Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books That Lived Up To The Hype

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

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Hello lovely booklovers! Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This is a fun one I think because I love it when a book that has been super hyped up really lives up to my expectations. I think this is because so often a book fails to reach the heights of it’s own hype and I find that really disappointing so I’m always so happy when the book really is as good as everyone claims! I’ve tried to pick some books that I don’t always put in these lists because I don’t want to be too repetitive which did make it slightly harder but there were some I couldn’t help but pop in even if I do talk about them too much! Here are my ten picks for Popular Books That Lived Up To The Hype.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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Summary: from Amazon

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Why:

I had seen adaptions of Pride and Prejudice before I ever read the book and I honestly just didn’t know if there was much point in reading it because I knew what happened and how it happened from the adaptions. However the book is so well loved and has so much hype even now so I had to give it a shot and I absolutely LOVED it. No film/theatre/TV adaption could ever encapsulate the wit in Austen’s original novel and I am so glad I read it. It totally lived up to it’s hype.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Summary: from Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Why:

The Hate U Give was literally everywhere when it was released. It had so much hype surrounding it and so many people claiming it to be of the utmost importance that everyone read it. I did not love THUG quite as much as a lot of others do but I did think it was fantastic and very much lived up to it’s sky high hype! The story is well told and the characters are great – I do think it is a book that most people will benefit from reading and the message it contains is incredibly important. It was impossible for the book to completely live up to my expectations which were probably unrealistically high but it honestly came very close so it has to be on this list!

3. What Happened by Hillary Clinton

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Summary: from Amazon

For the first time, Hillary Rodham Clinton reveals what she was thinking and feeling during one of the most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections in history. Now free from the constraints of running, Hillary takes you inside the intense personal experience of becoming the first woman nominated for president by a major party in an election marked by rage, sexism, exhilarating highs and infuriating lows, stranger-than-fiction twists, Russian interference and an opponent who broke all the rules. This is her most personal memoir yet.

In these pages, she describes what it was like to run against Donald Trump, the mistakes she made, how she has coped with a shocking and devastating loss, and how she found the strength to pick herself back up afterwards. With humour and candour, she tells readers what it took to get back on her feet – the rituals, relationships and reading that got her through, and what the experience has taught her about life. She speaks about the challenges of being a strong woman in the public eye, the criticism over her voice, age and appearance, and the double standard confronting women in politics.

She lays out how the 2016 election was marked by an unprecedented assault on democracy by a foreign adversary. By analysing the evidence and connecting the dots, Hillary shows just how dangerous the forces are that shaped the outcome, and why Americans need to understand them to protect their values and democracy in the future.

Why:

Anything surrounding the election in 2016 was all over the news even here in Scotland so I was following the insanity pretty closely. I remember all the hype surrounding Hillary’s book being released so I was intrigued to read it. I liked Hillary Clinton but honestly I may have just liked her more because she wasn’t Trump! I didn’t feel like I got to know that much about what she is really like during the election campaign but I really felt like this book told me so much more about the person she is. My respect for her grew through reading What Happened and I think it did live up to the hype – for me anyway!

4. The Dry by Jane Harper

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Summary: from Amazon

WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.
Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.
Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.

Why:

The Dry had so much hype surrounding it’s release and had won a whole bunch of awards which always increases reader expectations. It was billed as being the thriller of the year by quite a few notable sources and I think it completely lived up to that. It is an intense, atmospheric and well written story with such a strong sense of setting. The book was one of my favourites of 2017 so I think it’s safe to say it lived up to the hype.

5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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Summary: from Amazon

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town – and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost…

Why:

There was so much love for Little Fires Everywhere on it’s release, it had glowing reviews and endorsements from celebrities and authors alike. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it really and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. This book isn’t full of heart stopping action or fast paced plotting but it is a fascinating look at a community and how they react to the events that take place. I thought the characters were beautifully written and complex and I thought the ending was cleverly done. Overall, just a great book that definitely lived up to the hype.

6. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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Summary: from Amazon

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their centre of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.

Why:

A Little Life was the recipient of a great deal of acclaim and was shortlisted for prestigious prizes like the Man Booker Prize. This book also had so many reviewers talking about how devastating it is to read so my expectations were pretty high and I was also slightly sceptical. However, A Little Life is every bit as amazing, devastating and earth-shattering as everyone says it is. Reading it was a pretty difficult and emotional experience but it was worth it because it is a book I think I’ll remember forever. It lived up to the hype and then some.

7. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark by Michelle McNamara

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Summary: from Amazon

‘You’ll be silent forever, and I’ll be gone in the dark.’
For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.
Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called the Golden State Killer. Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death – offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Framed by an introduction by Gillian Flynn and an afterword by her husband, Patton Oswalt, the book was completed by Michelle’s lead researcher and a close colleague. Utterly original and compelling, it is destined to become a true crime classic – and may at last unmask the Golden State Killer.

Why:

There was so much press coverage and interest in the release of this book partly because of the sensational nature of the book’s subject and also because of the incredibly sad death of the author before she could finish the book. I went into the book with zero knowledge of the case it involves, so I found the story even more shocking and scary because I was hearing it for the first time. The book was finished and put together by people very close to McNamara and they have done a great job completing her fantastic work which she had clearly put a superhuman effort into. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark had a lot of hype and it totally deserved it in my opinion.

8. Tangerine by Christine Mangan

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Summary: from Amazon

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends – once inseparable roommates – haven’t spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice – she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Why:

I had heard about Tangerine quite a while before I read it and the reviews were really promising so I was definitely interested in reading it. It was likened to books like The Talented Mr Ripley which is pretty high praise and I felt it was every bit as good as I was hoping it would be. Super atmospheric and evocative of the time period and setting, plus a really fascinating story. Overall just a very good book that I think lives up to it’s hype.

9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Summary: from Amazon

From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she’s an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t know glare at her. No one knows why she called the police, and she can’t get out the words to explain. So she retreats into her head, determined not to think about it. But, try as she might, it just won’t go away…

Why:

I’ve known about Speak for years and it seems to be one of the most loved and treasured books about a very dark and timely subject. I’ve read so many articles that cite Speak as one of the most important books for young adults and even though it’s been out for years it still retains so much affection from it’s fans. I read it, finally, just last year and it was honestly so well done. It is a really important book and written in a fantastic way. It definitely lives up to the praise it receives in my opinion.

10. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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Summary: from Amazon

Love isn’t an exact science – but no one told Don Tillman. A thirty-nine-year-old geneticist, Don’s never had a second date. So he devises the Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie – ‘the world’s most incompatible woman’ – throwing Don’s safe, ordered life into chaos. But what is this unsettling, alien emotion he’s feeling?

Why:

I remember The Rosie Project having quite a lot of hype surrounding it and it was a huge commercial success. I was kind of unsure at first about whether it was my kind of book as I really don’t read much romance at all but I’m so glad I did give The Rosie Project a chance because it was so good. It was fresh, funny and so relatable. For me it really lived up to it’s hype and I remember it very fondly. I haven’t read the sequel because I didn’t think it needed one and I don’t want to tarnish my good thoughts about The Rosie Project itself!

Thank you so much for reading and please comment with your thoughts on my choices and link to your own TTT! Happy reading everyone!

43 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Books That Lived Up To The Hype

  1. Jessie says:

    Lovely list! I completely agree about P & P, THUG, Speak, and The Rosie Project. I’m currently reading Little Fires Everywhere and I can already tell it will live up to the hype too. Can’t wait to read Tangerine and really want to finish the audiobook of What Happened soon (it’s been too painful so far).

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you’re liking Little Fires Everywhere so far and I really hope you love Tangerine too! I can totally understand why reading What Happened would be painful but hopefully you can finish it soon! 😊💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. TurningThePages says:

    I still need to read Pride and Prejudice! I love the movie adaptation. I also want to read The Dry by Jane Harper. I have been wanting to read A Little Life by Hanya Yanahigara, too. There are so many books on my TBR lol. I read Little Fires Everywhere towards the beginning of this year and absolutely loved it. Great selections! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mahimawrites says:

    I know how you feel about reading the sequel to The Rosie Project! Also can I just say that your photographs are exquisite I love them so much! There’s so many on this list that I would love to read – definitely a testimony to the hype these books have so I’m glad that they live up to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. literacious says:

    I’ve never read Speak, but I really feel I have to, especially now that it’s on your list, plus I’ve seen and and heard great things about Little Fires Everywhere, so that’s going to have to move up my list!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bookmuffin says:

    The Hate You Give and The Rosie Project almost made my list this week, but unfortunately THUG wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be… bit of an unpopular opinion! I never managed to get through A Little Life, but I do really want to try it again, but I’d probably have to start from the beginning again, I did really enjoy what I read though but it got a bit too much for me at the time. Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      I can completely understand being a bit letdown by THUG. I did think it was great and it lived up to the hype for me but not quite as unbelievably good as everyone else seemed to think it was! A Little Life is such an intense read – I was kind of in a haze after finishing it because it was just so much emotion but still so good – I hope you can go back to it at some point 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anne@Headfullofbooks says:

    Hi Christine—I am your comment partner for the the month. I hope we enjoy getting to know one another through our blogs! Here is a bit about me:
    – I usually participate in Top Ten Tuesday, too, though I’ve been doing it for so long that I find a lot of the topic redundant. I always look forward to Freebie weeks where I can choose a topic.
    – I am a retired high school librarian. I am still reading a lot of YA lit, though that number is down compared to when I was working.
    – Last year I was a judge to the Cybils, judging first round for Junior high/High School nonfiction books. I found that very rewarding.
    – I also like to read award books, especially Printz Award and the Pulitzer Prize winners.
    – I am also a member of the Classics Club and participate in their SPIN events. They just announced another SPIN yesterday and my book is The Name of the Rose by Eco. I have to pop down to the library to pick up their copy today to get started.
    – I like to listen to audiobooks and always have at least one going. Right now I am listening to ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE which is a reread for me.
    – I am a member of two book clubs, both are made up of all women. I love to discuss books.
    I look forward to hearing from you soon!
    – Anne at https://headfullofbooks.blogspot.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      Hi Anne!
      I’m excited to get to know you too! This is the first time I’ve taken apart in this but it sounds really fun! 😊 Thank you for telling me a bit about you, it sounds like you’re part of so many great book related activities. It’s so lovely that you were a high school librarian – you must have so much knowledge gained from doing such an interesting job! Your blog looks really great – I’m going to have a proper look through it and read some of your posts later tonight! I think it’s really nice that you’re in a couple of book clubs – I’m in a couple through the litsy app where we annotate books and then send them on until we get our original books back but I wish I was in a real life one! I love discussing books too. 😊 I’ll tell you a bit about me:
      – I started my blog in January and started doing Top Ten Tuesday soon after. Since I’ve not been doing it too long the topics are mostly different enough for me to not repeat too much. It is hard though because often the same books are applicable for multiple topics!
      – I am 26 and a costume design student but I’ve been off sick because of a chronic pain problem for two years now sadly – hoping to go back part time soon though!
      – I will read any genre really except romance and really terrifying horror. I read a lot of thrillers and crime fiction and like you I do like to read award books because I’m always interested in whether they live up to the praise. I have been reading quite a few YA books recently which has been fun as for a while it wasn’t a genre I read a lot of!
      – I love audiobooks as well and like you I always have one on the go, at the moment it’s Night Road by Kristin Hannah. I also like podcasts, especially book related ones!
      – The Classics Club sounds really fun, are you a big fan of classics? I really love some but struggle to enjoy quite a few of them.
      – I’m currently reading Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter, what are you reading at the moment?
      So nice to hear from you and looking forward to reading all your great posts. This is my blog email if you ever want to get in touch: lifewithallthebooks@outlook.com 😊
      Christine x

      Like

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