Ever randomly think about a scene you read ages ago and it suddenly makes you as angry or sad or anxious as the day you read it? That’s been me, a lot, lately.
I think we all know that, as we get older, books we loved in high school are not going to be your favorites as an adult. Or even a book you read a year ago changes once you think about some problems in it. People get older, but books are timeless.
Here are books I have changed my opinion of in recent years:
Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy is like chocolate cake: delicious though not quite healthy. There is also a problematic teacher/student romance, another relationship I think was toxic, and a character that, in my opinion, was butchered for the sake of providing motivation for a relationship. These books I think of more as 3 star reads instead of 5 stars now.
The Archie Sheridan series by Chelsea Cain
I read the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell books during the height of my love for crime novels. I adored this series. Detective Archie Sheridan struggled with PTSD after being tortured by serial killer Gretchen Lowell. But he was genuinely a good guy, even if he went about it in the wrong way sometimes. When I recommended the books to a friend, she pointed out certain issues I had overlooked before that now left a bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to keep the books, only I gave them away a few months ago during my grad school’s book drive.
The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong
If you know anything about urban fantasy, you are likely familiar of the problematic themes within the genre. Despite the author’s best efforts at diversity, there was still a borderline abusive relationship and mistreatment of women. In other words, things I could ignore at sixteen but cannot at almost twenty-seven.
The House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
The House of Night was fun when I read it in high school. The fact that I feel differently about these books now is my own fault. I waited too long to try to complete the series. I read the first three books when I was still in junior high/high school, the prime reading age for House of Night. However, when I tried to get back in the series while during college, I found that I was “too old.” Meaning, the writing was just too juvenile for me to enjoy. I wanted more substance than the books could provide.
Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz
Blue Bloods is another series I loved in high school, but by the time I started college, I had lost interest in completing the books. I had made it up to I think book five. The concept of morally gray vampires as reincarnated angels cursed to live on Earth to atone for their sins was fascinating. Then, incest was thrown in. I was fine with it at seventeen, probably because I had just read Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. But now…how did I think that was cool?
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
I read Hidden Bodies because I was still high on my love for its predecessor, You, when I initially picked it up. Then, the love faded and I could not bear to look at it anymore. Hidden Bodies was not nearly as funny or exciting as You. In fact, it was a downright cringe-fest. I don’t know what I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. I guess I was still in denial at the time.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Despite the 4 star rating, I have mixed feelings regarding I’ll Give You the Sun since I read it in 2015. I even contemplated unhauling it. While the sibling dynamic was fascinating, both twins had love interests I thought were toxic people and there was an element of cheating I was not a fan of. Looking back on it now, I don’t know if I liked I’ll Give You the Sun as much as I thought I did.
Anything Sweet Valley by Francine Pascal
Sweet Valley was like soap operas in book form. All the characters beautiful, straight, thin, perfect white people. Unrealistic drama up the yang. I could go on. But these were also the books that got me into reading, so I can’t say anything too bad about them.