Things I’m Tired of Seeing in YA Fiction

It’s List Time!

Things I’m tired of seeing in YA fiction:

  • Dumb Adults
    • I hate it when a twelve-year-old find the missing piece to the puzzle that an adult should have found.
    • Adults were once teenagers, too. They broke rules and knew about drugs and sex.
  • Adult Villains Obsessed with the Teenage Protagonist
    • I can’t stand when these adult villains have an unhealthy obsession with the teenage protagonist. It’s creepy and begs the question of WHY. Does this trope fill that teenage-girl desire to be wanted to the point of obsession?
  • Love Triangles for the sake of drama
    • Now, a well-done love triangle is great, but so many have been done HORRIBLY that the entire idea of a love triangle makes some readers gag and roll their eyes. I’m looking at you, Ever the Brave.
  • Girls in Combat Boots
    • Have you seen girls that wear combat boots in real life? They’re not attractive. On anyone.
  • Teens with Unrealistic Favorite Books
    • Particularly Pride and Prejudice. It’s not a fun book to read. It’s old, out of style, and boring – I love the story, and I hate to read it. For those of you who’ve never picked up the book, it’s something you’d read in literature class, not for fun.
  • Love interests named Jack
    • I don’t know why there are so many of them.
  • Unnecessary Character Death in the End
    • A character death needs to be worthy of the drama, built up, an emotional sucker puck, the uppercut – not there because killing someone off makes it more dramatic.

The last bullet point isn’t so much a bullet point, but an overall lack of depth, of story, of character, and of emotion. I’ve found that a lot of YA fiction books have a “dumbed down” style of writing – the plot is simple, side characters are shallow, and the main characters are cardboard-esk and predictable. (I typically don’t make it far into those, because bleh.)

The Girl Who Drank the Moon comes to mind – a YA fantasy I read a while back. It had a young protagonist, but it also had adults in the story. It was written toward a younger audience, but it didn’t dumb down the story. The adults were smart and aware of their surroundings. The writing was intelligent. The story had heart. If I recall, I scored it 5/5.

Just because a book is aimed at a YA audience, doesn’t mean it should feel like a YA wrote it.

9 thoughts on “Things I’m Tired of Seeing in YA Fiction

  1. I have to disagree with some of these. Sometimes adults cannot see things right in front of them. Often they are too busy to see small details. I feel women in combat boots being attractive is subjective. There are still some young adults or teens who enjoy reading classic books, not a lot…but they do exists.
    I agree with the love triangle idea and creepy adults with teens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol the whole list is subjective. I’ve yet to see a girl pull of combat boots, and it’s one of those things that writers do to make a girl character seem “badass,” but it’s become a trope.

      My explanation for each point was originally much longer, but I cut a lot of it out because… no one needs a rant. The dumb adults I mean are those that don’t make very simple leaps of intelligence, and then the 13-year-old protagonist comes along and figures out the plot.


      1. Oh ok that makes more sense. I do agree that is a trope I see often and not everyone can pull them off. It seems they just look for iconic symbols and use them.

        I get what you mean. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so guilty of writing in the combat boots! They were a staple of the 90s, but should probably be retired in YA 😁

    And I could not agree more with the adults obsessed with teens. Unless there’s a good reason for it (President Snow in Hunger Games) then it’s just creepy. Eeck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, like if there’s plot leading up to said obsession – reasonable plot. I’m reminded of whatever-his-name from the City of Bones series; I know he was whatever-her-name’s father, but it was SUPER creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post – some really good points in here!
    I hate, *hate* HATE love triangles for no good reason! ‘I don’t know which to choose’ – well one of them is a horrible person who treats you badly, and the other has the personality on a dishtowel. Have you considered not choosing either and/or finding someone better?
    And stupid adults in YA books need to stop. If you can’t write a problem which involves a YA protagonist and also sensible adults who are actually functional and have even a modicum of common sense, then maybe take another look at that plot-layout?
    (Having said that, I totally unironically really love ‘Pride & Prejudice’. Sorry. I like the writing and the insight into a world that doesn’t exist anymore. I love adults having a romantic misunderstanding for pretty decent and sensible reasons, and not utter stupidity. I do really love it.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – adults without common sense is beyond irritating. That’s one reason I never really read MG books, even when I was a in that age group. I found the adults either too stupid or the story itself to be so unrealistic that I couldn’t stand it.

      (I also have a soft spot for Pride and Prejudice. It’s another trope that’s been around way too long.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They are infuriating and it’s a trope that’s so easy to write without too! Write smarter problems! Write smarter kids! Write literally anything else, I promise it will be more interesting!

        (Yeah, I admit I’m also really tired of some heroine going ‘It’s my favourite book!’ and thinking ‘You have clearly missed every single lesson contained within that book then…’ Ditto trying to ‘re-write’ P&P and *still* screwing up why the original worked! Urgh…)

        Liked by 1 person

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