Today I’d like to talk about tropes in YA fiction (hence my title). Have you noticed that lots of people in YA books have green eyes and/or crooked smiles? I mean, even Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars has one of these smiles. How does it even work?
Of the many many people in our world, I’m pretty sure 99.9435% of the green-eyed ones live in YA books. What’s up with that? There’s probably a point to be made about diversity here, but I’m not going to go into that. I want to talk about originality.
I’ve got this weird thing about one-word titles. To me, they all sound the same. They sound like the same genre, the same tone, the same style of writing, the same overused cliches like green eyes and crooked smiles. Of course, this isn’t the case: I’ve just had bad experiences with those kinds of titles in the past. But one-word titles provide a nice metaphor: the fact that YA books, recently, tend to fall into nice neat boxes, usually with some romantic love tossed into the mix.
There are more cliches, of course: the Bitchy Cheerleader, the Douchebag Jock, the Ordinary Main Character Who Turns Out To Be Extraordinary, the Love Triangle…there are so many.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a reason they’re tropes – it’s because, if they’re used right, they work well. I’m fully prepared to read about a love triangle if it’s done well.
Then other times I kind of…
Since when do teenagers fit into such neat boxes? If most teens are like the ones I know then they are WAY TOO COMPLICATED for my tiny little brain to comprehend. We fight over stupid things. We get stressed over stupid things. We feel amazingly happy over stupid things, and that’s great! It’s all part of the experience.
Following on from my post the other day, I want to read all different kinds of YA books. I don’t want to read about girls captivated by boys with green hair and crooked smiles. In some books, I don’t want to read about love at all.
I want to read about love, hate, anger, sadness, loneliness, jubilance, friendship, sacrifice, adventure, cowardice, bravery; blue eyes, brown eyes, black eyes, yellow eyes, purple eyes for all I care; crooked smiles and straight smiles and friendly smiles and sad smiles and smiles that are really only a cover for anger.
There is SO MUCH to write about when you write for teens – so much that we are all experiencing. Why stick to tropes? Make your own story. I assure you, us teens won’t begrudge the lack of green eyes and crooked smiles.