7 Things I never want to read in blurbs for YA novels ever again

Monday, July 23, 2012

  1. "Brooding." I don't particularly want brooding characters, either. You know what brooding people are like in real life? Incredibly annoying. When I read the back cover of a book and it promises a character that is dark and/or brooding and/or tortured, I feel I can safely assume that it is a book that will be filled with same characters as every other YA novel currently on the market, and I don't want to read it. Seriously. Brooding = irritating.
  2. "Heartwarming." Look, book, you are not going to tell me how to feel. If I read that you are heartwarming, I decide then and there that my heart will not be warmed! I want to know what a book is about when I read the blurb. It's the same with films. If it claims to be a feel-good hit, I will expect it to be such, and then if it isn't, I'm disappointed. Just tell me what the book is about. Do not tell me how it will make me feel. I'll read it and find out for myself, if the plot sounds decent. Also, 'heartwarming' is pretty much code for 'incredibly gross and overemotional and sappy' and that is pretty much code for 'Steph will not like it'.
  3. Too many rhetorical questions. Just, don't. Like 'Is it too late? Will the two very attractive main characters get together before the book runs out of pages? Who is this guy with the eyes that change colour in different lights?' Do you want me to sarcastically answer everything? Because I will. 
  4. "When she least expects it." It's always love, I've noticed, that shows up when she least expects it. Or where she didn't expect to find it. Occasionally it's friendship. In my life, I would prefer 'money always comes to her when she least expects it' or 'success' or 'immense power'. 'When she least expects it' irrationally irritates me. So much so I'm using alliteration. It's overused, that's all.
  5. "[Protagonist's] life is perfect." as the opening line. And then Bad Stuff happens. This line makes me think of that part at the beginning of all horror movies (and revenge movies, too), where everyone loves each other so much and they're all playing in the park with the kids and eating pancakes and being joyful and life is simple and then bam! zombies or bam! Russian terrorists. And this doesn't work for me because it is terribly unrealistic. No one's life is perfect, nor do they think their life is perfect, even in fiction. It just seems terribly weak to me.
  6. Anything about the love interest's smile or eyes. Seriously, enough with the 'crooked' smile, enough with the 'knee-weakening' smile, enough with the 'dark eyes' and the 'bottomless eyes' and the eyes that change in different lights. It is not necessarily bad, but it is ridiculously overdone, and tells me very little about the book or that character.
  7. "Unforgettable." If I had a dollar for every novel I have forgotten that claimed to be unforgettable in the blurb, well, I don't know how much I'd have. A lot? The trouble with the editor choosing to put 'This book is unforgettable' on the back cover is that I won't believe it. Because of course you'll say that! You stand to make money if I buy this thing! You want to sell lots of books! Why not lie and say it's unforgettable? I will believe this claim slightly more if it's an author I like who's blurbed the book. But only slightly.
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