Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl, and today’s theme is Bookish Pet Peeves. Jeez, I probably have a lot! Let’s get started. 🙂
- Unnecessary politicizing
This is especially a problem in modern YA. I read books for the stories and characters, not politics! I get enough of that at home.
2. Too much focus on romance
This is really a personal thing. I read a lot of YA, so that tends to have a lot of romance in it. I just don’t like it when it dominates the plot.
3. YA heroines who whine about being ‘ugly’ when they aren’t
‘Boo-hoo, I’m so homely. I have straight brown hair, boring brown eyes, and average figure, and smaller than average breasts. No boy would ever want me.’
I’m an almost 300-lb 27-year-old with stretch marks because my medication makes me gain weight so fast (I’ve never had kids.) I don’t want to hear it.
4. Disabled characters who are portrayed as the protagonist’s ‘burden.’
Again, this is more of a personal thing. I know that disabilities can be really hard on a family and there can be a lot of resentment from siblings of handicapped people. However, as someone who FEELS like a burden in their family situation (I have Asperger’s syndrome and severe OCD and I still live at home, even though I’m 27) it’s something I don’t particularly enjoy reading about. Can’t we get more stories about people who love and appreciate their disabled sibling and for whom learning to ‘accept’ them isn’t a character arc?
5. No platonic male-female friendships (unless one of them is gay.)
Okay, ironically enough, one of my best friends growing up (we used to be picked on at school for being ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’) DID turn out to be gay. Still, I’d like to see more friendships between boys and girls (particularly in YA literature) where they stay platonic throughout. That would just be really cool and it would show that opposite sex friendships can be meaningful without ending in romance.
6. ‘Literally’ used incorrectly.
Incidentally, it’s also annoying when people misuse it in conversation.
7. Absurdly absent/negligent YA parents
I don’t actually mind this one as much, but I really wish there were more YA books where the MC’s parents were emotionally present and supportive.
8. Characters who are defined by their mental illness/disability.
It’s like the author just wants to write about a mental condition and the character is secondary to that.
9. Popular kids are evil!
I wish YA and middle grade books would portray schoolyard hierarchies with more ambiguity. Too often all the unpopular kids are uniformly smart and cool and all the popular kids are these egotistical monsters who exist to make the nerds’ lives hell. Obviously, it’s not that simple in real life.
10. The old person always dies.
Can’t we occasionally have a story where a geriatric mentor/grandparent character doesn’t bite it at the end? Apparently not.
While writing this, I realized I had already written and posted a ‘bookish pet peeves’ list that I had forgotten about(!) Luckily, they only have one peeve in common and I elaborated upon it here, so people might still enjoy reading both.