Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and Bookish, where the participants list down the top ten books/bookish things according to the given topic.

Top Ten Book Turnoffs

(listed in no particular order)

10. Two potential love interests mentioned in the synopsis

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t hate love triangles. I’ve read some very nicely done ones, like Shadow and Bone and Everneath and Parallel. But of all the good love triangles I’ve read of, the bad ones far exceed those numbers, so I usually feel a bit iffy when I read the blurb for a book and spot two potential love interests. That’s enough to make me nervous!

9. Hold on, I’ve read that before… haven’t I?

As we all know, dystopians are starting to get old (not THG, though — the movies are still keeping it alive!), so it’s absolutely unappealing whenever I see that Book X seems to have the same sounding plot as Book Y. I love dystopians, I really do, but I think that the genre is running out of ideas to keep it alive.

8. Fans of The Hunger Games/Harry Potter/Twilight will love this!

As much as I love THG and HP, I have to admit that I HATE it when I see blurbs like that on books. And it’s not because most of the time they turn out to be false, but it’s because it seems to be that the publisher is falsely advertising, and trying to get its readers to expect something entirely different from what the book may be all about. And based on experience, expectations make a LOT of difference. Like, I could be expecting something from this book, and if I don’t get it, it could go both ways. Either way, I think it’s a very dumb way of trying to market a book.

7. Patience is a virtue

It’s not a secret that I’m probably the most impatient reader alive, and because of that, a book needs to capture my attention and hold it within the first few chapters, otherwise, it would most likely turn out to be a DNF. So if you don’t start off your book right, it’s an immediate turnoff.

6. Take a look at this horde of drama-llamas!


Don’t add drama in unnecessarily. Overly dramatic scenes are one of my biggest pet peeves ever, because I really don’t need to waste eye rolls on shit like that. Drama llamas are also another way of making me dislike the book. I just don’t have the time to keep up with their ridiculous banter/relationship. Looking right at you, Beautiful Disaster.

5. I’m strong. I’m the key to saving the world. But — oh my god, is that a boy?!

This is another thing  I can’t stand: we’ve got a strong, kickass heroine who’s on the way to go save the world, and then BOOM. The love interest rolls around and it’s drama after drama, and suddenly, our “heroine” is starting to rely on this boy. “I can’t do this without you,” she says. “I love you. Don’t leave me. I need you.” No. You don’t. And I hope against hope that he’ll leave you.

I’m evil.

4. Open endings

I know this example’s getting old, but I’m still going to use it anyway because it’s such a good one. After having enjoyed Delirium and Pandemonium SO much, I was beyond hyped for Requiem, and for the most part, the book lived up to my expectations. It definitely didn’t come close to the first two books, but it was still pretty decent. Until the ending. Goshdarnit, I was so mad when Requiem ended the way it did, because it told me absolutely NOTHING about the future of Lena and Alex and Julian and the whole world. Lauren Oliver, I demand an explanation!

3. New Adult

This is more of a personal preference, but any book that is categorized into the NA genre is immediately under skepticism. I haven’t had the best of luck with NA books — notable exceptions are Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, Pushing the Limits and Dare You To by Katie McGarry, and Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker — so they tend to become a major turnoff for me, unfortunately.

2. Pop culture

Pop culture in books kind of takes away its charm, in my opinion. I guess it’s fine if it’s part of the book, but if it’s simple there just because, then I get quite irritated. It makes the book seem less impactful, less real, in a sense, because the world building musn’t be that great if you include pop culture.

1. Boy with a troubled past who is allowed to act like a jerk because it

Readers, welcome to Jerkville! Looking for a bad boy who has tattoos, an earring, a broody temperament, and who thinks it’s totally all right to treat his girlfriend like trash because of it? Then you’re at the right place! I don’t even need to explain why this is so shitty. I don’t care if you have had a bad past. That still doesn’t give you a free pass to be a jerk to everyone, nor is it acceptable.

Over to you!

I had a lot of fun with this post, but I want to hear your thoughts. What are some major book turnoffs for you? Do we share some similarities? Do you think I’ve missed out any? (I’m sure I have!) And feel free to leave links to your own Top Ten post so that I can check it out!


20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Book Turn-Offs

  1. I literally agree with everything on your list! I bought Throne of Glass and I didn’t read the tagline so when I got home and turned to the back of the book, what I saw was this tragedy: “Two Men Love Her..” I instantly wanted to fling the book across the room so I can totally agree with that number. I also find that a lot of Dystopias are so similar, it makes me want to cry. Open endings usually leave me in shock so no disagreeing with that number. I think that “I’m strong. I’m the key to saving the world. But — oh my god, is that a boy?!” is probably my number 1 book turnoff. I usually HATE main characters so this only adds firewood to the flame! Great list 🙂

  2. I definitely agree with most of these! I also don’t always hate love triangles, but when it seems to be the focus of the book or has an obvious ending, it drives me crazy! I LOVED the love triangles in both Pivot Point and Parallel because even though the MC was chosing between two boys, it was in two different timelines/possibilities, so in both books the angst between them wasn’t the focus.
    I sort of have similar thoughts with pop culture. In certain books it works well, but in other books it just dates it too fast. And I really like open endings, but I think there’s a difference between an open ending and a non-ending. I call Requiem a non-ending. I HATE that ending.

  3. I can’t not agree with all of these. Especially the drama thing! I hate when scenes or characters get too dramatic. It’s a book, for God’s sake! The repetitiveness, sadly, is not only in dystopians, but yes, I think authors are running out of ways to make the world end, you know 😀 It’s kind… yeah, stupid. I’ve been a victim of the false advertising – why do they do it? That makes readers even more angry and they hate the book even more because they expect one thing and get another. I just can’t understand it. And the girl who needs the boy because she can’t do anything by herself. Ew. The non-endings are super awful, too. I mean, you create the world and the characters, you write the book, the least you can do is finish it!

    The jerk with the horrible past is my biggest pet-peeve when it comes to books. It just makes me cringe that the heroine excuses often abusive behavior because he has daddy issues or mommy issues or issues in general. It’s not a good example of how a boy should treat a girl he’s into.

  4. Hahaha, Meg, we think alike.

    Love-triangles: don’t hate them, don’t love them. If I can avoid them, I will.
    The same story over and over again: come up with something original. If I wanted to read X story, I would have picked up X book..
    Those tag lines: not only misleading most of the times, but it also gives too much expectations.
    DRAMA: can’t stand it! Perhaps that’s why I don’t read many contemporaries.
    Boys: oh yeah. It’s more important to kiss that hot guy than to save the world, because you know, girl problem number 1.
    Open endings: THIS MAKES ME SO MAD.
    New adult: I’m busy trying to write a post about NA (without insulting anyone :p) because blegh, so not my thing.
    And that brings me to why, the jerks. Most NA have those ‘bad boys with a bad mood because of their troubled past.’ Nope, just nope.

  5. 10. That HG pic is hilarious. Whenever I think of Peeta, I think of a pocket of bread! And I do agree with you on this one. I’m always dissuaded by books if they mention a love triangle in the summary. But I do occasionally like a well-written love triangle.

    9. So true. I’m sick of “destroying the tyrannical govt” plot with nothing else new to back it up.

    5. YES! The unneeded romance interjection. Hate that.

    2. I actually like some good pop culture references. Maybe bc I’m a pop culture junkie. But if I saw any in a fantasy, I would be a little off-put by it unless it was a contemporary world.

  6. I’m starting to think we might be twins.

    Seriously, I agree with everything you posted in here, especially when a love triangle is mentioned in the synopsis. Nope, nope. Can’t do.

    One of my biggest turnoffs is this line: “But when she meets Steamy McSteamy, things change.”

    Why thank you, you just spoiled the book for me. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but chances are Jane McPlain and Steamy McSteamy will drive off into the sunset together, am I right?

  7. Haha yes! I agree with so many of these. I mean, I want action and adventure, and maybe a little romance is okay, but I feel like it sometimes seems like they try to shove it all in there at once even to the point where the characters themselves are like “Really… I just saved a world. Really… I am having my girly time and really can’t handle the sight of boys right now. REALLY… LEAVE ME ALONE!” Or, at least that’s what I imagine is going on in my head. It’s just like so many of these things can be done, and done well, but there’s a fine balance and the second they tip over it you just want to bash your ahead against a wall.

  8. YES! Yes, yes, yes. You basically hit the nail on the head with every single one of these points, Meg! I don’t think I could have said it any better! Each of these things really turns me off! And similar to number 10, I also hate “but then everything changes when Super Sexy and Mysterious Hot Boy comes to town…” Augh!

  9. I kept trying to pick one out to focus on and agree with, but I kept nodding with every single point you made! As far as NA books go, I usually find that they’re just an excuse for explicit sex scenes, but like you said, Ten Tiny Breaths was a really fabulous exception.

    Oh and #5. Gah. That trope just makes me want to bash my head on a wall.

  10. 10. Ha, I don’t mind love triangles that much. To be honest, I haven’t found many love triangles that I’ve disliked. Sure, I might be indifferent to a love triangle, but it’s not like I’m yelling “NOOOOOOOOO” in slow motion whenever it is mentioned 😛 However, if a love triangle gets in the way of the story, then I will be mad.

    9. I’ve had more Haven’t I Read This Before Moments? when I pick up a paranormal romance book. It’s often a copy of Twilight except for the male love interests not being a vampire. Twilight is not a horrible book but I’m sort of sick of reading the same story over and over.

    8. I have to admit that I never pay attention to the “perfect for/fans of ___ will love ___” on books. I just skim through the synopsis to get an idea about what the story is about and then I’m on my way 😛

    7. A book with a boring beginning might as well be a book with a boring everything for me. If I have to force myself to get through the beginning of a book, I’m not going to be sticking around for long.

    6. YES! I hate it when a book is going strong and then all of a sudden is like “Oh look! RELATIONSHIP ISSUES!” or something. If you have an exciting story, why focus so much on meaningless things that every other book has already focused on?

    5. Couldn’t agree more.

    4. I almost always feel a little miffed when I encounter an open ending. Especially if it seems like the author was to lazy to write an ending with closure and decided to make things a little easier -_-

    3. I haven’t read any NA yet, actually. I want to solve that soon, though 🙂

    2. I actually read a dystopian book once where the characters once talked about boy bands and some pop-culture-ish other stuff. I was having trouble picturing the post-apocalyptic world before and after a random boy band was mentioned, it was impossible for me. I couldn’t help but imagine a world in flames while One Direction sang Best Song Ever.

    1. I get that a bad experience can make a person a jerk, so I don’t mind when a character is a jerk because of it. What I do mind is if the bad experience is given as an excuse, as if being a jerk is totally okay. A jerk is a jerk no matter what said jerk went through.

  11. Yes to really most everything on this list!

    I really can handle open endings. I really prefer nice conclusions, but it is not a requirement in my opinion.

    So I keep seeing pop culture pop up as a pet peeve. I have been planning on writing a discussion post about pop culture in books, and with more and more people talking about it on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I think I need to try and get it up pretty soon.

    If I were an author, I would be very upset if my book was pitched as “The new Hunger Games” or whatever. I want my book to be a success on its own without riding on the coat tails of another author. Usually, if I see this in a synopsis, I will put the book back on the shelf.

  12. This list totally could have been my list if I had participated this week! Agree agree AGREE. I probably have the least patience for the romance-related pet peeves you mentioned – love triangles, girls that become stupid around boys, douche bags. I am so over those tropes and all the drama that goes with them.

    Actually, scratch that, I might be even more annoyed with open endings. Because Requiem? Made me FURIOUS. That was so friggin unfair. A total cheat to set up this trilogy and love triangle and have your fans willingly follow it to the end out of loyalty and then not give them the ending you owe them. Blah, I guess I still love Lauren Oliver because she’s a writing goddess, but I still can’t believe she did that to us!

    Oh, and yes, books that claim to be “The Next…” – a book should just be what it is on its own, not be compared to other books. I always end up expecting one thing when they say that and I hate when they’re dead wrong.

    Loved the list!

  13. (1) HAHAHAHA! I couldn’t agree more with #5! As soon that the guy enters the picture, the girl’s personality takes a 180 and it’s so ridiculous because I’m pretty sure that would never happen in real life. (2) Hell yes for Open Endings! I have given lower rating to books just because the author failed to write a complete ending. That is also the reason I haven’t read the Delirium series and now I don’t even want to! (3) I’m an impatient reader too and I think it’s better to DNF a book than to suffer through it and wait for something to happen. That’s why slower paced books are usually a thumbs down for me. (4) Noo.. You still don’t like NA. Well atleast I’m glad that there are some books you enjoyed. Gosh, I love Katie McGarry! She writes the swooniest romances.

    I had more or less the same points, except I don’t mind the love triangles. Sometimes they can add great spice to the story. Also, I never saw Gale (?) as a contender, it was always Peeta for me ❤

  14. OMG BAHAHAHAHAHAH THG picture made me crack up for a full minute! Ugh, I hate drama llamas, I call my friend a llama and she is probably the most un-dramatic person ever. Open endings also suck, I like them closed up with a little bit of imagination to ourselves but not like Requiem, ugh.

    Great list, Megan! <33

  15. 9. – Yes, yes, yes…Delirium/Matched definitely.
    5. – Suddenly the boy becomes the cane without which the heroine can’t walk…even though they just met like days ago. It’s just ridiculous and its overuse is annoying. It would be more interesting certainly refreshing if at the beginning of the story the heroine already has a long time boyfriend so it makes more sense that she feels she need the boy by her side as she saves the world.

  16. C’mon here lemme give you a hug! I totally agree with you except for patience 🙂 I’m really patient but everything else I totally agree with you. Needless to say that THG photo has got me laughing so hard!!! 😀 Great picks girl 🙂

  17. I’m the same. I can read love triangles, but prefer to avoid it. And I agree the love triangle was pretty well-done in Everneath. The only problem is that I think I’m on the wrong team… “I love dystopians, I really do, but I think that the genre is running out of ideas to keep it alive.” Yes! But at least post-apocalyptic is still going strong. Oh yes, how I hate those ” Fans of X” will love this blurbs. Instant turn off. Haha, I’m saying no to drama, too, but that llama is SOOO CUTE *pets llama* 1000% agreed, easily distracted by boys is NOT a trait of a good heroine. And how I hate open endings!!! *throws Requiem across the room* Hm, New Adult isnot exactly a turn-off to me, but yeah it’s definitely not my fave genre either. YES! Shitty past doesn’t excuse shitty behaviour. Awesome list, Meg!

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  19. Drama llama? That is an awesome description.
    Non-endings are the worse. Especially since you don’t usually have any warning. You’ve invested all this time and emotion into a book, and it’s horrible to just stop instead of ending. (Also, I think only book bloggers would understand that these 2 words do not mean the same thing.)

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