Monday, December 28, 2009

"but that's What i liked About It!"

Warning: Random post at 1 in the morning that has little substance and will lack cohesion.

So I was reading (aka stalking) some book review blogs, along with reviews on various books on, and I found something that greatly interested me. And this idea is by no means unique, it's just that I felt now was a fun time to write my thoughts about it.

The idea is hard to word properly, but it's basically: One person dislikes something about a book(s), series, or author(s) for a specific reason, yet another person likes those books for those exact reasons.

A really big/main/obvious example is Sarah Dessen. Anyone see that coming? It's what a few people call the Dessen 'formula', and the reason all her books are so successful is because they follow the integral formula that is essentially the same for the majority of her books (minus Dreamland). It is the girl with troubled life &/or troubled family goes through self-growth with the help of a dream boy (sa-woon, lol), included are metaphors, cute scenes, and again, amazing boys.

Now, I am on one side of the fence saying: but that's what is so great about her books! She manages to write a captivating story with a lovely storyline and never fails to make me smile. The books are similar and I like that because the similar aspect (ie the formula) is just so swoon worthy. I like the fact that all the boys are so dream-esque (Eli, Wes, Dexter, etc). I like the fact that the girl and the boy don't coast through with the perfect relationship, I like the fact that the girls are sometimes insecure but still realistic. And above all, I don't mind that the books are similar. Would I like something refreshingly new the next time around? Sure, but continue down this path and I won't complain too loudly either. Anyways, I think her books get better because her writing improves. The books are still charming, fluffy, romantic, and they make me smile.

Yet on the other side of the fence are people yelling: "It's getting boring! Write something new! Have a new plot! Different characters! The formula is getting old, and Dessen fails to recapture the essence of her earlier books!" A perfectly reasonable complaint, just one I don't agree with.

The bottom line is: this is all perspective. Your opinion. Do you like the formula? I do. But you might not, and you're entitled to your opinion. And in these cases, no one is wrong, because a review is an honest opinion, right?(what an awkward sentence...) That's why the Dessen book reviews on my site are positive: I like the stuff she writes; but on other people's blogs, they will be negative because the reviewer thinks the formula is old and boring.

My question to you is: Do you like the "Dessen formula" or would you prefer something completely different?



  1. I would have to say that I have only read "Lock and Key," "Just Listen," and "Along for the Ride." I loved every single book so much. Yes it does bother me a little bit that they're all similar, but that bother does not cause me to like the book less or to not recommend it.

    I will say that if Sarah Dessen ever writes another one, I hope it's a little different. Her characters are the same, even though they're different people (if that makes any sense.) and I'd like to live through someone new. But--even if that doens't happen, I'll end up reading (and probably buying) any other book of hers that comes out because she's such a gifted writer.

    so yes it is definately perspective, adn my perspective is "it's a little annoying and gets to the point where you can kind of guess what might happen, but it doesn't effect how much I love the books."

    :) so there's my view.
    love your layout, btw.

  2. I totally see and respect where you are coming from, and you're right, nobody would mind something new once in a while :)
    Thanks for commenting, :D

  3. Excellent thought. I have two Dressen books that I need to read, they have been sitting in a pile for a long time now.

  4. thanks, and I would definitely recommend reading them (soon)! haha :)

  5. You know, it all boils down to whether you were entertained or educated. If one or the other happened, it's cool!

    I have a favorite series that is strictly formulaic, but utterly entertaining nonetheless--L.A. Meyer's Bloody Jack series. Jacky gets into scrapes, meets cute boys, gets into compromising situations, gets out of trouble again and into my heart every time. I don't have a problem with it at all!

  6. I actually want to try that series, sounds really entertaining actually :)
    And you bring up an excellent point of books being entertaining and educational, I can't help but agree.

  7. I love her "formula" It's the same deal with Nicholas Sparks books. Yes they're all similar, but those authors found out what worked for them and I am quite happy with the similarities. I love that there are many of the same places mentioned in Dessen's books and that some of her other characters pop up (however brief). I'm on the Keep doing what your doing side, because I'm loving it!


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