I really can't tell you how many times I've been reading a novel and have stopped and just thought, "Well, this feels like a fanfiction."
Now, this could be for multiple reasons.
1. I associate many writing tropes exclusively with fanfiction, so if I'm reading a novel that includes a fake relationship, it sets off my fanfiction spidey senses.
2. There are specific writing styles or tendencies that a lot of het One Direction writers had (don't ask me to explain it in words because it's more of a feeling and I have no idea how) and sometimes professional authors use phrases or something else that reminds me of those old fics.
3. There are certain situations that characters can get into in a fanfiction that I don't think really happen outside of fanfiction (like you know, in the real world), so those situations popping up in novels make them feel more fanfic-y than real world accurate.
4. Pretty boy British love interest? Ok, we all know you wrote it with Harry Styles in mind, don't deny it.
That last one hasn't come up that often, but is really just included so I can transition into talking about one specific novel that felt so much like fanfiction that I'd be surprised if the author didn't originally write it as a het 1D fic.
That novel is "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight" by Jennifer E. Smith.
Now, this isn't the best book I've ever read, and I probably wouldn't even remember reading it if it wasn't for how much the love interest screamed Harry Styles at me.
I read this book in high school and picked it up at a store on a whim without even reading the summary. I had it for a while before I read it and finally broke it out on a couple-hour plane ride, which is a funny coincidence because most of the novel takes place at the airport and on a plane.
So the main character is on the way to her father's second wedding in London and misses her flight, having to wait and be put on a different one. That's when she meets Oliver, whom she ends up sitting next to on the flight and talking to for most of it.
It has been years since I read this book, but I can remember thinking immediately upon meeting Oliver that, hmm, something feels familiar. I was at the height of my One Direction obsession at the time, so it wasn't a far leap for me to connect every little thing to something about the band. But the more I learned about the character, the more I thought that the book really felt like a Harry Styles fanfiction. I don't have other examples as to why he reminded me of Harry other than that he was British and described to look like an AU version of Harry because it's been so long and I don't have the book anymore to refresh my memory. But when thinking about books that read like fanfictions, that's the one my mind immediately goes to.
Maybe it's due to the amount of fanfiction I read, to the point that I haven't read a new novel in like a year, but I tend to compare every book to fanfiction now. If I'm at a bookstore and I read the jacket summary of a young adult novel (my favorite genre, of course), my first thoughts are usually either "that sounds like a bad fanfiction" or "that would be a great fanfiction."
Even in real world situations I do it. Like if my roommate is telling me a story about her relationship, I immediately think of what type of AU it would fit.
These might be warning signs that I should take a step back from fanfiction, but am I going to? Absolutely not.
Is my brain broken? Do you compare novels to fanfictions? Are there any novels out there that read like fanfictions to you?