There are a lot of literary clichés but YA seems to be a magnet for the truly annoying ones. In this post, I’m going to be talking about the clichés that personally hurt me. Emotionally, mentally and physically.
Some of these will be obvious and you will probably hate them too and a few may be indicative to a certain genre.
I will say that these clichés may sometimes be a comforting familiar trait in a book that I will not write off that book at all. If we’re honest some clichés we like and even enjoy.
Okay let’s begin:
- The mean girl; we all know from every American teen movie ever that there’s this all powerful mean girl and they even appear in books. Oh, joy. Why in the 21st century do we continue to need to subject these stereotypes to girls? These girls are all evil and horrible and look the same. Please stop pitting women against each other.
- Love curing mental illness; as a person that suffers from mental illness it irritates me to no end when a romantic interest comes into the picture and suddenly the main character can overcome their serious mental illness just by being near them. That’s not how it works. I’m not saying that having someone support you who you are in a romantic relationship will not help you in a small way but recovery is a long process that is not fixed by “true love”. This is not a fairytale curse.
- Where are your parents?!; Apparently, anyone who is a character in a book is parentless whether through death or just straight up negligence. These young adults piss off for days, weeks even months and their parents aren’t losing their minds. I suppose as someone with an over protective mother I would like to see an overbearing parent.
- Creepy borderline abusive relationships; stalking is not romantic neither is being a complete dick. Who gives a shit how hot this guy is you deserve better than a twat that treats you like dirt! Some of these romantic interests need to fucking grow up.
- Insta love; okay I know that you have a limited time to write your story but people don’t fall in vomit worthy love in ten seconds. Get to know a bitch first. (I am getting very irritated and sweary J)
- Moving is the inciting incident; you know how it goes, a family moves to a new town from the city and everything new and weird but also amazing. I just don’t care after a while. Also, these fuckers settle in too quickly.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl; this is a pretty prevalent trait in YA right now. The “I’m not like other girls” girl. Their edgy and perfect but of course beautiful beyond belief. It’s just not realistic. People have flaws. Being like “other” girls is not a bad thing.
- The outgoing bestie; the friend who is there in the beginning to give their friend the shove they need to get involved in whatever bullshit is about to happen but once that part of their existence is complete well we no longer need them except for an inciting incident at some point normally to do with alcohol or a break up.
Clichés are clichés for a reason they are used in popular books, they’re effective as hell. They build a world that is complicated but also ideal and exciting. They’re things we want but can’t have. Things we want to be but never will be.
Do not take this post as me feeling superior to these writers or the readers of these books because I am them.
I can identify a cliché and be pissy about its use but do I sometimes love an outgoing sarcastic bestie or the thought of someone coming into my life to make it exciting and better? No.
This is not including the creepy relationships. That is not okay. Don’t let people treat you badly. Hormones or no hormones.
Thanks for reading