It’s Not Me, It’s You: 2014 DNF’s

Posted October 8, 2014 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Bookish Thoughts / 22 Comments

As an avid reader and blogger, I really hate not finishing books. I definitely tend to feel a sense of guilt, and hate returning books unread to the library, knowing that I was holding them hostage from people who actually will read them. Yet I’ve also come into the mentality over my past nine months of blogging that life is just too short, and my TBR list is just too long, to justify reading books that I just really don’t click with. This can be especially daunting when the books are popular ones that you want to read because everyone else is raving about them, or that you want to feature on your blog because they are so highly anticipated. So far in 2014, I’ve come across some popular books that I had to break up with because, like a boring date, just weren’t able to hold my attention long enough to keep turning the page.

alltheboysI really, really wanted to like this book. I had heard so many good reviews and I thought the premise was super interesting, because who wouldn’t be mortified if their cathartic letters written in privacy, laying it all out for their exes, were mailed? Honestly though, this was the DNF this year that I put down the fastest (I think I only got about twenty pages in, if that). I could not stand the narrator’s voice. She’s supposed to be sixteen, but I felt like I was reading a ten-year-old’s inner monologue. The second the book introduced her alternative, stereotypical bad influence best friend from her childhood who referred to everyone as a “beyotch,” I was so done. I was really bummed about this too, because I haven’t read anything by Jenny Han before, and am not sure if her other novels have a more mature tone.

I was actually surprised this book didn’t hold my interest, as I read both Amy & Roger’s Epic sinceyou'vebeengoneDetour and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson this summer and enjoyed them. This book is long, and I had read a lot of contemporary recently when I picked it up, so to be fair I could’ve been a little burnt out on the genre. Yet I just found the protagonist to be hopelessly average and ordinary, and her lack of agency and her dependence on defining herself by her relationship with her best friend irked me (although I’m sure she probably went through a lot of personal growth in the book). I feel like I did give this title a fair shot- over a hundred pages. I just really couldn’t get into it. I will say though that I’d be willing to pick it up and try again at a later time, because I enjoy Matson.

hungryI was SO excited to read this dystopian because it was the first ARC I had ever received, via a Goodreads giveaway. I took notes, littered the pages with post-its, and was so excited to write my first ARC review. Alas, after about a hundred pages I couldn’t take the ridiculousness of it anymore. The book has some really interesting underlying themes, such as how the world could change if we could eliminate the need for food, and if this change would be for the better or for the worse. It’s a really important and intriguing question, seeing as world hunger is SUCH an issue. Yet despite the topic the book had too many quirky, ridiculous elements (the main character’s last name is Apple) and fell into some definitely generic dystopian tropes that didn’t really seem necessary to the plot (such as the youth all being obsessed with technologies and virtual realities). It was hard to take seriously. And it made me feel guilty because I’m usually very dedicated to reading and reviewing ARCs since I’m so grateful to receive them.

thegatheringOk, so this book wasn’t published in 2014 but I was excited to start this series a few months ago because I loved Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers Trilogy. I heard those characters made cameos in this series, and I liked her paranormal writing style. However, it was really hard for me to get into this one, and I think it was partially due to the younger age of the characters (around fifteen and very early high school) where the characters in her other series were either a bit older or had come from harder circumstances that made them more mature. After about fifty pages I gave up and decided I would just have to stick with rereading her previous trilogy.

Have you read and enjoyed any of these books or were they DNFs for you too? Do you DNF books or does guilt and obligation keep you finishing them? Let me know in the comments!

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22 responses to “It’s Not Me, It’s You: 2014 DNF’s

  1. I believe my heart just broke seeing the first two books on this list. I agree with you about To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the narrator had a really childish voice which made her sound she was more like 14 than 17. It was annoying. I found some of the background characters fascinating though, Peter and Kitty especially. I loved their scenes together… I feel like I was expecting more to this book, the girl (I can’t even remember her name, that’s not good…) has her letters sent out and there’s not much consequence. It’s not even a huge deal after 50 pages, the mc is the one that creates this big giant thing for no real reason. Do you mind spoilers? I don’t even know if you’re interested but…I talk a lot so…

    I got excited for Since You’ve Been Gone around the same time I saw TATBILB in Barnes and Noble. I’m sorry you didn’t care for it too much. I haven’t even read it yet and I don’t think I will for a while (due to my TBR line up).

    • No I don’t mind spoilers! That’s disappointing though, the whole ideas of the letters was what really convinced me to pick up this book, but it looks like they weren’t really the central plot point!

      • Well basically, one of her crushes ends up being Josh (Margot, the older sister’s boyfriend, who she breaks up with), who asks her about in the hallway, she freaks out, tells him she has a boyfriend. Then later ends up kissing this guy named Peter (Best friend’s cousin’s ex/crush/whatever), they decide to have a “fake” relationship, which of course leads to a real relationship. But she’s unsure he likes her even though it’s a tad obvious throughout the book and yeah…

        The other letters that were sent out were no big deal, it’s mainly just the one that gets sent to Josh that really takes over the book which really has no repercussions for the main character…other than a fake relationship/to-be real relationship. I can gladly say there’s no love triangle though because her feelings for Peter are clear.

        There’s supposed to be a sequel, which is well welcomed in my book because that ending, ugh.

        • See that just doesn’t seem compelling to me because it’s so different then how the book was initially marketed *sigh* But I’m glad you enjoyed it! Have you read anything else by Jenny Han?

          • I know! I was really upset, I thought the letters were going to be a focal point and we’d see how it all played out, but no. Ugh. It’s so disappointing. Not to mention, I’m not fond of fake relationships because the “couple” always gets attached. Always.

            I haven’t read anything else by her, but I have the first two books of her and Siobhan Vivian’s Burn For Burn series. I’m interested in her other series too but have yet to read it.

  2. Damn, I’m sad to see The Gathering on here! I remember loving The Darkest Powers trilogy when I read it a few years ago, I raced though those books at lighting speed. They were so addictive! I have yet to pick up the follow on trilogy but I own all the books. I love Kelley’s writing style so hopefully I will get on with them. 🙂

    As for my DNF books, I don’t have any from this year. I’m one of those people who tends to stick with a book, especially because they’re usually ones I’ve paid for. I wish I could DNF the House of Night series *sigh*.

    • The Darkest Powers trilogy was AMAZING. I LOVED the mc’s power of necromancy, it was so different for YA paranormal! I’ve definitely become more picky with which books I buy because I HATE DNF-ing a book I spent money on, and I end up reselling it for way less than I purchased. I’ve found blogging helps a lot with this problem though since I can read a lot of reviews and then carefully compile my list of what I buy vs what I borrow from the library. Also, I feel your pain with HON! I have like the first 7 books plus the fledgeling handbook, but I can’t bring myself to finish the series because the last few books I read in it were so ridiculous, yet I can’t bare to give them away because I REALLY liked the first four books!

  3. I try my best to finish all the books that I start, but there comes a point where I find myself avoiding reading and books in favour of anything else and I know that I need to just stop reading that book and pick something up. I think the only book so far this year that has given me problems was City of Bones. I didn’t think I was going to finish it – it took a fair few months lol.
    A few of these books were on my to-read list, so now I’m going to be extra cautious before I pick them up…especially if there is narration issues (aka an annoying narrator). That is one thing I cannot stand in a book!

    • How did you end up liking City of Bones? Are you continuing on the The Mortal Instruments series? And granted, this was just my opinion of these books, I know a lot of people who liked them! But I just personally had a hard time with the narrators and that’s always a hard thing for me, especially since so much YA is written in first person.

      • I…hated City of Bones lol. I’ve heard from so many people that the series gets better and I do own most of the books, but I don’t know. I’ll probably pick them up again at some point just not quite yet…

  4. I feel exactly the same way! Especially when I don’t like a popular book that everyone else seems to like. I wind up scratching my head and wondering what’s wrong with me. I think my biggest disappointment this year was Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes. I have been a devoted fan of his since I was a teenager, but I couldn’t stand this book. And I wound up reading the whole thing because I kept hoping it would get better. And to make matters worse, it’s only the first in a trilogy and I know I’m going to be weak and at least try the second book. Sigh. 🙁

    • Oh no! I’ve seen that book so heavily advertised (it sounded a bit like American Psycho to me) but I find that oftentimes I tend to like authors’ older works, they seem “fresher.” This happened to me with Jodi Picoult, I owned and read ALLL of her books as a teen but found myself straying and not enjoying her more recent books quite as much.

  5. I know what you mean, I hardly ever give up on a book, I usually just put it to the side for a while if I can’t read it right now. I haven’t read any of those books, but I think I’d stop reading them too. I haven’t given up on an arc yet, but I’ve been fairly lucky with my requests so far.

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