Whaddup whaddup. Yes, I am still attempting to settle into a blogging schedule. Honestly, I think it’s adorable that I’ll post every day for a week after months of throwing a review up maybe once a week. Very on-brand. I’m like, so unreliable, you guys. But my charms make it worthwhile. (This is my manic pixie dream girl impression.) (That was a spoiler.)
Anyway, I hate a lot of books. So today I figured I’d talk about some of the more common or most terrible things that can make me slap on a one-star rating faster than you can say “not like other girls.” (That was also a spoiler.)
Also this post is young adult-focused, because honestly YA books are a lot more trope-y and annoying. Sorry not sorry. (But I am genuinely sorry that I just used that phrase, because it hasn’t been socially acceptable in 5 years and I yearn to be cool, you know?)
THE NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS TROPE
This was the first trope I ever did hate. Before I was even such a voracious reader as I am today, my friends and I would make fun of this trope. Ah, those bygone days of wearing flannels and non-prescription glasses and spewing pretentiousness about literature. True method acting, honestly. It all peaked with the performance of a slam poem about being not like other girls – while in the not-like-other-girls character. We changed art that day. For the better.
But no, seriously, it’s not cool to be unlike other girls. Girls rock. It’s the kind of self-hating language that is SO BURIED IN OUR HORRIBLE SHAME-INDUCING INSECURITY-CREATING CULTURE.
But I haven’t made a dumb joke in a few sentences, so it’s clearly time to move on.
MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRLS
Sometimes YA books can be so sexist, man. Who knew?
Manic pixie dream girls, for the three of you who are lucky enough to not yet know, are those quirky-weird-unrealistic-adorable quasi-women who pop up into the lives of extremely boring male characters in order to Teach Them Something About Life. Usually, that it’s – gasp – worth living! Crazy. Also, they most often arrive in some convenient lil package with no backstory or baggage, just perfect little bow-tied presents for thirty-three-year-old failing writers.
Actually, lately I’ve been seeing a lot more manic pixie dream girls WITH baggage. It’s perfect because then the man can save the poor helpless woman.
BORING MALE CHARACTERS
The counterpart to the manic pixie dream girl! While MPDGs are often cringeworthy, and sickening-sweet, and unrealistic and sexist and otherwise abhorrent, they’re sometimes at least interesting. That’s the whole conceit of the character – people are boring, and have to do stuff like sleep and eat and go to work and participate in society. Not manic pixie dream girls! They live only to eat flowers and sh*t butterflies or whatever.
But their counterparts are always SO BORING. Like every normal-ass dude in the world just deserves an unrealistically unusually quirky woman dropped in his dumb ol lap to teach him about HOW TO TRULY LIIIIIIIIVE.
FLAT FEMALE CHARACTERS
“THE TWILIGHT PHENOMENON”
WHY DO AUTHORS THINK THAT IF THEIR FEMALE PROTAGONIST HAS NO DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS THEN TEENAGE GIRLS WILL SUDDENLY DEVELOP THE ABILITY TO PLACE THEMSELVES INTO THE NARRATIVE AND THEREFORE LIKE THE BOOK.
IT MAKES NO SENSE.
IT’S LITERALLY JUST BORING.
GIRL-HATE OR SLUT-SHAMING
WHYYYY IS THIS OKAYYYY STILLLLLL. It’s like as our culture progresses, young adult books take 8 years to catch up. Because slut shaming has been culturally condemned for like, half a decade. AND WHY HAS IT EVER BEEN OKAY TO HATE GIRLS.
If I have to read about one more high school villain who is literally just a mean teenage girl I’m going to spend decades figuring out how to leap into fictional worlds, kill both the villain and the protagonist, hop back out, teach the author a lesson on feminist and girls supporting each other (hopefully while very intimidatingly holding their characters’ heads in either hand) and then stab my eye out with a fork.
If I’m reading YA I want a plot. I do not know why this is something I even have to say. It seems very intuitive to me. I am not reading YA to better myself or understand the world or ~learn~. These are all nice side effects but I am not here for it. I’m here to be GODDAMN ENTERTAINED.
If I want nonstop boredom in exchange for bragging about having bettered myself, there’s a whole genre for that, dude. It’s called literary fiction my man.
This one should really go without saying, but considering I have a mere twenty-seven books on my good characters shelf and some of those are in the same series, I GUESS IT DOESN’T.
Just…make your characters funny and fun. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, IF THEY’RE NOT FUNNY, DON’T FORCE THE OTHER CHARACTERS TO SAY THEY ARE. IT’S JUST MESSED UP.
Another one that should be goddamn self-explanatory.
Guys (and by guys I mean “every YA author” – I’m trying to be casual toward them so they’ll think we’re friends and send me free books)…just…write well. Just have someone edit your book. You have been selected out of the desperate thousands to be published. TRY GIVING A DAMN OR TWO. IT’S SO EASY TO FIX.
Don’t make me feel stupid. I’ll get really defensive and hate your book. It’s really important to me that the world constantly helps me to feel smart, whether it’s earned or not, ok? Everyone has to consent to this so I can live a happy life. Think of it as charity work.
Out of self-defense I will instantly dislike any book that makes me feel stupid. I’m honestly just protecting myself.
There are approximately 400 more ways I can hate any given book, but I am already angry at the idea of each of these. Maybe I will do a part 2. However, that sounds consistent and almost responsible, so it will probably never happen.