There are many descriptors that grab my attention about books, but I thought really hard about the things that shoot a dose of book adrenaline to my heart and make me bypass my Goodreads TBR and head straight to Amazon.com. Perhaps they’re not all the buzziest of buzzwords…but they’re my buzzwords :’)
I will sell my soul for love/hate relationships. They’ve always been my favorite to read/watch/write/etc. I remember being 4 years old and making up a story about a boy and a girl who hated each other and became friends. Passionate hate turned to all-consuming love is MY FAVORITE. Even mild annoyance or an antagonistic nature between two characters, even if they’re friends, is my favorite (i.e. Ron and Hermione). I’m all about that tension, especially when it’s long and drawn out and full of reluctant vulnerability. Summaries that tease love/hate romance catch my attention far more quickly than any other kind of romance.
Recommendations: The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Foxhole Court series by Nora Sakavic, Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat., Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
This doesn’t mean historical fiction, necessarily. A historic setting is enough to get me excited, even if the actual story has little or nothing to do with history. I especially love fantasy worlds based off of historic time periods- Six of Crows’ Ketterdam is a perfect example. And I must admit, setting-wise, I am drawn to 1800s/Victorian England set books the most. But whether they’re all out historical fiction or not, I love books with a historic atmosphere and historic themes, no matter which time or place.
Recs: The Alienist by Caleb Carr, The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Names on a Map by Benjamin Alire Saenz, classics by Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Oscar Wilde, to name a few.
The second I see a book is set at a boarding school or university I am already 85% invested. Give me those snooty, rich teenagers at their all boy boarding school. Give me pretentious, broke college students who attend a red brick university in New England. I love the conventions of the characters we seem to get in these types of settings- jerk students who take part in questionable activities and manage to wrestle their way my heart. I love these kinds of settings and I love the conventions of them. Bonus points if there’s something vaguely paranormal going on. And let’s not forget our fun magical boarding schools. Books that boast these kinds of settings are on my TBR in .5 seconds.
Recs: The Secret History by Donna Tartt, A Great and Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.
I love settings and characters and plots that are dreary and misty and moody. Chilly and cloudy and autumnal. Full of richly colored nature and rustling leaves. Perfect descriptions of silence. Shadowy streets and lamp posts in the fog. Something’s haunted or seems haunted. Probably set somewhere north. Could be in a city, could be in the middle of nowhere, I’m not picky as long as it’s spooky. Bonus: a good dark cover.
Recs: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Greek Mythology retelling/theme
I love Greek mythology and I love retellings of them of any kind, whether they’re set in ancient times, modern times, or anywhere in between. If it’s not a retelling, mythological themes are more than enough to pull me in. And while Greek mythology is my favorite, I love venturing into other mythologies as well. Mythology is just so much fun.
Recs: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, An Arrow’s Flight by Mark Merlis, Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
Do you know how hard it was for me not to list The Secret History, The Raven Cycle, and even Harry Potter in nearly every category? It is truly no wonder they are some of my favorite books. It was hard to not overlap most of these books!
Do any of my buzzwords peak your interest? What are some buzzwords that catch your eye?