I really struggled with last month’s topic of discussing tropes we love. So when I saw that this month we would be discussing tropes we hate I jumped for joy! Generally I don’t enjoy most tropes at all. But the ones that I really dislike the most are the ones that have to do with love or relationships. Call me a cynic, but I really don’t like it when romantic scenarios are unrealistic. I can handle it in Disney movies, but not in my books. I tried not to start ranting in this post, but I find these tropes to be infuriating, so I could probably talk about them for hours on end. So without further ado, my top 5 tropes I hate…..
5. The Broken Family, or “The Disney Channel Effect”
I’m sure there are lots of people out there that are with me on this one. It seems like nowadays it is incredibly hard to find a book with a happy, healthy family unit. This trope is so prevalent in anything put out by the Disney franchise, but it is also popping up in YA fiction all over the place. I’m not saying that I need to see characters with a mother and father and siblings who are perfectly happy and have no troubles. I’m just looking for emotional health. I don’t care if the characters have one parent or two dads or a sibling who is in prison. All families have their problems. But you can still have problems and be a healthy, supportive family. I’m just really tired of reading about characters who have no one to turn to in their lives. I am currently reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and both of the main characters have incredibly supportive families. They are not cookie-cutter and they have their issues; but they support each other. And it is so incredibly refreshing to be reading a story like that. Give me more, please.
4. Adults Who Just Don’t Understand (which leads to…Kids Doing Unrealistic Things)
This is somewhat tied into my last trope. In this one, adults may be present, but they are portrayed as complete idiots who couldn’t possibly understand what is going on in a child’s life. This usually leads to young kids in stories doing absolutely absurd things just because they didn’t feel like they could turn to the adults around them. Sometimes I try to suspend my disbelief for this one, particularly in fantasy stories. But this trope pops up everywhere and it is getting a little ridiculous. It is even present in my beloved Harry Potter – instead of turning to Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard alive, Harry and his friends (AT AGE ELEVEN) decide it would be a better idea to take on Voldemort themselves. This is my favorite series of all time, but I will still admit it is pretty far-fetched.
3. The Existential Crisis, a.k.a. “The John Green”
It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I strongly dislike John Green’s books. I actually do enjoy his writing style, but his plot lines and characters drive me crazy. His books always revolve around a teen who is having a major crisis of identity and is concerned with leaving their mark on the world. And they proceed to go about “finding themselves” in the most pretentious, cocky, infuriating way possible. I have nothing against a good story of self-discovery. But I hate it when the characters are portrayed in the most unrealistic way and act like complete self-centered jerks. And again, because their parents are either absent or complete idiots, these kids can go off on adventures that would never be possible in real life. The most infuriating example of this is in John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. I really hated this book. There are plenty of great self-discovery stories out there, but when they become totally pretentious and unrealistic, I immediately lose interest.
2. Insta-Love, or “My Life Meant Nothing Until I Met You”
This goes out to all those Bella Swans of the literary world – PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!!!! I absolutely hate it when characters declare that they are in love after just meeting. Sorry, honey, but you are sadly mistaken. It doesn’t work that way. The first time I remember getting angry about this trope was in the Twilight Saga, but I have seen it all over the place since then. This insta-love is frequently tied to the idea that their life meant nothing until they met their true love. I hate this so much. Ok, I know, as teenagers we can all be a little dramatic if we get dumped. Breakups suck, I’ll give you that. But the idea of a woman (and it is always a woman) being portrayed as completely falling apart when she loses her man just infuriates me. First of all, I want to see a woman pick herself back up and push forward. But what also really bugs me is that these characters that are so forlorn over their breakups usually still end up back together with the person that destroyed them in the first place. That is a really bad lesson to be teaching teens today. “Don’t worry, just completely fall apart when a boy you like breaks your heart and sooner or later you will get him back and live happily ever after.” YUCK. Ok, MC, time to get off your soap box. But seriously, are there any books out there where a woman is heartbroken and then heals and finds a different man? Please let me know if you have read any good ones. Because I’m seriously tired of this story line.
1. The Love Triangle (Because Messing With People’s Emotions is Fun!)
I feel like just about every book out there today has a love triangle in it, and I hate them so much. Why? Because THEY DON’T EXIST. Love triangles do not happen in the real world. Never once have I heard anyone say “Oh no, I am in love with two different men! What should I do????” Ok, maybe you hear people say this on The Bachelorette, but let’s be honest, that’s not exactly real life either. And again, I feel like the prevalence of love triangles in today’s YA fiction is sending the wrong message to its target audience. It’s really not ok to be messing with two people’s emotions in the way you see so many characters doing in love triangles. There are so many love triangles out there, but my favorite example is Tessa, Jem, and Will from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I know I’m being controversial by saying this, but I really disapprove of this love triangle. Tessa will be in a compromising position with Will and will be thinking about Jem. And then less than 50 pages later she is lying in a bed with Jem, who thinks she is falling in love with him, while she is really reminiscing about her time with Will. THIS IS NOT OK. Sorry, but I really think Tessa’s actions are completely inexcusable and I hate the message this series sends about love triangles. (Disclaimer: I did really like the series itself; I just don’t like the way Tessa treats the boys and how that is portrayed as decent behavior.)
What are some of your most hated tropes?
When you want to throw a book across the room the second you spot insta-love…..
…..blame it on the books.