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Cringey YA Book Moments

We've all had them: those moments that make us shut the book, stare blankly ahead, and ask ourselves what the hell we just read. Whether it's a ginormous plot hole, a character so dumb you want to bang their head against a wall, or a love interest who's more creepy than seductive, here are a few cringe-worthy YA book moments.


Cringey YA Book Moments Coffee, Book, and Candle

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick: Patch and Nora's First Meeting

"What do you do in your leisure time?" I asked.
[. . .] "I take pictures."
I printed Photography on my paper.
"I wasn't finished," he said. "I've got quite the collection going of an eZine columnist who believes there's truth to eating organic, who writes poetry in secret, and who shudders at the thought of having to choose between Stanford, Yale, and . . . what's the big one with the H?"
I stared at him a moment, shaken by how dead on he was. I didn't get the feeling it was a lucky guess. He knew.

He's the villain, right? Please tell me he's the villain.

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"Do you sleep naked?" he asked.
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Oh gods, he's the love interest. And this is only chapter one.



The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith: . . . All of it?

Dear Diary,

No, stop. Please stop. Don't do it.


She didn't even glance at the elaborate Victorian mirror above the cherrywood dresser; she knew what she'd see. Elena Gilbert, cool and blond and slender, the fashion trendsetter, the high school senior, the girl every boy wanted and every girl wanted to be.

You're . . . the protagonist? I'm supposed to root for you?

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After all, what was more important than boys? They were the mark of how popular you were, of how beautiful you were. [. . .] Most boys, Elena reflected, were like puppies. Adorable in their place, but expendable.

Um . . .

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"Listen, Frances, you remember that boy this morning? [. . .] Well, I want his class schedule. Get it from the office if you can, or copy it from him if you have to. But do it!"

Calm down, Yzma.



The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: Sadistic faeries being . . . playground bullies?

Taryn and I unpack our baskets from home, which contain bread, butter, cheese, and plums. I butter a piece of bread hungrily.
Passing us, Cardan kicks dirt onto my food right before I put it into my mouth. The other faeries laugh.

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All of immortality to contemplate how best to torture mortals, and these are the methods we found superior.



Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco: The protag being worse than Daphne.


"Now that you possess the Horn, there are three dozen Umbra demons closing in. Two dozen of which have been following you since you left your house."

Yeah, alone. Without backup, a weapon, or a plan. Knowing full well bad guys are out for her. For the fourth time in one book.


"If they attack, I want you to run. Do not look back or linger. Understand?"

Well, he's an all-powerful Prince of Hell whom she loathes, so why not? She wouldn't do anything but get in the way.


"If you agree to it, I can transvenio us back to the palace. Will you come with me?"

No, she has to stop and think about all the drawbacks to being teleported to safety as enemies close in.


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"Run, Emilia!"
[. . .] I wanted to run, but couldn't seem to move.
[. . .] "Go," he coughed. Blood splattered his lips.
I stared, unblinking. I think I screamed.

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Fallen by Lauren Kate: A perfectly cool concept wasted on a cardboard protag.


It was all too much to even begin to think about. She leaned away from Daniel and stood up. [. . .] Her head was spinning. She had lived . . . before?
"Luce."
She waved him off. "I think I need to go somewhere, by myself, to lie down." She leaned her weight on the peach tree. She felt weak.

Wait, she just got a huge love confession from a past-life lover and she needs . . . a fainting couch? Why is literal swooning a thing throughout this book?


"Why are you doing this?" she asked. [. . .] "I trusted you."
"That's your own fault, dear," Miss Sophia said, roughly twisting Luce's arm. Then the dagger was back at her neck and she was being marched up the chapel's aisle.
[. . .] Miss Sophia pushed Luce toward the altar. "Now be a dear and lie down, would you?"
Because the knife was still too close to her throat, Luce did as she was told.

She trusted someone her insta-love boyfriend (whom she knows nothing about) told her to trust and now she's going along with the villain without a struggle. Luce is clearly needed on the altar for a ritual—maybe put two and two together and fight against it? No? Not even an insult?


"What do you care about what Daniel and I feel for each other, or who either one of us dates in the first place?"

Oh, yeah. Asking the hard questions here. Never mind your friend that the villain just murdered, why you're needed as a human sacrifice, or the fact that there's an eternal war happening outside. Who you're dating is much more important.


[To Daniel] "How did you know to find me here? How do you always know how to save me?"

Because you're always swooning or in danger, Daphne.

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If you're interested in posts like this, feel free to check out YA Romance Tropes That Need to Stop Part 1 and Part 2, Bad YA Book Tropes to Avoid, or Love Triangles Done Right.


You can also follow us on Twitter @bookish_witches to vote on our blog posts. Until next time, witches!

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