9 Things/Tropes I Will Always Love in Fiction + Some of My Favorite Books with Them!

I have no brain cells to spare, so we’re doing an unoriginal post!

I’ve always wanted to a post talking about my favorite fictional tropes and never had the chance to. But after finishing She-Ra and losing my mind in the DMs with my friends, I realized how many tropes it involved that I loved, so I thought, why not do this post as a convenient way to just lose my mind about She-Ra on my blog!

Not all of the things I’m going to talk about are necessarily tropes, so that’s why I just said “things” in the title. It’s also very important to note that I was strongly tempted to just include “gays” as one thing and then provide no detail whatsoever, but I held back to give you… actual content.

(I also attempted to list 10 things instead of just 9, but as stated before! No brain cells.)

Click for BLM resources.

 

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FOUND FAMILY

As someone who doesn’t really have a super close relationship to their family (specifically, parents), it means a lot to me to see characters in books find solace and comfort in their friends! They might not have any blood family, or maybe it’s an abusive situation, or maybe they just don’t have great relationships with them. But no matter what it is, they can find family in their friend group and that just makes me so emotional!!

Here are some of my favorite books with the trope (besides Six of Crows because that one is a common rec). The Weight of the Stars is so lovely to me specifically because it’s a contemporary, and I feel like there’s a lot of found family in fantasies!

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Beneath the Citadel  The Weight of the Stars  The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)

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MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS

I love narratives that focus on characters who do morally questionable things, whether that’s their intention or not. I’m also for villains getting a redemption arc or a heroes descending into villainy… whether they’re in the middle of the moral spectrum or going from one end to the other, I love it!!!

Personally, I just love to see the exploration of character that comes with morally grey characters? There are so many interesting things you can do with them, and I like reading about why they’re doing these things. Like yeah, fighting against oppression and pushing for justice is great and all but… adding in morally questionable things just adds so much more flavor. Or maybe they just do bad things for the fun of it! Spicy!!

(I also would like to state that morally grey female characters >>> morally grey male characters any time of day.)

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The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)  Sawkill Girls  The Female of the Species

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FRIENDS TO ENEMIES TO LOVERS

Honestly, whether you’re a friends to lovers person or an enemies to lovers person, I think we can all agree that friends to enemies to lovers is just so good.

I personally love both friends to lovers and enemies to lovers equally (don’t cancel me I’m just here for the yearning), but friends to enemies to lovers is superior!! There’s just something about… extremely close friendship (with homoerotic subtext) that turns sour and becomes an intense hatred (with homoerotic subtext) that then turns into a romance!!!

I don’t actually think I know of a book that I liked and actually managed to pull off this trope well? (Someone give me recommendations PLEASE.) But this is an excellent time to mention She-Ra… If you’re into TV shows and this trope, you should absolutely check it out! Definitely not saying this because it’s been the only thing I’ve been able to think about for the past few days!

Amazon.com: HandTao She-Ra and The Princesses of Power 2018 Movie ...

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CHARACTERS WITH POWERS

This is the fantasy lover in me coming out but… god there are just so many cool avenues you could go to with characters who have magical powers!! And I guess I’m naming pretty much any fantasy ever, so I’m talking about specifically:

      • characters who are ambitious, would do anything for power, and want to do big things with their powers
      • characters who are reluctant about their powers or even hate them
      • characters whose powers are a source of some kind of pain/trauma for them and they have to work through that

(I haven’t read Graceling in a long long time so it might not fit the last situation perfectly, but I couldn’t think of anything else!!)

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The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)  The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)  Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

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SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS

I said earlier in this post that I’m not really close to my family, but I’m close to my sister!! (She’s honestly the only thing keeping me from feeling like an Asian failure for not having a close relationship with the rest of my family.) And I really wish there were more sister relationships in books, or sibling relationships in general! Not to be an absolute sap or weirdo, but I feel like sibling bonds are so different from other relationships, and it’s something you can’t really understand unless you have a sibling yourself.

Also I feel like a lowkey common theme in YA romances is a cute guy who’s good with kids/has a younger sibling that they take good care of and… yeah I love to see it!!

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Jade City (The Green Bone Saga, #1)  The Henna Wars  Wild Beauty  Far from the Tree

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BANTER!!!

Whether it’s in fantasy or contemporary (texting!!), I just love good banter! 90% of my communication with irl friends consists of jokes, so even though it’s not “banter”, humor between friends is something very important/relatable to me.

I feel like banter just adds another layer of entertainment to the story, especially in fantasies when most of the fantasies I read tend to be on the more serious side. And if it’s in a contemporary, it just feels more authentic, since a lot of (younger) people these days like to make a lot of jokes. Also, it’s funny and it makes me laugh! And though I love sad books, I feel like I’ve cried more over books than I’ve laughed over, and I don’t know how to feel about that.

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In Other Lands  Red, White & Royal Blue  Foolish Hearts

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CHARACTERS WHO “DON’T CARE”

I have a tendency to make these kinds of characters the main characters of my own writing project… I might need to analyze what that means about me!

But I’m really in love with characters who act like they don’t care (or are grumpy/standoffish/distant), but actually do. They don’t have to be a “softie” inside; in fact I might like them more if they care so intensely and aggressively about something/someone that they have to hide it behind a mask of indifference otherwise they’ll explode. I’m just always so intrigued by them and why they’re acting that way and can’t wait for the moment they accidentally reveal they care more than they let on!

(Yes I’m talking about Catra from She-Ra here. There’s nothing you can do about it.)

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The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)  Crier's War (Crier's War, #1)  Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

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FRIENDSHIPS

This kind of goes with found family, but it doesn’t always have to be a big group of characters: It can just be one or a few close friends! Friendship never gets the focus in YA especially, which is so strange because I promise most teens have more experience with friends than romance (whether good or bad).

But I think everyone can agree that their friends are an integral part of their lives, and I just want to see more of that reflected! Having romance in your books is fine in my opinion, and I love to read it, but I just wish there were more YA books that didn’t focus on romance more than friendship.

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You Should See Me in a Crown  With the Fire on High  A Wish in the Dark

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THIRD PERSON POV

I guess this isn’t really a trope type of thing in books, which is why it’s at the end of this post, but I love third person so much that I had to mention it! I honestly really do not care for first person. I’ll acknowledge that in contemporaries and thrillers it makes sense to use it, but… I just believe in third person supremacy!!

This might be the fantasy lover person in me, because most fantasies tend to be in third person? I honestly don’t know why I have such a strong aversion to first person, but I think I just don’t care to be too close in a character’s head unless it specifically is supposed to be that way (such as a very deeply emotional book or an unreliable narrator).

It feels weird to be recommending books that have a third person POV because it’s not like the book is special for having a third person POV or anything? So I’m just gonna say read The Poppy War!!! :))


shall we chat

what are your favorite fictional trope type things? friends to lovers or enemies to lovers? third person or first person?? got any friends to enemies to lovers recs for me >:)

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87 thoughts on “9 Things/Tropes I Will Always Love in Fiction + Some of My Favorite Books with Them!

  1. I really appreciate it when an author creates a “cold-hearted” character who acts as if they don’t care but they actually do as I usually tend to come out as one of those people. Its very fresh and unique character aspect. And ah! Who doesn’t love a character with powers!!

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  2. omg i’m obsessed with these tropes too!! found family makes me so happy every single time i read it 🥺🥺 and friends to enemies to lovers is so amazing, i haven’t read enough books with that trope and i need to asap. and ahh friendships are so important, i completely agree that most YA novels focus on romance when teens really have much more experience with friendship! i love banter SO much ugh, it makes the characters seem so much more realistic and funny! i just finished rereading Foolish Hearts (i’m feeling so slumpy and it was like the only thing i could bring myself to pick up 😳) and one of the reasons i love it so much is because of the friendships and banter!!

    first pov present tense is my favorite to read though, probably because i’m obsessed with contemporaries and those are mostly written in first person lmao! i loved this post, May ❤

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    1. yes, i really don’t know a book i’ve read (and loved) that had friends to enemies to lovers!! you can just watch she-ra while we wait for one to come out 😎 and yeah! i love reading romantic relationships so i wouldn’t say i want them to stop, but i just want a bigger focus on friendships too 🥺 yes! i reread foolish hearts earlier this year when i was feeling sad, and it cheered me up so much. the platonic love is so lovely aahh

      i’m glad you love first person pov! it does work very well in contemporaries so i understand why you like it 🥰

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  3. Oh, I love so many of these tropes!! Found family, sibling relationships, and friends are so important to me. I feel like so many books have the main focus on romance and other relationships get glossed over, but!!! I love seeing these relationships in books!! (If you want sibling/family recs, 10/10 recommend ‘House Arrest’ and ‘Knockout’ by K. A. Holt.) Yes, characters with powers! I use it so much in my own writing (almost always as a source of angst XD ). Oh, and the morally grey and “don’t care” characters! Must love and protect them and feed them brownies.

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    1. yes, exactly!! i love reading romances in books (especially as a romance-deprived person lmao), but i just wish there was the same level of focus on familial / platonic relationships ❤ (thank you for the recs!) and aahh yes i also love to write characters with powers — or anything else on this list haha!!

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  4. YES I AGREE WITH PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING YOU SAID. Especially about morally grey female characters. They are the best. Although I’ve never had much of a problem with first person. I used to write primarily in first person, but I’ve been writing a lot of third person lately and I’m really enjoying it!

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  5. I love all the tropes you mentioned too so I guess that explains why your book recommendations are so awesome! *lol* And I honestly never read about the “friends to enemies to lovers” trope. This sounds really intriguing! I always kinda hoped Victor and Eli would turn out that way. XD

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  6. I’m more of friends to lovers trope, but anything that’s slow burn and full of yearning will automatically catch my interest! I absolutely prefer reading books in third person pov to first person pov. I read too much books written in the former that when a book’s written in first pov, it feels kinda weird/awkward/at times hard to read and get used to 😅

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  7. asdofijk I was going to list my favorite tropes on this list but as I scrolled and nodded I realized I’m trash for like every single one?? I love morally grey characters so much maybe that says something about me… whoops. Found families yesss clearly I need to read Beneath the Citadel and The Weight of the Stars. and as much as I’m a sucker for romance (including enemies to friends to lovers) I loooooove friendships and siblings so much (also could be bc it’s more relatable to me #foreveralone lmao), I really want to read Henna Wars and also the siblings in RWRB is perfection ❤ I loved reading this post!!

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    1. lmaooo i love making content that everyone can relate to 😎😎 and god i’ve been writing morally grey characters with the past like 3 projects i’ve worked on, hope this doesn’t awaken anything in me lmao. and yes! i love reading a good Yearning Slowburn romance, but friendship and siblings are so needed too 🥺 i forgot about the rw&rb siblings but yes i love them too!!

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  8. I read “morally grey” and immediately thought of Sophie, the Witch of Woods BeyondL
    I read “banter” and immediately thought of Squad 312.
    I read “characters who don’t care” and immediately though of Zila Madran.
    I read that bit about guys with siblings and immediately thought of Mateo Torrez.
    I agree with this post on many levels, from the universal to the molecular.

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    1. I forgot one!
      I read “friendships” and immediately thought of the Core 4 of the Medoran Chronicles.

      Also, if anyone understood ANY of those references, you are my people 🙂

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  9. I am absolutely in love with every single trope on this list except one…or two. I honestly prefer first person to third, and I’ve never read friends to enemies to lovers so I can’t say about that. But yes to Banter, and yes to Morally Grey characters, and yes to Found Fams and cute siblings tropes! And characters who don’t care!! Honestly, I think I love those the most after morally grey characters. it’s hilarious seeing them being so standoffish and “cruel” but the minute the other character gets so much as a scratch, they lose their mind out of worry 😍 It’s so sweet and pulls on all my heartstrings.
    Great list of recs, and I’ll be sure to check some of them out!! ✨

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    1. ah yeah, i think the third person vs first person pov debate is pretty split down the middle lmao! and yes, same, if a character isn’t morally grey, i at least love when they pretend not to care and are grumpy/indifferent to everything but actually do 🥺🥺 honestly i love so many character types, but that one is just my favorite!!!

      thank you so much, rukky!! thank you so much for visiting and commenting ❤

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  10. Ahhh I adore this post, May!! You mentioned things in books that I absolutely love as well, including friends to enemies to lovers, banter, found family, and friendships !! 💓 I also love that we basically watched She-Ra at around the same time, I’m on season 4 right now and I love it so much :’) I actually started it around a couple weeks ago, when I finished Avatar and wanted to watch another animated show that would fill the void that Avatar left behind, and She-Ra is definitely doing that!! Who’s your favorite character??

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    1. thank you so much, dezzy!! and aahh YES SHE-RA omg i’m so glad you’re watching it right now and loving it 🥺🥺 but yes i watched it after watching atla, because i also needed something to fill the void but also because i’d been meaning to watch it for so long and the timing was perfect with the last season coming out! and god… you definitely will not be surprised to hear this but my favorite is catra 😭😭 who’s yours??

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      1. YEESSS SHE-RA IS INCREDIBLE AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH!! I just started season 5 yesterday and honestly I’m so sad that I’m almost done with the show already, I’m gonna miss it :’) (oh no i’m gonna get the same bittersweet feeling as i did after watching ATLA huh…..i hate it here) and hahah I love that your favorite character is Catra…I think mine is either Bow or Scorpia!! They’re so wholesome, supportive characters and I love them with all my heart 💞

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      1. Hmmmm… probably not any that aren’t blatantly obvious [A Court of Mist and Fury, Heir of Fire, Serpent and Dove, the Hating Game, Outlander and so forth]. Actually one that does come to mind is Briar Rose by Jana Oliver – it’s a steampunk, southern retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It’s a little on the trashy side but it’s guaranteed to pull you out of any reading slump! 😉

        I am of the opinion that there needs to be more books featuring The One Bed… 👀 💙

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  11. omg a big YES to every one of these… especially found family/morally grey characters/sibling relationships!!! as for friends to enemies to lovers….. i want to say tell me how you really feel but i may be wrong??? i’m not sure?? i don’t remember??? and i’ve ordered the stars and the blackness between them and the weight of the stars so i’m super excited for those!!! i think they’ll be amazing 🥰 hope you’re going well may – i don’t care if you don’t think this was quality, anything from you is worth it <33 x

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    1. yes i’m so happy you agree with me!! and aahh i thought tell me how you really feel was just enemies to lovers? which is completely fine, i love that trope too 😎 and omg i’m so excited for you to read tsatbbt and twots (those acronyms are so strange but i’m too lazy lmao). you’re too kind to me, thank you so much rhi 🥺💓

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      1. honestly i read it coming up to a year ago now so my brain? fried. i could be wrong, i could be right 😳 it’s def enemies to lovers at least though!!!
        they’re coming soon so now i just have to wait… if they’re anything like the covers though i’ll ADORE them!! 🥰

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  12. Ahh what a fantastic list and SO RELATABLE ah so many favorites here 🥰 I love love love found families and siblings! relationships! in books they always make me so soft and happy. I can’t wait to read the henna wars (as you know, by now, thank you, you’re responsible for this ahah) and wild! beauty! oh I’m so, so very excited to read that one 🥰 and I so agree with you about friendships. We have way, way more experience as teens with friendships and all of their complexities than romance (at least, I did when I was a little bit younger. like, romance. what’s that ahah) and I feel like friendships should be, way more often, put front and center into stories, especially young adult stories destined for a young adult target! 🙂
    LOVE this post ❤

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    1. yes!! writing about the sibling rep in this post made me think of you 🥺 and lmaooo i love being responsible for your henna wars excitement 😭 i really i’m not hyping it up too much!!!

      and yes!! i assure you, i also have much more experience with friendships than romance. it’s so wild how so many ya contemporaries are focused on romantic relationships, when i know for me and so many others it’s definitely not the biggest relationship in our lives!!

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  13. i relate to this post so much!! found family is one of my favorite tropes too because i’m not that close to my parents and siblings (so i guess i’m more of an Asian failure than you are). it’s just so fun to read about their banter, and there can be so many interesting relationships within a found family (e.g. enemies-turned-friends/lovers, friends-turned-enemies, etc.). and i’m such trash for enemies-to-lovers and yearning lmao 🥺 everyone seems to love friends-to-enemies-to-lovers more than enemies-to-friends-to-lovers (my personal fave), and i still can’t figure out my opinions on the former, because i don’t think i’ve ever read/watched something that has it?? which is just one of the reasons i’m excited to watch she-ra. i watched the first episode of the first season a few days ago, and i’m so excited to continue 😭

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    1. LMAOOO omg i’m just really glad to have met another asian who is not close to their parents 😭 but it does suck a lot!!! i could write a whole post about this honestly but it’s just like… grappling between the way asians value family and also the knowledge that you’ll never be close to them :(( and AHH i’m just a sucker for the Betrayal moment for some reason, i just love pain 😭 do you have any recs for enemies to friends to lovers though?? also YES YES to watching she-ra!!! i think i liked the show overall but season 5 got me obsessed

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  14. I always love reading about people’s favorite tropes! 😀 Also, having recently finished She-Ra also, I am also guilty of screaming to my friends about how perfect all of its tropes were, so you’re not alone XD

    Found family is unquestionably THE BEST TROPE!!! Any time that shows up in a book description, I’m immediately on board. Ever since finishing She-Ra I’ve been thinking nonstop about how TOP TIER the friends to enemies to lovers trope is and how under-utilized it is in books?? The fact that I also can’t think of any books that do it well is a travesty. Authors get on it!!

    Books that focus on friendships are so important to me, and I’m always delighted when they’re given as much or even more importance than the book’s romantic relationships. Definitely much more applicable to my own life!

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    1. yes!!! another she-ra fan 🥺🥺 i livetexted the entirety of season 5 to one of my friends because i was absolutely losing it 😭

      and same! there’s just something so…. emotionally touching about found family, and like i said it really speaks to me a lot personally haha. and omg yes, i really need a friends to enemies to lovers book! i feel like from now on, that’s the only trope i’m going to write in my wips lmao

      yes exactly!!! i think romance can be great, and there are so many different romantic experiences to touch on, but friends definitely take up a larger portion of my life 🥺

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  15. Found Family, sibling relationships and friendships are all my favourite tropes and try to incorporate them into all the novels I write. I actually had never thought of friends to enemies to lovers but it sounds amazing! Definitely let us know if you come across any good books with that theme!

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    1. ah yes!! i also try to incorporate those things as well, though i think i’m pretty bad at sibling relationships for some reason haha. and if i find a friends to enemies to lovers book you bet i will be shouting about it forever!! for now is hall just write it 😎

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  16. talking about favorite tropes is a favorite of mine and i started a series on my blog just to do that initially, i thought it would require no work on my brain cells, but i then found myself struggling a lot to come up with original themes and then provide examples for every single one of them! hahah.

    i don’t know any friends to enemies to lovers, but i loved how we got friends to enemies to friends in you should see me in a crown. it’s like second-chance romance, but second-chance friendship so ofc even better!

    and yes to third person supremacy!!!!! i am incapable of remembering main character’s names in 1st person and i feel like if i don’t remember the character’s name, have i really read the book? (i’m just unusually good with names and i take pride on it, so if i can’t remember someone’s name, i feel bad instantly, hahah).

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    1. yes!! it was actually quite difficult to think of some of these tropes? i tried so hard to go for 10, but i genuinely just ran out of ideas (though i feel like there are many more tropes i enjoy haha)

      oh yes, i hadn’t even thought of that! i really did love the friends to enemies to friends in that one — liz and jordan were just such good friends, and i loved their relationship so so much 🥺

      i really struggle with remembering names in first person too!! i don’t know, there’s just something that can be so much personal with third person, i feel like? it doesn’t make much sense, you’re literally in the character’s head in first person, but i guess it’s the way you can describe the mc more in third person as well as their thoughts that i like

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  17. Okay, the fact that you bring up third-person point of view in this post must be like fate or something because I was JUST trying to explain this to my mom yesterday!! I also much prefer third-person point of view, and like yeah, it might be because I also prefer fantasy books, but I feel like when I’m reading first-person perspective I tend to dislike the characters more? I also love purple prose and pretty descriptive writing, and that tends to happen more in a third-person narrative.

    I love all these tropes and recommendations! Aaah, Friends to Enemies to Lovers sounds fantastic, but now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t actually know that I’ve read any books with it. At most I’ve probably read a friends to enemies book, and THEN there was a fanfiction which turned it to lovers 😂 And I’m definitely getting the feeling that I should watch She-Ra! Great post!

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    1. ah i’m glad to find another person who loves third person pov!! i swear so many people love first person but i just… prefer third person so much more lmao. and yeah, there’s just such a Classic feel to third person writing, i don’t know? i mean, all books are stories, but it really feels like Story telling with third person to me, i don’t know haha

      yeah, i haven’t read much friends to enemies to lovers either!! (that was the one reason i had to use “fiction” in the post title instead of “books” lmaoo). but YES please do watch she-ra ❤

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  18. It sounds like I need to read Sawkill Girls especially as I loved The Female of the Species and TYE! Morally grey females > males always, for sure. I think part of the reason I love them so much is because it’s a strong statement of female empowerment and defying gender norms?

    I think I prefer friends-to-lovers over enemies-to-lovers just because sometimes I feel like enemies-to-lovers can be forced (and sometimes just shouldn’t happen because they’re enemies for a reason), I’m more into relationships where they have an evident connection before anything romantic happens. I don’t think I’ve read anything that’s friends to enemies to lovers, it sounds super intriguing? Especially because I’d probably think enemies to friends to lovers is more of a thing.

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    1. yes please read sawkill girls!!! i feel like so few people have heard of/read it and it makes me sad. and yes! i think morally grey female characters aren’t always strong and ambitious but… i love when they are haha

      that’s valid! honestly i just love anything with tension and yearning and slowburn, so if it’s well done i’ll take anything lmao 😭 and yeah, i think enemies to friends to lovers is a lot common (which i love)! i am just… in love with it after seeing she-ra haha

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  19. HEY JUST SAYING I READ THIS POST LATE but i realllly loved it because i love tropes in general (Also for friends to enemies to lovers rec ,,, yeah it’s a white cishet book…but starry eyes! it’s pretty cute) also my girl the young elite getting the love and respect she deserves. nothing but greatness for the best series ever!! and random question does ink and bone count as found family>?

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  20. May, every single one of these tropes is top tier, and you are 100% right about ALL OF THEM. I’m a huge fan of banter and found family especially, but really, the whole list you have here is rock solid.

    Also. SHE-RA. Who needs brain cells when you can have the power of gay love in space anyway?

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  21. Wow great post, May! Some of these tropes I absolutely love too — morally grey characters are AWESOME and characters with powers NEVER gets tiring. Banter — YES. Dialogue is one of the most powerful ways to convey character dynamics! Friends to enemies to lovers sounds so cool but I’ve never heard of it before? I’ll be on the lookout for books with them!

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