Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish featuring a list based on a theme. This week’s theme is a freebie so I’m going with ten things that make me cringe with books. These don’t always result in a DNF but generally result in a lower rating.
- My first and probably biggest issues is the glorification of romantic relationships between adults and teens. This one comes with a few stipulations so it can go either way. If the relationship makes sense in the story (like in a historical setting where it was common for women to be married off at a young age) I’m more than likely going to be at least somewhat okay with it. There was one incredibly popular book from 2016 that I DNF’d because of this issue.
- Shallow or cardboard cutout characters, especially villains or ‘bad guys’ are boring. I want full and rich characters with some sort of back story that explains their behavior. I don’t mind hating a character but I want a reason for them to be evil or bad.
- Massive boring info dumps that halt the progression of the story drive me nuts. I’ll admit this is frequently the reason I think about DNF’ing a book. Sometimes this added detail is necessary for the book but the way it’s executed makes reading it drag.
- While boring info dumps annoy me, lack of world building frequently leaves me feeling less than satisfied. This is especially true in fantasy, dystopia, or science fiction when the universe is so different than ‘reality’. I want to be immersed into a whole new environment while reading. Balance is important.
- Instant earth shattering love usually feels a little cheesy to me. I admit sometimes I don’t mind this if it’s done well or it’s combined with a premise that I like a lot. When this is combined with a love triangle or a bunch of other cliche’s that are so frequently in young adult.. I just get annoyed.
- Because of my own experience with mental health issues, it drives me nuts when these illnesses or the system itself is portrayed in a false way in literature or other media. This can vary on a scale of somewhat inaccurate all the way to offensive falsehoods. This never fails to push me away from a story no matter how much I might be enjoying it.
- I don’t mind violence, horror, or gore but I need a reason for it. Graphic content put in a book just for the sake of shock value takes away from the story and the impact of what’s happening. It pushes me away from the story and I quickly lose any ability to connect with it again.
- While I don’t like any demographic being portrayed negatively in literature the one I find most often is Christians. Perhaps because I’ve been on both sides of the fence with my faith I’m a bit in the gray area with this one. Sometimes this can be done really well. I get a little defensive however when religion is used as a crutch to make an annoying or mean character even more so. It’s not that these things aren’t realistic but that at times it gets portrayed that all people of that demographic act in this specific way which is never true.
- Tiny behaviors or actions that just don’t make sense to me can push me away from a book really quick. This can include random and seemingly casual hard drug use. Perhaps I’m just naive but do regular people really snort cocaine like it’s no big deal? In YA I’m always bewildered by teens who seem to always seem to have money but don’t work or have wealthy parents.
- Romance that gets in the way of the original premise of a book drives me absolutely bonkers. This is especially true when the book isn’t listed as romance. It’s not my favorite genre so there is a reason I don’t gravitate toward it as easily as fantasy or science fiction. However, I don’t mind it if it’s done right and with balance. I’m really tired of the strong female protagonist who becomes a complete mess because she meets that one boy who rearranges the stars in her sky. (See #5) I’ve seen this happen in a few books that I absolutely adored the premise and idea of. I don’t mind the lead character falling in love (even insta love) if it’s balanced with the rest of the story. If the world is ending or they are at war are they really going to be focused on making out or figuring out a love triangle? Really?
What about you?
What drives you nuts in books? Anything in particular that equals and automatic DNF? I’m always curious about what annoys others and if it might be similar to my own pet peeves. Let me know in the comments below!