I decided to write this post last month: I had checked out Just One Year, the sequel to Gayle Forman’s Just One Day, a book that had certainly gotten mixed reviews (either gushing or kind of dismal) and that was making me kind of dread finishing the book before it because it meant having to read JOY (yes, I used the acronym to be a bit ironic). I sat there, this book in my hand that I really didn’t want to read, and decided that I was being silly.
There were probably plenty of people who would see this book at the library and immediately smile, their day or week or month made because they had finally gotten their hands on it. I had had great experiences with past Forman books, and the thought of marring my record with her loomed over my head. There were so many reasons why I shouldn’t force myself to read this book – so why was I?
So, I put this book in the “return to library” stack and moved on to another book. I decided that Just One Day, a pretty decent book in my mind, was a standalone. Allyson’s journey ended at the end of that book, and Willem’s journey just wasn’t important to me.
I rarely do this, but this wasn’t the first time that I decided not to change my opinion about a book by reading an unplanned or unwanted sequel. Nancy Werlin’s Impossible is one of my favorite books, but I was kind of horrified when I heard it was getting a sequel about five years or so after it came out. I was so happy with the way Impossible ended. Sure, I would love to read more about Lucy and Zach and the rest of the characters, but things ended so well for them – I didn’t want to read about more problems. The summary of the sequel suggested that their lives would once again become tough and unhappy, and I really didn’t want to read about that. I didn’t want to change my opinion of the book by reading a sequel that might be of lesser quality.
I don’t think this is a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s helpful to the authors of these books – yes, I’m not reading their books, but I’m also not panning them. Sure, I might not dislike them, but if I’m happy with the way the previous book ended, there’s no reason I should force myself to read the book.
I can’t be the only one who pretends books are standalones, right? Or am I the only person who possibly takes the easy way out?