concept: a ya novel where the good girl protagonist falls for the local bad boy, who seems like a complete asshole. he’s rude, aloof, makes snide comments at her constantly, and engages in destructive behavior. everyone tells the girl to stay away from him, that he’s bad news, but she’s sure he has a good heart underneath it all, and with enough love, he’ll become a more decent, more open person…
and he doesn’t. because some people are just assholes. her love doesn’t “fix” him. he doesn’t treat her any differently than he treats anyone else, even after they start dating – or, if he does, it doesn’t last long. their relationship isn’t healthy. turns out all the people that warned her to keep away were right. he’s not tragically misunderstood or hiding a secret soft side. he’s just a dick and he has no intentions of changing. the girl realizes this and realizes it’s not her job to fix him and his shitty personality, and dumps his ass. she ends the novel happy, single, and wiser from the experience. she doesn’t get true love, but she gets a stronger sense of self, and learns that she can’t fix people, especially ones that don’t want to be helped.
because i, for one, am sick of books that promote the idea that every guy who seems like an asshole is secretly your One True Love who can be Redeemed With Love from an endlessly patient, long-suffering love interest who puts more time into solving his problems than taking care of herself. that’s not how a healthy relationship looks. and i’m sick of YA romances that try to play it off as romantic and “deep.” (and for fuck’s sake, stop sending the message that if a guy insults you, he secretly likes you!)
i wish there was more books about genuinely ugly girls who just don’t give a fuck and still have careers and boyfriends/girlfriends and don’t measure themselves based on how they look and no i’m not talking about ‘hollywood ugly’ girls i’m talking about actually ugly girls that don’t give a shit about the fact that they look the way they do
Jupiter Ascending, YA Novel:
How a Space Opera Uses-and-Abuses the Ultimate YA Tropes
What is aTrope?
Tropes are devices used in all
narrative forms that confirm conventions and realize the reader’s expectations
of the narrative.
Human beings have an innate desire
to construct narrative out of experience –whether it is the latest gossip, a
childhood story or our expectations of a date. Tropes offer us a sense of
familiarity, which in turn gives us comfort. In other words, confirmation that we
know how to read the world and know how to read people. Even if the world and
the characters are laboring under an author’s pen, we still find familiarity in
their actions through tropes.
Why do we
The expected is comforting, yes,
but the unexpected is thrilling! Seeing the same narrative convention
repeatedly is extremely boring. The creation of stories is an innate aspect of
human nature – at least we think so. We are born to make up stories, to offer
our own take on age-old tales! We delight in the unexpected, revel in the
breaking of the mold.
more common in young adult literature?
Lots of people (*ahem* adults/non-YA
readers/annoying people *ahem*) believe that YA literature is particularly
tropey. But is it really? Yes, we have our fair share of love triangles, and a
lot of Mary-Sues-turned-Queens-of-mythic-lands but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the trope is bad. More than
likely, it speaks to the universal aspect of the trope—it feels salient to many
authors and many readers. The trope is only problematic when it’s executed poorly,
or when overdone. YA readers read widely
and often, which means that they will start to subconsciously recognize tropes,
and pick up the general structure of a narrative. It can be as easy as
Beginning-Middle-End, or as specific as foreshadowing a twist.
are some of the tropes in Jupiter Ascending?
Well, we have a lot. A LOT. For
starters, we have the aforementioned Mary Sue trope, only in this case it’s in
its most undiluted form. Not only is Jupiter more than a cleaning lady, she is actually the Queen of the entire
Universe—she literally owns planet Earth. Talk about a born hero, huh? Then, we
have Cain (a dreadful-looking Channing Tatum with pointy ears and a blonde
goatee), the forlorn love interest. Cain, like many Sci-fi-Fantasy heroes is
half-something, in this case half-wolf hybrid; according to him, he is closer
to a dog than Jupiter-Queen-of-the-Negaverse. (God bless this trope, because it
offers us the now eternal line from Jupiter: “I love dogs.”) The star-crossed-lovers trope appears—the
lone-wolf, the unassuming Queen.
Of course, there is insta-love. But
this time, it is Jupiter pursuing the boy, trying—unsuccessfully, if you can’t
tell from the above line—to seduce him. Then, there’s a slew of other common YA
tropes: parents that don’t really understand the main character, fantastical
racism/elitism, caricature-like villains with mommy issues (so so many mommy
issues). And my personal favorite: the “You must marry me or else!”
trope, which gives us Mila Kunis in a stunning wedding dress, a very
cool-looking wedding ring/tattoo, and the unusual idea of a son marrying his
from making Jupiter Ascending into the most wildly campy, delightful mess of a movie,
what do these tropes do?
One of the joys of Jupiter
Ascending is that it manages to heavily rely on these tropes all the while
almost breaking them. The set up is obvious, but peppered with so many other shocking
bits that you were still left stunned and half guessing. Being hit over the
head with the narrative conventions—and such pure forms of them!—was
disorienting to the point that you couldn’t pull them apart. Not one murderous
villain, but two! And they’re brothers! Here we’re are shown two of the typical
villains – one who wants to seduce you into the bonds of marriage, and one who
will force your hand through coercion and murder. There’s even a
half-love-triangle sort of thing embedded in there.
do we call these the Ultimate YA tropes?
Spend any time glancing
at reviews on Goodreads and you’ll see readers bemoaning the ever-present love
triangle and the ever-pervasive insta-love. Many readers are sick of it. No one
wants to read a book they can predict from page one. Jupiter Ascending
over-uses them, to the point of comedy. Tropes are best when one aspect is
investigated and subtly RE-or-DE-constructed.
Consider the Lunar
Chronicles. Marissa Meyer is always going to be working in tropes, as anyone
adapting fairytales would be, but her writing always manages to surprise.
Cinder the mechanic—much more useful in a modern world than Cinderella good
with a broom and bucket. Scarlet, AKA Little Red Riding Hood, confronts the Big
Bad Wolf with a gun in her hand. Cress trapped all alone in a tower (satellite)
with only the internet as a companion—Rapunzel, the computer genius! All these
stories, ones we’ve seen adapted time and time again, turned on their head and
made new and richer for it.