I see a lot of people, particularly on Twitter, mentioning their pet peeves in books, or tropes that they’ve seen so much, they can’t stand the sight of it one more time. And usually, though I understand where they’re coming from, I 100% disagree!
So, here are some of my most unpopular opinions!
#4- The “released a breath she didn’t know she was holding” isn’t a big deal
People on book Twitter HATE this line, or anything similar to it. So much so, that is was practically a bookish meme. And, thanks to Twitter, I can’t not notice when an author uses this line; it always jumps right out at me.
But, if I’m honest, it doesn’t bother me at all. There are times in my life when I realize, “Wait, why am I holding my breath? I didn’t mean to do that?” And I’m not even in life-and-death or steamy-romantic situations! I can hardly blame characters in those intense moments for holding a breath without realizing.
#3- I am SO over the idea of, “And then Harry woke up, and realized it was all a dream.”
I’ve seen this one the most with Harry Potter, which is why I gave it as the example, but I’ve seen it with other stories, too. This idea that, after we read thousands of pages following these characters on great adventures, suddenly they wake up and realize it was all their imagination. Most times I’ve seen people advocate for this, they seem to do it out of a want to shock and surprise the reader, but I cannot stand this idea.
In a Creative Writing class, not doing this is the first thing you learn after “show, don’t tell.” It takes away any impact the story may have had. If you go on this crazy, fantastic adventure, and then bring it back to “lol jk it was a dream” or “haha just kidding, it was all a figment of their imagination,” all the character development and all the struggles we saw become moot. Great books leave readers feeling like, “Well, if Harry Potter can make it through all that, then I can make it through this.” Somehow, the idea of, “Well, if Harry Potter dreamt all that, I can… idk, dream it, too, I guess?” doesn’t have the same appeal.
It also wastes the readers’ time. Like, imagine reading the thousands of pages of Harry Potter, and then you get to the end and it’s like, “Oh yeah, that? That was all for nothing. None of happened and nothing matters, bye!” I would be TICKED. Honestly, this suggestion annoys me way more than it probably should.
#2- The lack of parental figures in YA Fantasy isn’t a bad thing
I’ve seen this one a lot. People always ask why all these best-selling characters have dead parents and/or horrible parental figures. “Just once,” they say, “we want our characters to experience a happy, healthy parent who loves them.” While I understand that there is sometimes a lack of sensitivity for readers who may have lost parents, I still think that loss is necessary for most stories.
Reason #1 is that the story would likely become the parents’, not the teens’/young adults’. Because no good parent is going to let their child risk their lives, the parents will probably be the ones going on the adventure, leaving their child home in safety. Unless that child sneaks out to handle it on their own, in which case, you’ve still removed the parents from the story, which kind of defeats the purpose.
Reason #2 is that it frees character to develop in ways they couldn’t otherwise. If Kaz Brekker still had loving, caring parents, do you think he would have become the Bastard of the Barrel? Yes, that example is a little extreme, but a lot of times the loss of a parent, whether physically or mentally, is the catalyst for the character becoming who they need to be to fit the story (see: Prince Zuko in Avatar: the Last Airbender, Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Asha in The Last Namsara, Jude in The Cruel Prince) or even the catalyst for the entire story (see: Harry Potter, The Name of the Wind, An Ember in the Ashes).
#1- Romance in non-romance books is SUPER realistic
I’m a huge fantasy reader, and so I see this particularly with other sci-fi/fantasy readers. They’ll read a book, and then say something along the lines of, “The story was great, but why does there need to be romance?!? My girl’s saving the world, she doesn’t have time for smooching!!” Again, I get where they’re coming from; sometimes a romance isn’t handled well, but I actually think a bit of romance in those situations is more realistic than the romance in the
very few romance novels I’ve read. In fact, I think having that romance there is more realistic than having it be non-existent.
Here’s the thing: when a character is thrown into a life-and-death, you’re-the-only-hope-for-our-world types of situations, that character is going to be sharing some intense moments with the members of their group. They’re going to see each other break down, they’re going to see each other triumph, they’re going to see how each person handles loss or victory, fear or contentment, joy and anger. That kind of emotional closeness usually brings about very strong emotions. And since these characters
hopefully don’t hate the other people in their group, those strong feelings often result in affection or love. So, to me, having that romance is WAY more realistic than not having it on the basis of “they’re busy.” To me, it’s the intensity of their situation that makes the romance MORE realistic, not less.
Thanks for reading!
What do you think? Do you hate me for any of my blasphemous comments? Or maybe you actually agree with me? Do you have any unpopular opinions of your own? Let me know in the comments below!