Careless Book Spoilers; Or The Bane Of My Existence

There are people out there who just don’t understand that book spoiling ( or movie & tv show spoiling) is just NOT COOL.


I have this one friend who really has not gotten the memo about this.

A typical conversation goes like this:

Her: “OMG have you read/seen this?”

Me: No..but I plan on reading/seeing it.

Her: “OMG you will not believe what happens! The main character DIES at the end! And so and so end up together but only after this HUGE TWIST happens.”

Me: *bangs head against wall*

I mean, I feel as though I am very cognizant, when talking about books and movies, about the fact that not everybody has read or seen what I’m talking about. I would never want to give away a major part of a book that somebody hasn’t read yet.  It is particularly hard if it is a series that someone spoils as you invest so much time in reading it. I WANT TO FEEL THOSE THINGS FOR MYSELF. I WANT TO BE SHOCKED OR BAWL MY EYES OUT BECAUSE I DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING!! And when you just carelessly throw out those spoilers, you strip me of that! Note:  I do realize it’s possible to truly slip or just not realize that you just spoiled something. In which case, I’ll still be stabby but I can forgive.

I’ve found the Internet to be the biggest source of spoilers. I have been bombarded with spoilers of all kinds on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and even things such as Yahoo news. I log in to Facebook for my daily dose of stalking and my news feed has been hijacked by people posting a major spoiler about a season finale that I have on DVR waiting for me! It drives me nuts…but such is our informational society.

But while I do try to not blatantly announce spoilers (and to not throttle those  who do so with a shoelace), I’ve found it difficult as a book blogger to grapple with how to tread on the spoiler front…

When it comes to reviewing books, I have consciously made an effort to not put spoilers in my reviews or at least if I do…I clearly label them as such. That’s just a decision I made for myself when I started blogging. Others choose to include spoilers in their reviews and that’s ok too…although I always prefer to be warned or at least know that’s their review style. But sometimes, even when I try to be spoiler-free, it’s HARD. Like during Top Ten Tuesday posts when I might talk about shocking endings or conversations on Twitter amongst bloggers about a book or when there is a HUGE THING that needs mentioning in a review because you can’t stop mentioning it.  And then there’s the questions of what constitutes a spoiler?  Does it count as a spoiler if it’s a REALLY popular book (a la Harry Potter or Twilight)? Or is it just too damn bad if you happen upon a spoiler because you took the chance of being on Twitter or the blog or wherever? 

What books have people spoiled for you? Have you accidentally spoiled a book for somebody? How do you feel about spoilers in reviews? What do you think constitutes a spoiler?

Tell me what you think! And I promise, I’m not always so ranty although it seems between this and my rant about bookish stereotypes this past week that I’m ultra ranty. I blame it on being sick  & also wedding stress. Yeah, that’s right, I’ll play the wedding stress card.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she’s actually that old. When she’s not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.


  1. I HATE spoilers!! I don’t mind them in book posts because they are necessary in some discussions, but they really should be clearly labeled as such. Since I read mostly classics, I often have people drop by and comment on titles, assuming the whole world has already read the book. Not I! And it’s indeed incredibly frustrating.

  2. My brother revealed the spoiler in Harry Potter 5, because we only had one copy and he read it before me. At the moment we’re reading the Song of Ice and Fire series and he’s a book or two in front of me most of the time – sometimes he accidentally lets things out, but I think it’s half brotherly peskiness and half that he just wants someone to talk about the story with.

    When writing reviews, I struggle if it’s a sequel and people might not have read the earlier books, so I try not to be too spoilery!

  3. One of the worst cases of this I can remember was waiting in a long line that snaked outside for the midnight release of the 6th Harry Potter movie and some jerk drove by and yelled at the top of his lungs, naming one of the characters who dies. I was like, seriously?! I had read the book, so I already knew, but I couldn’t believe someone would purposely do that to people standing in line for a movie. I can forgive slips, but something like that is just plain mean!

  4. Oooo, I really struggle with this one! I mean, I absolutely HATE spoilers, but at the same time, sometimes when you’re reviewing a book, it just gets SO EXHAUSTING to have to keep doing a kind of “You know, THAT ONE BIT!! *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge*” dance, you know? Sometimes, when a book is really good and really suspenseful, I almost feel like I might as well not even bother reviewing it on my blog, except to say, “Yep, loved it, you should read it immediately,” because there’s almost nothing to say EXCEPT, “You know, THAT ONE BIT!” It’s a vexed, on-going problem. *heavy sigh*

  5. I simply don’t read reviews of books I plan on reading – and when I do, I pretty much skim. I don’t like spoilers, but it’s on me to avoid them.

  6. I HATE spoilers!! Seriously, when I want to rant about something I loved/hated about a book or movie I always check if someone has seen/read it and if not if they’re ok with me still telling them… I try to avoid them in my reviews and I just HAVE to add them I put them so you have to actively highlight the words to read the spoiler.
    I also try to just skim reviews of books I plan on reading because of this.
    And yeah, Harry Potter spoilers are pretty hard to avoid! I’m so glad I read those right after they came out!

  7. I HATE spoilers. I need to be surprised by the turn of event when I am reading a book or watching a movie. Sometimes I struggle with writing a book review because there are things I want to say but I cannot include spoilers and ruin it for other people because I know how much I hate it. That is why I will only read 1-2 reviews in a book before I read it, just in case I come across info that I do not want to know yet. I am trying to think of the biggest spoiler I ever got and the first thing that pops in my head is going to see My Girl with a friend as a kid and her telling me what happens. I was so mad at her for telling me! LOL

  8. A university professor of mine spoiled Little Women for the whole class. Thank God, I knew the book and read it before.
    I hate spoiler and hope that my reviews do not contain them but sometimes I am not so sure that I am not spoiling books, films or TV series for some.

  9. I’ve had many a book spoiled for me (gr!) And I may have spoiled a couple books as well (Ok, that time we read the BFG in 1st grade totally does NOT count!) and they were all accidents (for example- I thought someone had read a certain book when actually they hadn’t). Also- I hate it when blogs say “minor spoilers” because that’s like “ok, should I keep reading or not?” Gr! I totally agree with you- spoilers are annoying!!

  10. I was reviewing Frostbite (VA #2) and a commenter put a HUGE spoiler in her comment about the next book. It said something like (while avoiding the actual spoiler) “I Loved Rose, but I can’t believe when X happens and she has to X!” My jaw dropped. It took me 3 more months to pick up the third book again, because I was just so sad by how it was ruined for me. And books 3 and 4 had a lesser effect on me because of these spoilers. I am still FURIOUS and have some not very nice (but silent) words for that commenter.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  11. My mom wanted to prove to me the Harry Potter book leak was real and sent me a photo of the last page with no warning it was “and they lived Happy ever after” or something along those lines…and i FREAKED OUT! Now I knew it was going to end happily! I was sooo annoyed! It didn’t totally ruin the book but I was bitter for awhile.

  12. It’s very rare that I need to actively avoid spoilers. I don’t read reviews for anything until after I’ve seen/read it so spoilers in reviews become a moot point. As for writing them I do try to avoid them. I have a review going up later today where I was totally weirded out by where the story went. Except if I mentioned that particular plot point it would spoil the entire thing. So I had to bounce around it. That can be difficult. Or if I mention a particular story element I keep it to the first couple of chapters since I personally don’t feel that’s spoiling. It’s too early in the story to spoil. But there have been a couple of things, like the final Harry Potter or the entire season 4 of True Blood (like it’s finale, which I still haven’t seen and need to wait until the season releases on DVD on 5/29) I have to actively avoid so I don’t ruin things. I ended up watching an episode at random of True Blood in the middle of season 4 I think. So when I went back and started watching the seasons I was able to see where little nuances were going before they got there and even that little bit, from that one little episode, was a killer. Never again!

  13. I have learned not to look at the “recent status updates” section of GoodReads. I used to love looking in there and browsing what people were thinking of the book I was currently reading. However I discovered that no matter what the book, the status section is always spoiler city! 🙁 Obviously their status shows up on their feed, I just can’t understand why these people want to spoil things not only for those browsing the “recent status updates” section but also spoil things for their friends? Ugh.

  14. I hate, hate, hate spoilers. When someone starts talking about a book/movie/TV show/whatever that I intend to get to, I shut them up as quickly as possible, even if they don’t spoil it. I don’t like to get information I didn’t ask for, I like to discover it on my own. That’s why I tread carefully when I read reviews – I usually scan for general things like how they liked the characters and their opinion on the prose and story line, but taking in as little specifics as possible (if I can, I even avoid character names).

    When it comes to reviews, I understand that some people’s style includes spoilers, and I’m fine with it as long as they clearly say so.
    Discussions are more complicated, because the general idea is that everyone involved in the discussion is familiar with the subject. I avoid like the plague a discussion about a book (or movie, etc.) I haven’t read.

    However, spoilers have their uses – I have this thing, where plot lines really intrigue me, as banal as they are (that’s why I feel compelled to finish every book I started), so once I find one that piques my interest, I have to find out how it turns out. If the book got bad reviews, or reviews mention pet peeves of mine (like poor writing, annoying characters, stereotypes of genres), I won’t bother to read it (there’s enough on my TBR list without crowding it with books that will annoy me). But here is where the spoilers come into play – I can sate my curiosity without compromising my time.

    Still, spoilers must be clearly marked because: a. you don’t want to accidently stumble upon one; and b. it’s a lot easier to find them when you need to :).

  15. I agree 100%, I cannot stand spoilers, I HATE them with a burning passion. People don’t always realize that people haven’t seen things, and they don’t correctly know how to give a spoiler alert. I actually wrote a paper about people who spoil movies for my English class. My biggest pet peeve is when people spoil movies/books/tv shows/whathaveyou, and most people don’t understand they need to just KEEP THEIR MOUTHS SHUT. It keeps you from accidently spoiling something, and it just is better. You can say that you have seen something, but don’t tell anyone what it’s about.
    One time, my friend spoiled a movie for me, and I threw my water bottle at her. No kidding. I take spoilers seriously, and can’t stand it when people spoil stuff for me.

    Well there’s my little mini-rant..thanks for reading 🙂

  16. Yes!! When I was in Japan, HP7 came out two weeks later than it did here, so I refused to even go on the internet! I went to a book signing at the Philly library RIGHT after the final book in a trilogy came out, and a kid asked the author why she killed XXX. The whole audience groaned and the author go this flummoxed expression. I still haven’t finished the trilogy. I’m still trying to forget…

    If I know I’m going to read a book, I won’t read a review (unless it’s months and months in advance and not too spoilery, but…teasery?). I won’t get on Twitter when a TV show like Glee is on if I’m a few episodes behind.

    My mom is the QUEEN of spoiling things, but thinks she doesn’t at all. A Jodi Picoult novel came out when I was in Japan, and she was all, “I won’t tell you anything! But the end was chilling. No, that’s not a spoiler! I’m a parent, so it won’t affect you the same way.” (Which meant that when I read the book, I was looking for the twist…) Or the way she told me what happened at the end of the REVENGE episode that finally answered the question from the first episode…um, before I saw it. She just doesn’t understand how to keep spoilers to herself…

    I know your sentiments exactly!

  17. I rarely get spoilers that really upset me. Usually it’s about a book I’m kinda like “…Ehhh, I’ll read it someday.” But I also pretty much refuse to read reviews of books I’m planning to read because I don’t want to risk it.

    I also try to be careful about spoilers. Usually I’ll ask if they care or if they’ve read or how far in they are before saying anything. If I think there’s even a chance some aspect of a book will be spoiled, I add a little warning. Though really, if you don’t know that Harry dies at the end of the seventh book, that just can’t be helped. 😉

  18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The last one. Yep, its ending was spoiled for me. I wasn’t the most pleasant person after that.

  19. A girl on twitter jumped into a convo I was having about a series knowing I was on the first book to tell me how in the third book the characters did something she did NOT approve of and therefore the entire series was crap. Of course she HAD to tell us what that thing was that she didn’t approve of. I was/sorta am pissed about it. I get it you have ethical reasons for not liking the series. Then say that! Not ruin the entire series.

    Btw..I so don’t think it’s unethical, but whatevs.

  20. I love this post, mostly because I agree with you 100%! Quite frankly, if there is a reader out there who doesn’t, I don’t want to meet them. I HATE spoilers, and for a long time I felt like I had everything spoiled for me. In college, my housemate spoiled the end of Half Blood Prince for me (on accident, he was quite intoxicated at the time) after we bought the book together and I agreed to let him read it first. At a job a few years back, I had the first season of Doctor Who ruined. At my current job, my boss ruined Downton Abbey for me (after I strictly said DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT IT she’s all ‘I’ll only say this: SPOILER), and would have had Hunger Games ruined if I hadn’t already read it. One of the reasons I love my boyfriend so much is I’ve never known anyone to be so careful about spoilers. I AM ETERNALLY BITTER ABOUT THESE THINGS.

  21. Catarina says:

    This is the first time I stumble upon this blog and I just had to comment this post. I truly hate spoilers and so many people around me do it. The worst was last summer, I had just started reading Jules Vernes “Travel around the world” and was telling my family how much I was loving the book when my dad goes “Oh, that book, I liked it, in the end he…..” and I went NOOOOOOOOOOOO. It really spoiled the book for me, I never finnish it because I felt no desire of reading it after finding how it ends.
    He does this a lot, actually. About books and movies, and as much as I tell him, please stop taking you’re gonna spoil this movie/book for me he just can’t help himself. Sometimes he and my sister can go on and on about the plot of some movie they already saw but I didn’t for hours, and the worst part is they don’t see anything wrong with this. This drives me crazy!!

  22. I struggle all the time in my blogs, on what to write and what not to write pertaining to “spoilers”
    in the sense of I know not to mention the HUGE things, but there are like in between facts sometimes, that aren’t really spoilers, but some people might think they are, so do I include it? Makes reviewing difficult at times, but I in general HATE spoilers, unless, it is a show I am interested in, but do not want to invest in.. I also hate when Yahoo News Spoils something for me.

    Then there is people the my Mom, who want to know everything about the book, including spoilers before she reads it and it is so hard for me to reveal them to her, cause I am not someone who likes to spoil things.

  23. When I put spoilers in my review (which I only do if I’m like “I can’t talk about this book without spoiling this!”) I’ll always have a big OMG THERE ARE SPOILERS DON’T LOOK HERE! type thing before I write them, so people can easily avoid them.

    I mostly get spoilers when I’m partway through something and then look it up on the Internet to get more details or something. For example, I recently read The Hunger Games, and then I was looking up some of the characters, to see who was playing them in the movie and comparing to how they were described in the book, and BAM! spoilers from the rest of the trilogy. *cries*

    I think I’ve gotten really good at not giving spoilers, at least. My boyfriend is super sensitive to them, so I’ve had to learn. He’s the kind of guy where, when we were watching Buffy and it was his first time and my second time watching the series, I’d show excitement when a character appeared for the first time, and he’d be all “SPOILER! Now I know that she’s not just a guest star, but will probably be on the show regularly after this! Thanks a lot!!”. So yeah. I’ve had to learn to not express myself too fully.

    As for popular things that everyone should already know, I generally think it’s ok to talk about them, because they’re like popular culture and stuff, but I’m kind of torn. Buffy would probably fall under that, because it’s been quite a while, but someone ruined the end of season 5 for me, and I was like “Gaaaaaaaaah why would you say that?!?!”.

  24. Personally, I’m loving the ranty, gif-filled posts! It’s always fun to read a post when I yell out “Yes! Totally! Yes!” while I’m reading =P And you can blame pretty much anything on wedding stress — I’ve been there!

    On a spoiler-related note, I totally agree, like everyone else who has posted. I prefer a review that just talks about the essence of the book, or the feelings that it evoked, rather than a plot summary. It’s probably one of the reasons why my reviews are on the shorter side, but I’d rather just capture my thoughts on the book, rather than a “this is the story of blah, and then they go to blah, and then there’s a really exciting part when blah.”

  25. Okay – so I totally love spoilers WHEN I WANT TO SPOIL MYSELF!!! (For example I so was not interested in battling through the rest of the Game of Thrones books so I just went online to find out what happens) but I hate it when there is no warnings of spoilers. A lot of books I don’t want to spoiled on and it drives me nuts when goodreads reviewers just write ‘so and so died and did this’, without putting it behind a spoiler tag! Its inconsiderate and rude.

    That said, it can be difficult when writing a review to discuss anything if you want to remain complete spoiler free. I think romance/relationships are generally ok (often you know from the synopsis something is going to happen between certain characters anyway) and anything that happens early on in the book. Unless you go for one of those annoying ‘omg so good just read it’ ‘reviews’ which don’t tell you anything, I think just go with what you would and wouldn’t want to know yourself if you were reading the review and thinking of trying the book, and if there is something you really want to discuss, put a spoiler warning.

    The struggles of being a book blogger lol…

    • I agree! Sometimes I just LOVE spoilers! There are quite a few books or shows that I’m just not that interested in reading/seeing, but everyone talks about “the shocking thing”. I just want to go online and find out what “the shocking thing” is. You would be surprised sometimes how hard it is to find a good spoiler when you want it.
      Of course these spoilers should be caveated in bold capslocks so that people who do not what to read them can avoid them.

  26. LOL, my assistant is EXACTLY like that. He has ruined countless movies for me. In fact, I now shut him up quite rudely (since no other, more polite way works, LOL) like this:

    Kevin: “Hey, you should totally see ______, you would LOVE IT.”
    Me: “Yeah, I plan to see it this wee-”
    Kevin, interrupting: “You will just LOVE the part whe-”
    You might want to try my method. It seems to work well. LOL

  27. Bahaha. Fantastic Stitch GIF.
    I don’t think it really counts as a spoiler if it’s something like Twilight or HP (books) or Lost (tv) since they’re all so big and have been over for quite some time. You should still be careful, of course. If someone’s all “I seriously haven’t read the HP books yet, but I’m dying to do so!” don’t be all “O.M.G! The end is sooooo crazy and this person and this person and that person and those people ALL DIE.” I mean, that’s common sense, right?

    I was spoiled on HP, though and I really did want to throw the book in the guy’s face. I’m holding the book with my bookmark STICKING OUT and he goes “Oh, did you know Dumbledore dies?” And in my head I’m all “NO I DID NOT. CAN YOU NOT SEE THE FACT THAT I’M STILL READING IT?!?!?!”
    Some people.

  28. I always try my hardest not to include anything spoiler-ish in every review I write. It does make it super hard sometimes, especially when I feel really strongly for/against events or relationships in books. But after a few deep breaths, I realize that the points I’m wanting to make are more appropriate for discussions, not my reviews.

    When it comes to series/sequels, I try to either not spoil anything about the previous book(s), OR, when that’s absolutely impossible, I post a spoiler alert at the top of my review, stating that previous books’ events will be discussed in the following.

    And yes, I’m totally with Stitch on this one 😉

  29. I know I’ve spoiled books on my site, but I try to write “spoiler alert” on anything–whether it’s Amazon reviews, Goodreads, or what have you. So at least I warn you that I may (or definitely will) spoil the plot.

    I never spoil the WHOLE plot though. lol–like that makes it ok 🙂

  30. I am SO nutty about spoilers! When I hear about a book, I read the synopsis, and if I want to read it, I put it on my TBR list, and then I don’t look at the synopsis again until I read it! And I’ve had to refrain from even looking at the little blurbs on books because I was spoiled by one once! This makes it hard since I follow a lot of book blogs, and they often have reviews on the books that I want to read, so I want to read their reviews… But only if I know they won’t have a spoiler or if I know that they’ll warn me if they do. And also only if I’m not currently reading that book or going to read that book very soon… Otherwise I feel like my reading experience might be swayed from their review, or I might accidentally plagiarize their review when I go to write my own!

    Great post – I love your rants! 😉

  31. One of the fantastic things about your blog is that you post thoughtful things like this. Spoilers are nasty as all heck in my mind – but the Internet makes it so darn hard to avoid them!

    I’ve learned to slowly, but surely be able to deal with spoilers for my favorite TV shows by avoiding anything that might spoil it – Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr being the prime offenders. And as for books, thankfully, I haven’t really come across something that’s spoiled one entirely for me.

    It’s hard to avoid letting loose with your reactions when you’re watching an episode of a show or reading something – especially on Twitter, which is where everyone goes to air all their thoughts/feelings/experiences out in 140 characters. I know I’m sometimes guilty of live tweeting shows… though lately, I have been training myself not to! I don’t want to spoil things for other people, and so I try to be conscious of what I say and keep it to my reaction or to generic statements at best.

    When discussing a book I’ve read with other people who’ve read it, I think it’s safest to still be sort of generic about things – like pointing out a character or an event. If you want to go into specifics, I think it’s nicer to just chat or text message.

    Whew, okay, this is probably my longest comment yet, but I just had so much to say!

  32. I HATE spoilers! I know sometimes they’re unavoidable. For example, it’s hard to review the 5th book in a series without spoiling the first 4, so that’s a different story, but seriously? Don’t tell me what’s going to happen! I had a reading app on Facebook spoil the ending of HP6, and it really, really sucks. I love the surprise of not seeing something coming!

  33. I don’t like spoilers and I’d rather not have someone spoil a book I really want to read for me but I don’t mind it either. When I’m reading a book, I know I’ll end up spoiling it for myself anyway by flipping to the end and finding out what happens. It’s just my nature to want to know EVERYTHING that happens beforehand.

  34. NEVER go on Tumblr and follow people who read the books you like to read, because they will spoil everything! I’ve haven’t read all of The Crimson Crown and The Mark of Athena, and both have been terribly spoiled for me. It’s terrible, and frustrating, and sometimes it puts me off reading the book 🙁

  35. I love to chat and tweet about books, movies, and tv shows, but I am always very careful to be super vague about things. I hate when I see a spoiler so I try to be careful about the things that I post. I find the hardest thing about it is when it’s a further book in a series. I always put a warning that it’s number whatever so there may be spoilers for previous books in the series. I will always try to keep my reviews for that particular book spoiler free as well. Great post! There’s nothing worse than being super excited for something only to know how it all turns out.

  36. I recently tore my way through Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series. While I was marking the next books in the series as to-read, I got a few major spoilers just from the book jacket descriptions. Then, there on the quotes page, the top quote was from the last page of the book, and it gave away the entire series. As you can imagine, I was annoyed. I still kept reading at a breakneck pace, but I’m sure I missed out on some of the emotional impact by having it thoroughly spoiled.

    I don’t include spoilers in my reviews. I’ll refer obliquely to plot points, so that people who’ve read it know what I’m talking about. I tend to keep my reviews short, so I don’t get into much depth, in the first place. The hardest part is not spoiling earlier plot points in a series.

  37. I totally agree with you! The other day one of my co-workers dropped a huge character death bomb on me without even thinking twice. It just came out in normal conversation and when I was like !!!!!!!!! She said, “Oh, I didn’t think you were going to watch that movie” Well, I’m not going to now, thankyouverymuch.

    My policy is to never spoil, even if the other person doesn’t think they want to watch or read something, because you can always change your mind.

    Great post:)


  1. […] Careless Book Spoilers; Or the Bane of My Existence – The Perpetual Page-Turner writes about the shared bane of our existences […]

  2. […] 1. A Big, Ol’ Ridiculous Gif  Rant About Bookish Stereotypes 2. Series Suck…Or Is It Just Me? 3. Careless Book Spoilers: Or The  Bane of My Existence […]

  3. […] busy with wedding planning and spent a weekend in Chicago with my blogging besties! I talked about book spoilers, RANTED like a mofo about bookish stereotypes, about how much I SUCK at reading series and admitted […]

  4. […] haven’t ranted in a while (probably since this and this) but this is has  been a long time […]