I love YA and will probably read it until I’m an old lady, but there’s been a serious issue with a lack of variety lately. I feel like I’ve been running into the same tropes and themes over and over again when I browse the new release shelves, and it feels like it is getting harder to find a completely new and original book.
While I have faith that better stories are out there, here are 5 themes in YA that I just need a serious break from.
I was all for Little Mermaid retellings when they first appeared on the scene, but now every additional one feels stale to me. While I appreciate that each author taking mermaids on has tried something new to enliven the story, the scenes are becoming just too familiar. Also, what’s with all the dark retellings? It was a fresh take the first time but it’s started to feel like the stories are competing for the darkest, most disturbing retelling of the Little Mermaid ever.
To be fair here, there are quite a few solid, creative Beauty and the Beast retellings out there. I’m looking at A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Curse So Dark and Lonely over here. But it’s got to be new and spicy, or you’ve lost me. I recently picked up A Beast’s Heart, which has a beautiful cover, by the way, expecting greatness but found a really boring account of the original story albeit with more detail. B&TB is a great tale to remake but dang, I’m just done for now.
I don’t have a problem with monsters in books or people getting the feels for a hot shifter, okay? (Dragon shifters are the best shifters, in my opinion.) But, I’m a bit tired of drab girl with drab life meets hot monster-man and suddenly her life has meaning. I think we writers sometimes fall into pitfalls like these because they’re familiar to us. But this trope is getting old and I’d love to read more YA books where maybe the girl is the freak and it’s the boy who has to adjust his life to fit her unique lifestyle. Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air?
Six of Crows is gold and you can’t tell me otherwise here. BUT that book inspired a lot of other authors to try their hand at the heist plot with multiple viewpoints and not all have succeeded. Books with multiple viewpoints can get really confusing at times for readers (or maybe that’s just me?) I don’t think books with heists, in general, are problematic but I need a break from SoC knockoffs.
Perhaps the worst YA offender at the moment is the classic hate to love trope, where the two main characters dislike each other at first, but then something changes along the way that makes them fall madly in love. Usually, the change comes when they find out something important about the other, or they have a near-death experience that puts things into perspective. And while the trope itself is getting tiresome, it is way worse when it compromises the entire plot of a book. We might have differing opinions here, but I don’t believe romance should be the plot. I love romances, but my favorite books are the ones that tie them into adventures and epic tales where the feelings are a bonus, not the end goal. But lots of YA books I’ve read lately put plot after romance, and I think that is a missed opportunity.
What do you think? Are you tired of any of these themes as well? What themes are tropes in YA do you need a break from?