Top Ten Bookish Turnoffs

The Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week is things that make you not want to read a book. What things can someone say that make you go “nope” and avoid that book for all eternity. I know there are some, but I don’t know whether I will make it to ten. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish so go check them out.


Urban Fantasy

So basically anything including vampires or angels or demons

This is one of my personal turn offs for books. Urban fantasy just has that trope of the character popping in and changing everything and being better than anyone else in that world. That’s just unbelievable man. They can be good, but there are so many urban fantasy trilogies with trolls or fae or angels or demons or vampires and I just… There’s not enough world building and the plot always ends up so generic. Like you’ve read one and you’ve read them all. This is what has kept me from reading any of Cassandra Clare’s books. I know people like them but I worry that because they’re urban fantasy I won’t like them.



I don’t like following the crowd

Honestly a lot of people telling me to read a book can keep me from reading it. A key example of this is Six of Crows. I know I need to read it because it is all over the book blogs and booktube and some friends in my real life have told me I need to read it. And it sounds like a book I would totally love. I even have the book (and the sequel) on my shelf. I just can’t bring myself to pick them up. This is also partly because I want to read The Grisha trilogy first to get acquainted with the world and I am struggling to find them at a library. But the main thing is I don’t want to read them and hate them. I just really can’t deal with that. Other books I put off for the longest time include The Lunar Chronicles and all Sarah J Maas books


Disrespect or Hate or Lack of Diversity

Any book that actively sends a negative message about something

Books that aren’t diverse basically, or are bad representations of mental health or sexuality or disability or religion (etc). As a straight white female I want to read books that can educate me about diversity, so I try to stay away from books that have been deemed ‘bad representations’ by some reviewers. This isn’t going to stop me completely from reading a book if I really want to read it because I understand that everyone has different experiences, but it will play a role in my decision. Plus I don’t want to be reading books that are negative and send a negative message. I don’t need that in my life.

A good example of this is 13 Reasons Why, which has been getting a lot of attention recently. One of my friends absolutely loves the TV show, however I don’t plan on watching it any time soon (if at all) primarily because I have seen a lot of people talk about how problematic it is.


Curses or Prophecies

If the whole plot is centered around this element then I’m over it. I have read too many books that rely solely on the curse or prophecy for plot and have limited other stuff going on in the story. Please try to be a bit original.


Bad Reviews From Friends

As well as making me read books, this can make me not read books

If my friends don’t enjoy a book they let me know. If it’s just something that they personally don’t like then it’s easier to overlook, but if it’s something basic then usually I share the same opinion if I end up reading the book. Sometimes their opinions are enough to direct me away from a book altogether, sometimes they makes me a bit more wary and sometimes they draws me to a book like a moth to a flame so I can read it and hate on it with them. Yeah that’s right, I have read several books just to hate on them with my friends. Examples include Mind Games by Teri Terry and 7 Souls by Barnabas Miller.

On a (slightly) more positive note, sometimes I don’t agree with my friend’s opinions. Key example: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. One of my close friends LOVED this book so I decided to pick it up. I carried it around for the day (as I usually do with books) and was approached by at least four people telling me they hated that book. Four people. In one day. They weren’t even people I spoke to regularly. At the end of the book I was kind of in the middle, I didn’t really like it but I didn’t hate it with the burning passion that made these people approach me to tell me that they hated it. So that’s something I guess.


Unappealing Covers

We all know that an alternate cover can change everything

We all do it. Let’s compare some covers shall we. First a little peak at the covers of my all time favorite books Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. This book was published 20 or 30 years ago so has MANY covers. Here are some of the ones I have seen most commonly.


  • On the left is the newest cover which is beautiful
  • Then is one of the other newer covers which is quite nice
  • Third is the version of the book that I own which is not as interesting
  • This is the first version of the book I ever read and that cover is not appealing. It was only interesting to me because my friend and I argued about whether it was an owl or cat in the background and I said I would read it to find out (its a cat).

Which one is most appealing to you? I’m guessing the one on the left…

Let’s do another one. Here’s another fav of mine that was first published like 10 years ago. It’s Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. Now there are endless covers for this book, but here are some of the ones I recognize.


  • The original cover from 2005. This isn’t particularly interesting visual wise. It doesn’t really draw me in.
  • A cover from 2007 that I know. It also looks old in style.
  • A cover I have never seen from 2008 that drew my attention. It appears like it’s really trying to draw in young adult readers. Reminds me of the Pretty Little Liars covers a bit.
  • The main cover I know and love, from 2011 ish. Perfect mix of mystery and magic and intrigue. Note – no person.

Which one of those interested you the most? Let me know if the comments.

Admittedly I did pick the best examples of this, but it does play into consideration at least a bit when I’m browsing the library. Older style covers make me less likely to read the book.


School Required Readings

Because this is NEVER going to make a book fun

I have not enjoyed many a book because it was required reading from school which has led to me going into these books with a feeling of dread and the knowledge that this book is going to take me weeks to get through. This is partly because the school regularly chooses horrible books, and partly because I am being forced to read them when I wouldn’t choose to so they aren’t interesting to me, and partly because over analyzing a book makes it boring as heck when you already don’t like it.

There have been some books I’ve read for school and enjoyed  (To Kill A Mocking Bird, Pride and Prejudice, most Shakespeare) so it’s not all bad. But I had to read Jane Eyre when I was like thirteen (may have been fourteen) and hated it. I was not ready for it, maybe if I had been able to choose to read it later on I would have enjoyed it but nope.


Similarity to Other Books I’ve Read

Despite whether I liked the other book or not

If a book is similar to a book I have hated, then obviously I am not going to want to read it. If it’s similar to a book that I loved then same deal, I don’t want my memories of that perfect book tarnished by a copy. Although it depends on how similar they are, there’s a balance between being similar enough that I know I’ll enjoy it and different enough that it’s still new and interesting.


Lack of Character Development

If it reads like an action movie… I’m not going to enjoy it

This category is directly a result of one of the only books I’ve ever DNFed (although applies to other books as well to a lesser extent). I’m talking about Department Nineteen by Will Hill. I got through the whole of the first book (hating it the whole way) but when I started the second book and it was just more of the same I decided screw it, I was not reading that. I made it maybe 30 pages in before throwing in the towel. I made it through 500 pages of the first book, if it wasn’t good then it wasn’t going to get any better. I rated that first book one star. It is the only book on my goodreads shelves with that rating.

So now that you know the context, let me explain why I hated that book. It’s basically an action movie about this kid who loses his whole family and ends up in the army fighting vampires. Yeah. Urban Fantasy (refer to trope at the top of list). Why did I even pick it up? There was no character development. It was so bland. The kid’s key motivation was getting his mum back (I think she’d been kidnapped, basically the same as in the first book of Percy Jackson but executed with far less skill). He doesn’t grow as a person. This is basically an attempt to write a book that teenage boys would be interested in that fails miserably because even teenage boy readers expect quality. Action movies succeed because they have cool visuals like explosions and car chases. Reading about people shooting guns isn’t really all that exciting.


Unbelievable or Unnecessary Romances

This includes love triangles

Ew, please stop. If you’re in a survival situation then it really isn’t the time or place for romance. I don’t care if he’s your soul mate, save it until you’re safe. Books that have romance thrown in for the sake of it annoy me so much.

However another trope in novels that fits in this category is that thing about marriage competitions or set ups. I’m talking Wither by Lauren DeStefano, Matched by Ally Condie, The Name on Your Wrist by Helen Hiorns, Delirium by Lauren Oliver and many other books where love is forbidden/controlled/manipulated. I get that it’s an interesting concept but please, don’t just write about it because you can. Try to make it interesting, have an actual plot rather than the typical dystopian rebellion.

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what are your bookish turn offs? let me know in the comments below

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Bookish Turnoffs

  1. YES to your third, ninth, and tenth ones. DIVERSITY PLEASE, AND MAKE THE CHARACTERS/ROMANCE GOOD AND WELL-DEVELOPED. Also omg ugly covers are the worst. XD AAGGHH YOU REALLY NEED TO READ SOC! I know it’s all the hype, but truly truly — you must read it! (And if you read the Grisha trilogy first and don’t like it, just know that MANY people like SoC MUCH better than Grisha.)


  2. I agree about the covers and reviews, if I see that people I trust have really disliked a book I most probably won’t pick it up. And if a book has a really rubbish cover I will usually not feel like picking it up, although I do think publishers are getting better at making covers.


  3. I am a big sucker for pretty covers! Whenever I’m looking through different Goodreads lists, the cover is obviously the first thing that catches my eye so if it’s unappealing I’m less likely to click through for any additional information!

    I’ve definitely got diversity and reviews on my list too!


  4. I completely agree with you when it comes to listening to the recommendations of friends. If they really dislike something, I probably won’t either.

    Diversity is critical as well. I’ve been really expanding what I’ve been reading lately, and it’s been great. I only wish it was easier to find diverse books!

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday!


    1. I’m also trying to expand what I am reading which is sometimes really fun and sometimes a complete disaster. I find the best place to find diverse books is on booktube or book blogs, or just on lists on goodreads.


      1. Not just that. The book gets so hyped as “AWESOME, Everything is AWESOME!” that when you read it and don’t love you feel like it;s your fault. Um NO. Ppl gave you unrealistic expectations.

        Liked by 1 person

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