Book Posts · Top 5 Wednesday

5 Types of YA Mentors

Mentor Kopie

Hello fellow bookworms 📚 It’s time for another Top Five Wednesday, which is a weekly meme which was created by Lainey and is now hosted by Sam! This week’s topic is Favorite Mentors/Teachers (Sam encourages us not chose Harry Potter characters, as it would be too easy)! I took this as an opportunity to take my own little spin on this topic, as I thought that it would be fun to examine the most common types of mentors and teacher in YA! I’m going to talk about the trope first and then mention my favorite mentors that could fit this trope + more books with mentioned mentor type (that I’ve read, so I’m sure they fit the trope) Let’s start with the 5 Types of Mentors in YA!

Type 5 – The “Surprise I’m Evil” Mentor contains possible spoilers, so you might want to skip that part to be safe if you don’t want to know!

Trenn Kopie

The Best Friend

How Common? Not the most common Mentor Trope I have personally come across, but it does happen to some extent in a lot of stories, where the main character enters a new to them world and needs guidance. Most commonly found in school/academy settings.

Typical Age? Around 16-18 (max. 10 years older than the main character), therefore most likely not much older than the protagonist

Function? Helping our main character settle in when they are thrown into a completely new world. They are a “teacher” at eye level, less an authority figure, that explains important world building stuff to the main character and can be their first source of advice! Protagonist will quickly become friends with them.

Favorite “Best Friend” Mentor

  • Holiday from the Shadow Falls books is the perfect example for this Trope. She is the leader of a camp for supernatural teens and helps Kylie – a newly discovered supernatural – settle in. As Kylie is unlike any species, she spends a lot of time with Holiday talking about discovering what she is. I love Holiday, because she’s always there for Kylie, very kind and friendly and quickly becomes like her big older sister, as she is a bit older. Both girls remain very close friends and support each other – I’m was here for that, because we see a lot of their interactions.

More Books with this Trope


Trenn Kopie

The Love Interest

How Common? Pretty common, as the newcomer almost always trains with the attractive, most powerful guy of the new world. I’m always down for Love Interest Mentors – it might be my favorite type of mentor on this list, as it’s so very interesting and forbidden.

Typical Age? Most likely older than the main character, around 2-4 years at maximum, but with this trope an age gap is pretty common, so it could be over 4 years for sure.

Function? Training the main character, most likely because they have just discovered a new power that they have no control over or are generally new in the world. It could also be that they are familiar with the world but still a trainee. The Mentor is not much older but more experienced. In the end both end up falling for each other, which usually ends in a forbidden love storyline.

Favorite “Love Interest” Mentors


  • Valek from Poison Study could be considered a mentor, as he is responsible for Yelena the main character and her training as a food tester. He is one of my favorite love interests and the romance is such a good slow burn, therefore, I had to include him on this list! I love how both of them train together, get to know each other better and slowly fell in love. I’m a huge fan of their relationship, as this has everything I love – enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn, forbidden love.
  • Arcus from Frostblood is a very good example as he trains Ruby, who has no  control over her fire powers. He himself is an ice user but both powers exhibit the same patterns, so he is able to teach her. Those two start out hating each other as well, as their powers are literally opposing, but she is able to melt the ice around his heart (hah), which makes them both fall for each other.

More Books with this Trope


Trenn Kopie

The Wise Adviser

How Common? Very common, there is almost always an older mentor, who knows a lot about the world and is frequently visited to gain knowledge. This trope has appeared in the past as well, just look at Gandalf or Dumbledore.

Typical Age? Old. Think long white beard and wrinkles. BUT there are also a lot of wise characters that are 40+ recently, replacing the classical wise Mentor that you know from a lot of older stories.

Function? Offering advice to the main character, because they know a lot of secrets and have hidden knowledge, that is needed for a quest. Most likely they are also very powerful and try to protect the main character from harm. Generally, they are the voice of reason when it comes to decision and are always the first person the protagonist goes to for help.

Favorite “Wise Adviser” Mentors

  • Julian from Red Queen is not that old (maybe 40+), but he is definitely the voice of reason and possessed a lot of knowledge. Generally, he is a very bookish person, therefore he is very interested in collecting and preserving information that the leaders of his world would rather see hidden and banished. He’s a great support for the main character Mare and always tries to protect her, as he doesn’t agree with how his people treat those who are not so lucky. I love him as Julian is very kind and intelligent and because he’s also got a super tragic background – someone hold him! He has his flaws as well, but he is generally trying to do good.

More Books with this Trope


Trenn Kopie

The Surrogate Parent

How Common? Very common, as the main character’s parents are almost always dead or missing (it’s a serious syndrome in YA), so someone has to fill the void left behind and act as a surrogate parent. Therefore, you can find someone like that in almost any book.

Typical Age?Around 30-50 years, the age most parents would be, only that they are dead, because YA parents are pretty rare.

Function? Helping and training the main character of course is part of their job, so that they can save the world. However, they might voluntarily or not so voluntarily turn into a kind of parent, who tries to keep their charge out of trouble and is offering moral support. My favorite types are those who do not want to care about the protagonist, but then end up becoming the ultimate grumpy mom/dad.

Favorite “Surrogate Parent” Mentor


  • Haymitch from The Hunger Games is not only one of my favorite mentors, he also fits that trope, because in my opinion he became kind of a surrogate parent for Katniss – I mean come on he’s the perfect drunk, grumpy dad or uncle. Like I said before, I when characters don’t want to care about anyone like Haymitch did, but then someone still manages to find a way into their heart. Throughout the books he actually becomes more responsible for his trainees and does show emotions.

More Books with this Trope


Trenn Kopie

The Surprise I’m Evil Mentor

How Common? Hard to say because as their true intentions are usually a plot twist, so there could be more books out there that have this trope, that I haven’t read yet. However, I do love this spin on the Mentor trope, showing you can truly trust no one.

Typical Age? Very variable, I’ve seen everything from the 20’s to the 60’s so there is no exact typical age that you can define with this trope. Literally everything is possible.

Function? Training the main character who comes new into their world and is pretty much naive, not as experienced as they are. They don’t show their true face right away, but pretend to be a good guy with good intentions, who just wants to help the main character succeed. Ultimately they have bigger motives and are manipulating the protagonist so they can reach their own goal. Usually only care about what they want.

Favorite “Surprise I’m Evil” Mentor

  • The Darkling from the Grisha Trilogy is someone I had to talk about, because I love him and I’ve been obsessing over him ever since I read book 1. I don’t really know if you can consider him a mentor, but he is kind of something like that to Alina. Oh and he’s of course not the good guy, which is not that obvious from the beginning, but later is revealed. I mean … I don’t know how I had faith in a character called The Darkling, it’s already a hint at his true intentions. Basically, he’s the hero in his own mind, but Alina doesn’t see it that way. Instead she feels a betrayed since her ‘mentor’ turns out to be not as good as he claimed.

More Books with this Trope


Talk Kopie

Who is your favorite mentor in YA? What types do you usually end up liking? 📚


13 thoughts on “5 Types of YA Mentors

  1. I love how you put together this list! My favorite kind is the “surprise I’m evil” one just because I love that trope and not only with mentors.

    (spoilers for Shadow and Bone if someone who hasn’t read it is reading this comment)
    I also do not understand how could I have faith in someone whose name is “The Darkling”, who goes around in a black carriage, has dark magic and sometimes cuts people in two. If that does not scream “hi, I’m evil”, I don’t know what does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I definitely love it as a trope in general!

      Omg YES that’s it 😂 I mean I knew he was going to be a villain, as I heard a lot about the Grisha Trilogy beforehand but still … there were many clues that he wasn’t cute and fluffy 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think I prefer the Wise Adviser because they’re old and smart at least, so you feel like they deserve their role 😀 the Surrogate Parent is okay too! I kind of dislike the lover mentor :/ it can be pretty mysoginystic. Like a girl always needs advise from her boyfriend, gahhh. The “Surprise I’m Evil” xDD hahahah… yep, that’s quite common I feel, but I bet it’s the most fun 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Wise Adviser is definitely cool, as it’s the one I have been seeing around a lot with Dumbledore etc 🙂
      The Lover Mentor can definitely be done badly, depending on how he treats her 😮
      It’s definitely a lot of fun 😀


  3. My favorite is probably the love interest. I don’t know. I hate all tropes when I think about them (like seriously why do we have to be so predictable and how many times can we seriously reread the same story over and over with different character names???) but when I read them, I gush, and writing them is even better. Love triangles are seriously the best thing to write and I want to stab myself in the eye for feeling that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. GAH!!! I love this post Caro!! Such great examples… I’ve tried to write posts like this but I always feel kind of meh about mine… I do love Poison Study and the lover mentor in that… and Haymitch as the surrogate parent is a great example! The more you talk of the Darkling the more I feel I need to read the Grishna series… I’ve heard it panned more often than not so I’ve been iffy about it… which book does he appear in?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! ♥ Valek is one of my faves – I definitely have to reread Poison Study and continue on with the rest of the Series 😀 You should definitely check out the Grisha Trilogy, the Darkling is an amazing villain! He appears right in book 1, but I haven’t read books 2 +3 yet!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.