A Rant about Tropes 


Many of you know I work in a library. I love working in a library, it’s a dream job, and I suspect that many of you are secretly jealous. Well — You’ll be even more envious when I tell you that the head librarian expects me to read books, so I can better recommend them. 

How sweet is that? 

I Just Finished

A book by Jordan Sonnenblick. Drums, Girls + Dangerous Pie. It’s a fabulous book, by the way, and one I highly recommend. It’s well worth five stars and currently has a 4.25 rating with a whooping 27,312 people voting on Goodreads. 

It’s about a family whose youngest son gets cancer. There are two boys in the family, with the oldest in middle school. The book deals with all the carnage that results from a cancer diagnosis. 

I read the book during my lunch breaks at work, and it made me weep. I don’t know if I ever really cry, but I certainly weep, and this book made me weep. 

Go buy it! Right now! This blog post will wait. 

So, when this book ended, I wanted something cheery for my next read, something uplifting, something that made my smile, nothing too heavy. 

I picked up: 

Book # 1 

A book about a girl with no arms: it had potential, and in a different time and place, I very well might have read it. However, the author spends a plot killing amount of time telling us how the girl copes with life with no arms. We don’t see her coping; we are told how she manages, and then her coping skills are explained in detail. (Ballet flats are better than boots, as it’s easier to use your feet, and she uses her feet a lot.) 

Book # 2

A book about a girl in constant pain because of chronic illness. Yep, there is no cure. The pain is constant whenever she uses a joint, and there are loads of joints in the body. Walking is especially painful. 

Knowing that walking is painful, her dad makes her walk nine blocks to school each and every day. Her mother either never asks or just goes along with this. Her parents are otherwise perfectly lovely; her mom takes her to the Dr., her dad is a dentist. (The Dr. never asks about the walking.) 

I know we have a reputation here in the States, but for God’s sake, take a bus. Honestly!

So, of course, she stops going to school. The school calls, but she deletes the messages, and she lied about her dad’s name, and well, that was the point I stopped reading. 

The plot was a little too much for me to swallow. 

I know parents are clueless, but seriously. 

Book # 3

I had my doubts about this book right from the start. 

The girl’s mother runs away early in her life, leaving her with her dad and brother. Her dad dies in a mining accident. Her brother then dies, I think in a fire, I can’t lie, I was starting to skim by this point, and the book opens with her at her brother’s funeral with her new foster parent. 

I can only imagine the plot points that were coming after this opening. 

So, I put the book down. 

Here’s my point

I enjoy reading about quirky kids with spunk and imagination, kids who don’t give up in the face of formidable odds. That makes for an exciting read. 

But it’s just as interesting to write about the trials and tribulations of teenage life. (Note, I didn’t use the word normal anywhere in that last sentence.) 

There is a love triangle in the book I finished, the one I loved, the one you have now purchased. 

The older boy is crushing on the super popular, gorgeous (beyond the ability of words to describe how pretty she is) girl. (She has a boyfriend, by the way.) 

He’s also friends with the wildly intelligent, musically gifted girl, who clearly likes him, but of course, he’s clueless about her. (I’m guessing you already knew that.) 

I would bet everything I owned that every male on the face of God’s green earth has had a crush on someone unattainable. Heck, I can name names. We all can relate. 

It’s cool to write about overarching human emotions, but try to stay away from the tired tropes. 

Stuck for what to read next? Check out our Reading Recs page. And if you’d like to support our work, please consider making a donation via our Donations page. We’re trying to raise money for paid commissions, so any contribution will bring us closer to that goal. Thank you for reading!

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