As much as I love and cherish books, there are so many awful tropes out there that make me question why I’m reading said books in the first place. Now I need to point out that certain tropes can make quite an interesting story…but not if every single book being published is using it, with no signs of creativity or originality on the author’s part. The point of reading a book is to discover something different, but if authors keep writing the same insta-love stories or the ‘cute yet mysterious boy next door’ shit, then we are defeating the purpose of reading in the first place.
So today I present to you a list of some of the most annoying tropes I’ve come across so far in books [emphasis on some!]
Let me start with the most obvious and the one that makes my blood boil. There is no such thing as insta-love, not on this earth or any other planet (in my opinion anyway). Insta-like maybe but not LOVE…or the ‘Oh I just met you and this is crazy but I don’t want to live without you’ crap. If a guy tells me that he fell in love with me the minute he saw me I would be insulted, purely because he would have fallen ‘in love’ with my appearance not with my character or personality. It is quite sad to see these books constantly being published and putting forth a false message to all the young readers out there. Even fantasy books need to be realistic sometimes.
I finished reading Caraval recently and I found the romance in the book very unnecessary and off-putting. I don’t understand why many YA novels have to have romance in them, as if that’s the single most important thing in the entire universe. It’s also frustrating when said romance overshadows the main plot, leaving no room for any character or plot development. Also, why do the characters have to kiss and grope each other in the most unlikely situations? ‘Oh look they’re chasing after us…let us kiss’. I don’t need to add anything to that.
Being ‘Cured’ by a Love Interest
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella instantly comes to mind when I mention this trope. Honestly this needs to stop because the message these books are sending is so awful and problematic. No love interest can ever cure someone from a mental illness. They can obviously help by offering their support and being there for them but it does not mean that you are instantly ‘cured’ just because you’ve fallen in love with someone. Mental illness is not a joke to be messed around with. If an author does not feel competent to write about it then they should stop what they’re doing and do their research instead of writing such damaging stories.
Romanticising Bad Boys and Abusive Relationships
The heading should speak for itself. This is such a disgusting message to be sending to young readers and even readers in general. People do not need to read these problematic books but rather books that makes them understand how much they deserve better than to be with someone who does not respect them. Everyone is worth more than the value their ‘significant other’ puts on them. I also hate it so much when authors try to justify the abusers by writing about the struggles of their past which leads to the reader excusing their behaviour and outright ignoring their actions. These books are making people of all genders believe that abusive relationships are actually not bad and that abusers should be idolised. People need to realise how dangerous these books can be, especially to the ones who are actually living in an abusive relationship.
‘You’re Not Like Other Girls’
I don’t know why people find the idea of belittling other women just to make another character more likeable, even remotely appealing. When an author differentiates a female character from others, as though women are this monolith category, we are reducing the very beauty of what makes us different. Rather than priding ourselves in all the ways that make us who we are, people are making us hate on each other as if we are in a competition that we didn’t sign up for. There is no ‘wrong’ way of being a girl. There are girls who love wearing make-up and others who don’t, girls who love to read, watch sports, get drunk; girls who hate going to parties and other who do. And they are all amazing. It would be a compliment if someone told me that I’m like other girls because all of us are wonderful and beautiful. And if some man tells me otherwise I will send him back home to look up the definition of an actual compliment.
Lack of Diversity
There is no going around the fact that there is an awful lack of representation of LGBTQ, POC, disabled people or people living with a chronic illness in books. Having said that, readers are becoming more informed about this and are pointing it out on various social medias, which in turn helps to raise awareness. Why do we need diverse books? Because the world IS DIVERSE and when you’re not including diverse characters in your books, you are actually putting a blindfold on yourself and your readers. Everyone should have a chance to be represented in the stories that we tell, no ifs or buts. I also need to add that we need more diverse characters as protagonists and not just as secondary characters just so authors can say that they have included a diverse character in their story.
‘The character dies in the last couple of pages.’
‘The Happily Ever After.’
‘The defenceless character who suddenly finds a knife on the ground to kill her enemy.’
‘The new character that is introduced in the end just to tie everything up nicely.’
These are just some annoying ways a story could end that will without doubt ruin the whole tone of the book. A bad ending for me is a sign that the author has lost interest in the story, which is quite sad especially when the rest of the book is really interesting and fascinating. The ending is as important as the introduction.
The Ordinary Characters Who Suddenly Gain Superpowers
This trope is getting way too old. It is so unrealistic to have characters that are suddenly able to wield a sword (and are the best fighters amongst their peers) without having been taught before. I have been seeing this quite a lot in YA fantasy books lately. While I applaud the idea of having a character represented as a warrior who fights for what is right, many are written without any personality, as if their fighting skills are the only thing that defines them. A strong character does not necessarily mean having physical strength. We need to see more characters that are also flawed (because no one is perfect), intelligent or have a strong personality.
Unfortunately the list is way way longer and I will definitely write a continuation post in the near future. What are some of your bookish pet peeves? Feel free to comment 🙂