Thursday, May 02, 2013

Book Girls Don’t Cry: Genres – From Hot to Not

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Inspired by Book Buzzers, Book Girls Don’t Cry is a weekly feature where we each discuss/vent/advise on the chosen weekly bookish topic. Don’t miss Jenni on Mondays, and Amy on Saturdays:

From Hot to Not Anymore!

Book trends! From insta-love to love triangles to vampire romance; trends are vicious, but today we’re talking book genres! We want to know what you’re tired of, what you can’t seem to get enough of, and what you think the future holds!

Tiresome genres are not unheard of. How about dystopias? Anyone? Personally, I am so very tired of this genre, now. I was the biggest fan of dystopias when I began my blog not even 2 years ago, even now I get excited when I hear of a new one coming out (like a habit I can’t break), but it seems like those I’ve read lately have been nothing more than yet another regurgitated dystopian. I’ve been slowly getting sicker and sicker of the genre for a while now. Either everything has been done, or originality is being put aside for quantity. Within the last year, a lot of dystopians I’ve read have left me especially underwhelmed with a bad taste in my mouth, even, and it’s getting worse, guys! Here are some of the fails I’ve come upon in the last year (which, if you have not read as many as I did maybe you would enjoy them, but… maybe not.)

Dystopian fails:

Just to make sure I make myself clear:


Now for a side note, I do not list dystopians and post apocalyptic books together. To me they’re completely different. I know some have different ways of differentiating the two; mine is this: Dystopians are–usually years–after whatever caused the drastic change in their way of life; may it be war, an epidemic, whatever. Society has reformed, and they are living in this changed world, sometimes in the guise of a utopia, and usually amidst a corrupt government–the government are more often than not the “bad guys” of the book/series. For example: The Hunger Games, The Uglies, and all of the above. Those are dystopians.

Post apocalyptic books, to me, are either during, or immediately after the apocalypse where the story is about survival of this world’s end as we know it. It rarely includes a government entity, so the “bad guys” in these books are the force behind the apocalypse itself (aliens, zombies, etc–and/or other survivors). For example: As the World Dies, The 5th Wave, Ashfall. While I’m tired of dystopias, I’m still going strong on post apocalyptic novels. To me their vibe is much different, plus they’re not as overflowing on the new-releases shelves each week. To conclude:  

Dystopian=Refer to above giant word — Post-apocalyptic=Win!

Julie Kagawa and Teach Mentor Texts posted about this difference and my views and theirs are exactly the same.  Anyways, I know some may have different definitions for the genres, but this is mine, and with that said:

Awesome post apocalyptic books I’ve read in the past year:
What’s HOT now?  

Contemporaries (esp in New Adult)! I have almost loved every contemporary I’ve been reading lately–just like I was with dystopias 2 years ago. So maybe this is a bad sign for 2 years from now, but hey I’ll enjoy it while I can, eh? 😉

My favorite contemporary reads this year (see how many more there are!? :D):

I want to know what you think! Any genre you’re sick of?
What’s become your favorite book genre lately?

Let me know your favorite books in it!

Also, don’t forget to leave suggestions for future topics you’d like to see! 🙂

You know you love me!
Xoxo, Book Girl!
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

Latest posts by Giselle (see all)

50 Responses to “Book Girls Don’t Cry: Genres – From Hot to Not”

  1. maya

    Oh my god, I finished The 5th Wave yesterday and it’s just amazing! I can’t believe we have to wait a whole year for the sequel 🙁

  2. Dani

    Just finish This Is Not A Test… LOVED IT! I agree with your views on Dystopians and Post-Apoc. Post-Apoc is also my favorite because we as a reader are get caught up in the hustle that’s unfloding in front of us. Although I still manage to find Dystopians I adore.

  3. Nick

    I definitely share the same thoughts as you on this. Dystopian was one of my favorite genre when I started blogging, but now if I hear a book is dystopian, I tread very warily. >.<
    BLEH is perfect to describe those HT books! 😛
    I haven’t read many post-apocalyptic books to be honest, but I will take those books you’ve posted into consideration.
    Also, contemporary is definitely my favorite genre at the moment. It’s all I want to read because it’s all that makes me happy.
    I also have had much success with high fantasy and historical YA. The books that I’ve read haven’t disappointed me at all!
    Great post, Giselle!

  4. Jenea Whittington

    I think that with all the dystopians out there right now, it is becoming harder to find one that just grabs me and puts me on the edge of my seat like they first did. The contemporary’s are the ones that I have been enjoying more lately. I do want top read the 5th Wave and soon. If You Find Me and Hopeless were wonderful, but I haven’t had a chance to read Easy or This Is Not A Test. Hopefully soon. I do have Sins and Needles though. 😀

  5. Holly Letson

    Just out of sheer curiosity, since I keep seeing the term pop up “everywhere”, what is the definition of contemporary when applied to books? I somewhat think it means “romance”. But, I know that–when applied to music–it means what is popular right now. I just can’t see that meaning being applied to books.

    Sorry if this a bit off-topic.

    • Giselle

      A contemporary fiction is a book that is set in the time it was written (so not in a historical nor a futuristic) with no element of science fiction, paranormal or anything that could not really happen. Another word often used is realistic fiction. It can be a romance but it can also be a mystery, a thriller, a drama, etc.

  6. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I’m feeling very wishy-washy about these two genres lately. Some books I read are great, some I just can’t even finish. And I do agree about the labeling — some books are post-apocalyptic, some are dystopian and some are both.

  7. Amy

    I’m so over dystopians too, but I always hope that that next new one that comes out is really awesome and have to get my hands on it. Lol!! I’m glad that you finally jumped aboard the contemporary genre though. I have been loving them since I became obsessed a little over a year ago.

  8. Ashley

    I still like a dystopian book when I can get a good one.. but it does seem that there are fewer and fewer good ones out there. 🙁 But I’m totally rocking the contemporary genre right now too! When I get sick or burnt out of reading, I ALWAYS turn back to contemporaries and I love nearly all of them.

  9. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I definitely agree with your differentiation on dystopia and post apoc, some people think otherwise? O.o I did not know this. Anyway, I am so over dystopians too and paranormals it seems. It’s funny because I was a huge paranormal fan and now the ones I like are making fun of them (see Fang Girl!) hahaha Great post chickie!

  10. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    Ah, yes, New Adult contemporaries seem to be everywhere these days. I’m already kind of tired of them, to be honest.
    As for dystopias, it takes a lot to make me want to read one these days. I’ve only read Taken out of those four above, and it was enough torture to last me a lifetime.
    Truth be told, urban fantasy is the only genre I never tired of.

  11. Ali Ginger-Read

    Genres, in general, irk me. I wish that book publishing was more like movie rating. I understand that there needs to be a distinction between childrens/ YA/ Adult, etc. But there is entirely too much labeling in the book world and I think books get pigeon holed. I don’t need a movie trailer to tell me that it is going to science fiction or a romance or whatever. Why do my books need to be labeled? If the synopsis is written well enough, I’ll know. Just tell me it’s G, PG, NC-17, R or X. So, I can avoid G, at all cost and sneak some X every so often. 😉 Okay, ranting done.

  12. Christina

    I was one of the biggest fans of the dystopian genre, and if you asked me a few months ago, my response would be different, but I’m sick of it now. However, I will continue to add them to my to-read list, because when they’re awesome, they’re the best. However, most of them are poorly written, lack world building, and have characters so flat they’re literally one-dimensional.

    The worst thing is LOOK HOW FUCKING PRETTY ALL THE COVERS ON THOSE FAILS OF YOURS ARE. They’re the flame and we’re the moth, killed by badness over and over again.

    Post-apocalyptic does generally seem to be the stronger of the two, though my definition is different than yours. No big, though. Why is Feed not in the awesome post-apocs list? WHY?

    Contemporary is totally awesome. I only just found my love of it.


  13. Alexa Y.

    Honestly, the one genre I have yet to get sick of is fantasy! Most of the ones I read are books I liked, or really liked, or really LOVED. I doubt I’ll ever get sick of fantasy, because that’s my first love!

    Contemporaries are usually books that toe the line for me. I’ve loved some very remarkable ones, but I also find ones that just don’t do it for me, so it’s still pretty questionable

    As for dystopians/post-apocalyptic, I don’t read too many, so I’m really still enjoying most of them!

  14. Becca Lostinbooks

    While I still enjoy good dystopians, I completely agree that originality has been cut in exchange for jumping on the trend bandwagon. I don’t even know if authors and publishers even care half the time what they are putting out there as long as it makes them money.

    I cannot usually get into contemporaries. I guess I want to read to escape into a totally different world and contemporaries are the world I am already in. If I want that, I read nonfiction and learn something about my world, you know?

    I am really against trends anyways. It can be a fantastic book but if it is coming along during or at the tail end of a trend not many people will read it because they are bored to death of those type of books.

  15. Ellen Alwaysyaatheart

    I really like the way you differentiated between dystopian and post-apocalyptic. I have found many of the dystopian books this year not living up to my expectations. In fact, I am a little nervous about how I am going to like Veronica Roth’s next book. I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I love all the NA contemporary romances to, though I have read one or two lately that seem to be a lot like others I previously read. Nonetheless, I will keep going with the flow of that also. I find the contemporaries are what I am enjoying most at the moment, though I do still like to mix it up and read a paranormal romance, thriller, dystopian, or post-apocalyptic to. Great post and discussion.

  16. Sirtsu

    I want more originality – that’s the main problem for me. And characters who are relatable. I think Jenni explained the relatable and unrelatable characters perfectly. I like zombies. Not that I have read that many lately, but I think they’re different and it suits for me. Tired of vampires -.- Unless it has a different spin on ’em. I’m glad you’re in a great relationship with NA contemps though. I’m kinda getting tired of them. They’re all the same for me lately and it’s hard to seek out something really different.

  17. Megan Hand

    Awesome post! And so true!! I am definitely getting tired of the love triangle fad, the insta-love fad, but MOST OF ALL, I AM TIRED OF SERIES!!! Please, please, please. I just want one book that finishes a story. Even Abbi Glines is splitting hers now, and it just seems like a ploy (even though I love her books) It’s severely tiresome to have to read 2-3 books to get an entire story. That being said, I do still read them and get sucked up into the drama and need for the next book. I have to say my most anticipated finish this year is for the Breathing Series by Rebecca Donovan. Wow. I have loved every minute of both of those books, and I’m seriously chomping at the it for the last one. I’m sure it will be greatly satisfying 🙂 I also love the contemporary is having its time in the light. It deserves it, and it’s been on the backburner to paranormal for a while. Kudos!

  18. Carissa St. Amand

    Personally I’m pretty tired of all those genres above. Dystopia has gotten overdone, post-apocalyptic is starting to go that way, and I’m not a fan of NA or contemporary really.

    Though I think I’m feeling that way because I have a secret agenda! I want fantasy, old school high fantasy to make a come-back. *Sigh* A girl can dream right? 😛

    I’m just curious about the next big trend. I thought it’d be scifi for a while, but post-ap is kind of broadening into that, so I doubt it now. I definitely think NA will be sticking around for a bit, but I don’t think it’ll last too long. Maybe we’ll get a bunch of superhero books 😛 Who knows!

  19. Steena

    I’ve tried with Contemporaries, I really have but just uhg. It is not the genre for me. I will keep trying because there are a few that work but I’m not a big fan of “issues” books and unless there’s an element of the fanciful in a contemporary (Sarah Addison Allen, Maggie Stiefvater) I just get bored.

  20. Megan K.

    I have to admit that dystopians are getting out of style! There are still some pretty good ones, though, but their time is coming to an end. Bahahaha! You seem to have had some really back luck with dystopians lately, Giselle. Hopefully your next read in that genre will help to revive your love/like for it. Yes to post-apocalyptic books, though! I really need to read The 5th Wave, but I loved This is Not a Test so, so much.

    I’ve been reading really good contemporaries lately as well! Not New Adult, though I’m hoping Hopeless and The Sea of Tranquility will change that (I’ll be reading them next), but yeah, it definitely seems as though contemporaries are taking the book world over by storm!

  21. playingjokers

    I went through a bout of reading a ton of YA dystopia back to back last year. It was bad because it definitely made me feel harsher towards the later ones. It gets repetitive and you definitely get burned out on a genre. Goodreads last year had a pretty cool graphic where they analyzed the trend of interest in dystopia. It almost always increases after the world shifts, so after WWII, and currently after 9/11, but then falls after a little while.

  22. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    I’m not really tired of any genres, but it’s probably because I don’t get to read nearly as much as you do! The one genre I really can’t get into, though, is contemporary. And it seems to be EVERYWHERE! I seriously feel like the only one who isn’t into contemporary and it makes me sad. But I just can’t bring myself to read them, most of the time. 🙁

  23. Sara @ Forever 17 Books

    Yeah, I’m starting to drift away from dystopians. I still add them to my TBR and get excited but I don’t seem to be picking them up as much. I’ve definitely been more into contemps lately, as well as topics such as parallel worlds. That’s huge for me right now. It’s interesting to see how people’s taste can change a bit. 🙂

  24. Sarah Elizabeth

    I’m still loving dystopians! I’m sick of the ‘no sex before marriage’ preaching that I seem to keep coming across – people are capable of making up their own minds without having it shoved down their throats every 5 minutes.

  25. Molli

    Ughhhh, dystopian. I have SUCH a love/hate relationship with dystopian books, plus you’re right. SO many post-apoc/futuristic/science-fiction books are being mis-labeled as dystopian, and given a bad name.

    THG was one of the first dystopians I read as an adult – I’d mostly been reading paranormal romance. It’s STILL the example I think I irrationally hold most similar books to, and well, maybe I’m too harsh, but so many of them have flawed world-building in favor of The Epic Romance or some shit. *barf*

    Contemporary, now. It’s been a love of mine for SO long and I hope both you AND I both love it 2 years from now. 😉

  26. Kristin@BloodSweatandBooks

    I’m really sick of Paranormal Romance. It’s just become repetitive and I’ve noticed truly unique books are harder and harder to find. Contemporary is really hot which sucks for me since I really don’t like the genre and even books with Dystopian, Fantasy or Paranormal twists seem to be favoring a very contemporary approach to the books.

    Great post!

  27. Sapir V

    Great post! I’m sick of paranormal romance books… They are all the same – a very unrealistic romance between a vampire/werewolf/some other creature and a human…
    Ugh. I’m really sick of that.
    Right now, I’m really into conetmporary romance, too. I’ve tried NA but I’m too young for it (I’m only 14), but I just ADORE those YA realistic books.
    I loved If You Find Me too!
    I’m OK with dystopians. Even though I rarely love them the way I did two years ago (after I’ve finished THG), I still find a good one here and there.

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  28. J. Anne Huss

    I wish This Is Not A Test was a book one, because I hated the ending. But other than that, I loved that book. Even my son read that one. And I’m with you on the dystopians, I was never a huge fan, but I’m not really interested in reading them at all now. I have The Hunt on my desk, and I think it might be OK if I could just get into it, but when I have so many other books to choose from, why bother?

    I’m liking contemporaries now, but I’m sick of the same themes over and over again – bad boy, good girl, sex, sex, sex. It’s a cash cow right now – if you write a NACR with hot sex in it, you make money, and that’s exactly what people are doing.

  29. Aman

    NA is definitely a hot genre for me right now. I do get sick of the overly used girl-with-the-tortured-past-meets-new-guy storyline, but if it’s done well like in Hopeless, then I still love it.

  30. Savannah Bookswithbite

    Some of those dystopian fails I love…but still I know that all dystopian books will catch readers. And I’m definitely into the trend of contemporary YA/NA that face real hard issues.

  31. Lauren Elizabeth

    I have to agree, dystopians are getting on my last nerve lately. Post-apocalyptic books are still pretty enjoyable to me when done well (like The 5th Wave and This is Not a Test; I’ll have to check those other two out!). But the most refreshing thing for me to read recently has been fantasy and contemporary. It’s such a nice break! I need to dive more into NA, because I think I really need those sorts of reads in my life right now. Love this topic, great discussion! 🙂

  32. Raine

    I’m still at odds trying to read post-apocalyptic themed books and dystopians ones. Those were great links about the differentiation of the two genres.

  33. Anya @ On Starships and Dragonwings

    Oo, excellent point. I’ve been starting to get burnt out on dystopians, but the survival aspect of the world going bad still excites me! If you’re looking for an adult post-apocalyptic one I loved Dies the Fire a couple years ago!

  34. Eileen

    OOH I agree! I used to LOVVEEE dystopians and I would rate them all really high ratings, but now I hate them all >.< A lot of dystopians used to come out, but now we don't have as many releasing which is good because at least a lot of people recognize the fact that dystopian's aren't as prominent and they don't have as much potential to be original anymore.

    BUT OMG YES TO CONTEMP AND NA! I don’t know who started the trend of contemporaries again, but THANK THE LORD FOR THEIR EXISTENCE! *bows down and worships*

    Fantastic guest post, Giselle! I completely agree with you on every point 🙂

  35. bookittyblog

    Agree!! I think the Dystopian genre is done. At least for me. I wish to see more fantasy and historical/fantasy with New Adult characters! Now that would be fun!

  36. Jade Carroll

    Ahh thank you so much for making that distinction between dystopian and post-apocalypse! I’ve always found it hard to classify these books and you’ve made absolute perfect sense. I’m on the same page as you. Before they overpopulated the book shelves with Dystopian novels, there were some great ones out there, but now I’m hard pressed to find one I can even stand past the first few chapters. Same with young adult urban fantasy. Come on authors out there! Think of something new. I’m so, so very tired of reading about vampires, humans and wolves in a love triangle. Twilight (as much as I’m not a fan) has done that and did a good job of it and no other author is going to do a better job of this love triangle. Please come up with no plots!

  37. Jesse Burgoyne

    Dystopians can be really iffy because most of them follow the exact same protocol. I actually really enjoyed The Hunt and The Ward though. But that could be because I haven’t read many dystopians lately. Urban fantasy and contemporary can get burned out for me. I usually read one or two contemps for every four or five other genres I read. If I read too many they get boring. Especially NA because almost every single one has the same plot and tattooed and broken characters in it. Bleh! And I swear I haven’t read urban fantasy in forever! But for me you can rarely ever go wrong with post apocalyptic! Love love post apocalyptic!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  38. Shooting Stars Mag

    I hope more contemporary novels have greater success. It’s a genre I’ve always loved (and I think it will always keep changing a bit easier than other things, like dystopia…) and I’m sure I always will. Most of my all-time faves are contemporary; I just love the realistic nature of it. But anyway, yeah, I want more contemp novels to have the type of recognition as like John Green, etc. He’s a rarity for contemp I feel. I want New Adult to get bigger too, be published by the top publishers so more people can get their hands on copies!


  39. Melanie

    Wonderfully explained definitions between dystopia and post apocalyptic, Giselle! I am oh so bored of dystopians these days, especially after reading Article 5. I believe I’m going to just never read for for a month. (It’s weird because dystopia was my fav. genre for AGES. I actually just got Ashes of Twilight from my library yesterday so I’m a bit worried about that one now… *bites lip*

    YAY FOR POST APOCALYPTIC! The 5th Wave was too good to be true ^.^ And The Knife of Never Letting Go!

    So I originally thought that I had these sudden temptations for contemp novels every fortnight but now I just think it’s because I’m sick of the poor make believe junk authors think they can publish. Contemporary, post apocalyptic, greek mythology and fantasy are my divas for now! <33

  40. Jasprit

    This is a great discussion post Giselle, I have to agree with you I am getting pretty tiresome of dystopian novels, the last ones I’ve picked up have been utterly disappointing, but I’m all for post apocalyptic books, The 5th Wave and This is Not a Test were definitely two of my favourites. I’m a bit picky when it comes to New Adult novels, the ones that I read lately have let me down, where the Aussie ones I picked up a while back I loved. I think I will have to check your recommendations out. Also the paranormal genre I’m quite picky with, I think I suffered a burn out from it a few years back, so I’m quite wary when I pick a paranormal read up. Thanks for a great post Giselle! 🙂

  41. Micheline D

    Loving the topic and discussion that goes along with it!! Even though I haven’t read any recent dystopians, I feel like I’m burned out on them too…if only because none of the ones coming out seem worth the risk for me. And I agree with your separation of post-apocalyptic vs dystopia. In a pinch, I’d sort them all under the ‘dystopia-type umbrella’ but I always specify when it’s post apocalyptic too. I LOVE post-apocalyptic too but I’m SO not into zombies that it’s harder to find good ones LOL

  42. Jenny

    Sad to know that I haven’t read any of these best selling books of the era.. Things have not been going well recently, but now I am back on main track of life and first thing I will do is order book online from my favorite store.. I will check if these books are available at that online bookstore..

  43. Candace

    I am burnt out on dystopians as well. I read them they’re a favorite author or a series I love, but otherwise I have backed off a bit. I’m one who has to alternate the genres I read so that usually helps keep me from burning out on one thing.

  44. Kristin

    I don’t really know if it is considered a genre or not but, I am really tired of reading books about angels. It feels like the market has been so saturated with them and most of them are the same old thing and as much as I enjoyed books where they were involved, I just can’t read another book about a fallen angel. It seems like the new trends in YA as of late have been parallel universe and invisibility and as interesting as these two subjects are I worry that too many books with these subjects will ruin a new and fun concepts.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  45. Dragana Mitrovic

    There are some genres that are always interesting to me, but others change. Last year I was very into paranormal books, but now I am getting a little bit bored. You can read only certain amount of love triangles and poor-little-me drama… This year I am also into contemporaries new adult and adult. Read a lot of good ones lately. For example: Easy by Tammara Webber (this book started contemporary obsession), Losing It by Cora Carmack, …

  46. Leanne Yang

    I love dystopians but I guess it is overdone a bit. I used to LOVE paranormal but that got overdone as well. It’s not because the books aren’t good or whatever, but when I read paranormal book after paranormal book, it got repetitive. LIke you, I think I’m starting to become a fan of contemporary now, but it’s so hard to find a really good one.