Sunday, March 9, 2014

Question of the Week: Do You Read the Last Page First?

Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as books and writing is talking about books and writing. So each week (or so) here at Adventures in YA Publishing, we’ll post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

Last week, my dad told me that my step-mom regularly borrows twenty or more library books a week. I asked how she can possibly read that fast, and he said that she doesn’t: if she likes the cover, she will borrow the book. When she gets home, she reads the first page, and if she likes the first page, then she reads the last page. If she finds the last page satisfying, then she will read the entire book. On average, she reads about two books a week. Which leads me to the…

Question of the Week
March 9, 2014

Do you peek at the last page before you finish the book?

Do you peek?
photo credit: fazen via photopin cc

Martina: Maybe three or four times in my teens and early twenties, when I was afraid that something horrible was happening to a romantic lead I was particularly attached to. On all but one of those occasions, I checked the last page, saw that the name of the character was still there, and flipped back to where I'd left off in the book. Once, I flipped to the end, discovered something horrible really had happened to the character, and abandoned the book completely. I internalize characters as I read. I feel like they are alive for me, and having them die is like losing a family member. It takes an enormous emotional toll.

Jan: I may have done this a few times, but only when I knew it was a “did not finish” anyway and just wanted to know the ending.

Clara: No. No, no, no. Never. I don’t ever recall a time when I read the last page before I finished the book. *Note: My step-mom waited to read RUN TO YOU until all three parts of Book 1 came out, so she could read the entire book at once. This was the one time she didn't read the last page until she got to the end. :-)

Alyssa: Yes! Most of the time it really doesn't ruin the book for me, it just gets me even more excited to get to the part. But every once in a while it will spoil it. I find that I only peek when i'm not totally invested in the book 100%. But if it's a book that I can't even put down, I generally don't peek.

Lisa: I never read the last page first. I used to, long ago, read the last sentence. But I've definitely stopped that habit. I want to enjoy the journey so to speak. And yeah, it's probably because I'm a writer. Don't get me wrong! I still get sucked in when the book is good, and there is temptation, but I've been good for the last several years at least.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you peek at the last page? If so, why? Do you do it to determine if you want to read the book, or is your curiosity simply too much to contain?


  1. Very occasionally I will do this. If I am really into the book, I wouldn't because that might spoil it. Two times in the last year, I did when I wasn't sure whether to keep reading the book (because there are only a handful of books I ever started that I did not finish). The first time I stopped reading because the YA author had an ending that I completely thought was wrong, even irresponsible. The second time the fact that the ending was satisfying convinced me to skim through an extremely mediocre book two of a trilogy.This anal thing about not finishing means I will someday go back and finish two "classic" books that I didn't finish. If ever I pick up another book by Hemingway, though, I probably will read the ending before I bring it home because I just don't get him.

  2. I'm with Clara on this one. I can't read the last page of a book first. It would ruin it for me. I even get angry when I hear about or accidentally read spoilers. I like to be surprised, even if I can predict what's coming.

  3. I think I've done this maybe twice, ever? But only because I was getting pretty bored, and the second, was the same as Martina. If my favorite character dies, I feel betrayed and its hard to bring myself to continue lol.
    But I know one of my CP's do this, she told me my WIP was too stressful and she HAD to look to the end to make sure her nothing horrible happened lol. I took it as a compliment, but I still twitched at the thought :P It's like ruining the surprise!

  4. I used to, and still feel the pull to, but don't do it any more. I will totally do it though if the book is boring me to tears and I need incentive to finish it.

  5. Sometimes I'll take a peak at the last line if I'm dying to know something. But at the same time, I try to avoid spoilers if at all possible.

  6. I've only done this once, with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I had been waiting three years for the book, and there was much hype about the death of a main character. I wanted to make sure it wasn't Remus or Sirius...

    Ruined the entire book for me :(

  7. I have to wait until I get to the end before I read it. I don't want to know the ending until I get to it. :)

  8. I'm with Clara. I never read the last page or the last sentence. My youngest daughter, on the other hand, does, and it drives me bonkers. :-)

  9. You could not pay me to read the last page of a book first. I am shocked that people do this. I also really hate book spoilers. I like to be surprised.

  10. I never, never, never read the last page until I finish the book. I also don't ever see movies before I read the book if there is a book I plan to read someday. I am years behind on some movies.

  11. Yes, but rarely. Sometimes I just want to know if a couple gets (or stays) together. But it doesn't wreck the book for me. If I'm that interested, I'll still read it.

  12. No, no, no! I like to enjoy the full story without any peeks.


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)