I'll add a book to my TBR for a NUMBER of reasons, and I read across a lot of genres, so I'll try just about anything. But there are some ways where I'll get so excited about a book, it's a must-have-super-hyped-need for me. And here they are! :D
1. Ships. Honestly, all you have to do is tell me there's a ship I will want to ship, and I'm there. It does not take much for me to ship characters, tbh, I'm easy like that. ;) But it's even better if I get an OTP out of it. There's a difference, for me, between shipping and OTPing. I ship A LOT of characters, but few become ultimate OTPs. So yeah, if you tell me about a ship you will go down with to the darkest depths of the ocean, I'm all ears.
2. Girl friends. (Or girlfriends, I'm not picky :p) Nothing gives me the warm fuzzies like books that have a strong, true (even toxic) friendship between women. I don't think there are enough stories out there to tell teen girls, "hey, your girls will be the best people you ever meet, so keep them around" and "it might not happen today or tomorrow, but you'll find them." I did NOT have great friendships in high school, or even college (am now only left with two fabulous women), but I do have a squad from blogging that has given me so much joy and understanding and strength. I hope teen girls are lucky enough to find their people in middle and high school, but if they aren't, that they have YA books to give them hope that they will in the future. <3
3. Ladies kicking ass. Whether it's through their wit, their physical strength, their cunning, feminine wiles, it doesn't matter. GIMME ALL THE LADIES WHO KICK ASS (which is basically like all of them, really). And by kicking ass, I don't juuust mean LITERALLY kicking ass. I mean, ladies who step up and use whatever strengths they have to save the day. I'm always here for them. #queens
4. Hate-to-love romance. MY ONE TRUE WEAKNESS. Give me slow burn, "I hate you so much but I don't know if I want to kill you or kiss you" relationships that slam me with their feels and make my heart race and just KILL ME WITH THE TENSION. Make me shout through the whole read, "JUST FUCKING KISS ALREADY, DAMN IT!"
5. (good) Mental health rep. Although, because MI is not universal, all books dealing with them will not hit people the same way. What fits for someone might not fit for someone else, and that's okay. But I want MORE. I want more books with positive but honest portrayals of mental illness (again, it's subjective, but I think you can definitely go wrong when writing a character with MI). I especially want more that have a strong focus on therapy, medication, and helpful and understanding support systems. I think those ones are super needed to help erase the negative stigmas attached to mental health. And for teens and kids to see that asking for help is 100% okay. :)
6. Present parental or guardian figures. I don't know about anyone else, but I had present, very awesome (definitely exasperating at times) parents while growing up. So with the amount of books (especially YA) whose parents are either a) absent or b) dead, it disappoints me greatly. I would love to see more books with strong parental figures who aren't just IN the story, but an important part of it and the MC's journey.
7. My buzz words. Princesses/princes, archers, assassins, thieves, magic, dragons, tricksy characters, mental health, The Chosen One (I have a weakness), lost royalty, LGBTQIA+. And in a fantasy setting? EVEN BETTER. (Most of these would always be in a fantasy setting, though. Haha). And throwing one of these words/phrases into a synopsis makes it an automatic add to my TBR. :D Also gimme more f/f fantasy, please and thanks.
8. Awesome familial relationships. I am a SUCKER for family dynamics, especially those between siblings, in the books I read. THEY MAKE MY HEART MELT. Even the dysfunctional, sometimes. ;) I haven't always had the best relationships with family members, but I still feel pretty damn lucky with the people I do have, and it just makes my heart happy when books show the (good and bad) dynamics between family. Bonus points for MCs who have big, huggy-warm-loving families. :D
9. Diversity. I'm always looking for more books to broaden my horizons and my knowledge about the world. I have not always been conscious of reading diversely in the past, and for which I want to do better. There are definitely *some* great books written by cishet white people, but I want to make sure I'm reading more #ownvoices books than I have before, and to promote THEM when people ask for diverse recs. I did do better in 2016 because I started to really actively seek them out, but I could absolutely read much more diverse books.
10. Favorite authors. Of course I can't forget about the ONE thing that makes me automatically add a book to my TBR. Fave authors! It hardly matters to me what the book is about or if it's a genre I don't normally read, I GOTTA HAVE IT. I'm always on the lookout for Publishers Weekly announcements with a fave author's name on it. Waiting around for a new book is the wooooorst. Like it's been two years since I've read a new Chelsea Fine book and I am dyiiiiing omg don't I deserve one IT'S BEEN SO LONG AND I'VE BEEN SO GOOD.
11. Faaaantasy. *heart eyes* I talked about it a bit in my buzz words section (and I'm sure I have more buzz words I'm forgetting, gah), but the genre deserves its own place on this list. Fantasy is my heart. There is not much that makes me excited about a book faster than hearing it's in my favorite genre. GIMME IT ALL.
What are some of the ways to make YOU excited about reading a book? What makes you add one to your TBR immediately? How much, if any of these, play into your excitement? Let's talk!