Everyone has bookish turn-offs.
You know that one thing that always gets your goat and has you fuming quietly or squalling loudly about the injustices of humanity? Ugh. Hate those. I have 2% tolerance for several bookish plot devices. And you, my lucky blogglings, are about to hear all about them (aren’t you extraordinarily lucky?!).
Ready for this?
Let me headdesk in shame over book characters when they make completely ridiculous mistakes. Like:
- Being a spy and not noticing they’re being followed.
- Going out with their ex’s boy/girlfriend.
- Having a love-life crisis in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
- Doing exactly the OPPOSITE of what their mentors/parents/older-wiser-people have said.
- Sticking with unhealthy and abusive friendships in school.
- Stabbing a dragon with a butter knife without a backup plan.
2. Love triangles.
Okay, wait! I have seen these written exceptionally well where I have loved all corners of the pointy triangle of doom and not even known who to ship. (Basically just Throne of Glass.)
But mostly I find love-triangles are written purely to add angst to the story. One side of the triangle won’t even be developed (which makes it furiously easy to tell who will get the guy/girl). And the protagonist will waste CHAPTERS fussing about who to love. Maybe this is just me…but if you can’t pick between two people, then you probably don’t love either of them enough.
If I see a triangle indicated in a blurb, I mostly run.
3. Characters who throw a tantrum when someone lies to protect them.
I get it. Honesty is good and wonderful. But is it really surprising when someone lies? A lot of books take lying to a whole new level of Biblical punishment. If a liar is caught, relationships and friendships burn with fire and brimstone People are never spoken to again. Trust is forever gone. And HALF THE TIME it’s because parent/sibling/friend/love-interest lied to protect the protgaonist in the first place. I’m not saying lying is ever okay. (It’s bad. Don’t do that.) But I get so frustrated when characters act like they’ve never been lied to before.
4. Conveniently absent parents.
Apparently it is impossible to have an adventure if you have parents. They must either a) die in a horrific and traumatic accident, b) work all the time, c) or really just not care about you.
It particularly annoys me when parents disappear right before a teenager is planning A Really Bad Idea. It’s so ridiculously convenient it makes me grind my teeth.
5. Red heads.
WAIT! I have nothing against read heads. I think red hair is absolutely glorious. But, according to statistics, only 2% of the population as red hair.
I think 98% of YA heroines have red hair.
- Merida from Brave
- Clary from The Mortal Instruments
- Hazel from The Darkest Part of the Forest
- Anne from Anne of Green Gables
- All the Weasleys from Harry Potter
- Eleanor from Eleanor And Park
- America Singer from The Selection
- Eliza from Fury
- Need I go on?
The Hunger Games did it. It did it extremely well. LET US LET THE ARENA REST NOW, OKAY?
I also would like to say quietly, and mildly firmly, that most people don’t enjoy watching malicious torture and bloodshed. Where do they get these crowds of bloodthirsty hooligans from?*
* Most people scream at toads. Okay fine I scream at toads.
7. Best friends who are used, abused, and under appreciated.
Why they are “best friends” is usually beyond me. I hate it when the Awesome Protagonist is so deep in their own agenda that they only hang out with their “best friend” when they need something.
It’s not okay to use friends. It’s not okay for friendship to be one sided. Half the time I don’t even feel books address this. They just have the friends forgive and forget at the end. But you don’t have to be friends with people who are mean to you!
8. Zlich diversity
Maybe it’s because I live in Australia where (nearly) everyone is from another country…but it still shocks me when books don’t embrace a diverse cast.
9. When mental illness ends up being a joke.
This is so very unokay. I understand that mental illness can be a difficult subject to tackle, especially if you don’t have experience. But, books where mental illness is suddenly “cured” or a boyfriend fixes everything or there’s clearly a problem and it’s never addressed…they just frustrate me no end.
10. When girls are mocked for liking pretty things.
GIRLS CAN LIKE PRETTY THINGS, OKAY?! I hate it when the protagonist scorns girls who like sparkles or doing their hair or makeup or who are very interested in boys. It’s not right. It’s not okay to condescend someone’s interests. And, by the way, reading books doesn’t make you better than everyone else. I’m pretty sure you can punch a zombie and do your hair nicely, okay? Okay.
what about you?! what are your bookish turn-offs? what makes you twitch when reading? do you relate to any of mine?
Cait is in the middle of making mini books. It’s a very delicate process involving putting books in the wash with special soap to — KABOOM — they are mini. You can see her handiwork on instagram. Currently she’s reading Avenger comics and thinking about brownie cheesecake.