Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.  Apparently, they are overly fond of list-making and love to share their bookish lists with the rest of us book nerds.  =)  I'm game.

This week's list features our Top Ten Book Turn-Offs.
You know...when you're reading and then something happens to completely turn you off -- cheating, absent parents, multiple POVS, etc.  In no particular order, here are my bookish turn-offs:

  1. Insta-love - I've been there...but in all honesty, it was insta-lust, which is so much more believable.  I didn't believe that me and my husband were meant to be, that it was love at first sight.  It just turned out that the insta-lust actually developed into something more.  I think it's perfectly fine to show the instant attraction between two characters, but it can't just be that that carries the relationship forward in the story.
  2. Romantic triangles or quadrangles or really any kind of relationship that doesn't make sense - First of all, I hate the lack of diversity in this category.  It's always two boys vying for the same girl's heart.  I know there are exceptions...but not many.  Secondly, you don't need the added stress of relationship drama to make a book interesting.  A good storyline can actually suffer from the use of such a convention.
  3. Absentee parents/families - I know this is so that the youngsters in the story have more freedom more often than not, but I actually prefer when the characters have to be sneaky to get away with stuff...like the rest of us did/do.  I adore when a family is present and accounted for in a YA novel, and I often point it out in my reviews because it's something of a rarity these days.
  4. Lengthy descriptions of character appearances - Maybe it's just because I really like breaking down that fourth wall and putting myself in the story, but the less I know about a character's appearance, the better.  Unless it's crucial to the story...as in, they only have one eye or a vestigial tail.  Those characteristics are beyond interesting...def talk those features up.  =)  But I don't need to read two pages describing just how green a character's eyes are to get the point.
  5. Tons of pop culture references -  I'd much rather a book maintain some semblance of timelessness than be bombarded with references to current technology or bands of the minute or name brands that are currently trendy.  Don't date your book, unless of course, you're writing a period piece where that kind of info might be relevant to the story.  But just throwing those things into the story for the sake of making it easier to relate to is a big turn off for me.
  6. Made up swear words - Frex.  Bleep.  Shuck.  I don't mind cursing.  They're just words...we give them the power that they have.  And cutesier words have the same connotation, just with a little less bite.  I don't even mind if the profanity is implied...just don't replace it with your own made up word.
  7. Guy smells - How many times do I have to read that a guy smells like sandalwood and wild forest or that he smells of manly sweat?  Some smells are nice and some are not and let's just leave it at that, okay?
  8. Repetition - Some authors tend to wear out the same word throughout a book or even over the course of a series.  Ever heard of a thesaurus?  I mean, I have favorite words, but I don't try to work them into every conversation.  Same goes for turns of phrase.  Keep it to a minimum...I shouldn't see the same phrasing three times in a novel unless it's part of a spell or something.  I tend to make a game of this...giving tally marks for repetitive phrases or words.  (Hint:  the more you have, the worse off you are.)
  9. Stereotypes and clichés - This one's pretty obvious, but just be original.  I'm tired of the mean girls, the jocks, the nerds and every over-used cliché in between.
  10. Weird or unpronounceable names - This is actually quite common in fantasy novels, and in that respect, I'm okay with it.  An author creating their own world should be at liberty to create some crazy names to go along with it.  But it's becoming more frequent in contemporary literature, as well. I get it...you want your character to stand out and apart from everyone else.  How about instead of that strange name, you give them a personality?

Well, that wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  ;0)  Apparently, I have quite a few literary gripes that turn me off.  Each on it's own isn't a deal-breaker, but put more than a couple in the same book, and all bets are off.

What turns you off when you're reading?


  1. I completely agree with every item on your list. I'm not even going to do this week, just point to your post.

  2. I love every. single. one. of these. Seriously. The repetition probably turns me off the worst. -_- Also, absentee parents. It doesn't make SENSE to knock off the parents/grandparents/everyone-responsible so the teen can go have a wild adventure. Parent support is actually cool. (Or sneaking around parents. Either/or.)

    Also, the names...yesss! I love it when authors use slightly unusual names (like Triss!) that are still totally pronounceable but memorable.

  3. These are great Jen! I wish I thought of some of them...like man smells! What is with sandalwood? I don't recall ever smelling a guy like that. Made up swear words...YES. And I can't believe I forgot pop culture references. That bother me so much and pulls me out of the story so fast. Perfect list!
    My Friends Are Fiction's TTT

  4. MADE UP GUY SMELLS!!! OMG - that is so perfect. I always laugh when we get to that point in the book where we're told how the guy smells. It's such a bit WTH moment for me. So awesome that you put that on your list.

    TTT @ Krista's Dust Jacket

  5. The guy smells - YES! I don't care about his lemongrass smell. Same goes for tastes (when they are kissing): "He tasted like peppermint." "He tasted like cinnamon." I just wonder why people think about this, to be honest. I LOVE you for putting it on your list, haha.

    I agree with everything on your list, it's spot-on!

  6. Yes to EVERYTHING on this list!! Made up swear words are the worst...Just why??? unpronounceable names just annoy me to no end. And Insta-love and love triangles that don't make sense can just ruin a book for me.
    New follower via Bloglovin btw :)
    Great list Jen

  7. Holy cow--YES to the manly smells!! My favorite is when they say "he smelled decidedly guy" or "he smelled WARM" WTH? How do you smell decidedly guy or warm? Why do we even need to hear about his odor at all??

    And yes to over the top character appearance descrips. That's tiresome for sure. I also like your aversion to names we can't pronounce. Especially in fantasy works. Or creative spellings for names. Daemon is my favorite one to pick on. Why can't you just say Damon or Demon and be done with it??

    Didn't you just feel lighter after you wrote this?? It's good to get things off your chest sometimes ;)

  8. Hah hah, I love your list, Jen. I'm seeing a few things I haven't seen on other lists too, which is awesome--including the weird guy smells, unpronounceable names, absentee families, and lengthy descriptions of appearances. I remember very little of most YA characters' physical attributes, because it's mostly not something that's important to me--always annoying when too much time is spent on that.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  9. What the frex, lol. Great list, particularly the guy smell, lol. My TTT

  10. Ha ha ha ha That was hilarious! I am totally with you on the made up swearing. Just stop.

  11. You named several of mine. Good ones! I would just swap out whining. I hate whining. Oh and blowing hot and cold in the romance.

  12. Ok, the guy smell one really made me laugh. It's like there's a bunch of guys out there rolling around in pine and leather. hahahaha!

    Kate @ Ex Libris


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