Okay, I have a confession to make. There are some books that I’m kind of scared to read- not because they don’t look amazing, but because I’m so afraid that I won’t like them. That they’ll disappoint me, that they won’t live up to my expectations. Or that I’ll disappoint them. Books like Neil Gaiman’s Stardust and Inheritance and The Monstrumologist. Books like The Five People You Meet in Heaven and The Salmon of Doubt and Ender’s Game. Books that my library has, but I pretend that I’ll never be able to get my hands on. And I know what you’ll say- you’ll say, “Ellen, what are you talking about? Number 1, I know that you have good taste in books, and number 2, books don’t have feelings, anyways.” But they do have feelings. Because the people and things inside of them are real in their own way. And it’s happened before: with If I Stay, with Divergent, with Before I Fall. After I finish a book like that, a book for which I had such high hopes for that turned out just boring, a book that all my friends and teachers and everybody loved but I couldn’t seem to get into, I feel terrible. I honestly felt like those books were just staring at me with their bland pages, saying, “I can’t believe you, Ellen. I thought you were smarter than this. I thought you could recognize a good book when you saw one.” I want to like books like that, and why shouldn’t I? If so many other people loved it, then why did it just whoosh right over my head? Did I completely miss something important that would actually make me care at least a bit about the characters and plot? Did I just sleep through all of the action? And so I end up putting a lot of books off for quite some time because of this. Like, I’m a quarter of the way through with The Casual Vacancy, and it is beautiful, but a few weeks ago, I just put it down because of some really rude comments I’ve heard. And since then, I’ve been too afraid to continue to read it, because what if those awful obnoxious people said. Which isn’t a good reason at all… But it happened.