Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-Offs

Hi, Readers!

Top Ten Tuesday       This Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog challenged readers to write a list of their Top Ten Book Turn-Offs.  Usually, I post about books that I enjoy reading and what makes them good.  This post is a bit different: I am writing about what I can't stand when reading.  It was easier to create this list than I expected, which is weird because I like almost every single book that I lay eyes on.  The books that I mention in this post are not necessarily bad, but they do have certain aspects that really get on my nerves.  Click on a title for more information about it on Amazon Books or to one of my book reviews if applicable.

1. Dual narration
Witch and Wizard
Books that are told by multiple characters flat-out confuse me.  Even when the author switches between fonts to distinguish the narrators, it is still hard to follow who is telling the story.  Occasionally, certain authors are able to pull off the difficult writing style, such as Marie Lu in Legend.  Other authors tend to transition awkwardly between scenes or branch into two separate plot lines.

 Sorry, James Patterson... but Witch and Wizard would have been so much better if only one of the two siblings was the narrator.

2. Boy-crazy female narrators
I love reading books that have strong female protagonists.  Look at Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, and Tris Prior.  One of the best aspects of these teens is that they are able to balance their crazy adventures with their love lives.  When a female narrator relies too much on Prince Charming to help solve all of her drama, the novel immediately turns sour.

Sorry, Stephenie Meyer... but Bella Swan from Twilight was a tad bit too boy crazy to handle, and she relied on vampires and werewolves to do the dirty work for her.  Just pick Jacob and forget about Edward.  Problem solved.  Go, Team Jacob!

3. Sequels
The Giver Series
Has anybody else noticed that pretty much every single book that has been published in the last two years is the first of a series?  I thought so.  It's crazy that no author is able to create characters and formulate a plot line in one book.  So many of the books that I read lead to sequels.  I lose track and forget about them until a few years later, and at that point, I don't remember what the books were about in the first place.  My message to authors is to quit while you're ahead.

Sorry, Lois Lowry... but why can't The Giver be a stand-alone novel?  Three other linked stories just make the original seem cheap.

4. Pictures in chapter books

The key word in Young Adult Books is adult.  It's not Young Tween Books.  Adult.  That means the days of picture books are over and done.  Aside from being childish, unnecessary, and wasting precious page space, pictures can tint the images of characters in the reader's mind.  It is always fun to imagine how characters would look, so illustrators should not have to do it for us.

Sorry, Brandon Mull... but Fablehaven did not need those illustrations.  I really love the series and it is one of my all-time favorites, but come on!  Pictures were not necessary.

5. Mentions of technology
My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

One of the absolute best parts of Harry Potter is that J.K. Rowling abstained from mentioning technology in the wizarding world.  She realized that bringing up technology would add a cheap tone to the books and allow them to become quickly outdated.  Books that mention the new iPhone go out of date just as quickly as did the ones filled with cassettes, VHS tapes, and CDs.  There is no chance that a book will ever be considered a classic if it mentions technology because readers in a few years will have no idea what  the author is talking about.

Sorry, Rachel Harris, but My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century did not have to repeatedly mention that Cat Crawford uses an iPhone.  Sometimes specific details are not a good thing.

6. Time jumps/Flashbacks
When We Wake

Similar to duel narration, time jumps and flashbacks are not always successful in Young Adult literature.  Most of the time, they just get on my nerves and confuse me about what is going on.  Time jumps into the future are the worst because they prove that the main character survives their adventure.  There goes all of the suspense.

Sorry, Karen Healey... but When We Wake's pointless and unnecessary time jumps into the future did not add to the story line in the slightest.  The changes in time actually gave away silly things, like the fact that Tegan Oglietti manages to escape her enemies.

7. Cheating in relationships
Going Vintage

This may seem cliche, but I like it when books end with a Happily Ever After moment.  The girl and the guy should end up together.  That's just how books work.  They make you feel good about the world.  Therefore, when there is cheating involved in a relationship and it is doomed to fail, I feel sad as a reader.  The only time that cheating should be allowed in books is if that is the main subject.

Sorry, Lindsey Leavitt... but Going Vintage would have been so much better if Mallory had gone vintage without being cheated on by her scummy boyfriend.  I enjoyed reading this book and even included it in a Back-to-School Books post, but sometimes I wonder if Mallory would have still had her adventure if she was not going through a break-up.

8. When the main character is not the same gender as the author

No matter how much we try, girls cannot understand the minds of boys, and visa versa.  Authors should not even bother to try what the entire world has failed at.  If I read a book that is about a male character but is written by a female author, I can immediately tell because the boy does not sound realistic.

Exception: Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld. Kudos for capturing the workings of the female mind.  Scott Westerfeld completely understands the distinction of being "pretty", and creates a series filled with completely relatable but futuristic content.

9. End of a good series (*Spoiler Alert*)

Although I said before in #3 that I don't like sequels, I still love certain series.  The end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made me want to cry.  Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, their kids going to Hogwarts... picture perfect.

Sorry, Suzanne Collins... but sending Gale away to work for the rebels at the end of Mockingjay is not a solution.  Katniss should have had to work things out between Gale and Peeta, like the strong woman that she had become.  She got an easy pass.

10. Grammatical errors

Grammatical errors are my biggest pet peeve!  I assume that at least a few people proof-read books before they are put into print and sold around the entire world.  How is it possible to misspell a word or to forget a comma when you know that millions of people will read your book and notice every mistake?

Sorry, Martin Leicht and Isla Neal... but I noticed that there was a wrong verb tense on the FIRST PAGE of Mothership.  It should be "was", not "were".  Check out the error that I found by clicking here and going to "Look inside".  Although I really couldn't get over the verb tense issue, I did enjoy the book as a whole.  See my complete book review here.

       Clearly, I am a pretty picky reader.  The list of the ten book turn-offs above is just a fraction of what gets on my nerves when I am reading.  Why so picky, you ask?  Because I have read certain works of literature (*cough* Harry Potter *cough*) that are exceptional and have not enraged, angered, annoyed, or frustrated me in any way.  Feel free to comment about your own personal book turn-offs below.

Happy Reading!


  1. Duel narration annoys me too. I always end up loving one voice, and then feel dragged into reading the other. My TTT

  2. Boy crazy narrators/characters annoy me too. Probably because I can't stand boy craziness in general.
    Great list!

  3. I think time jumps can get confusing unless it's done just right. I hate when the book moves all over the place it just get's confusing.

  4. Totally agree with you on the sequel. I especially hate it when it seems like a last minute discussion by the author. For example If I Stay was perfect. Where She Went, while I liked it I hated that she took all the mystery out of what happened to the characters.

  5. I enjoyed Mockingjay, but I agree about Gale. Collins could have done something different with his character - I felt like he was shoved to the side so Katniss and Peeta could have their happy ending. I agree about the authors writing their opposite genres, too, but a good example of that is The Fault In Our Stars - I thought John Green wrote Hazel really well. Lovely list!

  6. Such a great list! I completely forgot about numbers 3 & 5 when I was making my list. Series syndrome is an epidemic right now. Half the time I don't have the patience to wait for the whole thing & I end up not even finishing the series.

  7. Nice list! I actually love TWILIGHT, and I love sequels, too--I almost always want more from a world in a book! Thanks for stopping by!

    Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf

  8. Argh I hate that everything is a series! I start to expect it and always a little surprised when I pick up a book that doesn't have a sequel :(.

    The technology one made me laugh - I recently read Gone and Hunger by Michael Grant...and the characters reference cd's as ancient!! And the classic tune Sound of Silence This is set pretty much now! I felt so freaking old hahaha

  9. I didn't realize that The Giver was a series!! Yeah that annoys me. Also I found out there were multiple sequels to Hatchet by Gary Paulson. I'm not a fan of that at all. Some books are great as lonely novels. Not every book has to have a sequel just to make money. And so true about technology. It's definitely the fastest way to have your novel become dated.

    Thanks for stopping by My TTT

  10. I love your list! I haven't read many dual narration books, but the ones I've read I've liked. I can see how they're confusing though. Sometimes it feels like all the characters have the same voice and it gets frustrating since you're not seeing a different opinion at all.

    I really hate it when books suffer from middle book syndrome. It's very frustrating since it always feels like it's a filler and it could do so much better. I haven't read The Giver, but I've heard good things about it! Are you excited for the movie? I think I heard Taylor Swift is in it?

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  11. I agree about sequels, really don`t like reading series. But many greats books are a part of a series, sadly. When it comes to cheating in relationships, I don`t like it in real life and I don`t like it in books or tv-series/movies. Wrong in my eyes. Thanks for stopping by my TTT :)

  12. 1. Just FYI, you have a duel/dual mix up. Since you don't like grammatical errors, I thought you might like to know!

    2. I like boy crazy female narrators in the sense of being really into boys and having a dirty mind, because I think heroines get shown in a really purified, virginal way too often. However, I don't like them boy crazy like Bella where they think of nothing else and expect boys to save them.

    3. Getting really tired of everything being part of a series. The ones that aren't turn out to be series years later.

    4. I love pictures!

    8. Actually, I've seen this done really effectively in a bunch of cases: Wildefire by Karsten Knight (no idea the author was male until I finished), Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King, Fault Line by Christa Desir, False Memory by Dan Krokos. That's just a handful off the top of my head. Of course it can go wrong (Beautiful Creatures *cough*), but I like to see authors try. It's so impressive when they get it right, much like dual narration.

  13. Hmm I never really thought about your #5 before, but it totally makes sense and now it's going to bother me, haha. I think that certain things are okay — like mentioning that you're using a laptop or whatever, because they are so common and have been/will be around for a while. But, you're right, mentioning specific cellphones/tablets/any old 90s technology is kind of tacky.

  14. I'm totally with you for cheating in relationships as a turn off also sequels I prefer standalones too.

  15. Arg, how I hate those female MCs whose whole world centers arounds a certain boy. Or, and that's even worse, two boys. Cheating is on my list and I prefer standalones to series too. But I actually like illustrated (ya/adult) books

  16. Great answers. I especially agree about boy crazy heroines. I went through that phase in high school, don't need to read about it constantly :)

  17. I love your list! And I definitely agree about Uglies being the one exception, as well as the annoyance of dual narration.

  18. Unnecessary sequels are so disappointing! I know that in some cases, a book is originally intended as a stand-alone, and when it's successful, suddenly you have a series. I'm not sure if this was the case of All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, but when I read it, there was no indication on Goodreads that it was the first of a series. And then suddenly, a series was announced. I was so disappointed, because I loved the book, and it ended perfectly. I wonder if the pub is forcing the sequel, and if this is the case, I feel sorry for Terrill.

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

  19. I agree with yours also! Especially when female characters are obsessing over men.. I get that he may be all dreamy and whatnot, but really? It's stalker-ish and creepy. I agree with #8- where authors aren't the same gender as the character.. Males don't understand completely girls and vice versa... Some authors can nail it perfectly, but I'd rather read in the POV of the same gender as the author.

  20. oh i totally agree about the sequels. It's ok if the author can finish the story in the first book and then start the new adventure in the next one, but most of the time you only find out the plot towards the end and its "cliffhanger" "cliffhanger" etc. all series until you reach the final book. gets a bit tiring


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