I never used to think about what kinds of things I liked in books. I would only think in terms of genres- I like dark contemporaries, urban fantasies, romance novels, etc. But recently, I started making a list of things that I’m usually drawn to in books (or reasons that I tend to rate a book 5 stars).
Some of these are tropes, some are just other random elements- but you’ll get it! This is also a bit similar to Kayla’s (@Booksandlala) video, so check that out, too.
🖊Morally grey characters
A character who makes questionable choices but also has a good reason for it and is sometimes an ass but has gone through it in the past? Give it to me. I love characters that you’re not sure if you’re supposed to hate or love. Or a character that you know you should hate but you actually feel bad for. One example of this is The Cruel Prince. I personally am not the biggest fan of this book, but I can totally see the appeal to Cardan. I mean, the title says it all- he’s cruel. But then we see parts of his life behind closed doors, and there’s a little bit of tragedy there.
This is my all-time favorite setting. For a book. For a movie. Whatever it is, I love it. There’s just something so eerie about boarding schools. I just recently talked about this in a post where I gave book recommendations based on tv shows. Sanctuary Bay is such a good book, and it’s the one I mentioned. Another example is Truly Devious, which I also loved (and still need to read the rest of the series). There’s also Wilder Girls, which I LOVEd. And, of course, Harry Potter, which is probably one of the most well-loved series in the book community- and outside of it, too, for that matter.
The Starless Sea. The Night Circus. That’s it. That’s all I have to say for this one.
I love beautiful, poetic prose. Words that are so beautifully written they give you goosebumps. Maybe this is just the poet in me, but it’s almost vital to an all-time favorite book for me.
This is such a good plot twist. Probably one of my favorites. I feel like this reveals too much in a story, so I won’t list any specific books. But there’s something so cool about a book convincing you that the main character is in the right and then BAM! You find out they are actually a pathological liar. Or they kept something super important from the reader. I would love to write a book with an unreliable narrator one day, but I feel like this is something so hard to do.
This is similar to the unreliable narrator (which is a type of plot twist, oftentimes), but I just love really good plot twists. When endings can actually surprise you, but also make so much sense for the story, it’s one of the best feelings. It’s just so satisfying, even if the book ends on a cliffhanger.
One example is Every Last Word. I really didn’t see the plot twist the first time I read it, and it still haunts me to this day. Looking for Alaska? That plot twist broke me. There are so many more that I also want to read (and many that I added just because I heard they had good plot twists).
What do you think? Do you like any of the same tropes as me or do you have totally different ones? As I was writing this, I also realized I have so many other ones, so I might have to do a part 2 for this in the future.