I absolutely love this post on YA dealbreakers, aka what will turn you off reading a novel.

Especially this:

4. weakass heroine

i hesitated to put this one on the deal breaker list, because it seems so obvious. it’s like saying, “oh man, if a YA book is straight up nazi propaganda, FORGETABOUTIT.”

then i remembered twilight and how it sold a zillion copies and then i wondered if stephenie meyer could write a book lauding the aryan nation and call it “whitelight” and still turn it into a best-selling franchise and then i had to numb my pain with some bourbon.

If you click through it is even funnier. There are pictures. Thanks, Nova, for the link!

My dealbreakers include fantasy (not all fantasy) and second person narrative (all of it). You?

9 thoughts on “HILARIOUS

  1. CassyLee

    August 7, 2010 at 9:09am

    I love fantasy & have since I was wee, so obviously that’s not a deal breaker in YA terms for me. But I’m so with you on the second person narrative. I hate it with a burning passion of a thousand suns. That hatred goes beyond YA & includes pretty much all forms of written communication. I think I’ve made an exception once or twice for a graphic novel or two (seems like a Sandman story might have been in 2nd person once), but I think I can stand it there because the artwork makes it feel 3rd person to me.

    A corollary to the YA weakass heroine for me is the supposedly strong/smart/competent mystery heroine who either has to be saved by her boyfriend/male authority figure or falls in love with the killer & doesn’t realize it until the end of the book. I can deal with it (grumpily & begrudgingly) if it happens several books into the series. But if either (or worse, both) happen in the first book I read with the heroine, she’s forever tainted in my mind. Particularly if it’s the first book in the series because I feel like that’s setting the tone for the rest. I don’t need the heroine to be brilliant & all-knowing, but for God’s sake, if I can tell within one paragraph that the handsome guy the heroine just flirted with is obviously the killer, why the hell can’t she keep her hormones in check long enough to figure it out too?

  2. Annika

    August 7, 2010 at 1:15pm

    My problem with fantasy seems to be that I do like it, but have very high standards. And let’s be honest, a lot of fantasy stinks. The good stuff is SO GOOD, but I don’t have enough reading time to wade through the bad stuff.

    So although I really do prefer realistic stuff, it’s just a time-saving measure to avoid (nearly) all fantasy.

    And yeah, anything I say about any genre or style applies across the board. The post I linked to just happens to be on a blog that focuses on YA. (And I do tend to read more YA than anything else.)

  3. Shelby

    August 7, 2010 at 2:32pm

    What is 2nd person narrative? Like the Sherlock Holmes series where Watson is the narrator? How is it different from 1st person? What makes you hate it so much?

  4. Annika

    August 7, 2010 at 2:42pm

    Oh no no no. Second person is “you.” I don’t mind first (“I”) or third (“He, she, they”), but second is awful. The first time I came across it was Tom Robbins’s HALF ASLEEP IN FROG PAJAMAS (at least, I think that was the one). I made it ONE page. I just couldn’t handle being told I smoked Marlboros. (Ironically, I later smoked Marlboros.)

  5. Shelby

    August 7, 2010 at 8:17pm

    Oh, I don’t think I have ever read a novel like that. Wow. I don’t think that could handle an author telling me what I saw/think. Ug.

  6. Amy

    August 7, 2010 at 8:33pm

    I can’t read second-person narrative without feeling like I’m playing a very wordy text adventure game. When can I go north and be eaten by a grue???

  7. Phoebe

    August 8, 2010 at 11:06am

    You know, every time I see Tom Robbins’s name I think of you, Annika, because I recall your mentioning about Half Asleep In Frog Pajamas and how it is written the second person. Also whenever I see anything about second person narrator.

    Fantasy and scifi are dealbreakers for me, but as with everything there are exceptions. For example I once did this list of “if you liked this terrible literature you’ll like this actually good literature” recommendations at the bookstore (stated more euphemistically) and one of the things on it was A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb for twilight series. It’s a “supernatural romance” but totally non annoying and a really good book.

  8. Jenn

    August 8, 2010 at 2:29pm

    Amy is bang-on.

    The only place we should have “You” happening is if I get to decide on either page 45 (I climb down the cliffs to look for a stream) or page 88 (I stay at the top of the cliffs so a helicopter can find me).

    If you are wondering, the right answer is to climb down. Not “right answer” like what survival people will tell you, but “right answer” for the pretend Choose your own adventure book I’m writing right now in my head.)

  9. Kirk

    August 20, 2010 at 9:54am

    I don’t do fantasy either, and I’m very picky as regards science fiction. 2nd person is totally annoying, but I’m not sure if I’ve encountered it in an entire novel; sounds like torture.

    Beyond that, I would include self-conscious meta gimmicks. The worst is probably a novel written by ‘Bob Smith’ in which the main character is called ‘Bob Smith’. Based on book reviews I’ve seen, this seems to be becoming a trend. Instant teeth grinding. Why do people think this is clever? It’s pointless and lame.

    If a book’s description includes the words “multi-generational”, it’s quite likely I’m giving it a pass.

    And if it happens to be called Ulysses or Finnigan’s Wake and is by James Joyce–no way no how.

Comments are closed.