I'll describe some faux pas, and then I'll let you guys rank them. Feel free to elaborate on a faux-pas that I missed in the comments.
Takin' a Dump
Infodumping! Argh! As of writing this post, I am reading a book with the worst infodumping. Some infodumping is always acceptable because, especially for stories taking place in different settings, the reader needs to know this information otherwise we'd be complaining about how little depth there was to the world building. But some authors don't know how to do it well. They spew paragraph after paragraph of arduous description that ends up being utterly useless because the reader has no context. It takes real talent to weave pieces of info with, you know, actual narration, and it's an essential skill because no one likes infodumping.
I'm being quite generous here. I'm not exonerating authors for love at first sight (or as I prefer it, feelings) because I accept that some attraction at first sight can happen. It's when characters prioritize their significant other over anyone else in their world between weeks of meeting them. Especially the, "I'll die for you!" bits. Because I happen to think that's an ENORMOUS sacrifice to make, and maybe I'm selfish and don't understand, but I ain't givin' my life away to no boy within six months of meeting him, nonetheless the weeks it takes for these YA couples. It always makes me roll my eyes and I never like it. Authors, write YA characters like they have lives and aren't just waiting for some romantic interest to come along and give their life some meaning.
Vanilla Cookie Cutters
There is no excuse for not having diversity in a book. And you can't just have one token diverse character. Diversity in ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, able-bodied or not, these should all be factors into a story. It's not enough to say we want diversity in literature. It's about why there is no diversity. Why are there only straight white middle to upper class people? The world is much bigger. I'm not looking for diverse books. Diversity is not a genre or category of book: it is the standard, and something I'll be looking out for. C'mon authors, you amazing people are able to write books with complex worlds and endearing characters. There is no reason you can't put that extra effort into your world building to make it more realistic. (Obviously, books where the author chose to make the characters privileged and ignorant are the exception, and that lack of diversity serves a purpose.)
Swear. Do it. Trust me, young adults do it. They do it quite clumsily, and quite well. Learn the language of your characters and put in those f-bombs. Again, it's about making your story realistic. Also, let's cut the fake swear words. If you're going to swear, do it, and do it loudly, proudly, and obnoxiously. Often, swear words happen naturally so let's have some "Oh SHIT" moments in battle. Or some damns. How about "Are you fucking kidding me?" Don't shy away from swear words. Books don't occur on screen, so there is no parental warning on display. And, in my experience, if parents say no, then kids want it even more.
Tick Tock, Setting Up
Or first book syndome. Some first books are completely irrelevant to the overall story arc of a series except for their last few chapters. The entire book is an introduction to the world, the myth, the characters. The main character knows nothing, and neither does the reader. Somehow, someone thought that hundreds of pages of set-up is the key to a successful story. Guess what: it isn't. And okay, sure, sometimes stuff needs to be explained to the reader so you start at the beginning. Authors, have some creativity! You can find ways to integrate this essential information while the story is taking place. Stories written in nonlinear time are so much fun, and often, most stories start the same. It's really their endings that separate them. So, skip it. Start with the character on the run. Give them that backstory and history essential to the story, but not exciting enough to actually be in it. Day in Legend by Marie Lu is an excellent example of this. And this shouldn't be just for the love interest- do it to the MC!
So, which of these annoy you the most? Is there anything I forgot to mention? Don't be a stranger, leave a comment :)