If I Ruled The World Of Reading…

…we would see more of some types of books and less of others. No, my blog isn’t going to turn into a bunch of top ten posts. Sorry for having two in a row, but I was browsing through past Top Ten Tuesday topics on The Broke and the Bookish and just couldn’t resist this one.

So. Here are some bookish trends I’m getting tired of, and some I long for. I couldn’t think of enough to do a top ten for both, so I’ve split the list up into five parts for each.


5. YA stories set at schools. Look, I get that the vast majority of those under eighteen spend their days here. But it’s not the only place we’re at. One easy way for authors to avoid this is to set their stories in places that don’t really allow for school. If their characters live in fantasy worlds, are on the run, or are teen superspies who are too busy learning self-defense to study algebra, then that works.

4. Vampires. You guessed it. These are overdone, especially after the popularity of Twilight. There are so many vibrant, wonderful, living fantastical creatures and authors decide to use dead people with fangs as their characters?! I don’t understand it.

3. Romances, particular in YA, that feature bland characters. Argh! I hate when blurbs on the back of book covers say something like, “Stereotypical-Teenage-Girl’s-Name had never seen anyone so handsome, so alluring, so… different. He was the perfect boy ever. He was the perfect boy for her.” Too often, the boy in question turns out to be incredibly normal. This works the other way as well. Authors: don’t promise the YA romance of the decade if you can’t create unique characters. Characters are the building blocks of stories, so give me some good ones!

2. Sparse description. This is my biggest issue with The Hunger Games and its sequels: half the time, I was left in the dark because Collins didn’t tell us what stuff looked like! This is. Not. Good. Authors, your main job is to convince me that this world you’ve created is cool enough that I stick with your book until the end. If you don’t even show me what this world looks like, then I lose interest.

1. Dystopian series. I enjoy dystopian books; I love thinking and reading about the future. But there are too many dystopian stories that start off well and then go on and on and on because they’re series. Think of The Hunger Games, Matched, Divergent, The Giver, Among the Hidden, The City of Ember, and more. Just once, I want to read a great dystopian book without any sequels (or prequels!). I don’t mind if it’s long, but I want the story to be contained within one novel. I want that nice feeling of accomplishment one gets after reading a story where everything wraps up and there are no loose ends for endless sequels.


5. Paranormal romance with werewolves or ghosts. No, I’m serious. If paranormal romance must be a thing that exists, I want it to be about these things. I have a soft spot for werewolves because REMUS LUPIN (and I also think it would be more difficult – hence fascinating for description purposes – to be a werewolf because you’re a wolf part of the time. Duh. You can’t blend in as well as even the sparkly vampires can.). And ghosts are neat because then we could have paranormal historical fiction; the ghosts could tell us about their pasts.

4. YA nonfiction. I’m pretty sure that this is a genre that exists but it’s probably quite small. I hate nonfiction that appears to come straight from a textbook but if it’s well-written – straightforward, not too dense, and with intriguing little details about their subject.  All my favorite nonfiction books were written for adults and that needs to change.

3. YA mysteries. Oh, these definitely exist, but there should be more. They don’t have to be in a series; they don’t have to feature all the same characters (if written by the same author); there just need to be a lot. Basically, what I’m asking for is the modern-day version of Agatha Christie. I want someone prolific and very, very good at what they write.

2. Retellings of myths, fairy tales, or classic stories. I love these. I’ve read many books of this kind – The Lightning Thief, Briar Rose, All Men of Genius, Ella Enchanted, Ash, and more – but I will never get tired of this mini-genre. (At least I hope!) I would especially like to see the following: retellings of Norse or Chinese myths or basically anything that isn’t Greco-Roman, retellings of fairy tales from a boy’s point of view (all the ones that I know are told by girls), and updated versions of Shakespeare’s plays or something similar.

1. LGBTQ+ series. We’re being inundated with dystopian series but sadly, I can’t find many books with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning characters. I’ve only found stand-alone novels and while those are great, the cool thing about stand-alone novels is that you should be able to choose whether or not you feel like reading a series. I don’t have that choice. Every time I find a good LGBTQ+ book I’m reluctant to finish it because I know that once I reach the end, that’s it. It stinks.

What bookish trends are you tired of? Which ones would you love to become more popular, or simply exist in the first place?


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Books and Reading!, LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to If I Ruled The World Of Reading…

  1. Artgirl says:

    Neville! Did you read the summary for my 2013 NaNovel? ‘Cause that’s basically a mash up of a bunch of different well known fairytales, with some LGBTQ+ characters. It’s all told from the perspective of girls, but that’s because I’m lousy at writing from a guy’s PoV and I have a crusade to write more capable, realistic female characters into the world. And, because I love fairy tales so much, I hope to someday write a retelling or retellings of myths and stories from around the world.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Argirl! No! I haven’t!
      It sounds interesting. 🙂 And like you, I stink at writing guy’s POVs. I like reading books from their perspective (although I prefer female narrators) but reading them doesn’t seem to help me with my guy characters. That might be a problem, since my NaNo Cinderella retelling idea (see the below comments) is probably going to be told be a guy. The way I have it set up now doesn’t really work with a girl… (I’m flipping the genders so “Cinderella” is a boy and “Prince Charming” is a girl.)

      • Wren says:

        I’ll send it to you. Actually, the main plot revolves around Cinderella.
        Oh, and I think the idea of a paranormal romance with a ghost sounds much more interesting than a vampire romance.

  2. I know the feeling of wanting a stand-alone dystopian, but you’ve got to think about the authors– they’ve created this amazing post-apocalyptic world and they only get one novel in it? From their side, you can understand why they’d tend toward trilogies, though from our side you wonder why they can’t write decent ones.

  3. magicfishy says:

    I agree with pretty much all of these. I actually really love werewolves, but it frustrates me that I can’t find any well-done ones in YA outside of Harry Potter. Granted, I haven’t looked much. I blame Twilight.

    Ugh, fairytale retellings are one of my favourite things. I’ve been meaning to try writing one sometime.

    (I’m writing a YA standalone semi-dystopia (does it count as a dystopia if its set actually during the apocalypse? Probably not.) with an LGBTQ main character and side characters for my next NaNo. Do I win something? xD)

    • nevillegirl says:

      I believe Maggie Stiefvater writes about a girl who falls in love with a werewolf… although for the life of me, I can’t remember what that trilogy’s called. I think it starts with Shiver. Her writing is really good so I should get around to reading that.
      But yes, it’s very difficult to be satisfied by other fictional werewolves if you’ve read Harry Potter.

      I started writing a retelling of Cinderella… and then I got distracted writing a kind of parody of Hercules’ Labors. So it’s still a retelling! 😀 I’ll probably do the Cinderella idea for NaNo, if I have time.

      I think that’s dystopic. Anyway. That’s awesome, and yes, you win… Dobby’s sock! *hands it over*

      • magicfishy says:

        Woops, didn’t reply before because I didn’t think that this had posted. Anyways, sounds neat! Though you did mention that you dislike standalone LGBT novels… Companion books aren’t out of the question…

  4. Mary says:

    If you haven’t read it already, a good paranormal romance with a ghost and a human is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and its sequel, Girl of Nightmares. (Which I haven’t read yet but is sitting on my floor).
    AND Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff is one of the best YA mysteries I have ever read – you should check it out.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I think that’s the second recommendation for Anna Dressed in Blood I’ve gotten in as many days, so I’ll be adding that to my list.
      And I’ll look up Paper Valentine! (Sounds like it’s mystery AND romance.)

  5. matttblack42 says:

    I agree with just about everything you said, except Vampires. I wouldn’t mind reading a vampire book as long as the vampires aren’t like the ones in Twilight. The vampires in “Salem’s Lot,” by Stephen King were terrifying in the best way possible.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I think vampires are OK, just in small doses. I enjoyed Dracula, for example, but the current trend seems to be, “Stick in a vampire for a love interest and suddenly it’s YA!” (Why anyone would fall in love with a vampire is beyond me… it seems a bit hazardous, does it not?)

      • matttblack42 says:

        That current trend needs to stop, along with the annoying love triangles. In my WIP, I set up one of them, only to gleefully kill off two sides of it in one pen stroke.

        Dating a vampire does seem a bit hazardous. Regular human-y people are much safer.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *applauds you on that love triangle*

      They don’t tend to rip your thoat open and drain your blood when snogging you, for example.

  6. orphu44 says:

    I kind of forgot for a while that just because I read a post doesn’t mean my thoughts are automatically broadcast to the world/writer. Hence my lack of comments.
    But yesss, retellings, and yesss, LGBTQ+, and yesss for when they’re combined. (I find it disappointing that thus far I haven’t managed to find any more books like Ash, on that front.)
    I don’t have any particular feelings toward paranormal with ghosts or whatnot, although I suppose it could open itself up to interesting questions/bits of plot/internal turmoil/whatever-floats-your-boat about being in love with a dead person. Although I suppose that opportunity is in books like Twilight, too, though as far as I can tell it wasn’t addressed (I may be wrong – I have to confess that I didn’t finish the series. *hangs head*).

    • nevillegirl says:

      … *sighs* What a tragedy. No Orphu Mind-Radio.

      YES! I was so happy that it combined two great genres. It’s how I felt with Cam Post, too – historical fiction and LGBTQ+. EEEE I LOVE BOOKS THAT COMBINE GENRES. (I have a question, though: why did you turn into Gollum with your “yesssss”s? O_o)

      DON’T hang your head about not finishing Twilight. Don’t ever do that! It wasn’t worth it but you’re right, the book didn’t think too deeply about what it would be like to love someone waaaay older than yourself.

      • orphu44 says:

        Because I am Gollum. No, those were meant to be enthusiastic “S”s. I can see how they might come across as Gollumy rather than enthusiastic though.
        I felt a bit like I should have followed through with it since judging books/series too quickly is something I try not to do … I wouldn’t have read it in the first place if the French section had more variety, so I can reassure myself with that. Maybe.
        (I hope I’m making sense.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Were you enthussssiassstic about the preciousss? (Whoops, I think that has turned more Parseltongue-y instead of Gollum-y.)

      Your library has a French section?

  7. Lydia says:

    I like the YA nonfiction idea, and we definitely need more YA mysteries. Also, a fairy re-telling from a guy’s POV would be great.

  8. Taylor Lynn says:

    This was a fun list to read, it’s interesting to see your reading preferences! And honestly, I went through it half as a reader and half as a writer, haha. 😉 Sort of going off of your first item, I personally think there should be more homeschooled protagonists in the YA genre. There aren’t many, and the books I have read with homeschooled narrators or important side characters, the plot is usually: “{Homeschooled character} goes to public school {for so and so reason} and must cope with the extremes of high school.” I’d like to see more books where the MCs are homeschooled as part of their character, not the plotline, and DON’T end up going to school, so those are the characters I plan to write about. (Besides, I don’t trust myself to create a realistic high school environment since it’s so far from my own reality. 😉

    I definitely think there should be more books featuring LGBTQ+ protagonists and characters–and in fact, Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon’s Diversity in YA tumblr has convinced me that there should be more diversity in literature just in general–so I’m with you there!

    But as for paranormal romance with ghosts or werewolves…I can help here!! 😀 I know someone else already mentioned it in a comment above me, but that book I recommended on your last post, ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake? PARANORMAL ROMANCE WITH A GHOST, BABY! And as an added bonus, the ghost is possessed and murderous. Also, there’s voodoo included, a fantastic narrator, AND a sequel–GIRL OF NIGHTMARES. So you get TWO books! And I actually read another book where there’s a smidgen of romance between a guy and a ghost, but it’s an adult novel–SECOND GLANCE by Jodi Picoult. Still, it’s a really great (if intense) book, so if you’re interested you should check it out. There’s some kind of disturbing history in it, though, just FYI.

    And…once again, I’ve nearly written a novel in your comments’ box. Once you get me going on books, boy, I can’t seem to stop myself! 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, agreed! I’ve found barely any books that are about the day-to-day life of a homeschooler. If I’m lucky enough to find a book with such a character, the story is always set at a time in their lives when there’s a lot of change and they’re going to school. I don’t like this because it says that A) homeschooling doesn’t work (it obviously does for many people) and B) homeschoolers don’t do anything interesting so the story is only interesting (or relateable) if it’s set at school.

      I love Diversity in YA! 😀

      OK, I’m definitely getting Anna Dressed in Blood next time I’m at the library. The title alone sounds cool!

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        Yeah, I know! It stinks that the homeschooled characters in books are always shuffled off to school, and I totally agree with you about the message it sends. I’ve been homeschooled my entire life and love it, and I know plenty of other homeschoolers who love being at home as well; so why aren’t there more characters representing that side of things? The book doesn’t even have to be ABOUT being homeschooled–it could just be a book about a character who happens to BE homeschooled. I know Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series features a homeschooled (well, more unschooled, but close enough) protagonist, but that’s about the only book/series I can think of offhand that features homeschoolers that stay homeschooled.

        Or, no, that’s not quite right…I know there’s another one with homeschooled characters, but it’s killing me because I can’t remember what it is!! I read it years ago as a kid, and it’s about a girl named September and her brother, and they live up north in Maine or Alaska or someplace like that, out on an island, so they homeschool. I wish for the life of me I could remember what it was called…

        Yes, do get it, and let me know what you think of it!

    • nevillegirl says:

      It’s really rather like LGBTQ+ books – they always make being gay (for example) the MAIN THING and… well, sometimes I want to read a book like that but sometimes I want a book where the main character just happens to be gay but the story is, I don’t know, sci fi or fantasy. I want a story where the focus is on something else sometimes, you know? And I feel that way about homeschoolers in books too; just because a character is in some kind of minority doesn’t mean that the difference has to take over the plot.

      Ida B and her something-something-I-don’t-remember-the-title was decent, but I think she ended up going back to school. :/

      • Ha, then you’ll like my book Cosmo. 🙂 One of the characters has two dads (who are gay . . . obviously). It’s a pretty big part of the story, but more of a subplot.

      • Taylor Lynn says:

        Yeah…YA literature has got room for improvement, but at least we can watch it changing with blogs like Diversity in YA. And I don’t know if you’ve read any of these, but I have a few books you should try if you want ones where the entire focus isn’t on the fact that the characters are gay:

        – – – Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. It’s got alternating POVs, and one of the guys is gay, but the book isn’t just about him being gay; it’s also about friendship and romance and life as general subjects.
        – – – Every Day by David Levithan. This one’s sort of sci-fi/fantasy/don’t know what to call it; the MC, “A”, wakes up every morning in a different person’s body and spends one day in each person’s life. Sometimes A is a girl, sometimes a guy, and A falls in love with a girl in the book, so it’s a pretty interesting take on love and sexuality.
        – – – Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger. The MC of Hard Love isn’t gay, but he becomes really good friends with a gay girl (Marisol), and the book is about their relationship. There’s a companion novel, too, written from Marisol’s perspective, called Love & Lies: Marisol’s Story that’s about Marisol going off to college, falling in love, etc.
        – – – Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand. Okay, this is sort of a cheat because I never actually read the book through, but Malinda Lo has talked about it multiple times on her website; I guess there are two POV characters, and one of them is a gay girl, but the story isn’t about her being gay–it’s a sci-fi time travel novel.

        I know most of them are contemporary fiction or contemporary-ish, but hopefully there’s something you’d enjoy in there. 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      @Taylor Lynn:
      Thanks for the recommendations! That was really helpful because I’ve never read any of them before.


      @The Magic Violinist:
      I don’t mean to sound grumpy or anything (I’m not), but it’s actually not that obvious that two dads would be gay. I mean, if you say they are, but people tend to assume that a same-sex couple is always gay. They could be bi, or one gay and one bi, or whatever. It’s the same with people who are in straight relationships – you can’t be sure if they like only the opposite sex. Just a word of advice, ’cause it’s annoying when that stuff is assumed.
      This has been a Pointless Comment, Brought To You Courtesy Of Nevillegirl And The Letters L, G, B, T, And Q.
      (See what I did there? A Sesame Street reference? Someone please get this.)

  9. Awesome list! 😀 I totally agree with you on the dystopian thing (overdone, and not done very well. The Hunger Games was the best, followed by Divergent. Delirium and Matched were good, but hovered on the brink of bad).

    I do disagree with you on the paranormal romance stuff, though. EVERYTHING paranormal has been overdone (vampire, angels, FALLEN angels, etc.). I say let’s move on and have a girl fall in love with a unicorn. 🙂 (Or is that paranormal, too)?

    I want more YA fantasy that isn’t a copy off of Fablehaven. 🙂 You can’t top that. (Or Harry Potter). 😀

    • nevillegirl says:

      Some parts of The Hunger Games were absolutely brilliant. Matched was… it wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t get the same “WHOA, THIS IS GOOD!” feeling.

      I wasn’t advocating for more paranormal romance, just that if it has to exist, it needs different characters. 🙂

      I’ve never read Fablehaven! Should I?

      • I agree with you about Matched. The love triangle wasn’t that believable (but then again, neither was The Hunger Games‘s), because I always knew that she was going to pick . . . you know (spoilers). I loved the poetry in it.

        Right. Werewolves would be more interesting. 😉

        YES. The BEST YA fantasy series you’ll ever read! 😀 (Besides Harry Potter, of course). 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      The point of The Hunger Games wasn’t really the romance, anyway. It was the rebellion and that’s why I think it’s funny that all the copycat dystopian trilogies take the romance completely seriously, like you have to have that in YA dystopias or else.

      I’d never even heard of Fablehaven until you mentioned it on your blog.

      • Agreed. I hate those “Team Peeta!” and “Team Gale!” shirts. Gag. (THERE. WAS. NO. LOVE. TRIANGLE).

        It’s really good. 🙂 I think technically it’s MG, but people of all ages are eating it up.

  10. Rose says:

    OMG! Those are almost EXACTLY my views! Well done!

    (Also, a good novel with a paranormal romance with a werewolf is Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater)

    • nevillegirl says:

      OMG ROSE TYLER IS COMMENTING ON MY BLOG! Sorry, I have Too Much Fandom in terms of DOctor Who and that was the first thing I thought…
      Yay, and thanks for the recommendation!
      (EDIT: The “Allons-y” on your page!:D)

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