Holy trinities exist in all aspects of the world, including Christianity, Glee, and Captain America and the Winter Soldier. But one that has gone unacknowledged is the holy trinity of privilege allowed to readers: knowledge, judgement, and superiority. These benefits all relate to each other: knowledge provided by reading leads to intellectual superiority, resulting in judgement of non-readers who are deemed inferior. Therefore, for the continuation of this article I claim the privilege of judgement, one I will exert as I examine popular, intriguing, and obscure book tropes.
One popular trope is that of enemies to lovers, a trope I consume like pizza and enjoy like crappy rom coms. This trope is made for those who lack a love life, yet still believe we can find a partner. Forming a connection based solely on hate, without emotional vulnerability, appeals to those of us romantics who hate the actual risk of romance.
Friends to lovers was made by publishers for readers with trust issues because falling in love with your best friend doesn’t require any sort of risk or uncertainty. The trope is usually the most predictable, but tiringly irritating, taking detours of jealousy, separation, and questioning — usually resembling a path of friends to lovers to enemies to dogs to lovers to siblings to friends to lovers. Don’t get me wrong, the friends to lovers trope is cool, but it lacks knives, spice, and is made for boring people who like boring, predictable romance.
Now this next trope is and always will be my absolute favorite. It combines the zing of enemies to lovers with the understanding of one another shown in friends to lovers. It is none other than the angsty, dramatic, fantastic, enemies (or friends, not picky) to lovers to enemies. This trope almost always ends in a return to lovers, but the witty comebacks and dramatic encounters as a result of romantic history and betrayal really round out the storyline. It’s differentiation from previously described tropes exists in the tension of past love and buried feelings, which really rounds out the plot.
The forced proximity trope is made for readers who refuse to make the first move and therefore rely on setting or circumstance. This plotline is usually the climax of a relationship, and almost always ends in emotional reveals that leave one of the characters supporting and caring about the other a bit more than they did previously. Every time this trope comes into play, I go absolutely feral with excitement. When the main characters have to perform a mission together, or share a room, or basically must do anything together, you know it is going to be good.
The found family trope was made for all of you depressed literature kids who have bad relationships with your own family members. You are either overly attached to your friend’s parents, or you have no friends, making this trope even more attractive to you. Not going to lie, everytime a group of traumatized characters form a loving friendship, it warms my cold dead heart. It is innocent, happy, and usually gives characters who have been through hell a bit of a break. That is until one of the characters involved in the found family dies a gruesome death. But that’s not what we are discussing right now.
The moment one character receives something to wear from the other, usually a gown or suit, and they share a knowing glance as one wears the other’s outfit, I scream into my pillow and then cry from loneliness. Is there not someone out there who will buy me gorgeous jewelry and ball gowns? Is there not someone who will comment on or slyly glance my way when I wear their gifts? If the answer is no, then I declare love dead.
If you like the Mafia trope, I hope every book you read gives you a paper cut and the blood completely drowns the book in red so its words never see the light of day.