The Next…

So here’s something that’s come to my attention recently: most bloggers are really leery of tags like “the next [fill in the blank]” or “for fans of…” when they’re attached to advertising a new, upcoming book. Now usually I agree that they can cheapen the merit of the book, and sometimes I have a bit of prejudice of my own attached (“the next Harry Potter”? PUH-LEASE. *insert eye roll and snobby blogger face*). But lately I’ve been realizing that these tag lines are actually really helpful to me, and in some cases can sway me towards reading the book.

When I find a book that I LOVE, I’m always stuck in that world. I just wantΒ more. So to be honest, if I find something that says “the next Hunger Games” – I’m going to check it out. Games and/or races with deadly consequences upon failure? Main character steps up to defend sibling/family? Maybe a bit of romance thrown in there? Taking down a totalitarian government?

Like recently – I requested Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott on NetGalley, because it had a Hunger Games flavor to it. Tella, the MC, volunteers for the Brimstone Bleed (a high-stakes race over four legs) in order to win a cure for her dying brother. Now that right there is what I’m always looking for! The book fell short for me for different reasons, but the basics I loved.

I used to claim that books like this were “unoriginal” and “needed to define themselves without using key points from other books.” I’d like to slap my old self, and welcome you to do the same. But I’ve found so many books that I love, and if I can find certain tropes from that book in another book, sign me up! Call them guilty pleasures (though I don’t have those because I’ll like what I like and that’s that), but whatever they are, I’ll probably enjoy them.

I’ve noticed I have a few tropes/plot points that will really pull me into a book, whether or not it’s super similar to another popular book or series:

  • The snarky bad boy who turns out to have a secret from his past that explains everything about his behavior now and then he morphs into this perfect conglomeration of snarky bad boy and sensitive heart of gold *coughletstalkaboutwarnercough*
  • The flippant, sarcastic, comic relief boy who everyone writes off but underneath that shallow exterior he’s really intelligent and has a lot of depth to his character *faint calls of Nikolai in the background*
  • The MC is motivated by family/friends/dedication to a cause, not romance. The romance is an add-in, but the main focus is the former. Examples: June in the Legend series, Katniss from THG, the Winchester brothers from Supernatural.
  • For contemporary books, it’s the ones where the MC has experienced something traumatic or completely life-changing. I want to see how they move on and heal – I love rooting for someone to rise up above their circumstances.

Those are just a few – I’m sure there’s plenty more. Long story short: if a book promises any of those from the cover, synopsis, or what I’ve heard through other bloggers, you’ll probably find it on my shelf.

What about you? Are you put off by tags like “the next…”, or do you think they’re helpful? Are there certain tropes that will pull you to a book, whether or not they’re similar to another book/series?


18 thoughts on “The Next…

  1. I have a love/hate relationship with the whole ‘It’s the next…’ I hate it because I think they’re just trying to cash in on the success of whatever book it is they’re referring to and it’s a bit unoriginal but then I’m like you, if I find a book or type of book I love, I just want to stay in that sort of world! So although I’m wary about it it does sometimes make me pick up a book if it’s supposed to be similar to one I love!

    • So glad I’m not the only one! It seems like it’s a cheap gimmick, but then I buy the book anyway because of course I want more of my favorite stories! And then I’m guilty because I fell for their tricks once again xD

  2. I don’t really love the whole “the next…” thing, but I like it when books claim to be a mash-up of two different things. Like how Landry Park is being described as “Downtown Abbey meets The Selection.” That usually hooks me, if it’s two things that I’m interested in. But I don’t mind it when books aren’t totally unique, either. I have an ARC of Fire & Flood as well, and while I haven’t read it yet, I’ve heard of the similarities between it and The Hunger Games, and that doesn’t really bother me.

  3. I don’t really like being told “This is the next Hunger Games!,” but if it says “for fans of,” or “The Hunger Games Meets Crime and Punishment,” (I just totally made that example up… but now I want to read that book!) or something else along those lines, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind if what is being insinuated is that I might enjoy a story because of something else I enjoyed, but I don’t like declarations that (1) almost make it sound like a copy-cat and/or (2) get my hopes up.

    • Ewww Crime and Punishment was a bleak hole in my World Lit class. No thank you!

      And everyone that’s commenting is saying the same thing – there’s a difference between, “hey, you might like this if you liked this other thing,” and “I am the shizz – buy me because I’m just like this other awesome thing”. This is why I need you all!

      • Oh no, I loved Crime and Punishment! It’s one of the few classics I genuinely really like!

        “I am the shizz – buy me because I’m just like this other awesome thing.” Ha ha!

  4. It drives me absolutely bonkers when someone says a book is “the next Hunger Games (or insert any other book title here)”. I mean, it’s a totally different book, right? It may have some of the same tropes as the Hunger Games (or etc.), but it is not, nor will it ever be, the NEXT Hunger Games (or blah blah blah). Unless of course Suzanne Collins (or whoever wrote the book) decides to hop back into that world and write another book, that is.

    I have no beef with “for fans of…” because that says to me “if you liked That Book, then chances are you will like This Book”. It is not comparing one book to another, or saying that one book is the other, but it implies that they may be in a similar range on your enjoyment scale, and that I can handle πŸ˜€

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  6. I actually do like it when I see a tag because then I feel more confident about picking up that book. But I’m too nervous to do it myself because then I feel the pressure of the book living up to the tag. Great post! (I’m a sucker for Nikolai too)! πŸ™‚

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  9. I agree that it’s nice to find books that are similar to ones I’ve loved before, but sometimes those tags can be misleading. And then I’d end up blaming it. πŸ˜› So I haven’t really been paying much attention to it anymore. I mostly go for what synopsis or reviews tell me.

  10. I often have the reaction of disbelief which you described,but I will also read a synopsis and maybe pick up a book based on these comparisons. The synopsis also has to be good though πŸ™‚

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