- A hero/heroine that is thrust into a “life changing” situation
- A love triangle (or at least some sort of romance)
- A “villain” or someone who hinders the protagonist’s journey
- A story that takes place in a different world, usually after some sort of apocalypse
Seriously, it feels like so many YA books are like that, that it feels like I’m reading the same story over and over again except with different characters, different situations, and different universes and settings by different authors if you squint. That really shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Except that some authors have a hard time making that story their own. Of course there are some authors that manage to set themselves apart, but not all of them do. And I’m left with this boring book because I can already guess most of what happens.
What is interesting is this pattern is somewhat different when it comes to self published and indie books. I have read (and know of) a lot of indie/self published books that stray from the “formula” completely. And a lot those books only became indie/self published after the manuscripts were rejected by publishing companies. So what, you ask? That wouldn’t be that much of a problem only if the those books weren’t that good, but they were (at least I thought so) and sometimes it seemed like they were better than a lot of the books that were published by major publishing companies. One reason why those books were so good was because they are all fresh and more unique – they had the originality that I feel is lacking in a lot of the books that are published by major publishers. I also thought they were pretty well written. Which raises the question, are publishing companies choosing which books to publish on if they contain the “formula of success”? I’m no expert in publishing or anything really close to that (I’m the consumer, not the producer, so I really have no idea how books get published), but it certainly is starting to seem like the answer to that question is yes.