Welcome to Weishi-Rants-About-Stuff-Because-She-Wants-To-Procrastinate-But-Is-Too-Lazy-To-Write-A-Review.
Here is a list of things that bug me when I’m reading a bad book, most often a paranormal romance or dystopian where I want to strangle both the characters.
This section is so big that it’s split into multiple little sections. Let us begin the rant.
I hate love triangles.
I understand that a novel demands conflict, and that you want to make your romantic subplot more compelling, but if it actually undermines your character, don’t do it.
If these girls (they are almost always girls) really did love their boyfriends so damn much that the stars aligned every time they kissed and they forgot to breathe during these intense caresses, then why do they fall in love with a second dude? I’m sorry, but if you hand me a relationship to read about, try to convince me that they would die for each other and are soul mates and should never be separated even though they’ve known each other for like three days, then why make them suddenly fall in love with another guy?
It has also gotten to the point that, if I read the blurb and a love triangle is described in more than one sentence, I will put that book right back.
There is this stereotype for guys that they are all jerks and only care about your bra size or what you look like or what type of clothes you wear, not your personality. We are constantly complaining about the objectification of women and how they are never seen for what they are, but just for what they look like. And objectification of women is a very real thing, but somehow we completely overlook the stark objectification of men in young adult literature who are sidelined as love interests and pretty things to make out with.
These girls are falling for these guys with beautiful, chiselled cheekbones and mysterious eyes and lean yet muscles bodies and perfect hair and flirty smiles. Descriptions of their ‘stunning’ personalities are overlooked in favour of their perfectly sculpted abs. Our naive and innocent and always virginal main character falls head-over-heels in love with the boy and his godly biceps.
You can’t microwave a relationship.
You can’t go from intense, all-consuming hatred to sudden intoxicatingly gooey lovey dovey romance without any explanation and expect me to buy it.
Give me an explanation, even the most contrived one in existence, and I will go along with you. But don’t expect me to go with the formula just because it is the formula.
– Magnetic Connection
Also known as the laziest way to write romance.
Just because you’re too lazy to write legitimate reasons as to why they make a good couple, doesn’t mean you can throw in some pretty line about their souls being tied together and expect that to equal sufficient relationship development. If you qualify it, fine, if its their destiny and some magical force is shipping the hell out of them, then sure, whatever, as long as you explore that.
I just want logical explanation inside the realms of fiction. I hate lazy character development. But I will take it over no development at all.
It has been a very long time since I last read twilight, but I seem to remember that when Bella kissed Edward, he quite literally took her breath away. And then later she kissed him and her heart stopped. Not an expression, her heart monitor literally flat lined.
I don’t think I even need to explain why I have a problem with this.
– Complete & Total Reliance
Even more twilight flashbacks happening now, except we’re onto the second book.
Remember that time that Edward broke up with his girlfriend, then she decided to try to kill herself multiple times to hear his voice again? And then we were supposed to take it as romantic and a healthy way to deal with a break up, and not question it at all..
Yeah. That sounds healthy.
They will make or break your book.
And unfortunately, breaking your book is very easy.
– Female Leads
Oh, surprise surprise, you’re an aspiring author.
And you love to read.
And, oh look, you’re nerdy and awkward and no one understands you.
God, what a surprise how you’re shorter than average and innocent and virginal and not like those other girls in your class who just hate how perfect you are.
Wow, your appearance exactly matches this author picture in the back of the book, this is such a coincidence.
Not all books do this. I would actually say some of these things are in the minority, and these traits on their own, or even added together, don’t make a bad character. They’re just everywhere.
Lots of teenagers barely read anything. Lots of teenagers have tons of sex. Lots of teenagers don’t avoid conversation like it’s the plague.
YA, represent your demographic properly. I want a variety of characters to read about, not the same old same old that gets boring rather fast.
– The Love Interest
The great thing about books as opposed to movies, is that you can’t see what people look like in books. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to press the fact that he is literally the most beautiful thing to walk the earth, I can’t see his face, so I’m not going to base him on his looks. I’m going to base him on what he does, and how he treats people. If he’s a jerk, no matter how amazing he appears, I’m going to be reading about his personality, so you can’t hide his ugly inside with a beautiful exterior that I cannot see.
And the many love interests are complete creeps lacking in any character other than their extreme creepiness.
Stop making cheerleaders horrible and stupid and sluts. Stop living up to clichés that cheerleaders are beautiful but empty on the inside. Not that I’ve ever been to american high school (sidenote: do all american parties have those red plastic cups or have I just been lied to by the movies?), but I really doubt that all cheerleaders are like that. I doubt that all the book nerds are quiet, lovely introverts with extremely high intellects that no one appreciates. I doubt that all jocks are crass and unintelligent and just care about sex. I doubt the mutual exclusiveness of these groups that is hinted at in almost every book about high school that I have read.
Please stop shoving someone’s appearance down my throat for the sake of putting an image in my head.
I want a description that elicits emotion, not one just to play out like a movie in my brain.
Why the frick should I care if the chair was exactly two centimetres from the left wall and was very brown? Does it contribute to the story? Does it set the mood for the scene? No? Then I don’t care.
4. Dystopian Rebellions
This one is just speculation, but why do all Dystopian books have rebellions in them?
The conclusion of a horrible society doesn’t always have to be the upheaval of that corruption, and there are probably books that do exist that do this, but I have yet to read them.
I want a dark dystopian where nothing gets fixed by the end and humanity isn’t miraculously saved by our vigilante protagonist.
5. Writing Style
Books are not cheap movies.
For the last time, books are not cheap movies.
Books are a way to tell stories differently, books are a way to use language to convey things that images on a screen cannot. When you have all these words at your disposal, when you have emotions that you can express and gorgeous, wonderful ideas that are impossible to say in any other medium, why transform your lovely, potential-filled novel into a bunch of stage directions that happen to go on for a very, very, very long time?
Yes, sometimes this works. Sometimes this is a stylistic choice.
But come on, shake it up a little.
Give me substance.
Give me a reason to quote your sentences for months on end.
Covers with models posing dramatically with obviously and badly photo-shopped backgrounds.
Covers with girls in long dresses that are pretty but have nothing to do with the book.
Cover changes mid-series, that are infinitely worse than the original.
There are always exceptions, and I do not discount them, but for the rest of you… why?
Why would you do that?
7. Dumbing Books Down
“Oh, it’s just another teen craze.”
Thanks for dismissing an entire age demographic and dismissing their opinions because you don’t understand them. Thank you, judgemental media outlets, for defining ‘teen’ as a group of individuals that can be ‘solved’ and manipulated like they are some dumb, alien species who don’t understand the intelligence and sophistication required in the literary world. Thank you for generalising this massive and diverse age group into one category because you can’t accept that there is variation in all human beings, not just the obsessive fangirl youth culture that you like to perceive.
Thanks for encouraging authors to write stupid books following perceived trends because they think these stupid kids will take the bare essentials of a novel based on the fact that it has hot vampires in it, even if the writing is horrific and the characterisation is unbearable and the plot is non-existent.
No, it can’t be because this book is an intelligent deconstruction of war and sacrifice and hope that the teens like it. It must be the love triangle. We must have more love triangles. After all, it’s just one of those teen crazes.
8. Missing the point
It’s very easy to see the difference between a book that was written with the intention of making money off a particular hype, or a book that was written because the author thought it was easy to be an author, and a book where the author has poured their heart into their work.
There is a very big difference between people who write because they want to, and people who write because they need to. A very big difference in books that were written on a whim to try it out, and books that were written because the author loved the characters, needed the plot to be told, worked painstakingly over it trying to get it perfect. It is so plainly obvious which is which to a reader.
After all, those are a lot of words to slip up in. And those are a lot of lines to read between.
So…. That Was Fun.
I’m sorry I ranted so much to you, but there you go, now you know my feelings on YA. Not that YA fiction is bad, on the contrary, there are plenty of amazing, spectacular, awesome YA books. But there are also a lot of popular YA books that I do not understand. I don’t understand why people like them or why they exist or why they are bestsellers.
If you’re looking for recommendations for books that are not like this, just visit our top tens page for our favourites.
See you next time!