Hey everyone! Today’s post is inspired by my friend Cody (@my_bibliophilic_life) and Kayla from Books and Lala. About two months ago, Cody asked me to share my anti-buzzwords AKA my bookish turn offs on Instagram Stories. I posted a quick list of my top 5 turn offs, but after watching Kayla’s video I decided to turn that list into a blog post where I give y’all examples of books I hated or rated low because they had these elements and highlight any exceptions.
This list doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll never read books with these elements. However, I won’t be rushing to add them to my TBR. If this is a bit too negative for you, don’t worry. I have a follow-up coming soon. I hope you enjoy!
1. Fae/Faerie ✘
Maybe a fae story with black and brown characters will convince me to reconsider, but for now, I firmly believe fae stories are not for me. I didn’t like The Cruel Prince and A Court of Thorns and Roses. However, I loved Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I hated that the faery subplot took over the series in the later books, but The Dark Artifices is one of my all-time favorites.
2. Love Triangles ✘
I’ll chuck a book back on the shelf if there’s signs of a love triangle, but that didn’t make me abandon The Hunger Games, Stephanie Plum series, The Wrath and the Dawn or Twilight (#teamjacob). Wish that had been the case for Throne of Glass and The Kiss Of Deception. I bailed after the first books because of the love triangle.
3. Ocean (mermaids, sirens, & pirates, oh my) ✘
I didn’t pick up To Kill A Kingdom, Sea Witch, or Seafire last year because I don’t like books about merpeople, pirates, sirens, or books set at sea. A Gathering of Shadows had a piracy subplot that I disliked (I also don’t like Schwab’s writing so I’m not sure if that played a role), but I had so much fun reading Daughter of the Pirate King.
4. Space ✘
I realized recently that I don’t like books set in space. Red Rising? meh. Aurora Rising? Underwhelming. Maybe I don’t like books with “rising” in the title? Who knows? Point is, I don’t get excited like other people. Books I did enjoy? Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (love the unique storytelling and Aiden) and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy #1 by Douglas Adams (it’s weird and funny).
5. Time travel ✘
Time travel is MESSY. And messy means that I can’t turn my brain off to enjoy the experience because I’m trying to make sense of it all. It’s the reason why I DNF’d A Wrinkle in Time and why I wasn’t a big fan of Avengers: Endgame. I can’t tell you the book I actually liked for this trope because it’s kind of spoilery, but there’s an exception.
6. Vikings ✘
I really don’t like books or movies about vikings. I don’t know why. The only books I liked were Norse Mythology and Sky in the Deep. And I liked them for entirely different reasons.
7. Quirky characters ✘
Please don’t hate me for this one, but people rarely use quirky to describe black women. It’s a word that feels exclusive to white women. I wasn’t fond of Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. Her brand of quirky was slightly intrusive. However, I loved Stella in The Kiss Quotient.
8. Historical fiction ✘
I don’t like historical fiction or books set around a war. I’ll only pick up books in this genre if I’m doing a challenge. However, I loved The Song of Achilles and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I think the writing and characters made me overlook the time period.
9. Whimsical/excessively flowery writing
I don’t have data to back me up on this, but I think these two things are connected.
You: *describes a book as whimsical*
What I hear: “flowery writing with very little plot.”
I like beautiful writing but I don’t like excessive metaphors or overly descriptive books because it’s distracting. I DNF’d The Night Circus, rated Caraval low, and struggle with Roshani Chokshi’s books because of this. A common thing I normally say reading books like this is, “what does this even mean?” I really enjoyed Strange the Dreamer though.
10. Other things I hate in books, but this post is already too long so I’m going to cheat and list them
✘ Road trip books (American Gods by Neil Gaiman)
✘ Flawless characters – looking at you Delilah Bard
✘ This one is kind of weird, but blurbs that say “for fans of…” or “if you love…” It’s unappealing to me because the comparison is normally authors whose writing I don’t like or books I hate
✘ Books with a plot builds up to a big showdown but it’s underwhelming (Breaking Dawn)
✘ famous celebrity (singer, actor, athlete, etc.) comes to a small town because of some career mishap and falls in love with the small town love interest
Whew. That was kind of long and I honestly could keep going 🙈, but I’mma let y’all breath. Lol. What are some things you hate in books? Let me know in the comments! Thanks so much for reading!