Books I Wish I Never Picked Up


Louisa Snell, Opinion Editor


A writer only begins the book. A reader finished it. 

  • Samuel Johnson 


Rants of a Bookish Kid: Books I Wish I Never Picked Up


  1. Spy School Series by Stuart Gibbs


The sad thing is that I almost feel bad writing this. There was a time in sixth grade when I loved these books- and I mean I loved them. Recently, I tried to re-read a couple of the books in the Spy School series, and I’m sorry, but they were bad. Like, mind-numbing bad. The initial plot of this series is about a twelve year old boy named Ben Ripley, who gets recruited to Spy School, a private institute for kids who will become future CIA agents. Let’s start there. 

For one, that is so crazily unrealistic. A bunch of pre-teens being taken away to a CIA training school within the span of a day? And somehow tricking their parents into thinking they’re not? In Ben’s case, he lies to his parents that it’s all a recruitment to a really good science school. However, shouldn’t a kid’s parents look into this sort of thing and take some time to research the school? And I get it, I know that the whole book is fiction and it’s not going to make a bunch of sense. But at least in other middle grade fiction series- Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, etc- the main character’s guardians are always in on it, and the whole thing at least relates to their parents anyway. In this case, Ben’s parents being this oblivious to where he is just leaves a bunch of questionable loose ends.

My other issue with the series is also about lack of realism. For example, Ben, a twelve year old boy, and his partner, fifteen year old Erica Hale, somehow end up stopping the bad guys at the end of every single book. And let me tell you, these bad guys are so bad that even the top CIA agents can’t do anything about them. So it’s very questionable how Ben and Erica somehow manage to stop a huge corporation with guns, nuclear bombs, and hundreds of trained agents without, I don’t know, dying. Again, in other fiction series like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, at least the main character has something going for them- like having demigod powers or being a wizard. But Ben Ripley is just a kid who’s good at math, and states several times throughout the series that he sucks at virtually anything physical. So how in the world is he stopping these super complex evil plans every time? 

So please, spare yourself from the elementary school type writing, dry humor, and unrealistic, unentertaining plots and love triangles. The only good thing about reading this series is that you can laugh about it later.


  1. Warriors by Erin Hunter


I know that I have an unpopular opinion on this one, and that many people grew up reading Warriors and think of it as a comfort series. But if this column is going to be completely honest, all the time, I just have to say- the Warriors series is not all that it’s cracked up to be. The plotline of the books is primarily (at least the first series- yes, there’s, like, a billion series of these books) about a cat named Rusty. Rusty has been living with humans his whole life, and has dreamed of living in the wild the whole time. Because of this endless craving of his, he finally ventures out one night and long story short, he joins a clan of wild cats. And, yes, it’s as weird as it sounds.

First off, (or as Rusty would say: Fur-st off) the whole series is filled with cringe, and is honestly a pointless read. Like, some of the things the cats say and do and how they talk about humans is just generally really cringey and very uncomfortable. For example, the cats call humans “Two-Legs” and tease Rusty (who is soon renamed “Firepaw” when he joins the clan- another example of cringe) about how he grew up with them, and is seen as a “Kitty-Pet.” Their language and behavior is just… weird. As are all the books. Who would want to waste their time reading about a bunch of cats? What benefit, or lesson, are these books teaching their readers? Entertainment alone is not enough for this series, because the only entertainment I got was laughing at it. 

And if you don’t believe me yet, let me show you an excerpt at the beginning of the first book: “There was a stirring in the shadows, and from all around lithe dark shapes crept stealthily over the rocks. Unsheathed claws glinted in the moonlight. Wary eyes flashed like amber. And then, as if on a silent signal, the creatures leaped at each other, and suddenly the rocks were alive with wrestling, screeching cats.”

So… yeah. Somebody tell me that’s not just plain WEIRD.

In all, this series is generally more well written and thought out than Spy School was, but in all, it’s just the same lack of realism and overall pointlessness to the books that really brings down the enjoyment. Stay away from these books. If I could go back in time, I sure would’ve.


Come back soon for more ratings, reviews, and recommendations! 

Yours truly,


Your Local Bookish Kid