Book Tropes That Drive Me Mad

Dishing Junk – The act of dispensing ideas of little value in a casual or silly manner.

There are some things you read in a book and groan out loud…”Not this again!” Tropes that are either ridiculously common, or ridiculously un-sense-making. Here are my current maddening tropes. They change all the time.

Fated Mates

Fated Mates

“I smell your matiness! Let’s boink!”

This is a trope that consistently drives me mad. I’m in love with the “love” and the falling into love. I want to read the interplay between the characters and find out why they fall in love. When “fated mates” are introduced I lose that interplay. That insta-love ruins the falling. I’ll accept it more when one of the characters is very “opposed” to the mating. Then the other one has to work a little harder.

The Chosen One

“I shall save the world! But first, let me sext my boo…”

A teenager who’s only education is making it to sophomore year in high school is going to save the world. They’ve been given maybe a super power, or a fancy sword with some powers – and then are left to do it! Most of the time the majority of adults are clueless…sometimes it works. Sometimes it fails.

…Unless you’re Buffy.

Fated Mates
Book Tropes
Fated Mates

Evil Threats

“You will obey me or I shall blow up the World! I got a bomb in my shoe! Stop looking at it! It’s there!”

The hero or heroine is threatened to do something or the antagonist will kill their family, their friends, or the entire planet. Usually, it’s a threat of “I know where they live.” Sometimes the antagonist claims to have a doomsday device, with no proof, and holds hostage the hero or heroine because of this threat. It drives me batty.

Book Tropes

Secrets…Just Because

“We didn’t want to tell you…well because it’s a secret…”


The secret held for no reason whatsoever drives me crazy. This happens a lot in Young Adult. The parents fail to tell the child that it’s an alien, fated to blow up the world if it has sex, but they don’t tell the kid until they are already in love with someone and about to have sex. Why? No reason. We didn’t want to scare you.

Fated Mates
Book Tropes
Fated Mates

Virgins & Orgasms


Virgins are a little overplayed to begin with, but then add an orgasm to that…well I declare shenanigans. A little pressure, some pain – and then the chick is screaming as the best feeling ever is washing over her.

Little Women. Big Men.

“He was so big and hot and she was so petite and cute, she barely came up to his waist…the perfect size for–”


This is a common trope in Paranormal Romance. The big man, the little woman. The man is so big he towers over the female. The female is so small he might “break” her. I noticed this first in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. It was made more obvious when she went into detail about how her characters bought XXL Abercrombie shirts. Find me an XXL Abercrombie shirt and I’ll show you a normal Medium male’s shirt. Silliness. On top of this, the size of the female vs. the male is usually used as a power play. The male dominates the female and usually calls her cute little names like “Little One.” JOY!

Fated Mates

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  1. theophania

    Fated mates. Oh, yes. Loathe it, loathe it, loathe it. I’ve always read it as a very twenty-first century wish-fulfilment thing – the desire to have the perfect relationship instantly, and without having to do any of the work usually required to maintain a relationship. ‘Cos it’s fated, innit?

    And the big-man-little-woman thing. Hadn’t really thought about it – but, yes, distinctly remember reading one book where that really got on my wick. I sort of see it as the same kind of thing as billionaire-and-secretary, but in physical form: the man has the power, the woman has to submit. Sets my teeth on edge.

    Or, possibly, I’m just overthinking it, and I should go and lie down in a darkened room somewhere… 🙂

  2. Vicki

    Totally agree with the virgin one.

  3. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    So many of these. I can handle the fated mates in PNR/UF if done correctly, but I do think it is overused, but isn’t a hard “no” for me. I’ve read a few virgin stories that aren’t bad, but yes, they are overused and I agree that the mindblowing orgasms are a no here the first time through (at least for females, males should finish too soon). I’m going to add lack of communication, which is different that secrets. It isn’t that they are trying to keep something from each other, they just don’t have the ability to talk to each other, so things are misinterpreted. That drives me crazy in stories (and yes this is something I have in real life, though not with my other half, with another family member. Grrrr.).

  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    Lol, I agree with all of these. I especially hate it when not knowing a secret puts a protagonist in deadly danger, but the other characters won’t tell the protag the secret because they want to protect the protag from the awful truth. What kind of sense does that make?

  5. Fiona McGier

    What I detest are the male gazillionaires paired with the immature, shy young virgins with low self-esteem. I mean I can suspend disbelief along with the best of them, but people born to money like that hang out with others as wealthy as them. If they ever interact with the lower classes, it’s to tell their servants what they want them to do next. And if they ever notice any female attributes, it’s to do as Ah-nold did, and get her pregnant along with their wives, so they can hug themselves, snickering about their “dirty little secret.” No thanks. Won’t read ’em, won’t write ’em.

    • Parajunkee

      Oh – I must be reading the wrong books lol. Haven’t read those…I’ll have to keep my eyes open.

  6. Samantha

    I love your list! I have my tropes that make me CRAZY mad. One of the most annoying being the ‘miscommunication’. You know, she hears a rumor that he said this and then she is pissed but won’t talk to him. UGH! Thats so common in YA and NA!
    But, I love me some fated mates. LOVE IT!

  7. Lucy Dosch

    Very funny. It is a very notable list. You got the virgin orgasm but you forgot the best — the orgasm on command. If a man could get a woman to orgasm on command, orgasms would no longer be a mystery to men and they would command it ASAP so they could finish and take a nap. Or else it could be a really cool ability in a paranormal romance. This guy commands fire. This guy turns into a wolf. This guy gives orgasms on command. Guess who has more dates?

    • Parajunkee

      Oh yes Lucy! I think I shall save that one for a romance only post lol.

  8. Christen

    My biggest annoyance is when the character “can’t quite recall…” something. Its often a trope in YA. Its when the author can’t think of a reason for why the author doesn’t remember seeing someone earlier in the book or where they saw something before.

    • Parajunkee

      Oh yes – the “fuzzy” recall, even though it was described in the book. You are supposed to suspend disbelief that it was seen, forgotten, even though you the reader remember it.

  9. Stephanie Hartley

    I have to agree on The Chosen One front. Like seriously universe could you not find someone who’s actually got their priorities in order and isn’t still a child?!

    Steph –

    • Parajunkee

      The universes’ big joke…

  10. Heather Fowler

    NO ONE BEATS BUFFY. I have a shirt that says, “Always be yourself. Unless you can be Buffy Summers. Then, always be Buffy Summers.” It’s a takeoff on a famous Joss quote, “Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck.” LOL

    I have an actual LIST that I keep on my Evernote that I update when I’m reading. There are a LOT of really annoying tropes out there. I don’t mind the size one so much (I think I’m immured to it by now!) but I really try to avoid it in my writing. At least, I like my heroines curvy to plus-sized. The “he loves a round lady” trope might annoy as many people as “she’s so itsy bitsy, he’s so GINORMOUS!” trope, but… I like thinking of an actual human-shaped heroine, like me.

    My GIGANTIC pet peeve is the CONTRIVED CONFLICT. Much like your secrets one, the CONTRIVED CONFLICT is something ridiculous that throws the characters into chaos that could easily be solved if one of them, oh, I don’t know, ASKS THE OTHER CHARACTER ABOUT IT. Or reads a book. Or otherwise makes SOME effort to find out the truth of the situation. That makes me absolutely batty!

    • Parajunkee

      I want that shirt BTW. And oh yes! That’s in line with the secret – because half the time it is a secret being kept by the character. Romances for instances have this all the time. The heroine has an ex-husband she’s keeping secret or some other stupid BS that no one keeps secret. The whole town knows – but not the hero – who finds up and then declares it an “all-stop.” Grrr.

  11. Kari

    Yes to all especially the secrets. Those drive me crazy!

    • Parajunkee

      They do, especially when there is no reason.

      • Kari

        But it’s “for their own good”…except when it’s not.

  12. Maggie

    This is funny but all too familiar…every book I read has at least 2 of the above and if I am lucky I may encounter them all! LOL

    • Parajunkee

      Hee hee – I’m glad you like them. 😀

About The Author


Rachel, whom you might know as Parajunkee, is the blog owner of and the design blog To make matters even more confusing she is now a published author under the pen name of Gillian Zane. Rachel has been blogging for over eight years, designing / web programming for over fifteen, but her real love, reading, has been her favorite hobby since childhood. Rachel has won numerous awards for her writing, the blogs she has created and her design work. If you want to check out more about her books click "The Books" on the navigation bar at the top of the page.