Hey everyone! I’m back with a Top Five Wednesday. This week, the topic is book trends you, as a reader, are tired of. Fortunately, I have a lot to say on the topic. So without further ado, here are my top five trends I want to see banished from the world of literature forever.
1. Love Triangles
Ugh. What can I say about love triangle? It’s an old trope, one that has definitely wore out its welcome in recent years. As a reader, one would be hard pressed to find a novel, especially in the Young Adult genre, that does not have at least one love triangle. The Hunger Games had one. So did Twilight and Divergent. Even Harry Potter had a love triangle at one point (Ron-Hermione-Lavender anyone?). The truth is, not only are love triangles unrealistic, but they are annoying. It is almost always two boys fighting over one girl. That girl spends one book clearly in love with one boy and leading the other on. Then, the boy she loves reveals a secret or breaks her heart in some way. This pushes her into the arms of the other boy. This trend continues back and forth, back and forth until the female protagonist makes her choice in the final book. And her choice is usually the boy she first started the journey with. The whole thing is a pointless ploy to get people to read the books.
Two characters walk into a room. They lock eyes. Their hearts skip a beat. Moments later, they are confessing their undying love for one another or risking everything in a revolution together. Now, I believe in love at first sight, but anyone in a committed relationship will tell you that being in love is not sunshine and rainbows. It is hard work and it takes more than just butterflies and skipped heartbeat. It takes trust and time and compassion and understanding. These things are rarely portrayed in Young Adult novels. The couples fight and they break up because they fell in love for the wrong reasons.
3. Bad Boys with a Dark Secret
To do research for my novel, which is New Adult, I have read many similar books in the genre. It’s been painful. Most of these novels center around a naive good girl who falls for a tattooed bad boy with a dark secret. Most of these relationships are abusive and the whole plot lies around hidden secrets and mistrust. Like love triangles, this trope is getting old. I will make sure that my novel does not adhere to this cliche.
4. Dystopian Societies
The Giver. The Hunger Games. Divergent. The list goes on and on. Dystopian societies have been around for a long time. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley broke ground with 1984 and Brave New World, respectively, introducing readers the world over, to the wonders and horrors of dystopian societies. While those books were innovative however, the genre has devolved into a formulaic tale designed to appeal to as many teenage girls as possible. The formula is as follows: a girl/boy grows up in an oppressed society and eventually discover that they are destined for something greater. They are thrust into a revolution and take down the dictator. There will also be friends to help them, but judging by the dwindling interest in these kinds of stories, it’s not guaranteed that readers will.
5. The Chosen One
The dystopian trope goes hand in hand with the chosen one narrative. Now, I’m not saying that I hate this tale. If done right, the chosen one stories can be great and innovative, but this rarely happens. It work with Harry Potter, because J.K. Rowling’s world is so rich and vivid in detail, the characters so well realized. It failed in The Divergent Series, because Tris was–dare I say it–a Mary Sue who became unlikeable by the third book and showed no true skill other than being different. Her defining characteristic was that she was the Chosen One. Harry, on the other hand, was a loving, compassionate, at times stubborn, character who was loyal to a fault. I put the Chosen One narrative last on my list because I think it works in certain cases, but it’s a trope that still needs to be used with caution.
Post a comment below if you think that any of these tropes bother you.