Thursday 27 March 2014

Put down that book and step away!

With my recent ability to put books down, I’ve started to think about the things that make me not want to carry on reading a novel. Then I watched Michelle from the Bookish Brits and Cloveryness’ fantastic video and I decided to share my book turn-offs too.

The girl being rescued

It’s not the 19th century anymore, guys! Having a wet blanket for a heroine instantly disconnects me with the novel and I struggle to pick it back up. I don’t mean a heroine who is maybe a little shy, or doesn’t quite know what she’s doing; I don’t need her to save the world and win every fight, I want strength of character. And I have to admit that I especially love it when the girl saves the guy.

A tragic and painful history used as an excuse for being a shit

This is a trope that really, thoroughly annoys me, and it seems to be cropping up more and more, especially with the rise of NA. Experiencing bad things doesn’t give ANYONE an excuse to be a jerk, at all. Suffering doesn’t make it reasonable to make others suffer. There isn’t any excuse for that kind of behaviour and these books make it seem acceptable; that you should put up with someone being mean, and sometimes truly horrible, to you because they’re hurting.

Slut-shaming and gender stereotypes
Slut-shaming is possibly my biggest book turn-off. Having girls judged, put down and victimised for the ownership of their own body and making choices makes me feel sick. Although it’s horrible to see it from boys and men, it’s even worse, and more frequent, to see it from other girls, and worryingly often it’s their friends. I hate it and when it’s not a plot point or a message and just traits of other characters of even from the author themselves, I will put that book down so hard and so quick I could give Clark Kent a run for his money.

Absence of parents/guardians
An absence of parents or guardians in most protagonists’ lives is just plain unrealistic. And I think that the author is missing out on a great opportunity. I mean, look at Harriet’s dad in Geek Girl, the Weasley’s, both Hazel and Augustus’s parents in The Fault in Our Stars, and I could go on. They’re all full, well-rounded and interesting characters that add a lot to the protagonists and the story. I also find it a little annoying as I personally can’t think of many parents who would leave their children to virtually fend for themselves with no repercussions!

When I feel like I’ve read it before
I feel that this is especially prevalent with dystopias and paranormals. Everything is starting to feel the same, even with a seemingly distinct premise. I’m bored of it. The characters are the same, as are the love triangles, and the pressure to save a dying world from a dictator; this sense of sameness doesn’t seem to crop up in contemporary in the same way.

Unexplained or an underdeveloped world
This is one that relates to dystopias and paranormals as well. I’m all for a slow, dramatic reveal, but I need those cookie crumbs to fuel my desire to carry on reading, to pique my interest. When the world is just there with little to no clue or explanation as to why it is that way when it’s clear the protagonist does, it makes me put the book down.

What are your book turn-offs? Share any of mine? Love any of my book turn-offs?



  1. Oh yeah, definitely agree with the lack of world building and gender stereotypes, both are so annoying and makes me really dislike reading it, especially if I want to smack a character or two for being rude and cliché!

  2. All of these are fantastic points Sophie! I have to agree on near enough all the time. The odd rescue I think is okay, but generally, I like a woman you can hold her own. Great topic and you're choices are well understood :D

  3. I agree with all of the above! Definitely. And the first one, yes! So many yeses! Call me a feminist if you like, but I love my female characters to have a little bit of a backbone. None of this, "oh no, I've fallen down a well, come help me please?"

    I also find it hard to read a book with unrealistic or unneeded love triangles. Like SERIOUSLY. It's hard enough in life to find ONE guy, how the hell do you have TWO and why are you stringing them both along? >.>

    And I really can't stand main characters that are asshats throughout the story. They don't grow and I finish the book wondering why the hell I put myself through it! lol.

    Great post Sophie :)

  4. The girl being rescued... yes!! I hate it. I am all for equal saving. If a person needs help, the other person can help. It doesn't have to be boy saves girl all the time.

  5. What a great list, Sophie! I really don't like main female characters that need to be rescued all the time. I don't think every girl character needs to be kick-ass and feisty because the annoys the crap out of me too, but I would really like to see more empowered girls.

  6. And thanks for including my video :) I loved filming that.


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