When you read 100+ books in one year, you’re unfortunately bound to have some disappointments and books unfinished like this fangirl did. As much as my 2019 was filled with so many great reads (see my 30+ book favorites wrap-up), I had some books that I did not enjoy as much as I had hoped and didn’t enjoy enough to finish. This post is split between my most disappointing books of 2019 and the books that I did-not-finish (DNF).
I will say that just because a book made my disappointing books and DNFs lists does not mean that I didn’t enjoy them at all or that other readers of course wouldn’t enjoy them way more than I did.
Most Disappointing Reads
When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington
When Summer Ends is the type of book that I should’ve really DNF’ed. Everyone knows that I love reading summer contemporaries during the summer, and I was really looking forward to reading one of Jessica Pennington’s books. That being said, I really pushed myself to stick with this book and honestly ended up skimming through the last one hundred pages or so to find out the ending. The book is told through two perspectives, Aidan and Olivia. I unfortunately did not find myself invested in either character and the general plot.
The Queen of Nothing (Folk of Air #3) by Holly Black
Andddd here come the books that will get the most screams from my fellow readers. I admit that I was never the biggest fan of The Cruel Prince and never really understood the hype around it… until I read and absolutely loved The Wicked King! I had such high expectations for The Queen of Nothing. But by the first 100 page mark in QoN, I had no idea where the story was going and it stayed that way throughout the rest of the book. So much of the story was built around the Cardan vs. Madoc conflict and I really didn’t understand much of what was going on. Even with the one steamy scene, Cardan and Jude’s chemistry just felt so off.
Wayward Son (Carry On #2) by Rainbow Rowell
First, let it be known that I still really enjoyed Wayward Son, the sequel to Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. I think I was just disappointed with Wayward Son because it was so different than what I had expected. I really thought it would be a happily ever after tale featuring Simon, Baz, and Penelope’s road trip across America- with a few antics and odd happenings of course involved.
However, Simon’s depression after the events of Carry On wasn’t fully developed and I hated the way that it affected his relationship with Baz since we didn’t have that development. Again with confusion, I also had so much trouble following some of the action scenes and world-building within the US magic system. I’m conflicted with how much Wayward Son fell into middle book syndrome. On one hand, I’m so impressed with Rainbow Rowell and her publishing team for keeping the third book a secret for so long. On the other hand, I wasn’t expecting to for this book to be the second book in a trilogy or series when first reading. I actually tend to enjoy the second books in a lot of trilogies, but I think my confusion surrounding a lot of what actually happened in the book led to my disappointment. I definitely plan on rereading Wayward Son at some point and hoping this reread will allow me to understand the story more and perhaps led me into absolutely loving it.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Now this is the book that will likely cause all the fangirl screams to be thrown at me. Like Wayward Son, Daisy Jones and the Six is a book that I still really enjoyed. But in this book’s case, I don’t necessarily understand all the hype surrounding it. Yes, it had such a unique storytelling style but nothing necessarily stood out to be about the plot and characters upon finishing it. I also didn’t see the romantic chemistry between two specific characters, and I often lost track of the secondary characters.
The Winter of the Witch (Winternight #3) by Katherine Arden
As you can see, some sequels and conclusions were just not my cup of tea in 2019. I feel like I talked about The Winter of the Witch a lot in a few other posts, so I’ll just say that The Winter of the Witch was a similar situation to QoN in which I had love the second book so much- in this case, The Bear and the Nightingale– and had such high expectations for the third book.
Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
Again, but Better is another book where I feel like I’ve talked about my feels in a few other posts. As a college YA fan and having followed Christine’s writing process through her Booktube videos, I really wanted to love Again, but Better, but I just did not enjoy its plot development and main character and subsequent character development and narration.
This is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Ashley Elston’s This is Our Story is a book that is much loved by many bloggers and BookTubers I follow. Although I enjoyed This is Our Story, I really didn’t think it brought anything new to the YA thriller table. I wasn’t a fan of the romance, and the suspense surrounding the murderer didn’t hook me in very much.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Throne
Like almost every reader, I devoured Sally Throne’s romantic contemporary debut, The Dating Game. And like almost every reader, I was so excited to read her second book, 99 Percent Mine. Overall, I thought 99 Percent Mine was a swoon-worthy and fun read, but it wasn’t nearly as memorable as The Dating Game. I think the overall plot could have gone a lot more in-depth, and the dialogue (one of my favorite elements of The Dating Game) was difficult to follow at times.
Sea Witch Rising (Sea Witch #2) by Sarah Henning
While I ultimately did DNF Sea Witch Rising, this book is another case where I should’ve have DNF’ed a lot sooner. Some pressure came from the fact that I had received this book for review from the publisher and at the time, I had also had such a fun experience reading the first book in the series, Sea Witch. Sea Witch Rising is told fifty years or so after Sea Witch. This book was another case where I was just not invested enough in the story, writing style, and characters to continue.
Dig by A.S. King
A.S. King’s books receive so much praise from both critics and the book blogging sphere that I was really excited to read her 2019 release, Dig. Someone about this story following four interconnected characters had me really intrigued, but I ultimately wasn’t a fan of the writing style and by the 100 page mark, had really no idea where this story was headed. I don’t know if I picked up this book at the wrong time, as I had been reading a lot of light-hearted contemporaries around then, but I’m hoping to give another A.S. King book another chance one day.
Slayer by Kiersten White
Slayer was a combination of picking up a book at the wrong time and having barely any knowledge of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I received an unsolicited review copy form the publisher and given many people’s love for both Buffy and Kiersten White’s books, I wanted to give it a chance. I ended up enjoying what I had read so far (I think I got to around the 150 page mark), but I think I wasn’t too invested in the story and got distracted by other books.
Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
I had mixed feelings about Mary H.K. Choi’s debut, Emergency Contact, but I decided to give her second book, Permanent Record, a chance after picking up a review copy at Book Expo 2019. Unfortunately, I was just not interested in Permanent Record’s storyline and its main characters. I really wanted to love this book after meeting Kary H.K. Choi at Book Expo, but it just was not for me. I think I’m going to have to be really intrigued by her future books’ synopsises in order for me to read another of her books.
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandi Colbert
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph received so much hype at Book Expo 2019 and in many posts about upcoming Fall 2019 titles that I decided to pick up a copy at the convention. The Revolution of Birdie Randolph may have been another book that I picked up at the wrong time, but by the twenty five page mark, I was not a fan of the writing style and nothing about the plot was pulling me in to stay.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
I was handed Ten Thousand Doors of January at Book Expo. Given the hype and praise surrounding it, I decided to give it a chance. I was also in a fantasy mood at the time of picking it up, and I haven’t read too many portal fantasies before. I think I got to the seventy five page mark after realizing this book was just not for me. I didn’t enjoy how it flipped between the main protagonist’s journey and the historical or scientific-like chapters.
What books were you disappointed by or did not finish in 2019? Any that I mention? Should I give any of my DNFs another chance? Share in the comments!