Things I’d like to see more in books // a discussion

Hello friends! It’s been quite a while since my last discussion post. This idea has been fermenting at the back of my blogging notebook for over a year, and finally I’m putting it into words. Here’s a list of things I don’t see in books as nearly as often as I’d love to.

Friends drifting apart

Not every friendship ends with a dramatic shouting match. (As far as I can remember, I’ve never had a dramatic falling-out with any of my friends.) Sometimes people just…drift apart. They move on to other walks of life. They stop talking, eventually. There’s a special kind of loneliness that comes with this (am I speaking from experience?? Probably) I need more books to talk about this as well, because it happens, a LOT.

It’s very hard to think of examples but I think Radio Silence came pretty close to what I was talking about. It kinda accurately describes the gaping hole left when a friend moves out of your life anyway.

MC staying single

War flashback to my YA dystopian phase where every single one of those rebellious sixteen-year-old straight girls got themselves a love interest. I ate all those books up, you know. I’ll still defend some of them with my life (The Hunger Games and Divergent, get behind me.)

Even YA fantasy, historical and sci-fi books these days just have to throw in a love interest for the protagonist. Maybe two. See, I have no problem with it if the genre is romance. But does every book need a romantic subplot? A kiss (or sex) right before the final Big Battle? I’d love it if there were more books where the main character doesn’t have, at any point, a love interest.

Casual nerds

I want nerds who obsess over old films. Nerds who don’t remember everything but read encyclopedias anyway. Nerds with niche interests. Because frankly, the odds of the average high school tech whiz hacking into an intelligence agency is extremely low.

Lovers/friends/siblings to enemies

Unpopular opinion: enemies to lovers is TIRED. I mean, I do enjoy reading an enemies-to-lovers arc as much as the next person, but it just doesn’t give me the same feeling as its opposite trope. Think of the angst. The heartbreak. The I-will-save-you-one-last-time-because-we-used-to-be-close moments.

Think Powder and Vi from Arcane (I put this series on hold because it hurt so much) or Anakin and Obi-Wan from Star Wars (Obi-Wan yelling you were my brother Anakin still haunts me) or…I can’t think of any more examples, but you get my point.

This trope comes along with a truckload of pain and I love it.

Girl squad stories

Just give me more stories that’s 99% female characters. Like Enid Blyton’s boarding school stories. There are SO MANY famous books that have a cast of characters who are almost entirely male, and I want the reverse to happen as well. I’ll add a sapphic romance for the heck of it too lol.

Chaotic found families

Found family is the best trope. You could put it into every book and I’d read all of them.

Relationships you can’t put into boxes

That sub heading looks a bit weird, but listen. People categorize everything when they see two characters who are really close. Is it platonic? Is it romantic? Familial? Are they friends? Kindred spirits? Lovers? Soul mates? Do they love each other or are they in love with each other?

Hear me out: what if it’s all of the above at the same time? Sometimes, a writer really gets these kind of relationships and I end up obsessing over the characters. Like Ji An and Dong Hoon in My Mister. Or Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens. I’d love to read these stories in more books, too.

Longtime rivalries

Or, you know, just two people who HATE each other. They’d kill each other on sight. They get angry when the other’s name is mentioned. These rivalries drag out for YEARS. And eventually, they develop a begrudging respect for each other. They still hate each other, of course, but they also know everything about each other.

Am I talking about Shae and Ayt Mada? Possibly.

*Takes deep breath* ahhh I finally finished a post (I’ve been writing this over three weeks, actually, wow). I realize almost all of the examples I’ve given here are from movies and TV shows I loved, but it’s mostly because I’m in a mild reading slump.

Stay alert cause I might drop the mid-year-freak out tag next!

What tropes would you like to see more in books? Let me know in the comments!

39 thoughts on “Things I’d like to see more in books // a discussion”

  1. Oh my gosh, Jan, I desperately need more of all of these! 🤩 Like, YES TO EVERYTHING YOU SAID!! 🤗 (Except that I will always be trash for anything enemies-to-lovers and don’t think that trope could ever be overdone… 🙃)

    If you want a friends-to-enemies rec, though – THE example I can think of right now is V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sequel, but Vicious? IT’S PERFECTION!! 🥰

    Also, I know I won’t shut up about Robin Hobb, but a relationship that can’t be put into a box? Her books have got that, so… 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny how you recommended vicious because. I JUST STARTED READING IT?? The vibes are there and this is my second v e Schwab book, I hope I like this more than the first!
      Enemies to lovers is still cool!! I just would rather pick the reverse over it any day.

      ONE DAY I will read a robin hobb book it’s just that today is not that day

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVED THIS POST SOOOO MUCH!! ❣️❣️ Thank you for writing it because I was literally nodding along to every point. Especially friends/lovers/siblings to enemies! The way I would love to see this trope and it is so underrated. It’s the emotions and the tension. I loved Anakin’s plotline so much because of that! One of the ones I most remember is Clark and Lex from Smallville. And all the rest you’ve mentioned MC staying single, casual nerds, longtime rivals. YES. YES. YES. This post was perfect! 🥰

    Like

    1. Thank you!! Yes the friends to enemies trope delivers so much emotion and pain and heartache I love it. Anakin’s storyline gets sadder the more I think about it lol.
      I’m glad you annoyed reading this!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. JAN!! i disappear for a year and when i’m back your blog is SO gorgeous?!?! not that it wasn’t earlier but omg everything is so prettyyyy i LOVE LOVE LOVE the header and all your graphics 🥰 but also YES to all of these tropes!!!! mallory towers was one of my favourite series when i was younger so i can definitely agree with the fact that 99% girl casts are just superior 🤝💕

    i’m not going to say anything to any of the other tropes though because they’re all so ON POINT??? like what???? you read my mind we need all of these ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahaana aksjfbhsk thank you so much!!
      I grew up with Mallory towers and st Clare’s and Enid blyton books in general, they are one of the very few books I can think of that’s got only female characters.
      Thanks💛💛

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with ALL OF THESE! Especially the one about the MC not being involved in a relationship in every single book. I don’t mind it too much if it’s just a small subplot and doesn’t take away from the book (I’ve read too many books where the first half is amazing and then the second half is pretty much all romance and no actual plot), but in EVERY SINGLE BOOK IT’S SUPER ANNOYING.
    And also, yes, friends that drift away. In books friend break-ups are usually the result of an argument, but I feel like it’s not like that in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. gosh I have read so many books where the plot is ruined because of this.
      I feel like friends drifting away is very much a natural part of life, but I haven’t seen it explored in books at all.
      Thanks for your thoughts!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jan!! i completely agree with all of these tropes 🥹 especially the one about relationships that can’t quite be categorized. i NEED more soulmates who don’t know if their love for each other is romantic or platonic and are perfectly fine not finding out.

    also, your blog aesthetic has had such a huge glow-up since i last visited? it was beautiful before but even more stunning now 🤩

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Abby!! So good to see you back!
      Soulmates who don’t know if their love for each other is romantic or platonic and are perfectly fine with not finding out>> this, exactly. This drives me nuts because this dynamic makes some of the most beautiful character arcs I’ve ever seen.
      Thank you 💛💛

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post!! I absolutely LOVE relationships where two people just, love each other but it doesn’t matter whether it’s romantic or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The first one hits close to home! I second your opinion, it is just unfortunately so common for friends to drift apart… and it breaks my heart, but that’s just life.
    I was actually nodding my head at every single thing you mentioned! Loved this post.
    Found families are the best ever, and yes, why do authors need to pair everyone in their books?? (I’m also looking at you, Rick Riordan…. I love his books, but I wish there was a person who is not Artemis’s hunter who’s single haha)
    Ahhh that Star Wars scene haunts me too! And omg, I totally want more friends to enemies media now!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know!! People just drift apart and the person you were best friends with ten years ago could practically be a stranger now but sometimes it just happens.
      Pairing everyone up at the end was one of the very few things I didn’t like about rick riordan’s books. Some ships I like, but some made absolutely zero sense lol. (Leo and calypso, why??)
      Gosh that was one of the saddest star wars scenes ever. That whole film was devastating, actually.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t even thought of how much I loved some of these until i read this post. I mean, the main character staying single…we need more of that!! And ikr, the teens who have their specific areas where they are experts at is so overused. Casual nerds sound so much cooler, like they just love to get too much information even if they don’t always are at the top.
    Oh and i will save u one last time coz we were friends….i can’t 😭😭
    This post was too good, has to be one of fav bookish posts in a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It irks me so much when EVERY main character gets paired up at the end. Like, some people like being single okay (totally not self projecting here. At all. LOL.)
      Enemies to friends is one of the most painful tropes ever, because everything is so tragic, it’s beautiful.
      Thank you, nehal!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. AHHH I LOVE THIS POST AND THE IDEA!! and gosh yes I just need more stories about friends drifiting apart naturally , not with those dramatic fights about a boy they both like lol🤣🤣 and yes, it happens to SO MANY PEOPLE, yet we barely see any of it in books??

    YES YES YES to the no love interest part! I think I’ve only read middle grade novels where the main character doesn’t have a love interest ( and I’ve read some where they do as well so uh- ) but I just need more stories with no romance barging in the way as well !

    i used to be ADDICTED to Enid blyton’s boarding school series and with good cause too BECAUSE THEY WERE AMAZING?? the characters actually all had good personalities too-😭

    OOOH LONG TIME RIVALRIES!! i recently read I kissed shara wheeler which has that exact trope, I’d highly recommend it!
    LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS !!!💖💖💖 and cannot wait for the mid year freak out tag!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know, friends drifting apart is a natural part of life that happens to…almost everyone, but I’ve seen so little books talking about it?
      I feel like an old aunty when the kids in middle grade stories get love interests because all my mind goes is THEY’RE CHILDREN lol.
      High five!! Enid blyton stories were my childhood, I’ve read almost all of her series (it’s impossible to read all, she’s written SO MUCH books)
      I’ve seen good things about I kissed Shara wheeler everywhere, and it has a longtime rivalry? *bumps it up to the top of my tbr*
      Thank you so much, suhani!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. […] Jan @ Inkspun Tales did a discussion on Things she’d like to see more in books– and this post had me nodding and shouting “YES PLEASE” at every point jan made. Like friends drifting apart? MC staying single? lovers-to-enemies?? we NEVER get these kids of things. and i am now desperately in need of them. somebody mail the authors this list please. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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