List of Themes

Hopefully every book I read will have at least one theme. Here is a list of the ones that will commonly appear in my reviews and an explanation as to what they mean. This page will be updated as I come across more themes.

Acceptance characters learn to accept others and/or themselves, flaws and all
Alcohol Abuse characters abuse alcoholic beverages; characters suffer from the effects of their own or another character’s alcohol abuse
Change vs. Tradition ideas of changing pace; new ways of looking at the world, performing tasks, or engaging with others are discussed; pushback from previous generations’ ways and methods
Death death is discussed; one or more characters dies during the book; characters deal with understanding death
Determination characters recognize the need to power through the issues they face; characters refuse to give up when in trouble
Disability characters face conflict due to or struggle with mental or physical disabilities
Drug Abuse characters abuse drugs, either legal or illegal; book discusses the effects of abusing drugs
Education characters recognize the value of learning, be it from a book, an authority figure, or another source; access to education is discussed
Family characters reach a greater understanding of family members or family dynamics; characters might grow closer to their families or pull away due to recognition of toxicity
Friendship characters come to understand their friends better; they might learn what healthy and unhealthy friendships look like; they might learn how to make new friends or reconnect with old friends
Good vs. Evil the primal forces of Good/Light/Order and Evil/Chaos/Darkness are in direct opposition to one another throughout the book
Grief characters deal with another character’s grief and/or go through the grieving process themselves
Growing Up story addresses issues that arise from growing older, both physical and mental; story is concerned with helping readers become “good adults”; aka Bildungsroman, or “growing novel”
Heroism story raises questions about the qualities that make a person heroic
Honesty characters learn or relearn that telling the truth and acting with integrity is crucial to a successful society
Identity characters come to grips with who they truly are or who the people around them really are
Justice equality, equity, and fairness are discussed; characters learn the importance and meaning of all three
LGBTQA characters are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and/or asexual; the book deals with LGBTQA issues, such as equality or coming out
Mental Health characters struggle with one or more diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health issues
Overcoming Adversity characters are faced with tragedies or circumstances beyond their control which must be dealt with in a manner that leads to greater compassion, understanding, and maturity
Physical Health characters struggle with acute and/or chronic physical illness, such as migraines or cancer; minor illnesses or health issues, such as seasonal allergies or a cold, do not count
Pregnancy characters deal with the effects of pregnancy, either on their own bodies and in their own lives or with regards to the lives and bodies of someone they love
Responsibility characters might be saddled with responsibilities beyond their years; characters learn to be responsible for their own actions
Right vs. Wrong the conflict deals with questions of ethics and cultural mores
Romantic Love characters deal with attraction, crushes, and romantic feelings towards other characters throughout the book
Sports athletics and athletes are integral to the story
Survival characters are faced with challenges to their continued health and/or livelihoods