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Presented by State Library Victoria

Top 5 YA clichés that need to disappear, yet nobody is talking about.

YA clichés have become a big thing to be talked about. Everybody is talking about how sick they are of love triangles and the chosen one. But there are many more clichés that are just repetitive, yet don’t often make anybody’s list, perhaps because they’re not as obvious, and some people don’t even realise that they are clichés. And it’s high time that they did.


The hate-to-love relationship. I’ve honestly seen this so much lately, and it’s really starting to get over used. Obviously not all people are attracted to each other immediately, and not everyone develops a friendship before they date. However, I don’t see why it has become so common for authors to write characters who hate each other with a burning passion, only to ‘suddenly realise how attractive the other is’ and then fall in love, all insults and fights aside. Obviously, some people have confusion with their feelings, or pretend that they don’t like someone by being mean. But this occurring so often is not only unrealistic, but it could potentially send off a bad message to readers.


The territorial boyfriend. If it were real life, it would be deeply unhealthy, but apparently being extremely jealous, not letting other boys speak to your girlfriend, and randomly growling fits the “ideal boyfriend.” Think Rowan Whitethorn from the Throne of Glass series (I know plenty will disagree with this here, but I’m not even sorry). He is extremely jealous of other males, he is over prepared to do anything for Aelin, and yes, although I understand that he is fae, I think his animalistic tendencies are weird to be reading about. He is not the only one, of course, but rather just one example


The seventeen year old female protagonist. Just please. Teenagers can be between 13-18, and boys exist as people, not just as love interests or villains. How are boys supposed to like reading if the main character is only ever a girl? And, with the age thing- some people start reading YA as young as 11 or 12. Don’t you think it would be good for them to be reading about a main character who is, say, 13 or 14, rather almost a legal adult?

‘Nuff said.

I-have-to-do-this-it’s-for-the-best-even-though-it’s-the-stupidest-decision-ever. I think we can safely say that at least half the protagonists in YA can be absolute idiots, and think they know what they’re doing even though they only learnt two weeks prior that they had powers and that they are of mild importance to the world. Now every decision they make apparently affects the world’s population, and, although it often does, they make it seem like a matter of life and death. Handing yourself in to the enemy- bad idea. Letting the enemy know exactly where you are, apparently as an act of bravery- bad idea. Fighting alone instead of with others- bad idea. Not looking for help from experienced adults- bad idea. Yet these constantly seem to pop up, written off as ‘showing bravery’.


The lack of mention of natural things like going to the toilet and having periods. Why go through all the survival techniques, like mending wounds, hunting for food, searching for water, camping in forests and being happy about getting back somewhere with a bed and bath, only to completely avoid the fact that people and animals have other obvious needs? Why is there never the issue of trying to find a toilet because the characters are in an unknown town? How are all these teenage girls surviving without pads, tampons, or even spare cloth? It’s a natural human thing, and you can’t write it off as “not important for fantasy”, because if you are going to do plenty of research on how to realistically write a sword fight, then you should do some research on how to stay true to reality and have your characters have a frantic search for ‘women’s products’ or at least an awkward situation where someone needs to pee at the wrong time.




Thank you!!

17th Oct, 17

True! Now that you've pointed these out I'm seeing then everywhere

1st Apr, 18

1, 3 and 4 are my pet peeves. Not even going to mention 5. 2 is the ultimate one though. Though I don't think people have to fill a quota. Like, hmm not enough diversity, let's add a bisexual teen who is black! I don
't want to read a book that feels like it's filling a quota of diversity. It's better to have no diversity at all

28th Apr, 18