I love Young Adult Literature tremendously and think it is one of the most important umbrella genres of the 21st century despite what the academics and literary critics may say. YA Literature encompasses such a wide range of sub-genres and is read by such such a wide range of people. Right now YA is in a position where it not only has a huge impact on the kinds of stories we are reading but also the movies we are watching and the street and pop-culture we are buying into. But of course we need to cosider the fact that there is an influx of YA literature and when there is so much of one thing there is bound to be both good and bad books.
I have read a lot of YA and I’ve come across certain tropes that pop up over and over again. These are tropes that if done properly could work however it has been over-done and it just grates my nerves when it is done badly.
5 YA tropes that are overdone
Girl meets boy for the first time, their eyes lock, their fingers touch, they can feel the electricity passing between them. Hell no! It is so unrealistic and god damn cheesy, you cannot help but roll your eyes. What are trying to teach young adults? Love isn’t something that is just fabricated out of thin air. I think we’re confusing “love” with “obsession”. These two words should not be interchangeble.
However, I take my hat off to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The “inta-love” in this case is technically not “insta-love”, so I it works really well with the plot. But that is all I’ll say, I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t read it yet.
Another Cinderella Story
I love retellings of fairytales. I love how different authors interpret different stories we’re already familiar with. So it is not the retellings I have a problem with but rather YA contemporary novels with plots based on the Cinderella trope. I’m talking about hot/popular/badboy falls in love with Plain Jane/nerd/band geek. There are just too many of these books and this is basically why I avoid YA contemporary. In fact, this trope is so overdone, we see it in movies and series too and it makes up the majority of the popular material we are consuming on a daily basis. At some point I’ll be doing a more in-depth exploration of this trope in popular culture.
Typical examples: Twilight, Throne of Glass (to a certain extent), Pride and Prejudice, The Duff, Divergent (although I think it is done really well)
The Sad Orphan or Absent Parents
I get it, as someone who has lost a parent myself I totally understand that losing a parent fucks you up as a kid but being an orphaned child cannot be the basis on which the protagonist acts in every second YA novel. I see this way too often in YA fantasy and if the parents are not dead then parents are so how completely absent from their children’s lives. Is it not possible to have these strong willed YA protagonist co-exist with their parents?
Examples: Harry Potter (Duh), Throne of Glass, Vampire Academy, A Thousand Pieces of You, The Mortal Instruments, Inheritence Cycle and the list could go on and on.
The Lost Prince/Princess or Child of the Villian
This trope kind of ties in with the previous one. The orphaned child realises that he or she is the lost prince/princess the kingdom has been searching for. Meh. C’mon, we all saw that coming from a mile.
Books that come to mind: Throne of Glass, Inheritence Cycle, Mortal Instruments
The love triangle:
Girl falls in love with hot guy, all while her besty is completely in love with her. I really hate love triangles even when the love triangle is reasonable and works relatively well within the plot. This is mainly because once I have chosen an OTP, I rarely change my mind (Heir of Fire/Queen of Shadows is the only excpetion)
Love triangles I really hated: Throne of Glass/Crown of Midnight (team Chaol), Twilight (team Jacob), Outlander (team Jamie), Red Queen (team I don’t give a fudge)
While these tropes annoy me when done badly, sometimes they just cannot be avoided. Many of the books I mentioned in this post are books that I really love, in fact Throne of Glass is mentioned in four out of the five tropes.
What YA trope annoy you the most?