Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, she posts an idea relating to books and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own top ten lists.
This week’s topic is “top ten things on my reading wishlist,” which should include things that I’d want more authors to write about. Considering how many different genres and writing styles there are, this is actually a really hard list to come up with… but here goes:
1. A story where there’s no romance
It seems like every YA story has to have romance or a love triangle (or both) and a lot of times the romance that results feels contrived and awkward. Or, worse, it takes away from an awesome plot and ruins my enjoyment of the story.
2. Character deaths
After finishing the Song of Ice and Fire series (so far) by George R. R. Martin, I’ve noticed that a lot of authors have a reluctance to kill of any of their characters. In a lot of situations, you know that there’s no real reason to worry about the characters since the protagonist’s going to live anyways; it takes away the tension and makes the story less engaging.
3. Sympathetic villains
One of my least favourite things is reading a story where the world is all black and white: the protagonist is good, and the villain is bad. Morally ambiguous characters make stories so much more interesting and real, so it’d be nice to see more of those.
4. Boarding schools
I was never able to attend a boarding school, despite my mother’s countless threats to send me to one. As a result, I love to live vicariously through stories about them, like Looking for Alaska and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Since the general consensus is that people there either have an excellent time, carry out excellent pranks, join secret societies, or are nearly murdered, this setting always makes for an interesting read!
And not of the Harry Potter variety (though I still wouldn’t complain if a Marauders series was created…). One of my favourite books about magic is The Night Circus, so it would be lovely to see more circus magicians in stories — or more circuses in general…
As a Canadian myself, I’ve been hard-pressed to find YA books that take place in Canada. Which is really quite a shame, because it’s such a pretty country and I get so excited when an author mentions a place that I’ve been to. And, you know, we get a lot of snow, which could be used to make up for the severe lack of wintery/Christmasy books out there.
7. Historical fiction involving Russia
In high school, I took a European history course, and I quickly found myself hopelessly fascinated by Russian history. I even wrote a paper on Lenin’s involvement in the Bolshevik Revolution. Unfortunately, I’ve only read one YA book on the subject, so hopefully I’ll come across others soon!
8. University settings
As a second year university student, I was so excited when Fangirl was released and perfectly captured the feeling of my first year. I still consider myself a young adult (even though I’m slightly terrified that I’m going to be 20 in a month!), so it’d be nice to see that represented in more YA fiction. Especially if it doesn’t involve an attractive guy swooping in and rescuing a girl from something since a big part of university is discovering yourself, which could make an excellent story in and of itself.
9. Familial relationships
Missing parent syndrome is a problem in so many books, so I’d love to see more stories like Unspoken or My Life Next Door where the protagonist’s family plays an important (and present) role in their lives. And after watching Frozen for the second time, I really want to read some books with lots of sibling love.
10. Serial Killers
I blame Dexter for giving me a fascination with serial killers and the inner workings of their minds. And after finally catching up on Hannibal, this fascination has been renewed. I’d love to see more YA novels like Barry Lyga’s Jasper Dent series, since I Hunt Killers was so good.
I did this TTT too! I am totally with you on the university setting. I think the first year at uni easily falls into the ‘YA’ category and should be explored more, without the super hot older guy that jumps in and takes over.
…also, your background pattern is like an optical illusion! OOOOOH!
I particularly agree with #1 and #3. That black and white scenario between protagonist and antagonist you were talking about is a good idea in some books (for example, I think it worked really well in Harry Potter) but it does get very samey-samey. I’m actually writing a fantasy book now in which I try to emphasise that we all have a bit of black and white inside us – both the hero and the villain. It makes the story much more interesting and unpredictable.
Great list! 🙂 I do love a sympathetic villain myself, they can be so much fun.
Also agree about YA books with non-American settings, that’s always a bonus point for me. I live in Hungary, so I’m not delusional enough to think anyone’s going to write a book that takes place here, but Canada isn’t that far fetched.
And as far as historical Russian books are concerned, I’ve just been talking to another blogger about this, there’s an upcoming one, Sekret by Lindsay Smith that’s sounds a lot of fun (at least to me), it’s classified as a YA historical thriller and it’s set in Communist Russia during the Cold war. I don’t know if that’s your thing, I kind of suck at recommending stuff to people. And thank you so much for stopping by my blog, 🙂
Hungary would be such a nice setting, though! A friend of mine visited there a few years ago, and the pictures I saw were beautiful.
I just checked out Sekret on Goodreads, and it’s definitely going on my to-read list! I loved learning about the Cold War, and the fact that there are psychic powers involved makes the perfect combination, really. Thanks for letting me know about it! 🙂
Let me start by saying: http://tinyurl.com/holdmytimmies
But yes, I totally agree with the need for more Canadian based YA. And to extend the point about deaths, I’m actually one to enjoy character deaths from the main ensemble, assuming that it’s played out right.
haha yes! I’ve definitely had a bit too much fun drifting on quieter roads during the winter.
Agreed. If it’s just for the shock factor, I’m not a huge fan of a main character death… but if it is well-written and makes sense, I’m all for it.
I agree with so many of these – especially #1 and #5. What I liked about The Night Circus, especially, is that it was an adult novel taking on ideas about magicians and circuses. Much as I love YA, I’d love to see adult fiction authors doing more with fantasy elements.
I completely agree. Most of the adult fiction that I’ve read and enjoyed had fantasy aspects to them — like anything Neil Gaiman writes or The Golem and the JInni.
Great list! I also wanted more serial killer books, also because of my love of Dexter! I would also love more books where there isn’t any romance, which there are very few of atm. I love Russian history, ever since obsessively watching Anastasia as a kid, and I would love more books about that history, especially the Romanov family – it fascinates me. Great picks 🙂
My TTT 🙂
I’m so glad I’m not the only one that wanted more serial killer books — when I told my housemates that I was really excited for some 2014 releases because of that, they looked a bit concerned. 😛 Anastasia was such a good movie! The Romanovs intrigue me too – I got way too excited in my genetics class when their family pedigree was shown in a hemophilia example.
Thanks for the link!
AGREE about the romance. Maybe we could just have a kickass YA girl star who doesn’t need a boy AT ALL and just has to fight her own inner demons or something. BAH. I also want character deaths. I truly thought Harry Potter would have died and was way disappointed with that “afterword.” Awesome list!
YES. If Disney can do it with Merida in Brave, why can’t YA have awesome female protagonists that don’t need a guy? I definitely expected Harry to die too — and the afterword seemed to wrap everything up way too neatly.
I’m so with you on the YA book without a romance. How about one about friendship between the boy and girl that doesn’t turn into a relationship? I’d love to read something like that, too!
I recently read Being Sloane Jacobs, and that was set in Canada, but now that you’ve mentioned it, I haven’t read any other book set over there. And I loved reading about it, so much so that I started planning a trip to Toronto haha