The Hype Monster
You know what I’m talking about – when everyone loves a book and it gets all these glowing reviews, and everybody is DYING to get their hands on it; so your hopes for the story end up rising higher and higher until they’re just so high that the book probably couldn’t live up to your expectations even if it was the greatest book ever written?
Yeah, you know exactly what I mean. As a book blogger, the Hype Monster is unavoidable. We’re surrounded by reviewers and it’s nearly impossible to close our eyes and ears to the hype. Everybody wants the newest coolest sounding book (with the best cover), and the excitement levels get so high that you’d think the book was gold plated! We all get caught up in it, but my question is: Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment?
If you didn’t know by now, I am the black sheep 75% of the time. Most of the ‘popular’ books and series I read I end up not liking. Unearthly, Sweet Evil, Tiger’s Curse, Poison, The Grisha, Vampire Academy, Goddess Test, If You Find Me, Nightshade, the list goes on and on…but the most recent is Angelfall. I was so excited to finally read that book because I hadn’t seen any bad reviews; nearly everyone gave the book 5 stars, and everyone was raving about how it was so different (which it was, in a way) and how it was just amazing. When I finally read it, I was horribly underwhelmed. Did I set myself up for that disappointment? By listening to everyone else, I went in expecting this amazing, mind-blowing story. If I had gone in with lower expectations, would I have enjoyed it more?
I like to know what the community thinks of a book before I read it, because if it’s absolutely HORRIBLE and has an average Goodreads rating of, say, 3 stars, I can brace myself for that. Lower my expectations. In the case of books that not many people like, it works. Sometimes I end up liking them more than most people. But, is that because I went in with lower expectations than others? Or that it just worked for me and not for them? (Or am I just too picky?) Sometimes it’s hard to tell how the hype influences you as a reader.
What do you think? Chances are nearly all of you can relate. How do you avoid hype? How do you keep it from affecting the way you read?