Don’t Judge A Book By Its Tropes

Tropes. We all have opinions on them. Many people may even have a specific trope that makes them go

Maybe that trope will even stop you from reading the book if you dislike it a lot.

Me, personally? I try not to do that. Why? Because just because I think one element of a book is tacky or bad, doesn’t mean that the rest of the book is bad. A book may be beautifully written and yet still have instalove. Or it could have incredible characters who happen to be in a well done love triangle.

What I’m saying is, I try to give the book a chance to see how the trope plays out before nixing it all together. But I do have criteria for when I meet a trope.

When thinking about tropes I try to ask myself two basic questions: 1) does this help to progress the story in a natural way and/or 2) does this help the characters grow and develop further? If the answer is yes to one or both of those questions, than I think the trope is justified. But if the answer to both of those questions is no, then the trope shouldn’t have been used (generally). These questions help me figure out if the book is worth reading despite its trope.

So that’s my system, what’s yours? Do you nix books automatically because they have a trope? Or do you evaluate on a case-by-case basis? If you evaluate tropes what questions do you ask yourself to figure ut if the trope is necessary?

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Lila is a 27-year-old college student studying physics and a lover of literature. When she's not busy reading or saving the world through science, Lila can be found singing jazz and blues and obsessing over hedgehogs (a.k.a. the cutest animals in the multiverse!)

20 thoughts on “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Tropes

    1. that’s an unfortunate truth. i try to shy away from those books though, but it can be hard, because some books ARE popular sellers because of the tropes!

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  1. Great post! I have to admit that if I read the back cover of a book and the blurb is very love-triangle heavy, I do tend to stay away. Having said that, there are some love triangles which are done very well (I have never minded love triangles in Cassandra Clare’s or Sarah J. Maas’ books, for example), so I think it depends on the skill of the author. Maybe I should be less dismissive haha! If the concept of a book really appeals to me, but it contains a trope I don’t like, I’ll probably still give it a go, if I’m intrigued enough by the concept! 🙂

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    1. i’m glad to hear that! it’s good to have an open mind. i think troopes definitely depend a lot on the skill of the author, like you said. they can be agents of change and growth when done well, but they can go so horribly wrong too.

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  2. I like the way you think about it! I generally add them to my TBR, but they definitely aren’t the ones I’m jumping to read first… There are always exceptions, so I try not to judge too harshly like you said 🙂


  3. To be honest I don’t really mind, I mean I have a few pet peeves like insta-love but there a lot of books that are my favourites that do contain insta-love.

    I enjoy love triangles as well AS LONG as they have a reason and contribute to the characters growth or plot line. As long as the plot and characters are written well I don’t mind the tropes included 🙂
    Great post ❤

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    1. thanks! ah yes, instalove seems to be on a lot of peoples “nix it list”, haha! i admit, i’m not a huge fan of it, but sometimes i’ve found that its necessary for the sake of the pace of the story 😛 most people seem to also dislike love triangles with the exception of cassie clare’s one. i don’t mind them as much, but, like you said, they should help the characters grow.

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    1. that’s good! it’s totally good to know yourself enough to be wary, but still give things a chance. after all, you can always set a book down 🙂

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  4. There are some tropes that I love and some that I hate. But nonetheless, I try to give thw book a chance and just like you if they don’t affect the plot factor at all, it comes down as a dissapointment. Love the topic and great post!

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    1. thank you! i guess tropes can be disappointing if they make the book kinda predictable, which i think is what annoys most people. but it’s always good to give something a chance.

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  5. I completely agree with your point. I tend to still read books even if they have tropes I hate. I don’t have anything personal against it, and if the trope actually works in favour of the plot and adds another dimension to the story, I’d give it a go. But it the author makes it really cliche and it’s not written well, that doesn’t have anything to do with the trope.

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    1. i’m glad to hear it! i think tropes depend a lot more on the author than people think. if the author is a good writer then they’ll find a way to twist the trope to the story rather than having the story twisted to fit the trope.

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  6. There really aren’t any tropes that I severely dislike. I’ve seen them done well and not-so-well. It completely depends on the book and the way the author integrates into the story. I really like your system of determining whether or not to read a book.

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