YA is notorious for its use and overuse of tropes and I think a lot of them automatically get shunned as innately negative. Personally, I think all tropes have the possibility to be great if wielded correctly (except for insta love – insta love is never okay!). Take The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare for example. I, like many others in the YA community, hate love triangles with a passion. They just bring so much unnecessary drama and conflict to the story that I would rather do without. However, The Infernal Devices revolves centrally around a love triangle and it is one of my favourite trilogies in the world. See what I mean?
Anyway, this week we are going to talk about some tropes in YA fiction that I absolutely adore – tropes that are very likely to convince me to read a book I know nothing else about! Obviously, I have HEAPS more tropes that I love but since you aren’t here to read a novel, I’m going to stick to five!
C O C K Y P R I N C E W I T H A H E A R T O F G O L D
GIVE ME ALL THE PRINCES. I’ll take them with witty quips, stunning good looks and hearts of gold, thanks. What can I say, I’m weak.
In all honesty though, 99.9% of the time, I will fall in love with princes. Especially if they cover up their emotional trauma with sarcastic remarks. I don’t even know what it is but it’s my guilty pleasure and oh – don’t even get me started on when they fall in love and realise they have FEELINGS. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. Rhy Maresh from The Shades of Magic trilogy is a perfect example – he has this carefree, playboy facade that is basically just hiding his heartbreak and I CAN’T.
E N E M I E S T O L O V E R S
As you will probably come to learn about, I am trash for angsty romances. And by angst, I mean like A N G S T. Like the angst that comes from two people fighting each other because from the very moment they were born, that’s what they were taught; or the angst that comes from two soldiers falling in love from opposite sides of the battlefield (I know, what I am doing blogging right? I should be writing a book). Yep, I am totally aware that it is super cliché and I am not even going to apologise. Just like I’m not going to apologise for using Draco and Hermione as an example for this trope (okay, so they aren’t canon – sue me). They would have been SO AMAZING together and if anyone deserves a redemption arc, it’s Draco fricken Malfoy. I will actually never stop fighting for this.
For all of you that want a legitimate example, Nina and Matthias from Six of Crows are my drug and their growth from enemies to lovers were perfection. Matthias grew from problematic idiot to doting boyfriend and I JUST HAVE SO MANY EMOTIONS ABOUT IT, OKAY?
F E M A L E B F F s
A trope that unfortunately doesn’t see enough limelight in the YA universe, female besties are my thing. Like how can you not be all for powerful, wonderful ladies boosting each other up and being completely empowering? Why is it that girls automatically have to be so bitchy to each other? Take Isabelle and Clary from The Mortal Instruments for example – the moment that they met, they just decided to be jealous of one another? For all the faults that Shadowhunters (the TV show) has, I absolutely adore how they changed Izzy and Clary’s relationship to be one of female friendship, support and just absolute amazingness.
Another great example is Nina and Inej from Six of Crows because their relationship is just all kinds of wonderful. They go on waffle dates, save each other’s arses and are generally so supportive of each other and are everything female friendships are supposed to be.
F A I R Y T A L E R E T E L L I N G S
Since I’ve gone through quite a few character tropes, I thought I would throw in a plot trope that has recently become really popular in YA fiction and that is retellings of fairy tales/ mythology. Taking elements from mythology and fairytales just make the book all that more magical and I will never get tired of them.
Although I will always love this trope, it is also one that is very easy to get wrong. It can be a tricky balance between sticking fairly close to the original story whilst at the same time adding your own magic and spin to it. If you fail, it could end up like Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes, which was a mess of a book. If you succeed, it could end up like The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer or The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – all FANTASTIC reads.
F O R B I D D E N L O V E
Yep, I’m going there. I know it might be the most cliche thing to ever exist but it brings me such inexplicable joy. I repeat – I love agnsty relationships and forbidden love always has so much of it. I especially adore the clandestine moments hidden in secret alcoves and the sacrifices made by the characters in the name of love. Ooooh, I’m getting all tingly thinking about it. So books that did it well? Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Trilogy did in fantastically, so did the Captive Prince Trilogy by C. S. Pacat (not YA but still scrumptious) and last but not least, The Spark Trilogy by Rachael Craw. The romances in all three of these trilogies are steamy, romantic and totally forbidden so if you’re in the mood for some good, old-fashioned agnst, I definitely recommend the read. Caution: real chance you may spontaneously self-combust in the process of reading these books.
Let me know some of your favourite tropes down below! And if you have any good book recommendations with these tropes, definitely shout at me until I read it 😉