Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Discussions (11): Bad Boys vs Good Boys

It's kind of funny this topic came up, especially since I'm doing a YA Bachelor Month coming up in July (you should email to sign up if you haven't already!) and this is going to be one of the focuses. But I digress...

Let's get into it! Kate from That Book Blog suggested we talk about bad boys vs good boys in YA fiction. I'm going to start by saying that I am a writer first. Always have been, probably always will be. I've been known to write some very nice guys in my day. You know, the real thoughtful type that remember birthdays, give sweet smiles, leave the favorite type of flower on the doorstep, and dress in the latest Abercrombie fashions. Someone that sort of feels like home.

But I've also written plenty of bad boys in my day. They're honest, sometimes to the point of cruelty, they like to mess with the girl's head, wear black leather jackets that smell like shoe polish and cinnamon, ride a motorcycle and have some of the wittiest banter known to man. With one smolder, they can make a girl's heart speed up and spread warmth to all sorts of inappropriate places.

Simply put, bad boys are just way more fun. To write and most of the time to read.


Because they cause conflict. If the guy is nice and the girl is nice and they get together nicely, there isn't much tension there. No anticipation. As a reader, we can already see the nice couple's path laid out before us from white diamond to white dress to white picket fence. And to be honest, it's no fun.

But a bad boy makes sure there is no straight line, no one way ticket. They shake things up, get our main characters flustered and make them fight. They are about lust and looks and passion. For me, that's way, way more fun to write about.

Or is it?

See, I can second guess myself here because we've seen a lot of good guys in fiction. Most of times when there is a love triangle involved we know that between Mr. Nice and Mr. Bad, that Mr. Bad is going to win out because he's dangerous/new/shiny/interesting. Mr. Nice has usually always been there, knows man character all her life and will always love her. But he isn't enough.

Sometimes though, Mr. Nice surprises us. Here are some examples of Good Guys:
Jay from The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting- He's been there for Violet since the beginning. He understands her secret and accepts her for it. One day, Violet realizes that he has grown up into this super cool, super hot guy when he was always just Jay before. He sticks by her no matter what and listens to her. He knows when she's sad before she even does sometimes. They have a past and because of that, they have a strong future. Jay is just the type of guy to make a girl go Good!
Will from Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton-The very first thing I thought once I was finished with this book is "wow, that Will is a nice guy." He went to the movies with Ellie even though he didn't want to and also allowed himself to be dragged to a party. He's been with Ellie for so many centuries that he knows her inside and out. He's mysterious and a bad ass but he was also a nice guy. This combo does not happen a lot.
Peeta from The Hunger Games series- He might have pushed the whole nice guy thing. We love bad boys because they are dangerous, willing to protect us. So was Peeta and he was the sweetest guy you'll ever met. He knew exactly how to tear down hard-as-nails Katniss's wall and make her feel. An artist and a great listener. A boy who years ago took pity on a little girl and gave her some bread he burnt on purpose even though he knew he'd pay for it out of his own back.

So while bad boys are lots of fun, authors are starting to write about good boys too. They can be just as sexy by being sweet as the bad boy can by being mean. I think this is an awesome emerging trend and can't wait to see where it goes. Does this mean I'm not going to be rooting for the Rens (Nightshade), Lucs (Personal Demons), and Tamanis (Wings) of the world? Heck no! These are some of my favorites! It does mean that the good guy is evolving to make room for an entirely new breed that will definitely give the bad boys we love a run for their money.

Here's (a few) my required reads with some of my favorite boys I love to hate and then lust after and then love:
So tell me what you think. Bad boys vs good guys? What do you prefer? Any trends you've noticed lately?
Have a great idea for what we should discuss next? Do share!

Next week's topic comes from Ann of Semisweet: What sort of qualities do you admire in a male/female lead?


  1. Great discussion! I completely agree with your points on Good Boys vs. Bad Boys! Bad boys are truly so much more fun to read though :) Tension, angst, conflict!!!

  2. Well, I love a bad boy not for the added drama between the two, but because he more than likely has issues which adds to the drama of the actual character. A lot of the time though if I love the FMC I want her to be with the good guy even if that is a reformed bad boy (or a bad boy working through issues).

  3. I tend to go for the bad boys (as you can probably tell by the fact that I am hosting Jace) but I love a good boy, too. (My second choice was Lend.) I think what I really like above all others is a tormented hero. One who has dark secrets and has to struggle to rise above them.

  4. In books I usually really like the bad boy, but in real life I'm all about the nice guy... Also, I like it if the boy is a mix. A bad boy with a nice guy in there somewhere.

  5. Awwwwww you used my question!!! Color me flattered. : )


  6. In literature, I love a bad boy. Angst, emotional walls, inner demons, insecurities covered by fantastic sarcasm I'm all over it. In real life, however, I'm not sure I have the patience to put up with someone behaving that way.

    And even in fiction the only way that type of behavior is really redeemable is if the bad boy in question does eventually open up and let you see why he behaves the way he does. Being a bad boy makes any sign of emotional vulnerability all the sweeter and more heart melting.

    Ann @Semisweet

  7. I know that I am in the minority here, but I always root for the underdog, the nice guy, that nine times out of ten in these stories gets left heartbroken.
    Power to the geeks, the thoughtful ones, the ones that have always BEEN there through thick and thin. Come on nice guys!

  8. BAD BOYS all the way chick... Can't help it. YUM.

  9. Bad boy. Hands down. I love them! I love Peeta, too. So confusing. I guess it depends on the story really. But bad boys are my favorites to read.


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