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Giving a book/author a second chance


You may or may not have heard of Sabriel, which Shanti fangirls about with alarming frequency, as do some of our other friends. However, I picked it up in 2014 (I think. A long time ago, anyway), got about 40% through, and the DNF’d it. I recently finished the audiobook and really enjoying it, which made me think about giving books second chances.


You know the feeling. There’s a book everyone’s talking about… but you’ve already tried it and didn’t finish. Someone’s just published a new book, but you haven’t enjoyed the author’s other works. You

 Reasons not to give the author/book a second chance

  • You don’t have the time. There’s lots of other books you have to read or review and you don’t want to waste your time with something you don’t think you’ll enjoy.
  • There is a seriously off-putting aspect of the book. Maybe it had really horrible rep, or was racist or misogynist, or just really really annoying.
  • You don’t think you mesh with the author. Maybe you’ve read several of their other books and didn’t enjoy any, and maybe something about them and their writing just doesn’t work for you. (It’s okay! It will work for someone else!)


I’m quite glad I gave Sabriel a second chance, like I said before. I don’t know what my past self was thinking to DNF it (and complain about how dumb it was) for so many years.

But this doesn’t always work. For example, I was kind of meh about Bookishly Ever After, but I reread it (and kind of liked it more?) before trying Dramatically Ever After, which I was really not a fan of. And I didn’t really like quite a few Kasie West books, tried them again, and consistently kept not liking them. (Please note this was giving authors, rather than books a second chance. But sometimes it’s the same idea).

In that light:

Reasons to give the author/book a second chance

  • If you’ve read it before, chances are it’s easily available at your library/on your bookshelf/belongs to your friend/on your ereader, which other books you want to read may not be.
  • Your friends might have really liked this book/author, and constantly harass you about reading it. Maybe you didn’t like it orginally, but they’ll be happy if you give it a chance, and you’ll be able to join in discussions about it (such was the case with me and Sabriel). (Although I do have friends who really want me to give Sarah J. Maas a second try. I have so far refused)
  • You might have changed since you tried reading the book. Maybe you’ll like it now when you didn’t before. (I suspect this was also the case with Sabriel). Look up reviews or ask friends who’ve read the book to find out.
  • The author might have changed since you last read their books. Maybe the newer books are more your type. If you think this may be true, then I’d suggest looking up reviews and synopses to see if there are aspects you might enjoy now.
  • You can try another format.  Maybe you didn’t like it as an audiobook, but you’ll like it as a physical book or vice versa? This was the case for me and Blue Lily, Lily Blue. I DNF’d several times with the audiobook (I’d listen to a few chapters, give up, start again because I’d forgotten the plot) but eventually finished it (and low key enjoyed) as an ebook.


In conclusion, I think giving a book or author a second chance depends on several things. Firstly, you’ve got to have the time to prioritise it over everything else you might want to read. Secondly, you have to work out if what you didn’t like originally is something that has changed, or if you have changed to like it. Also, I’d say that if you give a book/author a second chance, and still don’t like it for whatever reason a few chapters in, you are still perfectly justified in stopping it immediately, because you’ve got better things to do. And if the first two chances don’t work out, don’t bother with third chances. You’ve got better things to do, and someone else can enjoy the book.

Do you give books or authors second chances? Why or why not? Do you have any reasons to add to either side of my list?




20 thoughts on “Giving a book/author a second chance

  1. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve ever done this: given a book a second chance. It’s not necessarily intentional, just that with SO MANY BOOKS TO READ, if I’ve already tried it and DNFed, I don’t even think about going back (though it’s possible that I’ve read new books by authors I disliked and just wasn’t paying enough attention to remember I didn’t like a previous book). So basically your first reason. I do think I’ve had experiences, though, where I didn’t like the beginning of the book, continued it anyway, and ended up liking. So I guess that’s the closest I’ve ever gotten, haha.

    Really thoughtful post!!



  2. I rarely give an author a second chance if I really didn’t like the first book I read of theirs. Usually the first book I’ve happened upon was the most well-known and well-liked, so if I really didn’t like that one then I doubt I’d like their others.

    The only time I can think of it working out was with N.T. Wright. The first time I read a book of his, it was one of his popular-level books and it had been assigned by someone else. I had never heard of him before. Rosey and I read it together and I didn’t think much of it. But I told her as we were reading it, “I feel like there’s something far deeper and more interesting he’s alluding to here, but he’s not saying it.”

    Just a few months later, I was talking to a new friend about a spiritual crisis I was having, and he strongly recommended a particular one of N.T. Wright’s much deeper, academic-level books. I read that book and it changed my life. Since then I’ve read half-a-dozen of his “academic” books and they’ve all been incredible. I’ve gone back and read 3-4 of his popular-level books as well – they are sometimes good but more uneven.

    So I guess that’s a reason to give an author a second chance – they may write in more than one genre, and one may suit you much more than another.

    Dean Kootz is an author who evolved a lot over his career. I read him a lot as a teen when he basically wrote typical thriller/horror books, somewhere between Michael Crichton and Stephen King. Then I didn’t read him for about 15 years until I picked up one of his books randomly as it sat around a house I was staying in. It turned out that while I was gone, he had evolved into a much more spiritual, psychological, intellectually interesting writer and now has enormous respect in the mystery novel community. While I enjoyed his early books as a teen, his more mature books fit me much better as an adult. We grew up together!


  3. This is such a good point! One book isn’t a completely accurate sample of the author’s writing. I’ve recently been having this issue with Alexandra Bracken (I didn’t really enjoy Passenger but everyone seems to think The Darkest Minds is amazing) and with Renee Ahdieh (A Flame in the Mist didn’t agree with me, but The Wrath and The Dawn was alright).

    Since I have two TBR shelves on goodreads (one I for book I definitely want to read and one for books I am not sure about) I put those authors on the lower priority shelf and read them if I come across them at the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so funny! The Wrath and the Dawn really wasn’t my thing, but I might try Flame in the Mist? And I loved Passenger and Wayfarer but the Darkest Minds doesn’t sound like my thing XD
      The TBR/library strategy sounds good. We’re so lucky to have good(ish) libraries, which you can’t always get overseas.


      1. Yeah, the libraries near me are pretty good which makes everything easier. I am also far more likely to give an author a second chance based on what my friends think of their books because I trust their opinions, and you have to give authors room to grow.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. On giving them another try… I don’t know. Generally I will come back and give a book another chance-maybe a year or so on? That is, unless the writing was really bad. If that was the reason I DNFd it, I probably won’t be giving it another chance 🙂


  5. I rarely give authors a second chance unless they have a series. I’m thinking of reading the second book in one of Rachel Caine’s series (the one with the library?) but maybe not this year. I fell into a bookish slump after reading the first book unfortunately 😦


    1. Yeah, but then what if the second book is better? But what if it isn’t? What if you regret it? Ahhhh decisions, they are so hard. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts if you do read the next book 🙂


    1. Fair enough! I read the first 3 books in that series, got bored, and gave up even though so many people IRL and on the internet tell me how great it is. I guess you should try again?


  6. Oh this is such an interesting post, I love it 🙂 I think I’m lucky enough that most of the books I buy (since I don’t have a library, I have to buy 99% of my books), I end up reading until the last page and not DNF it, but sometimes I’m just not that inspired to pick up another book by the author. I agree though that it’s important to give an author a second chance, especially when we have that feeling that we might be missing out on something great, something that might have changed, in us or in the author’s writing, in the next book 🙂


    1. I think you must have a knack for choosing books you usually love 🙂 That’s such a useful skill though (maybe because you can research and read reviews and stuff before you buy?)
      The trick when deciding whether or not to give an author another chance is whether you think you’re missing out because of hype or the book is something you’ll actually love ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I guess, I tend to do loads of research (except from some particular books, favorite authors etc) before ordering new books, I think that helps 🙂


  7. I definitely agree– a second chance doesn’t have to mean committing to an entire book! If you read a chapter and still really dislike the author’s writing style or the main character, then it’s perfectly fine to DNF it (some advice that I could take myself…). Great post! 🙂


    1. I’m so bad at DNFing! Partly because I like writing grumpy reviews, and partly because I feel like I’ll read more books if I don’t read half of one before giving up. But I generally take a long time to read something I’m not enjoying, so it’s dumb. And then second chances can surprise you and that’s good 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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