It’s time again for our monthly Teen Roundtable with our Teen Spies! The topic for the month? Clichés! Ones we love. And ones we love to hate. Here's a bit of what we discussed...
Alison: One cliché I will never tire of - the bad boy falling for the good girl
Katy: Ditto, Alison... There's just something about it
Katie: Or Good girl falling for bad boy.
Karen: I always fall for bad boys in real life. That's prob why I fall for them in books too. As long as they have some great qualities too.
Katy: And they need a good reason for being bad
Alison: usually bad boys are seriously flawed and it makes me heart them SO MUCH
Katie: Yeah, but sometimes it just feels good to be rebellious
Alison: agreed Katie! (says the quintessential good girl)
Chihuahua: I'm going to write a blog post on how one mean girl character in a certain book could've been done better.
Alison: Curious? What mean girl character?
Katy: Yes, I'm curious too
Chihuahua: The book is How to Date an Alien and I think the character's name is Riley. Basically, the author could've given the mean character a deeper and more sympathetic motivation. Anybody else has thoughts on the "mean girl" character type?
Katy: C, just as a bad boy needs reasons for being bad, I think the mean girl needs reasons for acting the way she does. Otherwise, she's too one-dimensional to be believable
Katie: I think mean girls help the main character develop themselves more and become more then they could be without them.
Karen: I can't think of many mean girl characters at the moment. Apparently they weren't mean enough to hold a place in my memory
Alison: I like when the mean girl is not stereotypical - like the ones in mean girls.
Katie: Alison- AGREED!
Alison: I'm thinking of the cheerleader in Awkward - LOVE her
Katie: I like it when mean girls aren't dumb mean girls.
Katy: how about the mean girls in SOME GIRLS ARE... Yikes
Chihuahua: Although I think The Iron King put a nice, minor twist on the concept.
Alison: yes - they definitely need dimension. And I especially like mean girls that aren't so "mean" in the end
Chihuahua: One of the romantic interest gives one of the mean girls a literal pig nose. She returns near the end, humbled by her experiences. It influenced the protag's thoughts of the love interest.
Alison: C - that is an INTERESTING twist!
Karen: How about the loud, obnoxious best friend cliché? I get a little tired of that one.
Chihuahua: K: Examples?
Katie: I don't think I've read a book that has had me dislike the mc's best friend.
Karen: Examples, I don't remember her name but the best friend in HUSH
Alison: I think Tiny Cooper (Will Grayson) as obnoxious and loud - but I LOVED him
Karen: I loved Tiny too. No one talks bad about Tiny.
Katie: Because he is loud and annoying?
Alison: Oh, no. Katie - there's so much more to him than that that makes him SO loveable - but John Green is wicked awesome at creating characters like that
Karen: Tiny had a huge heart and was super funny
Katy: The loud obnoxious BFF is worse, for me, when she's a girl
Alison: Agreed, Katy. I like quirky and funny bff
Katie: Agreed! But I think a Bff is well developed when they don't just help the main character move through the story but the main character has to help the friend go through a hard trial if you will.
Katy: Katie, I agree. I like when the BFF has issues of her/his own. SAVING JUNE, for example, had a really cool BFF dynamic going on
Alison: How about the cliché shy/meek/introverted girl becomes kickass heroine?
Karen: I still like those cuz I can be very shy and introverted. Those stories give me hope that I'll be a kickass heroine some day.
Katy: Haha, me too, Karen!
Karen: Yes! #IntrovertsUnite!
Katie: I love it! When the author has the character go from normal shy unknown person through a awesome story line that forces them to grow and become more than they ever thought was possible, doesn't just make a good story, but it does give hope to real girls who feel shy and a no body. I mostly love it when good novels can be related to real life situation to help out with actual day to day issues in their own way!
Karen: Maybe that's why clichés are clichés. Because they stand the test of time as long as they are done well. Like I just realized I tried bringing up the loud, obnoxious best friend, but I ADORE Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. So apparently I don't dislike that cliché
Alison: Zuzana is quirky and incredibly loyal. Which is why I loved her
Katy: Yes! Zuzana is awesome
Alison: going back to this statement: Maybe that's why clichés are clichés. Because they stand the test of time as long as they are done well. Thoughts on that?
Karen: Every cliché we brought up, I can think of at least 5 books that used that cliché and made me love it.
Katy: BUT, I can think of those same clichés done poorly, too.
Chihuahua: Also, some are like the undead: they refuse to truly die.
Katy: Tired cliché: Absent parents in YA
Chihuahua: That's common. Strange enough, the last three books I read had both parents.
Alison: idk though - I teach teens. There's a lot of absent parent thing going on
Karen: I agree. Many teens can prob relate to their parents not being around. Sadly.
Katy: I just don't like when it's used for convenience only Like, the author just doesn't want to the trouble of parental units clouding the plot.
Alison: I'm also tired of the love triangle. I get it. But I'm tired of it.
Katy: I like to see fresh takes, like with THE RAVEN BOYS
Alison: I'm all for a very twisted love five-angle. The math teacher surmises we call that a love pentagon
Chihuahua: Twisted love webs are fun. My plans for a web is more of a line with lots of branches.
So, that's our take on clichés. Which ones are your faves? Any you're tired of? Tell us in the comments!
Surviving Bear Island, by Paul Greci
7 hours ago