This week I decided to take part in ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is a genre freebie, so I wanted to write about my favourite YA tropes, because I think we bash YA tropes quite a lot and don’t appreciate the great ones we do have.
Admittedly, a lot of the YA tropes we have that are good can be a little ‘trashy’ but if executed well can really add to a story and be above all else be entertaining.
The Royalty Trope
I absolutely love reading about royalty in Young Adult books. I love exploring how the writers interprets the concept of royalty in their world and how it works, I really enjoy reading about princes, princesses and Kings and Queens and their dynamics as a family; but also how they interact with those who aren’t royalty – definitely if there is development in those relationships. Whilst this is a trope that’s used widely in YA fantasy it doesn’t yet feel overdone to me.
The Chosen One
I’ve included this because I think ‘the chosen one’ trope is envolving in YA currently, and I really enjoy where it’s going at the moment. For example, in ‘Carry On’ by Rainbow Rowell Simon Snow is the chosen one, but Rowell really explores the mental health impact that can have on someone and there’s more mention of trauma in that one book than in the entire Harry Potter series. I don’t particularly love the chosen one trope in it’s old form, but I think the trope is shifting to be viewed from a different angle and I like that new angle.
I think this is a great trope in YA, the idea that we often get characters who aren’t seen as physically strong nor do they have a lot of muscular power, but they have different abilities that make them strong. I think a very good example of this is ‘The Hunger Games’, neither Peeta nor Katniss are your typical strong characters, but they both have skills that make them strong and ensure they can survive. This trope has some really great messaging and it’s always interesting to see where the author takes it.
Enemies to Lovers
Now, this is one of those more ‘trashy’ tropes I mentioned at the start and it’s also a hard trope to get right. You need to be very careful as a writer that you don’t cross the line between ‘enemies’ and ‘abusive’ with this trope, and unfortunately not every author finds that line before they cross it. When executed well I think it’s a fun and very entertaining trope we all love, but it’s a trope I think we’re all cautious saying we like as it can be mismanaged quite easily.
Groups/ Houses/ Camps
From Harry Potter to Percy Jackson, so many YA books have groups or categories used to distinguish one set of characters from the other. Usually these groups and categories have characteristics that come with them to help us learn and distinguish the characters and I really enjoy that, especially when characters are used to subvert the expectations caused by these groups. It also makes the world-building a little bit easier to digest in fantasy novels.
I know it’s not ten tropes, but I’m not going to take the number too seriously. I still love all these tropes and I think all of them can be utilised effectively, whether authors conform or subvert to the conventions of those tropes.
Do you guys have any favourite YA tropes?