Done

Things I have reached my limit on:

1. Scars. I think the high–or low–point was when I was reading three separate books where the main character has a scar as an Important Image. They were all girls too. Look, I get it. It’s an easy device and it has an added air of being, I don’t know, inclusive or something. But please, can we do something else now?

2. Dystopias. Okay, I haven’t read many, but I’m done now. For one thing, this genre seems to lend itself to protagonists who are almost unbearably silly. Of course your government is an oppressive evil dictatorship! I figured it out on page five. This is part of why I liked Candor by Pam Bachorz–Oscar is more aware of the awfulness that lurks in his town than most people. His reasons for not rebelling are good ones, and in general I felt like he was actually aware of his surroundings.

3. Photographic covers. I know all the arguments about teens thinking paintings are for little kids, and I get that covers need to be marketable. But I have a very visual imagination, and it drives me crazy when the model on the front cover has no resemblance to the character I see when I read the story. This whole trend is especially awful when it comes to historical fiction, with the wonderful exception of the Agency books, which are lovely. The rest of you–there are times when photographic covers are fine and times when they are NOT. (I do know that most authors have little to no control over their covers–this comment is addressed to the publishers.)

4. Stories where the main characters see each other and fall in lurrve instantly. Major exception: Saundra Mitchell’s The Vespertine, which managed to completely convince me that the main characters were right for each other in a weird and possibly extremely unhealthy way.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me your thoughts.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Done

  1. The Baronness of Grandiloquence

    I am currently writing a paper that addresses both 1 and 3. (Mostly 3. It’s a paper on the Liar cover and related problems in publishing, and how this disciplines teenagers. And I have a sentence about depictions of scars on YA covers.)

    Let’s not talk about the horrors of the new covers for Shannon Hale’s Bayern books. Do you know why I haven’t read River Secrets? Because every time I so much as SEE the paperback cover, I have such a visceral negative reaction that I have to fling it away in disgust.

    But I agree with 2 and 4 in a major way as well. I’m also over: fallen angels, ordinary girls who have creepy relationships with supernatural boys of any sort, generic contemporary high school novels about boys and/or prom, and anything involving teen pregnancy (since I’ve been reading for teen pregnancy week in YA and it’s making me want to bang my head against a wall).

    • Maureen E

      Let’s not talk about the horrors of the new covers for Shannon Hale’s Bayern books.
      Oh, yes. But fortunately, they just released a special edition of River Secrets with the RIGHT kind of cover, so I may be able to read it without cringing now. (RS and The Lost Conspiracy are both books I’ve tried to read about three times without making it. I’m trying ONE MORE TIME with Lost Conspiracy right now, but I love Shannon Hale, so I really want to finish RS and actually enjoy it.)

      ordinary girls who have creepy relationships with supernatural boys of any sort,
      Yeeeeeeesssss. I mean, I love a good paranormal or whatever we’re calling that genre these days. White Cat, for instance (my library system is being ridiculously slow about getting Red Glove to me–I’m about ready to up and buy it despite my bank account). But unless it’s exceptionally well done, I’m over ordinary girls who have relationships with supernatural boys period, let alone creepy ones. Let them both be supernatural, or let the girl have some powers. I don’t even think of myself as a super strong feminist, but that makes me all ragey.

      It just always pains me to open a book and hope that it’ll be super good and then find out that it’s not.

  2. I completely agree, especially on #1 and #2. Can we all stop doing spin-offs of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, already?

    By the way, I’ve given you a little award over at my blog. Stop by to pick it up!

    • Maureen E

      Actually, I hadn’t thought of Harry Potter! Hmm, that’s interesting. I think the scars I had been noticing are working in a somewhat different way–as a coding for an oppressive society where you’re constantly threatened by violence–but it’s still a good point.

      For whatever reason, I’m quite fond of several dystopian movies, but dystopian books drive me crazy! I think it’s mostly that the characters are generally so clueless–“What, you mean the government that’s installed a curfew and makes people disappear to fulfill their population quota is EVIL? I never would have known!” Of course, this is a wild generalization, but still.

      Oh, thanks! I did see that but was in a hurry and wasn’t able to comment.

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