After last month’s post about our personal pet peeves, we reached out to various bloggers for their input, and they responded with thoughtful lists of their own of what sets them off. The responses are quite original–no repeats yet!
Monica Edinger at Educating Alice wrote
I saw your post and have been trying to think of pet peeves. I guess the one that tops it for me isn’t really about what is in a book, but the way people keep using the term “young adult” for children’s books. There is an attitude from certain adult readers who clearly read children’s books that it “doesn’t matter” and “why make age matter” and so forth. But in my opinion it DOES matter because it is eliminating a whole group of people who are not speaking for themselves as they are not aware of the issue and won’t be until they are older. I feel so strongly that there are a particular group of books that are written for children and not teens and not older folks. That they want to read them is great, but calling them young adult to differentiate them from adult titles, but otherwise figure it doesn’t matter is wrong in my book.
Sorry to go on, but I saw a variation of this attitude in the comments to my HuffPo post about The Hobbit. So it is my top of the top pet peeve. A commenter on my earlier screed wrote perceptively that adults do this because saying they are reading a YA book is acceptable, but a children’s book would be embarrassing.
Otherwise, I’m never a fan of copycat material from something unique. For instance, I’m seeing some buzz for books using old photos as did the guy for Ms. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The books sound so copycattish and that bugs me.
Lastly, I’m not a fan of books that are overly earnestly didactic, well-intentioned, but too clearly trying to point a moral or make a lesson.
1. Characters help in epic ways, then have their memories erased by the adult magician once the epic is complete. The Dark is Rising series, I’m looking at you.
2. Everyone is default Caucasian unless the author describes skin tones using caffeinated beverage or food images.
3. The girl has to disguise herself as a boy because that’s the only way she can follow her dream to become a warrior. I’ve enjoyed past stories of this ilk (i.e. Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness series), but I’m all done now.
Betsy Bird at Fuse #8:
1. The mysterious lack of cell phones – In this day and age an author will admittedly have to scramble through a few hoops to keep their contemporary heroes from having access to cell phones. What chaps my hide is when they pretend that they don’t even exist or set their book in a present that is also supposed to be the past (not fully committing to either). Arg!
2. Twins. I am tired of twins. Yes, I understand that with the rise of older mothers and fertility drugs that we are seeing more twins than ever these days. That said, they’re clogging up the action/adventure books. Lay off ’em!
3. Eco-thrillers. I don’t know why, but there is never anything thrilling about them. Alas.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts, rants, commentaries. Next time: more pet peeves, including a manifesto against overly friendly narrators.