Top Ten Tuesdays: Tropes I Want to Go Extinct

Top Ten Tuesdays: Is a weekly meme feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers post their Top 10 List for an assigned topic! I will not be participating every week, but I will occasionally take a shot at it! You can always find these lists (past, present and original) on my Riffle Page.

This Week’s Topic:

Top Ten Tropes I want to go EXTINCT

I read a lot of romance novels, so I am quite use to the usual clichés and overused tropes in nearly every novel I read. But there are a few I could really do without.

Here are the 10 tropes I want to go the way of the dinosaurs (in no particular order):

#10 – The Girl in the Love Triangle

I’m not the biggest fan of love triangles. In fact, if a book focuses solely on a romantic love triangle (like anything from Molly McAdams it seems), it’s an automatic pass for me. Love triangles can be great plot devices when used correctly (like in Snow Like Ashes or Red Queen) but more often than not they are simply used for unnecessary drama (like in Twilight).

I’m exhausted from reading books about girls who can’t make up their minds between two boys. They flop like fish in most cases and change their mind on a dime (I’m looking at you America from The Selection). It just doesn’t work for me.

What I want to see instead: BOYS who are torn between two love interests. Rarely do I see a male lead have to make a choice between two girls. One & Only is a great example of that.

#9 – Girls hitting endlessly on other girls’ boyfriends

I get it, the male lead is super attractive and every woman wants to be with him. He may only have eyes for our heroine but the rest of the female population seems to miss that blatantly obvious fact. It never fails that the waitress while on that first real dinner date hits on the guy shamelessly, enticing a dramatic reaction from the heroine. (Do I really need to give an example? It’s happens in nearly every New Adult romance.)

Honestly, do girls really do that in real life? Do they have no respect for other girls?

I know that guys do it in some books as well. Well, sometimes. Most of the time the boyfriend is in the background glaring at the brave soul (see #6 on this list) to prevent this from even happening in the first place.

I just don’t like that this trope pushes the notion that it is “every girl for herself” when it comes to “finding a mate”. Women have enough battles with societal views that I hate to see us fighting each other over a man.

What I want to see instead: A dinner date where the waitress doesn’t hit on the male lead.

#8 – the girl who can’t function without her boyfriend

AKA Bella-Swan-I-Can’t-live-without-him syndrome. There have been more than a few female leads who one me over with their independent ways only to thoroughly irritate me when they get a boyfriend and lose their backbone.

To me, romantic relationships are partnerships. Each person brings their strengths and weaknesses. It’s ok to lean on someone when you are going through a rough time–but don’t become so reliant upon someone that you lose sight of who you are.

Classic examples: Bella from Twilight, Brooke from Real

What I want to see instead: more healthy, romantic partnerships between leads.

#7 – needless Jealousy-inducing situations

Again, this can link up with #9 but it goes a little deeper than that. You know when a couple has been smooth sailing (usually the start of the 2nd book in a trilogy) and you know that it can’t last any longer because GASP! what else could possibly happen in terms of plot? This is when you get the hurricane that is jealousy.

I don’t mind a bit of jealousy in my books. In fact,  a lot of the time I think it helps aid character development when a character has struggled with relationships or self-esteem in the past. But like in #9, sometimes it is just unwarranted and unnecessary.

A great example is When You’re Back by Abbi Glines. This sequel could have focused on a million other things but instead focused on the couple battling jealousy issues. Which made sense to a certain degree given the heroines low self-esteem but that’s all this book had!

What I want to see instead: Jealousy used as a constructive device tool to promote character growth, not just filler drama.

#6 – alpha males

Alpha males are the reason why I don’t read werewolf books. Having a man tell me what to do all the time just isn’t how I fly. (Is it apparent that I am a feminist supporting gender equality yet?)

Again, it isn’t healthy. More often than not these are manipulative men who use gender stereotypes to perpetuate how a relationship should be between a man and a woman.

I get the appeal: a man who knows what he wants and (usually) has his life figured out. It’s an attractive quality to have in someone you might spend the rest of your life with. But the key point is that it is your life and at the end of the day, you have full control over what you can and can’t do.

What I want to see instead: more healthy, romantic partnerships between leads.

#5 – the girl every guy is in love with but she doesn’t know it

This one is similar to some other ones on this list but I think it should get its own minute of attention.

I get the appeal: it’s a good booster of self-esteem to think that the guy you are crushing on, who you think doesn’t know you are alive, actually does know you are alive and likes you back. Or you are just oblivious to the world around you because you are focusing on something else happening in your life. Or you don’t think you are attractive and therefore have low self-esteem. That works for me when it is done right.

What irks me about this trope is that it more often than not leads to a love triangle situation (see #10). And more often than not, one of these male suitors is the trope I discuss in #1. Suddenly the heroine has every male vying for her attention at a single time. I know it’s fiction but it just seems a little improbable to me. Especially when you have a dud of a heroine and don’t know why all these guys like her! (I’m looking at you Evie from the Arcana Chronicles)

What I want to see instead: I’m not really sure, I guess I’m just tired of the unknowingly attractive girl showing up all the time with multiple suitors.

#4 – communication assumptions

Nothing irks me more (hard to imagine at this point I’m sure) than couples that don’t tell each other things for fear of hurting the other person.

Honestly, at this point in life and history most people will agree it is better to be told by someone you love than to find out said person knowingly kept it to themselves for an extended period of time.

Trust people!

’nuff said.

What I want to see instead: couples that actually communicate. That’s why I adored Alayna in Fixed on You–she always made an attempt to talk about things with Hudson before she acted irrationally.

#3 – declaring “I love you” within two weeks

I know that the heart knows no time limit and that you can develop deep feelings for someone in a matter of weeks or perhaps days. That’s not my issue here.

I struggle with romances that happen in a short amount of time (two weeks was just an arbitrary number I picked) because I don’t always see the connection. For me a good romance is one that has a physical and emotional connection. You might not know everything about that person but you know enough about them as a person to love and respect who they are.

Sometimes I feel like these relationships are just based on lust of the physical variety. Which is fine, but it isn’t “love” or at least the love I appreciate in my books. It may definitely be love later on, but if I don’t see why two people like each other before “I love you” is said, it turns me off of a book.

What I want to see instead: Emotional and physical chemistry in my romantic pairings.

#2 – all stories ending with PREGNANCIES / weddings

I like a happy ending as much as the next girl but sometimes I get a little tired of reading books in a series that have all characters ending the same way: pregnant and/or married.

It might seem a little silly because what else constitutes a happy ending in a romance novel? Marriage and/or kids is the end destination and I get that–I even like that!

Perhaps it is just the cynic in me but sometimes I think a happily ever after for now is the better route to go for some characters. While I personally think it is romantic to be with your high school/college sweetheart for the rest of your life–that isn’t always the case. Not everyone wants to get married and not everyone wants to have kids and–gasp–not everyone stays with their high school sweetheart for the rest of their lives either…and that is OK!

What I want to see instead: I know it is fiction, but with some contemporary romances I just wish they would better reflect what is more prevalent in current society.

#1 – The bff who is always in love with the lead

Maybe because I’ve been that girl who has had her male best friend be in like (I don’t think it was love and it is unjust of me to say so otherwise) with her that I really, really don’t like this trope.

Sometimes it works for the story but other times, it is just for unnecessary drama. It is an awkward situation to have happen to you and it also gives readers the expectation that girls and guys can’t be friends without people developing deeper feelings.

Which is what grinds my gears the most. Sometimes I know you can’t help it. You do want to fall in love with someone you can consider your best friend–it just doesn’t have to be your best friend of the opposite gender in all cases.

What I want to see instead: more platonic relationships with people of the opposite gender!

Agree? Disagree? Let me know below!

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