Happy Saturday! I know usually Stop & Chat is more of a discussion post but today I want to do something different.
You are my rockstars. My celebrities. My downright creepy obsession. But I think it’s time we sat down and talked about a few things ok? 2013 was my year for “branching out” into new genres, new authors, and new bookish experiences. I’ve found that I love fantasy, and space operas will be the death of me. But, and I say this with love, contemporary almost always falls flat. I’ve read (finished not DNFs) 14 contemporary books this year, and only 1 received 5 stars. One received more than 2 stars. I’m not a writer. Not by a long shot, but I feel that we must talk about the lack of originality and various irritations I have found within every (except for Eleanor & Park) contemporary book I’ve read this year.
- Inner monologuing
- We get it. The character is conflicted and the inner monologuing is a way for us to see what’s going on inside his/her head. But, and again I say this with love, can we cut back on some of this please? You want your characters to be enjoyable and relatable I get that. But no one really sits there for a week going “does he like me? I like him? No, I hate him. We kissed! Will it be awkward now that we kiss?”. I’m not saying to cut it out completely, I mean I inner monologue about having cake at 9am, but it’s usually for a minute and only two questions come up. 1) do I want cake? 2) how big of a piece?
- Just friends
- Everyone is not your soul mate. I get this, I love this, it’s true! But! Can we give the “we’re just friends” line a break? You’re attracted to him, he’s attracted to you, test that car out! See if it rides as smoothly as you hope, or if the transmission is about to go! One date, won’t reveal if you’re soul mates but it’ll cut out that headache you’ll give yourself from all that damn inner monologuing and “we’re just friends” BS.
- Rockstars, billionaires and cage fighters oh my!
- I’ve read a story here or there involving a billionaire that I’ve enjoyed. I swear I have! But can we maybe find a cute and nerdy English teacher? Or an architect? Oh what about a small business owner?! It’s not that I don’t enjoy the occasional fantasy of a rockstar in my bedroom but I’m fine with a hardworking garbage man who is compassionate and a good person, too. What I’m saying is, let’s get rid of the typical “I’m so sexy I just made you change your panties with one wink” characters and lets get someone who is a little dorky, a tad shy, shit maybe even a bit chunky!
- Plot ruts
- Girl meets boy, boy likes girl, girl doesn’t want to ruin friendship with boy even though she likes him too. Boy starts dating, girl gets jealous, fight happens, they make up, they kiss (or have sex whatevs) girl tells boy she regrets it and in doing so ruins the friendship. Girl realizes she’s in love with boy, tells boy and they all live happily ever after. IT NEVER CHANGES! Guys stop this. Stop it now! This is not relatable! This is not believable! This is the same thing I read last month with a new cover and a different author. Please, just toss in a wrench every so often.
I’m not saying that the two need to jump each others bones in the middle of Grand Central Station but shit! Can they go out for coffee before either side jumps to ridiculous conclusions?! Can we treat them like adults who can handle talking out their fears about the relationship to their supposed best friend? Can we have a love that starts off with friends but then SLOWLY morphs into something more? Oh how I ache for a book where two strangers met, become friends and then gracefully and without a fuss become something more. I understand that the story shouldn’t start with rainbows and end with butterflies. Of course there must be some drama in there but could it be something a tad more realistic than “he’s like my brother!”?
I say all of this with love. But most importantly I say this as a reader! Give us some credit. We’re big boys and girls and giving us a contemporary novel that follows a more “believable” path won’t scare us or force us to run for the hills. We’re smarter than that, and we accept the challenge of reading something new and different.
-Love you all in a totally creepy way