- Talking animals. Sorry, Bryan Jacques. I have trouble with this.
- Dialects. It's hard to do this well. Again, apologies about Redwall.
- Quirky, dysfunctional people. Children never ask for this, and these are the books that always win Newbery awards. One exception: So B. It by Sarah Weeks.
- Southern Books. Too often they combine 2 and 3. If they don't, they're okay.
- Introspective navel-gazing. Again, this wins awards. Any time the main character spends way too much time contemplating their place in the universe, it makes for boring reading. Even if I like it (big fan of Jane Eyre), it's hard to get students to read it.
- Obscenity. Don't care if it's realistic. We don't let the children swear at school. They don't need to read words they would get suspended for saying.
- Blood and Gore. Students love this, so this is entirely personal. I'd prefer a good psychological thriller. Rarely done well.
Needless to say, if anyone ever writes a novel in verse about cursing, psychopathic serial killer bunnies who live in Alabama and spend a lot of time discussing their tortured childhoods, I won't buy it.