When I’m looking at book synopses, certain phrases tend to jump out at me right away that either pique my interest in this book or make me wary of it. I mean, certain things like seeing that the genre is fantasy or mystery automatically make me go “Oh, how interesting, let me read on!” But I wonder if certain phrases or words have the same effect.
I asked this question on Twitter and the lovely Stormy replied that “time travel” gets her attention, so I want to hear what you readers have to say too! So let’s say that I’m flying around the blogosphere, checking out reviews. I forget to notice the genre and skip straight to looking at the synopsis, what words jump out at me?
My interest, it is piqued!
#1: “dealing with the loss of…”
When done well, I really love books that are able to show how the main characters deal with grief and the loss of a loved one. Reading about their pain, their healing process, and their eventual getting-better, I really like it when an author can do justice to something so personal and real.
#2: “go on a cross-country road trip”
In my review of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour (Morgan Matson), I said that I have a really soft spot for road trips. I love them, even if my plans get thrown out of the window. I love books that cover a place that I haven’t been to, because the book ends up kind of like a travel guide? I just really love travel, you guys!
#3: “must prove their innocence”
This usually happens in mystery books when a body is discovered and our MC is incriminated. The most common kind that I find is that the reader knows that the MC CLEARLY and 100% totally did not do it, and must spend the novel finding the real culprit. One that I would really be interested in is a book where we don’t really know if the MC did it or not, or we want to think that the MC is innocent but just cannot be sure until the end of the book.
#4: “before they end up dead too”
Something similar to #3, I find this kind of phrase in mystery books. This time, the MC is not being incriminated but is investigating the crime. Maybe they’re a real detective like Poirot or someone just caught up in the case. Either way, they might land on the culprit’s hit-list and must find the culprit before anything happens to THEM.
My interest, I have lost it.
#1: “a mysterious but strongly attractive stranger”
I commented about this on a review of Charlotte’s where the book’s synopsis had something similar. Any time it is implied that the MC is going to need a mysterious and extremely attractive stranger, my little warning bells go off. Is it going to end up as insta-love? Is the MC going to become a completely different person because of him? I sure hope not!
#2: “must decide between her childhood best friend and the new bad boy in town”
Or, any real mention of a love triangle, really. Sometimes love triangles can be done really well, fleshing out the different characters and making sure that the book isn’t just a complete angst-fest or scene after scene of tonsil hockey. If the book focuses on something ELSE besides “omg how can I choose between these hot dudes who want me oh nooo,” I might like it more.
#3: “but he has a girlfriend”
Okay, something that I have a problem with is this. MC meets a hot guy, but hot guy is already in a serious relationship. Am I supposed to root for the MC and hot guy as a couple? Am I supposed to wish for a serious couple to be torn apart so MC can get a guy? Will this story be one where the MC and hot guy can’t control themselves and hot guy ends up cheating on his girlfriend? Am I then supposed to be OKAY with this hot guy and be like “Oh yeah, he’s great!”?
However, a disclaimer! These words/phrases will jump out at me but they are not a guarantee that I will/won’t read the book. Sometimes the synopsis gets worse or better, and then I’ll kind of make a decision.
So, what about you, dear reader?
What phrases grab your attention in synopses?
Let me know in the comments!
*None of the gifs used in this post are mine.