10 Hyped Books I Wish I Hadn’t Finished (i.e. DNF’d)

September 5, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 37

Top 10 Hyped Books I Wish I Hadn't Finished


Talking about the books you didn’t like is somewhat of a controversial topic among book bloggers. You’ll never hear a peep about the books some bloggers didn’t like and other bloggers tell you all about the books that didn’t connect. 

I’ve always chosen to talk openly about the books that didn’t click with me because my goal to is to make this blog as useful for readers as possible. Knowing which books (especially hyped ones) may not be the right choices for them is valuable information for readers. So, here are 10 Hyped Books I Wish I Hadn’t Finished…and I’m getting a little snarky.

This post contains affiliate links.

10 Hyped Books I Wish I Hadn’t Finished

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (my review)
 the cheesiness of the romance

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (my review)
Why: the crushing quantity of grating mommy drama (but, interestingly, I loved the HBO series!)

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg (my review)
the long, drawn out (to the tune of 300 pages) non-ending

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
 I lost all interest after the Italian food porn of the “Eat” section

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (my review)
Why: the anxiety I was getting just reading the scattered story-telling style of her adult life (though her childhood stories contained some gems!)

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (my review)
 because she never really delved deep into the part that truly interested me (Lizzie Borden’s arrest and trial) 

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling (my review)
because I never really got the point of it all

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas
because the second half was predominantly “stories within stories,” which drive me crazy

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti (my review)
because the violence all ran together and I skimmed a lot towards the end

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (my review)
because Choose Your Own Adventure…and an overall gimmicky second half

What hyped books do you wish you’d DNF’d?

Get Weekly Email Updates!

37 Responses to “10 Hyped Books I Wish I Hadn’t Finished (i.e. DNF’d)”

  1. Steven S

    I too enjoyed the TV series “Big Little Lies” but I did skim some of the pages in the second half of the novel.

    I am currently reading “The Fact of a Body” by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. It is part true crime and part memoir. Yes, you read correctly. The author adroitly brings two parallel stories (you’ll see what I mean. I am 1/3 through and it is absolutely gripping.

  2. Steve S

    I too enjoyed the TV series “Big Little Lies” but I did skim some of the pages in the second half of the novel.

    I am currently reading “The Fact of a Body” by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. It is part true crime and part memoir. Yes, you read correctly. The author adroitly brings two parallel events together (you’ll know what I mean once you start reading) making this seem like one fluid novel. I am 1/3 through and it is absolutely gripping.

  3. Rebecca Foster

    I appreciate your honesty about the books you DNF or don’t end up liking. I too run a regular blog feature on books I’ve abandoned, and these are often (ironically) among my most popular posts in terms of number of views and comments. I think people like to be reassured that it’s okay to 1) not finish a book you’re struggling with and 2) accept that not every book is going to be for you, even if it’s been majorly hyped and the critics love it. Choosing not to write a word about books that have been a disappointment feels to me like airbrushing. It’s simply not true that every book is great, or that every book is right for every reader. So I definitely have a bone to pick with those bloggers who see themselves as exuberant cheerleaders for all books everywhere.

    Re: your selections, I’ve only read Eat, Pray, Love and City on Fire. I ended up really liking both of them, though I agree that City on Fire was quite a slog in places.

  4. Susie | Novel Visits

    Don’t you hate it when you get to the end of a book and wish you’d not bothered! I felt that way about New People. And, Young Jane Young, ugh! Your thoughts saved me from even picking up See What I Have Done and Joan Ashby, so thanks for that.

    I did like a couple of these: Big Little Lies and The Twelve Lives…but that’s what keeps it all interesting, right?

  5. Angela

    Totally agree with Eat Pray Love. I wish I had DNFed that as well. So self-absorbed. I actually did DNF Let’s Pretend. I felt the author was trying way too hard to be quirky and funny, and it didn’t work for me.

  6. bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I’ve read three of those – The Casual Vacancy, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and Big Little Lies – and agree with you on all of them. I’d add The Hunger Games to the list.

  7. Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Agree that Big Little Lies was much better on the screen than in the book (I reckon the DV issue was treated more seriously in tv series than it was in the book).

    I loathed Eat, Pray, Love (only got a third of the way through). At the time I swore of Gilbert but then for some reason I picked up Signature of All Things and loved it!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I loved how the TV series was much darker and focused on the very real issues all the parents had…including the DV.

  8. Sarah R

    So agree with you on City on Fire. What a waste, and I’m still mad that I paid full price for the hardcover because I assumed the magazine part of the story wouldn’t translate well on my kindle.

    The Casual Vacancy was awful, but I kept with it to see why everyone loves JK Rowling so much. I have never read Harry Potter (I KNOW!) and now I won’t because I hated The Casual Vacancy so much.

    I’m reading Young Jane Young now!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Impressed you carried around that hardcover!!! You must have gotten some biceps!

      I only read the first Harry Potter and was meh about it so never read the rest.

      Would love to know your thoughts on YJY when you finish!

      • Sarah R

        While I agree the choose your own adventure style was gimmicky, I am glad I read the book. I thought it brought up good themes of how our society treats women differently than men when they are caught in affairs. I did like the overall plot too.

  9. Amy @ Read a Latte

    Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and Into the Water by Paula Hawkins! I read all of these within a few weeks of each other earlier in the year and was extremely let down by all of them!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oh no! I really liked Since We Fell and Dark MAtter…DNF’d Into the Water at 5%. Ha.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Maybe I should try that one. Never did b/c of my experience with Let’s Pretend.

  10. Michelle

    I’ve read about half of the ones on your list. I actually enjoyed the ones I did read, but you have confirmed my desire not to read the ones on your list I haven’t gotten to yet.

  11. Kim

    I liked Big Little Lies, but I’m getting tired of Moriarty’s mommy drama too. I read Eat Pray Love when it first came out and I remember hating the relationship (needy woman) drama. Last year I finished The Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll) and felt anger towards the author for writing it; it was my worst book of the year.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I’ve heard similar things about Luckiest Girl Alive! I never read it…and glad I didn’t spend the time!

  12. Jenny C.

    Just got Young Jane Young on my Kindle but I have a TBR list that’s endless so I’ll return it. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Haha – you’re welcome! Some people have loved it, though…it just wasn’t for me.

  13. Literary Feline

    I haven’t most of these, Sarah. I was cracking up at your comments though. I listened to Jenny Lawson’s book and enjoyed it quite a bit. Her stream of conscious style worked well for me in that format. Probably because that’s how my brain works too. 🙂

    I like hearing about books people liked and didn’t like. I don’t take it personally if someone hated a book I loved. We all have different tastes, right? If anything, it’s nice to have varying perspectives.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Totally agree – it makes talking about books fun…would be pretty boring otherwise!

  14. Poinsettia

    I haven’t read any of these. Sorry you didn’t enjoy them! I always think it is sad when you invest time in a book and then end up not liking it. Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.

  15. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I have Big Little Lies on my “contemporary fiction” list – sounds like it might not be my kind of thing but I still plan to read it to see what it’s all about. It’s always interesting when an adaptation is better than the original, isn’t it?

    • Sarah Dickinson

      It’s so rare for me that I like the TV/movie version better than the book…Friday Night Lights is the only other one I can think of.

  16. Gabby

    I actually really liked The Casual Vacancy, but it seems like more people think along your lines and found it kind of pointless. I love anything election-related, though, especially all the drama that comes along with local elections, so maybe that explains it.

    On another note, I appreciate that you’re willing to talk about books you don’t like! The idea that bloggers should just rave about the books we do like without ever touching on books we didn’t feels…weird. As long as someone’s not questioning what’s wrong with someone who DID enjoy the book, I think honesty is important. I feel like I trust a reviewer more when they’re willing to say that something didn’t work for them.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Well, thank you! And I agree. I remember being really surprised when I first started blogging and realized some bloggers choose to just never write anything about the books they didn’t like.
      But, to each his own, it’s just not my way…

  17. Madeline

    I definitely appreciate talking about books that didn’t work out. My hold list at the library is almost max’d out (25 ebooks and 20 books). I know I have to be more selective and give up a bit faster.

    Exit West was one I wish I’d given up on. Over hyped for me. I didn’t read Big Little Lies but read another Moriarty. One was more than enough!

    On the other hand, I enjoyed Casual Vacancy. Go figure 🙂

  18. Lesa

    I just splurged on a hardback copy of What I Have Done to read while seeing if we are going to be hit by Hurricane Irma. Now I’m disappointed that this is the book I chose.

    I LOVED both of Jenny Lawson’s books (but then again, my mind works like hers.)

  19. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Hahaha, well, I have to say that of the books I’ve read or that close pals of my mine have read and told me about, I am pretty much with you on all fronts. I did like Eat Pray Love but I totally understand why someone else wouldn’t. It is a book that I think hasn’t aged incredibly well.

  20. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    This list has made me think about what books I wish I’d DNF’d. I don’t think there are many that have been that bad and I’m having a hard enough time remembering which books have made me feel that way that I think I might be repressing the memories 🙂

  21. Lisa Glase

    This is great- makes me feel I’m not the only one left scratching my head at the end of some of these “popular” books! I too did not finish “Eat, Pray, Love” and I didn’t like Life of Pi” or “The Alchemist”. So, I’m guessing I don’t enjoy deep, soul searching, mystical books- lol! Two incredible books I just read back to back are “The Lilac Girls” and “The Woman in the Photo”. Check them out!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Yes! I always like to know I’m not the only one when I’m not on board with a hyped book!

      I’m a bit burned out of WWII fiction, so bailed pretty early on Lilac Girls.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.