15/07/2014

When The Hype Lies To You {The Birdie Musings}


There's one thing I hate more than anything. Well, not more than anything, because I tend to hate a lot of things *cough* nuts and eggs and liquorice and people who say 'I'm not a feminist, but . . .' *cough* This is definitely high up on the list though:

When I see a book that has the most awesome blurb, the most gorgeous cover, and the most insanely glowing reviews. I get super excited for it. I rush to order it. I count down the days until it'll be delivered. The moment it arrives I open that first page, convinced I'm going to have some sort of epiphany. And I end up reading something that's so insanely underwhelming, that I'm tempted to DNF.

'The hype surrounding this book was insane' or 'This book was SO hyped up' – they're both phrases we see floating around the blogosphere on a day-to-day basis, from people who have been tricked by the hype into thinking a book is going to be beyond awesome, only to read it and end up being the odd one out.

The hype is made up of glowing reviews, some from bloggers whose opinion you really trust (but not anymore! Hehe. Kidding) and after reading these you become convinced that this book is going to be insanely good. And then it's just not.

There's nothing worse than having such high expectations of a book going in, and then feeling utterly let-down once you turn that final page.

But here's the question: do we not enjoy these books because our expectations were too high going in, or simply because they weren't our cup of tea? If we'd never heard of a book before and went into it blind, would we still finish it feeling so disappointed? Would we still have such a strongly negative reaction? Or would we be a little more lenient?

I feel as though I'm a lot nicer to books that I haven't heard much about. But if it's a book that's been raved about and I hate it, I end up feeling quite resentful, which makes my views a little harsher than they normally would be.

It's insane of course – crazy person logic! – but I just can't help it. I end up feeling really bad that everyone else is fangirling over a book when, in my opinion, it's not worth the fuss. I go into complete bitter and twisted mode!


Do you feel the same? Has the hype ever lied to you? What books were you super stoked to read, only to be totally disappointed by them? Do you feel like your reaction would've been less harsh, if the books hadn't been so hyped up?



 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart. Stalk her on twitter, instagram or goodreads.


47 comments:

  1. Oh I completely agree with this! For example, i just finished My Life Next Door and while I found the romance cute and fluffy and appreciated the different features it had and how it made me angry and sad and happy and joyful, it just wasn't what I had heard it was. Now I'm torn between my original 'omg I just finished and wow' thought after finishing or my 'morning after the night before and it really wasn't as I had expected..' thought. Hype has made books difficult for me, but I will continue to read them, as sometimes, the temptation to see what everyone else loves is just too much!

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    1. YES! That happens to me so often too actually. I'll read a book and be like, 'yeah, I liked it' and then later when I'm thinking about it or when I'm writing a review I'll realise how many things annoyed me and end up coming to the conclusion that it actually wasn't that great :P

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  2. OMG YES! I always think about this as well! I feel like everyone 'blames' the hype if they don't like a book. But maybe, even if they went into it blind, it wouldn't affect their opinion whatsoever. So maybe instead of not hyping up books, we should just be free to express our love without worrying about letting someone else down. I think ultimately, not every book can be for everyone. It totally sucks when you hate a book that most people though!

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    1. Oh definitely, I wouldn't want people to stop fangirling or anything, it's just a total disappointment to not be able to join them! Especially if you end up actually really strongly disliking whatever book it is. Because then you're the odd one out and you're also left with a 'WTF is everyone thinking?' feeling :P

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  3. Oh yes! I agree...but then again, I can be fuelled by hype enough so that I love the book regardless. Take Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater for example. I'm not even kidding, I was HYPERVENTILATING every time I freaking thought about that beautiful book? Did I love it? I loved it so so so much I can't even write a review right now. I'm just out of my mind with the awesome. So the hype just did everything and more for me there.

    I've had bad experiences of course. I felt the hype for the Winner's Curse was a let down and I couldn't get through Fire & Flood without eye rolls. :| So I'm torn. Hype sometimes works and sometimes backfires for me.

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    1. I haven't read Sinner yet so YAY FOR IT BEING AWESOME OMG COLE <3 *breathes*

      Hype is good for making me aware of a book, but I do feel like sometimes it puts pressure on me to like it. And I feel like if I don't enjoy it, then I'm a crazy person. So maybe it's that pressure that makes the reading experience less pleasurable and so can diminish my enjoyment of certain hyped-up books?

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  4. Interesting post, Allie. I think both situations have happened to me before. Sometimes, I'd set my expectations wayyy up the charts, and then when the book doesn't "wow" me, I'd be disappointed and give it a lower rating. Sometimes, the book's just plain bad and/or not something I'd recommend to other people. And I normally don't like going into books blind--I like knowing everything about it. ;D So, yeah. The hype. Sometimes I want to hug it, sometimes I want to kill it with fire. ;)

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    1. That's exactly it. It's all about expectations and if we set them so high because we know how popular the book is, then we're setting ourselves up for disappointment. That's why I'm careful with which reviews I read, because I don't want to be lulled in to a false sense of security

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  5. I tend to like going into books blind, so if there's a book I know I'm going to read, I usually won't read any reviews of it (a lot of the time I won't even read the blurbs. Which is probably weird, now that I think about it...) but I will take a look at the ratings my GR friends have given it! And obviously when there's a massive string on 5 stars, then my expectations get pushed up way high. I don't think I've ever been completely destroyed by hype, but it can definitely disappoint in that the book isn't quite as good as I expect (so a 4 star read, rather than a 5 star- that sort of thing). Graceling was one of these books. It wasn't as amazing as I'd expected it to be, from the raving reviews of so many people! Dang that hype monster...

    Sidenote: HECK YES NUTS ARE TERRIBLE. I don't think I've ever met anyone else who dislikes nuts (apart from some people who are allergic, so...fair enough there) and I get judged whenever I say I don't like them T.T It's nice to see a fellow nut-hater :P

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    1. I do the same thing with books I'm excited for! I'll skim the GR ratings of my friends, but I won't really read many specific reviews, because I don't want to jinx myself too much.

      UGH NUTS DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED. My brother is allergic, bless him, but I just detest them so much that they actually make me physically sick. I just tell people I'm allergic now, because having to explain that I just don't like them gets me odd looks and it's just pointless lol!

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  6. Whenever I read reviews where people were let down by hype, I tend to think they would have liked it more if they hadn't built it up so much in their mind. I don't give into hype too much. If I see a lot of positive reviews about a book and it's something that sounds interesting, then I'm more inclined to check out the book. I wouldn't be terribly upset if i didn't like it though...more so than other books, I mean. I think hype can really hurt a book, and that's sad to see!

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    1. I think this is the case with books like TFiOS for a lot of people. Folks that don't normally read YA or that haven't read John Green before, go in to it expecting this mesmerising book - which it is to some people - and end up feeling like it was cliche and trite. But with a book as hyped up as TFiOS, which basically everyone is obviously going to read, it's a little expected that some people won't like it because they feel like it didn't perform as well as it should have, considering it's gone all global

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  7. I genuinely don't know. I like to think I wouldn't like it either way, but then there are all the stories I have given negative reviews because they weren't what I wanted them to be. I think the opposite is true too: looking back, I've thought some books got a bit of a boost because I was so excited to be reading it.

    I think hype is awesome, if not a bit scarily cyclical because it often doesn't last.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

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    1. Don't get me wrong, I love reading about books I'm excited for and seeing the star rating on GR. But when my friends are all fangirling over a book and people are talking about it on twitter and it's all over the place . . . AND THEN I read it and it's just blah. That's what I hate.

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  8. I really do try not to hype up a book in my mind, and often with books that are hyped, I end up reading them eons later and I still get let down! This happened with both the Knife of Never Letting Go and a Daughter of Smoke and Bone; I saw so many rave reviews, but both books ended up with me feeling very let down by it. Another problem I've had in the past had to do with reading a hyped book, thinking it was great right away, and then a day later, once my emotions settled, I realized it was awful -cough- The Selection -cough-

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    1. Haha, that feeling annoys me greatly. I'll do that when I'm writing a review for a book I think I liked, and then as I'm writing the review I realise how many things actually pissed me off and I'm like 'hang on . . . this book really annoyed me!'

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  9. Yes! I agree so much. There are a few books right now that I am hearing about being "overhyped" and now I am afraid to read them- though now, my expectations are back to being low, so maybe it helps? I think it is a combination of things too when it comes to WHY they disappoint: Yes, on one hand, we have high expectations, and then also, the book probably isn't super. And then you combine them, and the effect is kind of multiplied, you know?

    And liquorice is disgusting. And if we're just throwing stuff out there, I really, really hate onions. Like, in a passionate way.

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    1. You know, I used to hate onions. Detest them, even. But now I use them all the time in basically every meal. I am an onion convert and I don't know how or when it happened. I'M DRUNK THE ONION KOOL-AID (side note: how gross would onion flavoured kool aid be? Ewwww)

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  10. Definitely had the hype trick me a few a times! I try really hard now to make sure the hype doesn't influence me too much otherwise my expectations become too high, and I just know I'm setting up for failure. I mean, I I might have liked it a lot more if not for the hype, and I feel bad for the book is I at least don't give it a fair chance. So yes, I feel like sometimes my reactions would be less harsh if there wasn't the hype around it.
    Great discussion, Allie!

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    1. Exactly. I don't mean that I would've really liked the book if it hadn't been hyped, but maybe I wouldn't have disliked it so much because I wouldn't have been let down by such high expectations1

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  11. OH GOD YES! I've felt like this for quite a few books lately =/ I think it's a mix of everything, tbh. I mean.. I think that when you read a book you end up disliking and everyone else has raved about it? That kind of gives me an ever sadder and a tad angrier feeling. It's quite frustrating actually :( Maybe my reaction would be less harsh. I haven't noticed it that much, but with one particular book I read last month that EVERYONE loves. Well, I ranted so hard about it to Rashika that we had a field day with it. I just HATED that book. Not just disliked, but I hated it and now I don't ever want to hear anything about it. And why is that? Well, simply because I didn't like it and it wasn't my book, but also because I hate the hype surrounding it. It left me wondering if it wasn't THAT author and THAT book (name, I mean), would people still love it so? I don't think so *shakes head* I'm glad I'm not the only angry one lololol! Good to hear that someone shares my views and feels :D Great post, Allie! <3

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    1. Ohhh what book, what book? Now I'm gonna stalk your GR feed and play detective :P

      You know, I always think that about books. Like, I bet if it wasn't written by THAT author, then people would hate it, but because of some 'author loyalty' or 'author goggles' (hehe) people often tend to really like books that I think are kind of crappy. I think popular authors get a bit of a pass sometimes when it comes to writing some subpar books

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  12. As a rule i don't read reviews for books that are being hyped. On twitter i get a pretty good idea of the books that everyone's hyping up so to avoid getting high expectations i avoid those reviews for those books and read those books a few months after release so i can read it without all the hype!

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    1. I get that, and that's kind of what I'm starting to do lately. I'll more just look at the star ratings of friends and then not tend to delve too deep into the reviews themselves because if I see what everyone else loves, I feel like it pressures me to love those exact parts too

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  13. The hype is evil and for the most part, I don't actually pay attention to it. I avoid reviews for overly hyped books because I think that my either distort my expectations or perhaps make me think I'll love a book even though I get the feeling that it isn't my cup of tea. It's weird though, at times, if a book is overly hyped, I'll want to read it less. It makes no sense. There are other times when I am really curious and will end up hating the book and that just makes me sad. And even other times (although rare) where I will agree with the hype. But the question is, if I liked a book before the hype.... what does that imply?? All the questions.

    I don't even know what I am talking about any more. :P

    Fantastic post, Allie!! :)

    Rashika @ The Social Potato

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    1. I feel the same! Like sometimes, if I see a book everywhere, I'll get sick of it even though I haven't even read it yet lol. Books like that I mark as 'TBR' and end up leaving for months, after all the fuss has died down, before I actually check them out.

      If you liked a book before the hype . . . YOU STARTED THE HYPE. Rashika, how could you?! ;)

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  14. Hype is absolutely, positively evil. There are so many books that get a lot of hype, and my expectations are typically raised dramatically as a result. This makes it even more disappointing when I end up not enjoying that book. I've always wondered whether my reading experience would be the same if the hype wasn't there, but I guess I'll never know. Thanks for sharing Allie, and, as always, GREAT discussion post! <3

    ~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

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    1. That's why I'm starting to wait until everything has died down before I read certain books, because then I kind of forget about all the fuss surrounding them and can go in with a clearer head, you know? Though I don't always have that kind of willpower!

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  15. I feel like with me my expectations are usually too high

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    1. I suppose we can't help that though, with most books. We want it to be good so badly, we end up jinxing it!

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  16. Sometimes I feel that my expectations get TOO high, unrealistic high, because of the hype. That is also the moment I decide to not read the book right away, because it's not fair. Sometimes I still feel underwhelmed, because it doesn't blown me away like I was promised. There have been books where it really was 'it's not for me', but I've had some I know I would have liked more without the hype.

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    1. I think the ones where they're genuinely just not a book you ever would've liked are a little worse in a way, because then you can't even blame the fact that it couldn't live up to your expectations. It's simply that this book was never going to be good in your eyes. And I hate that feeling, because it makes me feel like I'm crazy for feeling that way, especially since everyone else has had the complete opposite reaction

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  17. The hype has just lied to me today, unfortunately. I started reading We Were Liars which has a HUGE hype and that JOHN GREEN praised but I don't get it...It feels pretentious to me (the book) It's like the author is trying too hard to MAKE IT HAPPEN. To make it crawl to our skin and leave a mark on us when it's not. I don't see what's special about that book, lol but yes, hype lies all the time. Sometimes it doesn't but it depends, of course. Interesting post and very lovely new blog. Can't believe I haven't heard of it before!

    Lola @ Hit or Miss Books

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    1. I'm not one of the people that hyped that book up (don't think I've ever even mentioned it on social media) but I did actually enjoy it! Lol, sorry :P

      I do get what you mean though, about the author trying to hard to do something different, but I guess it worked for me. I mean, I saw the plot twist coming but I didn't mind it, because I thought it was executed so well :)

      And thank you! <3 I'm really glad you like the blog

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  18. Hype is literally the worst thing ever. I just had that happen to me a couple of days ago where I was SO excited about a book...I literally preordered it like six months ago and finally was able to get the chance to read it this past weekend and.......it was disappointing. I was so frustrated! I really expected to love it, but I just didn't. And I hate that sometimes it's hard to tell whether or not it's because of the hype. Maybe I really just didn't like it. Or maybe, without the hype, I would've liked it more. Who knows?! I just wish that there was so way to avoid it, but it seems like the only thing to fix it is maybe time. But sometimes it's so hard to resist reading a book for that reason when everybody and their mother seems to be dying over it.

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    1. Oh, man! A six month wait and then it was bad? #booknerdproblems

      Yeah, unfortunately there's no way to avoid hype, especially if you're a blogger, because if it's not reviews of the books, then it's people tweeting about it etc. It'll be everywhere, no matter how hard you try to stay away! And I don't think any of us are strong enough to resist buying those books ;)

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  19. There are books that because of they hype I've been let down. This happens to me mostly because I go in with this mentality that the book is going to be the best thing I ever read. Then when I start reading, and I'm disagreeing with something I feel bad/let down because I think that I'm somehow "not getting" what everyone else sees as amazing. My reading experience sours because of the hype sometimes.

    However I love the hype. Hype is awesome. It's awesome to fangirl with other people and even seeing people fangirl is fun.

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    1. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I THINK. Like, because everyone else loved it so much, I get annoyed that I haven't had the same experience, and so then I end up blaming the book :P

      Hype is definitely a good way to hear about new releases everyone's loving though, and I always get greta recommendations.

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  20. Wait a sec... YOU HATE EGGS?! But why?! Eggs are amazing! Fried, scrambled, sunny-side-up, boiled, half-boiled -- THEY TASTE DELICIOUS IN WHATEVER FORM EXCEPT RAW. Oh, Allie, you're missing out on so much. :( But *deep breaths* this isn't about eggs. I must control myself (seriously, though, go get yourself a nice, crispy egg with pepper and taste the magic). Back to the topic at hand!

    I think being disappointed by a book because the hype was so much and everyone seemed to love it has happened to every reader before. And eh, it's probably one of the worst feelings in the world, to have known that you COULD'VE enjoyed the book as much as everyone else did, but you didn't. I totally get what you mean, though. My expectations tend to be much higher (though I try to lower them to realistic heights) whenever I find a book that has loads of positive starred reviews from, like, Kirkus or Booklist, or something, and which even trusted friends liked. It's something that can't be helped, so I guess I become even more critical of it when it doesn't live up to my expectations. So yeah, I definitely think I may not have been quite as harsh had the hype not been so strong.

    Right now I can't really think of any hyped-up books that turned out to be disappointing to me... except maybe The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings? I don't know, was that book particularly hyped up? I know I was really excited for it, but it turned out to be horrible. Luckily for me, most of the hyped-up books have lived up to my expectations, like Shadow and Bone, The Fault in Our Stars (well, mostly), and The Raven Boys. I'm hoping to start The Winner's Curse soon, but I'm kind of afraid for the reasons you mentioned above. It's a book so many people seemed to love, so I'm scared that I won't feel the same way because of the hype! :S

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    1. I'M SORRY BUT THEY'RE SO BAD. I eat omelette though lol, but not plain egg omelette (because, ew), more potato or spaghetti omelettes :)
      And about the pepper . . . I can't eat pepper. I HATE THAT MORE THAN EGGS LOL.

      I've never even heard of The Murder Complex, so uhm, no, it wasn't hyped for me :P
      Ohh, The Raven Boys though! My favourite book of all-time. I kept seeing reviews of it popping up, and I was like, 'what is this?' SO glad I read it. This is a case of me seriously being indebted to the hype.

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  21. I definitely feel the same. It's different when you're going in blind, and when you already have preconceived notions and expectations of it. The latter, I could forgive the nuances and the flaws, but when there has been hype around it, of course you get to think, "Man, this book must be all kinds of special, because why else would it receive so much attention?" and then you go into it wanting to read LE BEST BOOK IN DA WORLD, only for it fall short. This was what happened to me in THE 5TH WAVE. Man, I wanted that book so, so, so much after the rave reviews left and right, and when I read it, I was so disappointed I pretty much ranted for many days about it. Ughhhhhhhh.

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. Oh, The 5th Wave. I think I got that one pretty early, so I missed the hype and went in blind and LOVED it. Maybe I'm one of the people who created the hype? Haha, sorry about that ;)

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  22. YES so much yes to this post! Hype is dangerous. I'm reading a book right now that I'm finding completely underwhelming. But based on all the reviews I've read, everyone seems to be in love with it. So were my expectations too high to start with? Maybe so.

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    1. Oh, man, that sucks :( I bet you still feel compelled to finish it though, just in case it gets awesome right at the end / so you can fully see what everyone is talking about lol

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  23. YES!!!! YES!!! YES!!! This happens to me all the time and it is awful. I had it with How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, I read that book and could not understand why it was so hyped up. I read Fangirl and just couldn't get all the fangirling at all, my mind was boggled by that. I read TFIOS and, while I found it really enjoyable, it wasn't anywhere near as sad or mind-blowing as everyone had led me to believe. I honestly do think I might have judged them less if they hadn't been so hyped up. If you hear a million times that you are about to read 'the best book ever!' then it's really disappointing when it isn't. If you had no expectations then you would probably not be as disappointed if it was just an okay read, you wouldn't have been expecting loads from it.

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    1. I never read How I Live Now! I did see the film though and it wasn't bad - have you seen it? Was it better than the book?
      I think with TFiOS I read it before a lot of other people, so I got in before the hype and therefore the only high expectation I had was that it was a John Green book.

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  24. I've pondered this question a lot myself and I tend to think it has more to do with the hype than our personal tastes. Now there's going to be books that we just can't get into because they aren't our particular brand of tea but more often than not, a book fails to impress because our expectations were so high. It's hard not to get very excited when everyone you know and trust is raving about a book and then you read it expecting fireworks but it turns out it was just a few firecrackers.

    I think after we read we tend to analyze our thoughts and feelings about the book, giving it time to grow on us. But when our emotions get involved like getting super excited about a book because your closest friends adored it then it gets messy, because now we feel betrayed and as a result we tend to act emotionally and dismiss the book without giving it time to grow on us, to sink in. I don't know, that's what I think anyway. The hype monster is one big jerk for sure! Interesting post Allie! :)

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