Top Ten Worst YA Tropes

Now after my post on why originality is overrated, I thought it might be fun to flip my argument on its head and talk about some unoriginal ideas I don’t like. Partly cos I’m a HYPOCRITE but mostly cos it’s FUN! Also I recently read this book:

eve

I’m not gonna bother reviewing it, because frankly I don’t want to waste more time on it than I already have and there is literally nothing *new* I could possibly say about it. It was pretty much the definition of bland. So instead I’m gonna take this opportunity to talk about my least favourite tropes in YA.

*Rather-Obvious-Disclaimer: there are exceptions to every rule*

And honestly- I love to be proved wrong and find one of my most hated tropes done well. But *most of the time* these guarantee an eye roll or a despairing groan. So here are my top ten worst YA tropes with a few of the biggest culprits as examples:

  1. essenseSpecial Snowflake Main Character– this one often combines two of my least favourite tropes: the Chosen One and the “I’m a what?” tropes. Basically this character is super special, because they have a gift that no one else has, so they’re gonna save the world. Oh and they had no idea that they’re special- of course. In fairness, there are rare occasions when this doesn’t suck- but they are few and far between, so authors need to *stop using this trope* (unless you’re writing something like Carry On, then all is forgiven). An example of this is the Essence series- because my-oh-my this character is a special snowflake indeed.
  2. unbecoming of mara dyerInstalove– I’m gonna try and not let this dissolve into another rant like the last one- but c’mon!! When does this ever happen in real life?!? And let’s face it, it wouldn’t even be a good thing if it did- it would be super weird and creepy if your boyfriend of two days started declaring his undying love for you! That’s when you need to get a restraining order- *not* to start ordering wedding invitations. I’m looking at The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and so many others!
  3. The Plain Jane– I *hate* these characters. Not only do they come across as super whiny and annoying- but they also make no sense. I mean, they’re supposed to simultaneously be the ugliest of all the ducklings *AND* be the most desirable female with every single guy in the vicinity desperate to have your babies. Sorry, but to quote Cinderella Story:

you can't be both guys.png

The best example of this is Ana Steel in Fifty Shades of Grey. And all those hoards of attractive males brings me onto my next point.

  1. matchedThe Love Triangle– ahh the dreaded love triangle. Twilight made it popular and for some horrendous reason it hasn’t gone anywhere. Why? I have *no idea*. This bloody thing is everywhere and one of the worst offenders of this is Matched. Basically, it’s just an easy (and terribly lazy) way for authors to pad their plot with unbearable amounts of angst, as their main character frets over which wonderful person they’re going to spend the rest of their life with. And while we’re on the subject of the main character…
  2. selectionThe Nice-ty Main Character- you know the nice/nasty ones that kill you with kindness (you know the type). This is basically the main character who is allowed to be a total biatch, just because they’re so “lovely”. And we are constantly reminded how sweet and caring they are as they mess around two guys at once, two time and generally act like a whiny cow. And all the while, it’s somehow the guy’s fault that they can’t figure out their feelings. The perfect example is America in The Selection, because let’s face it she’s a right *insert-expletive-here*, but we’re supposed to believe she’s wonderful and completely selfless. Really? It’s totally selfless of her to spend 3 books choosing between two guys, is it?
  3. TwilightbookDouchbag Love Interests– and when we don’t have the horrible female leads, we have the horrible male love interest (sometimes we’re really lucky and get both, *ahem, Twilight*). These, often controlling, usually bullying and always brooding characters somehow steal the heart of the main character (*ahem, Twilight*- I could probably call this “the Edward Cullen Trope” after all). It’s like a recipe for domestic abuse. But hey, they’re good looking, so we shouldn’t worry about any of that. *Face palm*. And while we’re still on the subject of love, this is something that really drives me crazy:
  4. Bronzehorseman.jpgPretentious Characters That Recite Reams of Poetry– I’ve read a few lists ions ago, but haven’t seen this one about- probably cos most people like this. But honestly this just does my head in. I have never met anyone that does this in real life, but I swear, if I ever met someone that reciting whole poems was a good idea, I’d probably want to hit them too. Basically, this makes me violent- don’t do it, unless you want a banana aimed at your head. I could think of a ton of examples where this happens- Infernal Devices (although admittedly I like that anyway), The Bronze Horseman (yeuch!) and John Green makes so many pretentious references he may as well do it.
  5. aunt jennaNon-Absentee Absent Parents– okay, moving on from the romance in YA, this one bugs me quite a bit. I’m being fairly specific here, because I don’t mean the dead parents trope, which I don’t actually mind so much- even if it is overused. No, this one bugs me because it just makes the parents look really dumb. Basically, they’re the parents that are about but they’re so useless, they can’t tell their children have been entertaining demons in their room. Or even worse, the parents that know something is wrong, but still let their children run off to fight monsters. And cos I’m zonked, the best example I can think of is Aunt Jenna in Vampire Diaries (I know, I know, I shouldn’t speak ill of the dead). This often combines with…
  6. City_of_Bones (1)The Dumbledore– you know, the parent/teacher figure that withholds information for mysterious *reasons*. Just because the author doesn’t want to reveal stuff too early. Usually, it’s parents who knew their child had powers but didn’t tell them. Often, they find out their parents knew all along after they have some near-death experience. Which always makes me wonder why on earth didn’t they tell them sooner- you know, maybe they could have avoided all this. It just makes me think they need parenting lessons, cos there are some secrets- like your father’s an evil maniac- that parents shouldn’t keep from their children. Much as I love the series, Mortal Instruments is guilty of this.
  7. shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024Stupid Names For Evil Characters– so I don’t always hate this and I can forgive it most of the time (let’s be honest, I’m guilty of it too). I mean, I have to allow for the fact that dumb names like the “Dark Lord” or “THE EVIL ONE” will catch on when regular people are naming them. And this is usually okay if the villain has an alternative name (ie Voldemort). *BUT* what I cannot forgive is when the main character cannot tell that the guy with the obviously evil name is evil. And how no one else in the story picks up on it- I’m looking at you “Darkling”- how was that a surprise when he turned out to be evil for crying out loud?

Okay that’s my list. I almost put “The Brave Idiot” on here too- but I’ve warmed to that character in recent times, because I’ve read quite a few that are really good.

Agree? Disagree? What are your least favourite YA tropes? Let me know in the comments below!

And if you liked this post- stay tuned for something special coming next on my blog…

5 Reasons Why Vampires Suck

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good vampire story. I mean who doesn’t love a bit of Dracula. I have always loved Buffy and, while, I’ve only read Interview with a Vampire, I’m convinced the rest of the series will be great. And let’s not forget the father of all vampire stories: the magnificent Count Dracula in all his forms (yes, I’m including Young Dracula). But sometimes there are stories that are about vampires that are a complete mi-stake to get involved in, because frankly, they suck. And here’s why:

dreadful lore

vampire academyThe worst culprit here is Vampire Academy– because the idea of a vampire/guardian partnership is a good one, but it was executed so badly that it was a complete pain in the neck! Obviously, I could have picked the dumb sparkly vampires for this too, because… what?!? Why was that ever a thing? But this was on my mind after having just done a review of it.

romance

vampire diariesHow many times have I screamed at a hero/heroine to run the other way when their psycho love interest tells them they’re a vampire. This seems to almost exclusively happen in vampire books and I am done being sanguine about it. And of course, vampire stories, nearly always have the dreaded love triangle. Again, the worst culprit for this isn’t even Twilight– it’s The Vampire Diaries. I mean the world could be ending and the most important question is always which brother will she choose? And after 6 seasons, it’s exhausting! And speaking of the world ending…

stakes

twilightI could easily resurrect my choice of the Vampire Diaries for this one, because I hated how silly things got as the series progressed. By series 4 or 5, I forget which one, the characters stopped being the selfless, self-sacrificing heroes we all knew and loved, and started hunting for a cure for vampirism- never mind the fact that it could very well bring the end of the world! I mean what was that? But never could there be anything dumber than whatever the hell they were fighting for in Twilight– let’s face it, the whole Volturi thing never made much sense. I could never get my head round it. I mean, this is going back to the lore again, but it’s not like they’re all that scary. And it’s not like they actually do anything, because, like all terrible vampire stories…

bloodbath

twilight movieBecause let’s face it, no one ever dies in a dumb vampire book. It’s so anti-climactic. Twilight couldn’t even entertain the idea of having a fight scene before the inevitably foregone conclusion of the happy ending- I mean, it’s not like anyone was expecting anything other than Bella and Edward riding off into the sunset on Jacob’s back- but couldn’t they have killed off Esme? Or even Alice? I guess it could be worse- they could have all died and come back to life a million times like they did in Vampire Diaries. Oh no wait, that basically happens in the last film. My bad.

death wish

a discovery of witchesThis is very similar to the characters running into the arms of people who freely admit to murdering in cold blood (to each his own I guess). But it’s not just the fact that they fall in love with vampires- they’re just obsessed with death for some reason. One of the dumbest examples of this is in A Discovery of Witches where she literally runs off with, and risks her life for, a guy she has literally just met. It’s bloody ridiculous how casual they are about death, but then I guess that makes sense. It’s not like they have anything to fear.

Hope you enjoyed that.

And sorry for all the punning- I’ll never be able to look myself in the mirror again… Oh no! I did it again- bite me :p