Discussion: My Favourite Tropes in YA Fiction

There are just some specific that I love in a book. I’ve always wanted to write a post in which I talked about my favourite things in YA fiction. I feel like I like a lot of things as the rest of the book blogging community, but I also have some other weird unpopular opinions. I’ve not listed the tropes in order, but this is just a list of what tropes I like in the books I read. Okay, enough of my rambling and onto the actual post >>

Enemies-to-lovers or enemies-to-friends relationships

I love love love love love this trope with literally all of my heart. It’s been so sad to see books in which the author has only incorporated this trope to jump on the hype train, or hasn’t executed the enemies-to-lovers or enemies-to-friends trope properly!! I just love seeing them evolve from 2 people who hate each other, who slowly start acknowledging each others existence, and then finally confess they’re in love!! In her post, Allison mentions how she saw this really good Twitter post by @galacticidiots the other day saying “Enemies to ‘I’m only saving your life because it benefits me’ to ‘we actually work pretty well together but don’t read too much into it’ to ‘I’ll kill anyone who lays a finger on you’ to ‘I would literally die for you’ to Lovers”. That is like EXACTLY what I need and adore in my novels!!

Recs for the enemies-to-lovers // enemies-to-friends trope: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, The Princess Knight by G.A. Aiken, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Found family

I ADORE this trope!! There’s always something so special about people finding out about family they never knew they had, and figuring out how to interact with them!! Found family doesn’t always have to mean a scenario similar to the Parent Trap, but could also just mean finding family inside of a friend group.

Recs for the found family trope: You Have a Match by Emma Lord, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Sibling, or family relationships

I love the way YA novels portray strong sibling, or strong family relationships, because those are always special. As someone who’s really close to their family, I love reading about how family will always be there for you, and this trope never fails to get me emotional 🥺😭 Reading about bonds between families (especially siblings) is always so special, and are all the more meaningful, and relatable if you have a sibling yourself.

Recs for books with strong family relationships: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

Morally grey characters

I love morally grey characters for so many reasons!! It’s just so interesting to learn about their backstories, or reasons behind doing evil questionable things. I love the way that authors explore these characters minds, because they work in such clever ways. Also, reading about villains, or morally grey characters is just so much more fun than reading about characters who are perfect in every way, and don’t do morally questionable things.

Recs for books with morally grey characters: The Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Badass female characters

I love this trope with all of my heart! I love reading about female characters who aren’t afraid to do stuff just because they’re female. I think you’ll find that even in my Goodreads profile that my favourite books are listed as those featuring female assassins, because, well, reading about them is always so fun and thrilling!!

Recs for books with badass female characters: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

Characters who act like they don’t care but are actually softies

I think I might be in love with characters who act grumpy, and like they don’t care about what’s happening, but actually do – sometimes more than others. It’s always so captivating to learn about why they act like they don’t care, because they almost always have a really interesting reason. It’s like they’re hiding who they really are behind this mask of literally nothing-ness, and I always reduce to a puddle of ugly tears when they reveal how much they really care 😭💛

Recs for books with characters who act like they don’t care, but actually do: The Fever King by Victoria Lee, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Strong friendships

I feel like most teens love reading about strong friendships almost as much as, or even more, than they like reading about romance. I think showing good bonds between a group of friends is always such a needed thing in a book, because it always gives us something to relate to, and they’re always so so fun to read about! I know that everyone can say that they have a few friends who’ve stuck along through everything, and seeing that reflected in books is always so special to read about!

Recs for books with strong friendships: Holes by Louis Sachar, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Playful fights // banter // casual teasing

Don’t we all love this trope? I think we can all relate to laughing till we cry while teasing or arguing with friends, whether over text, or in person. Seeing the same thing reflected in books is always amazing, because it always makes me crack-up, and just adds so much more fun, and entertainment to the story!! It doesn’t necessarily have to be banter, or fighting, but could just be an exchange of jokes, or humor!! I love this trope, and these days, a ton of authors are doing it well, and making it so relatable, because all young people/teens like to have fun, and make jokes, so making the writing feel authentic is no problem! It also helps add a whole new layer to relationships, and make the two people having this banter seem closer, and have a more genuine relationship.

Recs for books with playful fights // banter // casual teasing: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston


I adore a good heist. I love books with a good, well-planned heist, because the amount of meticulous planning behind each and every second of it, is so inspiring to look at. The ingenious ideas these guys have are seriously unbelievable, and sadly I haven’t been able to absorb any of their quick-witted minds through idolizing each and every of their ideas. But one can hope.

Recs for books with a good heist: Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas, Heist Society by Ally Carter, The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Clever plots with unexpected twists

I am trying so hard to refrain from recommending Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom for *almost* all of these prompts!! However, if I had to explain a clever plot with lots of unexpected twists, I would definitely go for those 2 books! There are so many cleverly placed twists in the story, that you never know what to expect, and I think that’s what made it one of my favourite reads of 2020! I have zero idea of any books with twists as great, so if you have any recs, please tell me!!

Villain POVs // villain origin stories

I always feel it’s so interesting to learn about why a villain made the choices they did, or why they’ve chosen to murder 302 people an hour, because those reason are always so fascinating. I feel like a ton of these “villain origin stories” are always emotional, and heartbreaking, because it’s *almost* always a traumatic experience that’s made the villain act the way they have. All these villains are also somehow diabolical masterminds, so the way their minds work just stun me.

Recs for books with Villain POVs // origin stories: The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story by Leigh Bardugo, Vicious by V.E. Schwab, Circe by Madeline Miller

What are some of your favourite tropes in YA fiction? Do you have any good enemies-to-lovers recs, or even good heist novels? Because I NEED them!! What characters do you enjoy reading about?

66 thoughts on “Discussion: My Favourite Tropes in YA Fiction”

  1. Aaaaaaaaaaah this was such an interesting post!
    *Chanting*FENCE, FENCE, FENCE, FENCE, FENCE, FENCE. Okay for reference, Fence is a graphic novel series about a boy, Nicholas, who’s trying to earn a place on the boarding school he goes to’s fencing team because he has to get on (his scholarship depends on it). And like he’s also enemies with the second best fencer in the country (well, it’s sort of a one-sided enemy thing) and then they end up going to the same school and like AAAAH ITS SUCH A SLOW BURN. Seriously they haven’t gotten together yet and there’s four volumes so far BUT they are friends now so that’s good. But its SO GOOD. READ IT it doesn’t take too long to read anyways, it’s four graphic novels and they’re really fast.
    Also: how did you NOT add Six of Crows to your heist trope recs?????
    Aah I love banter and strong friendships too! I’m glad you like morally gray characters because I’m writing a book with some very morally gray ones (I mean, not like it’s going to be published for…a long time if ever).
    Loved this post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ahh thank you so much phoenix!! so fence has been on my radar for a while but i didn’t look too much into it, but after what you told me, i think i might give it a go. i will read it hopefully soon once i can get myself copies!! i was trying not to add six of crows / crooked kingdom to literally every rec, because they’re a part of so many of these tropes, which is why i didn’t put it in heist, and i wanted to recommend something different to all the people who’ve already read six of crows haha! banter and strong friendships are to die for!! ahh i hope you publish your novel, or leave me an arc, because i want to read all about your morally grey characters!! thank you for your lovely comment 💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aaaaaaaah it’s so good ha ha. Well yeah but like…Six of Crows! Is literally a heist! How could you NOT? Ha ha. Well…the novel will prob NOT be published for a very long time, I don’t have a clear idea of how to start is and I CANT. FIGURE. OUT. HOW. TO. START. IT. Which is super frustrating.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes yes yes to all of these!!!! Enemies-to-lovers will honestly never get old — and that tweet is hilarious, it describes what I love about this trope so well 😂 And yess sibling/family relationships are the best, it absolutely deserves more appreciation for how heartwarming and lovely it is!! Far from the Tree is a perfect example of this trope at its best 😍 And ahhh morally gray and secretly-super-sweet characters are the besttt!!

    This is such a great list, Ahaana!! I love it ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ok, first of all, thank you so much for your lovely comment, abby 🥺❤!! enemies-to-lovers is one of the best tropes of all time!! the tweet definitely describes what i love about this trope, and i’m so glad you can relate to it as well!! reading about sibling relationships, or family relationships in books are always so special!! i haven’t read far from the tree, but it was shelved as “family-relationships” loads of times on goodreads, so i added it as a rec!! it’s on my tbr though, and hopefully, i get to it soon!! morally grey and secretly-super-sweet characters are definitely something i adore!! ❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hear the words “heist novel” and I just think of Six of Crows haha. But I mean it’s one of those books that just has everything you could possibly want or need in a story. Just perfection. I too love the enemies to lovers trope – there’s just so much good tension angsty stuff going on there and that dynamic is really fun. Also YES to villain POVS – it can be really exciting when it’s done well. I’m intrigued to see Circe is a book with that trope because I’ve been on the fence about reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes!! six of crows is pure perfection!! i was struggling not to recommend it for almost every trope on this list, which is why you’ll find it missing from the ones like “heist” and “strong friendships” – i wanted to recommend something underrated, something with not enough hype, haha! i adore the dynamic, and how it slowly changes in enemies-to-lovers!! villain POVs are definitely super interesting to read about!! i haven’t read circe yet, but it is a villains POV, and i’m hoping to read it soon!! thank you for your lovely comment 💙✨

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this discussion post Ahaana, really well written, I could find myself resonating a lot! Ahh I’m not the biggest fan of enemies to lovers but that tweet is slowly changing my mind because that kind of progression is just so incredible to read about! I’m all aboard with you on found family, it is so heartwarming ahhh… and I love strong friendships too, I’m just sad at the lack of male-female platonic relationships because YA always encourages romance ahh! Lovely post and I greatly appreciate the recommendations! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much, cherelle 🥺❤ i love the enemies-to-lovers trope with all of my heart, and if you want some good recs – i’d suggest serpent & dove, and the princess knight because i know you’ve read (and loved) acot&r (who doesn’t!?) found family, as well as strong friendships are always so special to read about!! i totally agree – there is definitely a lack in male-female platonic relationships, i feel like there should be more books that feature this trope!! thank you so much, again!! 💗✨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Omg, I loved reading this post, Ahaana!! We have very similar faves hehe. Enemies to lovers just cannot be trumped, though I will say I have been OBSESSED with friends to lovers. Like on an astronomical level and !!!! oof THE YEARNING. Also, love found family and morally grey. And banter!! SO GOOD.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahaana your blog has triggered my unsatiated appetite for “Heist” books. After Joining the Air Force somehow I drifted away from such reading but the finer learnings on planning and strategy stayed with me till date.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved reading this post!! I love the tropes you mentioned so I’ve definitely received some recommendations from this post! My favourite trope is probably friends-to-lovers and also casual teasing 100%. I love seeing that banter between characters and you’re right it just makes it so authentic. Found family is also so beautiful – Six of Crows of course is my favourite example of this but I also love Ace of Shades for that too. I’ve heard The Gilded Wolves has the found family trope too so I’m excited to give that one a try!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much!! i hope when you get to one, you enjoy it!! i love all of these tropes so much, and banter just makes it all the more engaging, and realistic!! found family is definitely always super special to read about!! i haven’t read ace of shades, or the gilded wolves, but hopefully i get a chance to soon!! ❤

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  8. I don’t mind the enemies to lovers trope, feel I neither love it or hate it – it seems to be 50-50 chance whether I’ll like it in any given story.
    I do love a found family story though and stories with strong friendships because not all relationships need to be romantic and more authors need to realise that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i feel like a lot of authors don’t execute the enemies-to-lovers trope properly, and only include them in their novel to jump on the hype train, which leads the trope to not be as good, but i do love it when it’s done properly! found families are so special, and i definitely agree with you when you say that authors need to realize that all relationships don’t need to be romantic, because teens relate more with strong friendships and bonds 💙

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There has to be a good reason for an enemies to lovers relationship and too often it just comes out of nowhere just for the sake of it I think.

        Aw, I read a book recently with a female main character and it turned out that there were three guys in her life that all ended up being potential romantic relationships, it was terrible! Like, the idea that a girl and a boy can have a relationship based on friendship did not exist! Yeah, authors need to stop shoehorning romance in because they think people can’t just be friends when a friendship would actually be a much more powerful and relatable relationship to have.

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  9. Ahh, this is such a great post!! I was nodding along basically the whole time.🥰 I love books with strong friendships and found families so much too- there’s just something special about reading about such a close knit group of people. It definitely makes me grateful for the friends in my life, and I also think that a really good book can make it feel almost like you’re a part of the group, too. I also really like heists! I don’t read a lot of fantasy so I’m not usually reading about them, but when I do (mostly in Six of Crows, not going to lie) I always love them and get super interested in everything going on. I really loved this post! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much, olivia 🥺❤ reading about strong friendships, and bonds are always so special!! i feel like they remind us a lot about our own friends, and how much we love them!! ahah six of crows is legendary!! i haven’t met one person who hasn’t liked it!! ahh thank youu 🥰❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much!! i hope you get to read one of the recs – and if you do, you enjoy it! i also love when the nnarrator/protagonist has a slightly ironic, or sarcastic tone, and i’ve liked some john green (basically everything of his other than the fault in our stars lol)

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  10. ohhh this is such a great post, Ahaana – i literally love every single trope you mentioned haha ☺️ in addition to enemies-to-lovers, i also really enjoy friends-to-lovers because the transition between friendship and a romantic relationship can be so casual yet so beautiful/touching at the same time 💓 also, a recommendation i have for enemies-to-lovers is Crier’s War, if you haven’t read it already 🤩 it’s a very emotional YA fantasy with fantastic world-building and i really enjoyed it!

    i also really love casual banter and i LOVE how you mentioned Red, White & Royal Blue for that trope – Alex & Henry have my entire heart haha i love them (and this book) so much ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much!! i’m so glad you enjoy all these tropes!! i adore enemies-to-lovers, although i like reading friends-to-lovers as well! i recently got an ARC of you have a match by emma lord, and it featured friends-to-lovers (as a side-trope, along with the main plot), and it was super fun to read, so you should try that out!! ❤ i’ve heard so many amazing things about crier’s war (ahh an f/f fantasy feat. enemies to lovers!!), but i haven’t read it yet!! hopefully i get a chance to soon!! red, white and royal blue has been on my tbr for the longest, and though i haven’t read it yet, i know it includes a TON of banter, so i added it to the list!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ahh I love all these tropes! I really need to read more books with the found family trope, I’ve only read a few but absolutely loved them ❤

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  12. YES I agree with so many of these!! I think we’re all here for the found family, sibling and family relationships, morally grey characters, girls who kick butt, softies, BANTER, twisty plots, and villain POVs. EXCELLENT list Ahaana!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. ahh i love all of these tropes too!! but i don’t think many people mention a plot with good twists as one of their favorite tropes & it’s one of my absolute faves so i’m glad that you mentioned it 🥺🥺 i just love being surprised by the author and going “that was so smart!”. i think that’s why i enjoyed six of crows & really like heist stories—because heist stories usually involve some meticulous planning where you’re in awe of the mastermind’s genius! & i’m one of the 249384 people who loves enemies to lovers but only when it’s done right. i hate that so many people capitalize on its popularity & don’t write it right. i absolutely hate when it turns out that they liked each other the whole time bc i want to see the progression of feelings!! 😭 i don’t want the male love interest to confess that they were only mean to the female mc bc he liked her or something. that tweet you referenced is 100% how i like my enemies to lovers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh caitlin i loved seeing your comment because i adore your blog and your content – and i just got so excited seeing your comment here!! i’m also so happy we have similar faves ❤ plots with good twists are the absolute best, because you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and it’s always so thrilling to read an unpredictable book!! i definitely agree with you there!! six of crows was SO smart, and i honestly didn’t expect how GENIUS kaz would turn out!! i also loathe how many people just include enemies-to-lovers in their novels just to jump on the hype train, and don’t execute it properly!! i also hate when all the tension is missing – like ahhh we want to see ow the feelings develop!! not how they liked each other the whole time lol!! 😭✌ also hahah yes the tweet is the exact definition of a perfect enemies to lovers!! thanks for commenting!! 💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

  14. is it possible you read my mind whilst doing this post ??? because I was saying a passionate YES to every point !! I so agree with enemies to lovers or friends needed to be done right as I think I’m quite picky with it and there needs to be a long term progression with small but significant changes over time !! also I wish I read more enemies to friends because I don’t see it enough !!
    MORALLY GRAY CHARACTERS, THEY SAY THEY DON’T CARE BUT THEY ARE SOFTIES, FOUND FAMILIES, VILLAIN POVS!! yes to all of them !! this post was the literal definition of perfect, I loved it SO much!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ahh i think i might have 🥺💕 enemies to lovers or friends is something i need done well!! i’m also super picky, and i feel like it’s wasted if they “liked each other all along” – because i’m here for the tension and angst!! WE NEED THE PROGRESS!! also we 100% need to see more enemies to friends in books!! sophie!! you’re the sweetest!! i’m so glad you agree with me!! ❤️


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