Friday Rants is a new YA discussion series I’m starting here on Mostly YA Lit. It’s a discussion post, but it will start with a question or idea that’s been brewing in my mind for awhile, and I can’t get rid of. Thus, the rant! Come discuss with me and let’s get some of these issues out in the open!
Look, I get it. Bad boys are sexy. They smolder, they seem dangerous, and if you’re the one person who can change them…that’s something special.
|Jordan Catalano, ultimate bad boy. NOT good for you!|
Lately I’ve noticed a pretty crazy trend of bad boys in YA fiction. I know part of this stems from the whole love triangle thing that seems to exist in a lot of YA books – there’s a good boy and a bad one, and the girl protagonist has to choose – but what bothers me is that the bad boy is often the one chosen. He gets redeemed, you see another side to him, and in the end, he’s really just a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
But ladies, in real life, guys aren’t like that. I know that’s kind of a dumb thing to say, because we all know we’re reading fiction, but let’s think about this for a minute. People aren’t like that. Yes, in relationships, people change. If it’s a good relationship, that change is often for the better. But I really, truly believe that at our cores, we are the people that we project to the world.
Yes, people who seem mysterious or have tough exteriors can surprise us. But a tough exterior is different from someone who constantly manipulates, who lies, who makes bad decisions and then blames a bad upbringing or home life or just bad luck.
|Edward Cullen is NOT good for you|
Ladies, you do not want to date that guy. If he acts like he understands you, then steps on other people, that is a reflection of how he will one day act with you.
In the end, don’t we all really want the guy that’s always there, the guy that is steady and doesn’t surprise (at least not in temperament – little gifts and romantic notes are awesome), who comforts you when you’re hurt and who doesn’t cause all the drama? The guy that isn’t a mystery in your relationship, but who you’ll always learn more about because he’s just an interesting person?
A bad boy does not automatically have depth. And a good boy is not automatically shallow. A good boy can have layers, and depth, just by being him.
I’m not saying all good boys are perfect. No boy actually is. In fact, some good boys are just idiots who haven’t realized that the perfect girl is right under their noses. But I am saying that we need to raise our standards of what we should want out of our relationships, literary or otherwise.
In books, I understand that there needs to be conflict. But man, does it always have to be the bad boy who gets reformed by the girl? Why can’t the comflict come from the girl, or, I don’t know, the actual plot?
|Peeta is sweet and loving. AND he’s sexy. See?|
I’m here, and I’m arguing for the good boys. These are the guys I go for in real life and these are the guys I want in the stories I read.
For the love of God, people, take a look at the good boys!
I’ve compiled a list of good boys in books who are just as awesome as the bad. It’s no coincidence that these are all some of my favourite books. Tell me you don’t love these guys.
1. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
2. Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door (Stephanie Perkins)
3. Prince Maxon from The Selection (Kiera Cass)
|A good boy like Nick listens and laughs with you|
4. Nick in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Rachel Cohn & David Levithan)
5. Brian from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
6. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
7. Adam Eddington from A Ring of Endless Light (Madeleine L’Engle)
8. James from Unbreak My Heart (Melissa Walker)
|Harry & Ron will always have your back!|
9. & 10. Harry and Ron from Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
The very fact that I can’t think of that many of these just reiterates that there need to be better and more good guys in YA. It’s not enough to just say, “Oh, girls will learn as they get older” or “Oh, this is just in books.” I think we all need a reminder that good boys can be sexy, and bad boys are often just that: bad for you, and toxic in relationships.