I’ve decided to start doing short DNF reflections when I have a couple of DNFs. I think DNF review/reflections can be valuable, because what causes me to DNF something might actually make someone else pick the same book up!
1. The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman
source: Advanced reader’s copy granted by publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Where I stopped: 18%
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.
What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari’s boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.
Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy.
Why I DNF-ed:
Well, this was disappointing. I was so looking forward to The Cost of All Things and even put it on my most anticipated debuts of 2015. Alas, this book and I were not meant to be. Why, you may ask? Four. 1st-person. Points of view.
Now, I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. I’m not a genius by any means but I can make connections quickly and I’ve always been good at reading comprehension and”getting” things without too much effort. But at 18% in this book, I was super confused. Not only are there four different points of view, all in the first person, none of them are distinguishable. On top of THAT there’s also a time jump.
Don’t ask me why.
It’s too bad, because the world of this one was really unique, but I couldn’t bring myself to think it was worth it to push through.
2. The Memory Key by Liana Liu
Source: I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where I stopped: at 37%
In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.
Lora Mint is determined not to forget.
Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.
But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?
Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology
Why I DNF-ed:
The Memory Key held my attention for about the first 20% of the book. It did look like it might be pretty standard YA science fiction, but it was also fast-paced and engaging. The inciting incident happened early and I was totally on board. Then I hit that 20% mark, and the book just. . . fizzled out. Getting to 37% was a struggle. Suddenly everything became cliche. The characters felt flat, which they had up to that point as well, but I had hoped they would gain more depth. I also felt like the book was trying too hard to be clever and it was pretty easy to see what was coming. I was also beginning to really dislike some of the side characters(and not dislike in the fun way, more in “what is even the point of you being in this story?” way), so I decided it was time to abandon ship.
3. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Source: I received an electronic advanced reader’s copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss. This in no way affected my final opinion of the work.
DNF-ed at: 25%
New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.
In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.
Why I DNF-ed:
I tried to put off the inevitable, but I think it’s time I face the music and realize that I may not like Lauren Oliver’s books as much as I think I do. I loved Before I Fall so much. It was one of my favorite books I read in 2013 and I will forever be singing its praises, but none of Oliver’s books have really grabbed me in the same way. I enjoyed Delirium and Before I Fall, and thought Panic was good, if a little strange, but I’ve disliked her books about as often as I’ve liked them. And I’ve never been quite so bored while reading one of Oliver’s books as I was with this one. As always, Lauren Oliver’s prose sucked me in, but this time it couldn’t make me stay in the story. Everything about this story of sisters and mysteries just felt so done already, like I’ve read this book half a dozen times in various forms throughout the past few years. I set it down and couldn’t bring myself to pick it back up, so after days of this I decided it was time to cut my losses.