i’ve established before that Mandy and I have different tastes in literature. not drastically different, i mean, we could easily swap bookshelves for a day and no one would be bemoaning their options. but if you’ve ever witnessed a Princess War, then you know we have no problem squashing the other’s book fantasies.
with, like, a ton of apologies because we’re big softies.
i spotted the tier ranking activity on BookTube and thought, what better way to 1) show how Mandy and i differ on book opinions but also sometimes surprise ourselves and 2) test our 9 year friendship?
finding reads we have in common
our thoughts as we tier rank our books
SHA: this is so hard. i don’t know where to start! i love a lot of these reads for different reasons, and there’s something uniquely different about rating an individual book compared to stacking books against each other.
MANDY: The first round of picks went super easy for me, but then thinking back to my ratings, I got confused, because I was putting books that I thought were good in my bottom row, which didn’t make any sense? But I maybe should just go with my gut reaction???
our completed boards
sha is embarrassed to say that she read a title wrong and BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY should be in “A”
breaking down our tier rankings
to clarify, i (sha) wanted to make unique categories for each tier but couldn’t figure out how to name them with the site i used SO this is very simple, A is highest and D is lowest
✨ The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, The Summer I Became a Nerd, & The Lightning Thief
SHA: I was captivated for every. single. second. of TDDoEF. That one wasn’t even a question for me. And anything Rick Riordan touches is golden. I did hover between A and B for The Summer I Became a Nerd, even now i’m a little bit “am I certain?” It could definitely be a B.
MANDY: I love these books forever and always. Only the first two are on my official favorites shelf (and will stay there forever), but The Lighting Thief is an amazing edition to the series. I didn’t read it until more recently, and while it isn’t quite my favorite book in the series, it’s still amazing and deserves all the top spots.
✨ The Kingdom and Courting Darkness
SHA: I was in love with so many moments in The Kingdom but that ending!! Is there even going to be a sequel? I feel like too much was left hanging and now I’m just a confused mess. At least it wasn’t nearly as confusing as Courting Darkness, which *also* had a kind of abusive protag? Which is why I had to drop it into C.
MANDY: It’s a total disappointment for me that a book in a series that Sha and I love so so much—Courting Darkness—ended up in that same shot for both of us.
✨ The Fault in Our Stars
MANDY: Don’t hate me, y’all, but TFioS wasn’t my jam back when I first read it. I felt like I had to like it because my friend did, and ended up thinking it was just okay. Not sure it’s worthy of the “D” slot exactly, but there were a lot of issues for me.
SHA: I sobbed when I read TFioS for the first time. Sadly, it didn’t age well for me.
✨ Shade, The Girl in the Blue Coat, and Romanov
SHA: One of my first “buddy reads” with Mandy, Shade has so much nostalgia feels for me. It’s A on that alone. TGitBC breaks my heart over and over for the friendships and absolute tragedies it tells.
MANDY: I really enjoyed TGitBC, but there were a few things that just kept me from giving it top billing. Still a very good book! Okay, Shade was amazing all those years ago, and it’s one of those books that I love because Sha and I read
SHA: I don’t want to go into my absolute devastation when Mandy shunned Romanov after I recommended it to her… but it’s a B slot for me for its raw depictions of the trials the Romanov family go through. I didn’t enjoy the fantasy element as much, however.
MANDY: I was crushed when Sha recommended Romanov, but it ended up not being my jam. Romanov’s audiobook had me snoozing despite Sha’s amazing hype and my love for the movie. I wanted all the fire, but I just couldn’t connect.
✨ The Beautiful and One of Us is Lying
SHA: Books don’t succeed for me when 1) I can’t follow what is happening and/or 2) I’m offended by something. That was the case for these two books. I tried so hard to get into The Beautiful. I stopped after 100 pages and re-read from the start. But I couldn’t get into the story. It hurts me to say this because I adore Ahdieh’s writing so much. It just wasn’t it for me, this time.
MANDY: I was shocked that I put an Ahdieh higher on my tier than Sha did. I agree with a lot of what Sha said, but the atmosphere and the mood really saved it for me enough to put it on my C spot.
SHA: OoUiL had scenes that bothered me, so simple enough, I put it in my lowest tier.
MANDY: I adored the book when I first read it, but after talking about the book when Sha read it, I couldn’t get the same love for it up there but since I haven’t reread I couldn’t discredit that high rating entirely…so B slot for me.
✨ Six of Crows and They Both Die at the End
SHA: As much as I love every technical element in SoC, I missed some of the emotional connection with it. It had a top spot and I ended up switching it back with The Summer I Became a Nerd, because I’m way more likely to re-read the latter.
MANDY: Is it my turn to drop some truths like Sha? I actually had SoC in B as well. It’s considered one of my favorite books of all time, but I just couldn’t get my excitement up for it when I was picking the books for my tiers. I stuck it back up as Sha said because I feel like I had to put it up there too.
SHA: Mandy called me out for putting TBDatE in my B slot and I mean, fair. I like the general concept, but the execution was not there for me. I felt the story needed more “showing” of the characters’ emotions, especially for the topics addressed. Still, it’s a very original piece and I was like, why not B?
MANDY: Like, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything that sticks with me after the fact.
✨ Cinder and Between Shades of Gray
SHA: Much love for Cinder, it’s the first book in my favourite sci-fi series, but I also haven’t read it in SO LONG I literally forgot 80% of the plot. Hence its position. And I misread the title on BSoG which is the only reason it’s not in A slot where it belongs. I cried three separate times reading that book. Mandy is not forgiven for her ranking but also, forgiven because people can have different opinions.
MANDY: I always thought Cinder wasn’t a jam, but after a reread, it became one of my favorite ones of the series. I love it muchly, so it has to be to the top. I liked Between, but it didn’t linger enough for me enough for top level.
What are your thoughts? How would you rank these books?