I finished a YA novel about a month ago that I was less than thrilled about. While reading it, I chatted with a few great friends about this book and how I love, love, loved the author’s blog and purchased the book out of a sense of loyalty and excitement.
I did not, however, love, love, love the book. To the contrary, it took me well over 100 pages to even like the female MC a little bit. I never cared about her before she turned bad, then she was so bad only to suddenly turn so lovable-ish. To her male counterpart, anyway. To me, she seemed like the poster child for Manic Depression.
As a whole, I struggled to read the book, even though the writing was good and the premise was better. My stumbling point? The character execution. Even at the very end, I never really cared about the female protag and all my emotions were wrapped up in the male’s suffering and conflict.
In addition, it was written in first person present from two points of view. Every character switch took some time for me to get back in sync and heightened the disconnect.
That said, I read the book in about 24 hours. Which was certainly better than another book I tried to read last month and have yet to get past page 17.
That snooze book was a prequel to two books DD and I read in a past lifetime. When the first book of the series came out, DD and I devoured it. The second book she loved. I was luke warm about it, but still read it and enjoyed it on several levels. Yet after much begging and pleading, DD refused to read past the first chapter of book three.
It took me several years after her bad review to even give it a try. I picked it up last month for something to do while on the stairmaster. I got as far as page 17, and only because I have to read while working out and nothing else was in my reach. My beef: the third book looped back to the beginning. Long before First Book ever took place. Long, long before. Star Wars it was not.
Then there was the book right after the 17 page disaster. While I greatly enjoyed the book as a whole, I hated the ending. It was so in-your-face not-finished that I could barely gag down the last few chapters.
Intuitively I knew I was in for a non-complete ending. You know the ones that say, “Well, we got some of this wrapped up, now go back to the bookstore in six months and you can buy the rest of the story.”? Fingernails on a chalkboard annoying.
So there you have it. Three things I hate in books.
- Unsympathetic characters. Ones I never connect with and therefore don’t give a rat’s patooty what happens to them. It makes for unsatisfactory reading. I want to love the characters I’m ignoring my family for.
- Books that are tacked on. Those 17 pages felt like tedious backstory to a story I already read. Oh wait, that’s exactly what it was. You can’t hook me with a good story and then expect me to remain faithful when the last book is a moral lesson on how the first two books came about. Along similar lines are the middle books of a trilogy. For some reason, many of them feel like a rope bridge between a great start and a great finish. It’s like the trilogy should really only have two books because that’s where everything good happens, but the author/editor/marketing department wouldn’t know what to call it if they did. A literary duet, maybe? A bilogy?
- Lastly, books that are so obviously part of a trilogy or series they feel unfinished. I hate to be swindled, and I feel like this is the biggest con game around. Give me a book that is done. Make me love the characters so much I have to read more. Want to. Love to. Will be heartbroken if I can’t. Do not–I repeat–do not force me to buy the next book with a cute little ploy just to get the rest of the first story. That’s the fastest way for an author to get on my list.
That said, very few authors make my list. I like to give them each two shots. The first book I’ll buy. If it falls on my naughty list, I’ll beg, borrow or steal the second one, but not buy. If both titles leave me flat, I file the author’s name away for good. This may not be fair, but life is short and if I never added another book to my TBR list, it’s still too long for me to finish in this lifetime.
Now that you know my novel pet peeves, what are yours? Without naming names, of course. What book traits put an author on your banned list? Once there, is it possible for them to get switched to your TBR pile in the future? If so, how?