Five Young Adult Book Tropes I’m Tired of Reading

So the title pretty much explains it all.

I’ve read a lot of YA books and there are some plot devices that I see in more than a few of them which I cannot stand no matter what author, what genre I am reading. Now don’t get me wrong some are incredibly well written, the exception to the rule, but in others it just doesn’t work for me.

Below are my top five most hated YA tropes that seem to be in a lot of YA books I’ve read in the past year.

The Love Triangle Trope

Insert deep sigh here.

Love triangles are in so many YA books now I would probably fill up this whole post listing them all. I don’t go out of my way to avoid books with love triangles in them but I don’t enjoy reading about a heroine’s struggle to choose between two guys. Especially when nine times out of ten love triangles are only used to create tension and advance the plot.

Now don’t get me wrong there are books out there where love triangles are well-written, developed, and executed. However there are plenty more where the hero/heroine doesn’t have any chemistry with one, let alone two of their love interests.

No thanks.

The Cure: The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas

The Elemental Trilogy

No love triangles and a well developed relationship between Iolanthe and Titus.

The Broken Family Trope

Of my five best friends only two of them have parents who are divorced, in YA books however the main character will have a broken family or no parents at all. They are either dead, divorced, or abusive and neglectful.

Now it’s probably hard for the main character to run around overthrowing governments and risking their lives if they’ve got a whole and loving family waiting in the wings. The lack of family dynamics however seems like a lazy way to avoid building a relationship between the YA hero/heroine and their parents.

Even Harry Potter had the Weasley family supporting and looking out for him while he faced down the Dark Lord.

The Cure: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Lynburn Legacy

Kami’s parents are supportive, loving, and an active part of all their children’s lives. A perfect family dynamic.

The Insta-Love Trope

This is as similar in YA books as love triangle are.

While I’m not saying that teenagers are incapable of forming lasting and meaningful relationships, I have real life proof that people can and do fall in love when they are young, I am saying it is impossible to fall in love in 2-3 days. Lust yes. Love no.

I want to read about believable and well-developed characters. I don’t want to read about a heroine who meets her hero’s eyes across a crowded room and falls instantly in love, knowing from that one glance they are destined to be together forever.

It just doesn’t feel real and it makes the whole relationship seem rushed, especially when the couple say ‘I love you’ after a week.

The Cure: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows

The relationships between Kaz and Inej, and Matthias and Nina are brilliantly developed over time. Each couple has a long history and the feelings between them build up over time.

The Chosen One Trope

J.K. Rowling did it well with Harry Potter, but since then the Chosen One is a trope used to make the main character stand out from everyone else around them.

I’ve seen and read it so many times that it’s become a little boring.

I don’t want to read about a Divergent heroine in a world of Amenity and Dauntless, or a lost princess who realises she is the only one who can save her people from a tyrannical ruler. I want a heroine who is ordinary but becomes extraordinary through her own strength and on her own merits, not because of a genetic fluke or a prophecy or a curse.

The Cure: Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee

Penryn and the End of Days

Penryn is not the chosen one, everything she does and everything she achieves is for her family and to save her little sister.

The Frenemy Trope

So high school can be tough, but that doesn’t mean teenagers are incapable of forming real and lasting friendships.

I’ve read so many books where the main character has one friend, only one, who isn’t really their friend. Instead it’s someone who lies to them, insults them, walks all over them, or just generally isn’t a real friend. I feel like in many cases this is just used like the love triangle trope, as a way to create tension between characters.

Please, just don’t.

I love to see well developed friendships in books, where the main character has someone they can rely on through thick and thin, someone they can tell all their secrets and worries to without worrying about the other person dismissing them. I have five people like that in my life and I love seeing close relationships that aren’t romantic in YA books.

The Cure: Soul Eater by Eliza Crewe

The Soul Eaters Series

While the two do not get on at first the friendship between Jo and Meda is one of my favourite parts of the series, as well as my favourite in all the YA books I’ve read so far.

So what about you? Are there any book tropes I haven’t included that you cannot stand reading? Do you ever avoid books because you read the blurb and discover something that you cannot read? Let me know.

2 thoughts on “Five Young Adult Book Tropes I’m Tired of Reading

  1. I agree with everything you said. Love triangles are awful and take so much from the plot. They don`t seem real. I agree with everything you said.

    Liked by 1 person

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