I Have Second Book Avoidance Syndrome

Second Book Avoidance Syndrome

I’ve had a problem for several months now, and I finally have a diagnosis for my condition: Second Book Avoidance Syndrome.

What the heck are you talking about, Ashley?

In simplest terms, I avoid the second book in a series. Let’s look at some of the first books in a series that I completely fell in love with:

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Book 2 out for 5 months

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Book 2 out for 1 month

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Book 2 out for 1 month

Legend by Marie Lu
Legend by Marie Lu

Book 2 out for 5 months

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Book 2 out for 1 month

Partials by Dan Wells
Partials by Dan Wells

Book 2 out for 4 months

Slated by Teri Terry
Slated by Teri Terry

Book 2 out for 3 months

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Book 2 out for 2 months

The Symptoms

In almost all of those books, I commented that I “Can’t wait for book 2!” and that “I wish I had book 2 now!” And in the moment, that was so true! If book 2 was released right then, I probably would have read it immediately. But now it’s months later and although I still love those books, I haven’t picked up book #2 for any of them. Why? Why?? WHY???!?!?!

The Cause

There are so many possible causes for Second Book Avoidance Syndrome. Let’s brainstorm a little:

  • I’m afraid that book #2 won’t live up to my expectations, and I don’t want to be let down.
  • I’m drowning under a pile of ARCs and I feel obligated to read those first, but then as a result, I never actually get around to the other books.
  • I like starting series but I don’t like continuing them.
  • Maybe I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten everything that happened in book 1, so I’m just afraid to start book 2.

The Cure

Second Book Avoidance Syndrome is like a virus; it just keeps getting worse and worse until it destroys your Central Reading System. But, I have a plan! It fits in nicely with my breaking up with ARCs task. Once I’ve exhausted all my ARC obligations, I’m going to sit down and focus on reading these second-books-in-the-series. My boyfriend may have to strap me down and force-hand me the books, but it’s going to happen!

My goal is to finish the second book in all those series by January 1st. That gives me plenty of time to knock them out of the way before the third books start getting released. And honestly, six months is more than enough time to read eight books. If I don’t finish this goal, then we’ll know that I’ve advanced to Stage 3: Critical Condition. And there may be no coming back from Stage 3…

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  1. OMG this is so me too! lol And for all the reasons you said. I have forgotten details and get bogged down with review books. I still haven’t read Unravel Me which I think has additional reasons that before it came out everyone was swooning over the Warner love in it and it made me apprehensive because I loved Adam in Shatter Me. But alas… I’ll read it eventually. I also still need to read Sweet Peril and Dreamless (from the Starcrossed series). *sigh* There are others too. Glad I’m not the only one!

    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted: TBR - July 2013 Releases
  2. I can totally understand how you feel! Usually a lot of sequels suffer from Second Book Syndrome so they’re not as good as the first and I tend to avoid them too unless I know that this author simply cannot disappoint me. Plus there are just so many other books! Especially when ARCs get in the way of being able to choose what you can read πŸ™ Good luck Ashley! πŸ˜€

    Charlotte @ Gypsy Reviews recently posted: Discussion: Imperfect is the New Perfect
  3. I have the same problem!! I have so many second-books that I need to read but I keep putting them off. Either because of my ARCs or because I’m a little nervous that I won’t like it better than the first book. I think I will adopt your plan though πŸ™‚ There’s always hope we’ll be cured, lol. Great post!

  4. Haha. For me, it’s usually just fear that it won’t be as good, since I’ve run into that problem a few times. Now when I read one that I thoroughly enjoy, or even enjoy more than the first book, I’m so surprised!

    My secret ninja trick for this problem? I usually try to wait until the first two books are out in a series to read them. I can then read the first one, love it or hate it and decide to read the second one right away. No forgetting, no waiting, and can just get right into it. By the time the third book comes out, if I know I loved the series, I won’t not read it because it’s usually the finale and I just have to see how it all ends up!

    Asti (A Bookish Heart) recently posted: Top Ten Tuesdays: Movie Adaptations (Favorite and Future)
  5. You are hilarious! You blew right through book 2 of Dark Duet and the Tiger books (but I know the tiger one was a bit of a let down if I remember right). The only thing that really drives me crazy about series’ is waiting for that next book to come out. As an author, it pushes me to hurry up and get that next book done because I assume that my readers are just about as patient as me LOL. I think you’ve set a very realistic goal and I hope that all of those book twos don’t disappoint. πŸ™‚ ~A

  6. I have this problem, too! Mainly because if I don’t immediately have the second book on hand, I’ll eventually forget about how much I loved the first book and won’t ever continue the series. (This is why I prefer waiting to watch TV shows when they come out on DVD– I can watch the whole thing at once and nothing will distract me from it.) I think I’ll make a shelf on Goodreads for second-in-a-series books I need to read; maybe that’ll help me remember to actually, y’know, READ THEM.

    Anastasia @ Here There Be Books recently posted: REVIEW: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
  7. Yup I haven’t read the second book of a lot of them for the same reason and even worse I haven’t read the last book in so many series including Birthmarked which I adore so much but can’t face it not living up to my expectations but also because I don’t want it to end! Me and ARCS are on a “break” for a while, not requesting any until Autumn because I have bought so many books this year that I feel guilty about reading if I choose it over an ARC! Hopefully there’s a cure to this! πŸ™‚

  8. For me the reluctance sometimes comes from having a murky memory of the first book and feeling like I have to re-read it, which is then a time problem. I know a lot of people think the second book in a series or trilogy is the weakest one, but I tend to actually love book 2 more than book 3 quite often!
    Love the way you wrote this post XD

  9. I’m exactly the same way!! I’m terrified of continuing in series because there’s always so many other series to start, and I’m scared that they won’t be as awesome or totally screw up my love for the first book. I just recently read Prodigy though, and I practically died, it was so amazing, so don’t worry about that one XD

    Janita @ Book, Interrupted recently posted: Top Ten Tuesdays! (22)
  10. Okay, are you me? You wouldn’t believe the number of second books in a series I’ve absolutely loved that I own but have yet to read! I think I’m most upset about having yet to read Through The Ever Night, which is the second book in my favourite series last year, and Breaking Point, as I greatly enjoyed reading Article 5 last year.

    For me, I think it primarily comes down to expectations. Give how much I adored the two aforementioned series, I’m terrified that the second book will be a disappointment. I want to remember how much I adored the first books in the series and not have that be ruined by a lacklustre follow-up novel. It’s also all about remembering the details. I tend to like to re-read the first novel in a series before reading the second novel so that everything is fresh in my mind, but I don’t always have time to do so because of my obligations to review certain books on my blog.

    Jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader recently posted: Top Ten Favourite Book-To-Film-Or-TV Adaptations
    1. Ohh you should totally read Through the Ever Night! I actually liked it so much more than Under the Never Sky. To be honest, I wasn’t that crazy about the first book but I ended up LOVING book 2! O_O Take from that what you will! πŸ˜€

  11. Oh gosh I can so relate to some of your points. An example would be The Lunar Chronicles, for me. I totally fell in love with Cinder and though it was one of the best things ever… but I’ve been putting off buying book 2. Why? Why would I do that to myself? I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to book 1 as well but book blogger friends have assured me they liked it even better than the first. I finally caved and made a purchase on it, but I have no clue how long I’ll wait to get to it once it arrives here.

    I don’t have ARC obligations, but I’ve recently acquired a card for my local library, after being here for over four months. I checked out so many e-books right away and put so many others on hold, I feel like I need to get through those before I go reading any physical copies (since they’re on a 2-week time limit each).

    Anyway, I think it’s great you’re giving yourself a goal to progress in those series by the end of the year. It’s great being caught up for when new books come out. I hope you enjoy the seconds in all those series as much as you did the firsts!

    Leanne @ Literary Excursion recently posted: Reading Retroscpection: A Monster Calls
  12. Yikes! It sounds serious, so hopefully you’ll be able to read those before you hit the third stage πŸ˜€ Be strong and plunge into them! I’m barely hitting first stage so I might as well get some tiny doses of book medicine before it avances. πŸ˜‰

  13. I suffer from this as well!!!!
    I also have a hard time reading the last book in a series – I don’t want the series to be over. It’s tough to say goodbye to the characters!!!

  14. I know riiiiiight?!?! I guess I never really “named” it, but that’s me too!!! My TBR pile/bookcase is crammed full of 2nds and 3rds and yet, I gloss right over them when I’m looking for something to read… huh… maybe we need a support group… Continuing book series anonymous πŸ™‚

  15. Omg ME TOO!!! I love this post. Love. Love. Love. I have a serious problem with continuing anything past the first book, especially if it’s a long series. The only series I’ve ever totally finished were trilogies. And the farthest I’ve read in a series is like 5 books – no, scratch that, I read all of KMM’s Highlander and Fever books. But that’s the only one. It’s a problem for me! And it’s pushing critical limits haha. I’ve had Prodigy, Scarlet, Through the Ever Night, and Everbound sitting on my shelf since they came out. Someday…

    Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads recently posted: Viral Nation Blog Tour: Interview With Shaunta Grimes
  16. My Feedly import didn’t go so smooth and I lost so many of my feeds! But I have found you again *evil laughter*

    I know exactly what you mean about that Syndrome. I think the biggest problem for me is the long wait between books. I have a few big series that I followed and would buy the book as soon as they came out and devour it…but now even those series I’m not keeping up with like I used to in years past. It seems review books always get priority. So what I’ve done to combat that!? – Easy I alternate! For every ARC I read I read one of my old books that I’ve purchased myself. I hope you make it to your goal!

  17. I suffer from this same illness! I am trying my hardest to only read series books when the whole series is out. I’m noticing an avoidance of 3rd books mostly right now, especially when it seemed the 2nd book resolved everything.

  18. Same diagnosis! I’ve been saying in a lot of my reviews for second books that I was scared to start them because I was afraid they wouldn’t live up to how much I liked the first book.

    One more symptom – I’m tired of waiting for the last book, so when book two of a trilogy is out, I often think it’s just easier to wait until the last book is released in a year so I can read everything together.

    Leeanna @ Leeanna.me recently posted: Book Review: Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney
  19. I…have all these symptoms. Oh no! I have Second Book Syndrome too! I think mine is for all the reasons you listed, too, but my BIG fear is that the sequel won’t live up to the first one. It’s the same reason I don’t re-read a lot of favorites – I’m terrified I won’t have the same amazing experience I did the first time around.

    Good luck with your goal, Ash! I know you can do it.


  20. I have a similar syndrome, but mine is the last book in the series avoidance syndrome. I think its because I’m already so invested in the series that I don’t want it to end. I need to make a vow for my synrome as well, because I feel like I am missing so much!

    Great post!

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