I now realize this is a ridiculous perspective.
If a book’s not working for me, despite that everyone else seemingly loves it, I drop it. These books go into one of two piles:
- DNF; or
- On hiatus.
On hiatus books are those I plan on revisiting—maybe I’m not in the mood for the genre, but I suspect I’ll enjoy it later. Or, perhaps it’s really long, but I care about what happens, but need to take a break from spending so much time within the space of that book. DNF’s are those I drop like a hot potato.
Miranda Kenneally’s Catching Jordan is one of those novels in which my expectations and the reality were so far out of sync that there was never any chance of my finishing it.
What I’d hoped would be a fun novel about a girl trying to make it in a boys’ world ended up being a ridiculously typical teen romance made worse by the female lead transforming from a tough athlete to someone who was just plain annoying. The characters felt like stereotypes and much of the football aspects were so over-the-top unbelievable, I rolled my eyes. I think there are a fair amount of folks who will read and enjoy this one, but for this sports-loving girl, it was a huge miss and ultimately a DNF.
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley came recommended by my mom, who really enjoyed it—especially the rich historical elements, so I snagged it when it was the Kindle Daily Deal awhile back.
I started out loving The Winter Sea, largely because Kearsley paints an extremely rich portrait of rural Scotland, from the landscape to the regional dialect. Unfortunately, I gave up on this one about 60% of the way through it, because I found myself skimming through what were pages upon pages of monologues from random characters who seemed to exist solely for massive history info-dumps. Since I was already familiar with the time period, this was completely uninteresting to me. I could have skimmed through these parts (it’s a loooooong novel) had I cared for the narrator, a Canadian writer temporarily in rural Scotland while she works on her next book. Frankly, I found the narrator to be, well, annoying. If the book hadn’t been so long, I would have slogged through the rest because I loved the secondary characters and was intrigued by the story that took place in Jacobite Scotland. However, I simply grew weary of spending more time in the narrator’s headspace.
The Winter Sea is a funny DNF for me, because I would actually recommend it to some people, and I am certainly in the minority in not loving this novel—folks who love historical fiction and don’t have the issues with the narrator that I did will gobble this up.
The Book Smuggler’s absolutely skewered the novel, while other reviewers praised it—it seemed to be one that really divided folks. It ended up pushing several of my buttons, but more than anything, I was too bored by Isle of Night to bother to finish it. It languished in my “Currently Reading” collection on my Kindle for months until I realized I’d never, ever work up the energy to finish. I had two huge issues with the novel. The first being that we keep being told that Annalise, the narrator and main character is extremely smart, a bonafide genius. However, her actions say something else, because she just keeps doing stupid things. Secondly, she is super critical both of herself (it’s soooooo hard being an attractive teenage blond) and of other girls; with other girls she’s plain nasty (her nickname for her roommate is really bad). I just didn’t care to spend more time with Annalise.
While reading this one, I kept thinking that it could have been a better, more interesting, story if it had been written as an adult novel. Freed from the constraints of YA, and with older characters, this could have been an edgy urban fantasy, because the world is seriously messed up.
Have you had any recent DNFs? I’d love to know what’s not working for you these days.