Welcome back to another exploration of common themes found in young adult literature. We have already discussed some fun literary tropes including The Old Clunker I Drive, The I Already Know You Introduction, The I Have to Take Care of my Parents, and The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy.) Today we will examine a not-so-nice trope: the A-hole friend(s). Let’s talk about those jerks who steer our protagonists astray. Those bullies who taunt, tease, and torture others. This trope can be hard to read– a good writer (such as those I mention below) make these a-holes so true to life we palpably hate them.
- Before I Fall (2011 Best Fiction For Young Adults, 2011 Teens Top Ten) by Lauren Oliver: Elody, Ally, and (most of all) Lindsay. Actually Sam, the narrator of this extraordinary book, is also kind of an a-hole. The foursome are your typical High School popular mean girls. They are beautiful. They laugh loudly. They target an innocent girl and bully her for years. They drink and drive fast (and pay for it.) Sam seems to consider herself a bystander in a lot of this a-hole behavior, but as the book goes on she learns more and more how her behavior affects others.