Saturday, November 5, 2011


After reading my fair share of paranormal romances, I've come across a few stereotypes in my lifetime. And I'm not saying that I hate paranormal YA--in fact, I actually kind of like the genre. But there are some really annoying clichés that piss me off.
Character stereotypes:
The Beautiful Outcast
Ah, this is the most common stereotype. She thinks she's ugly, awkward, and a freak of nature, but she has no idea how beautiful she really is. In fact, as she passes through the halls at school, guys stare at her sheer beauty. Of course, this sparks the ire of the popular bitch/queen bee. She's the most relatable to teen girls because who hasn't ever felt like an outcast before? In most YA books, she acts as the narrator. In most YA paranormal books, she acts as the love interest for the supernatural love interest.
Common examples: Grace (Shiver by Maggie Steifvater), Bella (Twilight by Stephanie Meyer), Luce (Fallen by Lauren Kate), Ever (Evermore by Alyson Noel)

The Popular B***h
Blonde, rich, vapid, etc. She's the enemy antagonist who rides around in a Mercedes, wears Prada, and usually has her fingers hooked into the male love interest. Occasionally, we're given a little more depth to this character (e.g. maybe she has family problems) but generally, this character is left for us to hate.
Common examples: All the blonde bimbos who oppose the Beautiful Outcasts above

The Best Guy Friend
This is the short leg of the love triangle. The best friend usually acts as the main protagonist's support. He's usually funny, comforting, and sensible--all characteristics that counterbalance his best friend's stupidity. Since The Beautiful Outcast is so insecure, she needs The Best Guy Friend to lean on but in a totally platonic way! That's the cliché--the best guy friend is totally in love with The Beautiful Outcast, but she always falls for the dark, brooding types.
Common examples: Simon (Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare), Jacob (Twilight by Stephanie Meyer),  Puck (Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa)

The Brooding Jackass Man(Whore) I changed the label because I realized that not all the hotties in YA are jackasses. But they are all emo.
The main love interest for our protagonist, he's usually aloof, mysterious, hot-as-hellfire, well-dressed-in-a-straight-guy-sort-of-way, and a complete asshole to his girlfriends. Sometimes he's a player and sometimes he's not. But the thing that always remains consistent is his love for the main protagonist. He feels shocked because the protagonist has changed his views on the world, utterly capturing his heart like no girl has before him.
Common exampes: All the sexy men who beat out The Best Guy Friends for the protag's affections.

Plot Clichés:
  • The main protagonist, despite being a protagonist, loves Wuthering Heights
  • The brooding jackass usually is some sort of vampire/werewolf/angel/faerie/etc.
  • Love triangles always end up with the protag+the brooding jackass
  • If the main protag is a supernatural, she doesn't realize it until some unexpected experience changes her life.
  • The main protagonist changes the world somehow
  • The series ends with the main protagonist kissing the brooding jackass as the sun sets on a perfect future....
  • The main protagonist meets his/her significant other at school, most likely as a table partner in class. 

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