Tropes: Love ‘Em Or Hate ‘Em? (Ft. 16 Tropes I Love & Hate In YA Books)

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?

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68 thoughts on “Tropes: Love ‘Em Or Hate ‘Em? (Ft. 16 Tropes I Love & Hate In YA Books)

  1. Yes, dark storylines & characters are so much fun, I’ve recently got soo into them and they’re actually so much fun!
    Thank you so much for your examples, you just saved a life!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness the last one is SO frustrating because they usually break up for some stupid reason (that could’ve been solved through the magic of COMMUNICATION) and you know they’re getting back together anyway so what’s the point?? It’s not like there’s some kind of revelation *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I honestly love tropes, haha. I’m not even sure why – I guess I just like seeing how different authors can use them differently (or not so differently) in their own stories. I looooove enemies to lovers, probably because I love angst and those stories always have a lot of it, haha. BTW, since you say you love books with diseases/plagues, if you haven’t already read it, I’d highly recommend This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada. Just finished it a few days ago and it was great!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I simply love how ACOMAF is pretty much the BEST example when it comes to tropes done right. Because it is. Done. Right.

    I honestly don’t mind tropes all that much? I loooove some of the predictable ones if they’re done right and if the story is interesting but sometimes it’s too darn predictable and obvious what’ll happen – even when it comes to the HOW. Thàt’s when I start having a problem with certain books. Like, I can still enjoy them but they’ll never be top reads. [Looking at When Dimple Met Rishi for this one since it’s the last book I read where I just sat there going “Aaaaand here we go with this and that happening” and it did.]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. THIS IS SO GOOD!
    i love the competition/contest some bit great quest thing i just think they are so fun to read, and the enemies to lovers is 100% my favourite, i get so excited when i see it happening in a book as i know i’m going to love it :’)
    also anything with super power i will forever love, although i wasn’t the biggest fan of the first two red queen books (the third was MUCH better) i really loved the powers in the book, so good.

    insta love is so crap, i’m sorry!!! i mean i know i read to escape but my idea of “escaping” isn’t reading about people who with one look fall in love and are soul mates and all that craaaappp!!

    this is an amazing post tho!!!! 💖💖💖💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, same! I tend to not be a romance person, but those types are definitely my weakness!

      I actually haven’t read passed Red Queen, but I probably won’t because I’ve lost interest! But the first book was quite good!

      Haha, don’t apologize; I hate it so much. It’s be absolute worst. 😩

      Thank you! ❤️

      Like

  6. Ok, I’m tired of Questing. It’s just so predictable, and blah. Though I started the Percy Jackson books, (I’m on the 3rd one!!!) And those Quests are a bit more interesting 🙂
    Also, villainy running in the family is super meh. Like, just be yourself and stop the angst. Just STOP. I can’t handle this anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, you just started? I hope you love them; they’re my favorites! Rick Riordan’s quests are interesting, and they have a lot of twists and turns! I really need to re-read those books!

      Yes, I wouldn’t hate it so much if the MC wasn’t so angst-y about it. Which is probably why I don’t like bad boys with daddy issues. 😂

      Like

  7. I don’t come across many insta love scenarios, but i guess it’s mainly due to the genres i read. (Crime, thriller).
    I’ve read a few Y/A books recently and was lucky to escape it there too. Mostly. However when it does happen, i kinda reminded myself that the main character was 16 years old, and oh boy, when i was at that age, i literally had a different insta love/crush every 2 weeks. 😀 Yes, something must have not been right with me back then, haha…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, I read both adult and YA, so I can see the differences! Like, there are different tropes in adult thrillers than in YA thrillers!

      Ah, man, I’m a teenager now, and I can’t relate! I honestly haven’t had a crush on a boy my age since I was twelve? I have a lot of celebrity crushes, though (*cough* Chris Evans *cough*). 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww ❤
        Well, to be fair, when i was in my teens, i had no internet or smartphones or any other sort of entertainment, so it all came down to books, tv series (on telly) and having crushes left right and center 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Yay! I love a good Trope discussion 😉 I think one of my most dislikes tropes at the moment is the snarky, sarcastic female lead. Or as you mentioned, snarky male leads. You know what, I just dislike snark in general. Ugh. Nothing turns me off a character faster than ‘Look at me, I’m so witty and badass’.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Definitely love when the main character dabbles into dark magic – one of my favorite tropes! And we all know how I feel about enemies-to-lovers trope. Also I love how your good example of insta love is Daughter of Smoke and Bone! I loved that one and I was annoyed that there was insta love, but I also loved it? So weird. Anyways, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I love it! I’m always that weird person that get excited when the MC decides to unleash her dark side. 😂

      Yes, I think that it was a plot twist was what really got to me! And the fact that despite that, in the sequels, their relationship is fleshed out a lot more, which shows you how they fit together.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I loved this post! I love morally grey characters and basically anything that had to do with that! I’m also a sucker for a good hate-to-love romance!💕

    But sometimes I think it depends on the book. I tend to hate insta love and other ya tropes, but it’s true that I’ve read some books with tropes I disliked and ended up really enjoying them and vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. OMG I LOVE A CHARACTER THAT’S DRAWN BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD. But im not so keen on the loads of trials an d games etc since everything seems to remind me of the the hunger games now aha.

    omg SACRIFICAL LAMBS NEED TO LEAVE. stop being a MARTYRRRRRR!! RDJKGBDFJKBG. AND OMG “we’re together, no we’re not, we’re together, we’re not again” reallyyyyyy annoys me because it seems so pointless and stupid!!!!! njkcfnbkjfdbkjf.

    great post!! I agree with so many of these!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This was so funny! I totallyyyyy agree, especially the hate ones. To be fair though, all of these tropes can be awful if they’re done badly.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think every single trope can be good if done right, but some are harder than others to do correctly! So it really depends on the book and how it is used. Also you totally forgot love triangles! They usually drive me nuts but there are a rare few books where it works.

    You marked The Cruel Prince as a good example of “i hate you, i love you; i hate that i love you!” but then you said you didn’t like “snarky guys with a bad past” I think the Cruel Prince was a perfect example for both of these, and I thought you were contradicting yourself by using it as an example in a trope you liked and then saying you didn’t like the latter trope. To me, the two went hand in hand with each other. But then I went and found your review of The Cruel Prince and it all makes sense. I was having trouble separating the two, but now I can see what you meant 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s definitely true! Oh, I didn’t forget love triangles; I just skipped out on that one because I feel like everyone says that one in their tropes list!

      Oh, no problem! Like you said, there are tropes that can be done well! There are definitely a couple of snarky bad boys out there that captured my heart; I can’t help it. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so with you on the journey thing, especially in Tolkien’s books. I understand that Middle Earth is an amazing world to have created, but I just felt The Hobbit got to the point where the only thing that was happening was the characters literally just wandering around exploring said world

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Ommg yeeesssss! I love the lost princess/prince tropes and the hate you/love you trope!!! it’s just always fun and I love the heightened drama of it all.

    But omg Mikaela you just broke my Hobbit loving heart!!! I am still a long-time lover of the long journey in books!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree with some of these I love competition tropes and characters who are morally gray!! I also love schools (I’m not sure why I think it’s because I’m one of the very few that enjoyed high school) trope and I always get a book that has one! Also a big friends to lovers trope fan.

    I’m not a fan of the enemies to lover because it can be really problematic or just not make sense (*ahem* The Cruel Prince which the romance is the only reason it’s not a full five stars). And also love triangles and the back and forth just no. And I *CANNOT* stand insta love! I just hate it. It’s so stupid. There’s only one book that I liked it with and that was Strange the Dreamer. Otherwise it’s a no from me. Also I agree snarky guys with a bad past (*ahem* Will Herondale please don’t hate me) I just can’t do it!

    Great post! I never realized how passionate I was about tropes XD

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m in high school right now and I hate it! 😭 After I finish out this year ill only have one more, so I shouldn’t complain, really.

      Ah, yes, so we agree on that! I am intrigued on how it will develop! 9 times out of 10, the second book tends to get me. 😂 I haven’t read Strange the Dreamer, but her other series Daughter of Smoke and Bone had the same thing, and I really enjoyed it there! Latino Taylor is magic!

      You’re speaking to the right girl because I don’t like Will Herondale either! Team Jen forever! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  17. i’m really confused to see mara dyer on your list of bad examples, it has 2 of your favorite trope (unreliable mc and superpower)! i read a book about the lost princess trope last year, except that she really is not the lost princess and things got awkward… enemies to lovers is also my favorite trope, i just can’t get enough of them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Because I hate the series! 😂 I feel like it had wasted potential; Noah was the worst, it focused way too much on the romance, and I feel like they explored Mara’s dark side for a couple of pages in the third book and that was it. I’m an outlier, though. 😂

      Ooh, that book sounds interesting! 😄 And I love enemies to lovers. Will always be my fave love stories.

      Like

  18. We have so many of the same hate/love for troupes in books! Morally grey characters my my absolute faves -Adelina from The Young Elites, Nova from Remegades, I even kinda like Sebastian from TMI ( I know he’s basically psychotic, and his obsession with clary is gross but I can’t help but love him?? I can’t explain why )

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I haven’t read some of your ‘good examples’ and now I really want to! Also I have a tropes blog post in the works too, so I almost didn’t click on the link. I am so glad I did though!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. LOL, I loved this! Especially all the talk about YA romance contemporaries and the “family issues” that always end the same way. I agree that although not all books in that genre are that way, there are enough books/plots to parody it.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I absolutely love this post, it’s such a great idea 😍
    I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that you love the lost princess trope, because so many people hate it xD I never minded the trope myself, because it can be done really well and serve as a good plot twist 🙂 I’m also all here for aall the competitions!! I love all the trials and challenges as plot points, this will never get old for me! 😀 Lately I have also been loving enemies-to-lovers ships, but only if it’s done well.

    As for the tropes you hated: I’m so sick of insta-love because it’s annoying, lazy and has been done way too many times. It’s really hard for me to even remotely like a book if it has insta-love :/
    I’m actually all here for snarky guys with a bad past – they tend to be my fave characters – BUT only if they aren’t complete assholes that justify everything bad they do with said past

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! ❤️ Credit definitely doesn’t go to me though!

      Yeah, I think it’s just fun! It can be obvious but I find it fun. I’m less forgiving about the whole “male love interest is the missing prince” trope though. I do love me some competitions!

      SAME! I find it hard to like a book of insta-love plays a huge part in it. Nope. I agree! I think the whole “Well, yeah, you’re an asshole, but it’s okay now because you were sad” isn’t a good excuse. I mean, I don’t fall for it when it comes to serial killers in real life, so I don’t think it’s okay to excuse guys of it in books just because they’re hot, regardless if they’re fictional or not. Does that make sense? 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, but it’s always fun to read a post like that 🙂 ♥

        Sometimes these cliches are fun 😀 Oh yes that is another thing that always seems to happen & I remember a book where I guessed this trope from the beginning xD

        Insta-Love really can be such a fast turn-off, because it comes across sooo unrealistic :/ This makes total sense and actually is a great comparison! 🙂

        Like

  22. I love when the protagonist is not perfect and dabbles in dark stuff! It makes things so much more interesting! I also love when the protagonist is not the key to everything! In terms of tropes I dislike, I really don’t like insta-love or any romance cliches because there are so many of them and they all bother me. I don’t necessarily love romance in my books but I think it’s because of these tropes that I don’t love them.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Those are the best kinds of protagonists. When romance is done right, I’m ok with it. But most of the time, it’s just insta-love so I avoid romance as much as possible. But nowadays it seems like you can’t escape romance in YA novels 😐😐

        Liked by 1 person

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