There are so many tropes in books, especially in YA. Sometimes, I get a little tired of certain ones. So, today, I thought I would release some of my frustration and tell you what tropes I hate and why I dislike them so much.
Before I begin, though, I do want to say that just because I list it here doesn’t mean that I necessarily hate a book that contains it. In fact, a lot of books that I love have at least one of these tropes! Also, I do think that there are certain books that take a trope that I hate and make it something I love.
With that said, let’s begin the complaining!
This is probably the trope that I hate the most. I dislike it on so many levels. First off, it’s just so unrealistic. I have never known anyone in real life who’s been in a love triangle. And while I understand that the point of fiction is that it’s not real life, I do think it’s good for fiction to have a least a small basis in reality. If you’re writing about people, I think it’s important for them to act the way human beings act.
Second, it’s kind of hurtful, but it’s never portrayed that way. Leading people on and not having the kindness to pick one and let the other move on is definitely not kind. But it’s always told as if it isn’t emotionally damaging for those involved.
Third, it’s used so much. This is the big reason why I hate it so much. I can think of countless books I’ve read that have love triangles. Frankly, I’m bored of it. I feel like it’s become an easy way to keep the plot moving, but there are so many more interesting and entertaining things you can do than have (typically) a girl torn between two boys that will move the plot along so much better.
Teenagers Leading an Army/Revolution
I don’t dislike this trope nearly as much as I dislike love triangles. Mostly, I just think this is hilarious. In real life, teenagers are busy trying to get good grades, have fun with their friends, and their biggest worry is what they’re going to do after they graduate high school.
But, in fiction, you have teenagers in dystopian worlds leading an army of (much stronger and more experienced) adults. What’s really funny is the adults never question if sending a 16 year old off into battle is a wise decision.
Just like with love triangles, I can think of plenty of books that have this trope. But, unlike love triangles, I really don’t dislike this trope beyond the fact that it seems unrealistic in any world, real or fantasy. The books I’ve read that contain this trope are still good, and I don’t hate the books by any means.
The Good Girl Who Falls For the Bad Boy That Treats Her Terribly
Don’t get me wrong, I can totally enjoy stories with a bad boy in them. And I do like it when the girl falls for him (this isn’t a book, obviously, but think Jess and Rory from Gilmore Girls!).
What I don’t like is when the boy treats her poorly and she still loves him. I feel like a lot of the bad boys in stories (not just books, but movies too) act the way they do because they’re angry or hurt. And I understand that. But, being consistently mean to the person you’re in a relationship with isn’t justified because you’re hurt. There are no excuses for that.
This trope is used in so many books, and the thing that makes it terrible is that it almost is never portrayed as something bad. The girl doesn’t come to the conclusion that the boy is hurting her and that he’s not worth her time or self-esteem. She doesn’t leave him for someone who treats her with more kindness or (even better) for herself. She always stays and lets herself be strung along by someone that’s only causing her harm.
I dislike this so much because it sets such a terrible example for the teenage girls who read book with this trope. It teaches them that being in a relationship with someone who’s abusive to them isn’t just okay, it’s glorified. It teaches them that they wouldn’t be happier alone than in a relationship with someone who is on an emotional roller coaster and takes it out on them. But none of this is true, and none of it is okay.
Girl Who Doesn’t Realize How Beautiful She is Until a Boy Shows it to Her
I kind of feel like this trope is along the same lines as the previous one in that it teaches girls to put their self-esteem in the hands of boys. There are so many books where the main character is a female teenager and she thinks of herself as awkward, ugly, and different from everyone else. But, then, the perfect, handsome boy that’s way out of her league falls for her, and, along the way, he shows her who she truly is. She’s secretly beautiful, funny, suddenly not awkward at all, and different from other girls in a good way (aka better than other girls (hate that, also)). But she never would have come to that conclusion if the boy hadn’t shown it to her.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s okay to let people help you in your journey and in overcoming things you struggle with. In fact, I think it’s more than okay, I think it’s the definition of strength. But, learning how to love who you are regardless of what other people think and taking your opinion of yourself into your own hands is also the definition of strength. People come and go, they hurt you, and they’re not perfect. Having your good self-esteem solely rely on them is dangerous, because, at one point or another, they will mess up. Where are you supposed to get your self-esteem from when that happens?
I would love to have more stories showing people (girls especially, but boys too!) learn to accept themselves without a romantic interest. I would love to see someone journey to self-love through their own experiences and on their own terms.
If you don’t know what this means, “instalove” is when two characters meet and fall in love instantly. They know each other for all of five minutes before they decide that they are each other’s soulmates and that they will spend the rest of their lives together. Instead of a more realistic, slow burning romance, they instantly have a close relationship.
At least in my opinion, this trope is kind of ridiculous. You don’t meet someone and instantly have a good, solid, and long-lasting relationship with them. You have to get to know each other and then you have to work at it. And love grows as time goes on.
Also, let’s be real, it’s really rare for people who date as teenagers to end up together forever. It can be a nice fantasy, but in reality, life happens, people grow, and they move apart. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just how life is.
And that’s it for this post! I have a few more tropes that I could talk about, so maybe I’ll end up doing a second post sometime.
I hope you liked this. Let me know what you think! Do you agree with me? Have you read books with these tropes? Are you tired of them, too? Or am I completely wrong? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks for reading!