In Which 13 Awesome Book Bloggers Discuss Why They DNF Books // Exit Page Right

previously on...

Previously on Exit Page Right, we talked about my bookish turnoffs and what leads me down to the DNF Door. *Cue clip montage and cheesy voiceover narration* During today’s episode, I want to broaden my horizons and discuss the reasons the bookish community as a whole chooses to throw in the proverbial towel and DNF books. To find out more, I donned my Sherlock Holmes hat (the one that Buttercup Cumbersnatch hates in the BBC show), grabbed my trusty magnifying glass (I don’t actually have one of those โ€“ but I should), and took to the internet. (Because that’s the place to discover the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, amirite???)

You can tell he just LOVES the hat. I mean, look at that smile. I, for one, am convinced.

Using my handy-dandy notebook Google Forms, I was able to survey thirteen different book bloggers about their biggest “bookish turn-offs” and why they personally decide to not finish a book. So, take my hand and I’ll show you the world what makes these readers put a book down:


Shannon @ Shelfish for Books

“If I get secondhand embarrassment from the characters, if the narrator/pov of a book is confusing and I can’t follow along with the story, if the main female character is naive and believes she ‘needs a man'”

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Caro @ The Book Cheshire Cat

“What gets me immediately more likely to DNF a book is when the romance turns really messy e.g. the MC not having an agency around the love interest or the love interest mistreating the MC and it being framed as ‘romantic’. Another definite turn-off is girl on girl hate.”

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Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

“Boring and dragging plot, little to no character development, bland and one dimensional characters – if a book has all three it is all but guaranteed to land in my DNF pile.”

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Kelly @ Just Another Book in the Wall

“Too many cliches, unlikable protagonists, boring narratives, and when too many ‘super impossible events happen to oh so conveniently save the MC.'”

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Aimee @ Aimee, Always

“It honestly depends on the genre for me! For example, with contemporaries, I cannot tolerate a whiny, immature MC. For fantasies, I cannot get through formula books that basically turn the book into another The Selection x The Hunger Games read. For diverse reads, horrible/stereotypical rep will definitely turn me off!”

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Kathy @ Books and Munches

“Mostly if the story’s just way too slow and nothing happens in the first 100 pages. Or if the main character is.. well.. getting on my nerves non-stop from the start. I always try to reach the 100 pages-mark though. That’s when I allow myself to stop reading if I’m really not feeling it.”

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

“Contrivances are a huge pet peeve! Give us legitimate motivations, don’t just have your character do whatever, but try to have them act like a real person. People follow patterns and rarely deviate (hint, unless there is a reason!)”

Lenny Mullican @ Lenny Literary

(whose website has since died):

“I’ll often DNF a book if there is too much description. I don’t mind lyrical writing, but if you spend 5 pages telling me what a building looks like I’m outta there. I will also DNF if a book is heading in one direction that I loved, but then all of a sudden changes directions in a way that doesn’t make sense at all! (Maybe this is more DNF a series rather than a book, but can count for both.)”

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Eline @ Lovely Audiobooks

“I’ve DNF’ed because of stereotyping that borders on or crosses over into sexism, racism and so on. I also DNF if the heroine acts really stupidly. Sometimes, in order to appear strong, a heroine is so set on doing everything herself that she constantly gets herself in danger. E.G. there’s this really strong athlete/werewolf/marine love interest, yet the heroine tries to rescue her brother/son/puppy by herself without telling the guy, possibly getting herself caught or wounded, and then we’re back to damsel in distress.”

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Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books

“Instalove or eye-rolly romance. But mostly just triggers!”

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Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner

“1) MCs who I canโ€™t relate to, whether they are cliched, too perfect or shallow, and 2) too slow pace.”

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Anjana @ Superfluous Reading

“Mostly the writing, if it seems too …blah. If the violence becomes too important and there is too much focus on unnecessary details.”

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Sam @ Sharing Inspired Kreations

“Captivity is a huge one for me – if a story fails to pull me in, it’s likely going to get a DNF. Poor writing or editing is another big one – if a book is riddled with errors, I’m going to get frustrated fast!”


A BIG thanks to all of the wonderful bloggers who answered my questions and participated in my survey! You all are amazing! I couldnโ€™t blog without you ๐Ÿ™‚

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What did you think of these bloggers’ reasons for DNFing a book?

Do you agree with them? Why or why not?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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48 thoughts on “In Which 13 Awesome Book Bloggers Discuss Why They DNF Books // Exit Page Right

  1. Most of my DNFs have been because the book was boring and just not capturing my attention, but I have also DNFed books that I found offensive or were too politicized, when they weren’t about politics. We get politics 24/7. Books are my escape.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh what a great idea for a post and I love all of these bloggers’ contributions ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually can’t recall the last time I DNF-ed a book… it’s been years and years, to be honest and, even if I’m not into a book at first, I’m always pushing through and most of the time end up finding some enjoyable aspects about it overall, so…. I can’t really bring my new opinion to the table, but I’d definitely DNF a book if the main character was somehow the worst. Characters matter way too much for me haha ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was so interesting to read why people DNF.
    I am really bad at doing it, I wish I was better at it because sometimes I drag myself to read when I am really not enjoying for the sake of finishing it.
    I agree with a lot of what the bloggers said– characters underdeveloped is probably a big turn off for me and really long descriptions can put me off too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All pretty valid reasons, and pretty much the same for me!
    I do love reading about unlikeable people tho ๐Ÿ˜€ As long as it’s written in an interesting way, and it’s clear that they are unlikeable on purpose. I don’t like insufferable characters that are made out to be good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree. If the author intends for the character to be unlikable, then that becomes a plot thing and I’m cool with that. But when they are supposed to be likable….but aren’t? That’s when I get an issue. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love hearing why other readers DNF books. I really struggle with allowing myself to DNF a book when I’m not enjoying it, so it’s really great to see that really any reason is a good enough reason to quit a book that doesn’t make you happy!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved reading this. How fun that you rounded up answers from other bloggers. I’ve made it a goal to DNF books more often this year, I have a bad habit of forcing myself through books because it has been worth it many times but it also hasn’t enough times that I need to get myself to start putting them down sooner now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cool post! For me it could also be just not the right book in the right time. Also if you feel like you won’t really enjoy the writing, and the book is longer than average (like 500 pages)… Then I’d definitely give up within 100 pages. No shame in that whatsoever!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oooh that was an interesting read !

    I don’t really have a “must” for DNFing but basically if I get so lost in the story I just have NO IDEA what’s going on anymore xD or if I just… don’t get into it. I need to be catapulted into the book’s world and forget the time.. if I cannot do that and create images in my brain … if sorry but thats boring and not fun to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “I get secondhand embarrassment from the characters…” hahahahaha I thought I was the only one? ๐Ÿ˜›

    I agree with many of these answers. I think my biggest reason would be dressing up abuse as romance or friendship. That is a big nope for me!

    Liked by 1 person

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