Problematic Tropes that Misplaced Readers Hopes

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is supposed to be all about tropes we love. The ones we read and cling on to, absoloutely adore and base our tbr on. But honestly, I don’t have that many? Call me crazy but I like the unique, the odd sprinkle of unusality and crazy turn of the unexpected. There isn’t one or two plot devices that I just think yep, I must have that.

However, because I’m a terrible person who loves a good moan, there are tropes I don’t like. Tropes I think are actively problematic and really need a rethink. Plot devices that really shouldn’t exist. So here’s an unorthodox list of those instead!

I’m not naming and shaming, this was just a pretty picture but is not related to the tropes!

Not Like Other Girls

1 Oh gosh, isn’t this so cringe? When the love interest likes a girl and says they’re somehow different, usually meaning they’re more like a man. It’s implying that all of the female population bar one are the same and the implication is usually catty, air headed women who can’t save the day.

Strong Women Can’t be Feminine

2 Women shouldn’t have to be like men to be strong, they can enjoy makeup, flowers, pretty dresses and save the world.

He’s Different for Just Her

3 I’m sorry to break this to young, angsty teenage me but boys with big egos, dark pasts and unexpected tempers who are guarded to everyone they meet probably don’t actually make the best boyfriends. It’s a sign of a really unhealthy relationship and he’s probably just an arse glorified in YA for far too young impressionable readers.

Your First Love is Forever

4 Ok, I get it, it’s cute to ship people. We don’t want them all to sink and it’s pretty depressing reading about break ups all the time. But also most readers are going to go through a breakup? How inadequate are we going to end up feeling if the novels we’re surrounded with are screaming that the first taste of a relationship is all we’re going to get? That little spark was meant to be forever? Yeah, no, that’s not a great message to young readers guys.

Women Not Supporting Each Other

5 Too often in media are we presented with that catty group of girl friends. When the male characters are sensible, getting on with it, showing themselves to be good friends and the women are just… nowhere? Or worse sitting jealous on the sidelines. Women don’t need men to save the world and female friendships should definitely be focused on more in YA.

The Lone Wolf

6 You know those characters that have no one else in their lives but their partner, or two love triangle caught potential suitors? Where they blow off all their friends in favour of the pursuit of love but it’s a book so obviously it all works out in the end, and the relationship is all they ever needed to be fulfilled? Yeah, that’s unhealthy. And needs to go.

Instant Love

7 The eyes meeting across the room thing is cute. Bumping into each other in the coffee shop, corridor, while fighting a deadly monster and instantly feeling a connection? Adorable. But not love. That’s called lust, that crazy hazy bit where they fart and you’d think it was perfume, can do nothing wrong and everything is butterflies and magic. It’s when they fart, you slap them on the arm, wrinkle your nose and say they stink that’s it’s actually love and the distinction is rarely made in YA.

All Love Interests are Unimaginably Hot

8 Besides seemingly every character in YA being described as drop dead gorgeous, which is getting really old by the way, all love interests have a formula. Big pecks on men and pretty without trying women that can leave readers feeling inadequate. Protagonists of YA a man does not need abs to be considered hot and you should all stop setting this unrealistic standard that could lead to readers feeling insecure.

Everyone Needs Love

9 We got to pair off all the characters right? They’re not happy if they’re not in a relationship, are they? No. They are. They can be single. They can be happy with a handful of close friends and nice shiny sword and maybe a pet dragon if they’re lucky. Not every protagonist needs a love interests and for goodness sake stop pairing off all the side characters like it’s the one route to paradise.

Toss in a Bit of Trauma

X One day I’ll get a discussion post out about this but for now this paragraph will have to do. Don’t toss in a dark past for the sake of it. If your character isn’t going to deal with that trauma and give it proper respect you shouldn’t shove it in there for the sake of it. It can upset readers and make them feel like they should ‘just get over it’ if they have gone through something similar. If you don’t have the page time to deal with a traumatic event you’ll have to use good old fashioned prose to make us feel something for your characters.

Let’s Compare Notes

So there you have it. Ten tropes that I see cropping up time and again and just wince at. Do you agree? Think any of these are particularly damaging? Have a list of tropes you’d like to share? Drop it in the comments section.

I’ll be back Thursday with my review of Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

My Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Oh gosh this Top Ten Tuesday topic. I hope I won’t loose too many friends over it but it was so fun to write 😂😳

1. Dog Earing Pages is Fine

That little crease in the top corner of a page that some bookworms flinch at? Yep that’s fine. I mean if you bend them back the other way you can’t even tell so what’s the big deal, anyway?

2. Cracked Spines are Good

I actively encourage cracked Spines in my bookcase. My books look loved and read, not like a bookshop!

3. Love Triangles Suck

I’m sorry popular ya published when I was fifteen but the love triangles were so over done. And not even that great a trope to begin with…

4. Not All Heroes Need Love

I love my ships, I really do, but do all protagonists and side characters have to pair off? Can they be single and happy about it?

5. Love Shouldn’t Last Forever

Again I love my ships, but occasionally I think they should well… Um… Sink? Just a couple. I mean come on, who here is still with their first boyfriend/girlfriend from 17?!

6. Negative Reviews Rule

Not everyone is going to like every book, so authors shouldn’t be offended to receive negative reviews. Also, as a reader I check reviews to see if I will like a book and I appreciate a reviewers honesty.

7. Review what you DNF

Again, I don’t want to waste my time reading a book I don’t like, so appreciate when bloggers straight up tell me why they didn’t like it.

8. Movies Don’t Always have to Follow the Books

I know, I know, readers are always going to prefer the book. It’s what we do. But I get some things won’t work on the big screen given time, budget or plot purposes and I’m ok with them missing out the odd plot point or character development. I’m just happy they made the movie.

9. Throne of Glass was Cliché

An unpopular opinion in and of itself, but this book is so popular I feel bad not liking it. It even has the ‘let go of a breath I didn’t know I was holding’ line, I’m sorry SJM fans but I am not in your ranks.

10. Soul Mates? Nah

And we’re back to love again. A lot of bookworms eat up this trope, which is fine and I don’t judge, but really it’s not for me.

11. I don’t like Swearing in Books

And a cheeky 11 because I’m just that unpopular. I know some writes think it’s the only way they can express themselves but to some readers it’s just offensive, and you don’t know who’s going to pick up your book. Also it takes me out the story completely, I don’t know why.

Lets Compare Note

There you have it! 11 unpopular bookish opinions. What’s your most unpopular opinion? Do you share any of mine? Do you have a list of your own? Would love to hear from you in the comments!