What Defines a Cliche Book?

As most of you readers know, I am a picky reader. When I write reviews, I nit-pick every little thing that bothers me. Hopefully you guys don’t mind listening to me critique; I just can’t stand poor writing, boring plots, or cliche phrases.

Then I heard someone say, “People like cliche. It wouldn’t be cliche if people didn’t love it and ask for more” It hit me hard. I hate cliche, but does everyone else? Also, what defines something cliche in a book?



a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usuallyexpressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lostoriginality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse, as sadder butwiser, or strong as an ox.


(in art, literature, drama, etc.) a trite or hackneyed plot, character development, use of color, musical expression, etc.


anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse.
I like that last one. Cliche, in a nutshell, is anything that has lost its originality through overuse. I think cliché phrases is the most commonly used stereotype, but there are other things in a book that can and are cliché that authors include. What defines a cliché book?
My opinion of what is a cliché plot or element in the story is defined by what I read. I read a lot of fantasy and adventure stories; something that bothers me all the time is there are too many stories with exceptional archers. Have you noticed that? But people like archery because it’s cool. To me, it is cliché, but I can’t say that it is classed as cliché by others because they are still asking for more. It’s a fad right now.
Have you ever read the book Eragon? I haven’t, but my sister did. She shares the same sentiments as me about cliche-ness. She read Eragon, but constantly complained the whole time, saying that it felt like they threw in everything cliché in the fantasy genre they could think of. Maybe that is why it is such a popular book.
Another subject that is very overused is that the main character is an orphan, either looking for his parents, trying to at least find out who they are (or were), or simply dealing with life without them. I think that this is a fact that a lot of people can’t connect to, but often plots are just easier if parents aren’t in the way. I wouldn’t say I don’t like reading about orphans, but as soon as I open up a book and they say, “I have missed my parents ever since they died”, I think, “Oh boy, here we go again….”
These are only a few of the one’s I really dislike, among others, but the point is that it really depends on what genre and how much you read. If you don’t read too much, then they probably won’t bother you as much as they bother me. Popular teenager books are notorious for being unoriginal or cliche, because teenagers tend to not read very much.
The point I am trying to get across is that everyone’s cliché may be a little different, and that no one book is wholly cliché. What is one book you have read that had one or several cliché elements?

Nancy Drew #15: The Creature of Kapu Cave

You, as Nancy Drew, head to Hawaii to serve as a research assistant to Dr. Quigley Kim, who investigates insect behavior, diet, breeding, nests, just about bug everything!  But when you arrive on the Big Island and drive into the middle of the jungle to look for Dr. Kim and her camp, you find it in ruins and she is nowhere to be found!  Another strange thing that has been going on is that the pineapple crop seems to have nearly been destroyed.  Locals are saying it’s the legendary monster named Kane ‘Okala who is destroying the crop. Could something more sinister be behind the pineapple shortage, and also the disappearance of Dr. Kim?

The Creature of Kapu Cave

The Creature of Kapu Cave

Something I think is super cool about this one is that you get to team up with the Hardy Boys and you can go back and forth between being Nancy, Frank, or Joe.  This one has plenty of activities, but one thing I didn’t like is that it didn’t seem like there were a lot of places to go and there weren’t very many secret passages/tunnels.

A few highlights of the game are looking for sea shells and making necklaces with them, fishing, doing insect research for Dr. Kim (although I might not call that a highlight because it wasn’t very fun), and making shave ice!

Creepiness Factor: 3/10

Nancy Drew #09: Danger on Deception Island

Katie Firestone (a friend of George) has invited you, as Nancy Drew, to Deception Island for a whale-watching excursion.  When you arrive, you find her boat completely ransacked!  Also, an alarming note warns Katie to “stop meddling”, or else.  The Snake Horse Harbor is divided over an orphaned orca whale who has been showing up in the channel maybe more often than it should be.  Will you be able to catch the villain behind these destructive plots, or will you be too late to “Save the Whales”?

Danger on Deception Island

Danger on Deception Island













It’s been a long time since I’ve done this one, and frankly, I don’t remember it well.  I’m pretty sure I liked, although I say that about pretty much all of them.

A few highlights of this one are kayaking, exploring through underground tunnels, and hunting for clams in the sand.  In this one, there are four suspects, which is more than some of the other games.  The more suspects, the more interesting it is!

And don’t forget, vote for Holt!

Creepiness Factor: 2/10

Nancy Drew #16: White Wolf of Icicle Creek

When the owner of the Icicle Creek Lodge in Canada asks you to uncover the culprit of several near-fatal accidents, how can you, as Nancy Drew, resist? Just before each accident (some of which include food poisoning, several bombs, and a sticky sauna door), a mysterious white wolf howls a warning. Is the wolf simply a bad omen, or part of someone’s dastardly design?



Since I received this game for Christmas 6 years ago, just after it came out, I have played it several times. It is fairly enjoyable; compared to the other games, about moderate difficulty.  Not very creepy, either.

I like that there are a lot of plausible suspects (some of the other games have several people to talk to, but only two could logically be the culprit). There are several people I really enjoy talking to; Freddie still makes my sister and I laugh each time. And also the unexpected conversation with the one-and-only, wait for it, Tino Balducci *groan*.

Creepiness Factor: 1/10




Nancy Drew #7: Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake

You, as Nancy Drew, travel to the lakeside cabin of a friend to help her uncover the mystery of the strange dogs that prowl around outside the house at night. While normal dogs might not be a problem, these ones are vicious and could be a hazard. Are they just a pack of lost dogs, or is there some other mischief afoot? Or could they be the ghost dogs of Mickey Malone, guarding the treasure he buried almost 100 years ago?


The general concensus on this game from me and my sister is that this one was really fun. It wasn’t particularly creepy compared to the other games, except for being a little reluctant to leave the house at night, and also not as hard. It would be a good starter game, or if you are like us, just finished a really frustrating one and wanted one that didn’t hurt your brain. It also felt like it wasn’t as long as some of the others.

Creepiness Factor: 2/10


Mara, Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Mara, an intelligent but ill-used slave in ancient Egypt, is swept from everything she knows when she is bought and threatened by two different men who have noticed her wits and wishes to use them to his advantage. The work is easy, and the rewards are great. If she is caught by either working for the other, she will be killed. In essence, gambling with her intelligence to free herself, or disobey and die; no other option is given her.

Doing spy work for both sides by disguising herself as the translator for the fiancee of the Pharoah’s brother proves to be more dangerous than she ever bargained for. To keep both men satisfied, she must use every ounce of brilliance to save her life. She also never bargained, or expected in any way, to fall in love with one of her masters. When both masters discover her duplicity, the fate of Egypt ultimately rests on who her loyalties are, and if she chooses to gamble with her life one last time.


This book is really intriguing, and a bit of a nail-biter. I just reread it, the first time being when I was about 14. It was better the first time because I obviously didn’t know what was going to happen.

Being much more critical now than I used to be, it was still enjoyable. There aren’t any major problems I had with it. Just a side note, if you hate romance, this book is not for you. The romance is fairly  important to the plot.

The one weak part in the book was probably the dialogue. McGraw was trying really hard to capture how long ago this was in their speech, but it may have been overdone. Using thee, thou, and thine made it feel too abrupt. She also added in exclamations such as ‘son of Osiris!’ or ‘I swear on my ka!’, which didn’t bother me, but every single person seemed to not be able to remember her name. To add in another strange factor, Mara had blue eyes. Everyone commented on them, and everyone called her whatever came to their mind. ‘Lotus-eyed maid’, ‘face-of-the-lily’, you get the idea. Not exactly the appearance of one who is trying to be inconspicuous.

I’ve read several other books by McGraw, and my sister and I always agree that the author, in every single book, makes it drag a little in the middle. There was a little of that in this book, but for me the overall plot of double-spy was intriguing enough to keep me reading. Honestly, I don’t know why that double-spy idea isn’t more popular in books or movies; everyone is intrigued with futuristic plots that are almost all the same.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Violence: 3/10 (one man was killed, several are whipped, but nothing gory. There was a creepy part in which they break into a tomb that is a bit intense)

Language: 0/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 3/10 (several kisses and some flirting)

Audience: Ages 10 and up