Have you ever seen other bloggers toss around the phrase, “This was such a ME! book” or “It sounds like such a ME! book”? I know I have, and I know I’ve also heard that phrase. A “ME!” book is a personal thing to every reader, but I would classify a “ME!” book as a book that might as well have been tailor-crafted just to my reading taste.
Here’s my issue with “ME!” books though: I don’t really know what a “ME!” book is. By which I mean, there are books I classify as “ME!” books, but only after reading. There are books I think sound like such a “ME!” book, but that I end up marking as DNF. And there are books that I LOVE, but that wouldn’t classify as “ME!” books.
Need an example? Let’s look at my last two 5-star reads: When Joss Met Matt and A Darker Shade of Magic. I LOVED both those books. I gave them the same rating. They both made an impression in my mind. Yet, I would say that When Joss Met Matt is not a “ME!” book. I loved it, but it was more an alignment of great story elements rather than things that stand out to me on their own. On the flip side, A Darker Shade of Magic is a book I would classify as a “ME!” book. It’s a fantasy with so many of the things I love–parallel travels, banter, wonderful characters, pretty much no romance(which was such a delightful surprise!).
I begun thinking about this, and went to my 5 star reads and tried to figure out which ones I would classify as “ME!” books to see what they had in common–and what they didn’t.
The “ME!” Books:
- Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, because it’s an apocalypse book that’s hilarious, witty, and often profound
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, because it has magic, parallel universes, banter, excellent villains, and no romance
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles, because it’s a classic coming-of-age story set at a boarding school(pretty much a sucker for those–I’m looking at you, Looking for Alaska and Winger), and is written beautifully
- Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot, for pretty much all the same reasons as A Separate Peace, plus Gatsby-esque feel
- Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas, because psychological thriller about messed-up people and a complex and SUPER intriguing female protagonist
- Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, because it’s funny, cute, the main character has an interesting group of friends, and there’s lots of nerdy references to Harry Potter
- Pivot Point by Kasie West, because it has a bookish main character and parallel realities
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, because the writing is gorgeous, the characters are so fully realized, and it’s set in Texas
- Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, because the main character is shy & doesn’t fit in anywhere, the prose is beautiful, and it’s a coming-of-age story
- Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer, because the characters are awesome and I related to it quite a bit
- All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, because time-travel
- The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, because its about messed-up girls, has unreliable narrators, and the writing is beautiful
- This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, because I related to it so much
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, because Cath reminded me so much of myself and for all the fandom references
14 books. Not that many when you take into consideration that I consistently read between 50-150 books a year. And it’s worth noting that the books I said were “ME!” books because I could relate to the characters are mostly books I didn’t know were “ME!” books until after reading(with the exception of Fangirl). The books from that list that I guessed were “ME!” books before reading? Not that many–A Darker Shade of Magic, All Our Yesterdays, Fangirl, and Even in Paradise.
Plus, there are so many books I love that I wouldn’t classify as “ME!” books. So often, I ended up loving those books despite my initial reservations. Here are just a couple of books from my 5-star reads:
- Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz–loved it, but only read it because I loved Aristotle and Dante, and on its own a story about an 18-year-old alcoholic in rehab would have never appealed to me
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver–not the kind of characters I generally enjoy reading about
- I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson–This was my favorite book of 2014, but it’s not a book I would have picked up at all if it hadn’t been for the hype. There are actually many things in this book that I generally dislike, but Jandy Nelson managed to write it in a way that made me love it. A favorite, but not a “ME!” book.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer–Not a huge fan of Cinderella, so “Cyborg Cinderella” doesn’t really appeal to me. Just took a chance on this series(and I’m glad I did!)
- The Distance Between Us by Kasie West–contemporary romance is generally not my thing
- The Enchanted by Rene Denefeld–it’s set in a prison, which is also generally not my thing
- My Life After Now by Jessi Verdi–again, subject matter thing. It’s about a girl who learns she’s HIV positive
And that’s just from a cursory glance. Plus, then there’s the handful of books I didn’t even finish, despite thinking they were such “ME!” books when I first read the synopsis. Am I just bad at picking out “ME!” books, or is it really impossible to tell what a “ME!” book is before reading? I’d like to think I know myself better as a reader. After all, I’ve gotten pretty good at realizing what books I’ll like and which I won’t(though there will always be surprises).
Thoughts on this? Do you have books you categorize as “ME!” books? How do you make that distinction? Is it just a gut feeling thing? And are you good at realizing “ME!” books prior to reading them?