I read books now with an eye for what I can apply to my writing skills. Backstory was a key reason I didn't read past the first chapter in a book yesterday and it was in stark contrast to the backstory in the one I'm reading that I didn't think I would like but do. Legend by Marie Lu I loved another book of hers, The Young Elites, so I was expecting the same quality. Legend was one of her earlier books and the lack of skill showed. It opened with an exposition dump interspersed with a tiny bit of action. The character tells us all about his world, he's in the lower class, there s a plague, he's wanted by the authorities, his biometrics are not in the data base ... and on and on. It was a good example of why we don't need to dump the whole backstory on the reader at the beginning of the book. Resist the urge. Let the reader learn about the backstory after you've gotten them to care about the character. Fever Crumb by Phillip Reeve The character is young and I was looking for something with older characters but the author's setting descriptions were really good so I kept reading. I need to work on my setting descriptions. The backstory unfolds slowly as part of the mystery you have to keep reading to find out about. The contrast between these two books highlighted how to do, and not do backstory.