Monday, June 3, 2013

[Coffee Shop Talks] Misleading Book Blurbs/Synopses

It's really not that often that I come across a synopsis or blurb that I find misleading. Out of the 500 books I've read, I could only come up with 3 examples. With each of these, the misleading blurb and/or synopsis definitely had an effect on my reading experience in different ways. 

Joyland by Stephen King

Synopsis : Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.

Blurb from S. King : "I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts. That combo made Hard Case Crime the perfect venue for this book, which is one of my favorites."

The synopsis for Joyland is so short and vague that it's hard to call it misleading. But I'm also taking in to consideration the blurb by King, the woman's terrified expression on that awesome book cover, and the fact that King is known as "the master of horror". These things led me to believe that this story would be at least a little scary, or that the mystery would be at least a little suspenseful. It was neither. It was a great coming-of-age story and that was 90% of the focus of this book. If I hadn't been expecting something spooky or mysterious, then I would have enjoyed this a lot more.

Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols

From the award-winning, wildly popular author of Such a Rush and Going Too Far comes a fun and sexy new adult romantic comedy with a paranormal twist, available exclusively as an eBook.

Um...yea... I found this to be misleading for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't think this story was anywhere near funny enough to call it a comedy. In fact, I skimmed through some of the positive reviews and didn't see anyone mentioning the humor or any laugh-out-loud moments. I have no idea why "romantic comedy" was even thrown in there. 
Second, using the new adult term was misleading. This story had none of the angsty elements or heavy issues that I've come to associate with the new adult genre. Being a college student or recently graduated college student or whatever the protagonist was did not make this a new adult story, in my opinion. 
I can't say this was a bad book. The 70% I read was okay. But if someone were to give you Levitating Las Vegas and say, "Read this sexy new adult romantic comedy with a paranormal twist", then they would be misleading you.

Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn't fear the dark and doesn't have bad dreams--who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam's hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed--a promise that could destroy them all.

I absolutely loved this story! I thought I had an idea of what to expect by reading the synopsis, but I was wrong. It was misleading in a very good way.

Don't Breathe A Word is a fantasy novel...or is it a psychological thriller? It's a story about fairy kings and queens...or are they something else? The synopsis is intentionally misleading...or is that just what the author wanted me to think? I must admit, I've read this story and I'm still not 100% sure that I know the answers. 


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Antonietta Scrofani said...

Great post Cat! Now I'm curios to read Levitating Las Vegas...

Traci Horton said...

That's it Don't Breathe a Word just made the TBR! I've been toying with whether to get Joyland this week. I've read some of King's Hard Case Crime books, so I know they're not his usual fare. I'm just not sure if I'm ready for a genre shift yet. :)

Traci @ Mad Hatter Reads

Beth W said...

I've come across that more often, but misleading in subtle ways. Like the blurb's tone makes it sound like a romance, and it's primarily a coming-of-age with a little romance thrown in there. Usually, if anything, it's the cover that is misleading. But, as you said, that isn't always a negative or frustrating thing- sometimes it's a happy surprise.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This is why I love book bloggers. I find out if the book is for me better than the blurb. Of course I still have to deal with it in books that I review...

I would have NEVER guessed that the S. King one was a coming of age book. That would be a shocker with the blurb AND cover. LOL

I also find that the covers are more misleading than the blurbs.

Carmel @ Rabid Reads said...

I can't think of one off the top of my head but it has happened to me too. However, more often than not I don't even read the blurb for this exact reason. Blurbs are good for casual readers but not so much for seasoned book bloggers. Rarely will I base my decision to read or not read a novel because of the synopsis.

Ning said...

I just read the After Dark Anthology by Kait Ballenger and her story's blurb I thought was really misleading. I've also read some other ones since I started blogging. The synopsis doesn't really change my reading habits though because I base my reading choice a lot for reviews.

Ali Ginger-Read said...

The blurb for Levitating Las Vegas is horribly misleading, in regards to the romantic comedy. I didn't find it funny at all, more sad...and kinda just boring. :/

Anonymous said...

Lol nice Cat, of all three thr only one i got curious for was Dont Breathe a word. Off the top of my head, i csnt think of any blurb thats been misleading, but yes, ive read a few that dont have anything to do with the bookat all. Frustrates me because before i start any book i read the blurb to give me an idea of the story, even if its a book ive been dying to read. Ex: Entwined with You. Sigh

Ashley @ The Bibliophile's Corner said...

I want to read Don't Breathe a Word! That one has been on my list for a while.

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