Discussion Time! | Is It Okay to Dislike a Diverse Book?

Discussion: Diverse Books

I was inspired to write this post by a conversation I had earlier. I was discussing how I had quite a few books on my shelf that I simply wasn’t interested in reading anymore. One of them in particular – The Flame in the Mist. I mentioned how I support its message, and the fact it’s diverse, but I’m just not interested in reading it. Which brought me on to an important topic: Is it okay to dislike a book even if you support its existence?

This particular matter has made me conflicted on plenty of ocassions. It’s actually behind my decision to not rate books I DNF. The first book I DNF’d since joining Goodreads was The Hate U Give. I didn’t want people to think I was against a book about the Black Lives Matter movement, or lower the rating of a book when I support its message and want to see it reach other people and be successful. I just didn’t personally enjoy it – that is not a bad thing. But is it bad that I felt unable to give it a low rating just because it’s diverse? Are we placing these books on a pedestal and not judging them fairly?

I feel like lately there’s become this unspoken rule that “diverse” automatically means “good”. And in one way that’s true – that these books exist, that more and more diverse titles are being released through mainstream publishing and getting recognition is a good thing. It’s a sign of positive change. But that doesn’t instantly signify that these books are good quality.

So why shouldn’t I give a low rating to a book, just because it covers an important issue? I’m pretty sure no one wants their book to be published just because it’s diverse – they want it to be published because it’s good. Getting their diverse story into the market is a bonus. And along the same vein, I’m sure they don’t want their book to only get good reviews just because it’s diverse – they want good reviews because people actually enjoyed the book.

So – what do you think? If you thought a book was important would you still be comfortable giving it one star? Is it better to forgo leaving a rating or risk making someone else uncomfortable?

Abi Signature on Paint Stroke

9 thoughts on “Discussion Time! | Is It Okay to Dislike a Diverse Book?

  1. I personally believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion. It is okay not to like a diverse book. If it is poorly written or the subject matter was not handled in the correct way. But the problem I find is if you dislike it because of the diverse ness of it. So if you were to say you dislike the book because the main character was a plus size girl or a Muslim then I think there would be an issue. But if you are looking at it that way for a reason that is about how it was executed then, yes. You can dislike a diverse book

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing your take on it! ❤️ I’ve asked the same question on Goodreads and the response has been overwhelmingly similar to yours – as long as it’s the execution you’re against, not the idea, then it’s totally justified.


  2. This is such an interesting discussion!! I definitely think it’s important to promote books with diversity, but at the same time, it isn’t fair to anyone to give books extra points JUST because of diversity. If it covers an important issue or represents marginalized identities but you don’t find yourself connecting to the characters or writing style, I think that’s totally fine. One possible solution is to look for other books with similar issues/representation that you might enjoy more, so you’re still supporting those things. For example, if you didn’t like THUG, try other books that deal with police brutality like Dear Martin or Anger Is a Gift! I know I always feel bad when I don’t like a book that has a lot of diversity, but I think it’s more important to just honestly say how we feel about books. Besides, just because I don’t like a book doesn’t mean others won’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve definitely noticed the same tendency to equate diverse with good. Ideally, it would be great if the book was both. I think ratings reflect our opinions on the book as a whole, not just on the message, so if the book didn’t work for you for whatever reason, you should rate it accordingly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I definitely feel kind of bad whenever I give a low rating to a book with diversity, since it’s so important to support diversity and give voices to marginalized groups, but at the end of the day, a book should be judged for being a good book, not just for being diverse, and if a book has terrible worldbuilding, horribly unlikable characters, bad writing, or any other thing I give books low ratings for, then I think it’s only fair to give it a low rating. I often make note of the diversity in a book with a short paragraph in my review before destroying it in the rest of my rant review lol

    Liked by 1 person

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