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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Stop quitting your corporate job for your small-town ex-boyfriend

Clichés are clichés for a reason — people like them. Here are the ones I agree with and the ones that make me want to become a STEM major.

Anyone with one foot in the depths of BookTok — or a roommate who’s too invested — knows that the discussions surrounding common tropes in literature are raging. I’m starting to see books being marketed by the tropes they include, which to me seems a very reductive form of synopsis. Sometimes these hit different. Sometimes, though, they just miss.

MISS: Second-chance romance

Sorry, Hallmark. The concept of a city girl making it in her career and then quitting her life for a reluctant assignment in her hometown just isn’t romantic. She always has a corporate boyfriend back in the city with gelled hair and a phone earpiece, but her farm-boy high school sweetheart is living in his hometown trying to save the family business. The boyfriend always sucks, and nobody’s mad that the protagonist is dumping him, but do you really need to be getting into a relationship before (or, like, one day after) you dump your jerk corporate man? There are eight billion people in the world, if we’re rounding up. Find one you haven’t already dated. Come on.

HIT: Found family

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone hate on the found family trope, but if someone did I think I’d pull up that WikiHow article I found a while back on how to dropkick. Sorry you don’t support joy and happiness, I guess. There is nothing better than a ragtag group of characters somehow intertwining their lives to the point of codependence. You’re just jealous. 

MISS: The power cop-out

When a ridiculously powerful character finishes out a book or series by losing said ridiculous power, I get so mad. I understand that there is something to be said for a character being secure in their identity without being able to burn entire cities with the flick of a wrist or whatever, but to me this feels like a cop-out way of developing character in a short amount of time. I have a list in my notes app of books that have wronged me and my favorite characters by robbing us of badass magic. I refuse to spoil any of them, so you’ll have to discover them by yourself and suffer with me.

HIT OR MISS: Enemies to lovers

Listen: rivals and enemies are not the same thing. Rivals falling for each other is everything to me. It wrecks me every time in the best way. But if you’re going to do enemies to lovers, you need to do it right. Books are marketed all the time as having this “enemies to lovers” arc, but actually there are just two characters infatuated with each other who can’t stop arguing and decide that it’s hatred (cough, “The Spanish Love Deception,” cough). No. Give me characters who actually want each other dead. Very, very few books do this well. Looking at you, “Six of Crows.”

As a tortured reader, I could probably write dissertation-length papers dissecting the merits of the chosen one trope, the childhood best friends to lovers arc, the grumpy-character-falling-for-sunshine-character method, but for now I leave you with this: tropes can be a bonus, or they can be a crutch. Tread carefully, writers.

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Rachel Blood
Rachel Blood, Copy Editor
Rachel Blood, 22, is a senior English literature/writing and journalism double major with minors in creative writing and graphic design. She likes getting excited over clothes with pockets, watching her to-be-read pile grow violently out of control and showing everyone pictures of her dog (whether they like it or not). [email protected] | 651.600.7757

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