So when trying to decide this week’s discussion post, I thought I’d just stick to the stereotype theme. Since last Sunday I confessed the fact that I am a stereotypical bookworm (sort of), I might as well, right?
Ahhhhh stereotypes. Aren’t they just everywhere? Greeting us like old friends. Or rather…making barriers and giving people clouded judgements in absolutely everything and basically causing all the prejudice in the world.
But surely it doesn’t go that far, right?
Well, let’s see…
There’s stereotypes for everything. It’s quite hard to escape them actually, the more you think about it.
But somehow…somehow book genres are given stereotypes too. Which to me is ridiculous, because no two books are the same, and yet they’re just shoved under the same preconceptions.
But I suppose that’s the way of all stereotypes.
I mean, the best example is when dystopian was on the rise a couple of years ago, and it seemed like every book had “For fans of The Hunger Games” or “This is just like The Hunger Games!” written somewhere on the cover. UGH how infuriating that was. I don’t know about you, but I’ve not read another book about teenagers having to fight to their deaths in a competition as a TV show. Have you?
Well, so be it. We readers know better.
Here’s a few that come to mind…
YA books aren’t as meaningful as adult books and are full of misleading expectations. Oh, and they all have love triangles.
Contemporary books are all cute love stories with nothing really substantial about them.
Fantasy books are all magical wars against a tyrannical leader.
Dystopian books are all about rebellions.
Horror books are all just darkness.
OHHH HOW THIS MAKES ME RAGE.
First of all – YA BOOKS ARE NOT ANY LESS SUBSTANTIAL THAN OTHER AGE RANGES.
I could have a full on rant about how great YA books are and basically slaughter my way through all those judgemental journalism articles claiming they’re misleading teenagers – and I’m sure I will in another discussion (let me know if you want that to be next week’s topic!). But basically, most YA books nowadays are more open minded and educational than ever. And they’re NOT full of love triangles! I dominantly read YA, and have read about…maybe ONE love triangle in the past 3 years or so.
The definition of contemporary is literally just “modern day”, so they can be about ANYTHING as long as it’s set around now. Sure, love stories are the norm, but a lot of the time there’s mental illness stories, family stories, LGBTQ+ stories, literally anything.
And bare in mind there’s so many other books that are modern day, but they’ll be whisked away under “crime” or “mystery” etc, so of course when all the other stories are made into their own separate genre, it’s going to make the contemporary genre seem less varied.
As for the rest, since this rage has gone on for much longer than I thought already, I’m just going to say EVERY BOOK IS SO MUCH MORE.
*end of unplanned rant*
Stereotypes cause prejudice. It makes one person judge someone as being dreamy-eyed because they “only read soppy love stories”. It makes another person judge someone as being “unrealistic with their head in the clouds” because they like reading about dragons and witchcraft.
It clouds people’s judgement.
Like I said before, I’ve seen wayyyy too many articles about “why YA is bad” *pushes down rapidly rising rage* but that rant is for another day. But they’ll be written by people who haven’t read a wide selection of it, and will pick out quotes that sound completely different when taken out of the story.
It’s not just that though. I myself used to be prejudice to book genres. I never, and I mean NEVER, used to read contemporaries. I did used to think they were all soppy love stories that’d make me cringe. I actually used to sneer at them *shakes head at past self* But look at me this year. I swear, at least half of the books I’ve read so far this year are contemporaries. It didn’t take me long to figure out I had it all wrong.
Now for the fun bit. The recommendations!
These are the books that spring to mind when I think “not a stereotype”. The sort of books that would pull me into the genre even more. Now, these books WILL have the stereotype-ish things in them. I mean, the stereotypes came from somewhere, right? But in these books it really takes a backseat.
So here are some wonderfully amazing rule-breaking books to add to your TBR!
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne.
Yes, there’s a romance in it. But it’s definitely not the main theme. Oh no, not at all. Because this book goes into OCD, strong friendships, and feminism. How can that not be considered as substantial topics, eh?
Throw that in your underestimating faces, judgers! (Past me included. You damn foolish girl!)
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Yes, there’s magic. But this magic is different, because it’s alive. And sure, there’s even a few tyrannical leaders. But again, it’s different because like I said – “leaders“- there’s more than one. And the leaders aren’t even the main part of the story. The cross-dressing pirate and the black eyed prince running around parallel Londons are.
The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
Again, there’s an awful person in power and some magic. But it definitely, definitely takes a backseat in this. This is a more politically based fantasy – which may sound boring but honestly it’s a badass queen-to-be retaking her throne and sorting out her ruin of a kingdom. If she makes it there.
[Review] – this is a really old review so just…bare that in mind *hides*
I can’t recommend any here, I’m afraid. I’ve hardly read any i years and don’t like the genre that much anymore.
I haven’t read much horror at all, but I’ve read a few and that’s enough to recommend.
Though I’m basically renaming this section into “Horror is Dawn Kurtagich’s domain”
The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Of course there’s darkness in both of these books. Everything’s scary in the dark. But this book is different because the story is told as a case file. You learn the story through newspaper clippings, video footage, interviews, diary entries etc etc. And really, the story is what YOU make it. Is the answer psychological or paranormal? Depends what you think from the case file.
[Review] – again, really old and I’m ashamed of it. It deserves a better review for sure
The Creeper Man/And The Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
I feel a bit mean for recommending this one because it’s not actually out yet. Though for you fellow UK readers – IT’S OUT TOMORROW GO BUY IT IT’S GREAT. For the US? Sorry, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. BUT it’s worth the wait if you like horror. Or even if you’re like me, and don’t read much horror. This story did not turn out how I expected it to. I was relishing in the creepiness, loving it and then BAM wow did the story surprise me. Zeesh.
And this post has gone on for FAR too long now, so I’ll stop here.
Join the discussion!
What do you think of genre stereotypes? Are they true, or do they cloud people’s judgement?
What other genre stereotypes are there?
Are there any books you’d recommend for breaking the stereotype rules?
Also, let me know if you’re interested in next week’s topic being a rant *ahem* I mean discussion about all those YA judgers.
Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Until next time…