Yesterday, we got to me the bad boy in YA fiction and learn about his many merits. Today, Nic from DeLibrarie is here to discuss the bad boy's counterpart- the good guy! So before you vote, check out why we love the nice guys!
The Extremes of YA Good Guys
As a YA reader there comes a certain expectation for the main love interest in a story. Because we get so connected to the main heroine we begin to feel as though she is real. She becomes us or our best friend or the person that we wish to be. Because of this connection, we begin to expect the best for our heroine. We want the perfect boyfriend for her so that we can fall in love with him just as much as she does.
It is from this expectation and desire that we get the extremist "good guy" character in most YA novels. This character is always perfectly, breathtakingly handsome in every way. After the first glimpse of him, our heroine discovers that not only does he appear perfect, but he is perfect. He'll be considerate, romantic, and protective, making him the ideal boyfriend. He'll always be available to our heroine, what with her being his top priority, and he's always willing to sacrifice himself for the betterment of his heroine. Not to say that he doesn't have his flaws; he does. However, it's usually something excusable such as a little bit of lying to save her life or being a little bit too protective so that she never gets hurt. But these flaws are an attempt at making the character and his relationship appear realistic and thus more believeable to the reader.
A popular example of this good guy character would be Daniel from the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. Not only does Daniel relive his true love's death over and over again without wavering in his love, but he does what he can to make each of her lives the best it can be; even if it hurts him more. He is handsome and brave and does what he can to protect her from the truth that could kill her. Not only that but he's an angel! Talk about perfect. Another good example is Tam from the Wings series by Aprilynne Pike. He devotes his entire life to Laurel, including his entire career, and saves her life countless times. He waits years and years for her to remember him so that they can be together and continues to hope for it even after she chooses to be with David instead. These guys devote their lives to the one they love and they never stop sacrificing, hoping, and fighting to be with their true love.
The good guy simply embodies every good aspect of love and relationships to the point of perfection. He is everything you could ever want or need. So even though this is a brief description, you can see how we would fall immediately in love with any one of the classic good guy characters in YA books. Every girl wants a handsome guy to protect and love her unconditionally. We all want to be the most important thing to someone else. But rarely will we find this in real life. Which is why we love our YA guys oh so much; they're a dream come true.
So while this character is ideal to us, he is really just the extreme of goodness. He is usually unrealistic and too good to be true. And this extremism is true not only for the good guy character, but also for the bad boy character. The bad boy is just as extreme in that he is devastatingly handsome, dark, dangerous, and is usually broken in some way. He is the character we all dream of having because he doesn't want anyone. He only cares for himself and by gaining his love, you become the only person to really get to know him and in so doing he becomes yours and yours alone. This is the opposite extreme though and in YA stories you usually find one character or the other; sometimes you can find both.
Once in a while you will find a male character who is slightly more realistic in that he keeps his own interests in mind while continuing the traditional good guy course of focusing mostly on the heroine, but this character is rare. Because of its rarity it makes the good guy seem even more extreme and perfect because we grow to expect it.
We read these books to get entertainment, to experience something we would otherwise never experience, and to fall in love with our dream guy. Without our classic good guy these stories wouldn't be nearly as interesting or worthwhile to us. We need our extreme good guy to dream about until we can find our own substitute love interest in real life. The good guy is what makes these stories so amazing and addicting. Without them, our books just wouldn't be the same.
Thanks so much to Nic from DeLibrarie for reminding us why nice can be so much sweeter! Make sure to read about all 20 Bachelors here and go vote for your favorites!