Hi friends, welcome back to my blog! Today I’m fangirling about 22 of my favourite tropes / favourite things in books! I can be *really* picky with the books that I choose to read, and on top of that, the books that I choose to 5 star! So, with any of the tropes or elements in this list I could be completely thrown off if it was to just be upped a tiny bit, but if it’s the perfect amount than it’s most likely a 4.5 or 5 star read for me. I really am a picky reader which is why so many of my reads get a 3 star rating or somwhere around that, but more often than not, if a book has one of these elements, it’s going to get a really high rating from me!
Also, supringly, it was a lot easier to write this list than my hate list (coming soon!) so that was an honest to god shock but a good one!
- SCHOOLS – (Harry Potter, The Poppy War) – that whole journey where we learn about the world *with* the characters so it doesn’t feel forced and it isn’t hella info dumpy 👌👌 bonus points if it’s a longer series
- SCHOOLS + A MYSTERY / FOREBODING – (People Like Us, Truly Devious) – I ADORE danger in a school setting, and on a similar note, a foreboding seculding setting + a mystery brings me MUCH joy but it has to have the right vibes! (The Guest List)
- FRIEND GROUPS / FOUND FAMILY – (The Weight of The Stars, The Raven Boys, The Gilded Wolves, Come Tumbling Down, The Lunar Chronicles, The Foxhole Court) – I go absolutely feral for a good found family situation. I could easily go my entire reading life without ever reading romance again if I had top tier found family content!
- WEIRD, SELF AWARE BOOKS – (The House in The Cerulean Sea, Beaneath The Sugar Sky, I Hate Fairyland, Welcome to Nightvale) – I don’t totally know how to explain this one, but if you’ve read any of my recommendations I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about. These are the books that already have a weird out of nowhere premise that would make no sense if anyone else wrote it. But, they also have this weird self aware (sometimes brekaing the fourth wall, but not always) quality to them where the author so clearly knows who they’re talking to through the book. Yeah… I don’t know how to explain it, but this is TOP TIER GOOD SHIT, PEOPLE.
- SUPER WEIRD AND DARK BOOKS – (Middlegame, Annihilation, The Wicker King) – So clearly I love me a weird book but I also love when they get really dark because can you imagine if books like Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan had been written for an adult audeience? How completely batshit and dark they could’ve been? Basically that’s the dark and chaotic worlds I love to read about and either they don’t get published very often or I just haven’t found the right ones yet, either way, I am on the look out for more!
- SOFT MAGIC – (Wild Beauty, The Rules of Magic) – These are the soft magic, borderline magical realism worlds that just radiate comfort where the author is practically spoon-feeding you serotonin and it’s AMAZING. These books usually have darker undertones but they still feel so comfy and could literally pull me out of a spiral?? 💯💯💯
- ADDICTIVE (IF NOT TOXIC) DARKNESS – (The Foxhole Court, Captive Prince, The Wicker King) – If you know, you know. These are the books where you think everything is fine until you get to page two and you realise that everything is most certainly not fine and you should defintiely stop reading but maybe it’ll be fine and now you’ve been binge-reading these books for 2 whole days and you’ve finished the entire series even thought you’re probably emotionally traumatised from what you just read. All the trigger warnings because everything in these book is horrible but also, very much like a car crash, you can’t look away and they’re barely 3 star reads but maybe you should re-read them just to double check???
- SHAKESPEARE RELATED – (If We Were Villains, Station Eleven, Foolish Hearts) – Honestly, at this point all you have to do is mention The Bard once and your book autimatically gets cookie points from me. But really, I will read ANYTHING if I know it is in some way related to Shakespeare and his works. I have no idea why, but stories just have that extra *oomph* (I have no idea what this means???) when they’re influenced by Shakespeare. Like, can you imagine If We Were Villains if it was based of a different author? It wouldn’t have been nearly as good!
- DESCRIPTIVE SCENERY – (Caraval, The Honeymooners) – This is such a small thing and it’s exactly what it sounds like. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, especically depeinding on the writing style, but I”m a very head-empty-no-thoughts reader so I need every descriptiion under the sun to even have a chance at remembering what a character or location looks like so books like these really make my day!
- THE ULTIMATE SWOON-WORTHY ROMANCE – (The Kiss Quotient) – Okay so clearly these are VERY rare for me since I literally have only one recommendation even though romance is one of my most read genres… But, I’m serious, if I’m reading a romance I want to feel what the main character/s is feeling and I want to understand why they’re in love with the love interest/friends/family etc.!
- AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCES – (Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Red, White and Royal Blue) – I love fantasy as much as the next person who loves fantasy but I also adore unfiltered books that make you feel like the author just GETS IT. Sabrina is a wonderful representation of how chaotic and hard being a teenager is and the authenticity of RWARB is one of the reasons I had such a hard time reading it, I felt like I was intruding on peoples lives the whole time, like a reality show or reading someone’s diary!
- CHARACTER BOOKS – (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) – Addie is a PERFECT example of this because there really is no plot to this book and you’re literally jsut following this one character throughout her life and it’s amazing.
- I LOVE A GOOD BODYGUARD ROMANCE – (Winter, American Royals) – I would like to personally speak to the entire publishing industry about why this trope is so popular in fanfiction, but so rare in actual (traditionally published) novels. This trope is God Tier and yet I can only think of two that I’ve actually read??? I just… it’s even better when it’s enemies to lovers… Oh God, just thinking about it is making me mushy but the whole protective trope where they have to get to know eachother involuntarily and slowly fall in love UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH 💖💖💖 I’m fine. It’s fine. (Narrator: She was in fact, not fine)
- SPACE (BUT NOT SPACE) – (Waste of Space, The Weight of The Stars) – It’s space, but not actually… ya know? I love talking about space and getting excited about space with the characters, especially when the characters are so clearly passionate about the subject and yeah, when they romanticise the shit out of it but, like, I don’t actually want to go there…
- SOFT BOIS ALL THE WAY – (Wild Beauty, Heartstopper, A Wrinkle in Time, Check Please, Scarlet, The Kiss Quotient) – I am extremely against a bad boy. Why deal with the extensive emotional trauma when you could just have a nice and kind partner/friend who cooks you food and doesn’t emotionally manipulate you??? I just… the bar is so low guys. But I really do go absolutely nuts for a soft boi and I need more of them! I feel like we’re finally seeing some soft bois in adult fiction too which is so exciting to hit me up in a year and hopefully I’ll have even more recs!
- ADDICTIVE BORDERLINE RIDICULOUS DRAMA – (American Royals, The One) – I hate to say it because I sometimes like to pretend that I’m more sophisticated than I am, but I really love drama. I don’t want it in my life and sometimes it can get too stressful when I watch it on tv, but reading? I eat that shit up! American Royals is the P E R F E C T example of this because literally the entire time I was reading it I was just going “No… WTF… Oh my god…”. It’s cheesy and almost too ridiculous but the author stopped before it got stupid beyong beliefe and I was GENUINELY living for it. I don’t think I actually apused the audiobook the entire time I was listening to it, it was so addictive!
- SPECIFIC RULES WITH SPECIFIC CONSEQUENCES BECAUSE I THRIVE OFF RULES – (In An Absent Dream, The Final Empire) – I THRIVE off of rules in my real life, but also in the books that I read. I genuinely think it would make some books so much easier to understand if the author just wrote the rules for their world in the front of the book for me to read beforehand. But, even more than the actual rules thing, I LOVE when worlds have consequences for their characters, especially when we see a character pushed past their limit and then they have to face the natural consequences of the magic system from their world.
I don’t think I explained that very well, but basically I really love clearly explained worlds with rules and consequences. It makes them feel so much more real and I really think they make so much more of an impact to the reading experience!
- I’LL TAKE “HARD SCIFI THAT I CAN’T UNDERSTAND” FOR 300 PLEASE ALEX – (Jurassic Park, The Martian) – I love to read really well-written and clearly explained and researched sci-fi that I can’t understand a word of and I know that’s a weird flaw of mine but at this point I don’t even care anymore. I would literally kill for another book to add to this little list of weird books but unfortunately I haven’t found one yet! genuinely though, if you’ve read of these books, you need to read the other because the science vibes are immaculate and SO WORTH YOUR TIME!!!
- HARD TO STOMACH CONTEMPORARY – (Girls on The Verge) – Sometimes it really does feel like the author didn’t go there when they could’ve and at other times (*cough* A Little Life) it feels like maybe the author shoud’ve just gone to therapy. But, at other times you get hat perfect balance and then you get books like Girls on The Verge, a short book about one girl’s experience in her state. I love the discussions in this book and I really do thnk more people need to pick this one up.
- TINY BOOKS WHERE YOU GET WHAT YOU GET AND THAT’S IT IT’S OVER NOW AND YOU GOT WHAT YOU GOT – (In An Absent Dream, This Is How You Lose The Time War, Persuasion, The Empress of Salt and Fortune) – I mean I think my too long title says it all. These are all really short and completely different to one another but I love them all equally. But, you really do get what you get with these and what you got is what you got because they’re so short and to the point that it feels like there was no room for anything but the story that the author wrote down. Honestly, these are books that it feels like a privilege to read and the ones that I really think are always worth a re-read because you’ll get something different out of them each time.
- COMPLICATED UNCOMPROMISING CHARACTERS (BUT ONLY SOMETIMES) – (The Hunger Games – Peeta Mellark vibes, not Katniss + Normal People) – I love it when you have uncompromising characters but only in specific situations. I love Katniss Everdeen, but if we’re talking these types of characters, I actually prefer Peeta because I feel like he always knew who he was even when he didn’t and he did what he believed was right and stood by his morals and oh yeah, also he’s a SOFT BOI. Also, Normal People. It’s great, read it.
- HARD TO SWALLOW DARK ACADEMIA – (Ninth House, A Little Life, If We Were Villains) – I don’t know if I would typically categorise A Little Life as dark academia because it’s not really BUT it does have those *vibes*! These aren’t too preppy and they usually deal with really difficult subject matter, so they also fit into the whole toxic darkness thing I talked about earlier!
What are your favourite tropes/themes in books?