Let’s Talk Bookish: Overused Book Tropes

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today’s topic is Overused Book Tropes.

Connected to my previous topic where we talked about tiresome characters, what are some tiresome tropes? Have you seen enough love triangles? Getting sick of enemies to lovers? What tropes have you had enough of, and can they ever be done well?

As I mentioned in one of the discussion posts from earlier this year, I think that tropes, in and of themselves are neither good nor bad. All stories have them, and it’s nearly impossible to find a book that’s completely original and devoid of tropes. Generally speaking, I don’t mind most tropes, and it’s really interesting when authors use them in unique ways. I do have several favorite tropes as well as quite a few that I find thoroughly tiresome.

Love triangles is one trope that YA novels have made me extremely wary of with how overdone they are. Books like The Infernal Devices prove that the trope can be done well, but nine out of ten times I’ve encountered it, it has been pretty annoying. Another trope I dislike closely related to this one is the ‘insta-love’ trope. Not only is it overused, it is completely unrealistic, and it can ruin an otherwise wonderful story just because the author needed to introduce some romance into it and didn’t bother taking the time to build up to it.

The ‘not like other girls’ is one I’ve grown tired of over the years. It was novel the first couple of times but now it’s just another repetition in a long line of books. I wrote a whole rant about this in another Let’s talk Bookish post recently, but basically the worst form I’ve found this trope to take is the kind of character whose ‘special-ness’ is basically her defining quality that makes her either superior to everyone else or the misunderstood figure who is outcast and looked down upon for whatever reason. This is one trope that is possible to get right, but with it becoming increasingly common, making this kind of character stand out and feel realistic and unique is quite hard.

This list could go on for pages, but I’ll mention just two more here. The dystopian world at war and overthrowing a tyrannical government/regime is a trope that gained popularity ever since The Hunger Games, and to be honest, it’s one I’m rather fond of too. But in recent years, I’ve learned to be more careful when picking up books with this sort of setting and premise as not all of them necessarily have the world building and background that are essential to making this trope work. The same goes for the very popular ‘Chosen One’, which is a particular favorite of mine, but it takes a lot of effort to make this trope work.

Any trope has the potential to be really good or really bad. It all depends on how the author uses it, and if they can develop it in a manner that really sets it apart from the other novels out there.

What are some tropes you’re tired of seeing in books? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Overused Book Tropes

  1. Stephanie October 15, 2021 / 11:37 am

    I personally believe that enemies-to-lovers is way overused. It winds up feeling the exact same in nearly every book and sometimes it’s just so toxic. I’ve always enjoyed a good love triangle, but I think authors wound up getting tired of it because I rarely read books with that in it anymore. Tropes I LOVE are friends-to-lovers, forbidden love, and found family! I’m totally with you about “not like other girls” and the “chosen one” – blah! Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. readandreviewit1 October 15, 2021 / 2:22 pm

    This was so interesting to read – I actually found myself nodding along to everything you’ve said! The ‘not like other girls’ one really grates my nerves when it isn’t done right, and don’t even get me started on insta-love – we need the development! Thanks for sharing, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jaya Avendel October 15, 2021 / 4:18 pm

    Tropes can work and, when combined with a good story, I can find a ‘chosen one’ or Hunger Games type story quite engaging. The “not like other girls” ranks on my list of turnoffs, though, with ‘chosen ones’ in close second because most stories do not do it right and the book feels like one I have read a dozen times before.
    Thanks for sharing your take!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) October 24, 2021 / 11:06 pm

      Agreed, the chosen one trope is definitely quite hard to get right nowadays because it’s such a common trope. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. CristinaR October 15, 2021 / 4:20 pm

    I think that the chosen one and insta love must be the most I dislike! I don’t mind a love triangle, but very much depends on how the author treats it in the novel! And only agree that since Hunger Games the dystopian tyrannical vision has been so popular and overused!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cassandra Armstrong October 15, 2021 / 8:24 pm

    The thing that bothers me about love triangles the most is both love interests are usually some of the most terrible characters. The poor protagonist is usually stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) October 17, 2021 / 10:32 pm

      Agreed, even if there are a few books that do it right, the trope really has gotten old. Thanks for reading!


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