Okay. There are a few characters that just keep popping up in contemporary YA (fantasy/paranormal or non) over and over in a proportionally high number to where I sometimes feel like I just keep reading the same book over and over. Consider this a brief rant.
1. Hippie Parents.
I grew up with hippie-ish (new age-y, really) parents. For one thing, the *average* parent of a teenager would now have been a teen in the 80s. Please update parents! I do seem some books that consider this, but still a surprising amount that seem stuck in the 60s as far as parents go. Also, the people I know who are children of hippie/new age parents don't roll their eyes about everything their parents do. Some things, yes. But within reason. Please stop playing hippie parents for purely comedic effect.
2. The Goth Girl.
Why is there ALWAYS a goth girl? Sometimes she's the friend, sometimes the protagonist, sometimes the love interest, sometimes the antagonist-turned-friend, sometimes the complicated figure who brings about a revelation about judging by appearance...she can fill almost any role, but she is EVERYWHERE in YA. Is it because goth is semi-timeless? Why is she so prevalent? Does every American high school really have one attractive, mysterious goth girl with an appropriately gothy name to match who is more than meets the eye?
3. Perky Friend.
Perky friend has been the main character's BFF since they were kids. Now, I love positive female friendships. I would rather have perky friend than bitch friend. Nevertheless, I'm a little tired of the perky best friend who is a little more flaky and wild than the MC so she can urge the MC in crazy situations. Also, if the MC has an older brother, she will have a crush on said brother. But really, it's the flakiness that drives me nuts. In this kind of story, the MC and her best friend seem SO close forever, like they've had sleepovers at each others houses since they were 6 years old, but the friendship just seems vapid, with contrived rituals to make us think they've been close friends forever.
4. Cool Grandma.
My grandma is pretty cool, in real life. I'm sure many of you have or did have cool grandmas. And I love awesome older women in YA. But I am starting to groan at the cool grandma in YA who is you know, so sassy and constantly reminds you how she is not like OTHER grandmas. You know, those other OLD PEOPLE grandmas everyone else has. Usually grandpa has already died or something, you don't see as many cool grandpas, although they pop up sometimes. Cool Grandma often likes to rock out in some fashion, I've noticed, but she never actually plays an instrument. (Why does she never play an instrument? That *would* be cool!!) And despite being so cool, she's still not that up on what the young people are doing sometimes.
5. Jerk Boy.
Jerk boy is kind of like jock boy and often overlaps, but he is a specific breed: the guy the MC is dating because he is the hot guy in school but she really discovers she likes this nerd/weirdo/musician/whatever boy. Jerk boy is the most typical boy ever. There is NOTHING redeeming or attractive about him even though we're told there is. We might get a mention of his abs, but otherwise, he boozes it up, wears baseball caps constantly and calls her "babe", but has no actual personality, not even a glimpse of humor or spark that might have attracted MC in the first place. I know we don't want to risk taking the limelight off nerd/weirdo/musician/whatever boy, but really, it won't harm the book to give jerk boy nuance.
That is all. Feel free to rant about characters you are tired of in the comments. Although I will add, since I got a bit snarky, I do still love a lot of books with these characters in them. Sometimes I think the author even pulls it off.
(But I still want more variety! PLEEEEASE!)