Yesterday I read this YA novel, and, before I cracked it I was really excited about it because it was hugely popular and seemed like something right up my alley. I was all "ooh, I'm going to be able to review it in my blog, because I'm really going to like it!"
Except I didn't.
I hated it. Like, a lot.
And here's why - the main character is deep like a puddle. Unfortunately, I can't be as specific as I would like here, since I'm panning this book, but basically, the protagonist is a high school girl who, apparently, has no interests, no life, no thoughts, and no feelings except for the boy she likes. Her parents barely figure into the story at all, she has no friends, her boss at her part-time job hardly speaks, there are apparently no teachers, she never watches tv or listens to music ...
In short, she's BORING.
Of course, the romance is the primary driver of the story and should be the main focus, but a character this empty seriously impedes my enjoyment of the romance, because I don't care what happens to her. When the other kids at her high school decide not to be her friend, I don't blame them. When she schemes to avoid her father, I don't care whether she gets caught or not. When she asks herself why her boyfriend is with her, SO DO I.
I think the main problem is that, by the end of the book, I don't know this girl. I can't relate to her at the outset of the book, because she doesn't seem to have a past or a future, and I don't know anything more about her at the end of the book except that SHE REALLY LOVES HER BOYFRIEND AND HE REALLY LOVES HER. Great, sure, but that's not enough to keep me interested for 100+ pages.
Characters, especially main characters, need to be three dimensional. They should have personalities that help dictate their actions throughout the book. They should have pasts - even if they are children. They should like some things and dislike others. They should have relationships with other people, even if those relationships are antagonistic. There are tons of exercises in those "how to write a novel" books that can help a writer do this, so there's no excuse for characters as thin as this girl to show up in fiction, like, ever.