guessing books based on their one star reviews

I saw this video of Merphy Napier guessing books based on their one star reviews recommended on my YouTube feed, and I thought it sounded like a fun idea. I made a list of a bunch of popular YA/adult books I’ve read, and I forced asked my sister to compile 10 one-star reviews. Thank you to my sister for gathering these for me (and blurring out any character names and the title of the book if it’s mentioned) and enabling me to do silly things on the internet XD

If you’d like to play along, make a list from 1-10 and see how many you can guess correctly (the answers will be revealed at the end)!

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review #1

One thing I love about being in the online bookish community is that I’m always learning new vocabulary. I have never heard of someone using the word “sophomoric” (which means childish) before. Focusing back on the review, they say something about identity, politics, and culture. The only books I can think of that focuses on those things are The Hate U Give, Dear Martin, and Felix Ever After.

FINAL GUESS: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

review #2

This could literally be any of the YA fantasy books I’ve read. I was thinking maybe it’s talking about We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (because it’s inspired by The Hunger Games), but the main female character isn’t known to be a killer. Skilled hunter? Yes. Ruthless killer? No. Plus, there are a few adults present.

I was also thinking of Throne of Glass, but the main character is trained in combat.

This is a tough one…

FINAL GUESS: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

review #3

My sister decided to troll me with this review XD Thankfully she sent a different one for the same book so that I have something more than just “eh” to work off of.

My guess for this one is probably An Ember in the Ashes. If there is a group of people who are in a really unfortunate situation, it would be the characters in that series. Then again, We Hunt the Flames by Hafsah Faizal also has some depressing circumstances….

FINAL GUESS: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

review #4

At first I thought that this was talking about Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, but seeing that there is West African mythology involved, I’m 99% sure this review is for Children of Blood and Bone.

FINAL GUESS: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

review #5

Ok. There are a few clues here:
– the mother of the protagonist is weak
– there are demons (so it’s a fantasy book)
– something about cutting off a body part

I don’t remember many books I’ve read mentioning cutting off body parts, but maybe it’s Kingdom of the Wicked? If I remember correctly, there is a killer running rampant ripping out their victims’ hearts, and the main character is trying to find the killer with the help of a demon prince. I can’t think of any other book that would involve the separation of body parts other than that. Also, I don’t remember a lot about the mother in that book, but I know that she’s alive, which is more than I can say for a lot of YA fantasy books.

FINAL GUESS: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

review #6

Hmmm… historical fantasy… smarmy love interest… vampire world… this has to be The Beautiful! (If it’s not, then I have no idea which one this is)

[A little off topic, but flummoxed is such a great word. I need to use it more often!]

FINAL GUESS: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

review #7

I’m lost on this one. The review says this book is dark and gory, has both a female and male lead, and the world is trying to tear the two apart.

FINAL GUESS: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

review #8

The fact this reviewer says that it’s an “overtold story” makes me think of retellings. The only books I remember writing on the list are Cinder (Cinderella retelling), These Violent Delights (Romeo & Juliet), Spin the Dawn (Mulan), and A Court of Thorns and Roses (Hades & Persephone/Beauty and the Beast). I personally don’t consider ACOTAR a YA book, but I know there are some people who do, so I can’t rule that one out.

My guess was going to be TVD, but I just realized this review was written in 2018. I’m pretty sure TVD was published recently (2020, maybe?), so that can’t be the answer. This is a shot in the dark but my guess is…

FINAL GUESS: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

review #9

When I was initially reading through these reviews, I had no clue which book this person was talking about. A few hours later, it hit me. It’s about a character who is invisible, and the story jumps from past to present. It has to be…

FINAL GUESS: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

review #10

This review was MUCH longer than this. I cropped out most of it because I think the second paragraph gives it away. If you know, you know.

FINAL GUESS: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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answer key

click to reveal the answers

1. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

3. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

4. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

5. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

6. From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

7. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

9. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

10. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Red White and Royal Blue Casey McQuistonSix of Crows Leigh More Happy Than Not (9781616956776): Silvera, Adam: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha, 1)  (9781250170972): Adeyemi, Tomi: BooksGods of Jade and Shadow: Moreno-Garcia, Silvia: 9780525620754:  BooksFrom Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash Series): Armentrout, Jennifer L.:  9781952457005: Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles (The Lunar Chronicles,  1) (9781250768889): Meyer, Marissa: BooksThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab book The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1) (9780316310314):  Black, Holly: Books

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Which ones did I get right?

my answers:

  1. Felix Ever After ❌
  2. Six of Crows ✅
  3. An Ember in the Ashes ❌
  4. Children of Blood and Bone ✅
  5. Kingdom of the Wicked ❌
  6. The Beautiful ❌
  7. These Violent Delights ❌
  8. Cinder ✅
  9. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue ✅
  10. The Cruel Prince ✅

I got 5/10 correct.

You know what? I’m happy with 50%. Surprisingly, some of the guesses I was confident about were wrong, and some of the reviews I just randomly guessed on, I got right.

What were your guesses?
How many did you get right?
Let me know in the comments or tag me in your post!

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Stay awkward and amazing!

8 thoughts on “guessing books based on their one star reviews

  1. M @ Inking & Thinking 08/07/2021 / 9:14 am

    Lovely post! I love reading your guessing strategies and trying to figure out which one pairs with what book. I also tried guessing along with you put I wasn’t so successful haha

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elsie LMC 08/08/2021 / 6:27 pm

    I fear I wouldn’t guess any books right through reviews even if I’d read them all 😑🤣, it was so interesting reading your thoughts as to why you came up with your answers and how you got 50% right, that’s dedication! This was such a cool post and I enjoyed it ✨💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Drover 08/09/2021 / 10:00 am

    This was so much fun to read! I literally had no clue about any of them except The Cruel Prince, but it was really interesting to read your reasons and see which ones these actually were!

    Liked by 1 person

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