Top 5 Wednesdays: My 2018 Wishlist

This week’s topic was an interesting one, coming at a time when everyone is reflecting on highlights of the year and looking ahead to specific books we want to read. The topic this week is a wishlist for the year, but discussing the themes, tropes or genres we want to see more of, instead of individual titles. I find it hard sometimes to think about books in terms of specific tropes or styles because so much of my enjoyment comes down to how the individual book is written. When I started to look back on the books I read this year, I actually did notice a few things that I would like to see more of.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Platonic relationships that stay platonic

I’m all for romances in books, and I do generally enjoy stories where childhood friends fall in love, but I think there’s a real lack of platonic friendships, especially in YA books. I can only think of one or two books off the top of my head where characters were friends and remained friends throughout the story, without developing any romantic feelings for each other. I find a lot of the time when the characters remain friends, there is some mention of an unrequited crush or “We tried to date in the past, but we decided we were better off as friends.” Even in books geared toward adults, characters often seem to be friends because they failed as a couple in the past. I want to see more books where the two friends are just friends, and dating was never even a consideration. I think this is especially lacking when the pair in the book are opposite-sex friends where both are heterosexual. There seems to be an assumption that two straight people cannot be friends without someone eventually developing feelings. I know there are plenty of cases where friends do fall in love and stay together, but there are also lots of cases where the relationships stay platonic.

2) Social media/online lives as a positive part of people’s lives

I think the attitude in general toward social media and the Internet has shifted. The earliest books I read that were very Internet-focused all essentially focused on the online predators and the risks of talking to people online. To be clear, I still think it is essential for people to be aware of the risks and to take precautions to keep themselves safe. However, I think that using social media and the Internet is also a very positive thing for a lot of people, and it really bothers me when books try to downplay or negate the importance of online communities and friendships. Again, everyone is still responsible for their own safety and to be critical of what they see online, but for many people, online friendships are just as real and as valid as friendships that start in real life. In general, I think books have shifted to account for this, especially with so many books recently that talk about fandoms, online friendships and support groups, and even the risks of sharing things online. I would love to see more books that treat social media and people’s online lives as real and positive parts of their world, and not necessarily a problem that needs to be fixed.

3) Slow-burn romances (or at least romances that take some time)

I’m not 100% sure if “slow-burn” is really the right term, but it’s very annoying to for characters to fall in love instantly in just about every book I read. I know some of that might be because the author only has the 300 pages or so for the entire story to develop, but I find it so unrealistic for characters who didn’t know each other at all beforehand to be suddenly ready to die for each other, move across the world for each other, etc. especially when those characters are teenagers. That’s not to say I automatically hate any insta-love romance, because some of them are just adorable and work decently with the story. However, I would love to see more books that show that it takes time for the relationship to develop. I find it so hard to buy into couples who are suddenly so in love with each other when they just met and really know nothing about each other at all…and then end up shocked and the relationship is threatened when they discover something they might not like about their partner’s past. Maybe if they slowed down a bit and actually got to know the person they were dating, it wouldn’t be such a shock to realize that there is something they don’t know.

4) More variety in New Adult book plotlines

I struggle with “New Adult” as a genre in general. Although I’m sure these kinds of books have existed for a long time, the genre name seems to be relatively new. New Adult is meant to encompass books that are aimed toward 18-25 year olds, focusing on issues such as leaving home, going to university, establishing a career, etc. I think in general, we need more books that focus on this life stage. It’s easy for teenagers to find protagonists who are going through the same experiences as them since most YA books are set in high school, and then there is a jump to adult protagonists who are often married and already working in a career. I was very excited to see a New Adult section on Goodreads with characters who were about my age and might be going through many of the same experiences as I am. There are so few books I can think of that even focus on university or college, or getting a first “real” job after graduation. Unfortunately, the New Adult section on Goodreads was absolutely packed with “steamy” romances, many of which seemed borderline-abusive to me. Where are all the books about living on your own for the first time? About horrible bosses and office politics? About struggling through university or college? I know a lot of people read to escape their real lives, but I’m sure many people would love to have characters their own age to relate to.

5) More fantasy standalones

Actually, I’m sure many of these exist but I would love to read more of them. So many of the fantasy books I’ve been reading or that I want to read are part of series, and it always makes me hesitant. Reading a series for me means committing to read the whole series (assuming I like the first book), and sometimes all I want is one book. I’ve read many great fantasy series over the past couple of years, and I have many books from series on my TBR for 2018 alone, but I would love to see more fantasies where the entire story can be told in one book. I find that some series tend to drag things out unnecessarily, almost to justify being a series instead of one longer book, and many of them tend to drag in the middle. A lot of series tend to have that transitional middle book where not much really happens, aside from characters moving from one place to another, and a ton of exposition. I would love to see more books like Uprooted or The Night Circus, which tell an entire (and incredible) story from beginning to end.


One thought on “Top 5 Wednesdays: My 2018 Wishlist

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Wednesdays: My 2018 Wishlist Recap | Abyssal Librarian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s