Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

In the past year, I have gotten back into reading and definitely found some great books I genuinely enjoyed reading and would recommend. However, I found the ‘Dead Mom Trope’ has gained traction in the world of YA novels. As someone who lost their mom to cancer in the past year, it seems corny and unoriginal now. 

There are many YA novels with a main character who is a young girl whose only trait is that she has a dead mom and no other interesting traits. However, something I find disappointing is that the author doesn’t bother to mention anything about how it affects the main character mentally or anything about their grief process. It seems as if some authors add this dead mom trope to feel quirky; as someone who is going through the grief process after losing my mom, it’s anything but quirky. 

The romanticization of losing a parent is extremely dangerous because it diminishes the real-life experiences of people who have had unfortunate circumstances put upon them. In many books, it also seems like if the main character has lost their parent, the man, usually the love interest tries to fill that void, which is also another very dangerous trope, because as anyone who has gone through the grief process knows, no one, no matter how amazing, will never fill that void.

The oversimplification of grief in these YA novels is astounding because the author makes these characters seem to be saved from their trauma by a man, which is so incredibly frustrating to me. The trauma of losing a parent truly causes is not to be taken lightly, and is especially not to be seen as quirky or a character trait.

Ivie Maher

CU Boulder '23

Ivie is a senior studying political science. She loves dogs, bunnies, and ice cream. She loves the outdoors and feels right at home here in the mountains. You can catch her cooking green bean casserole (her favorite), finding new music, or writing her newest article.