Bleat Bleat. I’m A Sheep!

Posted January 30, 2014 by Stormy in Books / 55 Comments

sheep-150208_640

A black sheep that is. Not a sheep like the expression we use about being just one of a flock of sheep following the crowd.

I think we’ve all been there, right? When everyone LOVES something and you dislike it. . . or even when everyone dislikes sometimes and you secretly(or not-so-secretly) love it. Most of the time, I agree with my blogging friends on most books. But every once in awhile, a book comes along, and. . . I just don’t get it. I either don’t get the book or why everyone loves it so much, OR I don’t get why everyone isn’t enjoying it as much as I do!

I love seeing a healthy spread of reviews for books, because they definitely give me a better idea of what the book is like, and I always hope when I’m the black sheep on a book, I’m contributing to that too. So today I wanted to share the books I’ve been black sheep on, and ask what books you’re black sheep for.

The Perks of Being a Black Sheep

1. You can offer a different perspective on a book

Don’t get me wrong, I love talking with people who feel the same way about a book as I did, but it’s just as interesting when a (civil) discussion can be had between two people who walked away from the same book with very different things. These discussions are EXCELLENT when they take place in real life, because it’s much easier to go back and forth. However, I’ve found these discussions can also be pretty good on the internet(though they often take place in the comment section or reviews or on twitter, which is a bit limiting). And whenΒ you’reΒ the black sheep, you have an important role in these conversations!

2. That book becomes unique to *you*

If you’re the black sheep in liking a book that mostly everyone disliked, sometimes that book becomes very special to you(or it does to me). On books that I really loved and most people didn’t, I feel like I’ve sort of taken that book under my wing(as silly as that sounds). I can say to the book: ““It’s okay that they didn’t like you. I don’t like some books either. But *I* like you, precious little book.”Β 

3. Finding solidarity in a (small) herd

It’s always great to find someone who agrees with you on a book. That’s something that is pretty much always exciting. But it’s even better when you’re part of the small opinion. You might be a black sheep, but it’s highly unlikely you are the actual only person to have that opinion on that particular book. You just have to find the smaller herd of black sheep. And once you do, it’s magical. Solidarity for the win!

The “Ugh” Side of Being a Black Sheep

1. On the outside looking in

It can DEFINITELY feel this way! Even if you know you’re not the only person in the world who feels that way about a book, it doesn’t always seem like it. And especially if you’re reading a book pre-release, you might be the first person to voice that type of reaction to the book. There have definitely been books that I was the first person to post a less-than-good rating on Goodreads for a book, and that’s a strange position sometimes.

2. Do I just not get it?

When everyone LOVES a book and I don’t, I start to think if maybe it just went over my head. Maybe I wasn’t intelligent enough or a good enough of a reader to see what made that book so brilliant. And I typically get over this pretty quickly, but it’s still there. What if the book really IS the masterpiece everyone else says it is? DOUBT. And when you’re the black sheep by loving a book, it goes the opposite way–the “Why don’t you love this book as much as I do?” way.

Books I Loved that Most Didn’t

1. Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

Dear Killer

I read an ARC of this a long time ago and immediately LOVED it. Since then, most people I’ve seen really disliked it–several hated it. It’s quite disturbing and I agree that some of the content is problematic, but it didn’t bother me in this one since it’s from the POV of a serial killer. Well, it did *personally* bother me, but not in a reading sense. I really loved what Dear Killer had to say about significance and morality and thought it was fascinating.

Β 2. Red by Alison Cherry

Red

I didn’t LOVE this book or anything, but I did like it! It was strange and ridiculous at times, but also sort of fun and satire. I thought the emphasis on Redheads was interesting and I was intrigued enough.

3. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Another Little Piece

I wouldn’t say this book is strongly disliked or anything, but it’s REALLY divided. Just by looking at my friends books on Goodreads & the overall ratings for this book, I can tell it’s a “you love it or hate it” sort of book. I loved it, and a few of my blogging friends did too, but a lot of people REALLY disliked it. It’s strange and weird, but it captivated me from the beginning.

4. The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney

The Brokenhearted

 

This wasn’t a great book or anything–it had flaws for sure–but I enjoyed it enough to give it 3 stars. Yeah, there were problems and I understand why most people didn’t finish, but it was entertaining enough for me. Even if parts of it made me roll my eyes.

The Theme I See:

Looking back over these four books that I loved more than most, I think the theme is that I like weird books. I would describe each of these books as really strange/weird, and it’s really easy to see why people *don’t* like them. They’re definitely the books I’m happy to take under my wing, though!

Books I Didn’t Particularly Like

1. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day

I thought I would love this one, but I just really had trouble with Allyson and the plot in general. I gave this one 2 stars, and the average rating from my friends is 4.17 stars. Quite a difference!

2. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue

 

I thought Nantucket Blue was just okay. It reminded me a lot of a Sarah Dessen novel(and I haven’t had great luck with her novels, either) without really any of the emotional depth.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss

I just really had trouble with Anna! It annoyed me how much she was complaining and I didn’t really like how her relationship in this novel begun, since St. Clair was still dating someone else for quite awhile. By the way, average Goodreads friend rating for THIS book? 4.75 stars. HUGE difference!

4. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Under the Never Sky

 

Under the Never Sky was fine enough while reading, but it just never struck me in any special way. It felt similar to a lot of other science fiction books.

The Theme I See:

Contemporary. With the exception of “Under the Never Sky”, all of these books are contemporary. I really do LOVE a lot of contemporary but I think it’s harder for me to get on board with a contemporary than it is when I have a new and exciting world(or just weird stuff!) distracting me.

Let’s Discuss:

Do you find yourself being the black sheep often? In what ways? Any books lately bring out black sheep syndrome for you?

 

 

 

 

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55 responses to “Bleat Bleat. I’m A Sheep!

  1. Oh my goodness, I have been experiencing black sheep syndrome so much lately. It makes me feel like I’m totally missing something that others are seeing it. But, one of the best parts about books is everybody takes a different perspective from them. Thanks for the great post! πŸ™‚

  2. *gasp* you don’t like Anna and the French Kiss! Lol. I kind of understand the feeling of being a black sheep. I particularly didn’t like Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Eleanor & Park, but then I see people going crazy about them and I feel like I missed something and that I should read the books again. Which I haven’t done. Lol. I think it is nice to see the different opinions on a book. It just goes to show how different we all are. Isn’t it just strange though how we can share the love for some books yet not others. The complexity of human beings is quite fascinating. πŸ˜›

  3. I’m probably on the “outside looking in” with regard to YA books. I have read a few…and some I enjoy. But most are…can I say boring? To me, of course. LOL

    But strangely enough, I have some favorite TV shows (on ABC Family) with the same demographic and similar issues…that I love! Go figure.

  4. I feel exactly the same way about contemporary. A lot of the time I just don’t get the hype, but I’m always more than happy to be proven wrong! (I’m still bitter that I didn’t fall head over heels in love with Anna and the French Kiss.)

    • stormydawnc

      Contemporary is difficult for me. If I love a contemporary book, I will REALLY love it–like how I feel about This Song Will Save Your Life. But I think it just takes more to suck me into a contemporary novel. I wanted to love Anna too, but I was just annoyed!

  5. I get this!!! It doesn’t happen too much but when everyone loves something and I don’t, I feel exactly like you said! I’m just like, there’s something wrong with me, isn’t there? Then I get scared that people will hate me when I don’t like it. Love that you went over the perks of being a black sheep though! It also definitely sparks discussion which is great!

    • stormydawnc

      YES. The “What am I missing?” feeling is the part that REALLY gets me. Otherwise, I’m fine, but that’s when I start questioning my reading.

    • stormydawnc

      Yup, that’s how I felt about all the books I listed, but ESPECIALLY Just One Day. EVERYONE seemed to love it. EVERYONE, even my friends who don’t normally like contemporary. And I was just.. . sort of bored, and sort of mad.

  6. “Do I just not get it?” is pretty much what I ask myself all the time. But I do think it’s great that the readers who look for various opinions (like me) before reading a book will be able to read from different perspectives. They’ll have a better idea of what they’re getting into, and whether they’ll actually enjoy the book or it’ll end up exploding in their faces.

    There are a lot of books that I didn’t enjoy but others did, such as Sweet Evil, Of Poseidon, Throne of Glass and plenty others. I guess it just depends on the mood you’re in while reading, your personal opinion on what makes a good book and if you think that the character is someone you’ll want to make friends with. Great post, Stormy!

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, the “Do I just not get it?” question seems to happen a LOT–other people have mentioned it too, which makes me feel a lot better about somethings wondering that!

  7. Okay, Stormy, I won’t hurt you for not liking those. I promise. Really…..
    But I love that you have perks of being a black sheep! I’m sure people hate me (sometimes) because I don’t like books like Shatter Me, didn’t care for TFIOS as much as others and I still haven’t finished The Book Thief… *hides*
    I love the perks of being a black sheep!! I often feel like that too and I like connecting with the people who didn’t like the same books haha

    • stormydawnc

      Truce–I will not say anything about you not finishing The Book Thief for that trade off!(re: not hurting me for not liking the books above, haha).
      I didn’t care *as* much for TFIOS either!! I did like it, really, but it wasn’t a life-changing book for me or even my favorite book I read that month(I’m assuming). It wasn’t anything super outstanding.

  8. I’m not the black sheep often, but it really is a weird kind of feeling. It is a bit disappointing, like you’re the one sitting at the sides at a party, but it is always cool when someone else steps away from the crowd and joins you there. Still, like you said, there’s always some positives to come out of it too (reading is such a double-edged sword!): some of my absolutely favourite and most insightful discussions have been with people who had the opposite opinion on a book than me.

    • stormydawnc

      Yup, that’s an accurate description for sure. It’s a perk of having a few reading friends in real life too–we can discuss books we have different opinions on! And blogging is part of what makes that so great. Some of my favorite conversations have happened because of it! I think the internet can make it slightly harder to have those discussions in real-time(except on twitter), but it’s definitely possible and always so interesting!

  9. Oh my gosh, I love this post. I feel like the black sheep amongst my friends ALL THE TIME. I personally love all things contemporary, and it’s difficult to find a contemporary book I don’t like. Some of my favorite books deal with the whole “mean girl/popular girl” theme, which I know a lot of people don’t like. I tend to relate to those books more (I am not a mean girl, by the way lol). But like you said, it makes those books more special to me. I also don’t like a whole lot outside of contemporary, so there have been plenty of books that everyone is like OMG THAT’S SO GOOD and here I am unable to even finish it. I think the black sheep phenomenon makes reading and discussing books more interesting, though. If we all felt the same way about books, blogging would be so boring.

    • stormydawnc

      Ha, we’re like the opposite as far as contemporary & speculative then! Though I have to say, the contemporary I love, I REALLY LOVE. Like those are the books I will champion–like This Song Will Save Your Life!
      I love when books take on that life of becoming so special to you. It’s one of my favorite things about reading in general.

  10. Such a great post, and I can relate so much to number 2 “Do I just not get it?”. Because that’s me every time I’m a black sheep! For me it happens especially when I love or like a book that everyone else seems to dislike or even hate. It makes me wonder if I’m just bad at reading critically. Am I rating it wrong, am I rating it too much for enjoyment value instead of literary value? Sometimes people point out things about the book that I didn’t even think twice about!

    But yes, sometimes it’s good to love a book that not a lot of others have loved. When I say I love the Hunger Games, it’s nothing special or anything because who wasn’t loved or liked that series? It’s very common. But when I say I love something that not a lot of people have truly loved, I feel it’s more special because it feels like a hidden gem to me (that *I* found haha). And it can spark great conversations because people haven’t heard good things about it and are curious why I loved it.

    I just finished Code Name Verity and I expected to love it (as a lot have loved it), but I didn’t particularly like it. I’m so disappointed! But on the same hand, I’m wondering AGAIN if it is just me not being a good reader, because I can see that she has crafted it well with foreshadowing I completely missed, which maybe I should reward with a higher rating, but I just didn’t ENJOY it. So I don’t want to give it a higher rating. Okay, rant over, lol.

    A book I feel that hasn’t received a lot of love is Monstrous Beauty, but I really really liked it. I know there are more people who feel the same as me, but not that much. So now it’s special and a kind of hidden gem to me haha.

    Great discussion and I had a lot to say (sorry if my comment is a bit too long and rambling haha).

    • stormydawnc

      Yes! That’s the real bummer about being the black sheep I think. I get SO insecure that I’m not seeing the book “right”(even though my stance is always that there’s no real wrong way to read a book 95% of the time!). It makes me question my ability to think and read critically EVEN THOUGH I have an English degree, so clearly my college thought I did well enough in that area. I just get so insecure about it sometimes!

      Ooh, I’m really curious about Code Name Verity! I actually just found a super cheap copy online(like $2 with a coupon code!!) so it’s on its way to me. Most of my GR friends LOVED it, but a few DNF-ed, so you’re definitely not alone! The craft vs enjoyment for rating is difficult too and can play in if I’m a black sheep or not.

      Haha, you don’t have to apologize for long comments! I’m a fan of them.

  11. Love this post! I definitely felt like a black sheep when I posted a DNF review of Under the Never Sky a while back! I am kind of relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t love it. But there are other books I have really enjoyed that might not necessarily be commonly disliked, but are more underrated. And sometimes, I just don’t know what the fuss is about! I agree that all perspectives (as long as they are constructive) are nice to hear!

    • stormydawnc

      I didn’t really DNF books when I read Under the Never Sky, but if I was to read it *now*, I’m pretty sure I never would have finished!

  12. YES. I feel this almost constantly. Like, I just could not get into Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And almost everyone I see is obsessed with it. I almost decided to try it again just to try to see what I was missing.

    But, in general, I notice I have tendencies to read things people haven’t heard of. Some of my favorite books last year were ones people missed for some reason or ones that they disliked. I think it’s good, though. We bring a different taste to the reading world. You can find a billion reviews for something like Divergent, but only a few for something something under the radar. Great post!

    • stormydawnc

      I was one of those people who loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but it definitely had a slow start, and it wasn’t a book that made me RUSH to pick up the sequel or anything.

      I think a lot of the books I love are ones that slip under the radar, and some I disliked are super hype–one of those cases were hype can be a killer because I’m expecting something AMAZING and instead I get something that’s just okay.

  13. omg Just One Day. Everyone seems to ABSOLUTELY love it and there I am thinking yeah it was good, but not as amazing as I thought it’d be…Another one I can think of is Divergent. I mean it was good, but nothing to scream about.

    I don’t know if there are any particular books that I really like that everyone else seems to hate…I can’t really think of any off the top of my head. In general my ratings on GR seem to be higher than other people’s but I think that’s more so a reflection of my different rating system rather than a proper measure of how much I enjoyed a book compared to someone else.

    • Nara makes an interesting point here about rating systems and how they reflect a reader’s or blogger’s perception of a book. Even if everyone used a traditional 1-5 star rating system, what makes a book a 5 star or 3 star read is still open to interpretation and varies across blogs.

    • stormydawnc

      I had. . . problems w/ Just One Day, to say the least. I like Gayle Forman’s writing! . . . but not much else. I did really love Divergent, but that was before it was such a BIG book & I’m not sure what I would think of it now, after reading several other books(many I have to admit are probably better) in that genre.

  14. Cee

    I think it’s excellent to have somebody with an opposing view. Like you said, it opens the book up to discussion. When I don’t like a book most people like (which is rare), I feel like I’m not invited to the cool tea party. Lolll.

    I feel like a black sheep with Eleanor & Park. Sure, it was a cute book, but I didn’t think it was awesome. There were things in the book I wished Rainbow Rowell delved into or addressed (because of the time period). I just felt it was very lacking. :\

    I don’t know if I liked Anna and the French Kiss when I first read it. I’m sure that I found Anna’s complaining to be frickin’ annoying. “Boo hoo. I’m going to school in Paris without any parent supervision. This is absolutely horrible.” *rolls eyes* GET OVER IT.

    • stormydawnc

      I think I like those discussions so much because they take me back to the GOOD English classes I had in college(not the terrible, boring contemporary literature class I took. SO. BORING.)
      The tea party is a great analogy, though!

  15. I totally understand what you mean about the “ughs”. I feel like sometimes I just didn’t get it? And that I’m missing this amazing book to squee about with everyone… but I don’t really notice it unless I actually don’t really like a book that everyone loves. It doesn’t happen for me very often but it has a few times. The ones that stick out to me are Golden by Jessi Kirby(didn’t hate it but only 3 stars), Into the Still Blue (again.. didn’t hate it, in fact I really liked it but it wasn’t mind blowing for me), Finding It by Cora Carmack (I straight up disliked this one), Two Way Stree by Lauren Barnholdt (meh) but the one that is most notable for me is Sisters in Sanity by Gayle Forman. I didn’t hate it, I gave it 3 stars in fact, but I expected to be MIND BLOWN by the way people talk and I just wasnt. Actually… like you, I’m beginning to see that my most common ones ares contemporaries too!!!

    I love finding books that I love and others don’t though πŸ™‚ Although I really had to look through my list to see because I don’t notice it as much! I completely agree that it makes it “unique” to you. I love finding a book that is just special to me in way.

    I’m actually really excited to read Dear Killer; I didn’t realize that people were not too fond of it until this post!! I havebeen trying to stay away from early reviews so that’s probably why but I have a feeling I will like this one too πŸ˜› I adored Another Little Piece. LIKE LOVED IT! It was so freaking good! I also recently read Heartbeat and while it wasn’t THRILLING, I did give it three stars but I have seen a ton of negative reviews on that one!

    I love this discussion post Stormy! I think I’m going to pay more attention to the reads that I’m a black sheep on (for the better anyways!)

    • stormydawnc

      I think the “I don’t get it” is the worst part of being a black sheep sometimes because it makes me feel. . . dumb? There, I admitted it. Like, if I *do* get a book & dislike it and THAT’S why I’m the black sheep, I’m okay with that. But if I feel it went over my head and every one else has latched on to this magical thing of a book, I get a bit insecure.Maybe we’re hardest on contemporaries? I think I am, because suspension of disbelief will go a long way in anything that’s speculative fiction. Contemporaries have to be *really* well-done.

      Yay for another Little Piece! It was so mysterious and gory(I had to skip some of those parts, to be honest), and WEIRD and I loved it and the ending was confusing but great! Perhaps since you liked that, you can join me in liking Dear Killer too! DK isn’t paranormal, but it’s still horror so I will hold out hope.

  16. I’m one of the ones that didn’t like Another Little Piece, it was just a little too weird for me. As far as books that I didn’t particularly care for but it seemed like everyone else loved them, Just One Day, Under the Never Sky and Nantucket Blue are on that list. I recently read (or DNF’d) The Book Thief and it was so hard to put it down because I don’t know anyone that didn’t like that book. Great post!

    • stormydawnc

      ALP is SO weird(but weird works for me!). I love The Book Thief, but I understand why others don’t(and I had a friend who put the Book Thief down too, so you’re not the only one!). Looks like we feel similarly about JoD, and UtNS though!

  17. HA my post from today is about Anna! Like you said, I think it’s fun when you can have a civil, friendly discussion about why a book didn’t work for you with someone who did. At the end of the day, you not liking Anna doesn’t have an impact on why I like it, and I’m sure the same would be true if the situation were reversed. We still will get along and I’ll still trust your opinion on books!

    I honestly think it’s nice when someone isn’t afraid to be the black sheep on a super hyped book. As we all read more and more, we become less easy to impress. I appreciate those reviews that point out what didn’t work, because a lot of times, we’ll have that in common and I’ll skip a book that wouldn’t have worked for me.

    Most of the time, I’m squarely in the middle like you were with Red – good, not great. The overwhelming majority of what I read is a 3 star, okayish book. Which now that I consider it is REALLY a bummer.

    • stormydawnc

      Oh yeah, how Anna is a comfort book for you!
      I definitely appreciate it when people are super open about being a black sheep on really hyped books. It can feel like a lonely position to be in, sometimes, but it’s a necessary perspective. It would be so boring if everyone liked & disliked the same books all the time!
      I think my average GR rating is 4 stars, so I do tend to enjoy most of the books I read, but five stars are fairly rare for me. And 3 stars aren’t close behind. If I were ACTUALLY going to average it out, it comes out to about a 3.5(which I think it was my goodreads average rating is), which makes me pretty happy. I read on a bell curve! Some great, some terrible, most good.

  18. Stormy, I absolutely ADORE this post. I might as well get a black sheep onesie on and blog while wearing that. I also really like it when I can have a good discussion with a friend who did like the book that I didn’t. You’re right, it offers new perspectives on a book instead of everyone just going “Omg AWESOME BOOK!” Or “DNF all the time!”

    I see that we felt the same about Anna and the French Kiss. Everyone around me was swooning and keeling over for this book, but I was not impressed. Again, great post!

    • stormydawnc

      Thank you! I’d like to order a black sheep onesie as well, please.
      I’m glad to know I’m not alone about Anna! Man, that aggravated me!

  19. This was a very timely post! I just reviewed a book that a blogging friend of mine also reviewed. We had very different ratings of this book (me: 2/5, her 4/5). I knew when I gave the book a 2, I would be the black sheep for this book, but the rating really was how I felt. Like you, I hope that my different opinion will help people see if a book is the right for them. Heck, maybe people look for books I rate low, because they know that they will like them. πŸ™‚

    • stormydawnc

      I have blogs I follow for that reason–I know they rate a book low for certain things that *I* like! (Mostly on the science fiction spectrum).

  20. GREAT topic, Stormy! It’s funny what you said about feeling like you’re “taking the book under your wing” when you liked a book many others didn’t, because I feel the same way! I also rally enjoy discussions with people who starkly disagreed with me about a book; you learn so much about perspective on it! I’m definitely in the “outside looking in” and “do I just not get it?” categories when it comes to the Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta.

    The only book on your lists that I’ve read is Under the Never Sky, and it took me over halfway through the book to decide I liked it. I can definitely understand why it doesn’t hold appeal for everyone, and you’re not my only friend who dislikes it!

    I really like this post, and the way you analyzed things, and even pointed out themes! This is great, and may just inspire me to write a similar post!

    • stormydawnc

      Yeah, even though I want everyone to LOVE books I love, there is a sense of. . . ownership, almost? Maybe not the best word, because it’s not like you own the book or get prideful about it, but there’s something really special about championing a book, even if just in your head.

  21. I totally get this feeling… It’s just so hard to go against the school of what everyone else is saying about a book, and sometimes it would just be easier to let other people’s decisions affect your own personal feelings… But you just can’t do that if you want to do truth to the novel itself! πŸ™‚ I just take it from the standpoint of, if your best friend was about to read this book, what would you tell them about it? Then it makes being the black sheep a little easier.

    • stormydawnc

      I do that too! I have a friend in real life who I get to talks bout with often, and sometimes she’s a great sounding board before I write a review.

  22. This type of post is what makes the book blogging community (and the reading community in general) so intriguing! It would be boring if we all liked the same things, and the world of publishing would be so less diverse because they would all be catering to the same demographic with the same reading material. I admit, I get bored sometimes, when every other blog post in my feeder is hawking the same up-and-coming release. I want some variety! And some personality! What you like to read hints at who you are, and so the books you like and don’t like tell others something personal about *you.* I definitely think it’s easy to get swept up in a book’s hype and to feel out of the loop when you just don’t get the book everyone else is raving about. It’s also totally awesome to find a group of people to fangirl over a book with – ah…kindred spirits…it’s like coming home. I think what I’m trying to get at in this rambling comment is it’s *good* to have variety and honesty in your reading and blogging life. Those qualities make you an interesting and trustworthy blogger!

    • stormydawnc

      Variety is good! I do enjoy the times I read a book and can GUSH about it with everyone else. . . I do. But being the odd voice out is good too, because eventually someone else is going to have the same thoughts as you, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

    • stormydawnc

      I definitely find it’s more likely for me to dislike a book everyone loved than the other way around, but it does happen(as evident above!).

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