1. Series titles that overshadow the title of the actual book you are reading. Egregious example from 2012--WINGS OF FIRE The Dragonet Prophecy. I hate not being certain which is the title of the book and which is the title of the series!
2. Prologues that aren’t necessary. Which I think is most of them. It is hard to try to care about a prologue, knowing that in just a few pages you’ll be thrust into the actual story, and even though you may be confused (this is particularly true of action-packed prologues) you have to concentrate because there are probably Valuable Clues. I don’t mind mythological prologues about the world being created, though–they tend to be rather soothing and don’t come back to bite you.
3. Authors using words that have no place in the English language because we don’t actually need any more nouns becoming verbs thank you very much. Egregious example of 2012–a dragon “gifting” the kingdom with magic in Iron Hearted Violet, by Kelly Barnhill. The word is GAVE. Especially if you are quasi-medieval. (Please, anyone who might have a present for me, just give it to me as a gift. Don’t gift it).
Ack, but now I remember that [as you yourselves point out] I detest intrusive narrators of a particular stripe with a passionate intensity–the ones who pretend to be my friends even though I Have Never Met Them! I am no one’s dear reader, not even Megan Whalen Turner’s (not that she would). And then, after presuming on an acquaintance of just a few pages, they act like they know what I’m thinking! They don’t. My heart isn’t racing, breaking, trembling, or any of the other things they say it is. It is becoming increasingly hostile. A narrator who knows her place, however, can be tolerable. (Question: are extroverts more tolerant of intrusive narrators?)
We’re not exactly extroverts, but some intrusive narrators are okay (ie the Dear Reader in The Tale of Despereaux). And ditto on the “gifting,” though we’re sometimes guilty of being lazy like that.
Marcia at The Diamond in the Window
When authors pretend contemporary teens listen to music from the author’s youth with some “oh, I love the music my mom listens to explanation” instead of finding out current music or just skipping it.
Also—just figured I would ask my collaborator/daughter (Diana in the blog) and she said:
1) girl characters who despite having apparently perfect lives are depressed and hate themselves
2) when characters’ traits shift to suit the scene or circumstance
3) long descriptions of what characters are wearing, a constant in YA
We’re trying, and failing, to think of boy characters with perfect lives who are also depressed. Ditto with #3–the clothing descriptions tend to be for girls, while boys get endless descriptions of armor, weaponry, etc. Yikes.