Hello readers! How is everyones reading going this year so far? I am quite behind on book count, but I have been reading a lot of big books lately!
Today, I have a post that is the opposite of my last post being Tropes and Things I Love in Books. In this post, I am going over some tropes and elements of books that I do not like. Some of these are tolerable, while others will make me hate a book. Either way, please comment down below and let me know what trope you hate the most! I will be making follow ups to these two posts a few months down the road. So, it will be fun to include some of those!
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The Diverse Cliché
I think this trope is more common in TV and movies, but it does still happen in books. I hate to see the diverse characters who are just a cliché or stereotype of a marginalized group. I’m talking about the overly-sexual gay character, who also likes fashion, the plus size funny friend, or even the smart Asian. If an author can’t write a diverse character who isn’t a stereotype of that community, they just shouldn’t add in diverse characters at all.
The Evil Step-Parent
If you read my post about tropes I love, you know I mentioned I don’t like this one. It might be that this one bothers me so much because I am a step-parent myself. We are taught from a young age that being a step-parent is a bad thing. That step parents are EVIL. Just look at Cinderella or Snow White. Their lives are ruined by their step parents, just because they don’t like them. Men portray women as being so scared to grow old and when they do, they hate everyone who is younger than them, especially their step-daughters. Now that I mention it, it doesn’t seem to happen with a step-son. There are so many problems with this trope and I cannot stand to see it!
Y’all, I can’t do this trope. I absolutely do not like seeing the romanticization of sick and dying teens in books, movies, and TV shows. All of them end with a person suddenly getting worse 2/3rds of the way through and dying. I’m not saying terminally or chronically ill people do not deserve love or to have their stories share. I think there are better ways to share those stories than books like this.
Absent or Dead Parents
I swear every YA fantasy or paranormal book has a teen MC with a dead parent. If their parents are alive, they are absent in the books. The teens in these books run around doing whatever they want with no parental guidance. The MC is handed a giant plot convenience and to me, it is lazy storytelling.
In my opinion, this is the worst trope of all time. It is so frustrating to read books with this trope. I have even read characters who misinterpret what one another are saying, in a way that is just so ridiculous and unrealistic, and it still feels like the miscommunication trope. This trope can never be done well, and I don’t know anyone who likes it.
Intolerable Adults in Middle Grade Books
This one is a mix of the last two. There are two main types of adults I am talking about here that are present in middle grade books specifically. The first one is adults in middle grade who are oblivious to what the children are saying. A child character says they witness a murder, or abuse, or were abused , and all the adults just assume that kid is making it up. If a child tells you something bad happened, you should believe them. There are too many kids who are let down by the system and their own parents in this world. A kid doesn’t just make up traumatic events from the top of their heads. For example, in my real life, I had a child tell me that the bus driver grabbed my step-child and yanked her backwards. My husband and I had this bus driver’s workplace on the phone in minutes. I didn’t even question that this child saw that, and parents in books should do the same.
The second parental type I can’t stand in middle grade is the one who doesn’t allow their kid to explain a situation. For instance, in one of the Lemoncello series books by Chris Grabenstein, there is a bully character who sends an email to the MC’s parents telling them a bunch of stuff the MC did, that isn’t true. When the MC comes home, the parents confront him about the email and don’t even allow him to explain that it is false. They just ground him and send him to his room.
I’m just saying middle grade authors should write parents with better listening and communication skills.
Everyone Gets a Love Interest
It never feels organic when all the main characters in a series end up together in the end. I particularly hate this when said characters are LGBT. The author will add exactly 2 gay characters and then put them together when they don’t have anything in common. Either leave them single, or add a few more characters in.
There are more red-headed MCs in fantasy and paranormal books than there are on planet earth. A lot of the time, they also have curly hair and are the only person in the whole story with red or curly hair. Do authors think being a curly-haired red-headed is a quirk? I need more diverse looking characters in my fantasy books!
This is the worst thing ever. This is technically not a trope, but I am adding it in anyway. I don’t care how good a book is, if it has an open ending, it will ruin the book for me. Sometimes I will seek out posts about books with open endings, just so I know what NOT to read. In my opinion, if I wanted to write my own ending, I would write my own damn book.
Mental Health Issues Are Magically Fixed by the End
I just recently read a book with this trope. I love to see mental health explored in books, but it doesn’t make sense when a character has been struggling with something for years and they are magically fixed in the last 50 pages. That isn’t how mental illness works. It is kind of like the trope where someone automatically know how to fight all the bad guys, even though they have never done it before. Getting out of a bad place mentally takes time and doesn’t just go away for the end of the books resolution.
I don’t mind a character being brought back to life, if it is only one character and one time. However, if every person who dies in a series magically comes back later on, I won’t be able to care about them. If there are no stakes, I can’t care about the characters or be devastated when they die, and I am a character driven reader.
I don’t know what it is about overly metaphorical writing that annoys me so much. I think a lot of the times the metaphors don’t make sense and are very dramatic. This type of writing style takes me out of the story. Usually, I also seek out posts about this type of book, so I don’t pick it up. It doesn’t always ruin the story for me. However, authors who write like this are often very atmospheric and speculative in regards to their magic system, which I don’t like much. It really depends on what the book is about.
Male Author’s Descriptions of Female Characters
This is not a trope, but it is something that really bothers me. Why is it that a female character walks into a male-authored book, and the author has to talk about their body shape, butt, and boobs? Male characters are never described in that manor in the same books. I have found VERY few male authors who do not do this and it is so frustrating.
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