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5 Criminally Underrated Book Tropes You Should Read Right Now

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

While most people love to read a good 600 pages of slow-burn enemies-to-lovers, sometimes the repetition of certain tropes can be underwhelming. Yes, that one story about how the fate of the entire universe lies in one person’s hands can be exhilarating, but have you tried the one about how both characters die in the end? If that is something that piques your interest, then you’ve come to the right place. 

In my over 10 years of reading, I have managed to come across some incredibly beautiful but underused tropes. So, here is a list of five books that incorporate these recommended tropes you should read right now:

MAIN CHARACTER DIES A TRAGIC DEATH

Starting off strong and a little depressing, we have the classic trope where the main character dies in the end. This one is especially good if you do not see it coming. The heartbreak you get when you realize it cannot be undone is truly untouchable. As someone who loves a good cry when reading, this trope never disappoints. Of course, recommending a book based on this trope is essentially spoiling the ending, but here’s my pick.

Book Recommendation: Allegiant by Veronica Roth 

Set in a dystopian future, the book’s society is divided into five different factions. These factions function interdependently in order to prevent threatening the population’s safety. This book is part of a trilogy that depends heavily on the main character’s decisions. However, the plot twist is quite predictable in the way this book is written. That’s all the spoilers I’ll be giving.

SECOND CHANCE

In life, there is nothing better for a person who messes up than a second chance. This also translates to fictional worlds. I love reading a character’s thought process when it comes to making decisions as it humanizes fictional characters. There is a lot to learn from this trope and that is why I think this book is the perfect recommendation. 

Book Recommendation: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Macy is an ambitious pediatrics resident who is engaged to be married. She is determined to keep her business to herself and live a drama-free life. However, when she meets Elliot again, her walls slowly begin to crumble. Elliot was (or is?) the love of Macy’s life and he’s back to claim his girl. Love and Other Words revolves around the second chance trope. It is beautifully written, and the simplicity with which Lauren writes her book helps me understand Macy’s inner monologue.

FOUND FAMILY

Most books, especially in young adult novels, utilize the concept of dead or absent parents. However, a trope that is somewhat tied to this concept, but is rarely given the spotlight, is the found family trope. This one makes my heart swell because, despite our relationships with our blood family, everyone has found and will find their own group of people at some point in their lives. It is an extremely relatable trope. We all need a little bit of wholesome moments in our lives, and there is no doubt the found family trope will deliver. 

Book Recommendation: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Unlike the warm and fuzzy content a “normal” found family trope would give us, Six of Crows is absolutely lethal. It is a fantasy novel following the lives of six characters who constitute a thieving crew. Each character is given the opportunity to tell the story from a third-person perspective, giving readers a compelling deep dive into their individual personalities. There are some disturbing topics discussed in the book, so read at your own discretion.

DOOMED FROM THE START

This trope is highly underrated. Most people love a healthy and successful relationship, but there is something so amusing about reading a tragic love story that unravels from the very beginning. It is even more heartbreaking when both characters are aware that their attempt to build something beautiful will eventually crumble. 

Book Recommendations: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare & The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I cannot do a ‘doomed from the start’ book recommendation without mentioning the one that started it all: Romeo and Juliet. This play by William Shakespeare doesn’t need any introduction as it is known for its tragic love story that killed both characters. Their love and eventual demise are the basis of the story. The play has been adapted into many different forms of media throughout the decades. I recommend reading the original play. If not, any retelling will do the job. I recommend These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. It is set in 1920s Shanghai where two former lovers must form an alliance to stop a series of mysterious murders. For someone who might be more interested in a modern ‘doomed from the start’ book, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a great option. It shocks me when I meet people who have not read this book yet as it ruled the 2014 era of young adult novels. However, it is not too late to start. Two cancer patients fall in love and go on adventures together, all while knowing the end is near. It is absolutely soul-crushing.

friends to lovers

I love a good friends-to-lovers moment in the books I read because it is so relatable. I think that the enemies-to-lovers trope overshadows this one because of all the attention it receives, but this trope is one of my favourites. It is also difficult to find them in the books I read where most friendships remain platonic. The love interest is always brought into the story with the idea of love already ingrained in their introduction. 

Book Recommendation: Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Who does not love a good friends-to-lovers story set in a seaside town in the modern century? Tessa Bailey’s novel is about two friends Fox and Hannah, who have remained platonic until Hannah decides to crash at Fox’s place when in town for work. Fox, a self-acclaimed Cassanova, is not one for serious relationships. However, he slowly finds himself falling for Hannah.

There is no shortage of incredibly underrated book tropes I haven’t discussed in this list. The ones I mentioned above seem to be universally acknowledged as underrated. If you disagree, give these recommendations a chance and let them convince you otherwise!

Youdon Tenzin

Ryerson '24

Youdon Tenzin is a Journalism student based in Toronto. She’s interested in writing about social justice topics, business and pop culture. She loves listening to true crime podcasts, embroidery and baking.
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