As I’ve read many wonderful books (and several less than stellar ones) the last month or so, I found myself pondering on what makes a really good book—and what makes a reader decide to discard one.
I can easily list a few things that are deal-breakers for me with books.
#1 Children in real danger- I love YA books and like exciting adventures with kids in them, but if you have a phsyco-killer and have them kidnap a child so they can do horrible things…I’m done. I read for fun, and I spend far too much time stressing over my own kid's safety. I don’t want to worry about imaginary kids too.
#2 Bad writing – If the writing is so passive or cliché that I can’t get into the story, then I’ll give up 50 pages in or so.
#3 Predictable- I’m fine with knowing the girl gets the boy at the end, but I tire quickly when the storyline is all a set-up for the guy to convert or something. If I know the end before I get there, what’s the point of reading.
#4 Superfluous sex scenes- If a book has bedroom scenes, they better have a good reason other than just throwing it in there. I’ve tossed several books where the whole thing turned out to be a weak plot sprinkled with racy scenes. I read for a good story, not for cheap thrills.
What are deal-breakers for you? How many pages in do you read before you chuck the thing?