Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
Most of these apply to other types of media. I am very picky with what I read and watch, but I also have very erratic tastes. Basically, I believe that most tropes can be good if they are executed well, so I’m willing to give out most things a try when I hear they’re good (obviously this doesn’t apply to inherently sexist/racist/homophobic/etc tropes unless they get actively called out in the narrative but that’s another discussion). That said there are a few things that will make me crave for a book. (Also many of the books on this list have more than one of the qualities I mention because, let’s face it, I have a type)
1. Focus on Friendship
There is nothing wrong with books focusing on romance, but I do hate when friendship gets downright ignored, especially in YA. The most important, formative experiences I had in high school were with my friends. Not to mention, how complex friendships can be. That is why when I hear that a book focuses on friendship over romance, I have to read it.
Books I read because of this: The Raven Cycle
2. Focus on Female Friendship
If friendship often gets sidelined, female friendship even more so. I’ve always had a weakness for developed and complex relationships between female friends that don’t fall into stereotypes of girls being catty or unable to get along with other women.
Books I read because of this: Code Name Verity
3. Unreliable Narrators
When done well, unreliable narrators are so much fun. Books in particular are perfect for playing with perceptions thanks to the fact we only have the words.
Books I read because of this: Atonement
4. Narrators Looking Back on Past Events
I adore this trope, partly because I love how nostalgic and melancholic the tone can get with this sort framing device. It adds a whole layer to the text as we get both the narrator’s reaction in the moment and in hindsight. If done well, it can also be used for foreshadowing and adding a delicious amount of tension.
Books I read because of this: The Secret History
5. Ensemble Cast of Characters
I love stories that focus on multiple points of view without having a clear main character, but most of all I love the dynamics that come from having huge cast.
Books I read because of this: Six of Crows
6. Meta Humor
I adore meta humor and self-awareness when it’s done well. And it’s very hard to get it right. For me, parodies have to love what they’re parodying as much as the reader does, otherwise it becomes mean-spirited and tired really fast. But when I hear someone nails it, I have to check it out.
Books I read because of this: The Magicians
7. Genre-Defying Books
I like conventional, tropey books and they make the bulk of what I read. One of my weaknesses, however, are books that are set within this genres but focused on something completely different. The books are not weighed down by a conventional plot-driven narrative and are among the most unique I’ve read.
Books I read because of this: Station Eleven
8. Whimsical Outlook on Magic
I adore fantasy, but with so many series that love to show the dark side of magic, I often find myself looking for books that have a more whimsical take. I love to be left longing for something more.
Books I read because of this: Shades of Magic series and Harry Potter
9. Dark Take on Magic
I also like my magic dark and twisted. The magic-always-comes-with-a-price trope is one of my favorites, especially if at the end magic is still worth it.
Books I read because of this: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
10. Certain Paranormal Creatures
What can I say? Twilight was one of the first books I got obsessed with (at age 10 no less) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (three years later) shaped my tastes on fiction in more ways than I can count, though I am more attached to its spinoff, Angel. I can’t help but loving vampires even if they’re so out of fashion nowadays. I also have a weakness for ghosts.
Books I read because of this: Vampire Academy