Any pet peeves in YA/Urban fantasy?

I’m making a story about a young woman who wants to be a black mage and has an interest in the occult and demons. I have gotten some comparisons to Sabrina the Teenage Witch and such, but I would like to hear about some things you all don’t like to see in those sorts of stories.

Perhaps the most overused plot device ever (and sorry, because you walked right into that one): female protagonists.

I mean, it says something in your genre when people assume if you write YA, your protagonist is actually a heroine. Nothing wrong with this, but I feel the genre is oversaturated as it is, especially here on Wattpad.


I don’t enjoy how in many YA stories, the adults are complete dum-dums who are either absent or nothing more than a stumbling block for the teens. Like, my protagonists are cool in a lot of ways, but seventeen/eighteen-year-olds also make a lot of stupid decisions. I would never, ever hand my characters sole responsibility over kingdoms and wars and rebellions (and expect them to do a good job).


Thanks for your feedback!
This is common in a lot of children’s media, unfortunately.

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I go with the never wrong “idiocy comes in all packages” thing. There are reliable and good adults around, but there are teens just as capable as the older adults and veterans are… conversely, some “seasoned generals” make very dumb decisions… and their counterparts in the teen world are not any brighter than them.

As for whether I’d entrust my characters with waging a war, the answer is some of them, but definitely not any teen I wrote. I made plenty of guys who are dumber than a sack of rocks. I also made plenty of adults who are just as dumb.


It definitely is. I think that I was affected by it a lot as a kid, and eventually thought that my parents knew nothing. As an adult now, I know they’re not perfect, but I also know I should’ve listened a lot more lol

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One can’t complain if she’s a dynamic and interesting character.

That’s a good point! Adults are far from impervious to stupidity. However, I think in general, they’re smarter and wiser than YA books made me believe in high school

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I absolutely hate how many authors (and the fans of those authors) can’t tell the difference between a fantasy story with romance in it, and a romance story in a fantasy setting. If you want to write romance, fine, but be honest about it! People who want a fantasy adventure will feel cheated when they find out its purely romance, and romance fans won’t read it because you’re not advertising it as what they want to read.


I didn’t even add so much as a romantic subplot to the book.:shrug:

Bland characters, comes up over and over again where people wind up as teen stereotypes with no distinguishable personality or wind up as mary sues. (Gamelit tends to be a big victim of this too)

Personally my biggest pet peeve is mouthy characters who are presented as “strong” or “delightfully sassy” but have nothing to actually back up or justify their rudeness but get indulged or actively swooned over by people who would in real life smack them down hard.


I mean, I think off wattpad in particular there is a problem of books written by female authors with female protags being classes as YA even when they aren’t. There was an interesting article on bookriot about it.


I’m the opposite. It’s a little different now that I’m not a teen, but as a teen with super dysfunctional parental dynamics, I loved the escapism of it.


Major issue is always the fact that they like to portray adults as particularly useless, rather than showing that everyone has their bright and not so bright moments.

Not only is this rarely the case in here, but if romance is featured, potentially hurts the demographic (no guy will read about a girl getting all the attention unless they skip those parts, like I had to do for Twilight. Some will, but most won’t). As far as I’m concerned, the YA demographic seems to be strictly female for the most part, with the male demographic being in a perpetual torpor that, hopefully, I will wake them up.

You could abandon all romance, though… and make it work to a better extent.

In my stories, those two are so close they are essentially indistinguishable. The romance is one of the forces powering the plot. There’s the fact that the stories seem to highlight one or the other in here. When I write, action scenes and romance go hand in hand. Even when the characters are trying to save the world, the answer is usually wielding a weapon as a couple, drawing on the other’s life, being united by a bond, etc… but the fantasy plot is still there and the world building doesn’t change. The story could work without the romance as well.

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I can agree with this. I’ve noticed sooo many abusive parents and generally absent parents in YA lately. It almost has me convinced no one knows how to portray a supportive family. I see it so often that having supportive, caring parents comes as a breath of fresh air for me.

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I totally agree. I tried doing a strong family dynamic in my own book, and it was actually a lot of fun. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I love love love stumbling across stories on here that have loving parent-child relationships or that show parents in good marriages.

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Like to think they’re channeling Harry Potter and not their own parents. I presume it’s the same reason why protags are generally poor or socially humble in some fashion. Just using all the shortcuts for reader sympathy.

One big pet peeve in YA Urban Fantasy is how the FMC is often the most bland and boring character ever - while the side characters are absolutely amazing.

Also, “Oh deary me, there’s a hidden society and now this big broody guy is gonna train me, because I’m like super chosen for some purpose, teehee, we kissed.” That trope is super duper old at this point.


Don’t forget how, despite setting the world record for being blander than dry bread, nobody can shut up about how she’s the most amazing human being(?) on the planet.