Over-used Features in The YA World

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Remember when those "strong" heroines started owning part of the YA genre? Remember how we loved them, and adored all the kickass little things they did? Well, I do too. But,  have such  heroines become too frequent? Whatsoever the answer might be, here goes a list (I know you love lists!) involving over-used features in the YA world!

The mysterious love interest with piercing eyes 
Does it ring a bell? Or rather, does it ring bells?

I confess that I don't always complain about this element, since hey, how do you expect one to be immune at all times? Even I have my limits.

There is one thing that contributes very much to the heroine's impression on the mysterious guy. Good looks. The mysterious love interest definitely has to look good, and depending on how each heroine's mind works they'd go on and we can only hope that they won't become obsessive.

And if the good look factor is not present? Definitely a creep. Run for the life!

Look at Stephanie Perkins and her boys. That's how we like our boys. Not like some 100 year old in a teenager's body, who speaks two words per second and just looks with his piercing eyes.

No complaints if the said love interest is in such a 100-year-old-in-teenagers-body condition though. But wow, that's some hell of an age difference.

Information chunks
Definitely not the frankest of titles, but there's much I'd like to say. These information chunks are ever so annoying.

a) The story begins, the main character goes to stand in front of the mirror and describes their features - with no relation to the plot whatsoever.

b) The main character encounters the villain. The villain then tells the MC all things from history, to the future plans, to every little detail and takes up all the time they could use to...er..be a villain instead.
c) The main character meets another character who explains a good part of what is going on in the story

 A few ten pages are wasted on information on who is what, and what happened, and what not

Information chunks can be a great way to feed answers to the eager readers but really, splashing all of it at once is really not the healthy way.

I don't know about you, but I prefer it when questions are answered while maintaining the flow of the plot.

The "Strong" Heroine
From Katniss to June (characters that I absolutely love), these heroines are well-known for their 'strong' personality and 'badass' behavior and 'kickass' actions. While I do enjoy seeing these ladies kicking asses, it's high time this has turned over-used. And it has.

A girl who wields a sword is definitely no problem in itself, but the girl who wields a sword that no one can beat, who has the emotional chart of a fish, beats everyone, and hates everything girly?

 Yeah, look at all the names of such girls flooding into your brain.

That Girl Whose Purpose Is..Uh?
We've all met that random female character who suddenly barges into the story and is snotty (optional), rude (optional), pretty, and supposedly everything our main character never could be. I'm sure at least one such character would have come to your mind. Whats-her-name from Ruin and Rising is one good example, in addition to whats-her-name from Delirium. What's the point of these characters, then? A golden question for sure.

My best guess would be that the love interest has to be seen with this certain girl in order to make the heroine jealous. I mean really, what other purpose could it serve?

Unless, they, you know, have an angry make out session soon after the heroine admits her jealousy in fury. (Quick! What's the book that comes to your mind?)

A Prophecy Involving The Love Interest
Often found in High/Fantasy or Historical books, this is a  very common factor. As good as prophecies sound, and as interesting as they can be, they are getting quite too common.

Some rich prince of the dualoodeee-sunflower-gardens (not sure if he exists) has a poor girl from the depth of the darkness brought to him by the king of said sunflower garden. There's no going against the king.  It is rather possible that this prophecy involves something about them having to marry each other to save kingdoms.

OR! When love is strong between our two characters and some random scary oracle (eheh) lets them know that if they continue loving each other, they'll die.

Or when there's a "chosen" one who will save the world.

Lab/Project Partners
Does this even need any more reasoning?

This is quite possibly the best and easiest way for two important characters to get to know each other which is probably why it's so popular.

I almost stop myself from taking out my eyeballs when this partner just happens to be the (to-be-love-interest) the character loathes.

Blacking Out
Intense! Intense! Intense! FIGHT! WAR! SPARTA! EVIIIIIIL! RAWWWR! AAAnnnnd - *black out*

Often when there are hardcore fighting sequences early into the story, the  main character just blacks out. (Dying is no option yet, duh).


a) Wake up in a strange place and discover their new fate
b) Wake up to find themselves in the holds of the villain
c) Wake up in the arms of a guy or something similar

Stop BLACKING OUT. Can't believe the world depends on you.

Just kidding.
(You wish.)

That's all! How many of the above do you agree with?
Do you know any more over-used features?
Let me know!