Maybe a year ago, when my best friend and I were still mourning the loss of Borders (and thus found ourselves in a Barnes & Noble), I shoved Daughter of Smoke and Bone at her. "Read this too," I said as I placed the book atop an ever growing pile. "The writing is fantastic!"
As with the other books I had recommended, she read the first few pages. I didn't have to wait long for her reaction: she laughed.
"An artist with dyed hair and a shoulder bag?" (I don't actually remember if she said shoulder bag.) "Please," she scoffed as she turned to the back flap, with the author photo to support her. "I understand why authors do this, but no, just no."
You all know that I love Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Laini Taylor is now one of my auto-buy authors, especially after her phenomenal follow-up, Days of Blood and Starlight. At the same time, I also know what my friend meant, no matter how sad it was to see her judge DoSaB that way. Whenever a main character is described in a similar way to how I perceive the author, I do tend to think of the MC as a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. It's something so small but so simple and so avoidable. While I understand the adage "write what you know," I'm not sure that describing the MC fits within that category. And I think that that's something that can easily contribute to the current problem with diversity--how little there is within YA, whether or not that's improving as of now.
What do you think? Do you tend to associate the description of the MC with Mary Sue/Gary Stu-ness? Are there specific details that you associate with a Mary Sue/Gary Stu?