Bookish This Or That Tag

December 14, 2018

As book lovers, we no doubt come across more tropes than we can count. Some of these tropes we love and others we love to hate, but either way, they integral to the literature we read - especially when it comes to young adult fiction. 

Earlier this year, (can you believe we’re almost living in 2019? Wtf!) reader turned blogger turned author of ‘A Thousand Perfect Notes’, C.G. Drews, adapted a popular monthly challenge done on instagram hosted by @book_junkee to create the ‘Bookish This or That Tag’. Her post was super funny yet totally conflicting, it put me in the hot seat and got me thinking what choices I'd make in her position. I decided to hop on board because no matter how I feel about certain tropes, I LOVE discussing them. Here's what happened...

I thought these sorts of things were supposed to start off easy. But I see that's not the case here... Anyway, I’m in two minds about this question because I don’t have a general one-size fits all preference when it comes to series or standalones. It’s really boils down to the author and their story.

Some series tend lose their magic as the story continues, which leaves you feeling bitter about something you initially loved, aka the absolute worst feeling in the world! But then there’s also the frustration that comes with befriending a particular character and fully immersing yourself in their world, only to never know what happens to them beyond that one all-too short story. However, sometimes there’s something oddly satisfying about leaving a story untampered with and knowing you won’t ever have to wait or wonder about the author’s next move. Hmm…

My favourite 3 book series that first began as a dualogy. The best book was the last one so I'd be at such a loss if it ended prematurely as intended!
My Pick: Series. I’m selfish enough to risk the destruction of a story if it means potentially reaching the peak of it. Besides, if the sequel sucks, pretend it’s a standalone! If the ending sucks, write yourself a new one!

I know this sounds absurd but I’m not really that into Magic. I vibe with it when it’s well done but I’m more likely to pick up a contemporary novel than I am a fantasy novel. But I do love the protagonist badassery and the mental escapism that happens when magic is involved in a book.

My Pick: Magic Earned. Magic Earned is too easy and predictable. I’m here for the underdogs who are filled with self-doubt and a longing to reach their full potential. I want a character to root for and it's just so much more satisfying to see a character at the top when you know they’ve worked hard to get there.  

Both of these tropes simultaneously occur too often and are also enjoyable when done right. I’m a hopeless romantic so I live for this shi*. But gosh, when they're bad they can be so bad. 

My Pick: Friends-To-Lovers. Look, I’m all for a cheeky bit of banter, some teasing, or even just bad first impressions/encounters later improved on. But there’s a distinct line between not being crazy about someone and outright despising them. I enjoy couples who challenge each other but not couples who bully each other. So many Enemies-To-Lovers actually start off with the guy generally and genuinely being a horrible person. But somehow the girl suddenly loses all of her brain cells (along with any initial feelings of immense anger or resentment) causing her to forget that there was neither respect nor romance between them ever

In saying that, some Friends-To-Lovers relationships suck if they evolve into lovers out off of feelings of obligation or pressure, or when one party complains about being in the “friendzone”. Yet when done correct, they can be pure and wholesome. Bottomline: FORGIVE BUT NOT FORGET PEOPLE!! THERE’S PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA (plenty of trash in there too, literally and figuratively, reduce your plastic use ya’ll)!! PS. I'm willing to bet you know more people who have dated their pal than you know those who have dated their enemy.

Basically, do I want to laugh or do I want to feel like dying?

My Pick: Hilarious Banter. Easy, LOL over FML. I feel like this needs no further explanation.

I freaking hate both of these with a fiery passion. Let’s leave that shi* behind in 2012/2013. Both tropes are tedious and unrealistic. 

My Pick: Love Triangle. I think this is the only situation where I’d choose to read a Love Triangle. It’s like do you want to read ‘bad’ or ‘badder’? The only reason I don’t 100% hate the existence of love triangles is because of Cassandra Clare’s ‘The Infernal Devices’ series. The love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem, is the only one I have ever enjoyed and only because it was exceptionally well-done, plausible, and easy to invest in. I bloody love that series! But if Twilight taught me anything, it's that second love interests are nothing but rude interferences that unnecessarily complicate things. But…I have never in my life appreciated insta love. It’s presence makes me want to fork my eyes out. 

i.e. Names that really don't and shouldn’t exist because they make no sense, are hard to spell, and are impossible to pronounce OR a cast that only consists of Amy, Adam, Aiden, and Aaron. Both are almost equally hard to follow.

My Pick: Keyboard-Smash Fantasy Names. At least they’re all distinct enough that they’ll look somewhat different enough from each other and they’ll stick out just a little bit more.

Essentially you’re asking me to choose between Lily and James Potter or Harry and Zinnia Wormwood? Hmmm…

My Pick: Mean Parents. Both are sad and will inevitably effect a protagonist’s development. But at least the type and degree of mean a parent is, will impact different protagonists in interesting and varying ways. I personally find this much more interesting to explore than the effect of dead parents on a protagonist because those storylines tend bleed into each other more. 

A protagonist with supermodel looks often feels shallow and unrealistic. Not because gorgeous people are unworthy of having their own stories but beauty is subjective and reading about someone considered universally superior in looks doesn’t resonate with anyone. Of course, the two hot people are going to date each other or at the very least be friends with eachother, it’s how the universe works! But what about us mortals? The majority of us don’t feel like or believe we are seen as supermodels so this trope isn’t as heartwarming and hopeful as something more tangible. However, while a protagonist feeling plain and unseen is a smidgen more relatable for most readers, it gets pretty exhausting reading from the perspective of a self-depreciating Jane Doe.

My Pick: Supermodel Looks. Assuming this trope is most prevelant in romance, I’m brave enough to admit that a relationship makes more sense to me or is at least easier to get on board with, if a protagonist and their potential love interest are described as somewhat appealing and aren’t spending time thinking that they or their partner are in simple terms, basic af. YA sometimes struggles to find the right balance here. But the above scenario seems more plausible using the ‘supermodel’ trope. I don’t mind plain looking protagonists, just those that constantly complain about it.

I could discuss covers ALL day long! I am that person who does judge a book by it’s cover. Pretty covers, I froth over!

My Pick: Typography On Cover. I was really conflicted about this one because both work! But well done typography is so aesthetically appealing and I have a confession to make... If a non-illustrated face is on the cover of a book I’m reading, my imagination isn’t big enough to imagine the character as any different than what’s shown on the cover. This is great when a cover features an underrepresented type of character that hardly gets the chance to be center stage (see above image) but it sucks when it becomes limiting and doesn’t align with how you would otherwise view a character based on its descriptions. Typography, on the other-hand, is rarely as risky. 

Both are fascinating to read about. I love reading stories that have morally grey areas or characters. Can I just get the inbetween, an antihero?

This novel features both!
My Pick: Hero Turning A Little Bad. This plot is always exciting and usually provokes debate. There's so many ways this storyline can turn out because all preconcieved judgements are thrown out the window! My trust issues also don’t allow me to truly believe in a Villain who supposedly turns good.

Now that I've had my picks, I would love to hear what you'd choose! Leave a comment and let me know which tropes are your guilty pleasures and which ones you'd burn at the stake. Consider yourself officially tagged!

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