What is a book trope?
The first distinction we need to make when talking about book tropes is that they are different from a genre. For example, romance is a genre. In most genres you will also find sub-genres, like paranormal romance or contemporary romance. And then you have tropes. It can all get so confusing! Which is why I turned to a trusty dictionary and decided to look up exactly what a trope is (don’t get confused with troupe, which is something to do with dancing). So the Oxford Dictionary defines tropes as:
A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
However my cynical brain prefers the Merriam-Webster definition:
A common or overused theme or device
Bottom line, a trope is when an author uses a particular theme in their book. This theme can span genres, although you may find that some do tend to stay within one or two genres. Lets use some examples, one of the most well know themes is the “Billionaire” theme, this usually involves a girl falling for a very rich guy, it’s not often the other way round. Now this “Billionaire” theme is usually found in the Contemporary Romance genre, but can also be found in New Adult, Young Adult and Paranormal Romance. Another example, one which will span most genres “Plain Jane” where the heroine is plain or even ugly but the handsome man falls for her, this can be found in Historical, Contemporary, New Adult, Paranormal, Young Adult, you name it, there will be a “Plain Jane” themed book in there somewhere.
Some genres are more heavily reliant on book tropes. And because we are massive romance readers here at Under the Covers, we know a thing or two about tropes. Turns out romance books are quite filled with them. From romantic pairings, character types or even certain scenarios (like neighbors to lovers, enemies to lovers or fake dating).
Of course, not all books contain a trope but there are clusters of romance books, in all sub-genres, that basically have the same theme. This is not always a bad thing, although I am slightly skeptical when the same story can be regurgitated again and again and yet still be successful. It does have its upside, sometimes you are just in the mood for a book with lots of Bikers or Friends-to-Lovers storyline, there is comfort in the familiar, so when you start to read you know exactly what you are getting and you can sit back and enjoy the ride.
A full list of romance tropes
Beyond book tropes – characters, settings and seasonal
When we talk about tropes, we also refer to a larger set of character types, settings and seasonal vibes that help you identify what to expect from the book and therefore pick up the one you’re in the mood for. If you pick up a biker romance or a billionaire romance, you have a pretty good idea what you’re in for. At the same time, those are terms that are often thrown around as tropes and they do fall in that larger book trope umbrella.
We’ve created separate pages for each of these to help you dive even deeper intro book tropes and find the perfect book for your mood.