As someone who’s been around various corners of the internet for years, I’ve seen my fair share of overhyped content.
First it started with television shows, seeing copious amounts of GIFs about the same characters and ship dynamics over and over to the point where I could tell you basic plot lines through simple osmosis, never actually having seen a single episode myself. Then it turned into artists, where I’d see a single singer or band brought up or their songs were shared everywhere to the point where I had to check them out to see if all the hype was justified. And, of course, we all see the hype of Marvel movies everywhere. Eventually you either give into the hype or let your curiosity kill you slowly.
But the thing with hyped, or overhyped in this case, books is that they’re talked about for reasons that often have little to do with being a good book.
Maybe it’s just me and how I feel when it comes to judging and rating books, but almost every time I picked up an overhyped book I end up disappointed. I’m told that it’s an exciting plot but I find that it’s borderline mediocre and boring. I’m told that the characters are fantastic but I find them to be irritating or over the top. I’m told that the romance is what makes the book good and I find it to be like every other romance or just find it to not be for me. More often than not, an overhyped book is talked about for a particular character trait or relationship trope rather than how it’s written or how it flows. I even feel like saying how people overhype a plot is being generous because I rarely ever see people hype up a good plot. It’s more hyped based on a reader’s preference rather than it actually being a well written book. Not to name names, but I guarantee if you log onto Twitter or Instagram you’ll see the same 5 titles or authors floating around and you’ll know what I mean.
That’s the thing with books; everything is subjective to your own personal taste. I could wax poetic about one of my favourite fairytale retellings and how it’s the best book I’ve ever read, but to someone who hates the retelling genre, they’ll see me hyping up a story that doesn’t deserve it, in their mind. And that’s what I’ve come to learn. That just because someone, or on social media a group of someones, constantly hypes up a book or series, constantly talks up an author like the sun shines directly from their ass, it doesn’t mean that I’m going to feel the same way because what’s true for one person’s taste isn’t always true for my own.
As book reviewers and book bloggers, it should be our job to remain objective and attempt to take in all sides of why someone would like or dislike a story. We can’t just go on and on about how this one book is better than the Bible or how a single ship dynamic blows all others out of the water. We can have our preferences and biases, sure, but it takes time to learn how while one story works for you it might not work for another. So for me, I will take an overhyped book recommendation with a grain of salt but mostly stick to my own gut judgements. I want to read a good book for the entire experience, not just because a single character speaks to me; maybe that’s why I’m more harsher with my ratings than others but that’s just how I operate.
Recommendations are helpful when they come from a reader that has similar tastes to you, but feeling like you need to read certain overhyped titles just to fit in with others never feels worth it in the end.