Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-offs

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten. This week’s meme is book turn-offs. I am a very picky reader and though I select books very carefully, at times, I do get disappointed by certain aspects of a book. Now, this may or may not make me hate the book but there are some things that can lower the book’s rating, in my mind. So, here are the things that turn me off:

1. Insta-love

In my opinion, there is no such thing as ‘love at first sight’ – it’s only lust. Just looking at a person and falling in love with them – nah, not possible. Call me a romantic, but love is much more than that. So, yeah – meeting a person for a few times and falling in love with them in a very short span of time – improbable and a BIG turn-off.

2. Indecisive protagonist

The curse of a love triangle is that one person is bound to get hurt, but for the sake of keeping things interesting, I do not mind love triangles. But what infuriates me if the character is not making up his/her mind and just stringing both the poor saps along. Big no-no and immediate reduction in character love. Better make up your mind, dearie and stick to it!

3. Stereotyping

Let’s face it, there is no such thing as a perfect stereotype. People are diverse and I hate prejudices. So, describing a character to fit a certain stereotype – not fair. Why does the nerd always have to be great at hacking? Why can’t the cheerleader be a braniac and not a bitch?

4. Cliché

Continuing from the stereotyping, I hate clichés in books. Biggest example are pick-up lines or the flirting that happens between the main characters. Declarations of love better not be cheesy! And let’s just not have the childhood best friend who has been secretly pining for the main character in almost every book, okay?

5. Irresponsible parents

Goodness, at least one character in every YA book has parents who don’t care for them. I don’t know if that is a statistical possibility and if all the bad boys have uncaring parents, but I am tired of this. It just is an excuse to explain the rudeness of a character and show how oh-so-vulnerable they are. Poor upbringing is never an excuse of rude behavior; even teenagers have a brain to think for themselves and know when not to be a jerk.

6. Open Endings

I am a big fan of happy endings – yes, it is a cliché and you can virtually slap me for it – but that is one cliché  I am willing to tolerate. I like endings to be wrapped up in a nice little bow and the guarantee that the characters I have come to love are going to spend the rest of their life in relatively less trouble than the events of the book. Even one line giving that hope in an epilogue will do – but no open endings please.

7. Obsession with sex

Teenagers have sex – we get it. But all the bullying because a character is or is not having sex, the slurs attributed to it, the drama created because of it – yeah, buddy – big big turn-off. I agree bullying is a real issue but don’t make it a plot device. Another thing is when the plot-line exists just for some sex scenes. Characters don’t need to jump in bed like all the time, okay? Gratuitous sex is a deal-breaker for me.

8. Religion

Some books feel like they are shoving beliefs down your throat. Being agnostic (more like atheist but I have occasional conflicts) , this is particularly infuriating to me. I agree that people have beliefs, I even enjoy mythology but books that get all preachy-teachy, I have a problem with those. YA, being intended for teens should teach them good values but the key is subtlety. The merit of a good lesson is when you don’t realize you have been taught it. Think of it like inception – you should feel that the realization is yours, not something being forced upon the reader by the author. And even then, it should be about teaching life lessons, not being a moral compass.

9. Superfluous descriptions

You want to get down to the details and explain every object in the room with it’s texture, color and age over a dozen pages, then expect me to just skim over it. Descriptions are good enough to imagine a scene but more than that, it just distracts you from the plot. Also, description of every dang facial expression, change of eye color or sudden body scents – yawn!

10. Perfect characters

The oh-so-hot hero or the oh-so-perfect heroine – they don’t appeal to me. People aren’t perfect and a I appreciate a character with flaws. Books where the plot is character-driven are so great because you have a glimpse into human nature and how a person’s decisions affects the overall direction of the story. That is good writing – knowing your characters so well and presenting them with flaws but making them likeable at the same time.

So, what turns you off when you read?


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