5 Tropes that I want to see more of in YA

Whilst thinking about what kind of posts we would be putting up for you guys in June, I realized that I want to post more original content amongst Tags, Reviews, Wrap Ups – you get the idea. I think talking about bookish topics is certainly a place to start and Swetlana will also be writing posts along those lines – so stay tuned for that!

#1 Exploring the flaws and depths of characters

I often find that in books the plot tends to take over that and that’s kind of unfortunate because whilst reading a book for the plot is fun, exploring the depths and flaws of the characters that are going through these journeys – to see how it affects them emotionally. Often characters have had a difficult childhood, or a bad relationship with either their parents or siblings beforehand and that affects someone’s mental health too and I think it would refreshing to see that explored. Because often that aspect is brushed aside for the purpose of the storyline. Of course, that doesn’t mean it should take over everything but keeping a nice balance is what gives a well-rounded character – in my opinion.

#2 Healthy Communication and mutual respect

This is really important because in a lot of YA books (also TV Shows, Movies etc) the idea of being abusive or manipulative towards your partner is being romanticized and I really have a big problem with that – because it shouldn’t be made out to be romantic or fun because the guy is broody, tall dark and handsome (which is overused to the point where it’s literally everywhere – in almost every romance novel ever). Give me healthy communication where both parties talk about the problems in their relationship instead of silencing each other or even brushing the conflict aside.

To give a little example I really enjoyed Feyre and Rhys’s relationship in ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses), especially in ACOMAF (A Court of Mist and Fury) and ACOWAR (A Court of Wings and Ruin) they have let the other talk about what’s bothering them without judging or learning about each other’s past but not making assumptions about it – instead letting the other take their time to tell those stories in a way that allows them to express how they felt at that time in their lives. In ACOWAR they both talk about a lot how much they respect one another and value their positions. Especially how Rhys gave Feyre a high position in his court of authority and how the rest of the Inner Circle respects her as both a friend but also as their leader.

I couldn’t write a post about how much I value those things without mentioning Magnus and Alec from Shadowhunters. (TV Show not the books because I have a few problems with how they were written in the books) – what this show has done is honestly what I never thought we would get but they gave us a good healthy representation of their relationship and I’m so happy to have decided to give this show a chance – and whilst it has its flaws which is normal and kind of unavoidable with a TV show that talks a lot about politics and explores the topic of racism – with the Shadowhunters representing white people and the Downworlders people of color and that has LGBT characters – it’s become one of my favorites (which is also due to the fact that the cast is a bunch of sweeties).

Magnus and Alec value each other above their differences (they explicitly talk about that in season 2a) – coming from different worlds and parts of the society they grew up in – but also not ignoring that because that is why them coming together is so special – both of them coming from completely different races makes their relationship interracial which makes them that much more special. I mean this kind of combination has never existed on TV before – and it’s amazing to have both of these characters on screen right now. (Also: Harry Shum Jr and Matthew Daddario care so much about these two it warms my heart)

Bottom line is, abusive behavior or manipulation in relationships needs to stop being romanticized and glorified in all kinds of media.

#3 Writing more diverse characters brings representation to under-represented communities

Representing these communities is extremely important to do in Literature because I feel like the books we read influence the way we think so much – There are so many things that we see characters do that we apply to situations in real life and that’s why it’s great to see that this is slowly becoming a thing. That we get to see more diverse characters is amazing and makes me (as a reader) feel like I’m not alone in what I feel and that there are others who feel the exact same way.

#4 Exploring mental health without glorifying mental illnesses

Mental Health is a really important topic that should also be explored more in YA Literature because people that are dealing with depression, or anxiety often feel alone and isolated – so having characters in books that are suffering from mental illness is really good for representation and raising awareness. Sadly, sometimes those things get romanticized or glorified, which should be avoided.

#5 Reinforcing the idea that a character doesn’t need to have a romantic relationship with someone – and still be a great character.

I just feel like that’s something that I would love to see more of because I haven’t had a relationship yet and every time I get asked “Why don’t you have a boyfriend yet?” it gets a little more tiring trying to explain that maybe I’m not ready or maybe I don’t want that right now in my life where I’m more focused on ensuring I have a good future and getting my drivers license, because apparently, that’s all that matters in life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good romance I can read about but having a character that just has fun in their life without a significant other would be refreshing to see.

Let’s reverse the question for the comments: Are there any tropes you’re tired of seeing? If so, let’s talk about them!

*Note: What do you think of the use of text color? Does that make it more visually pleasing to read? Feedback is greatly appreciated!

 

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9 thoughts on “5 Tropes that I want to see more of in YA

  1. Marie says:

    Lovely post! I agree with you on everything, especially that last one: there always needs to be a love interest in the books we read, sometimes it would be refreshing to read a story without that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ayunda says:

    Absolutely agree on the last point! I get super tired of YA characters with a romantic interest, and them being so dependent on the significant other. I need strong YA main characters who have no romantic interest and can still be strong!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May @ Forever and Everly says:

    I DEFINITELY agree with your last point! Romance is not needed if you’re putting a couple in there just to have a couple. If it moves the plot forward or impacts the character in some way, then it should be included. And gosh, mental illness is such a touchy topic, but they definitely shouldn’t glorify or romanticize it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. christine @ the story salve says:

    I am so tired of seeing the trope where the MC’s romantic relationship becomes EVERYTHING to her and she can’t IMAGINE life without this person. Like you said, I wish we could focus on healthier romantic relationships – and, hell, even friendships! I love reading about a solid Girl Squad – and I think teenage girls NEED that.

    I also really appreciate that you talked about the need for better mental health rep. Fortunately I’ve discovered a few gems this year that really get it right (mostly #OwnVoices books), but there are still so many stereotypes out there that perpetuate the stigma. I was very depressed in high school, and I would’ve killed for a book that showed me I wasn’t alone in that (which I guess is why I’m writing my own, haha).

    Great post! I look forward to seeing more discussions from both of you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandra says:

      I totally agree! I just want to see a MC that doesn’t contribute to the idea that a character needs a signifcant other to have a fulfilled life and still feel good about it. I get that being in love and being loved in return is a great feeling but not everyone experiences sexual or romantic attraction to others.

      Same! Talking about mental health is so important because there’s so many people that have suffered or are suffering from mental illness. It kinda reminds me of this quote like “We all go to the doctor when our bodies are in pain, but no one ever looks after their mind” and that’s really powerful, to me.

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Julianna @ Blots of Ink and Words says:

    Yay! Original content = cheers all around.

    I agree with you! I actually really like romance personally and seeing it develop, but it’s also fun to see self growth.

    I HATE the insta love trope. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE IT.

    Also, text color is fine! Just don’t use it too often, and more occasionally to highlight 1-2 sentences at a time? (You don’t have to do this, of course)

    Liked by 1 person

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