With Friends Like These… A Rant

rantLynn: So – I’m reading another sequel in another fantasy series and here it is AGAIN – a plot device that makes me absolutely crazy!  Here is the dauntless hero/heroine, savior of the world in multiple previous adventures, and once again suspicion is being heaped – nay – deluged upon him/her.  Do his friends and classmates remember the zillion times before when they have been rescued?  Of course not!  Instead they turn their backs on our hero leaving him/her shunned, scorned and miserable.  It’s been less than 200 pages since the last time these “friends” have been saved from certain death or zombification yet no one remembers?  Seriously?  I’ve had splinters longer than these fickle twits’ memories!

Please fantasy writers!  Save me from one more doubting Thomas!  There must be some other way to reduce the poor protagonist to the quivering depths of despair!

Cindy: I am still emerging from the coccoon of a fabulous, delightful vacation in the warm sun and am having a hard time mustering up angst over anything but having to return to reality right now. That said, there is nothing more delightful to me than Lynn Rutan when she is on a boil. I love when she rants, and this one is a rant I heartily agree with! I remember being more than a little miffed at the students of Hogwarts when they abandoned Harry after all he had done for them and, like Lynn, I see this plot device rise often in books for children and teens. Yes, childhood friendships are fickle in real life, but if you’ve saved someone from true evil again and again, shouldn’t you benefit from some unconditional love? I once made Lynn a button that said “Indignance: It’s Not a State of Mind – It’s a Way of Life.” It’s time for her to drag that out again. Do you agree with her? Or is there another plot device that riles you more?



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

4 Comments on "With Friends Like These… A Rant"

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  1. labsnbooks@aol.com' Brenda Kahn says:

    Couldn’t agree more and now I’m dying to know what book. My latest pet peeve is not so much a plot device, but a character trait. I can’t stand these overly self-deprecating/ naive heroines that seem to people these popular paranormal romances. Beautiful? Me? You could not possibly mean l’il ole me! And so on, gag. I recently finished one that got pretty good reviews, and I kept thinking, “Really?”


  2. brittanykwilson@gmail.com' Brittany Wilson says:

    I’m re-reading Robert Jordan’s The Great Hunt right now and having almost the same issue! (One of) the main heroes had a moment of, ‘No! I may do bad things! Must hide from everybody and make them all me!’ (which is another of my least favorite devices) and now his friends refuse to forgive him, despite the fact they’ve all been friends since they were little. Seriously, guys, the world is ending. Grow up and GET OVER IT.

    Good rant, Lynn. That device pops up a lot in tv shows, as well, and it’s equally aggravating!

  3. The timing is uncanny … we are reading Harry Potter for the first time (yes, I know … it’s book 2 at the moment), but I am finding the same thing with some of those characters.

    It is so hard to find realistic content for Tweens and teens that doesn’t always require kicking a horse when their down or a Polyanna ending.

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