Tropes are a pretty darn confusing ordeal.
I mean, we bookworms tend to scoff and roll our eyes at book tropes because it makes books boring and unoriginal, but at the same time, a great and original book can utilize a trope so well that we rethink all our life decisions.
So, I decided I’d talk about some popular tropes in YA novels and whether I like or dislike them, inspired by Cait @ Paper Fury’s post asking if book tropes are always bad! Complete with loads and loads of gifs because I can.
1.) guess who the lost prince/princess of the kingdom is? one hundred percent, totally not the protagonist! ✔
I know, I know; it’s a super old trope that is so blindingly obvious as soon as some random character talks about how the Queen and King of the magical fantasy land Ilureia had a daughter/son and said daughter/son was separated from their parents by birth and they’re the last hope to save the land while the protagonist is within hearing earshot.
BUT DAMN IT, IT’S JUST SO MUCH FUN. I know it’s something predictable that I don’t even have to guess at, but I find it so entertaining that I can’t help myself, okay? DON’T GIVE ME THAT LOOK!
2.) the main character dabbles with darkness, villany, and cruelty, oh my! ✔
I love it when a main character is caught between the dark side or the light side of themselves, especially in regards to powers. It’s just something I find so interesting to explore, and I’ve always much preferred it when the heroes and villains aren’t fully good or fully bad, since that’s pretty much the definition of human nature.
I JUST LOVE DISCUSSIONS AND PRESENTATIONS ABOUT MORALITY AND SUCH. GIVE ME ALL OF THEM.
3.) a plethora of competitions and contests ✔
Yeah, I will absolutely never get tired of these. The suspense, the twists and turns, the intensity, not knowing what the outcome will be or what’s going to happen next, the deaths. I JUST LOVE ALL OF IT YOU GUYS!
(Also, it boldly humbles me because I realize I am too darn stupid to take any of these tests or compete, so let’s hope the dystopian future treats me kindly.)
4.) i hate you, i love you; i hate that i love you! ✔
Okay, I love the friends-to-lovers trope as well, but the enemies-to-lovers trope is my favorite type of romance by a mile! There’s just something about two people bordering on the line of love and hate and having all these Moments™ together and then it all just explodes into one huge climax aND THEN THEY’RE TOGETHER AND IT’S SO BEAUTIFUL; I CRY TEARS.
(I mean, “Will they? Won’t they?” It’s life’s biggest questions, honestly.)
5.) and a plague sweeps the nation ✔
I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY I ENJOY THIS TROPE SO MUCH. I JUST DO.
I mean, a giant, uncontrollable disease coming over the entire planet and killing all of us is actually one of my greatest fears. But at the same time, say the word “plague” or “disease” in regards to a show, movie, or book, AND I AM THERE.
What’s wrong with me? We’ll never know.
6.) am i good? am i bad? did i murder that person??? who really knows? ✔
Yeah, okay, it seems like EVERYONE is getting tired of amnesia stories when it comes to thrillers, but I just really, really love it! I like being confused and not knowing whether I should really be trusting the protagonist and wondering what the actual heck is going on. It’s just so much fun!
7.) but can you really trust me? like, really? ✔
Again, people are starting to get really tired of these types of narrators in thrillers, but I personally can’t get enough. I mean, why not read books where I can’t even trust the main character? Don’t we all read books to have trust issues???
8.) obligatory “do we have powers?” inserted here ✔
I will always, ALWAYS love books dealing with superpowers. I don’t care if the main characters are anti-heroes or actual heroes or villains, I just love it when they have superpowers! No one is surprised considering my (minor) obsession with Marvel.
1.) villainy runs in the family ❌
I don’t know, I don’t HATE this trope, but it’s just SO BORING.
And 99.99% of the time, it just leads to pages and pages of the main character being incredibly angst-y and constantly arguing with their other parent about what happened, and before that information is revealed, the main character is belligerent towards their single parent for not “telling them about their true past.”
I JUST DON’T CARE, SUSAN.
2.) the super special, sacrificial lamb ❌
Okay, it was fun when I read about it in Harry Potter. I didn’t mind it so much when it happened in that very popular dystopian trilogy. But since then, every single time I’ve seen this trope, I want to jump off a cliff.
At this point, it just feels like authors throw this in to manipulate my emotions and make me feel something, despite the fact that it tends to be blatantly out-of-character or doesn’t even make sense with the story.
THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO WRITE A TRAGIC ENDING THAN KILLING THE MAIN CHARACTER.
3.) insta-kill-me-now…i mean, insta-love ❌
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAha…no. Just no.
4.) snarky guys with a bad past ❌
I am 100% over guys who act like complete and utter dirtbags and then whine and cry about their daddy issues and how sucky their life is, and for some reason, I’m supposed to scoop them into my arms and tell them that everything is okay and that I love them???
HOW ABOUT NO.
(Okay, there are a few that I’m deeply in love with. BUT I REFUSE ALL OTHERS.)
5.) so, we were made for each other, apparently? ❌
I mean, “soulmates” is basically code word for “insta-love,” so I am automatically already against it.
And, once again, I find it to be such a boring trope. And it tends to include so much angst-ing that I want to jump off a bridge and get swept away into the depths of the sea rather than read ten pages of the main character whining and whining and MORE WHINING about her not being able to be with her destined love or whatever. BYE.
6.) a hiking we will go, a hiking we will go…and we’re dead. ❌
These books are LITERALLY just going from one place to another, and I can’t even deal.
I feel like the reason I don’t like this so much is because of how pretty much every early season of The Walking Dead is basically the gang going to a location, thinking it’s perfect, and then something terrible happens so they have to travel to ANOTHER location, and, oh no, now they’re split up. So I’m basically allergic to these stories now because WHAT ELSE CAN HAPPEN???
6.) stuck in a romeo-and-juliet type situation ❌
I cannot express my strong hate for forbidden romance enough. It is actually the most boring thing to read about, and nine times out of ten, the only reason the couple can’t be together is because of some incredibly stupid or asinine reason.
“Our families hate each other!” “Our species don’t like each other!” “Something bad will happen!” “We may or may not be brother and sister!” WHO CARES, PEOPLE?
(Also, I’ve noticed the more boring kissing scenes happen among forbidden romances. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.)
7.) he’s a slut-shaming player and i’m an innocent girl, and for some reason, we fall in love! ❌
8.) boy meets girl, girl and boy love each other, girl and boy break up, oh no, wait, they’re back together now. ❌
“Mikaela, why do you hate contemporary so much?” This. THIS IS WHY.
Of course, not all contemporary novels are like this, but so many romantic YA contemporaries are – save for a random subplot regarding family issues – and this is why I find them so insufferable. I don’t like being able to predict things so easily. THAT IS NOT WHY I READ.
what are some tropes that you love and hate? what are some tropes you hate but have books that you love with those tropes? do you agree or disagree with any on my list?