Five plot points that ruin the story

I am guilty of judging books by their covers. If I see a book cover or dust jacket that’s visually appealing, I read the jacket copy.

Sometimes I find something amazing. But there are certain plot conventions—cliches, really—that make me put the book back on the shelf no matter how pretty the cover is.

  1. Zombies/Zombie apocalypse. No. Just no. No zombies, nothing like zombies, no.
  2. Man who is trying to solve the murder of/find his missing wife and/or child. Woe is you, I get it, but I don’t care. This is an instant deal-breaker for me.
  3. Divorced woman going through midlife crises. Maybe I’ll love these books when I get to middle age and have my own midlife crisis. But for now they all seem whiny to me (Eat, Pray, Love is a perfect example of everything I dislike about this genre, whether it’s a memoir or a novel).
  4. Girl/boy who can’t be with girl/boy for some convoluted, silly reason, especially when the boy is obnoxiously overprotective of the girl. (Which is basically half of every YA book ever, right now.)
  5. Books where the main character is amazingly good at everything and basically has super-human abilities, but isn’t a superhero (like many contemporary spy/thriller books). If I want to read about superheros (and, yeah, I do), I’ll pick up the latest Batman trade.

What types of plots and characters do you fend off with a ten-foot pole?

What do you think?