Discussion Post: What Makes You Review a DNF?

discussion post

It’s me, Mandy aka the DNF Queen. If you’ve been a follower of this blog, you know I have the DNF streak in my book genes. This year, I’ve been doing better…well, I WAS doing better. I was rocking it with my non-DNFs, and then the past two months hit and I accidentally DNFed quite a few books. THEY JUST WEREN’T MY JAM, AND I JUST COULDN’T DEAL.

However, back when I was still reigning monarch of my Not Finishing Books Land, I always reviewed each one that I gave up on. I marked them like a good little blogger on Goodreads as read, got my little review jam on, and then whipped out the Condescending Snow White picture to mock my DNF pain. I may have even grouped them in a post to showcase all the Books Mandy Failed, and you got to see just how much this girl gave out when the book got hard. However lately, I’ve found myself…just removing books from my bookshelf instead of counting them as being read and not even putting down a single sentence in a review of any sort for some of the books I’ve given up on. So this raises the question…

What makes you review a book you Did Not Finish?

reign of the fallen

Recently, I picked up the Reign of the Fallen audiobook. I absolutely adored the book cover for ages now, and I was 100% down for the premise. Give me allllllllllll the necromancers. However, I’ve noticed some not so good reviews of it, and despite all the pretty covers in the world, I thought I would try it out in audiobook format just to see how it was before I bought that gorgeous light pink book to caress forever.

However, I have to say that the reviews were right. I was bored; I was confused; I was giving some major side-eye. World building was confusing and messy and NOT even there sometimes???? The main character seemed like a totallllll cliche fantasy girl, and there was a lot of cheese. A. LOT. OF. CHEESE.

Image result for disney gif cheese

I probably could have written a review for it. I had lots of thoughts, I had almost gotten through the entire first disc of the audiobook, and I mean, I’ve done more for books I got through less. However, I just glanced at my Goodreads and…taken it off my bookshelf and took the CD out of the radio.


However, just a few weeks before, I read Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner. Well, if you take “read” as I really tried but Mandy was bored and had to peace out. And this was my stellar review:

“I was bored I was bored I was bored I was bored. I love Kaufman and Spooner, but whenever they get together, I just slide into this space of I’m so bored. Did Jules really need to go on 8 pages of explanations about this world ALL in the same chapter? No crowns since I DNF and a Snow White rating, which is kinda crazy that this is only like my third of her of the year??? Look at this DNF queen being non DNF-y.”

I DNFed this book at 16%. Which isn’t that large at all when you really think about it. So, what made me compelled to write a review for this and not Reign of the Fallen or People Like Us which I DNFed at around the same time?

Well, to be honest, I’m not quite sure. I think I’m starting to realize, if I pick a book up and read about 10 – 20%, I’m really not reading the book. I mean, I’m reading a part of it. I’m reading a good amount of pages. I’m sort of invested in this book. However, I’m not really reading it, and is it really accurate to mark it as read? I’m not so sure anymore. And the other issue that I’m finding is some of these, well, I’m realizing I don’t really have to review every single thing I read. I mean, sometimes I just don’t have enough words to say things. Whether the book is meh or boring or eh, do I really have to say that in the same words over and over and over again?

However, I do still think that DNF reviews are important. I like knowing why people DNF books. I want to know what made people give up. Some of them are super spicy because the book was in Crazy Town. Some of them bring up huge glaring flaws with the book or just give warnings about how if you might not be feeling this book. I find them super insightful. So, um, am I robbing people of not knowing the reason why I gave up on Reign of the Fallen? Or robbing them of the knowledge that I even gave it up? IDK, THIS IS TOO MANY QUESTIONS NOW. I ONLY SIGNED UP TO ANSWER ONE IN THIS POST, ME, WHY YOU GOTTA DO THIS?

Is there a bottom line?

IDK, probs. I think it just depends on what the book is saying to you. If there’s something truly crazy and you gotta warn people, you clearly have to do a review. If it’s meh and eh and bleh, maybe do a review, maybe leave your Goodreads friends/followers confused on where did that book go from Mandy’s bookshelf???? It’s totally up to you and what you’re feeling – and in certain cases, not feeling. I will always be reviewing my ARC DNFs, but everything up? Dear gosh, it depends which is the answer to, like, every single one of my discussion post?

What do you think? What makes you review a DNF book? What makes you not review one? What makes you consider a DNF book read? Is there a DNF book you always will review? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


35 thoughts on “Discussion Post: What Makes You Review a DNF?

      1. Yeah, Wicked was HS along with 1984. No DNFs in college. And two temporary holds from Peace Corps. I was just bored in the Peace Corps office one day and started reading the John Adams biography, but since I don’t own it I never got to finish… Plus I was reading the sword of Shannara on my Kindle but since pretty much never read my Kindle anymore (other than for reviews) now that I have audiobooks and real books it’s still not done.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have always hoped to go back and finish the ones that I never fully read. There are so few that it just seems silly not to make sure I have a fully informed opinion about them, even if I still don’t like them. I feel like I might appreciate 1984 now that I am not trying to just rush and read it to write a paper whereas I don’t expect that I will enjoy wicked. Maybe it will surprise me though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh yeah. I get the deliveries so I open the box and take out all of the brand new books no matter whether they’re my books or not. Plus if they’re YA, I catalog them so I have them for a while (since I sometimes get them before the actual on sale date.)

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve never reviewed a DNF and I think that’s because I don’t DNF many books and when I do it’s mainly because of personal preference like there’s a trope I don’t like or something or most often it’s to do with being a mood reader like I misread the signals my brain is sending me and think I want to be reading a fantasy but a few pages in I realised I REALLY DON’T WANT TO BE READING A FANTASY RIGHT NOW! 😂😂 I think if I were to ever DNF a book for a more specific reason that might apply to other readers more generally then I would probably do a review and let people know. I also agree that while I don’t really review DNF’d books it is important that people do, especially if there was a specific reason they disliked the book to let us all know what we’re getting ourselves in for! And if I DNF book I don’t mark it as read on Goodreads, I just quietly delete it from my shelf and pretend it never happened! Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahhhhhh that makes sense. I totally have those issues as well. Our brains just totally mess with our book moods. But yes! I’m liking the pretending it never happened. 😉 I need to do that more often. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good discussion topic. I actually do book reviews for a review site, which means I end up reading lots of books that I really don’t want to finish. However, I do finish them because I have to. But, I understand what you’re saying. There comes a point where you just know this book isn’t working for you. My top 3 reasons are as follows. #1 Not enough TENSION. Nothing negative is happening to the characters. Some authors have their characters talk about bad stuff happening rather than actually experiencing it. Or, some tension starts to build but then gets resolved too quickly. #2 Too much world building and boring setup at the beginning of the book. Something exciting needs to happen at the opening of the book that hooks me and forces me to hang on to see how the characters deal with whatever it is. #3 It drives me crazy when authors spend too much time inside their character’s head, telling us everything they are thinking over and over again. Yes, we need to know what they’re thinking but don’t overdo it. And try to show us in their actions or their dialogue if at all possible rather than breaking the flow of the scene by going off on a long tangent explaining why they are acting the way they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhhhh gotcha. That would be hard to keep struggling through even when you don’t want only simply because you have to. Does it ever put you in a book slump because of it? But I totally feel you regarding those 3 reasons! I think too much in the head is one of my biggest peeves as well. It’s like they forget there is something else going on!


  3. I think I tend to write DNF reviews if I get roughly 100 pages in, no matter how many pages are in the book. I have a ton of books on my DNF bookshelf on Goodreads that I only got like 3 chapters into and then stopped. I don’t have reviews for those because I didn’t get far enough into the book to review it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a really good marking point. Because 100 pages is quite a bit to invest in a book. But I totally get what you mean. I like your idea of having a point to count and not count, Moira! I think I might steal it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not a big DNFer because I’m a stickler for finishing books, but I guess I’d only review it if I have to really rant. If there is something that really bothered me about a book, I would have to talk about it even if I never finished the story. And if its an ARC, I would write a review because I feel like I would out it to the publisher. But like a book I read out of my own desire and didn’t end up continuing…I would just drop it and never look back XD Great post, Mandy!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve only DNF a couple times, and sometimes I would get more than half way and others I would get a few pages in before deciding that the writing style just wasn’t for me. I usually don’t put a book on my Goodreads shelf until I’ve read a chapter or two, so it’s rare that I have to delete the book from it. But I aly like seeing DNF reviews because I want to know what made people stop, I just don’t think I would star the book, I would just write my opinion in the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lol “meh and eh and bleh” 😂😂😂 I absolutely agree with you! I rarely review DNF’d books, but if I were to do so more, it’s because something seriously pissed me off and I’d have to rant about it. For example, if I had DNF’d Caraval (a book I disliked straight off the bat), I’d go on a tirade about why it sucked, whereas a book that bored me to the point of DNFing would just make me think, “meh and eh and bleh, 😉 it might not just be for me.”

    Great discussion! You made a great distinction between people who review DNF’d books solely because they’re annoyed versus because they’re bored!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I do not review DNFs. It’s that “unknown” that’s still out there. Did the book get better? I don’t know, because I didn’t finish it. I prefer to be able to evaluate the whole work. I know there are many people, who want to know about DNFs, but I think that if someone is going to put out a DNF review, it shouldn’t be a rant. The reviewer should be able to pinpoint why they didn’t finish it. I read a lot of DNF reviews that are vague, and I will admit, I DNF sometimes, because I’m just not feeling it, but that doesn’t feel like valuable feedback. I do let the publisher know I DNFed and try to articulate why, however, I always find it easier to figure out what I liked about a book, rather than what I didn’t like (unless it’s glaring).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, Sam! I do agree that there could be a lot of super unknown factors – like it might have gotten better or a big plot twist that I could have loved or somehow gotten worse. SO many unknowns. But I agree that there needs to be a pinpointing since vague things really give no clues.


  8. I agree! I enjoy reading the reasons why someone DNF’s a book, whether if it’s that the book is problematic or too slow or the protagonist is too cringy~ I feel like a lot of people frown on when someone rates books they dnf’d but I usually rate it if I read more than 50% or even if I just skimmed, because… at least I’m rating a specific part of the book.

    julianna @ paper blots

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I SO agree with everything you say, Julianna! I actually do the same with my rating. If I’ve made it to 50% and DNF, I feel like I actively tried and if it hasn’t done anything to turn around, then all hope kind of is lost? But I love finding out too, because DNFs to me depending on why are just the same as 1 stars and I would like to know about passing it on by.

      Liked by 1 person

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