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.
Continue reading YA Literary Trope: The A-Hole Friend(s)
In our ongoing examination of literary tropes that are pervasive in young adult fiction we have covered “The Old Clunker I Drive“, “The I Already Know You Introduction“, and “I Have to Take Care of my Parents.”
Today let us delve into one of the most pervasive tropes of our time, one that appears in literature, films, television, and maybe even our fantasies: the Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy) (MPDG/B). Just in case your are not familiar with this moniker, it was identified by Nathan Rabin in 2005 when describing Kirsten Dunsts’ character in his movie review of “Elizabethtown”:
“The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”
The “MPDG/B” trope has developed and grown in this past decade and definitely includes both girls and boys. Let’s get right to this quirky trope, which just always awakens something in me… Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy)
Welcome back readers! We are continuing our discussion of tropes (commonly used themes) in YA literature. So far, we have explored The Old Clunker I Drive and The I Already Know You Introduction. This week let us jump right into one of my favorites!
The I Have to Take Care of my Parent(s) Trope
We read it time and time again. These teens have a lot of responsibility and are oftentimes more capable than their parents. Why is this plot line so often used? Well, parents are not perfect so this is a realistic human experience for many readers. I also think that some wise words J.K. Rowling once said about the unhelpful librarian Madam Pince are relevant here. Sometimes, when you get the assistance you need the story is over. So, let us keep the story going by taking a look at some of the most inept parents (and their very capable children) in YA lit.
Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: I Have to Take Care of My Parent(s)
Welcome back! It’s another hump day and we are exploring some more of our favorite literary tropes in YA fiction. “Trope” is defined as an overused theme, and we embrace and enjoy them again and again. Last week we investigated old clunkers: cars with “character” driven by some of our favorite characters. This week let us delve into the “I already know you introduction.” Typically, it goes something like this:
“Hi, I’m so-and-so.”
“I know who you are, we’ve been going to the same school since [fill in the blank] grade.”
And a friendship is sealed.
Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: The “I Already Know You” Introduction
“Trope” is defined as “a common or overused theme or device.” (Merriam-Webster). There are definitely over-used themes in the YA world; I know many of you have had enough love triangles and dystopian worlds. On the flip side, tropes have always been used in literature, and they play an important part in driving a story. Shakespeare himself successfully used literary tropes (mistaken identity anyone?) I have found many times over that if a book has the goods, it doesn’t really matter how many common themes the author utilizes.
That said, I would like to invite you to join me each Wednesday for a hump day roundup of books that follow a familiar literary trope I have noticed and fully embrace. Full credit and many thanks to my fellow Hub bloggers: Hannah Gomez, Jancee Wright, Carly Pansulla, Robin Brenner, Anna Tschetter, Sharon Rawlins, Molly Wetta, and Kimberli Buckley for their awesome suggestions and input.
Literary Trope for Week 1: The Old Clunker I Drive
To say that cars are important to teens is putting it lightly. A license to drive plus a set of keys equal freedom in a most tangible way. Of course, most teens in life and literature have financial limitations and many drive rusty, second-hand, and always breaking-down cars. But, those unexpected stops are usually what makes the journey so fantastic. So, thank you clunker car literary trope, we love you. Continue reading YA Literary Tropes: The Old Clunker I Drive