Bookish Tropes that Make me Come Running & Screaming // Basically, All the Plots I Love

Sometimes you see a book synopsis and just know you’ve got to read that book. Whether it’s a contemporary set in college (I will pick that book up) OR a book featuring Fae politics (Yes, I must read)

Lots of YA books have plot tropes. Sometimes they’re so agonizing and predictable, i.e love triangles. Other times they are epic and I want to read all about it.

Today, I’m chatting about all some of the tropes I LOVE. (There are probably many tropes I love, but I couldn’t write about all of them today)

Mythology Coming Alive Today

Basically, this trope is –  Surprise! You’re related to an ancient myth. (but not actually a myth)

So, if my love for Percy Jackson is not enough of a clue, let me just tell you. *clears throat to scream* I LOVE MYTHOLOGY.

I also really love fantastic mythology retellings from a different point of view. AKA, The Song of Achilles. Also, library, pleeeeaaassse, have Circe on the shelves soon. Update: I have it on hold behind two people. 

Whether a book is pulling ancient myths into our modern day, or taking us back to long ago and far away, I just super love myths.

  • The Chosen One™
  • Hidden Away Royalty i.e. surprise! You’re actually the queen. This seems to happen to girls all the time? More than guys? 
  • Mysterious Magical Powers. (how did you not know you could control the ocean? well, NOW YOU KNOW)
  • Parents with Secrets about the Past 

Epic Journeys to Save Humanity

I know this idea is used a ton, but I really, kind of love it. Samwise Gamgee and Co traveling around Middle Earth.* With lots of scary never dead things trying to kill you. (it’s not epic without a nazgül, right?)

Sometimes this trope does get drawn out. I mean, did Harry really have to traipse around for an entire book? 

*and yes, I say LOTR is all about Sam. Because you cannot defeat Sauron and save middle earth without precious Samwise Gamgee.

I very much love the idea of an epic journey. Which is why I present today….

the Ingredients for successfully writing an epic quest (as told in LOTR gifs) 

1)         Characters who shouldn’t get along having to work together 

  2)     Plenty of danger. Specifically flying creatures who will steal your soul

3)     Maybe a bit of magic & mischievous friends people of intelligence

4)   Wise leader suddenly abandoning the party, the a là Gandalf move

5)   Hiking in the mountains. So you can film this in New Zealand someday

Mix this all together into a story, and voila, epic questing achieved. Just make sure not to include any ancient rings, or people might think it sounds too much like Tolkien. 


Games & Competitions with really, really high stakes 

Two books that come to mind? The Hunger Games and An Ember in the Ashes. Both have fierce competition with perilous twists. And people are actually allowed to die. (I mean, the author doesn’t swoop in & save every single character)

I’ve always been super competitive, and I think I just relate to super competitive characters? Or characters being forced into being competitive? I’m not sure which one it is. But I love games! And competition to determine who wins the entire throne? Please, yes, let me read this!

Some other books that use this trope. Have you read them???

  • Ace of Shades (very scary game & I was holding my breath the entire time)
  • Caraval (Haven’t finished yet, but it’s an entire wacky game?)
  • Three Dark Crowns (and I have not read this yet!)
  • Throne of Glass (yes, I have read)

Orphan with a soft-hearted friend, turned pseudo-parent.

Anne & Matthew. Harry & Sirius. Cinderella & her fairy godmother. (ok, maybe the fairy godmother doesn’t work. But you get the picture, right?)

I really adore sweet relationships. Any story that invests in building adorable mentor type relationships is right up my alley.

The sad thing? This kind, loving person is probably going to die. because authors are mean and cruel and definitely want to make us cry.

I was going to talk about siblings and some other tropes, but then I caught a very terrible cold, and haven’t been able to blog much. I’m even posting this a day late. Ergh! But I was super sick, and needed to rest, so I will not feel bad for not posting on time. (must repeat 5 to myself times) 

Tomorrow is my last day of class! and then just one week of finals and the semester is done! Whoop, whoop! Also, it’s already the end of April? Time for a monthly wrap up, already!?!?!?

Also, Infinity War comes out tomorrow? And I’m going to see it next Friday (after finals are ALL DONE)

lets chat

What are YOUR favorite tropes? Do you like the same ones as me? or disagree?? (What, are you allowed to disagree with me?)

Very important question – WOULD you RATHER be forced into an epic competition or lead an epic journey to save humanity? 



  1. April 27, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    My favorite trope is kick ass woman in mens clothing (either in disguise or just breaking gender norms)! Have you read Nevernight? I would say it falls into the “Games & Competitions with really, really high stakes ” trope! Great Post 😀

    • April 29, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      I LOVED Nevernight, it’s one of my all time favorite books! It’s definitely high-stakes, and Mia is super kick ass!!

    • May 1, 2018 / 6:18 pm

      So Nevernight has been sitting on my shelf for a month. I hope to read it very soon!

  2. April 27, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    I love all these too! Especially the orphan-with-guardian one. Ahh, Anne and Matthew Cuthbert. My heart.❤️And Sirius is (was? *tear*) my favorite Harry Potter character! Great post, Elizabeth, and I hope you feel better soon!

    • May 1, 2018 / 6:17 pm

      Anne and Matthew are the sweetest! I still cry reading the books because Matthew is just the kindest, best man in the word.
      OK, Sirius’s fate killed me. I was absolutely, still am, devastated.
      And I’m starting to feel alot better! Finally on the mend!

      • May 1, 2018 / 7:27 pm

        They are! Did you watch Anne With an E on Netflix? I loved the relationship they gave Matthew and Anne in that, too. And it was just all around pretty good. 😉

  3. April 27, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    I love when mythology is in books! I think I’d rather lead an epic journey to save humanity. I don’t think I would last long in an epic competition. haha.

  4. April 28, 2018 / 6:23 am

    I really love some of the tropes you have mentioned especially the pseudo-parent one, I am all for that! I also completely agree with you on Sam, he is the real hero of those books! And I love the friends who shouldn’t be friends especially Gimli and Legolas, they are absolute gold! Sort of on the same lines I really love bromances in books especially if one of the guys has like a tough guy rep but absolutely loves his friend and would do anything for him, I just find it so sweet and warming to read about, especially because in a lot of contemporary these days friendships get forgotten about in the name of epic romances! Oh, and I would definitely rather lead an epic journey! Great post! 🙂

    • May 1, 2018 / 6:16 pm

      Sam is the ultimate hero! And epic bromances are so good! I do think romance has kind of taken over, but strong friendships are so heartwarming.

  5. April 29, 2018 / 12:04 pm

    I love mythology!! Percy Jackson was my entire childhood and taught me everything I know about Greek and Roman myths. Also any book with a high stakes competition is a yes from me, and if you add in a super competitive character I am guaranteed to love it. I really want to read Ace of Shades, it seems so good!

    • May 1, 2018 / 6:15 pm

      Ace of Shades is fantastic! I loved the world building, it was spellbinding. And I’m learning so much mythology from the Percy Jackson books!

  6. emmareadstoomuch
    April 30, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    oh my god you are so brilliant at coming up with lists like this??? i am always 100% convinced that you are a trope/setting/general bookish list genius

    • May 1, 2018 / 6:14 pm

      I think the genius stuff must happen while I sleep because I definitely do not feel like a genius when I’m awake. 😂

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