-A.M. Aguilar

What Makes a Book my ‘Favorite’?

Is it the characters? The pace of the book? Or an original storyline? Keep reading to find out… 😉

There is one question that most of us, book lovers, dread to answer. Not because we don’t have an answer for it, we must certainly do, but mostly because it is so difficult to choose only one for an answer. “So what’s your favorite book?” AS IF I CAN CHOOSE ONLY ONE BOOK! I literally have a full-on google document with all of my favorite reads from all genres, book formats, star ratings, stand alone, duologies, trilogies, etc. If you ask me that question, be sure to be specific…

I don’t believe someone can have only one favorite book, even less if they read tons of book a year. HOW? You must, certainly, stumble upon a couple of books that will meet your “standards” and become favorites. Or at least that’s what I believe 😉 . We will never run out of good books, trust me. Books that are very well written, with solid plots and relatable characters, great representation, powerful lessons and entertaining overall; they can become new favorites! How can you choose only one when there are hundreds of books out there?

Of course, favorite books can look different for everyone. What may be a 5-star read and favorite book for me, may be a 3-star read for someone else and that’s absolutely fine. Everyone has different standards and likes when it comes to favorite reads and we should always remember that. Don’t hesitate on commenting down below and sharing your own experience with ‘favorite books’ too!

Today, I want to share with you what makes a book MY favorite. Is it the characters? The pace of the book? An original storyline? Yes, yes and yes. It’s all of that and many more things because books are too complex to summarize in one single indicator of favorite-ness. Hence why I decided to share with you the 3 things I look for in a book to call it my “favorite”. Let’s get started…

Things that Make a Book my Favorite

1. Plot and Setting

Of course this will be point #1: the plot or storyline is going to be the first thing you notice when choosing a favorite book and, in my opinion, it should follow the 3E’s rule. Yes, I literally just came up with this concept ;).

The 3E’s: it has to be Engaging, Entertaining and Emotional. Engaging refers to the pace, not too fast paced that you forget important details about the plot, but also not that slow paced because you may lose interest and not be motivated to finish it. Medium pace is perfect! It should also be entertaining because that’s why you’re reading to begin with, to enjoy your time and be entertained. No one wants to have a boring time reading, am I right? 😀 . It has to captivate you and keep you hooked. You should get that feeling where you can’t put the book down and can’t stop reading because it is THAT good and you want to finish it. And finally emotional: you know you have encountered a new favorite book because it will make you go through a roller-coaster of emotions, feelings and teach you powerful lessons. At least that’s what I’ve felt when I’ve read some of my favorites. It will usually be an inspiring and heart-wrenching read.

When talking about the setting, the book genre is going to be an important factor because if we are talking about a high fantasy book then the world building is essential and will most probably be set in a fictional universe with magical and fantastical elements, etc. All of these details will make you like the story more and take a place in your favorites.

Whereas if it’s a contemporary fiction novel, set on this Earth 😉 , then the specific details of the setting like places the characters frequent, the year it is set in, historical details, etc. will most likely influence the general story which is good to take into consideration when choosing a favorite.

2. Characters and Representation

My most important compass when choosing a favorite book is the characters <3. Not only should they be realistic and relatable (focusing on the representation aspect here, which we will talk more about later…) but also easy to grow attached to and love. I mean, you SHOULD WANT to keep reading their story, follow their adventures and finish the book for them, not only for the plot. I think these should complement each other, the storyline and the characters. And I mean the whole cast: the protagonists, side characters, antagonists and villain, and many more; all should be crucial to the story (especially when the book is written with multiple POVs).

I think that a book’s cast of characters is what usually makes it a favorite for me. You can say I “fall in love” with the characters and hence, value their dynamics and relationships, backgrounds, and personalities, which make me root for them and their story making it a 10/10 from the start! These are not only characters that I can relate to but also those I can learn from which is the second aspect I mentioned: representation.

I want to read more stories about Latin characters, Black characters, Asian characters, Muslim characters, Jewish characters, Queer characters, Disabled characters, Mental Health representation and many more because real life is just as diverse and everyone should be able to see themselves represented in a story they read <3.

3. Themes and Tropes

Finally, the last thing that can make a book my favorite are the themes and tropes it discusses. Themes are all the recurring topics that are mentioned in the book and tropes are the literary attributes that are commonly used in a specific genre. For example, some themes I enjoy in books are those of loyalty and friendship, love and courage, coming-of-age stories, self-discovery and identity, etc. And some of my favorite book tropes include: found family, the chosen one, friends-to-lovers, and many more. Most of the books I choose as favorites have any of these themes and tropes because I have grown to enjoy and treasure them in books.

So yeah! These have been 3 things I usually look for in a book before calling it a favorite; and honestly, I am not really very strict in that every book I give 5-stars HAS to meet these standards and check off the boxes- it usually just happens. I read a book, end up enjoying and LOVING it and it has met all these qualities overall which is a lovely coincidence 🙂 . I think you understand what I mean HAHA! My favorite books are usually full of my favorite things <3.  

Obviously, I have to mention some books that I consider favorites so I have chosen the ones I love the most at this moment. The books you will always see me talking about and recommending nonstop. From my “favorite books” shelf, here we have my top 3 honorable mentions:

Honorable Mentions

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  2. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  3. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong


What makes a book YOUR favorite? Drop down below some of the characteristics that make a book an instant 5-stars for you!

If you liked this post, be sure to check out some of my latest blog posts like “Favorite Books I read in 2021,” “Best Found Family Books I’ve Read,” or “Favorite Fictional Places I’d Love to Visit!” 😀 . Please let me know your thoughts on this post and remember that any ideas you may have for future blog posts are more than welcome.

This month we celebrate this blog’s 2nd year anniversary! 😀 Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, dear book lovers for following along my bookish journey and for staying here. I can’t thank you enough for all your support and kind messages. I’m the most grateful to have met you all here, I adore this book community! 🙂 Maybe you noticed when you opened this blog post but, I changed the layout and color palette for the blog so I hope you like that <3.

Stay tuned for new content here on my blog and also on my Instagram account, which also turned 2 last week 😀 . I am always active there and my DMs are open for any suggestions or to just have a short chat about our favorite books and characters. I love talking to you guys, interacting and fangirling over our favorite books and series! Don’t hesitate on it (@thebookssmuggler).

I hope you are all doing well and have a beautiful week ahead. Please stay safe, take care and spread love today and always. Best of lucks in everything you do and happy reading!

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