We all have them. Those plot elements that you see in a book blurb that tip you over the edge. I freely admit that I have many. The fact that I have almost 700 books on my TRB list according to Goodreads should indicate to you that I have something of a problem. Here are the top ten ways that I am sucked onto pick up that book.
Is this a holdover from the childhood obsession with being an orphan (you know that you pretended this at least once). There are only a few books that I can think of off the top of my head that have done this right. Usually it involves much melodrama.
Any kind of disability
I am a special education teacher so this one is close to my heart. I would chalk this one up to professional hazard but I was a sucker for these books when I was in elementary school.
These are hit and miss for me. Disability rep can be super sugary, preachy, or plain problematic. I also almost always end angry at the school or the teachers. Why do they always suck so much? But when this trope works... all the feels and life choices reconfirmed.
Any and all. I start to read a book description and it mentions mental illness in some way somehow it adds itself to the TBR. How the book actually turns out is variable. Some are amazing and some are both stupid and harmful. The success of these books seems to be 100% based on how well the author understands the mental illness in question.
Fairy Tale Retellings
I love them. I love traditional tellings as in Robin Mckinley's Beauty. I love when the story takes on a different turn but the fairy tale is still easily recognizable such as Cruel Beauty. I also love when the fairy tales is a hidden reference throughout the book as in The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. I am easily pleased. The only way that these aren't a hit for me is to go to close to the disney version and then not live up to it. I do have my standards.
Ah, my love for drama. Has tragedy struck the main character's life somehow? Do they have huge obstacles to overcome? Can they in some way be referred to as "the little guy"? Are they dealing with grief? If yes, then I need it. Right now. #suckerfordrama
The story blurb can be just a collection of cliches if some how it is set outside of the US, UK, Australia, or Canada I don't even care and am all over it. Life and storeis are happening everywhere and I want to read about them. Unfortunately, I am hindered by the fact that I am overly picky about translations. I am especially intrigued if the book doesn't involve a war.
I am very attracted to diversity in general but if I know that a book is #ownvoices in some way I must have it. I notice that once I started looking at who was telling the story my reading life, especially when in comes to diverse stories, radically improved. Once you have consistent authenticity in your books you resent it when it isn't there. Of all my book weaknessess this one is the most successful in terms of getting me books that I enjoy.
I am a sucker for books touching on all aspects of WWII. The front lines, the home effort, the resistance, the Holocaust, the pacific theater, women pilots, the siege of Lenningrad, ect. I want to read about it all.
International/ Third Culture Kids
I am an expatriate. I live outside of my passport country. I teach at an international school and for the last decade have been working with third culture kids If a book even vaugely touches on expat life or third culture kids I must make it mine.
Formal request for more books to be written with this element. Any and all suggestion welcome. I wants them all.
Someone describes it as "Lyrical"
How far can writing go before it is purple? I don't know but I love authors who go right up to that line and then stomp on that line, wave their arms in defiance of sparenes,s and then describe all the frickin' things with their beautiful words. Liani Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater I am looking at you.