Book tropes are certain themes or effects commonly used in books. There are a few of them that I absolutely loathe. Like not even strongly dislike, if I come across them in a book I am reading, I will literally stop reading the book because I become so annoyed.
I feel like the most common place to see reoccurring tropes is in YA novels and romance, but they exist everywhere. The reason I am writing this blog is because I just cracked open (figuratively because I read on a kindle) a new book and was 4% into the book, which is like chapter 2 and I came across one of these dreaded tropes. Yes, slightly dramatic, but in my opinion, there are so many good, interesting books in the world, I am not going to waste my time reading something if I am going to be a bit annoyed, even if the story line may be good in the end.
Don’t get me wrong, there may be a time and place for certain tropes, and they can be used really well by certain authors, but more often than not they are cliches and overused. In no particular order, I am going to share some of my least favorite tropes commonly used.
- The parent leaves the kid to fend for themselves literally all the time. What?? I get that in some situations, especially single parent ones, the mom or dad may have to work a lot, but the amount of books I have read where the teenager is literally raising themselves is excessive. Coinciding with this, the teenage protagonist also has ridiculous amounts of freedom, even when the parent(s) are home. Staying out till 1 am on a school night, no biggie. A bunch of high school kids jumping into a car and taking an unplanned road trip, have fun! I am just totally confused by this. I grew up with very lenient parents, and even then they still wanted to know where I was and I had a reasonable curfew. Also, why do all these 16 year olds have their own, nice cars? Was I the only one who drove a clunker and had to cross my fingers that the car would start?
2. Love Triangles. Yep, this is a sure fire way to make me roll my eyes. First of all, if I am ever interested in someone and they can’t decide between me and another girl, bye boy. Who would put up with that? Know your worth, that person obvious doesn’t care about you the same way you care about them and someone is getting stringed along (and probably through multiple books). Secondly, why is this an integral part of your plot? Sorry, Edward and Jacob, just a whole lot of nopes.
3. Main character’s love interest was originally a bully or cheated on him/her or is unappreciative, etc. This goes back to know your worthy honey. This is the equivalency of pulling your crushes pigtails on the kindergarten play ground. Why is this a thing and why is it accepted? I’m going to expand on this and add, when the love interest is a bully, cheater, unappreciative, etc. because of a misplaced sense of duty, savior complex, or guilt. Let’s get past this, please, next!
4. When the whole plot blows up in the main characters face because he/ or she was withholding secrets. Come on! The main character knows they are in a high stress situations with lots riding on their actions, yet they are not telling their most trusted group important information that changes the outcome. Oh, especially when they are doing it to ‘protect’ others, then someone inevitably gets hurt because of it. Sorry, did I just spoil the plot of every book that uses this trope? My bad.
5. Typical body responses in certain situations. By this I mean, “heart began to race,” “didn’t realize I was holding my breath,” “mouth quirked up into a smirk,” and don’t get me started on winking or lip biting. Lots of nope, let’s be more creative shall we.
6. Main characters are all white, heterosexual, then there’s a token POC. Let’s bring some diversity please! I would love to see more books where the main characters come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Also, not just diversity limited to race and sexuality, but looks and body types. Where are my short dudes? Or my girls with acne? Also, please stop having the only LGBTQ+ character being the stereotypical gay best friend. Overall, I would just like more diversity in books, and I do see this improving as it becomes more important for representation in media, so kudos to authors who are pushing this.
Okay, my rant is over. Thanks for baring with me. I am sure there are lots more tropes that I have missed, but I didn’t want this blog to be too long since it is fairly negative. So on that note, I also want to do a part 2 and write a blog about tropes that I am a sucker for. Let me know some of your least favorite tropes!