Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Discussion: Buzz Words and Deal Breakers

This discussion comes from Book Rat Misty who asks us what words and phrases in a book's summary will almost always get us to read it or reject it.

Buzz Words: Words that get me excited about a story

Underdog / Prince
The underdog: I like to see the "little guy" win.

Example: Bruiser by Neal Shusterman

Princes: Yep, I'm a girl :) I do prefer forgotten princes to the egotistical kind though. The underdog prince? I'm always there ready to read that story.

Example: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Specialties or Obsessions: I love people who are so into one topic that they know everything about it. To me, it signals devotion, and devotion is something I love to see in people. I also find I end up learning something interesting from these books if those people are the main characters.

Example: Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Kidnapped: I'll pretty much reading anything that mentions a kidnapping or abduction. I find them thrilling and want to know how the person will a) deal with their situation and b) get away. This has me wondering, did I get too many "stranger danger" lessons when I was little?

Example: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott, Dead to You by Lisa McMann

Summer: I like books that take place in those "in-between" times. I feel like anything is possible.

Example: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Stars: I like the idea of reading lengthly descriptions of planets, the stars, etc. Sometimes they are sci-fi and sometimes they are contemporary. Whatever they may be, if a summary just mentions the stars or the cover features a starry sky, I want to read it.

Example: Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Dystopian society - scapegoat

Dystopian societies: Anything that tells me the story is both dystopian and that the society is set up completely different then it is now. I also love when society has made something a scapegoat and banned it.

Examples: Divergent by Veronica Roth, All These Things I've Done by Gabrille Zevin, Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Death: Ghosts, funerals, cancer stories. They are sometimes fun, sometimes complete tearjerkers.

Examples: She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens, Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic 

Guardians: They take their form as angels, mentors, or that special person who comes swiftly into ones life, makes it better, and then leaves just as quickly.

Examples: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, First Days On Earth by Cecil Castellucci

Deal Breakers: I will usually not even finish reading the summary if I see these words

Fairies or fae: I actually love the idea of fairies. Unfortunately, I haven't liked any of the fairy books I've read (with the exception of Elemental Reality and Artemis Fowl). I've started to avoid them.

Trapped in a building: I like my characters to go on adventures. That's hard to do when they are trapped somewhere.

Animals as  main characters: I'm just not that interested in the psychology of dogs or cats, etc. I don't really need to know what they do with their friends, and if the story is about their human, I'd rather hear it from a human.

Shopping: Any story based on the characters' need to buy shoes or clothes or anything else is just not my thing. This is one of my few exceptions to the "obsessive" buzz word above.

ex-something (in adult books, they are usually ex-navy seals): I don't want to know what someone used to be, I want to know what they are now and why I should read the story based on what they are doing. If they happen to tell us all about their past and possibly use it to their advantage during the story, that's fine with me, but for some reason it turns me off when introduced in the summary. 

Cannibalism: There is absolutely nothing that turns me off more than this. People eating people? No thanks! Funny how I don't mind vampires though...

Coming of age: It's not the type of story but the phrase. I can't help but think about overly metaphoric writing and flowery "prose". I don't know why that turns me off. I will still consider these stories but I almost always need to sample the writing first.

 Agree? Disagree? What are some of your own buzz words and deal breakers?


  1. Yours are really interesting! I agree with so many- starry skies on covers do it for me, kidnapping and underdogs. However, I'm not averse to a bit of cannibalism. Lol.

    I think you already saw my version of this post and commented on it- thank you I really appreciate it! x

    1. I'm glad you think them interesting and good to know I'm not the only one who loves/hates some of these. Yes, I did see yours and commented (still think your answers are awesome!).

  2. Books where the main character is on the run, could be from anyone - a bad guy, the law. I just love cat and mouse scenarios. - Night Runner by Max Turner and The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong.

    Books with gods and goddesses/mythology - Wildfire by Karsten Knight, Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan and Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

    werewolves - I just love werewolves but its hard to find werewolf books that I love it doesn't stop me from picking them up though ;).

    Turn Offs
    The beautiful/gorgeous/other synonym "insert male character name here". I don't mind a hot male lead but if his looks is the only thing you can say about him in the synopsis then I'm not interested.

    1. Oh I hate that too, when a guy is "hot" and therefore we should instantly love him. I also like when characters are on the run. I don't recall reading a goddess/mythology book yet. Werewolves are okay. It has to have something else to hook me though. Great answers!

  3. DYSTOPIAN DYSTOPIAN DYSTOPIAN!! Yeah, I'll read anything that says it has a good dystopian society in it.

    I don't read a lot of books with animals as main characters either. It just doesn't really interest me and the idea of it just seems a little childish (coming from someone who reads MG and YA :P)
    I don't like the term coming-of-age either. I'm sure I've read stories that could be classified as that, but the term just seems so "adult" about something that isn't.

  4. That's a great way to put it. I think I have seen the term "coming of age" in more adult books which makes me think in YA that the book wont be as fun to read (even though adult books can be fun too, but they somehow seem more serious).