What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don’t like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!
Me thinks it be list time…
Cardboard cut-out villains: Really guys? I get that this is fiction and all that, but people aren’t dead straight evil. I know that half of you are eye-rolling me at the moment because if you know me, then you’ll know that starting me on this topic is a bad idea – I could go on for hours. But it drives me up the wall that so many of today’s wonderful YA novels are let down by poorly written villains.
Think about it; are people in real life dead set evil? Or are they a little bit inbetween? I’m going to take a leap of faith and say that most of the people in our world that are considered ‘evil’ by one person are considered ‘good’ by another. And in reality, I’d say they’re probably somewhere in between. People don’t fit into straight cut and paste labels in real life, so why would they in fiction. I want to see villains with motivations, with relationships and with feelings. I don’t have to like them as a person, but I want to be able to respect them as a character.
Examples of some excellent villains: I loved Valentine from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. He is totally worthy of my respect. The Iron Fey from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series are also awesome villains – they have a purpose and when you start to see things from their perspective, it’s a little hard to call them entirely evil. Respect won!
The ‘I can’t love you! I’m dangerous!’ routine: No. Just no. If you’re so worried about her (or occasionally him) being hurt because of your sneaky underworld woe-is-me agenda, then leave town. If you really cared, you’d man up and leave her to a life in peace. Otherwise, grow a pair and kiss her. She doesn’t care that you’re going to get her killed. Trust me.
The loner girl archetype: Yeah, sure, I’m sure every high school has at least one of these kids, but why does weird shit always happen to them? Come on, can’t the crazy stuff happen to the everyday, has many friends but isn’t ridiculously ‘popular’ chick? ‘Cause that’d be me, and I kind of wish there was a book out there where the whacked out paranormal stuff would happen to someone like me too…
Also, I wish that the MC’s friends would play more of a role. I can think of many books where this does happen and they have rocked (ahem, Carrie Jones’ Need series? Anna and the French Kiss/Lola and the Boy Next Door? Vampire Academy?) Friends are awesome, utilise them!
The distinct lack of big booty… ladies: I recall having this discussion with Kylie once; why are there no curvy protagonists? No, I’m over the a-typical curvy best friend. I want some meat on my protagonists! Someone get a steak into these skinny women!
And on that note, why are they always short?: Seriously… what is with short MCs? I’m not short… I know lots of tall people! Who wants a tall MC! And not ridiculously tall either, just, you know, average-y tall.
I’m pretty sure Mia from the Princess Diaries series was supposed to be tall, and she was awesome!
Insta-love: Do I even need to say it?
Parents that are never home/that let their kids do anything: My parents are strict in the sense that they generally know where I am most of the time, and they don’t really let me go roaming the streets at night. And I’m 18. So why the hell are all these 16 year old protagonists running around the neighbourhood after dark when there is usually something suspicious. My parents aren’t too impressed when I miss dinner either, or (when I was in school, that is) that I was late without telling them beforehand with a legitimate reason.
Similarly, yeah, my parents both work. They work long hours, but I still see them. So why do I never see the MCs’ parents? Hmm…
Where are all the furry friends?: I like animals in books (particularly when they don’t just get killed off for shock value). Most of my friends have or have had or want a pet. So why aren’t there that many characters with little critters trailing them everywhere? Look at Rhiannon Hart’s ‘Blood Song’ and how well the pair of animal companions were worked in there!
Book covers that bear no actual relevance to the book: Yes, everyone likes a pretty dress and pretty girls hiding their faces in said pretty dresses are all well and good too, but do the covers actually mean something for the book, or are they just there to be, well… pretty? I’m not a marketing expert and I understand that nice covers will draw in readers, but there are ways of making them relevant at the same time… A cover should accompany a story, not be separate from it.
That’s all I can think of right at the moment (and I need to get ready for work too). But there are many, many more I’m sure (just have a look at all the other FF posts and you’ll see!)
Please do leave links with your FF post in the comments so I can come and say hello and see what your bookish pet peeves are! Do they look similar to mine, or are there some that you disagree with? I’d love to know!