Allison: Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

Weak Characters
I can handle a weak character that eventually along the way finds their inner strength or grows and develops in some manner. I can’t handle them when this does not happen and all that you hear about it how they “can’t do anything”. Weak characterization simply just makes my skin crawl.

Animal Death
I’m an animal lover especially when it comes to cats and dogs so when an animal appears in a book immediately become apprehensive. I’m always so afraid that something bad will happen to them. This is truly a pet peeve of mine when there is absolutely no reason for the animal death – it was just being used as a plot point.

Inaccurate portrayal of illnesses
I hate it when authors use illnesses in a negative manner in their stories. Especially when there is a mental illness involved. There are already so many stigmas out there regarding mental illness it really bothers me when authors uses these stigmas in their works instead of trying to fight against them.

ANY of the “isms” (racism, classism, sexism, ableism)
A big turn-off for me when it comes to books is any of the “isms”. As most of you may know, I’m very big on equal rights for everyone regardless of race, class, sex, gender, or ability. I’m a bit more understanding if the book is set in a more historical time frame and the author is trying to be historically accurate but it still bothers me.

Major historical inaccuracies
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I can usually take a bit of bending when it comes to historical points as long as it is not over the top. If an author completely ignores a major historical event, or tries to make light of it, I usually have a much harder time enjoying or finishing the book.

No plotline whatsoever
Books where there is no plot but instead endless detail and description hurt my brain. I like my descriptions well enough but I need something to happen along the way as well. I need there to be action.

Major grammatical or stylistic errors
Grammar is important. Style is important. My eyes and my brain appreciate good style and correct grammar in a book. These things make my reading experience much more enjoyable.

Rushed endings
I hate it when it feels like suddenly the author decided that they wanted to end their book and everything is pushed together to make this anti-climatic ending. There is usually no real resolution, and I’m left wondering why I even bothered with the book in the first place.

Love triangles
If done correctly a love triangle can be really enjoyable to read about. Usually for me, this occurs when there are equal balance given to all parties but yet there is still that one person that you find yourself rooting for all the way through. Unfortunately, I haven’t found very many of these, and I think that is why I usually don’t enjoy love triangles very much.

Unattractive covers
I’m not a book snob by nature but I’ll admit that sometimes I do ignore books where I find the covers to be completely unappealing. If the cover is just blech to me, I sometimes do have a harder time convincing myself to pick up the book and read it even if the blurb sounds good.

So, what are some of your book turn-offs?

As always Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. Your list is awesome! Seriously, I love it. Also, I think there should be some type of warning system in place about animal deaths, because that is one spoiler I NEED TO KNOW.

  2. excellent list. i agree with all of these. my biggest pet peeve is unrealistic/un-developed characters. i don’t even necessarily mind a “weak” character so long as their weakness is realistic and multi-layered and ideally they grow as the book progresses.

  3. The inaccurate portrayal of mental illness gets me too. People already have misconceptions about it, let’s not perpetuate them!

  4. I’m with you on the covers problem. Bone Season is a current issue for me, since I know everyone loves it, but the cover doesn’t appeal to me so I haven’t given it a try yet 🙁

  5. Okay, I totally am with you on most of these.

    Right now, I’m 300-something pages into a middle grade novel and THERE IS NO PLOT YET. I really liked the first book, so I accepted the sequel for review and I am BORED TO TEARS. They’re just sitting around and traveling for no reason. SAVE ME.

    Oh, I do like love triangles sometimes, though. But they’re so rarely well done. A good example: Leigh Bardugo’s series. I will eat that love triangle covered in hot fudge. YUM.

  6. I put animal death on mine too. I hate coming across that in a book.

    Great list.

  7. I TOTALLY agree with you on the portrayal of illness, especially mental illness. I get seriously upset when something’s portrayed inaccurately. First off, like you said, there’s a lot of stigma when it comes to mental illness and I think authors should be working to show what it’s really like and help the world understand rather than just playing along with the stigma. Second, it does a lot of disservice to those who have mental illness. They deserve to have their stories told the right way, not how someone assumes or thinks how that person feels, acts, etc.

    Ok, rant over. Basically I just really agree with you.

  8. Great list! I particularly agree with weak characters (can’t stand them) and historical inaccuracies. (As a writer of historical fiction myself, I totally get the need to take some creative license, but I never mess with events as they are actually recorded in history. This is one reason I really don’t like Phillipa Gregory. I don’t think most of her readers understand how much she bends the the facts of history in her tales.)

    My TTT

  9. I totally agree! I can not stand weak characters! I just want to scream at them sometimes! Plus, love triangles really annoy me too. Especially when they drag on over a series of novels and the protagonist goes from one lover to another. I can’t handle that, make up your mind already!

    I love the list, I totally agree with you on all of them, well done! 🙂 x

  10. I really love this Top Ten Tuesday topic! I totally agree with you about rushed endings. They’re my ultimate pet peeve. I also have a problem with weak characters, unless they’re secondary and their existence makes a point about strength of character. I don’t tend to trust pretty covers anymore, but I will be predisposed to buying a book if the design is nice. This encompasses paper quality, hardcover vs. trade paperback vs. paperback, and font, too. Nice list!

  11. I have pretty much all these book turn-offs too!
    I REALLY hate the first two. There’s a difference between a weak character and a meek character, I think. I totally don’t mind meek/shy/quiet characters(because that’s my personality), but I want characters who are not weak. They’re not sympathetic or compelling in any way. And animal death just always feels like manipulation.

    I think historical inaccuracies are sort of hit-or-miss for me. If I feel by reading that the author has done their research and has just changed things to fit the plot line/story line(within reason), that doesn’t bother me. If it feels like they just wrote a contemporary novel, added some historical costumes, and plopped the story down in the 1800s, then that bothers me.

  12. I hate the mental illness one, especially when I character is given one just so they can be quirky or different. Stories where it’s not realistically worked into the characterization and it just a “I have this, aren’t I special?” sort of thing drive me nuts.

    I hate when an author adds a love interest or love triangle suddenly at the very end of a book series. You’ve spent so much time rooting for this one pair and then BAM, new person for no apparently reason.

  13. I agree with so much of this list! Any kind of death that has not repercussions on the character really annoys me. The whole shock value thing doesn’t get me interested.

  14. I agree with so many of these! My biggest thing is animal death! I’m a huge animal lover, and I really can’t stand that in books or movies – I’ll stop watching or reading. I actually read a book once that had animal death, some of the “ism’s,” weak characters, no plot line AND a terrible love triangle… Yeah, all in the same book. One of the very few times I DNF’d!

  15. I understand that a book cover is the first hook in getting readers, but I believe in the old saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Maybe it’s a good book but they hired the wrong artist or something.

    Nonetheless that’s a great top 10.

    Can you solve the muder? “The Murder Incident” online gamebook –

  16. I totally agree on major historical inaccuracies! I can get over some minor things, but there are some really weird mis-steps in historical fiction (also my favorite genre). Like if it’s bad enough that it stands out to me – who didn’t research the time period – that’s just sad.