DNFed Fictions (1)

Back in the day, I felt like I had to review absolutely every review copy, even if I hated it from page one. I only DNFed in the most dire of circumstances. I’m finally getting over that, in a rather big way. I just don’t have the patience or the time to read books that bore me or that I’m going to hate. Well, okay, sometimes the latter are hugely entertaining in a hilaribad way, but mostly I don’t want to spend my time that way. I’ve been DNFing left and right over the last few months. I’ve been putting these in my monthly round ups, but they’re getting so extensive that I want to do an actual post about them now.

This is going to be a long one, because, with the pile of BEA books, I’ve been DNFing a lot. Take me word for what it’s worth, which in a lot of cases isn’t much. I often DNF on gut instinct/other reviews. I like to give things at least a try, but if it doesn’t grab me, I DNF quickly. It doesn’t mean the books are without merit and I might even come back to some of them someday.

In future, I’ll try to do a round up of DNFs every four or five books so it’s not so overwhelming. O_O

August DNFs

Let's Get Lost - Adi AlsaidLet’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Pages Read: 21

Why I DNFed: I am by no means the authority on this book and I’m sure plenty of people will love it. From what I read and the research I did prior to DNFing, I think it’s very John Green, but the John Green of the novels I didn’t much care for (Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns). If you loved those, you probably want Alsaid’s debut.

That said, I bowed out after one chapter of the first perspective. WHY?

“He only allowed himself a quick glance at her, knowing as soon as he saw her that she was the kind of girl who could make you think your life was not complete unless she was in it. She was a jumble of contradictions: short but with long legs, fierce green eyes but a kind expression, baby-faced but wise.”

“He meant to bury himself in work right away, but against instinct he stole another glance. How long would the memory of her face haunt him? Days? Weeks?”

“…slipping her hands into the back pockets of her shorts, which made her posture change in a way Hudson couldn’t help but notice. The quiet world outside the garage noticed the change in her posture, the damp Mississippi air noticed, even the various grease stains spread out on the garage floor noticed.”

“Weeks, he thought to himself. I’ll be thinking about that face for weeks.”

“Usually, no matter what distractions there were around, he could shut everything out and delve into his work. It was the same with studying at the library; friends could come by to tease him, cute girls from his class could take a seat and try to engage in conversation, but Hudson never let himself be swayed.

But there was something about this girl that made him want to hear her opinions on everything, hear about her day, tell her about his own.”

“The girl turned to him, an eyebrow arched, containing a smile by biting her bottom lip.”

“What had driven him to make such a silly comment, he couldn’t say, nor could he explain why it had felt so good when she called him a dork.”

“She gave him a smile and then turned to look out the garage, her eyes narrowed by the glare of the sun. Hudson wondered if he’d ever been so captivated by watching someone stare out into the distance. Even with the pretty girls he’s halfheartedly pursued, Kate and Suzanne and Ella, Hudson couldn’t remember being so unable to look away.”

“The girl hadn’t just let him ramble on; she’d known exactly what he meant. No one, not even Hudson’s dad, had ever understood him so perfectly.”

“Months, he thought to himself, his fingers practically buzzing at the touch of her skin. I’ll be thinking about her for months.”

All of these quotes happened in the section I read, pages 11 to 21 of the ARC. Now, I get that there are other perspectives and they’ll probably better. However, this guy, Hudson, goes on for 77 pages. SEVENTY-SEVEN. It was a conscious decision to choose to start with a point of view like this, one which puts Leila in the position of being a full-on MPDG (a term I try not to use very often). Leila herself only gets forty pages at the end. I don’t like what this says about the book. Plus, I really don’t want to spend an hour reading about this guy fawning all over Leila. Because blech.

The Young World by Chris WeitzThe Young World - Chris Weitz

Pages Read: 26

Why I DNFed:  Alright, so The Young World doesn’t seem terrible, but it doesn’t seem like something I’ll enjoy. The writing style in both perspectives irks me, as do both main characters (For example, Jefferson pats a girl on the ass and doesn’t get why she doesn’t like that and Donna refers to Princess Leia’s bikini as a hoochiemama outfit). It does seem like it will be fairly fast-paced, but I think there might be more annoyances than enjoyable things for me. With the pile I have, I don’t want to spend my time this way. Plus, I tend to be extra critical of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, since I’ve read so much of it. I’m passing.

The Major's Daughter - J.P. FrancisThe Major’s Daughter by J.P. Francis

Pages Read: 34

Why I DNFed:  I won this one from Library Thing. I’ll basically try anything set in WWII and I thought this premise sounded promising. Unfortunately, by the third chapter, I’m bored by the writing and all of the characters. I’ve read what reviews are available and the main draw seems to be the writing style, which I find distancing. One of my goals this year is to waste less of my reading time on books that haven’t caught my attention one way or another, so I’m done here.

Frostborn by Lou AndersFrostborn - Lou Anders

Pages Read: Didn’t get the exact number, but just a couple chapters

Why I DNFed:  Eh, there wasn’t anything wrong with Frostborn thus far, but it didn’t grab me. I’m pretty picky with middle grade anyway and if the characters don’t interest me quickly. Since it’s not my main interest, I can usually tell early on whether the book will work for me or not, and this one didn’t click.

The Queen of the Tearling - Erika JohansenThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Pages Read: Halfway through chapter 6

Why I DNFed:  Womp womp.

I didn’t encounter any major issues with The Queen of the Tearling. It was fine. Mostly, I got to a thing that made me go blech (evil uncle’s slave girl wearing a collar and on a leash) and realized I didn’t care one bit about anyone, even Kelsea or the handsome, mysterious Fetch. I felt like I’d come out of the book with nothing to say but meh and there was so much to go that I just quit while I was only a little behind. Plus, I had no clue what was going on with the world building, and the revelation that it’s set in OUR future really threw me for a loop.

Falling into Place by Amy ZhangFalling Into Place - Amy Zhang

Pages Read: 13

Why I DNFed:  *sighs* The advance buzz had me hoping this would be one of those punch-me-in-the-feels books and I was so excited to get to it. Sadly, I took an immediate dislike to the writing style. It’s the sort of thing that can work for me in only very specific circumstances when the style fits the character perfectly, but Falling into Place really doesn’t seem character-driven. In fact, it’s intentionally obfuscating the identity of the narrator, which is distancing and annoying, since the style isn’t to my tastes.

Also, I got a friend to spoil the narrator’s identity for me and that sealed the deal: this is not a Christina book. I would most likely be laughing when I should be crying.

Falling into Place has been a gorgeous, moving, emotional read for readers I respect and often agree with, but I’m afraid it won’t work for me.

The Only Thing Worse Than Witches - Lauren MagazinerThe Only Thing Worse Than Witches by Lauren Magaziner

Pages Read: 3

Why I DNFed:  Okay, okay, I know. That’s basically not even trying the book. It was enough to know that a) it’s super not what I’m in the mood for and b) it’s not got a lot of appeal to my sense of humor. I’ve got nothing bad to say against it; it’s more childish than I want, but it’s FOR children, so that’s kind of the goal. I’m not the intended audience of this book, so I don’t see that as being a big issue tbh.

The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia BlockThe Island of Excess Love (Love in the Time of Global Warming #2) - Francesca Lia Block

Pages Read: 19

Why I DNFed:  I still really love the writing in this most of the time, and the concept’s so cool. Partly, I’m DNFing because I don’t really remember book one and partly because I’m not the mood. I was going to just set it aside, but then I learned about a particular plot point that was coming (View Spoiler »), which happens to be one of my dealbreakers. I wish I liked reading about literally everything, but I don’t. That’s one subject I can’t handle, so I’m going to skip this one, since the first book does work well as a standalone. Plus, I have a friend who will love these and needs this book more than I do. Hi Meg!

I Want It That Way - Ann AguirreI Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre

Chapters Read: 1

Why I DNFed:  Maybe I should pay more attention to blurbs, since I would have skipped this one. The love interest, Ty, has a little kid and that’s just not the kind of romance I’m into. Children =/= romantic to me. Otherwise, it seemed okay, though I’ve been hearing rumors of instalove, which also made me not all that tempted to read it. I gave it a chance to hook me, but I wasn’t feeling it.

The Zoo at the Edge of the World by Eric Kahn GaleThe Zoo at the Edge of the World - Eric Kahn Gale

Chapters Read: 2

Why I DNFed:  Way too many mentions of animal poop. I mean, hey, that’s legit and stuff, but not a Christina book. Nope nope nope. The main character even writes notes to himself on his pants with animal dung. I cannot.

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle - George HagenGabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen

Pages Read: 104

Why I DNFed:  Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle seems fine, but I’m a little over a quarter of the way through and I don’t care. I realized I’m not curious about what the ending will be and that tells me I should probably be reading something else. Thus, I will. (What’s funny is that a month later, as I put this post together, I remember absolutely nothing about this book, even though I read over a quarter. Even with my memory, that’s not good.)

Thorn Jack by Katherine HarbourThorn Jack - Katherine Harbour

Pages Read: 50

Why I DNFed:  Seriously, what is up with me and why can’t I stop DNFing? Anyway, here are the reasons I am quitting Thorn Jack:

1) The world building ought to be awesome and magical. It’s a normal world and all of a sudden holy shit no it’s not motherfucking faeries! Only I’m mostly just frustrated that all of this obviously not normal stuff happens and Finn isn’t really questioning any of it.

2) I haven’t actually read Tam Lin, so this might be a brilliant retelling which would keep me interested but I have no idea.

3) Finn’s made friends and they’re talking and obviously trying to banter, but they’re just boring characters on a page having conversations and failing to be quirky.

4) The common convention is to start a new paragraph when a different character begins talking. Harbour does not subscribe to this and it’s both confusing and annoying.

5) My hope was there might be an awesome ship, but I read some reviews and now know who the guy will be and I already unship it, so noooope. That was my last hope gone.

Goodbye, book. May you find a reader more suited to you than I.

Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4) - Katie McGarryTake Me On by Katie McGarry

Pages Read: 116

Why I DNFed:  Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the death of my love for the Pushing the Limits series. Apparently Crash Into You was the last gasp of affection. Take Me On has no problems that the previous installments didn’t, but I think I’m just over the formula now. I’m not sucked in and I’m definitely rolling my eyes instead of swooning despite myself as I did before.

I’m tired of the bad boys with hearts of gooey melted cheese. I’m tired of the heroine who hasn’t laughed in years until she meets the hero. I’m tired of melodramatic crises. I’m tired of reading about teens who have never had a good thing happen in their lives ever.

Also, 544 pages is way too damn long for what is essentially a teen soap opera. I mean, I’ve read over a hundred pages and that is 20%. There are so many percents left and I can’t. 

I’m willing to try Katie McGarry again, but probably only if there’s a new series that’s a bit fluffier.

How the World Was by Emmanuel GuibertHow the World Was - Emmanuel Guibert

Pages Read: 50

Why I DNFed:  I know I was almost a third of the way through this graphic novel, so DNFing seems a bit silly, but holy shit am I bored. It’s important to record what life was like on a daily basis, sure, but even the parts that should have been interesting are told in this way that makes me feel like a kid sitting in the Peanuts classroom. I don’t find anything the slightest bit interesting, except for the full color illustrations that opened the book. Otherwise, bored bored bored bored bored, except for the bit about masturbation which was odd but not boring.

September DNFs

The Summer Invitation - Charlotte SilverThe Summer Invitation by Charlotte Silver

Pages Read: 20

Why I DNFed:  10% into this slim novel and I don’t care. The characters, Franny and Valentine, feel quite distant. Based on the reviews, that’s not something that changes. This novel’s driven primarily by place. It’s about achieving a New York feel, though apparently more like a Holly Golightly sort of New York City than the modern one. That’s not likely to do more than bore me at best. Thus skipping.

Belzhar by Meg WolitzerBelzhar - Meg Wolitzer

Pages Read: 88

Why I DNFed:  I hate to do it, since I’d been really looking forward to Belzhar, but I am really not feeling this one. I enjoyed the one Wolitzer adult novel I’ve read, but this one isn’t capturing me. 88 pages in, I’m caring less and less about the characters. Reading definitely feels like a chore with this book. Also, the magical realism part finally came in and, rather than being charmed, I hate it, so that pretty much put paid to whatever hope was lingering. I don’t think this one is for me.

Egg and Spoon - Gregory MaguireEgg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Pages Read: Unrecorded because I was on an airplane and forgot, but not much

Why I DNFed:  It’s the same sort of deal. I loved the concept, but I was not invested in this family’s story at all. I didn’t even make it to the second main character. I thought about persisting to that point, but I really wasn’t interested, so I decided to quit. I can always pick the book back up some other day if I hear it’s worth it. I didn’t want to force myself through something on my vacation.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara RaaschSnow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch

Chapters Read: 5

Why I DNFed:  All of my GR friends seem to have enjoyed this one, but I’m bored. I don’t know why I’m so disparate on fantasy lately. Neither the writing, the plot, the characters or the world managed to capture me. Honestly, for all the info dumping I’ve sat through already, this world makes no damn sense to me at all. It also drives me up the wall how Meira calls the one guy Sir. I don’t know why but it just irks me. I don’t care about anything or anyone in the slightest, except for minor annoyance. What really killed it for me was that Meira goes searching for a locket and CONVENIENTLY some guys standing outside tell her where it is, even though they’re not meant to talk about it. Then CONVENIENTLY she’s captured in such a way that she can grab the locket from her captor and gallop off, since he’s not on a horse. Like, yeah. Sure. Finally, these Winterians say “snow above” and I cannot with that.


13 responses to “DNFed Fictions (1)”

  1. MJ says:

    Let’s Get Lost: MPD girl is a trope I really don’t like either. It’s just so contrived and there’s no way you can really twist it to be something different. I’ll probably skip this one.

    The Queen of Tearling: A lot of people were kind of on the fence or didn’t like this one. I’m still tempted. So, maybe library?

    I Want It That Way: So, I’m not the only one who gets turned off by having a kid thrown into the romance. It’s just too messy. That and I see the unromantic side of kids in relationships with my day job, so I’ll probably give it a pass too.

    Take Me On: I read the entire book. It’s not horrible. But yeah..totally get why you DNF-d. I think she chose the wrong characters to star in this one. I really wanted an Abby book, because I think she would be a lot different than the other female leads in this series. Instead, we got Haley who really was a bore.

    Snow Like Ashes: 🙁 actually have preordered this one. Hoping I’m with the camp that likes it.
    MJ recently posted…#DorkOn: Adorkable by Sarra ManningMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Turns out I’ll actually have to give The Queen of the Tearling another try because of #secretproject. I just found out like right after I posted this, and the irony is real. Hopefully I will get to see the good in it when I continue on.

      Not at all. Children are spit and vomit and poop and interruptions. Nopeity nope.

      Hmm, I didn’t hate Haley, but I just couldn’t handle the sentiment any more. And all the bad guys have hearts of gold, and it really gets old. I think that’s why Dare You To was my favorite.

      Most people seem to really be enjoying it, so I hope you do too.

  2. I honestly envy your ability to put a book down when you think it might not be for you. I do try to, but a month later I find myself sluggish pushing through the book again. It literally bothers me to leave a book unfinished. I bow to your DNF prowess, lol.

    You’re the second person to come out of Queen of Tearling sort of meh about everything, so I think I’ll just skip it. I don’t like emotionless fantasy.
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Saturday Issue Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 – Cosmic AvengersMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I used to not DNF because I so often ended up picking up the book again. I try to be pretty careful about it. I consult reviews and even read some spoilers if I can find them before I DNF.

      I’ve had some friends truly love Queen of the Tearling and find it very emotional, so who knows.

  3. Anya says:

    Hmmm yeah The Young World probably would not work for me on those grounds either, I just can’t stand asshat guys….

    Frostborn wasn’t anything special when it comes to middle grade so good choice on that one. It annoyed me a lot later on.

    Queen of the Tearling was the same for me. It was supposed to be amazing and I realized that I just didn’t give a crap about anyone and was fairly annoyed with the way the romance was starting so I was done even though I’m completely loving fantasy right now, ha.
    Anya recently posted…How to Get Me to Comment on Your BlogMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      I so completely do not remember The Young World at this point. I just remember everything being slightly distasteful.

      Good to know I didn’t miss much with Frostborn.

      The world building was my biggest issue with Queen of the Tearling. She said she had Grimm’s fairy tales and I went WUT.

  4. THANK YOU SOMEONE ELSE WHO DNFED LET’S GET LOST. I made it all the way through Hudson’s story, and gave up after that. The MPDG thing was horrible.

    I really enjoyed Take Me On, but I agree that if it could have been 100 pages less it would have flowed a lot better.
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Yeah, I just did not have the patience to get through 70 pages of Hudson. SO MUCH HUDSON.

      I think it’s not so much that Take Me On is worse than the others. I think I’ve just reached my threshold for that sort of emotion, which isn’t really my thing. It’s more a miracle I enjoyed the others than an insult to this one.

  5. Jamie says:

    Can you please teach me to DNF like you?? DANG.

    Sads that you disliked 2 of my faves but it’s one of those things where I totally get why! Let’s Get Lost was rough for me for the first perspective tbh but after that one I LOVED it. And Falling Into Place…I mega loved that one but as I read it I KNEWWW it was going to be a love/hate one for the factors you mentioned.

    I’m curious about Snow Like Ashes still because I’ve heard so much good! And MAN I hadn’t heard anything about Egg & Spoon but it showed up here..probably will give it a whirl but I’m scared I will not have a connection either..which I NEED. :/
    Jamie recently posted…6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie LuMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      It’s been many years in coming. I’ve suffered through so many books that I knew would bore me to tears from page one. Finally, I’m over that and it feels AMAZING.

      I’m sads too, but I’m sure we’ll agree on many more things. LGL probably would have gotten better, but I could not handle reading fifty more pages of Hudson. FiP was just not a writing style I could handle. Neither one was a bad book. They both had good writing and stuff, but just didn’t seem like ME books. I’m glad they were Jamie books, though, because you should get to read lovely things.

      Snow Like Ashes sort of mystifies me. I’ll probably wait and see how the series turns out and if it ends well, I may try again.

      I’ll admit I didn’t try very hard with Egg & Spoon, though, because 1) I was on vacation and wanted fun, fast-paced reads and 2) I don’t really trust Maguire after I tried to read Wicked three times and never made it through.

  6. Juhina says:

    wow, so many DNFs! I’ve learnt to DNF a book I know I will not like at all or I’m bored and there’s no way it’ll redeem itself. I believe if there’s a book I’m not in the mood for, I just set it aside without officially DNF-ing it. Other books have redeemed themselves later on. I was very skeptical of Falling into Place but halfway through I was obsessed (the secret narrator isn’t even a big reveal).

    Most of the books you have listed here are ones i won’t ever be interested in reading (other than take me on, balzhar, the queen of tearling, and snow like ashes).

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf
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  7. I’ve been back and forth about reading The Queen of the Tearling. Some people love it and some people hate it. I’m not sure I want to chance it. lol
    That’s too bad to hear about Take Me On. I’ve only read Pushing the Limits but was considering continuing. I can definitely see where it’d be an issue with the same formula being used over and over. And 544 pages?? That’s kind of insane.
    Big bummer to hear about Belzhar. I had high hopes for that one but re-doing the Bell Jar isn’t probably something that should have been considered. Love how you do this DNF roundup! Something to consider for ma as well, if I can ever overcome my determination to finish everything. 🙂
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Because of reasons, I need to give The Queen of the Tearling another chance it turns out. So we’ll see. I’ll try to keep an open mind.

      FIVE HUNDRED PAGES. I don’t know if it’s actually worse than the others or if I just reached my limit on schmaltzengruben.

      To be fair, I did hate The Bell Jar, so I’m not really sure what I expected.

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