Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Teen Roundtable: Cliches

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
Karen: Yes!
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?
Katy: Agree
Chihuahua: Indeed.
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!


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