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    19 Book Tropes That Readers Are 100% Obsessed With, And 20 They'd Give Anything To Never See Again

    I, too, can't resist a found family story.

    Every literary trope is only as good as the storyteller using it, but there are some that readers wholeheartedly adore, and others that they dread seeing on the page.

    Naturally, the bibliophiles of r/books have discussed both topics at length, in threads like u/R_J2's "What are some common tropes in books that you hate?" and u/HelloDesdemona's "Your Favorite Tropes You Never Get Tired Of." Here are the best responses from both threads.

    Responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

    1. LOATHE: "The celebrity falls in love with someone because she doesn’t recognize him and that’s a change for him. She’s a 'normal girl' who’s more beautiful than she realizes."


    2. LOVE: "Villain protagonists. Mainly because I can’t find many of them."


    3. LOATHE: "Protagonists who refuse to respect their friends' ability to make their own decisions in some misguided attempt to 'protect' them."


    4. LOVE: "When the antagonist joins forces with the protagonist to face a bigger threat."


    5. LOATHE: "When the main character takes every possible opportunity to sacrifice themselves (usually in YA). Like, no 16-year-old is seriously going to offer up their life for the tiniest thing, and we know that they’re not actually going to die, especially when it’s only halfway through the damn book. It’s SO unrealistic and SO predictable and quite frankly, no 16-year-old is that ‘good’ of a person."


    harry potter being cornered by Voldemort

    6. LOVE: "First contact with aliens! Ideally with some kind of interesting communication problem between the two species, but I’m honestly not that picky."


    the book cover of Dawn by Octavia Butler

    7. LOATHE: "Hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, emotionally-disconnected, gruff-rough-and-tough, rumpled-trench-coat-wearing, middle-aged, wife-left-me-because-I'm-a-shitty-husband, blues-and-jazz-loving, I'll-do-it-my-way, hang-the-consequences, lone-wolf detective that manages to always get-their-man. Yawn."


    8. LOVE: "I'm a complete sucker for enemies-to-lovers. Also, self-sacrifices make my heart melt. And, of course, when the love interest is pushing the main character away because they perceive themself as dangerous."


    couple dancing in a jane austen movie

    9. LOATHE: "When a character hurts or kills an animal to develop their character as evil. It definitely works, but the method is way too easy."


    10. LOVE: "I LOVE the found family trope. It's just so wholesome and can really add depth to the story as the characters realize that they care so much for each other."


    11. LOATHE: "Not quite sure what it's called, but the one where a group of people secretly have magical powers, but have hidden it from the rest of society for centuries. Not only does it feel like lazy world building to let the author just ignore questions of how their magic would influence the world, but it's also been everywhere, especially in YA fantasy since Harry Potter."


    harry potter pointing his wand in threat to a bully

    12. LOVE: "Anything where the plot revolves around a library or book, especially if it's mysterious. The Name of the Rose and Shadow of the Wind are my favorite examples."


    the book cover of Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    13. LOATHE: "'Two people of opposite sex have to solve this problem together. There is no way in hell that they aren't going to fall in love, that would just be weird. What are friends or colleagues?'"


    14. LOVE: "I am a complete sucker for despised, genius, underdog kids triumphing over every obstacle in sight. Anything from Ender's Game to Anne of Green Gables."


    a character skipping down the street with a basket in hand

    15. LOATHE: "The group of people with inborn superpowers that are inexplicably treated like an oppressed underclass despite the fact that they could easily kill everyone if they wanted to. Not just because it’s kinda dumb and usually doesn’t add up, but because it rings hollow to the themes it’s supposed to explore."


    16. LOVE: "I’m a sucker for Faustian stories, and I've yet to find one I didn’t enjoy. If someone is bargaining their soul with the forces of darkness, I’m here for it."


    17. LOATHE: "Tragic backstories that are never brought up again after they're introduced or affect the character. Only ever used for cheap sympathy."


    18. LOVE: "Self-aware, angsty AIs and robots, especially snarky ones. Well before The Murderbot Diaries came along, I was a fan of Tom Holt's Blonde Bombshell and A. Lee Martinez's The Automatic Detective. It just gets to me! I love the humanity in the inhuman, especially when it's shaped by human hands."


    book cover of All Systems Red by Martha Wells

    19. LOATHE: "As a twin myself, pretty much every twin-related trope you can think of. No, we’re not creepy or psychic, we’re not two halves of the same coin, one of us is not the evil one, and we both don’t want to have sex with you. Thanks."


    20. LOVE: "Woman inherits or gains some sort of employment in a large, wood-paneled house. Secrets. Are there ghosts?"


    21. LOATHE: "I'm actually tired of franchise starters. I love fantasy and sci-fi, but I almost never see a one-shot any more. This is, I believe, due to how badly writers are paid. They have to build a following, an audience, to generate a somewhat stable income, and pretty much the only way they can do this is by binding readers to their name and brand."


    22. LOVE: "I can never get enough of 'kids on bikes.' The coming-of-age adventures with a group of friends will always be a fave."


    a group of kids on bikes looking at their reflection in a building

    23. LOATHE: "People getting 'sorted' into a specific group. After the success of Harry Potter, every fantasy book I read as a teen had some sort of 'you are part of this group' thing going, and damn, it was annoying. You can‘t all copy the Hogwarts houses. Get some new ideas."


    a person in front of an audience putting rocks and different objects in giant bowls

    24. LOVE: "The ragtag struggling team ramping up and sometimes getting into a major competition. This is often with a coach or team leader who reluctantly accepted the position."


    25. LOATHE: "Conflicts that could be solved by taking like regular humans. It always starts with a misunderstanding, but rather than just speaking to each other, they storm off, and if they talk, they just say, 'Please listen to me' or 'You got it all wrong,' instead of just saying whatever the misunderstanding was."


    26. LOVE: "Give me all your court drama and aristocratic nonsense in a period setting. Arranged marriages, failed proposals, affairs, ambitions, politics, witches, horrible secrets. Please give it to me, served on a platter, and I will devour it."


    a large group eating dinner from a period piece

    27. LOATHE: "Fake dating. Is my life just boring, because I have never met anyone who has ever participated in fake dating? Seems so stupid and unrealistic to me."


    a couple walking away from a crowd in a period piece

    28. LOVE: "I'm also a huge fan of an anti-hero or villain with a conscience. I like when a book is subtle and allows me as the reader to decide who is good and who is bad, instead of the author drawing a clear line."


    29. LOATHE: "I feel like oftentimes characters are able to read just a little too much simply by looking into another's eyes. 'She looked into his eyes and saw hope with a tinge of sadness, layered with uncertainty mixed with conviction.' Obviously that's a bit of an exaggeration, but you see my point."


    30. LOVE: "Another character type I really enjoy are gentle and feminine heroines who survive by their wits and compassion. Think Sansa Stark in A Song of Ice and Fire, particularly in A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows."


    a character with her back towards a fight scene

    31. LOATHE: "Making a girl obnoxious and extremely confrontational means they’re strong and independent. This is also done purely because the character is a girl. There are so many better ways to portray this but some authors get really weird when writing women."


    32. LOVE: "I love a proper bastard of a villain. I don't want to sympathize with the bad guy, I want him dead."


    close up of a character in a room

    33. LOATHE: "For some reason, I’ve never liked the plot of someone unjustly accused who has to solve the crime and clear their name."


    34. LOVE: "An underdog getting revenge. Gotta love it."


    35. LOATHE: "When a character is a runner, because they want to be free or get away from where they are. And when a character likes math or science, because it's a binary right and wrong. Just two very tired characterization tropes."


    36. LOVE: "The outcast revealing themselves as worthwhile to the community."


    black and white still of characters sitting on a porch swing in How to Kill a Mockingbird

    37. LOATHE: "The main character carrying a terrible, horrendous, shameful burden that is alluded to constantly. Turns out to be something very common."


    38. LOVE: "I love a strong, smart female protagonist in a historical setting outwitting everyone. It’s almost always completely lacking historical accuracy, and I couldn’t care less! I also love historical fiction that is historically accurate and weaves in true facts from the era, such as illnesses and rulers. And I love a couple or group of people who are reincarnated through time together."


    39. LOATHE: "The amnesiac spy. Bourne was good. Everyone else sucks."


    a man wearing a sweater walking down the street

    What are your least favorite literary tropes? And what are the ones that'll make you immediately want to read more? Tell us about them in the comments!