A lot of us in the book community adore YA with all our hearts. No question about that. We will also be the first ones to admit that YA novels have tropes coming out the wazoo–just like every other form of entertainment. Some tropes in YA are beloved and constantly sought after (like two characters being forced to share a bed). However, some tropes have grown tired or annoying or just don’t make sense.
Here are 5 tropes that everyone else seems to have grown tired of but I still enjoy!
1) LOVE TRIANGLES
The entire world can fight me about this, because I will defend love triangles TO THE DEATH. Okay, sometimes they are done HORRIBLY. Sometimes the person at the center of the love triangle is just a wishy-washy little whine bag. Sometimes they are unfairly leading one of the love interests on. Sometimes the love interests are just awful.
But but but!!!! Sometimes both the love interests are beautiful humans and the person who needs to choose is genuinely conflicted. Or the person has chosen but the other love interest refuses to accept it (*cough* ADAM!!! *cough*). Sometimes the love triangle is deliciously complicated or there are obstacles.
Maybe people who dislike love triangles think that the plot needs to be strong enough without all the romantic drama, and maybe that’s true, but a love triangle does not inherently mean a weak plot. It just gives us more conflict and a whole other thing to root for. Also, some authors do interesting variations on love triangles, like Jenn Bennett’s Alex, Approximately, Bonnie Pipkin’s Aftercare Instructions, and Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon. All 3 of those books have romantic situations that resemble a love triangle but….aren’t exactly.
Moral of the story: Not every love triangle is appealing, but when a triangle is done well…boy oh boy, I eat that stuff up!!!
Some books with love triangles I really enjoyed (in addition to the books I listed above):
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | City of Bones by Cassandra Clare | P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han | And I Darken by Kiersten White
2) MISSING PARENTS
It seems like in 95% of YA books the parents (or parental figures) either don’t care what their child does, are dead, or are just generally lacking a presence. Authors do this a lot because it allows their characters more freedom to traipse through dystopian landscapes or get drunk and cause a ruckus at a party. I understand that eliminating the parental guidance is an easy way out. Oftentimes, it’s unrealistic. Sometimes, it takes away a lot of opportunity for complexities and growth with a character.
That said, this isn’t a trope I love or anything, but it’s one I really don’t mind. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a crap ton of freedom, so it’s a little less unrealistic to me. But really, I think I’ve just accepted that it’s a trope of convenience. Some stories just wouldn’t be able to happen with the protagonist’s parents standing in the way.
Do I prefer seeing well-developed familial relationships? Absolutely. Unfortunately, though, the world doesn’t align to my preferences.
Some books that I love with the missing parents trope:
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson | Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | Beyond the Red by Ava Jae
3) THE CHOSEN ONE
I have heard so many people bemoaning this trope and I don’t really understand why, to be honest. I mean, okay, I get it–why is this unremarkable sixteen-year-old tasked with saving all of humankind? It doesn’t make that much sense, but, like…I don’t know. It always makes for a good narrative, in my opinion. There needs to be something special about our protagonist in order for her/him to be interesting to read about…they might as well be the Chosen One.
There are a lot of stories that wouldn’t be possible without this trope, and I think it allows for big plots and exciting journeys. Plus, teens who are using reading as an escape wanna feel like there’s still a chance for something Big and Exciting to happen to them. At least, I know I did. Heck, I still do. Still waiting on my Chosen One moment.
Some books I love with the Chosen One trope:
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl | Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4) MIRACULOUS POWERS
This is another one where I don’t get why people are sick of it? Maybe just because it’s done so much? You know the story: Our protagonist has gone their whole life feeling ordinary until one day BAM! They actually have powers lying dormant inside of them! And, what do ya know, they are one of the most powerful people in the world!
Like, okay, maybe it’s a bit common, but it’s fun! It lets us learn and grow alongside our protagonist. It’s a good way to learn about the world. And, again, who doesn’t hang on to the hope that they’re going to wake up one day and discover they have magic? I do. Literally every day.
Some books I love that have the miraculous powers trope:
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins | My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows | Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
5) THE MISSING PRINCESS
What’s interesting is that, while I know there are plenty of YA books out there with this trope, I haven’t read any. I’ve mostly seen movies/TV shows with this trope, but I still feel qualified to claim that I love it!
Is it predictable? Yes. Do I care? Nope! It’s probably yet another case of wish fulfillment because I’m a princess at heart, but isn’t that what reading is all about?
THERE YOU HAVE IT! 5 TROPES IN YA BOOKS THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO HATE BUT ME! DO YOU THINK I’M FOOLISH FOR LIKING SOME OF THESE TROPES, OR DO YOU ENJOY THEM AS WELL? ALSO, WHAT ARE SOME TROPES YOU LOVE THAT OTHERS TALK SMACK ABOUT? LET’S CHAT ABOUT TROPES!