Well, this week I did a bunch of research on bookish pet peeves and cliches/ tropes in YA fiction that one finds annoying or overdone on certain aspects of the published book itself or written in the book. This is the compiled list of what I discovered:
Bookish Pet Peeves:
1) Never ruin a book lovers’ book. (Never dog ear pages, never crease spines, never fold covers back, or there will be fire and brimstone and you will be tossed in without a second glance.)
2) Weird character names or unpronounceable character names.
3) Too many “holding their breath without realizing it” moments.
4) Looking in the mirror to describe what the character looks like.
Annoying things that publishers (sometimes) do:
1) Not keeping book cover design consistent throughout a series. (Sudden cover changes was very high on this list as being the most irksome thing.)
2) Book height (Please, for the love of bookshelves, keep the height of a series the same.)
3) Not clearly marking the order of books in a series.
4) Stickers on books, especially the ones that are printed right into the front cover itself.
5) Bad covers (Lots of readers disliked seeing character’s faces, leaving nothing to the imagination)
6) Trilogies that suddenly have a fourth book, or a prequel – just because.
YA cliches and tropes:
1) Love Triangles. (This one topped many charts)
2) Insta-love/ Insta-romance.
3) Lack of parents or adults.
5) A character who is amazing in all ways (good looking, very strong, or suddenly really good at something – gets very little training then, poof, an amazing fighter.)
6) Stereotype characters (broody bad boy; beautiful, but doesn’t know it; nerd in glasses; everyone is beautiful and without physical flaws, etc… – can you hear my eyes rolling?)
7) Abusive yet sexy characters. (The abuse is somehow excused because of terrible past/upbringing and the love interest will throw themselves at this abuser because they are hot.)
8) Vapid characters (Give me layers, like onions or pie!)
9) Dependent / Insecure main characters (Super sensitive, weak, or obsessive over the love of another were other things that annoyed readers too.)
10) The “I’m not like other girls” character. (How? Are you, like, a monster or something?)
11) The lack of normal everyday things (Do characters ever go to the bathroom? Shower! If they are injured, do they have a bruise days later, limp when trying to get around, or take the time to heal? Show the hurt!)
12) “The Chosen One” character. (Really?)
These lists are not all that I found that irked people; there were plenty more that bothered people but didn’t come up as often so they didn’t make the lists.
Now, should we avoid all the cliches and tropes? I say, not really. Everything has been done before and will continue to be done time and time again. Our job as writers and authors is to do them with a new angle or new perspective. Change up the tropes. Put a twist in them. We readers like to see certain things in YA novels when we pick up a YA book. That’s why we keep going back.
Will I have a few cliches and YA tropes in my story? Perhaps. But I hope to put my own spin on it. I definitely like to read certain things in YA novels and I absolutely love to write certain things. So I will. But! I will always go with the flow of what my story needs and try my best to shake things up a bit.
This post is a bit longer than some of my other posts, regardless, I had fun doing this research and learned a few things along the way. Time well spent.
What are some bookish pet peeves, cliches, tropes that you like or dislike?
Until next time, keep creating.