All My Thoughts on Clichés and Tropes

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts.

This week’s topic is an interesting one! There are so many tropes out there, some I love and some I don’t, but at the end of the day I think it comes down to how well-written a trope or cliché is that really determines whether or not it works for me.

Can clichés and tropes be done well?

Absolutely! There are some books I pick up because I know that it has a trope that I love, especially when it comes to romance. For example, a lot of Talia Hibbert’s books have classic romance tropes, like hate-to-love and fake dating, and they are some of my favourite books of all time. She manages to take classic tropes and make them original, which has a lot to do with the characters that she creates.

As a read more and more fantasy, I am starting to realize that there are certain fantasy tropes that I am drawn to. If you tell me that a fantasy novel has a found family, I am more likely to pick it up. Raybearer and Skyhunter are great examples of this!

When is something a trope and when is it a cliché? 

This is an interesting question and not something I have thought a lot about in the past. For some reason, the word “cliché” has a negative connotation. In my mind, a cliché is trope that has been used so often that is has become predictable and unimaginative. Would the phrase “she let out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding” be considered a cliché? I think that any tropes, from love triangles to “the chosen one”, have the potential to become cliché but I also think that there are many authors who have taken these clichés and made them interesting again!

I read an article last year about how calling YA tropes overused affects authors of color, and it has really shifted the way I look at and think about how I talk about tropes. Here is a link to that article if you are curious!

When do you enjoy clichés or tropes, and when do you not?

I think I have touched on this already, but it truly comes down to how the trope is written. I always say that my least favourite trope is love triangles, and that is because I often feel like it is obvious right from the beginning who the protagonist is going to choose and one of the love interests is often written as a jerk while the other is perfect. There is just nothing exciting about that for me! However, I recently read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, which hints at a potential love triangle in future books, and I can completely understand why the main character who be drawn to both of the potential love interests for different reasons. Though the romance is very much in the background of the story, I am curious to see how that plays outs.

How much do clichés/tropes affect your overall opinion of a book?

I do think that how well a trope is written can have a huge impact on how I feel about a book, both positively and negatively! Some novels center around a trope, so my feelings on how it was handled can make or break my overall opinion. I recently read First Comes Like by Alisha Rai, which has many tropes from cat fishing to fake dating (and more but I can’t talk about them because they are spoilers!). While some may say that there were too many tropes, I thought that the book was so sweet and that the tropes were well done, mostly because the characters were so well developed.

I would love to know all your thoughts and feelings about tropes! Do you have a favourite trope? Mine is definitely found families. I should really make a post recommending all my favourite books with that trope, because there are many!

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11 thoughts on “All My Thoughts on Clichés and Tropes

  1. I think my favorite trope in YA has to be friends to lovers, and enemies to lovers. They’re both very interesting and can add to the story when done well.

  2. Great discussion! Youb name some tropes I love as well, like fake enemies-to-lovers and found family! And if it is done well, I really love the Chosen One as well!


  3. I fall hard for found family and anything that involves second chances! The “let out the breath” phrase needs to be banned…it’s becoming cringe worthy!

  4. I’m a sucker for clichés and tropes in books – when they are well-written. I think sometimes a certain cliché/trope can fit in one book but feel very pushy and forced in another book with a similar plot line. I think it all depends on the execution 🤔

  5. I think a trope can be really well done, even if it’s a common trope! There are even love triangles out there that I will admit I enjoyed.

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