DNF Review: Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Title: Still Waters
Genre: young-adult, supernatural fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 212 (ARC edition)
Published: December 2011
Source: publishers for review
Rating: N/A

Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He's leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they'll never forget. 

But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a bit...off. They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn't seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin's dark side, and her own safety.

Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

I'm a person that likes finality, that craves it in all things. That kind of person that likes having all the answers and knowing exactly what lead up to those final conclusions. I mean, I used to peek at the final page of every book I bought I still totally do this just to glance at who might survive, scared to get attached to doomed characters.

For these reasons, I don't like to give up on books. For a looong time, I hardly ever ever did. I'm talking like maybe four out of hundreds in the last four years. I'd endure past recycled plotlines, push through just-plain-bad dialogue, obvious machinations and plotpoints, shoddy writing, just because "Hey, it might get better before the end. You never know." And that's true, it really could get better - but it totally doesn't. As it turns out, books that start off bad or bland or boring, those are the kind of books hardly ever actually get better, and then you're left with x amount of wasted time and a lot of excess frustration.

Last year, I got better at pruning through my TBR piles and what I had to read. I DNFd'd more books last year than I ever have in a single year before (12 out of 213), and I am growing ever more discerning here in 2012. So when I found myself struggling with reading Still Waters, thinking constantly to myself, "Just hang in. This could get better. It could get off this generic beaten path. Only [x] pages to go to FREEEDOM!" but, then, I realized, I don't have to finish this book. There is nothing compelling me to read it: not the plot, the characters, nothing. So after 152 pages, I called it quits.

No doubt some will love this book. I bet they'd also really enjoy Spellbound a book I DNF'd last year - as both are generic, young-adult thrillers, with vague paranormal framing, and are utterly, utterly unoriginal. Not for me, but no rating because hey, maybe after 150 pages, it really does get better.

But I doubt it.


  1. Thanks for this. I'm wondering if I should go ahead and take this off my list since we seem to have a lot of books in common. That, and the reviews aren't really that good.

    1. I don't think you'd find much to enjoy Kara. It's the same old cliched, teenage "love story" wrapped up in a thriller. Benn done better and you won't be missing much!

  2. Learning to DNF is an important skill -- one I don't employ enough in my reading.

    1. I'm starting to get better at it as I blog more and grow as a reviewer/blogger; there are just so many books I want to read that it's hard for me to justify finishing a book that bores/irritates me from beginning to end.

      I still feel guilty declining ARCs I'm granted though. Still working on that! ;)

  3. Great review! I completely understand what you mean about DNF books. I'm doing it more and more, with less and less remorse.
    The cover is pretty though.

  4. I like the cover though. Too bad the story wasn't compelling.


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