We were introduced to the first authentic “bad boy” in Grease, the ever-popular 1978 musical. Danny was the type of guy who rode a motorcycle (or had a really cool car), smoked and drank, wore a heavy chain and them dark sunglasses, fixed machinery with his gang, and dated girls left and right. He had the gelled-back black hair, the dark eyes, and the leather jacket. He was the epitome of Tall, Dark and Handsome and he knew it. He was the type of guy everyone would either fawn over or would run straight away from. Danny broke hearts and he thought only of himself. He set the mold of everyone’s favourite stereotype: the bad boy.
|John Travolta as Danny|
Bad boys are found on every corner in YA. Everyone loves them, including their heroines. Why? What’s so attractive about boys who don’t listen and who do whatever they want? For starters, they are attractive. They’re also usually pretty protective and helpful, if you get under their layers. Most bad boys in YA lit nowadays seem to want someone to love them, making them even more interesting – what girl doesn’t want to crack the confused angel-looking guy?
|Dimitri from Vampire Academy|
Something things all bad boys have in common are their incapability to follow rules. Ky, from Matched, is the perfect example. He doesn’t believe in the rules of his society so what does he do? He breaks them and follows his own. To adults, he’s the perfect criminal. To teenage girls he’s got a fresh mind and a fresh outlook. Another thing they all have in common? Scars, be them physical or emotional. All bad boys have had some tragedy in their past, something to effect them emotionally or physically. This, in fact, is pretty much key – bad boys must be scarred in some way.
There are three types of bad boys. The three are interchangeable and can be combined, but there are three distinctive types:
Type A: He’s badass and has a dangerous reputation.
Type A’s are popular in YA paranormals. Take Dimitri from VA for example: people call him a god and stay away from him because he’s twenty-seven and has more marks then most grown dhampirs. Guys like him are powerful, physically dangerous, and are sexy enough to be breaking hearts everywhere, even without trying. There’s a reason everyone warns you away from him – he’s not exactly trust-worthy and you never quite know what he’s thinking. The required:
- Dark hair/eyes or very light hair/eyes
- A well-worn jacket (preferably leather, but cowboy jackets work, too ;))
- Abs or other sculpted muscles
- A motorcycle!!!
- Great height
- Usually scarred
- Training in combat
- A weapon (stakes are popular, but guns work, too)
Examples: Damon, Dimitri, Jace, Ash, Four, Patch, Pietr, Gale, Emmett, David, Nick, Ren (a whole bunch, huh?)
Type B: He’s scarred from his past.
Something monumental happened in the past, maybe something that has changed his view of life and something that has made him put up walls around his heart. Usually, Type B’s have some connection to Type A’s, and vise versa. These type of guys are the tough ones, the ones that don’t let people in and who ace in verbal combat, if not physical, too. These guys are the brooders, the thinkers, the serious. They’re tough-guy facade hides their hurt. The requirements:
- Lots of pent-up anger
- Any facial/physical quality, but they’re usually dark haired/dark eyed
- Usually have a scar
- Have a motorcycle
- Are shady
- Aren’t really trust-worthy
Examples: Luc, Christian, Graves, Shane, Jonah, Alex from both Delirium and Perfect Chemistry
Type C: he uses girls to distract him from his problems
The only thing you have to be in danger of when you’re around this type of bad boy is your heart. These boys are playboys and will stop at nothing to get your heart. Why are they classified as bad boys? Because these guys are hot and they know it, and they flip through girls (until they find their “special someone,” that is) like readers flip through pages. These guys are the ones parents warn their girls away from; these are the guys that are a danger to the most crucial part of the body – the heart. Requirements:
- Usually blond with blue eyes/dark haired with dark eyes
- Tall and handsome
- A little “shady”
- Usually rich
- Gorgeous car/clothes
- Usually older than heroine
Examples: Wesley, Puck, Conrad, Max, Zane, Tod
I love me them bad boys. I really, really do. I think they’re layered characters, I think they’re intelligent and deep. Sure, the cliché is used in YA in nearly every novel, but honestly? People write bad boys because it works so well. My favourite YA bad boys were listed above. Who are yours?
Check out other bad boys at Down the Rabbit Hole before the end of YA Bachelor Month!
Thanks so much to Alyssa of Readers Unite. Make sure to go vote for your favorite guys! Polls close July 30th. Go here to check out all the bachelors and here to vote!