There’s a book called Evermore by Alyson Noel. It’s basically about a girl who falls in love with an immortal who has pursued her as she keeps getting reincarnated through the ages. I actually came across the book because one of my wife’s students said it was horrible, and I wanted to check it out.
The other day, I read this review of Evermore and sadly, it’s pretty accurate. http://cuddlebuggery.com/blog/2010/08/24/review-evermore-by-alyson-noel/
It, also, pretty much nails all the tropes in YA Urban Fantasy.
So I thought I’d take my own crack at the tropes (not Evermore). Here’s to nothing.
You always have a character with an unusual upbringing. This will have prepared them for their new supernatural world. The main character (MC) will tend not to fit into the normal world and will have capital B baggage. There is a limiting factor to their powers, either they can’t use it for fear of a reprisal (old enemy, etc), they don’t know about it, or they had some traumatic event in their past they need to get over to get back in the game.
Sometimes they’ll have two of these.
Because of their weird upbringing they are some kind of outcast, but their upbringing will help them get welcomed into strange new world with open arms because of powers/expertise/ being born for it.
Their new adventure will force them to deal with people they don’t want to deal with. This is usually done as a way of world building. “Oh I need to see Draco the vampire so we learn x,” and in the process establish vampires live in this world, etc.
There will be some kind of traumatic event that occurs soon after the start of the book, forcing the person to realize they have power or must use their power even though it will cause problems. Usually around some kind of loved one or someone the character was being protected by or protecting.
This will lead to them getting sucked into the adventure where this pattern sort of repeats until the hero overcomes final challenge, while causing enough of “but our victory has costs” to let you lead it into a series. Usually the appearance of the thing they worried about facing because of their powers. This works whether they knew they had them or not. There’s a reason the chosen one is chosen, right?
There will usually be some kind of romantic subplot between the MC and a character who should be badass in their own right so they can take turns saving each other. This may not blossom into full blown romance for many books, or it may change. Usually there will be past history between the MC and the lover.
The MCs will usually want to do good because they are innately good and/or the bad guy is WAY worse than them. Even if the hero is a plain dealing villain, the bad guy is usually worse. It will force your MC to make hard choices, but always for the good of the mission even if its an innately selfish thing.
At the core, these are escapism stories. They take place now because people live in the now and can relate to that easier. They involve people who are insecure about things being the hero because at heart most people are insecure and want to be more than they are.
There, go and be merry!