[And then I spent roughly 5 hours editing down and replacing spicy take after spicier take until I felt like I had 10 mini-rants that wouldn't get me skewered in the court of public opinion. On the bright side, thinking harder not only made me come up with some that are fairly unique, I remembered some things I usually don't think about until I'm actually reading/otherwise coming across them and going, "grrr..."]
1. When middle/high school teachers tell their students to call them by their first name outside of class. IT'S WEIRD! YOU'RE NOT THEIR PEER! What is there to be gained from eroding this boundary with minors.
2. Stupid Sexy Jerk
I don't like enemies-to-lovers anyway, but there is no version of it I hate more than when a guy is ACTIVELY a jerk to a girl's face, and she knows it, but still can't stop thinking about how hot/handsome they are. Smug superiority is not a turn-on, madam! Seek help.
3. Ridiculous margins/line spacing
Some YA novels released in hardcover simply SHOULD NOT TAKE UP THAT MUCH SPACE ON THE SHELF. Your story's short, and that's okay! Please just accept that and trust people will buy it anyway.
4. I have a Secret... it Haunts me...
So frustrating! If I can't find a review spoiling the reveal immediately, I usually end up spoiling way more of the book as I try to flip through pages until I know what the stupid character knows already. I don't care WHAT you're refusing to think about or admit to yourself, I'm only interested in why. If I lack context for your caginess, I honestly can't enjoy the story or care about anything that happens until I get to the reveal.
5. The Convenient Cute Boy
Nothing drives me nuts like a YA novel that involves a girl going somewhere for a short period of time (on vacation, to stay with relatives, etc), where she just HAPPENS to run into a cute guy who is interested in her. Especially when the guy isn't even crucial to the plot and is just along for the ride. Let her have her own story!!
6. When teens in contemporary YA are STILL obsessed with 80s movies
If liking old movies is your character's thing, that's fine, but stop raving about John Hughes already and START obsessing over the slew of superior 90s teen movies! I was a teen 15 years ago and I already thought that Breakfast Club/Pretty In Pink were outdated and stupid, and yet they continue to make text appearances in a way that Clueless or 10 Things I Hate About You never do.
7. Matte book covers*
They attract fingerprints like mad when the cover is predominantly black or otherwise dark, and they look extra-oily too. Mostly, though, they just feel unpleasant, and seem to get kind of sticky/tacky over time. I have actually gotten rid of books I like because they had this style of cover and touching them felt gross.
(*It might just be a particular type of matte that I don't know the precise name for, since I also have some that are fine...oh! This blog post talks about "rubberized" covers that is similar to what I mean, maybe that's it?? I've experienced this issue with dust jackets as well as paperbacks. Can't remember which hardcovers, but some of the icky paperbacks were Everything You Want Me To Be, A Short Walk to the Bookshop, and Kaui Hart Hemmings' Juniors. I recently saw a Reddit post complaining of something similar and said they feel like almost like suede).
8. When the summary's a spoiler
I hate having a "but when..." plot point that occurs more than 1/3rd of the way through the story. It's fine early on, but the longer it takes to happen the more it feels like I'm just treading water until I get to the real story.
I haaate seeing a phrase repeated over and over in a book (mantras, motifs, a nagging thought, etc) -- that's the main reason I can't stand the Sarah Dessen book everyone loves, Just Listen -- but also hate when a character feels the need to "remember" something they were previously told verbatim.
10. More than minimal cursing/explicit language
What can I say, I live an FCC-approved life so I really prefer it when people in my books do the same.
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