Clichés and Tropes – Let’s Talk Bookish

Good afternoon, and welcome back! Today I have last Friday’s Let’s Talk Bookish post, as I am late with it again this week. I promise, I’m trying not to make it a habit.

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by me and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

The topic was: Clichés and Tropes (suggested by M. T. Wilson @ The Last Book on the Left)

I’m not actually 100% sure what the dictionary difference between the two are, so it’ll be nice to do some research and talk about what I think of them in general.

When I think of clichés, I think of common storylines like damsel in distress, or cheesy Disney endings where a true love’s kiss saves everything, etc.

When I think of tropes, I think of more specific character types, or relationship types, such as the funny but annoying sidekick, the found family theme, enemies/friends to lovers, etc.

So, according to Google, a cliché is “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought” while a trope is “a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression; a significant or recurrent theme; a motif.”

I think my understanding of both are kind of accurate, as clichés are easily overused and so…cliché lol, whereas tropes are more like certain types of something that frequently occur in books. As Dani said in her post:

I feel like in the bookish community trope can be more positive, as we use it just to describe common base themes ex. Lost Princess Trope or Enemies to Lovers Trope VS. where a cliche is almost always the bad version of that trope.

That’s a really great way to explain the difference.


How much do clichés/tropes affect your overall opinion of a book?

They matter a lot in my final rating, especially with clichés. If I read a book and I’m left thinking that it’s so cliché, then that’s probably going to be a 2 or 1 star book. Since there are usually multiple tropes in one book, all of them put together do play a big role in how much I enjoy it.


Some tropes that I don’t like:

  • Insta-love and love triangles (or squares. or hexagons. any shape really). I really dislike both of these because they feel fake, and there’s no emotional investment on my part that makes me ache for the characters. Love triangles are annoying because the main character is probably bouncing between the two love interests and I just think it’s really mean/rude to be using them or giving them both hope like that. Just choose one, or choose nobody and be done with it already.
  • The “I hate girly things” girl. Seriously, it’s not going to destroy your “strong determined woman” personality to like lipstick and dresses and heels. It could actually prove to be more helpful because people then underestimate you and you can beat them up spectacularly at the end of the day.
  • Damsel in distress. I don’t think I’ve actually really read a damsel in distress kind of book? Or I can’t remember one right now, but it is really annoying in movies. I’d much prefer it if the damsel cleverly got herself out of distress and also ended up having to save her “rescuer”. That sounds a lot more fun already.
  • The Chosen One. So many fantasies use The Chosen One trope, and I can’t fault them for it (someone has to stop the ancient evil from consuming the world), but I am getting tired of reading it so much. It’s not as bad as some of the other ones I’ve mentioned, but it’s not a favorite for sure.

And now, here are some tropes I do like with books that did them well:

Found Family/Team:


Obnoxiously Lovable Side Characters:


Boarding School/Tournament:

This Week’s Participants:

Dani @ Literary Lion | Rebecca @ Bex the Bibliophile | Ray @ Ray is Writing

Millay @ Millay’s Musings | Musing of Souls | Breanna @ Paws & Paperbacks

Jess @ Comfort Reads | Nicole @ Thoughts Stained With Ink

Raji @ Worlds Unlike Our Own | M.T. Wilson @ The Last Book on the Left

Jillian @ Jillian The Bookish Butterfly Blog

What do you think of clichés and tropes? What are some of your favorites + books that do them well? What are some of your least favorites? Do you think clichés can be done well? How was your January? Chat with me in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “Clichés and Tropes – Let’s Talk Bookish

  1. I also very much dislike the insta-love trope but for some reason I don’t hate the love triangle one xD If it’s done well, it’s highly entertaining ! What I also really hate is “the chosen one” trope. This one annoys me the most to be honest !! Great discussion, Rukky 💕

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  2. I HATE it when all the other girls except the main character are shown to be catty, shallow and jealous and when the main character looks down on them. People can be pretty and badass and friendly at the same time! I love it when books show great friendships. And found family!!

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  3. I love Found family as well! But I have to say that I often like the Chosen One trope as well!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

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  4. I forgot about “insta-love”! I hate that trope, too, so that’s probably why…but I also forgot about the “found family” and “obnoxiously lovable” side character. Those I like.

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