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Submitted on
March 10
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When it comes to the "literature" from the Young Adult section at the library, I think it's gotten to the point that you can indeed judge a book by its cover.
Just because something is a book, does not mean that it doesn't make you stupid. Sometimes books can be brain-rotting, even more so than a good old, wholesome cartoon, if I may be so bold. 
Today I will show you a guide about how to judge a book by its cover; that way you can conveniently know what books to avoid and which you decide are tolerable. 

Okay, carry on:

Charlie Jackson:

Charlie Jackson is a teenage boy who is off to save the world from an evil foe. He and his best friend: Conveniently-Loyal-Steve, the girl he secretly admires for some unknown reason even though she's a huge jerk: Girls-Have-To-Be-Perfect-And-Tough-Or-Else-It's-Sexist-Jane, set off as an "unlikely" trio on a cliche adventure peppered with mostly sarcasm based humor and a few pop-culture references to keep you entertained.  The cover usually depicts a boy with brown hair and a forgettable face in the middle of the author's choice of turmoil. The series are usually named after the main character. Example: "Charlie Jackson and the Merchant of Fate."
(Also look for Action Jackson: types of Charlie Jackson books that are packed with "exciting" action! Because everyone wants to read five pages of pointlessness every time the heroes come across their enemies).

Belle Blowing in the Wind:

Belle is a girl who's a little bit.... different. At least compared to the bizarre, overly-strict freaks that surround her who are supposed to represent "everyone else," apparently. These books usually rely on a kind of "shock value," that I believe, is supposed to be charming(?), in which the sole purpose is to admire the main character and the "weird" things that she does. "That Belle is certainly a funny one!" these books will have us chuckling like old ladies over tea. Unless of course, you are a narcissistic teenage girl who wants to imagine that the girl is like yourself (and consequently, that you too are more special than the "everyone else" in your life). These books can be a great ego booster-! or just make you want to gag and punch yourself in the face repeatedly. The covers usually portray a deceivingly interesting looking illustration of a girl (maybe even an appealing cartoon) that the story never quite lives up to.

The Amazing, Spectacular Tanya Brown:

Tanya Brown is a plain girl with a forgettable name who moves somewhere new and doesn't quite fit in at her new school because the author tells us she's "awkward." Like Belle, Tanya's rivals are unrealistic freaks, this time in the form of inexplicably obsessive bullies with whom the author flatters themself. Even though it makes no sense why anyone would care enough about the boring main character to torment her or otherwise give her attention, Tanya is constantly picked on, mainly by the queen bee: Popular-Girl. Popular-Girl is a person who wouldn't really exist in real life, but we pretend that she would so that stupid people can have someone to look down on too. Of course, this cliche book wouldn't be complete without the love-interest: No-Personality-Max (I wonder if they will end up together??? This twist will surely have you on the edge of your seat!) and the best friend (who is either an air-head who talks about "random" things like aliens, or if they're black, more of the wise, good-advice giving type). These books usually have titles that are supposed to be really FUNNY and SILLY! "Tanya Brown the Great," or "the Remarkably, Fantastic, Quirky, Life of Tanya Brown," etc. The covers usually show a picture of part of Tanya Brown's body (whether it be just her feet, part of her face or her whole body with just the head chopped off).

the Quiggleys:

The Quiggleys are not your ordinary family. They're really silly! Well, not really, but the author keeps insisting that they are by giving everything cute, silly names. The family itself is actually quite boring. The story is usually about them doing ordinary things that the author pretends are funny (they like to eat pickles and jump on pogo-sticks! Nobody does that)! These books are usually old-fashioned, so keep an eye out for traditional illustrations on the cover. The characters might be drawn in a deceivingly witty looking style.

Classics disguised as modern novels:

These are pretty self-explanatory, I think.


This girl named Zelda (or some other name that shows the author was trying way too hard) is no ordinary girl, because she is not a robot like everyone else in the entire world (with the exception of her love-interest whom she inevitably ends up with before the story is over). While everyone else goes along with a diabolical system, Zelda is the only one who can see how awful it is.  Finally, she decides to do something about it. Zelda and her boyfriend (excuse me, love-interest. There's usually some love-triangle/complication that prevents them from "being together" until it finally gets resolved at the end) set off to make the difference that only twerpy 16 year olds can make (with no help whatsoever from convenient adults doing all the work in the background. No, sir. None at all). The people in these books are usually divided up into categories SOMEHOW or another... Zelda is always special though. If there are categories, Zelda is the one who just so happens to break the mold. Nobody else though. Everyone else is a complete, total robot, and they usually die a lot. We don't care about them. The covers of these books vary from gloomy designs with no humans, to some symbol that's supposed to poetically portray breaking the mold somehow i.e a character breaking out of a cage or something.


There is only one Alice in Wonderland, but for those of you who want more and are absolutely desperate (or only pretend to like Alice in Wonderland to be cool and mysterious, but would never actually read something as hard as the original book) these cheap copies could be just the thing for you. Page after page of pointlessness, not quite as enjoyable as a cartoon would be, can be a refreshing way to spend your rainy day (not to mention, you get bragging-points: "I was reading this whimsical book IN THE RAIN... and drinking tea! I'm so goth and mysterious now!") The covers usually have some gothic illustration to lure poor suckers who think anything drawn Tim Burton style is interesting and cool.

the Kid who Solves Mysteries:

Usually written for younger kids (you know those less intelligent people who you have to dumb everything down for) the Kid who Solves Mysteries is about... well, a kid who solves mysteries. If they are a boy, they are usually plain and boring with no personality. If they are a girl, for some reason they usually have red hair or a catchy name, but in the end don't have a personality either. If it is about a group of kids, they usually have a corny name for their group (but still none of the kids will have real personalities). Perhaps the boringest thing about these series is that the setting is always school. If nails-on-a-chalkboard type activities like doing homework, cleaning your room, getting grounded or fighting with your "annoying younger sister" are your thing, these are the books for you. These events are presented in a way that kids "can relate to!" but in that distant way where it was clearly written by an adult who doesn't know what they're talking about (and gives you the slight feeling that they were sitting there chuckling the whole time they were writing it). These books usually have cartoon covers, cunningly used to lure in kids. This leads the innocent kids into thinking they are getting out something appealing, when in fact, what they're getting is simply a heartless piece of trash.

the Apprentice:

Rowan is a lowly farm boy, from a medieval kingdom. He's a skinny young whippersnapper: an under dog, of course. Then one day, a mysterious stranger: Mysterious Guy shows up and makes the boy his apprentice, teaching him about the mysteries of life and valuable lessons (usually by going on a life-changing journey). Mysterious Guy always dies before the book is over, and usually a girl shows up at some point (what would we do without love interests?). These books can be older or modern (it's a fairly old cliche). This can cause the covers to vary, but for the most part the covers seem to TRY to look old fashioned.

Disclaimer: I know books have different covers depending where you live. This is just what I notice for my part. I'll probably be adding more to this list later, so look for updates if you're bored. Tell me if you think of any other funny ones that I can add!

I was mad at my library books again.

Read more of my deviations:

How not to write love interests:…
Don't write about cardboard cut-out bullies:…
Stop being over-dramatic:…
Mary Sue is an attitude, not a character:…
Most common cliches in story telling:…
Problems with stories written by teenagers:…
What's so bad about self-inserts?…
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lifty90 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
i like this , you deserve a cookie
AussieDidge Featured By Owner May 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist

Good grief… Spoken like a person with perhaps a library’s worth of knowledge, at least judging by the vivid descriptions you give of each book trope (Wonder if that’ll be a thing?)


Personally I’m very much a reader of fact books or otherwise incredibly strange shit like the Ripley’s series or of course the Guinness Book of World Records, which I’ve been a fan of since I was a young child. Why NOT make real-life humans be the characters and let them accomplish such amazing, wacky things that society would never dream possible? :D


And I’ll probably read the ol’ autobiography once in a while… If I ever get time to read them. =p


An enlightening and some might say humorous guide into the realm of library books. Perhaps there’s more of these on the way? I would sure hope so… :clap:


:star: :star: :star: :star: :star-empty:

nightshade43 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
I actually ignore an entire section of a library, called Paranormal Romance. I call it shameless smut, because that's what I usually encounter in books about "romance". Erotica is not the same as romance people, stop clumping them together.
The moment I see a paranormal romance with  a piece of fruit or a flower on a black cover I avoid it like the plague. Usually because it's the SAME formula.
Boy meets girl ---> boy is ____ but a "good one" ---> *insert smut here* ---> bad guy wants girl/boy for some reason ---> Both characters aren't at all interesting ---> magic!!1! ----> "fate", "destiny", "symbolism", "deep" ---> face, meet desk. The end.
It's worse when they try to be "more developed" and insert rape in it for no good reason. I was into a series until they inserted childhood rape in it.

Enough of my ramblings. For some reason I nodded my head to your synopsis of generic stories and could actually identify some series that match it. I love the effort you put into these tutorials.
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014
Thanks for your great comment.

Ugh! I have no respect for people who write about things like rape just because they know stupid kids will secretly be curious about it and therefore read it. That's what bad fanfiction writers do. It's sad that it actually gets published sometimes. 
Even if it's done "tastefully," why is there a need to make people read about that ever? Like you said, it just disturbs people who were otherwise into the series, and if not, just makes people think about things that they should hopefully never have a reason to think about. It's not "part of life," it's a sick abuse of life.

Anyway, I'm really glad that you appreciate this list. It was fun to write because me and my twin sister are always ranting back and forth about the dumb library books we get out. I just finally wrote down our biggest complaints. XD
AnEnemySpy Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014
I think if you're going to write about rape, do it the way George R. R. Martin does. Make it blunt, and awful, and deeply unpleasant to read. Trying to portray rape in any other way runs the risk of fetishizing it.
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2014
I have to question the reasoning behind writing about it at all.
Implying it happened is one thing, but making it into a scene? I don't know... 
To me it sounds unnecessary.
AnEnemySpy Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014
Because I don't think any subject should be considered off limits. Excellent books have been written about murder, war, sickness, domestic abuse, and rape too. The thing about them is if any of these subjects are handled without taste, they become awful. I'm guessing from your articles that you have read a lot of fanfiction and I'd imagine that you've come across some pretty horribly written scenes where it's obvious the rape scene is meant to be titillating rather than horrifying, and that should NEVER be the purpose of a rape scene.
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014
I get the attitude of not wanting to rule anything out. I do.
But can you think of an example where rape would be necessary?
nightshade43 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014
I think the trap a lot of media get into is the misconception that rape is "mature", like swearing and sex, and assume by adding these things it automatically makes the show more mature, while inadvertently making the show or book a chore or a downright turn off.
I couldn't count how many shows recently with the theme slapped on [Bates Hotel, the Walking Dead, Revolution].
Personally I'd rather not have it in my shows or stories, as I want an escape,and a happy one at that.
I'm at the point where I have to ask store owners whether an anime or book has rape in it, so I can avoid it.
 It's not "part of life," it's a sick abuse of life. I couldn't agree more.

I'm glad you had fun writing it. Ah, rants, they're always a fun inspiration. That and looking at covers and reading blurbs. Sometimes reading blurbs can tell you what the whole book is about. Though I sometimes flip open a book to a random page and read it to see the writing style. I've saved myself many a horrifying theme by reading it. [Ever notice how books get a lot of slack with adult themes compared to games and movies?]
MakingFunOfStuff Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
Yeah, there's this one book series I was reading (Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce), and it seemed like a regular old Young Adult series, until for no purpose she makes them talk about sex and rape. She just mentioned it luckily (well, as far as I've gotten so far), but it just kind of makes you go, "Huh? Why." Like I said, otherwise it's just like a normal kid's book. :shrug: It kind of felt like she was just using it to make the book *seem* deeper or something. It's certainly not what I would call the most deep story to even justify it... Authors can take themselves too seriously sometimes.

Sorry for the late response :P
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