Ten YA Book Tropes That Need To Die

Ten YA BookTropes That Need To.png

Guess who woke up sick today! I thought I had managed to miss all the fun germy stuff floating around, but apparently I didn’t, because I feel pretty awful. Therefor, I’m in the mood to be negative.

I actually couldn’t remember if I’ve written a post like this before, and I think I have, but this one is up and running and probably going to be waaaay better then the one I wrote a year and a half ago or so. Like, please, never look back further then, like, mid to early 2016.


Trope One: A Boy And Girl Can’t Be Friends With It Turning Romantic

I have friends who are boys. Am I ever planning on dating any of them? NOPE. It’s honestly so frustrating to me, because platonic boy-girl relationships are so rare in YA, but there’s not THAT rare in real life. And it wouldn’t bug me as much when books do this if there were more platonic relationships, but there aren’t.

Appears In: The Hunger Games (Gale-Katniss), Splinted (Alyssa-Jeb), To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before (Lara Jean-Josh [to a point])

Trope Two: Love Cures Mental Illness

If you ever want to see me riled up, ask me my opinions on this trope. It’s likely I won’t stop talking. THIS IS A) NOT REALISTIC, AND B) CREATES A HARMFUL ASSUMPTION ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS. Both for the people who have a mental illness, and for people who love people with mental illness. This. needs. to. stop. None of this, okay? There’s no trope that will make me dislike a book quicker than this one.

Appears in: Finding Audrey, All the Bright Places (with Violet), My Heart and Other Black Holes.

Trope Three: Love Triangles

Though these have become rarer, they’re still super frustrating when they happen. It’s partly because it’s a somewhat lazy plot device to create drama (especially since it’s always super clear who the MC will choose), and also because I believe that if you seriously can’t decide which of two people you love more, you don’t love either of them enough.

Appears in: Twilight (the one that started it all!) The Hunger Games, Matched, Throne of Glass, Shadow and Bone, Shatter Me, ect ect ect.

Trope Four: Instalove

You know the drill. The boy and the girl make eye contact from across the room. There’s an instant, almost tangible connection between them. Then eye contact is broken and they both know for sure; they just found their soulmate.

This totally happens in real life all the time, doesn’t it?

Appears In: Love & Gelato, Shiver, The Scorpion Rules, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Divergent

Trope Five: “I’m Not Like Other Girls”

This also happens a lot in real life, sadly, but I’m always disappointed when I see it in books. You know what it is: Girl MC is smart/nerdy/athletic/physically strong/doesn’t wear fancy clothes/ect, and proudly proclaims that she is “not like other girls”, because naturally all girls who aren’t like her are stupid and boys are the people to hang out with.

It’s fine if you have more boy friends than girl friends, but don’t bash on other, more traditionally feminine girls because of this.

Appears in: Throne of Glass, The Hunger Games, The Iron King, A Darker Shade of Magic

Trope Six: School, What School?

Our MC has grand adventures, wanders the country, fights dragons, ect, ect, ect, but never actually goes to school. But somehow gets good grades?

Appears in: Heist Society, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, The Raven Boys, Splintered

Trope Seven: All Adults are Stupid and Teenagers Are the Smart Ones

Either the adults are painfully oblivious to the trouble their kid gets into, OR the adults don’t listen to the extremely smart sixteen year old so the sixteen year old does it anyways even though all adults told them it was stupid and guess what, teen was right!

Appears in: Long May She Reign, Six of Crows, Three Dark Crowns

Trope Eight: MC Has Magical Powers That Their Parents Hid From Them Until Their Sixteenth Birthday

I wonder what it is about sixteen, honestly? It doesn’t seem like a super special age or anything; the only thing super exciting that happens when you turn sixteen is that you can now get your driver’s license. But apparently turning sixteen is also some sort of beacon for magical activity.

Appears in: The Iron King, Harry Potter (to a point), Passenger, Splintered

Trope Nine: The Special Snowflake

You know what it is. The MC is so magical, so special, that they have something totally unique that either appears like, once every four hundred years or a power that no one has ever had before.

Appears in: Red Rising, Shadow and Bone, Under the Never Sky, Harry Potter

Trope Ten: My Parents Are Dead

You know the drill. J. K. Rowling started it, everyone grabbed onto it, and now we have tons of fantasy MCs with dead parents because it creates an easy tragic backstory. The first couple of times it was interesting, now it just feels kind of lazy.

Appears In: Shadow and Bone, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter, Throne of Glass

Now, I’m not saying that every single book with one (or more) of these tropes is awful, but these do tend to affect how I rate a book, because these tropes are so common. It gets annoying, and it tends to feel somewhat lazy.

So, do you have any tropes to add to this list?

Happy Monday,




8 thoughts on “Ten YA Book Tropes That Need To Die

  1. So many of those tropes annoy me to death as well. Why can’t people come up with something more original? Even in the story I wrote, people asked if it would turn into a love triangle and I am like “nope, she’s friends with him” and then they tried to argue with me. It’s weird, they don’t want love triangles but they ship people in triangles hahaha that went off topic … but great post!


  2. I agree! The parent’s that are dead is used SOOOOO much in books now. I wish it would just go away. Literally EVERY YA book I’ve ever read is filled to the brim with dead parents! SERIOUSTLY somebody needs a Parent Protection Program or something. #Savetheparents
    Good post! Have an amazing February!


  3. Agh!!!!!! I am actually guilty of committing the “My Parents Are Dead”; however, in my defence, my book is filled with orphans? Not sure if that allows me to get away with it, but I have a reason for it, so it’s okay, right? Right?

    Probably not, haha!

    Instalove is the ABSOLUTE WORST. I hate it. I recently tried watching If I Stay, and I can honestly say the whole instalove thing going on in that movie was enough to make me want to throw a burning hot coal onto my head. I’m not sure if it’s like that in the book, but the movie was a fail for me.

    And I also hate Love Triangles because they are SO annoying. Especially if I know the characters I ship aren’t going to end up together.

    Amazing post!!! I completely agree that all of these (including the “My parents are dead”, unfortunately, haha) are WAY too overused in YA books lately.


  4. I agree with so many of these tropes! Especially the boys and girls can’t be friends without falling in love thing. It annoys me almost every single time it happens, with Splintered being the Shining example. I love that book if only for the world, but her love with Jen was NOT necessary and it made me hate him, well along with other things about him that pissed me off, but I digress.


    1. I know, right? Especially because he was kind of controlling; you’re telling a literal QUEEN what she can and can’t do, just because you want to “protect her”. A. netherling. queen. And you want to protect her.

      Liked by 1 person

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