9 Tropes I LOVE in YA Fiction
I feel like all too often, people are talking about tropes they dislike in books. I know I am guilty of that! But what about the wonderful tropes in books? In this post, I want to cover some of my personal favorites, taking a look at the tropes I love in books.
*Gasp* I can hear you all from the other side of the screen. But love-triangles are so overdone, and horrible, and wrong, and I hate them and never want to see them again.
And I agree with you, for the most part. But when executed properly, love-triangles, or even love-decagons, are wonderful. I think that, far too often, YA books teach their readers that there is one love out there for every person. There isn’t fair consideration given to the realistic fact that people can fall in and out of love very easily – and people can even love more than one person at a time.
In books where love triangles are used as a sub-plot, or very a realistic main plot, the characters just feel more real to me. And it’s a great way for readers to feel emotionally invested in the story. I dislike it when an author makes it too obvious which love interest is the “right” choice, so when you can have a fandom torn between the options, it makes for an even better story in my opinion.
Characters Who Love Books
I know that this can be somewhat overdone in books, but let’s just admit it: characters who love to read are highly relatable characters for readers. Who are reading the book. Boom. Instant connection between reader and character.
You know the criticism. “Ugh, this book has another speshul protagonist with speshul powers or is the chosen one“, etc. But here’s the thing: books are written about the special characters. Books are written around characters who go through a lot, overcoming their antagonists. Books aren’t written about your lazy cousin Fred who watches TV and eats chips all day.
Or, if there are books like that, I’m not interested in reading them. I want to read about interesting characters.
Strong, Smart Protagonists
You’d be surprised by how many books I read with weak protagonists leading the story. And normally, I might specify “female” protagonists here. But in my own reading, I find that most YA novel protagonists are female. I hardly ever read about males. While I love the girl power going on here, I think it would be nice to run into another male lead from time to time besides Harry Potter (or Percy Jackson… though I haven’t read any Rick Riordan yet!).
Characters With Flaws as well as Strengths
YES MY FAVORITE. I love flawed characters. They don’t even have to be the anti-hero. Give every character in your book a flaw and I will love it.
Because it’s realistic. Because it’s humanizing. Because it’s relatable. Morality is grey. People are not all good or all bad. Give me a flawed protagonist. Give me a villain with strengths that I have. Make me as a reader wander the moral path of the story.
Another trope that many people might feel is a bit overused. BUT I LOVE IT. This is just a more specific example of the trope mentioned above.
Yes, please up the stakes. I love romance in novels, and I love blurred moral lines, so please make everything as complicated and heart-poundingly frustrating as possible.
Lack of Technology
I know that it isn’t always possible (or believable) in fiction, but I actually really enjoy this trope. Especially when there’s an excuse for it (electronics don’t work at Hogwarts because magic interferes, for example). Or characters that have things like cell phones but choose not to use them often. I know that it is often more believable for characters to use technology in fiction, especially if it’s a contemporary story. But in my own personal life I find technology to be really irritating (ironic for a blogger, isn’t it?). So ditch it in the books.
Maybe this goes along with the “speshul” protagonist section, but I wanted to mention it anyway. I love reading about a character that has something unique, special, or extraordinary about them. Maybe it’s overdone, unbelievable, or not relatable to some readers. But to me, this helps to differentiate one protagonist from another, even if they share similar features or personalities. Often, their “gifts” are what sets them apart.
Let’s talk about it
Are there tropes on this list that you absolutely loathe? Are there ones that you totally agree with? What are other tropes that you love in books? I would love to know your own personal preferences! Please leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.