Discussion: Book Trend Burnout

Confession Time:  This discussion post only happened because I saw these cute medical icons Designed by Freepik and was determined to use them somehow 😛  But I hope this is still a valid bookish topic haha.

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What is this strange disease and do you have it?  Read on to find out, my friend!

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Book Trend Burnout:  When a reader encounters a specific storyline, trope or characters so many times during their reading experience that they decide to quit that genre forever.

Sound extreme? I’ve certainly contemplated doing so more than once.  If Goodreads or my twitter feed is any indication, I am not alone in this predicament.  There really can be too much of a good thing, once 1984 and Brave New World were my favourite classics – making me mad for the dystopia genre.  Now that it’s become a buzz word, I think twice before purchasing a book featuring it on the blurb.

I would love to judge a book purely on its own merits, but it’s so easy to get jaded when it feels like the plot line has been done a hundred times before.

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Known symptoms of the conditions are as follow:

  • Eye rolling when you read taglines promising this book to be “Twilight Meets The Hunger Games”.
  • Onset of headache every time you try to differentiate this new book release with another twenty books with similar premises, released all in the same year.
  • Yawning as you read the latest buzz book because, haven’t you seen this all before?
  • Inability to be surprised by most ‘plot twists’ as everything’s become expected.
  • The sense of deja vu when  you start a new book, as it uncannily resemble something else you recently read.
  • Scoffing when you find another love triangle midway through your latest read.
  • Blurred vision and confusion as you browse the YA section of your book store: unable to find the books you want in the sea of Twilight/Hush.Hush/The Selection cover lookalikes.
  • Infrequency in your reward of the coveted five stars review.
  • You start writing dispassioned blog posts regarding the over proliferation of love triangles, bad boys, Mary Sues, and book trends (hee) to find the similarly ailed.

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  • The Bloodsucking Days when Twilight, Vampire Academy, Sookie Stackhouse, Evernight, Morganville Vampires, House of Night, etc… all took over your book store.  Every second book I picked up were black/white with colour accent.
  • The Year of the Fallen Angels where nephilims and stolen wings were running rampant: see Hush,Hush, Fallen, Angelfall, Unearthly, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the ever popular Mortal Instrument Series.
  • When The Hunger Games spawned countless other dystopia, some with believable settings, some just plain absurd. As Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Selection, Matched, The Chemical Gardens, Legend, all started rolling out – I got so cynical I actually stopped reading YA for a while.
  • I then came back to YA just as the manic pixie dream girl and terminal illnesses starts making its rounds everywhere.  I have largely avoided these books, so I don’t have much of an opinion on them.
  • Current outbreak seems to be fairy tale retellings, I still love them to be quite honest and I hope to remain optimistic on this front.

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  • Read a trendy book with great reviews: Despite the tone of this post, I actually have some love for book trends.  For one, the books that are released are usually solid, I actually love some of the dystopia The Hunger Games has paved the way for e.g. Red Rising is my favourite read this year.  Without these trends, some of our most beloved books may not be published,
  • Ignore the blurb/cover and give the book a chance anyway:  Blurbs and covers are marketing tools, they’re meant to entice readers looking for something similar to the latest hype.  However, the content is usually quite different, writers all create their own world.  E.g. Though it was marketed as TFIOS x Eleanor and Park, I freaking adored All The Bright Places – it feels sufficiently different from both to me.
  • Go read what you want: This is the easiest thing to do, your time is precious and there are so many books to be read – go and explore a different genre and come back when you feel compelled to join the hype train once more.

Do you guys identify with any of the above?  What are your own treatments for a book trend burnout?

94 thoughts on “Discussion: Book Trend Burnout

  1. I need to write a post on this because it’s so true. The one I seem to be avoiding for now is dystopia until I hear of a more unique story. Love triangles are getting a bit tiring too though but they seem to be much harder to avoid. I’m still a fan of vampire books (not all though) and I was never big into the whole fallen angels thing so I’m still catching up with them. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of fairy tale retellings because some of them can be pretty unique (like CInder!). One trend I’ll never get tired of is books about the Gods. Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, Tiger’s Saga and the Blackwell Chronicles will forever be favourites and I’ll always be excited for a new book like these to come out.
    If you’re really getting tired of all these trends I’d suggest The Kiss of Deception or Sea of Shadows if you haven’t already read them. Both great and unique books (so far). Great post!!

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    • The Kiss of Deception is definitely on my to read now, thanks for the rec!

      Dystopia is a difficult one, I think a lot of settings just doesn’t make sense so that’s why I avoided them. Plus the original intention of dystopia was to make social commentary but a lot of the releases seem to forget that or are too ham handed about how the approach it.

      I’m warming up to urban fantasy books again after a long break, such as vampire books.

      I agree I will always enjoy fairy tale and mythology retellings – I think it’s because of rich source materials and people have been adapting them for centuries already!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, can’t wait to see your post on this 🙂

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      • I feel like I have a love/hate thing going with dystopia. I just find that they’re all exactly the same. There’s a character who doesn’t like how the world works and starts a rebellion which they win. I’m getting bored. Another one you can try is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s the best dystopia I’ve read in a while.

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      • Red Rising is my favourite dystopia in recent memory. Great rec 😉 I love dystopia when it’s done well so I wish my brain wasn’t so picky, as I don’t want to miss a really good book due to burnout haha. But I guess I’ll have the book community alerting me to a great new release.

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  2. This is a great point. I’m currently suffering from a romance-burnout so I’m reading lots of books from other genres to cleanse my palate, sort of.
    I hope the fairytale trend (which is on the rise, definitely!) will stay original – there are so very many fairytales to retell and then there are a million ways of doing that, but I guess that there’s a limit to how many Cinderella stories I can read in a year! 🙂

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    • I am a sucker for romance at the end of it, but I just don’t like when it’s forced into the storyline – I want my romance to be there because the characters needed it, not because marketing needed it, you know?

      I agree, I especially love retellings of lesser known fairy tale such as The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness. Though stories like Cinderella are harder to avoid because there is some elements of the rags-to-riches plot in many stories! I hope the fairy tale retellings stay true instead of succumbing to marketing factors as well.

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  3. YES! Dystopian is getting on my nerve. When I first heard of the Hunger Games I was “meh” about it. Then I read the first book and was very disappointed. Then Divergent, another supposedly “promising read” which turned out to be really boring. To be honest, the only dystopian I read and like very much is probably Legend By Marie Lu. It just so frustrating. >.<

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    • I definitely have to check out Legend, then! I guess partly the hype ruins it as well – but it’s also half baked stories that gets printed off the press just because it’s trendy that annoys me!

      I also recommend Red Rising by Pierce Brown, it’s an awesome dystopia 😀

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  4. My only treatment is RUN AWAY RUN AWAY SCREAMING. Which is…bad. And not very helpful. xD AHEM. But yesss, I got so burnt with dystopian. I really felt they were dragging half-done, not-well-cooked books off the printing press jus tin order to cash in on the HungerGames tidal wave. And it’s not okay. Books need to be super high quality. And one should be published on TALENT and ability to tell a good story…not because they happened to write the right genre. >_> (But I’m with you and haven’t burnt out of fairy tales yet!!! YAY.)

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    • YES! That’s exactly how I feel sometimes about both the publishing and movie industry – all these books/films being vomited out not because they’re brilliant but because they are trendy makes me so sad. With movies it’s superheroes, with books it’s all of the things I mention above. Gah! I just want the big wigs to realise we still appreciate originality – truly! We don’t always need sequels or the latest spin off of a popular franchise, give some other writer or author a chance!

      Running away screaming is sometimes the only thing you can do though haha! I can get behind that plan XD

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    • Same, a dystopia based on personality type sounds way too contrived – though I’m tempted to see the movie haha.

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  5. I remember reading so many vampire books 4 or 5 years ago that right now I am not able to read one! And I’ve yet to read books on angels because they aren’t really my cup of tea, but hearing great things about the Mortal Instruments and Angelfall make me want to try them.

    Also I’ve heard AMAZHANG things on the Lunar Chronicles series so I really want to get on the ride!

    This post was so great! ❤

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    • Angelfall is a great fallen angel book, I enjoyed it a lot! I couldn’t get into TMI but it has bucketload of fans so definitely should try it as well.

      The Lunar Chronicles is great especially because of the creativity and the diversity in the characters! Snow White is dark skinned, Cinderella is Asian, I love it!

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it Melanie.

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  6. I had this problem when I read YA books one after the other, which is why every time I encounter love triangles, I roll my eyes, stop reading the book for a while, and go to a different genre. Then I come back to the book when I’m less irritable, lol. I have tried to avoid most of the trends during the season where they get super-hyped, which is probably why it’s taken me this long to read Divergent, or why I’m only now just in love with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, or why I have yet to pick up Red Queen and Snow Like Ashes. Fairy tale retellings, though…I love them to pieces and will always find myself gravitating towards them (even though I’ve read pretty bad ones mixed in with the awesome).

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    • YA does seem particularly susceptible to trends as a genre, I guess it’s because the passionate young fans quickly turn their love viral and series become such cash cows, the publishers can’t help but want more.

      I still haven’t read Divergent due to dystopia overload, but Red Rising was a great dystopian series! Daughter of Smoke and Bone has such beautiful writing, I hope you continue to enjoy it!

      Fairy tale retellings have been pretty solid as a genre, and it’s an ongoing trend that’s getting a resurgence! The only ones I dislike are the ones that don’t deviate from the original storyline at all haha.

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      • Red Rising is on my TBR! I’m in the middle of the last book of Divergent and had to put it down for a bit, not so much because of the romance but because the dystopia got a bit convoluted for me, lol. I probably should finish it though, I got this far…

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  7. Wow! Great post! I agree with the previous outbreaks and I think fairy tale retellings have already ended because I couldn’t find any more new releases of them.I’m curious to know what’ll be the next outbreak. 😀

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    • There are still a couple more coming out like Ash & Bramble (Cinderella), Shadow Queen (Snow White), A Thousand Kingdoms (1001 Nights), A Whole New World (Aladdin) – but I guess fairy tale retellings have been around for so long it’s less a trend and more just getting resurgence in popularity 😀

      I wonder the same, I think it might be YA high fantasy due to the successes of Throne of Glass and the likes – lots of releases next year seem to be of the high fantasy type. Which works for me because I adore that genre.

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      • I love reading books from fantasy genre and it’s my favorite genre too.I know some of the books you’ve mentioned but I didn’t know about Aladdin and snow white I need to check them out.I don’t mind if the next outbreak is of High fantasy genre I can never get enough of them. 😀

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  8. I definitely felt this way when I read Red Queen! I really wanted to like the book, but for me, because it was published after the hype and craze of dystopian fiction it didn’t seem so unique and wonderful as Divergent and Hunger Games had as they were the first of the phase. Love this post.

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    • I saw Red Queen getting a lot of bad reviews due to how similar it was to other books, it’s definitely a book that suffered from the effect of burnout haha. Glad you enjoyed this post!

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  9. This was the best! I’ve been suffering like this and never knew what I was ailing from. Thank yo Dr. Aentee for the diagnosis.

    On a side note, a couple months ago I had a huge slump and couldn’t get out of it. I really tried to read the books everyone was talking about but the hype was just too much. I clearly have to wait for the hype to die before I actually get to read it. Can the hype really ruin a book for people? Is that a negative aspect to the marketing model?

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    • Glad to have diagnosed you! Hee!

      I think the marketing model where they pump out more of the same popular stuff works for most casual consumers of books – since a lot of people read one book a month or less. But for people who read 15+ books a month like bloggers, the trend is very obvious and it tires you out. At least we are still small time bloggers who don’t get sent ARCs for review… I feel for the bigger names who are trapped by their ARC schedule and can’t escape easily from the trends even if they want to.

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      • Plus you can’t post ARC reviews until it’s closer to the pub date, meanwhile your blog schedule stagnate – it’s so tough I don’t know how the veteran bloggers do it XD; Netgalley is way too tempting, I must put a ban from visiting that site haha.

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      • I’ve only had this blog for a bit less than 2 months, so I still have plenty of time to frolick *twirls* Harper Voyager Aus approached me the other day to offer me review copies, I was both honoured and scared cos… my reading schedule XD

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      • Definitely! My advice is to use twitter as a tool for connecting to pub, tweet your positive reviews. That’s how they found me!

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      • I would tag the author and publisher if I loved the book. Just do it once though don’t spam them haha.

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      • No worries, your blog is fantastic, we will both achieve our blogging success one day *nods confidently*!

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      • I think your banner looks great at the moment! I’m scheduling a blogpost where I list my favourite fonts and graphics design tip, so I hope that will help 🙂

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      • I think your blog and graphics look great as is tbh haha, but at the end of it – graphics is just a perk – the content matters more, and you have plenty of that 😉

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      • I’ve stalked a lot of blogs and I think content still comes out on too haha. The best way to approach designs if you aren’t too confident with it is just to use one template for everything- it also helps brand the look of your site. E.g Nosegraze, Deadly Darling, Paper Fury etc are all very popular sites but they use just one simple, eye catching text only template for their heading graphics. It works because I immediately know it’s them and click when I see the pic. So graphics really does not have to be complicated! Don’t despair 😀

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  10. Reblogged this on Pause & Refresh and commented:
    And here I thought I was the only one suffering this! All symptoms and all genres mentioned. But I’m still not quite regretful it happened, since this burnout actually what made me had that little reading hiatus and finally continuing with a new genre/author(s) that I’m currently in love: Murakami’s and Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist (Mitch Albom’s The Time Traveller also had a deep impact to me during those times).

    I’m still a “patient”, so to say and I’m not in a hurry to get cured but I do read a few trendy books that friends have recommended (which are only Eleanor and Park, Divergent and TFIOS) but I somehow bought myself Red Queen without any idea that it was a trending book (like, how much of a coincidence is it in getting a trendy book that I was avoiding in the first place?) and I’m considering “All the Bright Places” as well (of course, getting influenced by Aentee is a whole different thing, haha!) so maybe one day I might get back to YA… but for now just thinking about it… is kind of impossible. I’ll stick to what I’m comfortable with for now since time is getting more limited for me anyways. Gotta make every word count!

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    • Thanks for the reblog Nurul ❤

      I ADORE Murakami, can't get enough of his work – I'm learning Japanese at the moment and have the lofty dream to be able to read his books in his native tongue one day (never gonna happen as my Japanese skills are mainly limited to reading food menus haha). I'll have to check out Paul Coelho's book on your recommendation!

      I think you should hold off reading Red Queen if you're still burned out from dystopia as a lot of plot elements are uncannily similar to The Hunger Games… I personally enjoyed it but it was also the first dystopia I read in a year. All The Bright Places is unique despite the marketing tag lines for it!

      I understand completely in wanting to only read the books that seem to be worth your time, life is too precious to waste haha.

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      • It’s worth the reblog because it’s so relatable haha! Also because you wrote it in an amazingly fun way, I enjoyed reading it.

        Well you know what they say, all you ever need for language is to read off the menu (oh wait is that just me?) but on a serious note I do hope you’ll get to read Murakami in Japanese! As much as I love Jay Rubin’s translations, I do believe that sometimes, somehow, there are parts that are lost in translation or perhaps the translation just can’t emulate the stroke of beauty in Murakami’s Japanese style that made him the famed J.K.R of Japan. Maybe I should join you in your dream in reading his original work! (yelp, although that would probably lessen the time that I already have for reading haha!)

        The Alchemist is amazing! It’s a light read but the gems are all over the place. I first borrowed it from the library (I’m a library reader rather than a book buyer actually) and I loved it so much that I bought it for myself. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I (even if it’s not SFF nor YA) but if it wasn’t for you (in which I would still love to read your review on it) I hope you find at least one or two things to learn from it.

        I know right?? I’ve been having the burnout since the very start of the hyped genres (I mean I’ve only read the trendsetters and that’s it) and reading Red Queen was like going through Hunger Games and Divergent again. (Even though I actually forgot like 90% of what happened in HG I guess the feeling and elements were still there in RQ)

        What a coincidence! It was also the first dystopia for me in a little more than a year and I do personally enjoyed it. But that’s probably because I was smitten by Maven, haha! I saw through all the plot twists and there are moments where I was like “okay this is not original at all” but I nevertheless gave the author credit in making me enjoy it especially because it was her debut novel (I’m personally tired of trilogies/series though, I just want a good stand-alone read! and my wallet will thank you for it!).

        Oooh I’m excited to get my hands on ATBP then! I wonder if the library has it… XD

        Especially so when in uni! I applause those who can still read 10+ books a month when I can barely read 3. I miss my old reading habits.

        (Sorry for this extra long wall of text, I got too excited haha)

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  11. This is a really nice discussion post (like the rest of them), Aentee! Personally, I’ve never suffered from book trend burnout but I see many bloggers in the blogosphere that have been. However, instead of it being from the hype, I am a little hesitant with dystopia and thrillers just because I didn’t like that many books from those genres.

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    • You seem like a wise woman Summer, basically the only person I know who follows her own reading schedule – the rest of us gets pulled into hype so easily haha.

      I understand completely, I stay away from most contemporary despite the popularity of the genre because I can’t seem to get into it XD

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      • I’m just a normal girl, haha, but thank you for the kind compliment! As for contemporary, I totally get it. I’m a Sarah Dessen fan but even her books can be a hit or miss for me. Now that I think about it I can’t even list 5 contemporary titles I loved that aren’t Dessen’s work. I guess I’m a pretty picky reader! 😛

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  12. Oh no I guess I do have book trend burnout. I have almost all the symptoms you listed. I guess that is why I’ve really curbed my YA reading in the last year and have become very picking in the YA I choose to pick up. Honestly, there are only so many love triangles I can sit through. And ARRRGH I don’t mind the ____ meets ____ description or “the next Hunger Games!” comparisons I see on blurbs so much but only if they make even a smidgen of an attempt to be accurate.

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    • When you become an established blogger like yourself, burn out is inevitable as the publishers send you all the trendy ARCs XD I agree, instalove and love triangles make me want to DNF these days, why will that trend not die a quiet death?

      I slander the X meets Y description, but I am totally susceptible to that marketing ploy – I purchased The Dinosaur Lords because of the ‘Jurassic Park meets GoT’ tagline XD

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  13. I don’t think I’m suffering from burnout *yet,* but I definitely feel like my eyes glaze over sometimes at bookstores. When you’re looking at a wall of girls in pretty dresses or dreary landscapes, it’s a challenge to decide which book is worth selecting from the sea of sameness.

    I haven’t even read that many dystopia books, but I hear so much about them that it kind of makes me turn my bookish eyes in another direction. I’ll probably read a few here and there, but it’s not something I want to read over and over again.

    And please no more love triangles!

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    • Yes, it was so hard for covers to stand out a couple of years back, but I feel the cover designers have really up their game this year. They are all beautiful and largely distinct now.

      I actually saw a lot of people who still adore love triangles popping up today, I honestly didn’t know they existed lmao. But good on them, but I prefer my books without, thanks!

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    • I was on an adult paranormal binge two years ago and I still can’t bear to look at another UF book haha. Doesn’t help that those series have so many books each, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole!!

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  14. I totally agree with you, those graphics are terribly cute! Such an interesting topic, I actually haven’t read a lot of dystopian in the recent years so I feel the total opposite! But I do have a tad bit of burnout lately from reading too much contemporary recently 😦

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    • I hope you enjoy Divergent since I know you just got that recently 🙂 It’s the opposite for me, I think I need to take a breather by reading contemporary romance. Maybe we’ll swap genres for a while haha.

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    • Oh no!! I am still not sick of dragon books. If you are ever in the mood for one again, I highly recommend Temeraire: the main dragon is an adorable bookworm!

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  15. Glad to see you enjoyed it 😀 It’s actually quite difficult for me to come up with discussion posts that are different, so I’m so happy you like mine!

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  16. Oh this is such an awesome post!! I had an idea to similar to this (discussing genre trends) but it never came to fruition. I like this one much better!! I think right now we’re stuck in a fairytale-retelling trend. I see pirates and fantasy novels becoming more prevalent next year. Also mental illness books and contemporary in general is on the rise. I’m so glad the fallen angel stage is over. I liked some of them, but a lot were misses for me. Haha oh those vampire days… There was a smaller werewolf trend too. xD Epically wonderful post!!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    • Thanks Rachel! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post as I often love the discussion on your own blog. I hope you’re right with your trend forecast, I would love to see more fantasy in YA as it’s my favourite genre 🙂

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  17. Love your use of those medical icons. YES I get burned out on cliched trends and want something fresh and new and exiting.

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    • Thanks Julie! I recommend authors like Catherynne Valente- her books are always so unique, never get bored with her offerings!!

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  18. Some graphics demand to be used! As far as book trends, the sad fact is that we don’t read each book in isolation. I think it’s easier to avoid “burnout” when I’m reading from multiple genres, or at least very different stories, but it can still happen. I rarely cut out a genre or sub-genre forever, but I do tend to get pickier about what I read in that genre. Though I’m pretty picky to begin with.

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    • You’re absolutely right Kel, a varied book diet is a must in avoiding exhaustion haha. I need to take your advice because I read way too much fantasy and dystopia XD I also request from Netgalley a bit in a fit of greed and then have second thoughts – though now I must read them all *cries*.

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      • I know how you feel! I tend to read tons of fantasy and sometimes have to take a break and pick up chick lit or a mystery instead. And yes, request binge-ing is a problem. I used to request like crazy because I was never approved for anything. Then I started getting approved (still shocked) and had to get picky in a hurry. Especially since I usually finish all review copies out of guilt. 😉

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      • I know right! I used to be rejecting on every second title but I recently got 4 approvals in one go – yay, but so much catching up I have to do, haha.

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  19. Go for reading what you want. I know that I got a burnout over post-apocalyptic, dystopian, utopian settings. I had to go to another genre for refuge! But it’s true, though, that most of those hyped releases are solid. I am picky with dystopian genres, though. I usually dive in without reading the synopsis. Fantastic discussion!

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    • Great idea Dre, I need to experiment with other genre before I am sick of my much beloved fantasy! I’m someone that reads based on general consensus and review rather than covers as well, I like not really knowing anything about a book before I dive in! Thanks for commenting and I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!

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  20. I seem to feel this book burnout not with trends, but when I read books of the same genre in succession. I spent the the end of January and the beginning of February reading a bunch of heavy issue contemporaries and now I’ve largely avoided reading any more. I seem to be in a fantasy kick right now so I hope I don’t end up getting burnt out by that genre. That would royally suck.
    I do agree with the burnout for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing though. I’ve read like three books with it and I’m sick of it already. It’s the new thing that I can’t stand seeing in contemporary books. For me I’d rather see a love triangle than a Manic Pixie Dream Girl xD
    Cute post!

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    • The only genre I seem to be able to read consistently without getting burnout is fantasy *touch wood* I’ve been reading it solidly for years now and my love does not wane. My August is stacked with fantasy as well. I am so one note haha.

      Manic pixie dream girls are the actual worst, they might be worse than Mary Sues. I blame John Green and his ridiculously popular books (though a bit unfair of me as I’ve never read any of them)

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    • YA adventures in half formed worlds are the freaking worse, it makes me even more pissed off than a book without an interesting premise. All that waste potential makes me seethe haha.

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  21. Awesome discussion Aentee! This is something that I’ve definitely experienced with dystopias in particularly, and I guess it can be difficult these days when there have been so many coming out to find something truly ‘different’. Even so, there have been some gems out there which still stand out amongst the crowd. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • Thanks Eugenia, dystopia went through a really horrible phase of over publication and hype, hopefully now that it’s largely died down we will have some order back in the world 🙂

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  22. I can totally relate to that book trend burn out, first the paranormals, then the dystopias, now the contemporaries! Can’t I just read something unique for once? And even if it’s not in my usual genre, I end up loving it more! Man we have a really similar taste in books which excites me, I loved ATBP as well and Red rising is one of my favourites!

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    • YAY Red Rising is the best, I get ridiculously happy when I hear someone else enjoys it, you obviously have great tastes and we should become BFF forever.

      I know, but every time I get burned out I thankfully read a book that makes me love the genre, and then the cycle starts again! WHY PUBLISHING COMPANY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT?

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