Top Ten Tuesday: Tropes/Themes I Despise

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. This week, we’re talking book turn offs. Or the tropes you dislike. So let’s get into it.

I couldn’t immediately think of 10. So instead, I made a short list of things that really make me run in the other direction as fast as possible. Most of these you can usually make up from the synopsis. 

Bigotry and harmful rep // With this, I’m talking pretty much everything racist, ableist, sexist, etc. No, no, no, no, no. I don’t have the time to read your petty and disgusting thoughts. I’m backing out as quickly as possible. 

The mysterious boy who shows up to tell you you are a paranormal being // Strangely specific, right? But you know what I mean (hopefully). When the female main character has always felt like she was different, and then strange things start to happen. And then this mysterious boy suddenly turns up, starts to follow her and tells her she’s a paranormal being. WAIT WHAT??? If anyone did that to me, I’d be running away as fast as I could. Nope. Nope. Nope. 

The teenager who doesn’t take advice from anyone // I can’t tell you how much I fucking despise this. I understand wanting to form your own opinions and decisions. But you can still do that while listening to what others have to say! This happens quite a bit in YA fantasy, when the main character is convinced they have to do something. Everyone tells them: hey, that is not a good idea for the following 45557455 reasons. Then they do it and one of their friends or family members get killed. Afterwards they are surprised that everything went wrong. WHY? EVERYONE TOLD YOU IT WOULD. 

Teacher-student relationships // Who’s freaked out by this? ME. 

Short sentences. Of. Only. One. Or two. Words // I REALLY INTENSELY DISLIKE THIS. It makes the story feel like a halted confession instead of a flow of words. It makes it nearly impossible for me to connect to the character, or to feel like I’m moving along in the story. It makes me feel like I’m a fish trying to swim upstream. 

Unhealthy relationships // I’d like to think that I’ve grown a lot in the past years, and have learned to actually see the problematic aspects in (fictional) relationships. That I have learned to separate that from how cute the author makes the story seem at times. Now, I do notice. And I despise. There is no need to romanticize someone being manipulative and abusive, whether that’s physically or mentally. I have read books in the past that I’ve loved, and now know are really unhealthy. No more though. Let’s talk about healthy relationships more.

Horror about spiders and clowns // What’s that cloud over there? It’s me, leaving a dust trail running away as fast as I can. Clowns really freak me out. There is just something intensely creepy about that painted face. I feel the same way about people in those adult-sized suits used for advertising. Freaks me out. Also: spiders. HAHAHAHA NO. 

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26 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Tropes/Themes I Despise

  1. These are great! I especially hate the bad relationships–it models some really terrible behavior as not only acceptable but romantic? Gross. In Twilight, when it’s revealed that Edward has been chilling invisibly in her room for days, I was like, “Girl, call the police. CALL THE POLICE!!” If that novel had suddenly taken a turn into a horror where a girl was being stalked by a teen vampire, I would have been so down.

    A trope I hate: the damaged, invisible girl (that’s also, btw, beautiful, of course) that is saved by a boy taking an interest in her and seeing her.

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    • Ooh yeeeees I hate the trope you mentioned too!! Somehow finding a guy fixes all of life’s problems. Damn. I should probably go find me one then. If I found out someone had been secretly watching me sleep, I would fucking migrate to a different country! That is so creepy 😱

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  2. I love short sentences! (When done well, ofc!)

    OMG:
    Character 1: Don’t do the thing.
    Character 2: I did the thing
    *fire*

    Lol! 😄

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  3. It’s so shocking to come across bigotry and while I understand that sometimes it can be written as a character flaw and not something that is being idealized but I’d still rather read something not about it.

    hahahah Mysterious boys coming up in stories in general to solve all the fragile snowflakes problems too.

    Teenagers not listening or not communicating or doing stupid shit is 100% why I unfortunately don’t read a whole lot of YA these days. My tolerance is zero.

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  4. I really want to laugh, but some of these just make me too angry. The bigotry? (Vaguely Middle-Eastern, super-villainized races in about a billion fantasy books, anyone?) Glorification of bad relationships? Misogyny? *shudders* Right there with you.

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  5. Ugh number three! Even when I was a teenager I hated reading about teenagers who wouldn’t take advise from anyone. Sometimes, other people have experiences or information that might be useful!

    Great list! 🙂

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  6. Ha ha – I have to agree with these, especially the one about a strange boy telling a girl she is a being of the paranormal. I’m also not a big fan of the whole student/teacher relationships… Maybe its just because all my teachers were super super old, but I cant get on board with this at all! lol Great post!

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  7. Unless they’re in college, student/teacher relationships shouldn’t ever happen. Maybe not even in college.

    Short sentences should only be used for emphasis or to make a point. You’re an author. Use your English. 😀

    But… but… IT was so good. I’m kidding! While clowns don’t bother me, Arachnophobia kept me up for three nights after I watched it. There is no way I’d read a horror novel about spiders.

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  8. LOL at the boy telling the girl that she’s paranormal. That is so funny. Have you read a lot of that, then?
    Your list is pretty hilarious, Jolien and I agree with every item on it. I suppose as a teenager, we had crushes on adults too but the teacher-student relationship borders on pedophilia so it’s just something to avoid in fiction.
    My list here: https://runwright.net/2017/04/25/books-to-avoid/

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  9. Teacher/student relationships definitely creep me out as well! I don’t think there’s anything romantic about them, especially when they’re idealized in a book.

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  10. YES, I completely agree with you on all of these!! (Except spiders. I hadn’t thought of that one before. But definitely no to clowns.) All of these things frustrate me to no end.
    For the teenager one, I know that teens are stubborn and don’t always listen to adults, but it’s so frustrating how parents are always absent in YA. I actually had a good relationship with my parents and went to them with my problems, even if I didn’t always take there advice.
    And why are there so many harmful “romantic” tropes? >.<

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