Admit it, you have heard someone hate on the Young Adult genre at least once. YA gets bashed a LOT because of the borderline-formulaic approach of a ton of popular books…. As an American teenage girl, I am exactly the target audience, and here are some common tropes even I’ve noticed…
*Disclaimer- although they’re trope-y, I do like the books I may or may not be about to reference. These cliches are common because people like to read them. And YA also has a ton of amazing books that are refreshingly free of these common tropes, so don’t discount the genre!*
- The QUIRKY Character- Recently I’ve been noticing a trend of always having one character who’s just really weird and/or wild. Either it’s the introverted MC’s best friend, or especially in the case of John Green it’s the love interest. Quirky is the new cool.
- The MIA Parents- Either the parents are dead, divorced, or mysteriously absent whenever the protagonist is doing something very insane, such as leaving the house with a weird girl in the middle of the night to play revenge pranks on people
- The Mean Girl/Protagonist’s Arch Nemesis– There always has to be a Regina George
- The Doomed Romance/Tearjerker Plotline- I think you can guess what started this… (*Ahem* The Fault In Our Stars)
DYSTOPIAN: Now we get to the REALLY trope-y books
- The Borderline-Convoluted Post-Apocalyptic Social Order- After the <insert apocalyptic disaster > , everything was chaos. To restore order, <insert evil government here> decided it would be a good idea to: have an annual competition where kids kill each other? Divide everyone up by arbitrary characteristics, because we all only have one personality trait? Put a bunch of kids in a maze full of monsters, just because we can? Re-establish a monarchy? Sounds like a recipe for success to me.
- The Apocalyptic Disaster That Is Never Elaborated On– What exactly led to North America being in ruins, again?
- The Love Triangle– Who will our main character choose: the sweet childhood friend, or the hot new guy? The nice, friendly dude, or the mysterious bad boy? Very important questions.
- The Special Snowflake/Mary Sue– somehow all of these main characters have something about them that makes them unique and special and different from everyone else. They keep repeating how normal they are even though they are about to overthrow the evil government and also how completely not pretty they are even though they’re the center of the love triangle!
- The Weird Names– Katniss Everdeen… America Singer…. Four…. the list goes on and on.
- The Rebellion– The evil government will ALWAYS be overthrown by the MC and friends… this is no time for a 1984 ending
- The Non-existent Rest Of The World- in almost all of the YA dystopias I have read, the United States is the only country that apparently still exists… why? Most likely because all these books were published here.
Honorable Mention: “I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding”– people make fun of this line SO much but I recently read it in two books this month that shall remain nameless…
ANNOUNCING MY NEW POSTING SCHEDULE!
I have been posting very irregularly since I started this blog, but after this post I will be sticking to this schedule:
Every Wednesday 7PM ET: new book reviews
Occasional Saturdays 7PM ET: book lists, articles etc.
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