Alright, can we all just gather round, we’re about to have a very serious conversation.
Leading men of YA have made us laugh, cry, swoon, drool, hate the utter unfairness of reality. Some of us like bad boys, some good boys, some a healthy mix of both. Some of us like them damaged, some like them adorably innocent. Many of them out there are cliches. They smile from the corner of their lips because they don’t know how to smile properly. But sometimes, some of them are done just right.
This year’s Literary Swoon is Favorite Fictional Crushes. We are here today to thoroughly discuss the shiz out of this topic. Yesterday’s post featured some of our favorite authors and their crushes. Today, it is our turn. So sit back and relax. And most definitely enjoy.
K.’s Fictional Crushes
I don’t know necessarily if I have a type — even in real life I can be a bit contradictory — but I know one thing: I like a man with passion behind him. All these guys have something driving him in whatever journey he’s in. There’s a weight on his shoulders, a burden, but it’s the way he handles it that impresses me. The way he carries his worries and shoulders on through life. It’s noble and admirable and sexy as hell.
Jonah, Ed, and Tom all carry shame in their being yet they still find strength to summon laughter and playfulness from themselves. Sometimes it’s a defense mechanism, true, but each of them (however deep it goes, Tom) still carry hope, too. Mal and Kartik have a sense of destiny about them. This feeling of purpose. No matter how tragic it may be, they believe in honor and duty…sometimes painfully so. And each of them are a true and worthy match for our heroines. Hallelujah! They compliment and encourage. They protect but they don’t pamper. They are not men to lean on but men to stand beside.
And Jericho? Well, I’m no prude.
Kate’s Fictional Crushes
I read over 200 romance novels a year, so this was a tough list for me to make. I love SO MANY boys from books, but my top literary crushes tend to be what I call Effortless Alpha Males. People naturally turn to these boys for leadership, but they seem to exist outside society, following their own rules. They have a lot of acquaintances, but few close friends. They are not afraid to pursue their ladies of choice for years if necessary, and they are fiercely loyal.
I’m so glad Connor and Rose got their own book, because they are my favorite characters in this fantastic NA series. Connor is a gorgeous genius–he may be on the autism spectrum–who runs his family’s multimillion dollar corporation in New York while attending Wharton Business School in Pennsylvania. He’s really experienced sexually, but he pursues Rose for several years and then dates her for a while without pressuring her about sex/losing her virginity. And once she does it is super duper HOT. Connor is honest and blunt to the point of rudeness, and he has a great sense of humor. He functions brilliantly under stress. I love him.
Joscelin is a member of an ancient order of knights who are also priests, so he has taken a vow of chastity. Which works out great until he falls in love with the world’s most famous courtesan. Joscelin is strong, smart, loyal, and really devout in his faith, even after he breaks his vows. Hector from the Fire and Thorns trilogy feels like he’s based on Joscelin.
Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind
This is a bit of a “The first cut is the deepest” choice. I read Gone with the Wind for the first time when I was nine years old, and I was OBSESSED WITH Rhett. His ability to see through Scarlet’s pretenses and really understand her and love her for who she is as a flawed, strong-willed woman is really appealing. His ability to read people makes him a successful, canny businessman, as well. He and Connor, my top pick here, are pretty similar characters in a lot of ways.
I had a surprisingly difficult time with this list, I have to say. It, perhaps oddly, felt super personal to share these. I’m also pretty behind on recent YA books. Do let me know which boys I absolutely cannot miss out on. :)
My heart will always have a special place for kind, compassionate, and sweet Peeta Mellark. I am (only somewhat) ashamed to admit that my chosen ship is often the only thing that is “make or break” for me in a story. Peeta was just so sweet and HG was my first foray back into the YA world. That first real heart clench I’d felt in such a long time.
Now here’s someone much more my actual type: Raffe. Mysterious, bad ass, secretly kind and caring. Oh, and hot. Raffe’s carefully built reserve, in combination with the tiny cracks throughout the book and its breakdown in the climax of Angelfall, absolutely cemented him into my “Favorite Boys” pantheon. With Raffe being largely absent, World After was a little disappointing to me. What can I say? I am not a complex person.
Finally, we have the true king of my heart, Chaol Westfall, from the Throne of Glass series. Initially the silent and stoic type, it’s such a joy to watch Chaol’s guarded demeanor slowly fade away as the series progresses. Strong, honorable, loyal to a fault, kind, and just plain good. He brings Celaena chocolate cake in the middle of the night to cheer her up. He is perfect.
Wendy’s Fictional Crushes
I have a rather embarrassing number of fictional crushes, but some of my absolute favorites include the ones from the following series:
Archer Cross from the Hex Hall
Sam Roth from the Wolves of Mercy Falls
Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables
Tarver Mendelson from Starbound
Tod from Soul Screamers
Raffe from Angelfall
Christian Prescott from Unearthly
Dimitri Belikov and Adrian Ivashkov from Vampire Academy
Sturmhond from Grisha
Will Herondale from Infernal Devices
If you look over my list, I most definitely have a type. My favorite YA boys are the ones who are quick-witted and adventurous, who charm with careless humor while hiding secrets as well: Will, Sturmhond, Adrian, Archer all fall into this category. I also have a thing for strong alpha males, which manifests most of the time when I’m reading romance novels or adult urban fantasy, but also shows up a little bit now and again in the form of someone like Raffe. And Sam has my heart because he’s so romantic and poetic and pained.
But no matter what their surface appeal, underneath each and every male character I love, there’s an honorable and dependable soul who cares deeply about the people around him, and who would do anything for his girl, short of compromising his principles. (Well, we have yet to see what’s going on with Sturmhond. But I feel he has possibilities. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES.) Gilbert and Christian and Tod and Tarver and Dimitri all help their love interests grow considerably into the women they want to be, and to me, that’s a huge part of a healthy, lasting relationship. So the traits I admire about fictional males aren’t all that different from the things I love about guys in real life: intelligence, humor, loyalty, and bone-deep kindness and decency.
And hey, it never hurts if these qualities come with a swooningly romantic nature or soul-stealing kisses, either.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all just added a few more titles into your TBR list, haven’t you? We know we have! Please, for the sake of all that is sexy, comment below and tell us who your fictional crushes are (because we know you have more than one!) and let us all expand our collection of cute guys! That sounded wrong.
Check out our previous Literary Swoon Series, too!
Literary Swoon Authors have included Cynthia Hand, Nova Ren Suma, Gail Carriger, Lauren Oliver, Kendare Blake, Rebecca Lim, Deborah Cooke, Jessica Spotswood, Amy Garvey, Sarah Rees Brennan, Sarah Fine, and Marissa Meyer.