Top Ten Tropes in YA – featuring A E Rought
Once again it’s Tuesday and the turn of another Strange Chemistry author to tackle their Top Ten list. Today we have A E Rought (author of BROKEN, coming in January 2013 – check it out!) to tell us about the Top Ten Tropes in YA fiction.
From Wikipedia (because I think just about everybody uses it for reference now)
In literature, a trope is a familiar and repeated symbol, meme, theme, motif, style, character or thing that permeates a particular type of literature. They are usually tied heavily to genre. For example, tropes in horror literature and film include the mad scientist or a dark and stormy night. Tropes can also be plots or events, such as the science fiction trope of an alien invasion that is deterred at the last minute.
a : a word or expression used in a figurative sense : figure of speech
b : a common or overused theme or device : cliché
Are there tropes in YA? You betcha! Ones that dial into the specific genres, ones that seem to apply to any. Sometimes, I buy a book because of the tropes. Sometimes, I put it back on the shelf or won’t even look at it because of the clichés in it. It’s all the semantics of the word and the reader, what they like, and what they don’t, and me, I like some tropes enough to seek them out.
So, without (much) further discussion, here’s The Top Ten Tropes in YA, according to me.
1. Twilight. It’s such a monster in our industry, I think it’s become its own trope. If it’s romance, it’s compared to Twilight. If it’s vampires vs werewolves, it’s compared to Twilight. Heck, most of the tropes I’m listing can be found in Twilight. Maybe it’s the biggest trope of them all?
2. The protagonist is female. Let’s face it, the majority of lead characters in YA are girls. This is one trope I actively seek the opposite. I love guy POV books.
3. Love triangle. It’s in Twilight with Edward/Bella/Jacob. It’s in The Iron Fey series with Ash/Meghan/Puck. It’s in The Strange Angel series with Christophe/Dru/Graves… And many more series that I can’t name, because I won’t read them because of the triangle.
4. The Mary Sue character. She’s perfectly perfect and everyone (in the book) loves her.
5. The tortured hero. Okay, I’ll admit, I LOVE me some tortured heroes!
6. The “OMG I’m a what?” character. This can go along with self-discovery, but I think it stands apart because there’s always an element of “more” to it. She’s a princess and didn’t know. He has faery blood. They are a descendant of angels…
7. Missing parents. The protagonist’s parents are there but are pretty absent from being involved in the characters’ lives. Or the parents are actually physically not present, maybe the character is an orphan, or a runaway, or they’ve been removed from the parents and sent to a school/battle to the death/etc.
8. The quirky best friend. For this one, think Link in the Beautiful Creatures series, Vee in the Hush, Hush saga…
9. Instalove. I hear strains of Call Me Maybe whenever I think of this… Instant attraction I totally get, though.
10. Half-human/half something else. This can tie into the “OMG I’m a what” character.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. A YA author and brilliant blogger S.E. Sinkhorn already has tropes listed by genre.
So, these were my top ten tropes. What about you? What are some tropes you see used often in YA? Do you love them? Hate them? Let’s talk!