Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Book Pet Peeves

This is a weekly meme hosted by the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish.

It was another freebie week so the topic I chose was Bookish Pet Peeves. I admit I have a lot of peeves while reading. While reviewing I do try to keep these in check and take into account the story/characters/who you were writing for etc. Like romance I sometimes get annoyed by romance being the only point, however if it's a romance novel then I will judge it based on whether it was a good romance at least, etc. These however are the major peeves that will likely tick me off make me hate a book.

1) Whiny Characters. There are certain circumstances where I will let the whining go. Like when a character does truly have some crappy stuff happening to them. Harry in Order of the Phoenix? Understandable. He was feeling helpless, no one was trusting him, and hey Voldemort was taking over. I don't blame his blowing up every once in awhile. But by book 6 he got over it, matured, and got stuff done. Same with Katniss in Mockingjay. A little whining is not what I mean when I say whiny characters.
No what I'm talking about are those uber emo characters who whine about EVERY LITTLE THING. Number one example: Bella Swan from Twilight. A more recent example: America from The Selection. It especially ticks me off when characters whine about situations that actually AREN'T BAD. That's the main thing for me: if your character is actually going through difficult stuff then okay. A little whining is going to happen. But if the most traumatic thing is they're in a slightly unfair situation and are determined to hate everything and make themselves into this selfless person...then no. I will probably end up hating the character. Have your character shape up and do stuff, otherwise you're going to have problems with likeability.

2) Female characters who basically don't do anything but fall in love. Now again, I do not count this towards books that are supposed to be romance focused. That makes sense. I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is when you have say a dystopian novel in a girl's POV but basically just have her going through the motions till she meets the guy and then basically does whatever he tells her too. Best example: Luce from Fallen who doesn't so much as pee unless Daniel tells her too. Call me nuts but I tend to expect modern female heroines to actually do things and move the plot along themselves. If your book is a romance novel then that's one thing, but if you're saying your book is fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi whatever then your main character better damn well have more to do then swoon over her love interest (btw this also includes vice versa with male main characters).

3) Authors who use their characters as mouthpieces to say "this is how you should behave teenagers/whoever is reading!" You know when this happens. Best example is basically the entire House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast. Oh look, Aphrodite is giving a blowjob. She's obviously a whore, so don't act like her! Or Halo with the main character making sure to point out just how good she and her fellow angels are as opposed to her silly teenage peers who gasp! DRINK. The horror of it all. Sometimes it's not even the characters saying anything, it can be what the author has happened to the inappropriately behaved characters. Like in Hush Hush, notice Marcie gets all the crap. Or Twilight where Lena, the horrible feminist, winds up alone. Seriously authors, I do not read YA to be preached too. I'm pretty sure teenagers don't either. You conservative? Fine. Write about it on your blog, make your characters not swear, whatever. But don't sit there and judge every character who acts in a way that you think is immoral or goes against your beliefs. Especially as most of your audience? Probably don't think that way or have done some of the things you're condemning.

4) Douchebag love interests. Ugh, I really dislike this recent badboy phenomenon in YA. Especially as most of them are utter douchebags who in real life would be horrible boyfriends and I really hate that the author has normally smart girls acting like complete idiots once they meet the badboy of their dreams. Number one example: The uber unhealthy Patch/Nora relationship. Yes, that's right: I think Patch is a douche and horrible love interest. He's controlling, he's a jerk to Nora and doesn't respect her, and doesn't tell her things that may help her, and is selfish. But despite the fact that I'm told Nora is smart she continues to swoon after him even after he's proved time and again that he doesn't exactly have her best interests in heart. Yeah...I hate this trend. It needs to stop. NOW.

5) Instant romance. You know the one: Girl meets boy. Have maybe a glance or two and a handful of conversations and boom they're talking about being soulmates. Several books have this, especially in YA. You've got your Twilight, your Firelight by Sophie Jordan, your Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, the list goes on. In some cases I have managed to overlook it. Usually when the couple is actually kind of cute together and does do things like date and have conversations and there's not soulmate talke till at least book 2 and true it's not even something that will make me detest a book. But it will vastly annoy me.

6) Faux Feminism. Faux Feminism is what I call when there's a female character. She acts tough, has the kick-butt thing going, is all "yeah, girl power!" in the beginning and then boom, guy comes. She's suddenly all about him, does whatever he tells her too, etc. Oh and she also has a huge tendancy to judge other females who don't live up to her standards and mananges to find them all lacking in some way. Best example: Anita Blake. Anita is snide towards any female, swoons around every male who of course all seem to have a thing for her. On the YA side of things, Nightshade is a good example. The MC goes on about being Alpha female and loving it. But her pack never listens to her, she does whatever her male counterpart tells her too, and then when her male main love interest shows up her world revolves around him and she also basically does whatever he tells her too (the kicker in this is that earlier in that same book he pointed out to her how unfair it was the males could boss her around but when he's one of them has no problem bossing her around). Simply having your female main character kick a little butt here and there does not automatically make your character or your book feminist so please do not promise me strong female heroine when actually she's not one.

7) The bitchy girly-girl stereotype. How much do I wish this trend would die? You have no idea. Authors: the blond cheerleader mean girl stereotype is OLD. I also would argue that it isn't really relavant nowadays. When I went to high school the cheerleaders were actually kind of sweet. Some of them were even fellow band geeks. Plus I kind of hate this hatred of the girly girl that we nerds like to dish out a lot. It's unfair and frankly kind of hypocritical. I mean you sit there and make the girly-girl vapid and claims she has no depth yet I often see very little depth in main characters beyond "hey, I wear glasses and read!" so please, can we move on from this ridiculous and judgemental stereotype? Some favorite books that stomp all over this stereotype: The Ghost and the Goth, Nevermore, and Mythos Academy.

8) Teen speak. Authors, have your characters speak normally because teenagers actually don't have a secret lingo. They talk like regular people. Yes, I'm looking at you in particular P.C. and Kristin Cast.

9) Theosaurus words obviously thrown in to make your writing look literary. Less is more people. Contrary to Stephanie Meyer's belief, theosaurus words do not automatically make your book "smart". Especially if your book is written in the point of view of a teenager because teenagers do not think or speak like that as a rule. Yes, even the smart ones. It especially doesn't help if you throw it in with modern language and dialogue and don't understand the meaning. I don't need fancy words to appreciate your writing.

10) Love Triangles. Oy to the vey, ENOUGH with the damn love triangles! I hated them before Twilight and I hate them now. Love triangles to me are the poor man's plot device. To me when I see a love triangle that makes me think that you felt your story wasn't interesting enough to grab people so instead of doing work to make it more interesting you came up with multiple love interests instead to keep interest. It screams lazy to me. Especially nowadays since everyone's doing it.
I especially hate it when love triangles take over the entire point of a book. Who knows, maybe Twilight would have been more interesting to me if Meyer had done actual story instead Bella whining about which hunk she should choose.

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