TTT: My Favorite Literary Tropes

August 20, 2019

Favorite Literary Tropes
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***Book titles are Amazon affiliate links

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Literary Tropes.

My Favorite Literary Tropes

Do you have favorite tropes?

Part of successfully choosing your next read is knowing what tropes (themes or plot devices) you enjoy and which you don’t! I will almost always be happy with my reading experience when I choose to read a book with one of the following tropes (listed in no particular order). 

The Gruff Older Character Whose Life is Changed by a Precocious, Precious, or Extraordinary Child

Examples: The One-In-A-Million Boy, News of the World, A Man Called Ove

The Importance of Family, Complicated Family Drama

Examples: A Place For Us, We Were the Lucky Ones, Little Fires Everywhere, Ask Again Yes, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

Found Family

Examples: Louisiana’s Way Home, News of the World, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words


Examples: Ask Again Yes, A Place For Us, Invention of Wings


Examples: From Sand and Ash, Paper Hearts, A Fall of Marigolds, Unbroken


Examples: Far From the Tree, Secret Daughter, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Books About Books, Bookshops, Literary Themes

There are many, but these are four favorites: How to Find Love in a BookshopThe Lost For Words Bookshop, Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.


Oh Goodness! I have an ENTIRE post on literary friendships here!!!

Against the Odds

This is a difficult category because (1) it’s one of my favorite tropes and (2) most all of my histfic and memoir reads reflect an  “Against the Odds” trope. A few fiction and nonfiction examples include The Glass Castle, Educated, In Pieces, Amal Unbound, Hillbilly Elegy, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, On the Come UpPaper Hearts, The Lost For Words Bookshop, Salt to the Sea.  (Unbroken would also easily fit here…picture above)

Quirky Characters Living Their Best Lives

Yes, I have an ENTIRE post on admirable quirky characters here!


Which are your favorite tropes?

Do we share any favorites?

Posts You Might Have Missed:

Summer’s ONE “Must-Read” Book

Book Club Recommendations

Happy Reading Book Buddies!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.


  1. Ah what a fantastic list and filled with recommendations, thank you for that as well! I adore family, strong family and complicated family relationships, too, they’re always so interesting to read. I really need to get to Little Fires Everywhere someday! And adoption is such an interesting theme and I adored Far From The Tree <3

  2. Love so many of these tropes. I always feel like I never read anything about adoption and that needs to change. Incidentally, I have Far From the Tree on my TBR and I think this is a sign that I need to get to it immediately. That being said, ugh, I love stories that have friendship as a central arc. Honestly, if it has friendship at its core I’m 100% going to love it.

    • Thanks for commenting Emily! Found Family gets me every time! If you like romance torn apart by war tropes, have you read The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman?

  3. Great post and all are amazing tropes. Your first one about an older character whose life is changed by a child is such a moving trope. I think there should be more of this theme in books and I also love to see grandmothers and grandfathers in books having a close, special relationships with their grandchildren or adopted children.

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