Oddly Specific Things In Books That Give Me The “Ick”

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This year I’ve started talking about the books I DNF in my monthly reading recaps. And it got me thinking about not just why I DNF, but what sort of “icks” can prevent me from even reading a book to begin with.

Having an ick with a book means that there is something you can’t get past with a book. It’s much stronger than a dislike, something so bad you would rather DNF the book or simply not read it altogether.

I’m only diving into icks within books, rather than as a whole. Like issues with books, authors, or publishing. My icks in this article are specific to tropes, writing, and genres.

My biggest bookish icks:

  • Insta-love
  • Miscommunication meant to trigger the plot
  • Telling instead of showing
  • Tiny FMC with giant, huge MMC
  • Overpowered/I’m so special main characters
  • Overly dirty talk during spicy scenes
  • Love triangles specifically between family members (like FMC and two brothers)
  • Info dumping/overly long descriptions
  • Cheating/second chance when there should not be a second chance

side note FMC stands for Female Main Character and MMC stands for Male Main Character


Okay, I get it, that character is so super hot. But it just comes across as incredibly forced. Instead of two characters getting to know each other or even showing us how they truly feel, we get forced attraction.

It genuinely makes me DNF or strongly want to DNF a book when this happens. Especially early on in the book, like within the first chapter, early on.


Miscommunication is bad enough. But when it is used to strengthen the plot, is when it becomes beyond tolerable.

Instead of having a strong plot to carry the story, two characters have a (usually) very minor misunderstanding and then spend the rest of the book with unnecessary problems that could have been avoided if they had just actually spoken to each other.

Telling instead of Showing

This goes along with the miscommunication trope. Instead of telling me how strong a character is, show me. Instead of telling me how much two characters mean to each other, show me instead.

When I was in undergrad, telling was considered to be lazy writing. And while I do agree with this, I think some authors just forget that readers are not in their head too and it’s far easier to tell a reader than show.

Tiny FMC with giant/huge MMC

This one honestly just kinda creeps me out. It’s in the same league as MMC’s with huge ding-dongs.

Like no, thank you.

I understand that men in books are meant to be better than men in real life, but this is going a bit too far.

It makes me super uncomfortable when these physical differences are constantly highlighted and is also just another lazy aspect of the author’s writing when the most important thing between the main love interests is their size differences.

Overpowered/cliche Main Characters

Why does the main character need to have more powers or be so much more special than literally any other character in the book?

It gives “pick me” and “not like other girls” at the same time and I genuinely hate it.

Especially when the main character isn’t even of legal drinking age but needs to learn to manage like 20 different magical abilities. OR is so freaking special that no one else could even compare or they’re the first of blah blah blah.

I just find this trope to be overused and annoying.

Overly Dirty Spicy Scenes

Okay, this one is probably more personal. I’m just not a fan of dirty talk in books when it sounds more like an insult.

Like a love interest during a scene saying something like “Oh you like me f*cking your tight little p*ssy” just absolutely takes me out of the story.

Call me a little vanilla bean but it’s just not for me and gives me MAJOR ick.

Love Triangles

But specifically, love triangles where two of the love interests are best friends or related.

I cannot stand love triangles between siblings.

I would not participate. Oh, you like my sister too? Well, go have fun with her then. Tf.

Why would I compete with my sibling for your love? It’s gross and not worth it. And it is just SO awkward to go through all that love triangle drama and then one sibling ends up with said person and being like “Yeah, my brother-in-law is also my ex haha”


Info Dumping

Especially when overly long descriptions of things take up nearly the whole book.

Like WHY?

This could have been a great time to show us through simplistic world-building, the character’s dialogue and actions, and just not wasting the reader’s time through overly drawn-out chapters and scenes.

The worst is when what’s being drawn out isn’t even relevant to the story! Like I’m sorry, you spent 15 pages writing about something that isn’t even relevant to the plot???

Cheating/Second Chance

If I even get a hint that a book involves cheating, I won’t even pick it up. I have been cheated on in my personal life and the feeling is devastating. I don’t need to read about it in books.

The same goes for second-chance relationships, where they clearly should NOT take another shot at this relationship.

Whether it was toxic or abusive or just not a good pairing, why put them back together when it already didn’t work the first time??

I’m all for redemption arcs but they have to be handled with care. Once a love interest crosses a line, in my head they can’t come back from it, don’t try to sell them back to me in another book.

Those are oddly specific bookish icks that I just can’t seem to let go of when it comes to looking for books to read.

There are probably at least a dozen more I could think of, but these are probably my biggest icks of all time.

What are some of your bookish icks?

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