There are some book tropes that we love in secret, and sometimes we hate that we love them. On the other hand, there are also book tropes that make you want to email the author and ask them what on earth were they thinking when they added that trope. Well, today we’re going to be discussing five of the worst book tropes according to popular opinion on BookTok.
The Unplanned Pregnancy
Coming in hot at the top of the list is the unplanned pregnancy. The story is just getting juicy. Maybe the enemies have just become lovers, and you’ve waited the entire book for this to happen. And then boom: unplanned pregnancy. And just like that, the story has no more fun and spontaneity in its future.
If you’ve read fan fiction at all, you know that this is the single worst book trope to ever graze the page of a story. There is not a single story that has been made better by an unplanned pregnancy.
I’m not talking about stories that discuss the hardship and complicated nature of unplanned pregnancies. The unplanned pregnancy trope is almost always thrown in solely for the short-term drama between the couple after the situation was looking promising.
Any Mention of The Great Gatsby
This trope should just be called “insta-pretentiousness.” Sure, there’s nothing wrong with The Great Gatsby, it’s a classic for a reason. But having the love interest or the main character explain the relatively simple symbolism behind The Great Gatsby as if it’s their own original thought is painful to read every time.
Most of the time that a book has this trope, it is supposed to be a moment in which the reader thinks about how smart or different that character is, when there’s really nothing special about reading a book that has sold about 30 million copies worldwide.
Insta love is the romance trope in which two characters fall in love immediately, as if there is magic involved, except it’s not magic, it’s just a lack of realism. Insta love just feels bogus, because there is almost always little substance for why the two characters love each other.
Insta love is actually somewhat of a controversial trope. While many people like the easiness of it, others think that it signals bad writing.
And insta love is not to say that two characters can’t instantly express their attraction to one another. Insta love suggests that they fall in love immediately, which is the major problem that BookTokers have with the trope. Sure, maybe they were lustful at first sight, but to be in love requires some development, conversations, experiences and time.
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl/Guy
Ah, the manic pixie dream character trope that has somehow not faded out of fiction yet. The manic pixie dream girl/guy is the quirky character in the story that is only there to teach the main character how to live life to the fullest.
In other words, the manic pixie dream girl or guy has no independent purpose or agency.
Manic pixie dream characters are frustrating for readers because they are so close to being interesting and likable, yet they end up completely missing the mark. Think about it, don’t you love reading about characters that are unconventional? Of course! It is just far too often that the author doesn’t give us enough to work with manic pixie dream characters.
Falling in Love with the Bully
BookTokers hate this trope because it is just dangerously dumb. We’ve all read a book or seen a TV show in which a character is constantly bullied by another character. Does the main character tell a teacher or a parent about their bully? Of course not. They fall in love with their bully instead which is probably the most foolish outcome possible.
There is no defending this trope; it’s just bad. Not only is it unrealistic, but it creates a troubling image about relationships that many readers can’t prompt themselves to support. It’s hard to genuinely ship a character with their bully and that is how it should be!
The Future for These Bad Tropes
I think a lot of BookTokers would agree that there shouldn’t be a future for these tropes. They’re over done, but not done well which should be grounds for retirement!