Why I Don’t Review Books I Didn’t Finish

There are times when you can’t finish a book. I’m not one to power through a story that I’m not enjoying – if I can’t get into it within the first few chapters, I’ll stop reading. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Your free time is your to enjoy, so why force yourself to read something you don’t like? Sometimes I’m not the target reader, other times I’m so bemused that I just want to forget about the whole thing.

So, why I don’t I still give the author a review if I do a D.N.F. on a book?

My one reason is that I don’t think I have a right to review something I didn’t fully read. I’ve had people write a review for a book of mine when it was clear that they didn’t read the whole thing (or they flipped through pages and missed some key parts of the story). Writing a review for a book you barely read misrepresents the story to other readers.

The second reason is that I don’t want to give someone’s book a bad review if I wasn’t the target audience. It happens. And on a personal level, I’d just feel bad writing a bad review for a book I didn’t finish. Just because it was boring or offensive to me, it doesn’t mean I have to roast it and hurt the author’s chances of getting more readers.

What I normally do is rate the unfinished book 3 stars then leave it. At least the author got a rating that wasn’t bad. But that’s me. I think that I view reading differently since I’m an author myself.

Do you still review a book you couldn’t finish?


  1. I totally agree with you! Sometimes I just get very bored of a book, but despite that I still won’t review it because who knows maybe it did get better? I also just hate giving bad reviews in general! 😆 If it’s anything below 3 stars I can review it 🤣

  2. I appreciate your reasons for not reviewing a DNF book. Not being a reader of the book’s target audience is a very valid point. A writing friend was very upset when I told him that I could not write a review of his book for the same reason. While technically well written, I simply could not connect with any of the characters. I did my best in making it to the end by skimming the chapters.

  3. I would still review the book. I read alot on self development and business books and most of the chapters are independent. As such I dont need to finish the entire book to atleast have an opinion of it.

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