It goes without saying that not every single book we read is going to be our cup of tea, especially for a reader like me who has read 100+ books each year since 2018 – I’m currently on track to surpass my 2019 total of 127 books! Today I’ll be discussing my most disappointing reads and did-not-finish (DNF) books of 2020. I realize as I’m finishing a book that it didn’t exactly meet my expectations, or as I look back on my monthly or yearly reading, I realize that it wasn’t that great of a read for me. I want to include a disclaimer that my dislike for the following books has nothing to do with anything other than the fact I didn’t enjoy the book. Additionally, just because I may have not enjoyed a book, doesn’t mean that you won’t or doesn’t discredit your love for it.
Most Disappointing Reads
Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen – Loveboat, Taipei was one of the first books I put on hold once my county library reopened this summer. I’ve really been enjoying YA books and adult contemporaries alike that take place in Asia, as Loveboat, Taipei takes place in Taiwan at a summer cultural program. I wonder if it’s because I’ve been reading YA books with older characters/teenagers, but the main protagonist in Loveboat, Taipei felt so immature to me. She makes some illogical decisions, which I know is typical in YA, but the setting in Loveboat, Taipei wasn’t necessarily young or low stakes (picture hook-ups and a leaked photoshoot). I ultimately finished it because I liked the setting and honestly had hopes for the plot to turn around.
Regretting You by Colleen Hoover – Colleen Hoover is truly a hit-or-miss author for me. I had taken a break from reading her books for a while after a few misses, but then read Verity this summer and LOVED it. I decided to then pick up Regretting You because so many of my blogging friends had enjoyed it, and I thought I’d love its blend of YA & women’s fiction, following a mother and daughter suffering from the loss of a loved one. While I think Regretting You does have a unique premise, I don’t think it brought anything necessarily new to what I’ve read in YA and women’s fiction.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – I wanted to LOVE Get a Life, Chloe Brown because the majority of my fellow contemporary romance fans LOVE this book. I really could not embrace the writing style, even as someone is used to third person perspective storytelling. I didn’t particularly feel the chemistry between Chloe and Red, even with the enemies-to-lovers trope. I often don’t mind a more quiet read but there was really no plot direction, and I never got the feeling that Red was the ‘bad boy’ the synopsis says he is. I do appreciate the book’s representation, since Chloe is a Black woman with fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that causes her pain daily.
Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner – Jennifer Weiner’s Big Summer was on so many must-read lists for summer 2020. I’ve always wanted to read one of Jennifer Weiner’s books, but I probably shouldn’t have started with Big Summer. I was really interested in it because it follows a plus-sized influencer, but the book turned into more of a mystery read than adult contemporary. I don’t mind a mystery or thriller, but I found Big Summer’s ultimate plot uninteresting and didn’t find myself getting invested in the ‘who-dunnit’-ness.
Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3) by Ashley Poston – Two months after reading it, I still want to believe that it was a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ with Bookish and the Beast. This third installment in the Once Upon a Con series was another read where I just wanted invested in the romantic relationship or plot.
The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare – Since I love contemporary romance so much, I wanted to give historical romance a try with one of Tessa Dare’s books. The Duchess Deal is often a go-to historical romance recommendation, especially for readers who want to get into the genre. This book was definitely a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ I wasn’t particularly not enjoying it, but I found myself reaching for other books and ultimately didn’t return to it.
Love Her or Lose Her (Hot & Hammered #2) by Tessa Bailey –Love Her or Lose Her is the one DNF on here that I really don’t understand the hype for (obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion). The first book in the Hot & Hammered series, Fix Her Up, was a meh read for me, but I loved the synopsis of Love Her or Lose Her and decided to give the series another chance. However, I disliked the male protagonist in Love Her or Lose Her, Dominic, even more than I disliked Travis in Fix Her Up. Honestly, I don’t know why this series uses ‘her’ in the titles because it’s seriously the lead male protagonists that need some help or correction in how they view women. I stuck through the first fifty pages or so, but I should’ve DNF’d this one right after the second chapter, when Dominic tries to get Rosie to have sex with him before she leaves their house. This series unfortunately is just not the one for me.
Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon – Of Curses and Kisses is the only Sandhya Menon book that I haven’t enjoyed and ultimately haven’t finished reading. I had read some *meh* reviews about it from some of my book blogging friends, but I still wanted to give it a chance because I love Sandhya Menon’s YA contemporaries. There was just something about Of Curses and Kisses I couldn’t get into. I was super into the male protagonist, Grey, and found myself skimming through his chapters.
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry – I was really hoping to enjoy We Ride Upon Sticks because I had been enjoying reading some adult & literary fiction this year and I loved its field hockey-inspired premise. I found myself slugging through the writing style and didn’t feel particularly attached to the story. I know some readers have loved the setting, but I think it was partly because there were so many ’80s references I just didn’t understand. I got through the first thirty pages or so before deciding to DNF.
What books did you DNF in 2020? Do you DNF books? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Share in the comments!