By: Larissa | July 25, 2014 | (61) Comments

discussing through midnight

This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.


note: This post is me talking satirically about YA tropes that drive me utterly insane. I can’t stand everything in here and find some of it frankly offensive and demeaning, so please be prepared to take this as a joke. 

Alright guys, come a little closer. I’m going to let you in on the holy grail of secrets. As I have read a lot, I feel like I’ve perfected the formula for what would be the most appealing YA novel on the markets.

Step one: The main character!

Key part in the story, she will be narrating the story and calling the shots. Note how I said she, obviously we would never have a male main character, as girls only want to read about girls. Examples of great and appealing characters would be:

a) Jane, who is very intelligent. Totally inhumanely gorgeous, but is quite the fan of having poor self esteem. We want our readers to relate after-all, and promoting this is totally healthy.  This MC doesn’t know she’s beautiful and that lack of awareness is totally what readers will lap up. It works extremely well when the most popular guy in school notices this seemingly average girl. Jane will often dislike all other girls and consider herself “above” them as she’s not a man eating slut, which the entire female race other than her definitely are. They may also be shown as mindless and consumed by insipid materialism. Jane’s mortal enemy is no other than Whitney Hartley, head cheerleader and queen bitch extraordinaire. Her sole joy in life is dating the most attractive guy in school that our main character and being mean to our main character. Oh maybe she has some dark-NOPE. Or maybe- NADA. Is she suffering from-NO. Whitney is nothing but a mean girl with no sustenance or motives.

b) Scarlet, our super badass and sarcastic main character. She has flowing red curly hair, and won’t take shit from anybody. Even if that person is wise or speaking the truth. Scarlet is one hundred and fifty percent correct in every situation ever. She’s led a pretty normal life so far, until ONE DAY SHE MEETS A DARK STRANGER ONLY TO BE INTRODUCED TO SOME STRANGE PARANORMAL WORLD THAT’S EXISTED RIGHT UNDER HER NOSE. Oh, sorry for the all caps I just got a bit excited there. So we find out that Scarlet is indeed special, and the fate of this paranormal world rests in her hands. She’s the demon killer and the only one powerful enough to kill the evil king, for no specific reason really. Scarlet ends up having these powers that only now emerge and wow- she’s got fighting skills that took 10 years for a judo instructor to master. She’ll never die or ever get injured, she’s to invincible for that.  Scarlet will be faced with tough choices, ones that may be deadly. She’ll make reckless choices that will get her purposefully in trouble, maybe the dark stranger will even save her. Risking her life is no big deal! Everybody she meets will either fall in love with her or kiss her ass.

Step Two: Love interests!

Obviously every main character needs a love interest (or two, or three, or TEN!!!),  or else nobody would be reading the story. Clearly we’ll have only male love interests. Wouldn’t want to suggest anything that may require anything remotely open minded, now would we?

a) Alright so Jane needs the perfect guy. But, one would most definitely not be enough. We need a love triangle to mix things up (romantic conflict can only be love triangles, anything else may confuse people) and one boy isn’t enough. On one end of the love triangle we have the slightly nerdy best friend that Jane has known for ages. Don’t get to attached ladies, the main character won’t choose him and we’ll know that from the very beginning. She’ll choose the hottest and most popular guy in school of course. He is dating Jane’s worst enemy for optimum drama, there may be some cheating involved.  The guy will appear to be a total douche but actually be a sweetheart. Jane will hate him to begin with, but will slowly fall in love with him.  The guy will be falling for her charms, and doesn’t know how Jane can’t see how beautiful she is. All of this relationship development may seem completely sudden, but no! They’re totally and actually in love after spending one night together. How romantic and not cliche at all.

b) Scarlet is going to fall for this mysterious man who has shown her this brand new world. He’s very complex though and obviously tortured. Wears a lot of leather, quite brooding and doesn’t say much. Scarlet can’t help but be intrigued by his personality, he’s obviously been through sooooooo much. She feels an unconscious desire to fix him. The bad boy isn’t controlling Scarlet but rather protecting her from everything, as she obviously needs protecting from every single little thing imaginable. Readers will obviously fall for this mystery man just as much as Scarlet, and will love it when they discover that this bad boy is just a person who has been through some bad stuff. Scarlet and the mysterious bad boy will spend every waking moment together, as a healthy relationship is clearly like this. The mysterious bad boy may say some mean things to Scarlet, but they make up and get back together. Then they fight again. It’s not a vicious cycle at all…

Step Three: Parents

Alright so in every YA story you should try to not involve parents. Parents just act as obstacles to the main character and her very important goals, which commonly involve love interests cause that’s all the MC should think about. So parents should go on vacation and leave the main character behind. Get murdered. Mysteriously disappear. Parents should send the main character to boarding school. In a quality YA novel, just get the parents out of the picture anyway possible. Building strong parent and daughter/son relationships isn’t anything the readers want to see. Siblings also complicate things. It’s just easier to take all of that out.

Step Four: World building

Again, we don’t really need to involve this!

All we need to focus on in our soon to be bestselling YA novel is the beautiful romance and the wonderful characters. Still, if you’re planning to possibly throw in some world building you should try to make it as vague as possible. Readers just adore being confused and having questions about why a dystopian world is the way it is. The less description you have the better. Afterall, young adults are clearly not at a high enough intelligence level to understand any convoluted world building. We also shouldn’t mention any violence or discrimination in this society, as we want only the best aspects of our world to shine through. It’s no unrealistic, it’s just creating a better world.

Step Five: Plot

Right! The plot, which basically is the structure of the whole story. Almost forgot about that one.

Don’t worry though, readers will have a much better focus on the romance anyway. If you do feel the need to involve plot development, make sure to make it as predictable as possible. You wouldn’t want to do anything that would go against what society excepts and wants. Pander like crazy to the romance and you should be fine. Cliffhangers are also a great thing to have and you should place them at the end of every single chapter. You want to leave those readers hanging at all times and never give them anything conclusive. As for plot twists, I wouldn’t recommend them. They’d clutter up you’re story and are just too much of a hassle.  What isn’t a hassle is random character deaths. Those are fun! They should always be seemingly pointless, to ensure the reader won’t be to sad when they happen. Character deaths also work perfectly for what are going to become your new best friend: plot devices.

Ahhh, good old plot devices. Plot devices are clear situations, conflict or character that only have the role to further the plot. Simple and easy to follow! Great for your upcoming YA release.

Step Six: The Ending

You’re almost done your beautiful story. Now it needs an ending, sadly your amazing tell and don’t show writing will have to end. The ending can really go about in two different ways, both of which work wonderfully.

a) Cliffhanger! Readers love it when you chop the story off so abruptly that it feels as though the story is missing a 10 pages or so. You see, vague and loose endings are awesome. They especially work in the middle of the action. Leaving the reader with tons of questions and boatload of loose ends is totally the way to go.

b)   Go for a happily ever after ending. Even if it makes zero sense due to the situation that your characters are in, readers only enjoy happy endings. Don’t be afraid to use declarations of love and have the heroine save the day when things are looking bleak. There mustn’t be anything depressing in the ending at all. Life is always rainbow and sunshine, so your ending must reflect that. Try to use sweeping generalizations and  cliches to make the ending seem even more happy.

And you’re done! Congrats on writing your bestselling YA novel

But wait. There’s still one more step….

Step Seven: Add more books

That’s right! Why stop at one book?? There’s so many different love interests you can throw in over the course of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 32984320  books. Readers can’t get enough of your characters and you may as well put them in the same situation over and over but change a few minor details. Even if you don’t have enough plot to span 10 stories, don’t even stress. Readers adore reading filler where there’s no development of anything plot or character wise. They’ll never tire of your writing or feel like things are repetitive.

What are some YA tropes that drive you crazy? Did I mention any that you dislike too? Did you find this accurate at all?

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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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61 Responses to Discussing Through Midnight (40): How to become a bestselling YA Author

  1. Ahahaha omg I love this post! A YA book totally needs all of these. 😉
    Laura Plus Books recently posted…Discussion: Topic RepetitionMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Haha glad you enjoyed it! Truly it was so fun to write. Oh and obviously [; without these wonderful traits, a YA novel is obviously lacking

  2. Celine says:

    I already told you this, but I LOVE this, haha.

  3. You know what is crazy, I just kept thinking Cassandra Clare and City of Bones characters during this whole post, is that weird? It seems to fit perfectly and I’ve found myself annoyed by that series since finishing City of Glass, so the fact that this post SCREAMS that series makes me wary to finish it, damn. I have to admit though, this is so true, why do some authors think that parent relationships don’t matter, or anything close to a parent, and that romance is everything when it isn’t. Give me friendships, give me something that hasn’t been done a million times before – yet, I do sometimes like a bit of the same thing, it’s a comfort blanket. This is a fantastic post though Larissa, one of your best!
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Five Friday Favourites #25 – Secondary CharactersMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Oh my god 😮 Didn’t even mean to relate this post to that, guess The Mortal Instruments series just encapsulates a lot of YA tropes. I agree, I enjoyed the Mortal Instruments up till the third book. It should have ended there, in my personal opinion. I don’t understand the absence of parent thing at all. Including them could add conflict, character development and make the story seem 34098329 times more realistic. I love friendships in YA! But they often take a back seat to the romance unfortunately. I do understand why the same stuff can be appealing though.

      Thanks <33 (:

  4. Ahahaha XD This is awesome.
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…Review: Stormdancer by Jay KristoffMy Profile

  5. You took everything out of my mouth! I really hate multiple love interests, specially when the female mc likes them both, and just couldn’t decide who’s cuter! Ugh. I hate that. Also, when a book series branches out to another series *cough* Cassandra Clare *cough*. Seriously?! A sister series would suffice! And a cliffhanger. OR the unsatisfactory HEA, which made no sense, because a lot of questions were unanswered. Pfft.
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 188 : The Golem and the Jinni by Helen WeckerMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah multiple love interests are so annoying. It can make the originally awesome heroine seem wishy-washy or guy dependent. LOL. God, some authors need to know when to stop. Only so much you can write regarding the same plotline and universe. LOL endings seem to not work well for me. I understand that they’re tricky though, I just authors wrote what they believe should be the ending and not get swayed by readers. It can read as inauthentic if they do that.

  6. Ha ha! “Readers just adore being confused and having questions about why a dystopian world is the way it is” – oh yeah, I just LOVE being confused. It’s the best. 😀

    Most of these indeed do make me cringe. Especially when the series is un-ending! Ain’t nobody got time for dat!
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    • Larissa says:

      Yes! [; confusion is just bucket loads of fun. Not understanding what is going on is a beautiful thing.

      Right! Omg they’re shown so obviously in YA too. I definitely agree about endings, they need to be conclusive as that’s basically the whole point.

  7. Haha, first I thought this was going to be something serious, but as soon as I read ‘Jane, very intelligent and beautiful’ I had a feeling things would turn out the other way.

    I don’t like it when it seems there are only two types of characters: the mouse girl who turns out to be a beauty every men wants or the kick-ass girl who is tough, strong and everything we’re not.

    I hate it when the romance is like every other book, especially with the love-triangle with one mysterious, dark guy and one sweet boy (and she picks the first one obviously..)

    Haha, parents, yes! I really wish they were included more, the same with disappearing friends. When the guys come into the picture, suddenly we don’t see her best friend anymore like they went POOF in thin air.

    No good descriptions or explanations of the world-building can go two ways. Sometimes I don’t mind, because all the other things keep me entertained and I don’t miss it. Sometimes it’s too much, so I’m bored and I have to make my way through info-dumps. Sometimes it’s just spot on. Sometimes it’s so little they could have written the story in a supermarket and it wouldn’t make a difference.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Fairytale News 39. Spoilers (2).My Profile

  8. Larissa says:

    Lol yeah this definitely wasn’t a serious post. Put a little note on top of the post in case anybody did take it seriously xD

    Yeah in a lot of YA novels I do find the characters to be quite stereotypical and they do tend to fall into the two categories that you mentioned. Some variety would be much appreciated.

    There’s the same issue with the romance. It was good reading about a romance like the ones you mentioned the first time. Not the 64th billion time >.< There's so many other relationship conflicts that can occur and the love triangle one just feels so cliche. Ugh, yeah! Really, any relationship the MC has that isn't the love interest tends to get swept to the side. And then this perpetuates that the only thing us girls need is a relationship. A loving best friends?? Pshhh nah, I got my toxic relationship with my boyfriend. Ohhh yeah you do make a good point! Info dumping can be so annoying and it's such a hard thing to slug through without feeling bored. LOL the supermarket comparison you made can actually be so true. Like some stories I finish and then I'm like "wait... what was the setting again??" Thanks for the lovely and long comment (:

  9. Hah, this is hilarious! I love your gif of “Bye, son” for the lack of parents. Made me laugh. I agree with the lack of parents. It works sometimes, but it shouldn’t be in every.single. YA novel. Parents exist and they get in the way and they are there to help and all sorts of things!!
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Mag! (: I must say, I was cracking up a little while writing it. LOL that “Bye son” gif is perfect, because in the movie the context is totally different and that’s what gets me. The absence of parents really just doesn’t seem realistic. I’m seventeen and can definitely say that my parents are present in my life. Even if I got some super magical witch powers [;

  10. LOL! But I do prefer to read about girl 😉 I love girls as main characters… I hate characters having poor self esteem. I mean, it’s such a cliché even though it can be a serious fact. Somehow, I do find the mean girls sometimes entertaining but not the ‘mean mean mean’ ones necessarily. I love those badass MCs though! Coz I like strong women and independent ones as well.

    Actually love-triangles don’t annoy me as much as it seem to annoy everyone. I don’t especially LOVE them but some I do feel like without them it would feel flat (Vampire Diaries.)

    I prefer when the parents are in the story. Really like secondary characters and actually hate when parents die in YA (if we met them.)

    We NEED world building. Actually, I like that some books feel like a fairy tale without violence and all coz those can make a cute and entertaining summer read. ^^

    We NEED plot! And plot twists are always welcome. ^^ Random characters dead CAN be interesting and exciting (omg I sounds like a sadist) but only if there are characters I don’t care THAT much about.

    The ending… you’re such a sarcastic person, Larissa. XD Stop fooling people, girl. XD Hmm, I don’t mind cliffhangers (I know so weird) especially the ones I didn’t see coming. I like to be surprised and twisty cliffhangers impress me in fact. Happy ending, I want them if it’s a series but in a standalone I don’t mind.

    Weee, created my YA bestselling!

    Don’t worry, I’ll only write 6 books 😉

    Fantastic detailed post, Larissa!
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    • Larissa says:

      I do enjoy reading from a girl’s perspective, but wouldn’t mind a change every once in awhile lol. I don’t really enjoy mean girls in YA cause they’re usually described on such a surface level. They’re just mean. There’s no backstory to them or motives for the actions they do >.< I don't mind the odd love triangle if they're done, for example if there's not a obvious "winner" in the love triangle. I want each guy to have a fair chance, and no casual death conflict. Still, I find love triangles to be vastly overused. If they weren't in a novel I wouldn't find it flat like you, I'm sure there's other relationship conflicts the author could come up with. Parents should be in YA in my eyes. My parents are most definitely a part of my life and seeing them in YA would just be more realistic. I don't mind cliffhangers that badly either tbh. It's just there's some where I feel like it wasn't necessary and they're dropping things right off before the climax which just feels like a cop out. I'm okay with happy endings too, as long as they aren't too cheesy 😛 Congrats Lola [; Thank you <33

  11. Zoe N. says:

    OH MY GOSH. THIS IS THE MOST HILARIOUS POST IN THE HISTORY OF EVER! I absolutely agree with everything you’ve mentioned here. It’s always annoying when authors try to follow some common YA troupes; because as readers we all love when books are creative and authors evidently think outside the box. Thanks for sharing Larissa! <3 Got some much needed laughs out of this. 🙂

    P.S. I <3 the Hairspray GIF! Hehe!
    Zoe N. recently posted…Dangerous BoysMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      THANK YOU ZOE <33 I'M SO GLAD THAT YOU LIKED IT BECAUSE I HAD SO MUCH FUN WRITING IT. Glad that you agree and I'm not alone in my opinions. Lol it's most annoying because most authors don't even try to hide the fact that they're using this tropes. I'm so happy that you laughed girl,

      Hehe had to add some Zac Efron to this post, it was severely lacking [;

  12. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahah.

    Okay I’m finished now…


    Apparently not. This was SUCH a great post! That sarcasm, though. Seriously. Just drips from the page (the…um, web page, obviously). These tropes annoy me as well, and the sad thing is that this WHOLE post could describe so many books it’s ridiculous.
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    • Larissa says:

      Hahaha omg c: So glad this post was enjoyable for you, it was so much fun for me to write. The sarcasm was so much fun. LOL thought it was pretty obvious I was being sarcastic but I added a little disclaimer before the post to ensure nothing would could be misconstrued. That’s the thing that got me, this applies to so many books in YA. I didn’t even have to think hard about these tropes because I’ve seen them in plain sight, like over 432984038 times.

      Thanks so much for commenting <33 I love you and your blog and your comments. I'm a horrible person who sucks at commenting on your blog but I hope one day to get back into the swing of things over there. Until then, know that I'm still an e-mail subscriber and read every post <33

  13. This post is hilarious XD And it’s so true… Great post 🙂
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  14. This is great! It’s so funny, because as I was reading, I kept listing off books/characters in my head that fit these exact points (and sadly, there were far too many, even in the time it took me to read this!). I think the worst offenders for me are the never ending series. I mean, if you have some really great story to tell for 452 books, so be it, but that seems like the case exactly zero percent of the time. I’d read the Sookie Stackhouse books, and they just kept getting duller and duller, and by book 13 I was so infuriated. Then, the ending was stupid and I got unreasonably angry. Such a true and funny post!
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you! (: Yeah, I found this post so easy to write just because I’ve seen these tropes so freaking often in YA. Definitely didn’t have to think to hard lol. Yes, the never ending series thing is such a issue because it’s so unnecessary and tbh seems like a money grab a lot of the times. There’s just not enough plot generally to span 30948309 books. I’ve never read the Stackhouse series before, but it’s no wonder that it fizzled out with 13 books.

      Glad you enjoyed this post <33

  15. LARISSA. Are you being sarcastic?? No. I would NEVER have thought this of you.

    xDXD Fabulous post and you definitely made me giggle. I particularly like the part where you just add fifty two million books to the series because WHY THE HECK NOT? That’s what people love. But cliffhanger endings? *throws tantrum* I hate those so so so much. It’s a pet peeve of mine when books don’t really finish properly. I think each book SHOULD stand kind of semi on it’s own. BUT ANYWAY. This was awesome. xD
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    • Larissa says:

      Pshhh me?? Sarcastic 😮 Neverrrrr [; Sorry to break your pristine image you had of me.

      Thank ya girl! Glad you giggled, that was my mission hehe. Yeah man! The more books the better obviously, even if you don’t have enough plot to fit in the series. That’s even better. Ugh yeah, there’s only a few instances where cliffhangers have worked for me. They need to work in a way that leaves me feeling like the ending was still conclusive in a way. You definitely make a good book being able to stand on its own.

      Thanks Cait!

  16. This was brilliant, Larissa. An excellent, humorous piece! You know it’s a sad day when you open a book and you already know what’s going to happen, who she’s going to choose, and what kind of person she is because the novel is just the same old rehashed formula that we’ve read about before. I hate it when that happens, drains the life out of me, because when I open a book I want to be immersed and be connected with the characters, not be annoyed and to know what’s going to happen next! And I hate it when a love triangle is the only romance conflict. I don’t mind a love triangle as long as it feels natural, and the MC doesn’t make it clear who she really chooses (like she’s not really in love with both of them, or that she loves one but isn’t wishy-washy or something like that). Cynthia Hand’s angel series is one LT that I thought was well-done, but many others in this market are pretty much annoying and down-right unnecessary. AND WHEN THE ROMANCE BECOMES THE PLOT, THAT’S WHEN THE BOOK CROSSES THE LINE! Like, no. Just, no.
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Faye, it means a lot coming from you <33

      Yeah these tropes are just so common in YA it's almost becoming predictable that you'll see at least one of these tropes in every YA novel. It's so formulaic and it even makes me feel like I'm saying the same shit over and over in my reviews. Love triangles can be well done, I definitely agree that Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series is a example of a great love triangle. So often it's so obvious which love interest the MC will choose in the love triangle (the new broody and mysterious guy she just met ooooo)but in the Unearthly I couldn't really tell.

      When romance takes over the plot that's usually where I DNF or the story looses a bunch of stars. It just makes me so disappointed, especially when the plot has so much intentional.

  17. I LOVE this. One thing that really annoys me is that every single female character ever has red hair. Seriously. I barely know any girls with red hair. I mean, at first it was cool and different to have a female character with red hair. But then every single writer of YA started doing it and what about the poor girls with other coloured hair?
    The most annoying thing I find though is the absent parents. When I was a teen my mother was so strict, she wouldn’t let me go anywhere or do anything. It’s just so unrealistic. I’m working on a few YA novels and I have parents in my books, good parents that actually care about their kids because I was sick of the lack of parents in these books.
    Great post, thanks for sharing.
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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you! (: Omg exactly, like read is actually the most rare color in hair so why does every MC in young adult fiction seem to have it??? Lol there’s not equal representation there at all

      YES. Ugh absent parent syndrome in YA is the worst. I’m 17, and have a pretty close relationship with my parents. They influence a lot of the choices I make and help me make educated ones. They’re the people who are to guide you in life, so why aren’t we seeing these important parent relationships in YA?? It makes no sense to me and it’s truly so unrealistic. I’m glad you’re showing actual parent relationships in your novels (:

      Thank you Rochelle [:

  18. Kelly says:

    Oh gosh, I’ve been laughing for the last 10 minutes reading this, just brilliant. What makes it even funnier, is that we can name the authors that are the primary suspects of shoving this crap down our throats. So adorably snarky. Loved the sass. Where have you been hiding this new Larissa, she’s even more awesome <3
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    • Larissa says:

      Awww I’m so glad you enjoyed this and laughed, that was my goal really with this post. LOL there’s so many examples of these tropes in YA novels that it would be too easy to name books that have these tropes in them. It’d be quite the list for sure 😛

      This sassy Larissa is often in hiding, a little wary of others not understanding what satire is. She does occasionally come out of hiding when she reads about her 938409840 love triangle this year and can’t stand it anymore

  19. Anah says:

    So much truth in this post! The whole time I found myself thinking of The Mortal Instruments. It fits all of the tropes so much it’s scary. xD

    I hate the love triangles where the girl chooses the jerk over the nice guy who respects her as a human being. Like, yeah, the bad boy may be more mysterious and she needs to figure him out, but all she’s going to figure out is a lifetime of anger and heartbreak. Not everyone can be changed with the power of love. Some people are just jerks and will always be jerks, I just find that so unrealistic.
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    • Larissa says:

      Glad you could relate! Omg another commenter mentioned the Mortal Instruments and I wasn’t even trying to describe that series, but ending up doing so anyway. Lol guess it just uses so many YA tropes.

      Ugh yeah. That’s something that enrages me. Like oh okay, so you have this super sweet best friend or this potentially dangerous cocky jerk? Let’s go for the jerk you just met. Omg heroines who try to ‘fix’ the bad boy they meet are the worst, they tend to be so freaking oblivious. I agree with it being so unrealistic!

  20. SO MUCH AWESOME IN ONE POST!!! I adore this and I could not stop laughing whilst I read it, it’s all so true. It really reminded me of the problem I had with Katie McGarry’s books – by the time I reached her 3rd book I realised she was just using the same type of characters and storyline over and over and over again! It was so frustrating!

    I hate how so many books become all about the romance, where everything else takes a back seat. I especially hate it when it involves a pointless love triangle, which is all too common now!

    The parents part is so true! They are either absent or dead! Or absent and presumed dead.
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    • Larissa says:

      THANK YOU <33 (:

      I'm so glad you were able to relate to this post and enjoyed it. I've never read any of Katie's stories, but from what I've heard regarding them I can totally see this post relating to some of the issues of the books. It must be super frustrating to see essentially the same characters and storyline rehashed into a series.

      Romance is something for me that is an addition of a story, it shouldn't be the focus of the entire story. Unless the story is a just romance, then things change a little there lol. Love triangles are lame, where are the love diamonds?? Kidding omg. But really, there's so much conflict you can do with romance, and the fact that (usually poorly done) love triangles are the only things we see commonly in YA enrages me a bit.

      Lol yeah, it's quite odd to think that a lot of the times in YA the parents aren't present at all. It's especially odd as a teenager myself, in my life my parents are certainly present so you'd think you would see something similar in YA. Guess not

  21. This is, in fact, very accurate. Hahaha! Such a great post, Larissa. I don’t even know where to begin. I think the ones that I agree with most are the first and the last steps. I just have such a hard time with those typical female protagonists. They can be so awful that I wouldn’t want to finish a book. It’s just way too frustrating! And that need to have endless number of books when the sequels aren’t even quality reads! I know a lot of the things you mentioned can just be so awful. I have experienced them. But I will also admit that I have found to like some books with things like you mentioned.

    • Larissa says:

      Haha glad you could relate [; Thank you!

      Yeah I find those steps pretty annoying, just because they’re so prevalent in YA. I want variety and diversity with MC’s, but instead I tend to read the same formulaic ones which is so frustrating. It’s hard to really finish a book when you can’t stand the MC’s narration or characterization. Endless books in a series can be quite bad, as they can make you dislike previous books in the series you may have loved. Endless series really do tend to be devoid of plot.

      Agreed! There’s definitely some series that use YA tropes and make them work. I just wish they were more common than the stories in which the tropes are mind glaringly obvious and lackluster.

  22. Baaaahaha!!! This is just awesome. 😀 Well said, Larissa, well said. <3
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  23. This post is gold. PURE GOLD.

    Though… I have a feeling being a publicist might not be the greatest career choice for you, Larissa. 😉

    1. I have absolutely NOTHING against female leads. I love reading about female MCs, and about heroines who save the world. They may be overdone, yes, especially since Twilight and THG were released, but they’re still a pleasure to read nonetheless. I agree, though — I’d love to see more books written from a guy’s POV. Only, they have to be different from the ones we have now. I hate how the guys in YA books these days are always those broody, emo-ish types with tortured pasts and sexy bodies. No! I want geeky guys. Percy Jackson-esque guys. Guys like Harry Potter. Not exactly geeks, but not “hotties” with too-ripped muscles and weird histories. I’m tired of that. That’s probably the #1 reason why I don’t really like reading YA books from a guy’s POV.

    And ugh, yes to all those girl stereotypes. Seriously. They’ve been done so many times I don’t know why authors just try something different for once. Not to mention, the Jane-like girls — those super average and not high on the social ladder kind of girls — always catches the attention of the hottest guy around.

    Um… that doesn’t sound legit?

    I kind of like badass girls, but yeah, that they’ve pretty much been stereotyped now.

    2. “Obviously every main character needs a love interest (or two, or three, or TEN!!!)” — LOL! Oh you hilarious girl, you. I think you know that I’m kind of a cynical romantic. I like romance, but I don’t want it to be too heavy at the same time. And really, I’m fine if there’s none at all. That’s part of the reason why I love animes — there’re male and female teenaged characters, but there’s little to no romance at all. It shows that girls can still be kickass without having a guy by her side, or that girls don’t need to be sexualized in books just so that people will enjoy the story.

    Don’t even get me started on those unhealthy relationships where the girl is always trying to fix the guy and miraculously, the guy does get fixed. Apparently no one else can help him, not even professional help. Sheesh. Shrinks aren’t all that bad, you know?!

    3. No, no, no, the parents must be divorced, or better yet, one of them is an alcoholic — that will definitely make things more dramatic, and that’s what readers want, right? NOT. I still think this no-parents aspect can be done well, but as of late, YA books have been failing miserably at it.

    4. *glares at The Kiss of Deception* That book is the prime example of this. Lots of romance, but zero world building. I don’t even know why the setting was a fantasy one, and I’m not going to read the sequel to find out; the first book was boring enough as it was. Why can’t more books be like Shadow & Bone or Cinder? D:

    5. Haha, to be honest, I don’t mind cliffies at the end of chapters — they always make me feel more excited (if the book was good in the first place, of course), and I’m happy for any excuse to keep reading anyway. It’s those cheap cliffhangers at the end of the book itself that get to me. Good endings aren’t those that leave readers hanging. Good endings are those that can wrap-up a story and still hold the reader’s interest. Like Harry Potter! (Okay, I’m biased but whatever.) The Kiss of Deception was another book that ended with a cliffhanger, but nope, that one didn’t interest me at all.

    And yeah, I think we can agree that pretty much every YA book seems to value romance over plot and world-building. What is humanity coming to.

    7. I have a feeling I know which author you’re talking about here, but I won’t say her name. 😛 Thankfully, I haven’t read any series like this yet, but I do have almost the entire TMI set, so I’m hoping I won’t get too attached to the world and feel like buying the rest of the books. I just don’t have the money for that, lol.

    Brilliant post, Larissa. All aspiring authors to read this. xD
    Megan (Adrift on Vulcan) recently posted…Author Alert: Una LaMarche (Like No Other) + GiveawayMy Profile

    • OMG, I didn’t realize my comment had gotten so long it pretty much became a post of its own. I’M SORRY! ><

    • Larissa says:


      Psssh god Megan. I feel like your discounting my dreams again, I mean look at this post. I obviously know what people like in the YA genre, so being a publicist is the obvious next step[;

      Oh no, I feel like there's so many instances where female leads don't get to shine and I'm so glad that YA has given them opportunity to do so. Sometimes I just like a change of pace though and want to read a story with a authentic male voice. You definitely have a point regarding male POVs and how we wouldn't want them to be the stereotypical "bad boy" or whatever. Now that wouldn't be enjoyable at all. Really, a male lead could fall into the YA tropes just as badly as a female. Ahhh yes, Percy Jackson and Harry Potter are brilliant examples. I'm okay with badass heroines, as long as they don't make reckless choices that put them in danger on purpose. Or if they have no abilities and then boom next day is basically a samurai.

      Yeah I've gotten a bit of cynical romance vibes from you [; I agree so much, romance doesn't need to be a book for me to enjoy it. Romance can be a nice addition if well done and if it doesn't take over the general plot line. Unless it's a romance novel in which case I suppose it is the plot line. Omg, those heroines who act like love can fix everything!1!11 Sorry, but you're oblivious. Sometimes a person can be so damaged that not even your undying adoration can fix anything.

      Yeah. An example where it works would be Harry Potter. Unfortunately few authors have managed to make the no parents angle work.

      Haha never read The Kiss of Deception, but I'm definitely not inclined to now. It sucks that the story was so romance focused that you really had no clue what the setting was.

      I'm totally fine with cliffhangers at the end of stories. However at the actual ending of the book? Rarely do they work well where they manage to end the story conclusively, which is where my issue lies. I want my books to be readable on their own, and they need conclusive endings to do so. Wooo, use Harry Potter as a great example for everything.

      LOL omg other commenters are picking up that I was hinting on this author,when tbh I wasn't even trying. It's not my fault her stories work so well with YA tropes haha.

      Thank you Megan <33 I know, I hope authors strive towards these steps [;

  24. Lyn Kaye says:

    So much snark…..DYING!!
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  25. Larissa says:

    Hehe [; Hope you haven’t really died, wouldn’t want to go on the run 😛

  26. Rashika says:

    As a huge advocate for HEAs I don’t mind that trope but what I do mind is convenient endings that make NO FUCKING SENSE. For realisies? Like how? Plus my idea of an HEA differs slightly. I don’t want everyone getting married and having tons of babies and an ending that literally oozes cheese. NOT MY THING. Let’s make things more fun, shall we?

    Aside from that I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS POST and I love YOU for writing this. It’s absolutely brilliant and right on point. Aien’t nobody got time to actually pay attention to the plot. We want ROMANCE, romance and ROMANCE.

    Have you ever noticed though that the few times we do have Male POVs, half of them end up sounding pretty bland and almost exactly like their female counterparts. *shakes head*

    And if for some reason they decide there will be a plot twist, we usually end up seeing it coming from miles away and it makes NO SENSE. *shakes head*

    Someday. Someday we will find the perfect novel, Lars.

    Rashika recently posted…Faye Reads 50 Shades of Grey ~ Chapter 1 ~My Profile

    • Larissa says:


      I also don't mind HEA's, sometimes they can be so fluffy and just cheer me up. However there is a point where they become so contrived and ridiculous. EW CONVENIENT ONES ARE THE WORST. HAHAHAHA I'M DYING AT YOUR EXAMPLES, BECAUSE THEY'RE SO SPOT ON AND I SWEAR I'VE SEEN THEM BEFORE. I'm all for fun, let's just cut the cheese.


      That's so true! A lot of times the male POVs don't sound authentic, lol they end up being ~broody~ and sometimes even sound like girls. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are the best male POVs I've read.

      Ugh yeah >.< Lol they can be so predictable, it’s almost better when there isn’t that predictable twist and things carry on as normal. Yes. *looks dramatically off into the sunset* One day girl, one fucking day. <333

  27. Can I just go now and start writing? You should have published this post a long time ago and I would have never felt so clueless about writing books. You just made my day; this is the first post that I’ve read after waking up. This is satire at its best. I hope that aspiring authors and authors (especially those who always get the formula wrong) alike will read and learn from this.

    1. I know, right? While I certainly love reading books that have a girl MC, I don’t mind reading books where the MC is a male or an LGBT. What you said about those girls. Hahahaha…. It seems that most authors have their own parallel universe where there are only two types of girls, 1. the plain, naive, uncurvy, awkward, unsure girl and 2. the super heroine who can instantly slay dragons without even doing a single training. That’s just great.

    It’s very rare that I get to read about a book that has bitchy heroines because most books today (particularly YA) are saturated with heroines who just make my head spin.

    Can’t they just be normal girls? I can stand plain and simple because I am also plain and simple. What I can’t stand is that these types of girls usually spend their day thinking about the hottest boy in school when they can do other things like promoting world peace or something. Hahahah.

    2. Oh pleeeeease STOP! I can’t take this anymore! I’m LOL’ing so hard at your description of the love interests. Hahahaha. Although it is bad to blame someone or something, I think Twilight is the main reason why a lot of YA books today are just ARGH. The geometrical LOVE, Larissa! No matter how much we detest Math, it’s all around us.

    And I really hate it when the MCs start developing co-dependency with each other because that is just ridiculous. Sure, it happens in real life but it should not be the sort of message that we want to convey to the youth.

    3. BUT PARENTS ARE PARTYPOOPERS, Larissa! No story is going to happen if parents are always hovering around the background. Our MC can’t go out to have some fun with her numerous love interests. If parents are present, our MC will just spend her whole day moping inside her room because she’s absolutely grounded….

    4. I think authors have a high regard for our creativity. Authors who forgot to include world building are perhaps thinking that because we have such wild imaginations then it’s up to us to envision the whole setting, the culture and the whatnots. See? They’re actually helping us to enhance our creativity. Hahahahaha. OMG. I don’t know which I hate more, the lack of world building or too much of it that I’m practically drowning from the infodump?

    5. THIIIIS! I am often inclined to give a book a zero-2 star rating if there’s no plot. I’m reading a book because I want to be immersed in a new story so if the book is plotless, that would totally defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?

    A lot of authors these days are angling for romance even if their book is said to be fantasy or dystopia. Don’t get me wrong though, I am all for romance but if it’s not necessary to the plot, please don’t include it. If I want to read a romance book, then I would pick up a romance book. That should be simple enough but NOOOO. Most of the time, the romance would become central to the plot when its primary purpose is to be a side story only. Sighs.

    6. I really don’t like cliffhangery endings unless the next book is readily available and I don’t have to wait for ages for the next one to come out. Authors who do this are really cruel.

    As for happy endings, well, I really love them as long as the conflicts are nicely resolved and it’s a realistic kind of HEA. Neither exaggerated nor underplayed. It would be quite awkward to have an HEA when things are very bleak and the tensions were conveniently and nonsensically solved.

    7. Ah yes… When authors achieve success, they always tend to get greedy and write more. I was really annoyed when Cass Clare announced that instead of ending the TMI series with City of Glass, she will write 3 more books. And I was like, WHAT?!!! Being the series completionist that I am, I instantly knew that I am in for a torture. Hence, I plowed on with the series. As a matter of fact, I just bought the last book and I was really cringing after knowing that it’s going to be 700 pages long. NOOOOOOOO!

    This post really made me happy. It’s better than breakfast. Looking forward to more of your posts, Larissa. And nice meeting you BTW! <3333
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    • Larissa says:

      omg, this originally was Rashika’s comment too what is going on with my responses haha. Sorry if you saw this previously and was like wtf O.o

      Anyway, I’m so glad you got so inspired to write from this post [; That was my end goal obviously. Hahaha, in all seriousness I’m so glad you enjoyed this satire. I hope some authors will take note 😛

      – Yeah, I’m totally fine with girl MC’s. I feel like they’re so underrepresented in everything else so they deserve YA to shine in. It’s just sometimes I want a Percy Jackson or Harry Potter like male POV ya know? Or maybe this odd concept known as diversity 😮 shocking, I know
      Lol I agree! We need to some realistic heroines who’s whole existence isn’t based around a fucking boy. Really, there’s much more to that.
      – HAHAHA AREN’T LOVE INTERESTS BECOMING SO MUCH LIKE CARICATURES THOUGH??? Oh, Twilight we can definitely blame that for part of it. I think we need to look more at other marketers for perpetuating the fact that they believe it appeals to us though. LOL yes, love can only be in the form of shapes obviously [; Diamonds, squares, hexagons…nothing linear though. YES WE WANT TO PROMOTE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS TO THE YOUTH WHO CONSUME YA, AND BY SHOWCASING TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS AND SUCH WE’RE DOING THE TOTAL OPPOSITE.
      – Oh yes. Sorry, I forgot parents ruin all of the fun with their senseless logic and such. I mean you can’t sneak out in the dead of life to use your perfectly samurai fighting skills on demons. How could I be so forgetful!?
      – Both are really quit dreadful and leaving me reeling negatively omg. Like infodumping just bogs down the whole story and feels so contrived. Meanwhile a lack of worldbuilding just leaves you really fucking confused
      – YES LIKE THE MAIN REASON A STORY IS A STORY IS DUE TO PLOT??? Ugh. I find that romance is supposed to be an addition to the plot, it should BE the entire story. Unless it’s a romance novel like you said.
      – Haha! I feel so cheated when I read a cliffhanger ending. I like my books to stand on their own, with conclusive endings and such. HEA’s work for me, I love endings that leave you smiling. However sometimes they can be just too convenient, cliche and cheesy. Lol the three horrible C’s! [;
      – Oh god, let me know how that 700+ page story is. Lol I’ve read the entire series up till there and really after the CONCLUSIVE ENDING OF BOOK THREE EVERYTHING WENT DOWNHILL. Imagine that.

      Awww thank you <33 Your comment made me really happy, you're too awesome. So glad to meet you too.

  28. Nooooo my comment disappeared T___T. I was about to say that this post was absolutely awesome and it kind of feels like I’m reading City of Bones as you described the characters and the love interests lol! And what is it with the lack of parents, world building and the predictable plot, it’s sooo annoying. Anyway, I can’t wait to read your best selling YA novel Larissa, it seems like this would be a really great book!
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  29. Larissa says:

    ooops posted rashika’s comment under yours initially, sorry jeann.
    Looks like we’re both having commenting issues. >.< ugh I feel like all of my comments have been disappearing lately, so much that I always ensure to copy them now. Thanks Jeann! <33 haha several people have mentioned the mortal instruments which is funny cause I wasn't even think particular books while writing, just common tropes. LOL guess that series just uses allllllll of the tropes. Be prepared Jeann. It comes out December 25th as it truly would be a gift to the world [;

  30. Oh my God. xD *falls on floor*

    I honestly don’t know how to comment to this post. It is sheer perfection and I just want to run across the ocean to your country to give you the highest of fives! Since that’s clearly not possible, I’ll just have to settle for a virtual high five. *sadface*

    1. Ha! It seems like heroines are either too stupid and self-centered or too awesome and perfect. Where are the common, REALISTIC heroines!? *has a scavenger hunt and tries to look for any invisible words in this post* Huh. Clearly, realistic heroines won’t make it to bestseller lists.

    2. a.) Huhu, stop it! I always like the nerdy guy. But wait! Obviously no one in real life likes the friendly and intelligent guy! *switches ships because I clearly need some flattery from a hot bad boy*

    3-5. Who needs parents and/or world building!? They’re clearly useless. Thanks for letting me know–I was just about to add the MC’s parents in this scene I’m writing. I’ll just skip that and let the love interest come in. ;D

    6-7. I’m going to write 20 books all with cliffhangers! And then I’ll make sure the two main characters get married and have 500 babies in the last book. 😉

    Now I know how to write a bestselling book. I’m off to write and make millions of dollars!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica ParkMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      GET UP AIMEE! Lol you don’t know how messy that floor is [;

      Thanks girl! I’ll be excepting you in Canada now in any second [; Lol I wish it was possible, it’s crazy and sad to think that all of my bloggy friends are so far away. However, I will happily accept that virtual high five.

      – Lol there’s really no middle ground, a place where there’s realistically flawed heriones abundant. I suppose not *shrugs* Guess we’ll have to stick to our horribly contrived characters [;

      – Hahahah. Come on Aimee, get with the game! Obviously nerdy and geeky boys are so lame, and we need the hot brooding bad boys in our lives to spice things up c;

      – Lol so glad I could help. Parents and such just get in the way of romance, trying to use their “logic” to talk sense into our characters. Hah. We don’t need them, only good old fashion bad boy romannnnnce.

      – Good! Aimee, from the sounds of things you’ll be a bestselling author in no time. I’ll be sure to buy your books anyway, and give you all of the 5 star reviews in the world.

      Can’t wait to read them Aimee! [;

  31. Sarah P. says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING MY DAY, Larissa! I’ve read Step 1a so many times now I can give you several YA novels that has this. Step1b is a different matter altogether because I can only think of one series that fit this to a tee. Ugh for love triangles. I can’t even. Also, parents! I don’t know how much I can handle non-existing parents and random deaths.

    Cliffhangers are the worst thing next to more books and I won’t subject myself to these unless you’re Rick Riordan and can justify these with your awesomeness.

    But seriously did you ever write this with The Mortal Instruments in mind? Because goddamn that series. I read it until the 2nd book and after that I can’t take it anymore. I did enjoy the 1st book though but that’s about it.

    Have I told you that you’re a genius, Larissa? OK, I’ll tell you again, YOU’RE A GENIUS and thank you so much for creating this post.
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  32. Larissa says:

    Awww hearing that this post made your day makes MY day tbh <33 LOL yeah step 1A is probably the most common MC trope out there. Though I find character who fit all of 2B few and far, there's quite a few who fit most/some of them. Yeah, love triangles really are getting old.

    LOL yes Rick's cliffhangers are so painful yet great omfg.

    I didn't omg, though several people have brought the series up. I suppose it just really does fit the tropes to a tee. I read all three books of TMI, however every one after that goes waaaaay downhill, trust me.

    Hehe [; Thanks so much for the lovely comment girl! <33

  33. Cayce says:

    Haha, love this! You should totally write it!! :DD

  34. Ranee says:

    This is a fabulous post and you nailed all of it perfectly! I had quite a few laughs as I read and I thank you for that!
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