Mary's Minute: YA tropes

This isn't a discussion so much as a survey (but feel free to chat too!). I'm working on a fun post, but I need your help: what are your favorite AND least favorite tropes in YA books? These can be plot points, character traits, or just descriptions. Here are a few of the ones I came up with, but please please please share your own as well! I'm looking to make a big list.
  • Hidden royalty
  • "Secret" family (think Mortal Instruments and all its "you're brother & sister...JK!")
  • Dead parent
  • Mentioning eye color
  • Being clumsy
  • Biting lips
  • Unisex names
  • Character with many names (Jonathan "Jace Wayland" Lightwood Herondale)
  • Nicknames
  • "Not like other girls"

Please let me know in the comments, and feel free to share why you love or hate certain tropes!


  1. I dislike love triangles, characters who sacrifice their goals and dreams for love, and long thought speeches in the character's head. I do love wit, sarcasm, when authors include animals/pets are characters. I'm looking forward to your post!

  2. Least favorite: love triangles and instalove.

    I don't know if this counts as a "trope," but I like three dimensional characters and humor/sarcasm woven in with the narrative. A lot of other things I can leave or take; it depends on the book and whether I'm enjoying the characters and/or story.

  3. I love the BFF to more and hate to love trope. I am a whore for banter and snark and I thrive on dialogue.

    I loathe love triangles that are introduced when the relationship has already been established and using rape/abuse as a flimsy plot point.

  4. I LOATHE the "stereotypical Mean Girl" trope (especially when the mean girl is the popular cheerleader who dates the quarterback because, while I'm sure that bully is one many people have had to deal with, it's not the ONLY type of bully out there).

    I also DESPISE the "We used to be best friends, now we're not and I'm going to make your life miserable" trope because... Again, I'm sure it happens sometimes. But like.. Sometimes, friends drift or fight and aren't friends anymore. But it doesn't mean they want to ruin each others lives. Sometimes, you stop talking and that's that and you just ignore that person from then on out.

    I'm also tired of the dead/absent parent thing.

    I LOVE the "Hate to Love" trope. It usually allows for some wicked banter and hilarious moments.

    I mostly love the "hidden royalty" trope.. I love books with royalty! It can sometimes just feel forced, so it's toss up.

  5. So "insta love" is a big dislike for a lot of people, but I have to admit that at certain times it works. Love at first sight can be great.

  6. Ugr. Mentioning eye color… It grates on my nerves. Why do YA authors do such thing? Another trope I don’t like is absent or abusive parents, or just crappy parents. I love positive family representation. I have a soft spot for big loving families in YA. I actually like clumsy heroines. Another trope I like is blushing characters, though some of my friends hate it. Looking forward to your post, Mary!

  7. My most disliked trope would be any type of love triangle. Blah. 😫

    Some of my favorites are hidden abilities, destinies & royalty.

    Great post! 👍

  8. Woooo I'm excited. Here are some of mine:

    -fake dating
    -relationship with a sibling's friend, or a friend's sibling
    -secret identity, writing letters, secret pen pal, etc.
    -memory loss
    -celebrity + regular person relationship
    -hate-to-love romance with banter
    -locked in or snowed in together
    -second chance romance/childhood best friend or neighbor
    -"playing cyrano" aka a friend plays matchmaker for another friend but ends up falling for the person instead
    -summer/vacation romance

  9. I'm with Kel. I dislike love triangles and instant love - but, I still find myself reading them because of either the book's description, or recommendations or the author.

  10. Has anyone else noticed many stories are so similar to one another now? I am fed up with the concept of having hidden powers and only this person can unify the kingdom all while learning to master their powers and finding true love. I would love fresh new ideas.