Cavedweller by Dorothy Allison
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
Sometimes I wonder if the sophomore slump actually exists or if it's convention invented by critics that allows them to create a Hollywood-style arc for writers who manage to recover from the reviews of their second book. Or maybe there's just some unwritten rule among critics that if you jizz all over someone's first book, you have to show a little restraint the second time around.
Two cases in point are Cavedweller and The Little Friend, books that are unjustly overshadowed by their predecessors (Bastard Out Of Carolina and The Secret History, respectively), when they are, in fact, just as good.
Neither of these books got bad reviews. However, critics picked at them, sounding sort of like the princess with the pea under her mattress.
It's no big deal, I guess. It's what critics do, which is to say, hate on stuff.