I recently started reading a VERY popular new release. I'm not here to name and shame, so I'm not going to call out the author. But the hero was a complete douchenozzle who treated women like garbage. I couldn't see anything this hero could do over the course of the book that would redeem him. I mean, even if he cured cancer , I'd still of him as that asshat who cured cancer that one time. But if you were to go look at the reviews for this book, there are HUNDREDS of them gushing about how great this book is and how SWOONY the hero is. So, what do you do when you loathe a book that everyone else seems to universally love? Well, since it happens to me more than I care to admit, I feel particularly qualified to give advice on this matter. Here it goes...
I know it feels wrong, but it is OK to DNF a book at any point. You are in no way obligated to read an entire book. Don't think of it as giving up or quitting. Think of it as protecting your sanity by refusing to finish a book that you are sure you'll hate. If a book isn't bringing you joy, ditch it with a quickness and never feel guilty about it.
If you think that reviewing the offending book will be cathartic for you, by all means, review it. No, you don't have to read the whole book to write a review, no matter what some readers and authors will tell you. You can review whatever you want. No one is the boss of you. And reviews are for READERS, not authors. So, don't worry that your review might offend the author. You're helping save like-minded readers from the horrors you suffered at the hands of a book you hated. That's a public service as far as I'm concerned.
But on the other hand, if you just want to move on with your life, don't feel like you HAVE to review, either. You are perfectly within your rights to pretend a book never darkened your Kindle and not speak of it again.
Long-story-short: Whatever you want to do in regards to reviewing--you're right. Don't let anyone tell you you're not.
You're not alone
Believe me, you're not the only one to hate a particular book. Sometimes readers who hate a book don't like to leave a review because they think it'd be mean, or that the author would be offended. But for every reader out there who adored a book, there's another one who hated it with the heat of a nova. Just because the haters aren't stepping up to publicly condemn a book doesn't mean you're alone in your hatred.
Some reviewers lie
It's important to remember that not all reviewers are truthful--especially when it comes to ARC (advance review copy) reviewers for very popular authors. The book I hated? It's by a HUGELY popular author whose fans are positively rabid in their adoration. People who speak up about disliking this author's books are often attacked and cyber bullied by the super fans. (Through no fault of the author, of course) I can totally see how a blogger who requested a copy of the book and promised to do a review might lie and say they liked a book they didn't to avoid cyber bullying by legions of obsessed fans. But keep that in mind when you see a ton of glowing reviews for something you hated. Not ALL those 5-stars are REALLY 5-stars...
If you don't have anything nice to say...come talk to me
I'm always willing to snark about books I hated. Come see me on Facebook if you want to chat about something you hated. I always answer direct messages (not always super quickly, but I do my best) and will always give you an honest opinion. I also shut down bullying in post comments ruthlessly. The Romance Rehab Facebook page is a safe space!
Move on to a comfort read
Consider re-reading a book that brought you great joy. That comfort read will act as a palette cleanser to help get the bad taste of the book you hated out of your mouth. If you're stumped for what to read, feel free to borrow some of my re-read classics. There's also this handy-dandy book list index that will provide you with more book recommendations than you could probably get through in years. You're welcome.
That's about all I have to say. But what about y'all? Anything you'd like to add? Let's discuss!