I never used to even think twice before reading an early excerpt. If I finished a book and found that the remaining pages in the back were a sneak peek of the next book in the series or of another book by the author, I’d dive right in. The longer they were, the better. I’d usually finish and moan about how the next book wasn’t out yet, having sampled the unobtainable and wanting more.
And the last early excerpt I read left me feeling exactly the same way — excited, and wanting more. In fact, it was probably the best early excerpt I’d ever read. I had seen a blog post raving about Stephanie Perkins’ writing that had links to a Goodreads preview of the first 3 chapters of Isla and the Happily Ever After. After hearing for so long about Perkins’ books, I decided what the heck, why not? and jumped right in.
Long story short, I succumbed to the swoon-worthy romance and immediately went back and read Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, both of which I really enjoyed. AKA Isla was probably the most successful early excerpt I’d ever read, because it made me want to read both of Perkins’ other books!
But then began the painful wait for Isla to come out into the world. My expectations for the book were through the roof, because I felt like each of Perkins’ books just got better and better, and the first Perkins couple I had really been introduced to was Isla and Josh. It was easy just to melt into a puddle just remembering them together in NYC in the preview.
So when I finally got my paws on a copy of Isla, I wasted no time in starting it. Slightly off-topic, I was pretty disappointed in Isla, even if I still swooned at some parts — you can read my review here. But one of the biggest surprises? As I started the book again, I remembered the first 3 chapters from the preview almost perfectly.
I’m not exceptional at remembering things, so I was quite puzzled. I tried to press on and read the first 3 chapters again, but all the joy was taken out of it. All the sweet serendipity of their chance meeting was gone for me, and after struggling for a little, I ended up skipping ahead to what I hadn’t yet read. It ticked me off that I had to skip ahead, and so the story didn’t start on the same cute note for me.
And just the other day, glancing at the Goodreads reviews for Isla, I saw how Cait from @ Paper Fury noted in her review that because Isla was so hopped up on painkillers in the first chapter, the reader is introduced to her and her crush on Josh in a way TOTALLY different from what she is like in the rest of the book. So yeah, while the first few chapters of Isla made for a very entertaining excerpt, they really threw me off quite a bit.
So I’ve been pretty wary about reading any early excerpts ever since. Even for books I’ve been dying to read (hello, Passenger!), I’ve done my best to avoid reading the previews. Maybe I’ve read a few of small scenes from unreleased books, but nothing more. Maybe I’m being too cautious and actually missing out on some great excerpts, but I’m afraid of being burned again and ruining my reading experience! I’d rather wait and read the book from the beginning for the first time when it’s finally released than take my chances on ruining the book.