In my recent post, the 7 Worst YA Fiction Tropes, I wrote all about the most overused and harmful clichés in YA fiction.
Today, I thought it’d only be fair to list some of the most popular, best fiction tropes that make for gripping and enjoyable books.
*Disclaimer- these are the most popular tropes amongst my Bookstagram followers and the people I have spoken to. They may not be everyone’s favourite*
Who doesn’t love this trope? The name speaks for itself- normally a group of teenagers/ young adults who become like family to each other.
I think a large reason this trope is so loved is because a lot of us can identify with it in some way or other. Whether you get on well with your family or not, finding friends that feel like family is so amazing.
I think we all know this classic from Lord of the Rings. But it’s also common in a whole host of fiction books like Divergent, The Northern Lights, A Wrinkle in Time and The Neverending Story.
Unlike many of these tropes, the hero’s journey is present in pretty much all genres and categories of fiction, from ancient greek mythology to modern YA fantasy.
Think Gandalf, Dumbledore, Merlin. The mentor is usually an old, wise character that guides the protagonist (often in a rather vague way) towards accomplishing their goal.
It’s usually impossible not to fall in love with the mentor, and they are often cruelly killed off close to the end, thus allowing the protagonist to reach their destiny of their own accord.
But the mentor isn’t always good! In A Picture of Dorian Grey, Lord Henry Wotton ultimately places Dorian Grey on his path of pursuing beauty and youth at any cost. Another example of an evil mentor is the potions book Harry discovers in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Although it is not a character in its own right, it pushes Harry to do questionable things he would not usually do.
Enemies to lovers
A personal favourite, and a favourite of most of my followers, enemies to lovers is exactly what it sounds like: two (or more) characters that begin the story as enemies and end up as lovers.
This trope is especially visible across the YA genre, but is also present in fantasy, contemporary and romance.
But enemies to lovers has to be done well. Because it’s so popular, it can be difficult to write this trope without it seeming either too rushed or completely fake.
And of course, the classic, one of the original enemies to lovers: Pride and Prejudice.
The reluctant hero
This one speaks from itself and I’m sure we’ve all seen it in our fiction one way or another.
The hero (generally the protagonist) is usually portrayed as a normal, boring character, before being faced with a situation they never asked for, that only they can conquer.
They either continue on their journey or don’t, but throughout the story, they continually wish to go back to how they were at the beginning of the novel.
The reluctant hero trope is a fun one and often makes for dry characters and amusing stories.
The classic book for this trope is The Hobbit (think of how much Bilbo Baggins constantly thinks about returning to his old life). but there are loads of great YA and fantasy picks like A Wrinkle in Time, Strange the Dreamer and The Mortal Instruments series.
The surprise heir
An unsuspecting character (often an orphan or someone with a poor background) is revealed to be a lot more special than they’ thought.
Often this is all within one big misunderstanding, or a result of interesting court politics within the book.
Either way, it makes for an interesting read, especially if the reader knows who he character really is before they themselves do.
Do you like these tropes? Do you have any books you love that involve some of them? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you connect with me directly on any of my social medias.