My guilty pleasure YA tropes

Back in May, I made a post about my least favourite tropes in YA. I thought it was only right to balance the scales by also making a list of my favourite, most ridiculously indulgent tropes too. These aren’t the ones which never happen, which I would love to see more of….. these are the ones I see a lot, but somehow still can’t get enough of.

You know what I’m talking about.

Anything that makes you do this when you read it.

Fair warning: these are mainly love based, because I am a shamelessly romantic sap. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

  • friends who don’t realise they’re actually in love with each other until………THEY DO? AND IT’S AMAZING?
  • the shock and denial following the discovery that MAGIC IS REAL
  • sassy little geniuses (cough Artemis Fowl cough)
  • near-death experiences? the kind where the characters are all “oh we’d better kiss now, no big deal” EXCEPT IT TOTALLY IS
  • related: characters sacrificing themselves for people they have a secret, carefully cultivated, soul-consuming unrequited love for…….
  • ……….and the awkwardness afterwards when they don’t actually die in their rescue attempt, so now their object of affection knows they are madly in love with them. This trope is just…….give it to me!!
  • bookworms coming into their own and totally kicking ass, to the shock and awe of everyone they know
  • dragons. (and just talking animals in general)
  • SECRETLY ROYALTY. I don’t even care! I want all of it!! All of the princesses sneaking off in disguise to ~explore the world~, and all of the thieves who turn out to be long lost princes. I need more!!
  • kissing in the rain. IN! THE! RAIN!! I don’t know why this is so irresistible. But every single time, it melts my heart.
  • finding hidden things? like old letters, secret rooms in old houses, magical kingdoms in wardrobes, dormant ley lines etc. I will read ten million novels about teenagers trying to follow instructions from ancient (possibly magical) maps to find welsh kings
  • nervous new boyfriends being introduced to outwardly disapproving fathers, who are really just acting intimidating to mess with them!!!! gleeful fathers and embarrassed daughters!! yessss!!!!!!
  • FORBIDDEN LOVE. Oh, these two characters can’t ever be together for plot reasons? Look at that: I ship them. I ship them so much.
  • seemingly grumpy and angry boys who are really just shy  sweethearts trying and failing to hide how nervous they are
  • people who hate each other being paired up for school projects
  • and their hate quickly turning into love, obviously
  • ARCH NEMESES. platonic or romantic, if there’s a pair of competitive rivals then I am………there
  • wise old gentleman wizards.
  • annoying younger siblings!!

I think I’m going to stop there, because otherwise I’ll be listing things all day (and I have work to do). In summary:

If there isn’t a tumblr meme perfect for your blog topic, you aren’t trying hard enough.

In other news: It was YALC last week! I had an amazing time, especially getting to see lots of authors and bloggers in person for the first time, and catch up with old friends. I also got to hang out with an enormous number of Claire’s Coven (authors with the same agent as me!)

L to R: Katie Webber, Sally Green, Alice Oseman, Melinda Salisbury, Alexia Casale, Sara Barnard and me!

Plus, I did a little video interview with Michelle at Fluttering butterflies while I was there:

It’s also been announced that I’m chairing a panel at YA Shot in October with Lucy Saxon and Catherine Doyle, HURRAY! More details on that here.

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here. 

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

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