Abandon It or Stick With It?

I’m out of sorts as of late. My mind is going in all different directions and I can’t focus. Consequently, I continue to pick up new books and none of them are holding my interest. I’m starting to think it’s me, not the books. So I need your help.These two books have A LOT of hype around them (from bloggers, friends, pubs, etc.). But I can’t get into them.

Quite a few of my friends have raved about The Living by Matt de la Pena, but I’m 85 pages in and I’m not really interested. I have SO MANY books to read and I want this to grab me and keep holding on. I want to be excited about The Living so I can rave about in my classroom. And this is completely nit-picky, but I hate the name Shy. I keep reading it as “she” and then I get confused. Have any of you struggled with this book? If you loved it, how much longer do you think I should keep reading before giving up? Is it worth the time?

Another book that has been receiving rave reviews from my friends, bloggers, and especially the publisher is These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner. I was incredibly excited to receive an ARC at NCTE because I love the cover and it sounds fantastic. Unfortunately, I wasn’t grabbed at all when I started reading These Broken Stars. I usually like it when the author(s) throws the reader right into the story, but this one confused me more than anything. Also, this is probably way too nit-picky but the font is much smaller than I prefer and quite a bit of text is condensed on the page. I only just made it to Lilac’s point of view for the first time so I feel like I haven’t given this a fair shot. But at the same time, I’m 18 pages in and questioning whether I want to continue.

What do you think, readers? I’d love for you to chime in and give me some advice!

Comments

  1. Chalida (teacher librarian) says:

    I haven’t read either of these books, but I think communicating what you just wrote to your students is powerful. Readers abandon books sometimes and that’s okay. It’s okay that we don’t all love the same books. Maybe your opinion will cause a student to pick one up and offer a positive review. Challenge them to read one and see if they agree. I usually give books a 50 page try (and encourage my students to do 30-50 and if they want to abandon, so be it). There are so many great books waiting for me.

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      I hope my opinion does prompt some of my students to read these. Sometimes it makes them hesitant though which is why I wish I could finish them. Regardless, I’ll be honest with them.

  2. I go through phases like this, too, where it seems like nothing can hold my attention. I’d probably put them both down for now. You can always pick them up again at some point when you might be more in the mood for what they have to offer. When I truly have trouble sticking with ANY book, I’ll often reread an old favorite and that usually snaps me out of my reading funk. ;)

  3. Great advice by the other commenters! I’ve read These Broken Stars, and, for what it’s worth, I really liked it. However, I think if it’s not holding your interest now, it probably won’t later in the book, either. One complaint I had about it is that I think it’s longer than necessary. I actually liked the first half more than the last half. Also, the further removed I get from it, the less memorable it seems to be. (Does this ever happen to anyone else? You love it at the time but it becomes kind of forgettable?)

    I hope you find something excellent to read soon! :)

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      I know exactly what you’re talking about, Franny. I’ve read a number of books that I was really excited about when I finished and then later forgot about. I’ve also, however, read quite a few books that I liked more and more the longer removed from the book I was. It’s funny how that happens :)

  4. I agree with the above comments, you may want to just put them aside for now and read something else. I remember I started reading The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and I read about 50 pages and didn’t like it at all. So I put it away and picked it up about a year later and absolutely loved it. So I do think sometimes it’s not the book, it’s just that particular time and what you’re in the mood for. That said, 18 pages isn’t that much and I did really like These Broken Stars (and I do remember that it took me a little longer than that to really get into it). I haven’t read The Living, but I have read some mixed reviews of that one. And reading an old favorite is a great idea!

  5. The beginning of The Living was pretty slow, but once the storm hits it is ALL ACTION, and I couldn’t stop reading (don’t remember what page).

    Sometimes it’s bad for me when I read a book with so much hype around it. It almost makes me expect too much, or I feel like I don’t want to like it as much since “everyone” loves it…I dunno. I’ve never read Twilight because it was SO hyped at first. If I hadn’t read The Hunger Games before the hype, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much. Just a thought!

    There are so many books to read; don’t get hung up on reading what you’re not enjoying. You have trusted opinions from friends about each of the books, and you can share those with students.

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Thanks, Jenn! I might either give The Living to a student and then try it again or maybe I’ll skim and jump ahead lol.

  6. I stated These Broken Stars today and it picks up pretty quickly from where you said you were. I’m about 40 pages in and liking it. Though you are so right about the font – I feel like I’m reading so slow.

  7. When something like this happens to me, I generally will abandon the book and then try listening to the audio instead. I abandoned Counting By 7s back in June because it just wasn’t grabbing me, but then just recently listened to the audio and LOVED it! So maybe give the audio a try.

I love comments!

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