My Top Ten Pet Peeves in YA Fiction

Today I’m going to talk about my pet peeves in YA fiction (see title). This is the beginning of a whole WEEK of top tens – isn’t that exciting? Tomorrow will be the usual Top Ten Tuesday, but as for the rest, you’ll have to wait and see. In no particular order, here are the things that always annoy me in the books I read:

1) Love triangles

Of course it had to be in here, right? I’m not opposed to all love triangles, of course – they can be really great if they’re written well. For example, those in Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. But they become so predictable and all start seeming the same after a while. Not to mention the fact that they take away from the main plotline. So many people are talking about Gale vs. Peeta that they neglect to see that Prim is, ultimately, who Katniss chooses (that’s a whole other rant entirely!).

Love triangles are a good plot device, but writers, if you’re just using it as a quick plot device, maybe rethink. I mean, one of my WIPs features a love triangle, but they’re different types of love altogether – romantic and friendly. Which is different…


a hypocrite how am i a hypocrite gif

2) Stereotyping

I’ve written about tropes in YA fiction before, so I won’t go over it again, but basically, the mean jock and slutty cheerleader thing is getting realllll old. I’ll let Drenched Wendy show you my thoughts on steretyping.

Yeah. She’s looking at all the stereotypical characters and humphing at them. Damn straight, Wendy.

3) Condescension

Ironic that I had to Google the spelling of this to make sure I had it right. But anyway, I hate when books make it seem like teenagers are the most stupid creatures to walk the planet. To those writers, I say this:

Good on you, Bambi. But yeah, it seems strange to me that a YA writer would condescend to their audience. That just doesn’t make sense to me, and it’s a huge turn-off when I’m reading.

4) Preaching

This follows on a little from the last one, but I hate when a message is shoved down my throat. Again, I’m not stupid, I can work things out.

5) Insta-love

You know, like this:

gif mine disney edit gifset anna frozen hans kristoff elsa

Sorry Frozen. I know everyone else loves you. I’ll probably write a post about why I didn’t like the movie sooner or later, but today I’ll just say that I hate insta-love with a passion. Even if it’s destiny, or fate, it’s usually corny, cliched and a plot device to get your characters together quickly.

6) Everyone being white and heterosexual

Come on guys, let’s have some diversity!

pocahontas diversity gif

We need less white people! Geez, I’m white and I’m getting sick of us. But not just diversity of skin colour: diversity of social status and religion and ability and sexuality and opinions and background. I don’t want to see cardboard cut-outs. I want to see people who exist in real life!

7) Inaccurate science

elevator (130) Animated Gif on Giphy

I’ll allow Disney their innacurate science because it’s a cool catchphrase, but other writers have no excuse! There is a Google and there are people to ask about things. Don’t get the science wrong! Especially if it’s simple stuff!

8) Possessive boyfriends

I couldn’t find a gif of a possessive boyfriend, so good old Ken here is going to stand in. I HATE when boyfriends are possessive and controlling – that is abuse and it shouldn’t be disguised as romance. That’s not just a pet peeve – that’s a really damaging trope.

9) Angst

I just reread my most recent WIP and…Jesus Christ, there’s a lot of angst in there. But that was a first draft. I have seen double that kind of stuff in published books, and it drives me crazy! Surely teenagers aren’t that bad, and even if we are, we don’t want to read about it. I’m talking to you, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. And also Harry Potter 5, but at least good old Harry had a reason.


(this gif is from Potter Puppet Pals, if you didn’t know that already, and it is amazing)

10) Purple prose

You know the type: author describes a forest for seventeen pages, and then you somehow skip a really important part sandwiched between descriptions. What’s up with that? If I wanted to read a book of description I’d…actually, no. Nobody would ever want to read that. Because it would be boring.

So there you have it – those are my top 10 pet peeves in YA fiction.

What are your pet peeves in YA? And do you disagree with any of mine? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


13 thoughts on “My Top Ten Pet Peeves in YA Fiction

  1. Oh my god, this post is perfect and beautifully represents everything I feel 🙂

    1. Love triangles, yes. They’re really becoming overdone and can be easily predictable. Love triangles can work, but like you said they tend to be a distraction from the main plotline. They can honestly hamper my enjoyment of the book.
    2. Stereotyping is the worst, especially when it’s mean, vapid and demeaning. Which it usually tends to be with “the slutty cheerleader.” It also becomes so repetitive and easy to pick out of books when used, which increases my annoyance by 1000
    3. Ugh, it’s actually the worst. It really does make sense, when the YA market tends to be YA. Therefore acting like we don’t/wouldn’t understand something is not only annoying, but counterintuitive
    4. This tends to be with religion, at least with what I’ve read. It really hampers my enjoyment of the book when the whole text is basically shoving a certain viewpoint towards me the whole time.
    5. Insta-love is always an issue. It amounts to a lack of character development and that what really gets to me. Or it can turn an actually decent character into a weeping and whining mess. It’s unrealistic and needs to stop. I admit, I actually did enjoy Frozen though 😛
    6. Yes! I want more diversity so much. Really if the YA genre (especially YA contemporary) is supposed to model our lives then we need that diversity. Everybody being the same won’t cut it
    7. Google saves lives, use it authors. Please.
    8. Ugh, yes! The whole possessive boyfriend thing is frankly romanticizing the ideas of an abusive relationship, and so many people don’t even realize this. It can make people think that these types of relationships are okay, when they’re definitely 100 percent NOT.
    9. Haha, Harry Potter in OOTP totally had some angst going. As long as it doesn’t overwhelm a book, I’m okay with it. Usually that doesn’t tend to be the case though
    10. So true! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Larissa! You’ve basically just made my post 10x more awesome and eloquent than I ever could 😛

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who has some of these pet peeves.

  2. Purple prose? I haven’t heard that term before but OH GOSH YES. PLEASE NEVER AGAIN. I get sooo bored when description goes on forever (or useless back-and-forth conversations that mean nothing in the end). I’m also a bit tired of the normal set ups: everyone’s white and has either uncaring rich parents or super cool poor parents and the BFF runs off with the boyfriend and yadie-yay…
    I reeeally liked Bird by Crystal Chan, because for ONCE it talked about different religion, cultures, and colour.

  3. I love how your rage is so cutesy. Wendy and Bambi? ^_^ Don’t worry, I agree. BUT HOW DID YOU NOT LOVE FROZEN??? I await that rant, missy. As for #7, in theory, I agree with you, in practise, I probably wouldn’t notice anyway 😉

    • Lol, I couldn’t bring myself to be TOO angry.

      I’m pretty bad at telling if writers have commited the awful #7 as well 😛 I usually have to rely on other people to tell me – I just have to hope that I haven’t been spouting wrong science before I’m corrected! 🙂

  4. I agree with everything in your list! My pet peeves would have to include anything with slut shaming, racism, stereotypes and lack of POCs! I don’t like insta-love too, I don’t really believe in books with love at first sight unless it is justified. Great list! 🙂

  5. Pingback: What Happened This Week: Odd Socks, Long Legs and Top Tens | The Loony Teen Writer

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