be mad at a person that uses great, random gifs.

    This was such a fantastic post, Shannon.

    *Battle Royale fans, BR fans do not like The Hunger Games

    • Aw thanks! It’s funny, but I thought of you while I wrote this post, because I knew you really liked a few of these for sure 😉 I agree with you, sometimes it’s just plain fun to be the black sheep- and it’s definitely normal to be, at least once in awhile!

      And YES- good call, BR fans do not like THG. Though, I don’t personally know any BR fans, which is probably for the best 😉

  10. Yup, it does happen ! Sometimes I see so many praise on GR, I check the name of the book/author to see if I typed something wrong, but no. Then I read the reviews and wonder how could anybody have ever loved this ! Not a clue. Ah well, it’s good to be a black sheep and all daring 🙂

    • YES! I do the same thing! Like, maybe I picked up the wrong book? (This has happened to me VERY recently, with a book that I seriously do not understand AT ALL why people are 5 starring it, and I think, did they read the same book?!) But you are right, sometimes, it must be done!

  11. Ladies and gentlemen, step aside! Being the black sheep is no longer bad thanks to this fabulous guide!

    THIS POST WAS EPIC SHANNON. ♥ It’s terrible when everyone is constantly rating a book 5 stars and you’re so excited to read it and then…it ends up being just mediocre. 😐 Whenever that happens I just wonder whether I’m in the wrong, or everyone else is in the wrong, you know? Off the top of my head, the ones that I think I’m the black sheep for the most is the Divergent series and If I Stay.

    Luckily though, I’m almost always able to find someone who feels the same way about the book (*coughs* usually Cait *coughs*), so I’m usually never alone on the black sheep train alone.

    Thanks for sharing this and as always, fabulous & hilarious discussion! ♥

      • Ohhhh YAY I love your rhyming poem! And I know exactly what you mean- it makes you question your taste in books AND those of everyone you know! And hey, Cait is good company to be in, so that’s the good news 😉 Plus, NO ONE liked the series by the end of Allegiant, so you were just ahead of your time 😀 And thank you so much for the kind words!

  12. You are D I S O W N E D.

    No but seriously, I haaaate it when I’m the black sheep! I mean, sure it’s fun being snarky and whatnot, but then I have no one to discuss the book with because everyone loves it and I end up wondering what the hell they even liked about it. Also, it hasn’t happened *too* often. But I have become more critical over the two years of blogging. I’ve come to recognize what I like and don’t like about books. And sometimes, those hyped up ones end up being snarkbait. Oh well. *shrugs*

    Also. What if I told you that I hated The Hunger Games? WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN, HUH?

    • Oh, and you asked a question that I want to answer! The Fault in Our Stars (I mean, I liked it but I wasn’t all OMG THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL I’M SO IN LOVE AUGUSTUSSSSS), Beautiful Oblivion, and oh I don’t know, probably more but I’m forgetful.

      • It’s okay, it had to end sometime 😉 I know what you mean. Like, yes, it is fun to have the opinion. For like, five minutes. And then you wonder if you are insane, or if everyone else is.

        Ohhh TFIOS is definitely a black sheep choice! I know some people REALLY hate Beautiful Oblivion. Most like it, but those who hate it like, hate it with the light of a thousand suns. So yeah.

      • I didn’t like The Fault in Our Stars, either. I have had cancer for 12 years and had all sorts of different treatments and I’m on oxygen. So much of that book just couldn’t happen, plus it’s a sappy teen romance.

        • Wow, that is a lot to go through! I can imagine if you’ve been through it, all the teen angst is unrealistic at best. I went to your blog and read your story, which I really thank you for sharing. It was incredibly eye-opening, and I am hoping that you can continue to do the things you love for a long, long time <3

  13. Okay so I haven’t actually read most of these – just HP and Love Letters to the Dead. I adore HP, but I understand that the first three are harder to get into as an adult! Have you tried the fourth book onward? They’re more YA than MG 🙂

    But anyway, Love Letters. I didn’t much care for that one either. It was far too close to Perks of Being a Wallflower for me!

    • Oh and my personal experience with black sheeping was most recently with A Court of Thorns and Roses. I just didn’t understand the obsession with the first half of the book (the last quarter was good though), and the romance was… eh. BUT EVERYONE ELSE LOVED IT. *whomp whomp*

      • Oh NO. I am reading ACOTAR right now! I am scared. I think the MG factor of HP is part of the reason I can’t get into it. Plus, I have never been a HUGE fan of magic stuff anyway, so I think all that put together just makes it not for me.

        Love Letters was my least favorite of all of those that I listed. Blech. That’s one of the ones where I didn’t understand why ANYONE liked it!

  14. I am often the Black Sheep.. it used to bother me a lot more than it does now. I ALWAYS wondered “what in the right world is wrong with my arse?”. Then, i figured it out. I’m just a weirdo, but I am me, and that is alright… I have gotten some heat for it in the past, and it bothered me, but I will still be honest about it.

  15. Don’t you worry about that, I don’t even like The Selections, yet almost all I knew loved them or Throne of Glass or The Fault In Our Star or The DUFF …

    • Oh wow, you might even have me beat 😉 I don’t think I can do The DUFF. It just sounds like something I would hate. I haven’t read The Selection yet, and Throne of Glass was decent for me (I didn’t like it at first, but it picked up toward the end!)

  16. Oh yeah, I completely know what you mean. There was a book I read earlier this year (can’t remember the name) and EVERYONE loved it. I couldn’t finish it because it was so boring. And usually, I can find at least one person on Amazon who gave it a lower rating. Nope, not one single person. I think everyone was giving it four or five stars. That may have changed because I read it when it was just released and there were only a couple dozen reviews at the time. But still . . . I kept thinking maybe I had missed something. Finally, I just resigned myself to the fact that I was the black sheep.

    • WOW. I HATE when that happens, especially when it’s a review book, and you HAVE to review it, and you’re the only one reviewing low. That is actually happening to me at this very moment, and I feel bad, but… I didn’t like the book! And I don’t understand why everyone else does! Yes, I think you are right- when it is just released, it is even more apparent if you’re the black sheep!

  17. I completely understand. I have read several books in the past year or so that people loved. I saw all the great reviews and had to read The Fifth Wave. I stalked my library and finally got a copy. I read it….and couldn’t stand it. So while everyone was raving, I was cringing. In fact, this book sort of ruined me because now when I hear about over-hyped books, I am almost afraid to pick them up. It took me a year to pick up Gone Girl and eventually only did it because I wanted to read the book before the movie came out on DVD. Great topic and insight!

    • Thanks so much! I felt pretty apathetic about The 5th Wave. It was okay, but it could have been a LOT better, had it not been so wordy and long. DId you end up enjoying Gone Girl? I have heard mixed things. And actually saw a spoiler anyway hahah.

  18. Can I mention Twilight? Because I don’t like Twilight but a lot of people do!Then again a lot of people don’t… I think Twilight is actually a bad example.

    Anyways, I love this post! Plus, you learn something new every day, I’ve never known how to spell Whomp! Anyway, I’ve suspected you were a black sheep when it came to Harry Potter for a while now so I won’t hold it against you…at all even though it makes me feel sad for you. Though, to be honest, when HP first came out I didn’t like it either, but that was before I became the awesome book reading book nerd I am today!

    Most recently for me though, I was the black sheep with Vanishing Girls.*cringes*

    Awesome topic, Shannon!

    • Oh yes Twilight can count! I don’t like it based solely on principle. Fine, not principle, Kristen Stewart. And yes, I always thought it was “womp”!

      Hahah I think my lack of mentioning Harry would have given me away sooner or later, so I guess it was good that I just flat out said it 😉 I think had I read it when I was younger, I may have liked it more, but Harry at 30 just doesn’t have the same appeal 😉

  19. I love Harry Potter, the first book though – I’ve never read the others because I lost interest. Falling into place was an emotional read that I really liked – I do agree with you about The Walled City, I actually DNF that one. Nowadays I’m the black sheep in almost every book. Only 1 out of 5 books I like which depresses me 🙁 this is a really great discussion post overall <3 & Oh btw I have decided I will write my first ever DNF review for you since you demanded one 😀

    • I think my problem with Falling Into Place is that I wasn’t feeling the emotion because I kind of hated Liz. And since emotions were kind of the whole point… yeah. But I did really like the writing, a LOT, so I will give the author another shot for sure!

      WHOA, only 1 out of 5!? That must be really hard 🙁 I feel like I am *liking* plenty of books, but not LOVING any books. Like, this year, I have had very few five stars, but a lot of 3.5 and 4. I don’t know, it’s sad! And thanks so much!

      I am excited about this DNF review too 🙂

    • I don’t even blame you. I have decided I am not reviewing SUPER popular books. Because, why? By the time I get to them, everyone else will have already reviewed them, so I shall read for pure entertainment only! And thanks 🙂

  20. Okay, I’ll skip the step where I talk about how you don’t like Harry Potter, because I’m sure you’ve had to listen to A LOT of people rambling at you for that. 😀 (I actually wonder sometimes whether I would have liked it as much if I had started reading as an adult – I think it would have been a VERY different experience!) I hate when people make other people feel bad, because they didn’t like a book. I mean I’ll say I disagree, but I always hope no one perceives that as me actually having an issue with them. 😀 My personal example is Throne of Glass, which I REALLY didn’t like much, but EVERYONE else seems to love, and I’m just like… do I have a different copy of the book? Is the cover the same and someone switched out the words in my version? I DON’T UNDERSTAND. There’s always someone who didn’t like it on Goodreads, so that’s where I go first. 😀 Oh, and Divergent! HOW does everyone like that series so much, IT SUCKS. Okay, the first book is maaaybe decent, but the second one is forgettable and the third one is like THE WORST ENDING OF A TRILOGY EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER. Ahem. Yeah, I’ll voice my opinion alright. 😀

    • Bwhaha that is kind of my life story. I mumble something about not liking Harry, and I have people collapsing from disbelief and/or pain all over the place 😉 So thanks! And I agree with you, I think reading it at 30 is a lot different than reading it younger- I have literally NOTHING in common with him!

      Bwhaha I love the “do I have a different copy?” for ToG! I honestly felt the same way at first! I was like, what kind of fresh hell is this?! Am I being Punk’d? But it picked up a lot of me at the end, so that was good at least. Still, not a 5 star book or anything!

      And I think Divergent is the saddest series situation of all time. I admit, I loved the first book. Hell, I even liked the second one! But it all just fell apart by Allegiant because… what on earth WAS that!? The whole book, too- not just the infamous end!

  21. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for writing this post! I just had this conversation with my husband the other night. I had been drooling over The Sin Eater’s Daughter for weeks and I didn’t even finish it. But, I’m still trying to branch out into the world of fantasy stuffs so I thought, “It’s just me”. And then I got approved to read an ARC of Ruby which is on the best-seller list and is in Oprah’s book club. If it’s made it that far, it has to be good, right? RIGHT??? Nope. This book caused me to make up cuss words. I made it all the way to the very end and ended up just looking around my living room thinking “Seriously? This is it? THIS is a best-seller?” And then I may or may not have cried because it is disheartening as a writer to see what kind of mess ends up on a best-seller list. Why that book is so popular I will never understand but now I know I can’t trust Oprah and her book club.

    • Aw, thanks! I think The Sin Eater’s Daughter is VERY hit or miss for people. I loved it, but a lot of people I know HATED it, so you are not alone! And as for best seller lists… yeah, I don’t trust them AT ALL. Some of the books I see on there, I just shake my head at. Nor do I trust Oprah. Since when does Oprah review books? 😉

  22. This post was a relief! I have disliked (or downright hated) so many “favorite” books and sometimes it feels horrible. Recent black sheep picks include “Gone Girl,” “Mockingjay,” “Graceling,” “Game of Thrones,” and you’re getting the picture.

    • Aww thanks! I could not do Graceling at all. I tried once, and just… no. I don’t think I’d do well with either Gone Girl or Game of Thrones either. And I mean, Mockingjay is a favorite for me, but I will have to let it slide 😉 It’s so true though, you feel BAD wondering why you didn’t like the book! But, at least you are not alone 😀

  23. The book that comes to mind for me is If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I just really didn’t love it and the main characters ultra-hip parents bugged me. I am totally alone in this. 🙂 Oh, and then I really actually loved Allegiant. Yep, I’ll say it again. I. Loved. Allegiant. I know, all we can hear right now is crickets (or maybe sheep saying “Whomp whomp?”). That’s okay.

    By the way, I love your monkey GIF. 🙂

      • I do see what you mean, and while I did not like the ending, it wasn’t my whole reason for disliking the book, I just really didn’t like ANY of it. It felt so different than the other two, much less compelling, I guess?

    • I do not like the boyfriend in If I Stay- I really kind of wanted her to go to her family. I liked Mia though, I just wish the guy was less annoying. And… yeah, I don’t get Allegiant. Not just the end but I was just BORED!

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  25. Good post 😀 although I’m still curious, what exactly was it with Harry? 🙂
    I don’t know the others books though. But I’m often a black sheep in this community, and a lot of times I don’t say anything, cause generally, I don’t really enjoy YA *gazes down*. A lot of times I think it’s oversimplified, overdramatized, tropey (let’s say that’s a word…) and just plain not worth my time. But the rest of the community loves most of it 😀 so I just put it down to “it’s me, I was born old” 😀 but it’s k, cause there are other books we agree on 🙂

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