First, let me clarify. Tropes aren’t bad, and I feel like I should write about that in the future, but we all have our favorites and our least favorites. Just like genres, flavors of ice cream, and styles of clothes, we have tropes we just never like seeing.
Today I’ll break down the five young adult tropes I like the least. These ones are huge turn offs for me and most books that have these either aren’t picked up or aren’t finished. I also try to avoid these tropes while writing (which is sometimes easier said than done).
Not Like Other Girls
This list isn’t in any particular order, but I will say this 100% is my least favorite…in fact, this is the only trope that I think I genuinely hate. I never pick up a book liking the “not like other girls” main character. There’s nothing wrong with other girls. We all are different and most of the time this trope is written by men (at least from what I’ve seen) or inexperienced writers. It ended up in a lot of debuts there for a while. This is different than the Chosen One trope because you can still be average and like everyone else and also have a fun super power or be the main character.
Please don’t write this trope into your own works. It’s dismissive of women and I hate seeing it.
Conventionally Attractive MC Has Hardest Life
Okay I don’t think this fully has a title or fully is a trope, but it bugs me. Movies like Tall Girl where a 6’1 beautiful blonde girl has all the issues in the world because she’s tall. This isn’t a thing. Make her fat. Make her black. Make her anything but tall and you might have a story. This is something we see all the time. The conventionally attractive girl is the butt of a thousand jokes and the outsider. There is nothing actually different about her but that maybe she’s “quirky” or in this case…4 or 5 inches taller than other girls.
Tall Girl hit me the most because I’m almost 6 foot myself and that was never something I was made fun of for. My weight? Yes, 100%.
If I see another love triangle I swear…
This seems like the vanilla way to create conflict in an otherwise boring story. The writer banks of the readers picking a side and fighting over it. It builds tension that doesn’t add to the story and half the time feels so forced.
Damsel in Distress
I haven’t seen a lot of this anymore because I tend to read books written by women about women. I don’t fully hate this trope…I just hate how it’s written. It’s fine to be a damsel in distress. Hell, I would 100% be one. I’m weak as hell (and I just had surgery). But it shouldn’t be the end all be all and the male character shouldn’t be a perfect hero either. Everyone has flaws. Use them to your advantage.
Lack of Diversity or the Token Black Friend
We’ve seen it. The early 2000s was littered with it. The token friend who was either black, gay, or both. It’s not cool and honestly we should be seeking out better work. We should be writing better work. This shouldn’t be a trope used anymore. Full stop.
I lied earlier when I said Not Like Other Girls was the only trope I genuinely hate. This is up there too. It just flat out shouldn’t exist.
This goes out mostly to my fellow white people: consume diverse work, write diverse work, educate yourself. It’s important.
And those are my top 5. I know there are a few out there that everyone else hates that I actually don’t. So stay tuned for more terrible hot takes in the next coming weeks.