Tropes. Love them or hate them, they’re a big part of YA. What would Twilight have been without the iconic love triangle? What if Harry Potter wasn’t actually the chosen one, but just some random student at Hogwarts who took it upon himself to rid the world of Voldemort, just for LOLs?
Tropes can definitely be overdone and some are poorly written, but there are a few tropes out there that pretty much guarantee a book to be an auto-buy for me. Does it have the “enemies to lovers” trope? YES PLEASE. What about a character that’s secretly famous? ADDED TO BASKET.
So these are nine of the tropes I’ll never get sick of!
Bad Boy with a Heart of Gold
FAVOURITE. TROPE. OF. ALL. TIME. Yes, I know I’m trash, but I’VE COME TO ACCEPT THAT FACT. It’s not my fault that I grew up on books like Clockwork Angel and Hush, Hush, and fell in love with all the brooding bad boys that actually had hearts of gold once you got to know them. HELLOOOO UNREALISTIC BOYFRIEND EXPECTATIONS. That’s fine, I have my book boyfriends anyway. They’re probably better than boys in real life, let’s be honest. There’s something about a dark, brooding character that’s so alluring. And if they have ocean-coloured eyes? Or dark brown eyes with golden flecks in them? #SOLD.
Friends to Lovers
Undoubtedly THE CUTEST trope ever. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. I don’t make the rules. Especially when they’ve been friends since childhood? MY HEART CAN’T HANDLE ALL THESE EMOTIONS. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing how close friends discover they actually have romantic feelings for one another and AHH! I SCREAM. Whoever said the friends to lovers trope is boring WAS WRONG. You’re really missing out if you haven’t read these three in particular!
OH MY GOD. IS THERE NOTHING CUTER THAN AN UNKNOWN CRUSH?! The thrill of not knowing who you’re in love with, and loving them anyway? The way your heart skips a beat when you walk past someone cute because there’s a chance they could be THAT PERSON? I mean, I’m not speaking from experience, but I totally wish I were. If anyone wants to be my anonymous crush, feel free *wink wink*.
Enemies to Lovers
Oh my goodness, the TENSION. Does it not kill you in the best way possible?! I LIVE FOR IT. And when someone says the line, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to fall in love with you’, you ALWAYS KNOW there’s a little secret crush going on. Don’t try to convince me I’m wrong. AND WHEN THEY FINALLY REALISE THEY LIKE THE OTHER PERSON? Shook. It’s the best thing in the entire world and I’d happy read this trope over and over again until I die.
“Evil” Character Redemption
Yas yas YAS! JUSTICE FOR MY EVIL MUNCHKINS. Even if they’re not pure evil and they’re more morally grey, I love seeing them decide to live their best, most wholesome lives. I totally feel like the mum dropping them off at school and telling them to make good choices. BUT IT’S JUST SO SATISFYING. Being good is cool, you guys! You don’t have to stab people! Feed them cake instead! So much love for my reformed villains.
I LOVE love triangles, okay?! I just HATE that some books out there have ruined it for all the other good ones. LOVE TRIANGLES HAVE GOTTEN A BAD NAME, AND IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT. I remember that 2010 – 2013 era when pretty much every YA novel had a love triangle in it, and while I’ll admit some were pretty terrible, there were SO MANY GOOD ONES. Like Tessa, Will, and Jem. And Katniss, Peta and Gale. And Clary, Jace, and Simon. ICONIC. I always love a good argument over which person the protagonist should end up with. #TeamEdwardForLife.
We might not be able to choose our families, but we can certainly choose our MAKESHIFT FAMILIES, even if they’re a little dysfunctional at times. I absolutely LOVE seeing the families that characters create for themselves and how close they are with the people that are more than friends to them. They just stand by each other no matter what, and they’re always there for each other, even in the worst of times. CAN WE ALL BE A MAKESHIFT FAMILY, PLEASE?
This is only a trope that I’ve fallen in love with in the last couple of years, but wow, if you tell me one of the characters is a secret online sensation or that they’re famous, I’M SO HERE FOR IT. LET ME DROP EVERYTHING AND DEVOUR IT. I just love the different issues that come into play when fame is introduced, and how everything is just so dramatic and AHH. It’s perfect. And it’s just so cool to see other people making content or just being a generally awesome person?! GOALS AF. But I mean… being famous seems a little bit stressful at times, so I think I might pass. I’ll just be in the corner reading a book.
THIS MAKES MY HEART HURT. In a good way… sometimes. BUT SOMETIMES THESE BOOKS ARE JUST PLAIN RUDE. How dare they hurt me like that. I just want these characters to be happy, but sometimes there’s just so much standing in their way and I just want to reach through the pages and hug them. It hurts even more when my queer characters AREN’T ALLOWED TO LOVE WHO THEY WANT TO LOVE. UGH. STUPID HETERONORMATIVE SOCIETY. But it just makes the book worth all the pain and torment when my babies can finally have happy lives together.
What’s your favourite trope of all time? What about your least favourite? What other books would you recommend for fans of these tropes? I’d love to hear your thoughts!