Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Pet Peeves

This awesome button was made by Lindsi at BSAOT.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Love-at-first-sight: This is all over the place in YA romance -- especially paranormal romance. It's just not realistic, and it eliminates the entire journey of attraction, which is what makes a fictional love story compelling! If I hear one more heroine swoonily think, "I felt a mysterious, overwhelming bond with this unnamed boy, so clearly we are soulmates," my head will explode.

2. Neat and tidy endings: I know we like closure, but it's just so predictable! You know the author can't kill off Swoony Love Interest, so there's no tension when he's put in mortal peril. Don't take this the wrong way, because I'm not totally morbid, but I would love it if an author actually killed off a love interest. It would be so unexpected and unique that I would NEVER forget that book. I feel like I'm losing the ability to be surprised -- I need some curve balls!

3. Catty it-girls: Why is there always at least one witchy alpha female in every high school novel? This could fall more generally under the heading of "Annoying Stereotypes," but this one in particular really gets to me. I was pretty well-adjusted, and I can't remember any snotty Queen Bees at my high school. Yet there's always some cookie-cutter blond strutting the hallways of fictional high schools like she's on the runway in Milan. In the same vein, it seems like YA heroines rarely have real, healthy girl friendships. It's all about the guy. Sure, there are exceptions -- Lily and Scout in Firespell are the first that come to mind -- but this is a case where exceptions kind of prove the rule.

4. Love triangles: There's not much to say here. I'm over it. Love triangles cheapen the experience of "first love." Honestly, how many of us found ourselves torn between two smokin' hot guys our first time out into the dating ocean? Exactly. Plus, it's always so obvious who the girl's going to end up with. I'd be totally up for a love triangle if the author made the underdog come out on top. Have you noticed a theme here -- I just want to be surprised!

5. Cheesy, over-the-top, too-perfect romantic lines: I don't want to roll my eyes every time the hero opens his mouth. Honestly, how boring.

6. Cliffhangers: I feel like I'm being used when a book cuts off in the middle so I just HAVE to come back for book two. If the first book is GOOD, I will come back for another round even if I'm not left hanging off a cliff! How many cliffhangers were in Harry Potter? Exactly. Repeat after me: "What Would J.K Rowling Do?"

7. Overly wordy writing: It distracts from the story. I shouldn't have to re-read the same sentence 20 times to figure out what the author means -- it just disrupts the flow of the narrative. The writing should be a vehicle, not an obstacle or a separate entity. Sure, we love beautiful, poetic writing -- but it packs a bigger punch if it's lightly scattered throughout the novel instead of whopping the reader over the head on every page.

8. Scribbling in books: Nooo! Don't desecrate The Precious! It's so distracting if I'm trying to read a library book and someone has scribbled their inane notes in the margins. I also find footnotes and movie captions distracting, though, so maybe it's just me.

9. When someone spoils the ending of a novel: Why would they do that? Are they just a mean person?

10. Damsels-in-distress: Girls need heroines who are role models, not whiny weaklings who reinforce the stereotypes we've been struggling against for millennia. Thank God for Katniss and Katsa.

11. Book-to-film adaptations: Why? WHY? Just read the book! I don't think there is a single instance of the movie being better. Adaptations just cater to the lazy and tell kids "it's okay not to read because the movie will be out in a month or two!" I'd rather see Hollywood have an original idea, for a change.

That was more than 10, but I'm OCD when it comes to all things bookish.

What are your biggest bookish pet peeves?


lisa :) said...

Nice list and I couldn't agree more, especially on #9!

Although about the cliffhangers, I feel like Rowling did get a little cliffhanger-y toward the end of the HP series. The first few were much more standalone stories, but I can't imagine anyone reaching book five or six and not eagerly awaiting the next.

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

*Harry Potter 6 Spoiler Alert* (As if there's anyone left who hasn't read it...)

I can kind of see what you mean about the last few books, but it still wasn't like J.K. Rowling wrote, "And then Dumbledore fell toward the edge of the tower...The End." There was some closure with the funeral, and the plans to go after the last horcruxes, and Ron and Hermione being all "Um, hello? You're not going alone. Idiot." You knew where the story was headed.

Karen said...

If I never read another love triangle again it will be too soon.
Great peeve list!

danya said...

Awesome list Casey, I agree with most of these! I would like to read a book where the love interest get killed off (though maybe not a lot of them, because it would be majorly depressing if that became a trend) - at least it would be unexpected.

I'm okay with cliffhangers if they're done well and it feels like the book has a story arc within the series. But if it's just a bunch of build-up and then WHAM! you're left hanging, it feels kind of like you read all of that for nothing.

Cheesy lines: oh yes, this bugs me. I want my dialogue to be authentic! I don't want to be rolling my eyes as I read.

I agree that we don't need more damsels-in-distress, but I like the heroines to have some weaknesses. Sometimes they're so "kick-butt" that they come across as a little too invincible. (They're better than the alternative of whiny weaklings, though!)

I happen to be okay with movie adaptations as long as they don't stray too far from the book. But if they end up butchering it (example: Ella Enchanted) then it's very painful. Most books are still better, anyway, although I've encountered a lot of people who think the movie Stardust beat out the book. I think I only read part of the book or skimmed it, so I can't really say (I did enjoy the movie for the most part) - have you seen that movie/read the book?

Sharon said...

Love your list! I agree you with you on #5, yikes! I've rolled my eyes many times in while reading a romance. i've gotten where I don't read them much any more. And love triangles *urp*.
Mine is here:

Vy said...

Nice List :) Number 10 is my favorite! There should be more strong FEMALE heroines

Rummanah Aasi said...

I'm so with you on the neat and tidy endings. I hate when there is a forced happy ending. It feels fake and a total cop-out. Are you afraid to let your readers and characters know that everything doesn't always come together so nice and neatly, especially in life?

Great list, Casey!

Lindsi said...

Ughh, I hate it when people write in books that don't belong to them! It's so distracting. Who spoils book endings? You're right... that's just mean. And if you are going to turn a book into a movie, PLEASE make the movie an accurate adaptation.

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

Awesome list! I actually like spoilers sometimes LOL

I cant stand Love Triangles anymore =(

I am OCD too and I oved that you did 11 items since it's my favorite number LOl =D

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Great list! And I was just talking yesterday with someone about the love triangles. It's kind of repetetive in all books anymore. It doesn't overly get me, but it is getting old. Maybe its me and the books I'm picking up. I have had some books with a break from it, but seems to be a thing too. :)

Love the list!

A Canadian Girl said...

Great list, Casey! Love triangles, love at first sight and cliffhangers are major pet peeves for me too. I once read a book that ended on such a huge cliffhanger that I thought some pages had been lost!

Daisy said...

Lol, 'What would J.K. Rowling Do?'! She is kind of my hero. I don't necessarily hate cliffhangers, but her books are a great example you don't NEED to have your book end on a cliffhanger just to get people to read the next one.
And yes to people spoiling the book! I hate it when someone does that! I avoided the internet like the plague until I read Mockingjay because I'd heard rumors there were lots of spoilers going around.
Great list!

Small Review said...

I love your What would J.K. Rowling do? :) I couldn't agree more. Some cliffhangers make me so angry. Everything doesn't have to be completely wrapped up (Voldemort was still out there), but the main arc of that book should be settled.

Al said...

Hi! LOVE your list. I agree with most, if not all of them. Especially love at first sight. I'm reading a book right now where the protagonist is in love with the boy before she ever speaks to him. it's annoying!
new follower here!

Stephanie (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend) said...

Fantastic list, Casey! I especially agree about love at first sight romances. They seem to be popping up a lot in YA recently. I think perhaps the authors want to get them together as quickly as possible to get on with the rest of the plot e.g. this dystopian world is tearing us apart so we can't stay together. I'd definitely like to see more real and healthy girl friendships too in YA and perhaps books that focus more on friendship rather than romance.

Hayley said...

I agree with a lot of these. I've always hated the whole love-at-first-sight deal. It takes away all the fun! I'm personally a huge fan of when two characters hate each other at the beginning and then slowly realize they love each other as the book progresses (ok, that's also a bit of a cliche, but at least it's full of awkward sexual tension, which makes for a fun read).

And I'm actually not against love triangles, it just seems like every love triangle these days follows the exact same pattern. But I love when a character has different relationships over the course of a series (think Tamora Pierce's THE SONG OF THE LIONESS quartet). But for the most part, yeah, they've become repetitive.

BookGeek said...

I agree with all of these things! Now if only publishers would listen....

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