Monday, February 1, 2016

DISCUSSION: Stuff I hate to see in books

I love books (obviously) and I will read just about anything. Obviously. I have my favorite genres but I can't think of a single genre where I have not read something and loved it.

That being said, there are just some things in books that either make me roll my eyes or affect whether I read the book altogether. And my rating has been lowered due to one (or more) of these items.

Here are a few things that I really, really hate to see in books.

1. Love Triangles

Why, oh why, MUST authors do this to us??
There are very few books where a love triangle is done right. I can't actually think of any right now, so if you can, by all means let me know.

And most of the time, it is a girl torn between two guys: one that she has known for her entire life and one that is the new and interesting guy she can't help but fall for. Spare me.

I am mainly thinking of dystopian when I mention this scenario. I have no doubt that the contemporary genre sometimes has a different twist on it. But either way, I roll my eyes when I see it. And 90% of the time, that will impact my opinion on the entire story.

2. Absentee parents in YA

Ahhh . . . someone please, please, PLEASE tell me WHERE are the parents in Young Adult books?
If you find them, let me know. And please let me know that it is possible to write a realistic parent-child relationship (i.e. Emmy & Oliver).

3. Too Many POVs
It is getting more and more rare to get just one POV, especially in dystopian or fantasy. Sure, sometimes multiple POVs can be done well. But more often that not, they take attention away from the characters that I really care about. And when authors use three or four or even five POVs, it's just too much. News flash: we don't need to know what every single character in the book is thinking.

4. Lack of diversity
I will say that books are getting better about this. But here's the thing: if your book takes place in a major city and there are ONLY white characters, that is weird.

5. Lack of communication 
Maybe this is more of a YA feature and maybe it's just authors thinking all teenagers are like this. But I can't stand it when the only pilot points are stupid misunderstandings that could be cleared up with about five minutes of conversation.

6. Focus on romance in dystopian books
I know, I know . . . people love romance. I love romance. But here me out. Just once, I would love a dystopian novel where there is no romance, or at least not a big focus on it. I want the focus to be on friendships. Oh yeah, and can't the main character try to overthrow an evil government without worrying about some guy??

7. Lack of world building
This is probably the one thing on this list that can cause me to fall asleep.
I hate this so much and maybe this one is on my mind because I just read one with awful world building. It doesn't happen often, but it happens. Here's a tip though: if you are going to introduce new technology and random, made up words in your fantasy or dystopian novel, YOU MUST EXPLAIN THEM TO THE READER! Otherwise, I just feel like I am reading a foreign language. You also must make me feel like I am actually there and make me picture everything. Oh, and some explanation as to how we got from where we are now to the world of the future would be great.

What are a few things to hate to see in books? Are there any on this list that you agree with? Are there any that I missed?

35 comments :

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    1. Thanks Nerdgirl! Glad you agree. :)

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  2. Great list! Yeah, I loathe love triangles unless they're muted, like in The Hunger Games, or tongue in cheek (I just read Screwdrivered, by Alice Clayton, and she has some fun with the 1 girl/2 guys scenario :) ). World building is a biggie for me as well-that can make or break a book (I've DNF'd books based on poor world building). And I do enjoy a romance element in the books I read, but I agree that it doesn't always have to be in the forefront. I've also read some great books without any romance (The Road, by Cormac McCarthy is a great example of this).

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    1. Library Huntress, oh Hunger Games is a great example of one that is NOT over the top. And maybe it was just me, but I kind of knew would she would end up with all along anyway. I do love that she was worried about MORE than just which guy she would end up with. I'll have to check out Screwdrivered. I have not heard about that one before, but it sounds interesting.

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  3. Yeah, another person who doesn’t dig love triangles :D Why this is so popular, I have no idea. The only book series I can think of right now where the love triangle was actually well done is The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. The fact that the two guys were actually best friends and had this beautiful friendship along with their mutual love for the same girl gave the whole thing a rather unique spin. And yes, why are parents so scarce in YA?? Would it really be so terrible for a main character to have parents? A character doesn’t become less ‘cool’ or capable just because they happen to have a caring family they rely on. I also hate books where you have this crazy apocalypse situation going on but the leading lady just don’t care ‘cause she’s too busy picking a boyfriend. Like, come on! This list was just on point Cynthia! Loved it :D

    http://ofstacksandcups.blogspot.com/

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    1. Soudha, yeah maybe we could find the one person who sent the memo to every author that love triangles are great and punch them or something? :) I have not read Infernal Devices (yet), but I am glad to hear that it was well done. It sounds really different from the usual. Two guys who are best friends and in love with the same girl? That does sound pretty interesting.

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  4. I can connect on all of these points! The triangles drive me crazy. And where are the parents? I remember them being all up in my business growing up. LOL I don't mind some romance in a dystopian. I can see it developing in such trying circumstances, but it should be a shadow of the whole story.I do see where lack of communication can happen with young people. My insecurities back then kept me silent when a few questions would have straightened everything out. Young people, what can they do. LOL Great discussion!

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    1. Thanks Laura! Yeah, I don't mind romance in dystopian either, but I despise when it's the basis of the entire story. I mean, come on. If I were trying to overthrow an evil government, romance would be very low on my priority list.

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  5. Ha great post!!! I totally agree most of these. I think my biggest is the absentee and crappy parents in YA books. I understand sometimes but it is almost every book it seems. Lack of communication too.

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  6. OH yea I am nodding along to most of these. The love triangles are obnoxious and not realistic. But that lack of communication BUGS ME SO MUCH. I mean, come on, TALK to each other. I get so sick of those plots when one misunderstanding derails everything for like 200 pages. That is not a fun book to read.

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    1. So true Julie! I do get that it happens occasionally in real life, but if it is a MAJOR plot point that takes most of the book to resolve, it just seems like the author couldn't think of anything else to do.

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  7. Definitely a few pet peeves there! I really hate it when the teenagers are horrible and their behavior is so out of bounds that you want to throw them across the room...lol.

    Yes, teenagers have some bad behavior, but show us a three-dimensional person. There is good in them, too.

    Here is MUSING MONDAYS POST

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    1. Agreed! And as someone who was bullied and occasionally was a bully, I'm always confused by how over-the-top books make "mean girls" behave. It's bad enough without caricaturing it.

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    2. Wendy and Laurel, both of you are so right on!! I really should have added the mean girls aspect to this list too. I would LOVE to see a friendship between two girls in high school that is honest and loving and involves NO bullying or slut shaming (which could be its own post really).

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  8. yup all of those especially the love triangles is it impossible for men and women to be friends - unnecessary sex gets boring as well also unnecessary violence - I mean the self indulgent writing that goes with it - 'tis insulting to the readers imagination. Also books written as if the author has their eye on a movie deal, books are not meant to be visual they are entertainment for the mind and imagination- sorry you got me going then:)

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    1. Alberta, oh the books written as if the author just wants a movie deal is a good one! I don't even think most books are better than the movie anyway. The book is always better! And yeah, I would LOVE to see a friendship between a woman and a STRAIGHT male friend. It has been known to happen!

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  9. Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe has not one, but TWO sets of really decent parents. Love them. As a far from perfect, but very invested parent myself, parent representation is really important to me!

    I'm a big fan of multiple POV, actually, but YES we need more diversity, and YES, Truthwitch was a waste of a good premise to me because of insufficient world building. I don't need everything spelled out in exposition--I'm capable of putting clues together and making inferences--but you have to give me something to work with!

    Re: love triangles--it is perfectly possible for a teenager to have crushes on multiple people at once. But usually, for most of us, we are more likely to fall in love with one person at a time. There's a huge difference!

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    1. Wendy, oh that is wonderful to know about Aristotle and Dante discover the Universe! That one has been on my TBR forever, but I haven't gotten to it yet. Love that there are great parents in that one. And yes, that is a great point about crushes vs. falling in love. I do know that many people (ESPECIALLY teenagers) experience crushes and insta-lust. I think insta lust is a big think for even many adults. But most people don't automatically "fall in love" with the new person and dump the best friend. Crazy.

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  10. Haha, you picked some good ones! I definitely second "lack of communication", I always find it so silly when characters fight and pout when a good, honest conversation would solve everything. *sigh?
    Oh, and I really dislike slut shaming. That just occurs to often - both in YA and in adult novels. It's such a horrible concept and I'd like to see it disappear completely.

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    1. Thanks Kaja! Oh you are so right about the slut shaming. I can't believe that I didn't add this to my list because I just read a book that had horrible slut shaming by a friend! Hate it so much!!

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  11. I would love to see more YA books without romance! I don't mind it - but geez - does every book warrant it?!

    Tanya Patrice
    Girlxoxo.com

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    1. So true Tanya. I get that romance is a part of life, but sometimes your priorities are elsewhere.

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  12. Agree with all of these. Another for me is when everyone is beautiful or handsome and perfectly ripped. Drives me potty!

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    1. Oh Emma, that is a good one!1 I can't stand that! I mean, give me some acne or something!

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  13. Dude, the world building is THE. WORST. If I can't get a good feel for the world, I am OUT. Parent-in-YA Syndrome is also a biggie for me. OOOH and the communication one, YES! I feel like people don't complain about this enough, because it is one of my biggest pet peeves! Let's end that little trope immediately, please and thank you.

    One of my most hated? Instalove. I cannot. No one falls in love in 6 minutes, okay? No. One. Fabulous post!!

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    1. Thanks Shannon! OMG the insta love! Gag me with a spoon please. Insta lust? YES. Insta-love? NOOO!! And I think the world building was on my mind because of Marked. That world building was AWFUL. It was just on a whole other level.

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  14. Yes, to all of these! I mean, I'll still read if there are some of these in the story, but not having cool/complete world building is a big no for me and I'm getting real sick of the lack of parents. I mean, that can add a different dynamic and could only really just add to the story. Don't know why people don't include families. Guess it's easier to write if they're just all dead and the main character doesn't have anyone to actually worry about?

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    1. Madilyn, yeah I won't necessarily not read a book because of one or more of these factors either. But it may still affect my rating. I have been known to DNF books before because of a lack of world building. Ugh, so annoying.

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  15. The lack of communication one is the one that bugs me the most. I get so frustrated when an entire book of conflict could have been solved by one short conversation!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. So true Nicole! I mean, come on, there needs to be more to the plot than that!

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  16. Lack of worldbuilding kills me.

    Slutshaming/ Madonna and whore complexes make me want to scream.

    And I am tired of dystopians becoming breeding grounds for wish fulfilling romances. Just stop already. UGH.

    And no parents, um, WTF, I want to see more books focus on building bridges with parents, not push them away. We already do that as teens/adults/people overall.

    I am also tired of love fixes all storylines. It doesn't freaking work that way. Or that the love interest takes presidence over everything. That annoys the ever loving crap out of me.

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    1. Lyn, YES!! I have no idea why slut shaming did not make this list, but it should have. I HATE that!! And you are so right about the romance thing. I swear, there are times when I would rather have NO romance than the whole "love fixes all" thing. Annoying.

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