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

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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