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.
I 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 Detour 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.
I 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.
Ok, 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!