Tuesday, November 10, 2009

But . . . he's so HOT!

I've been reading a certain YA novel (which shall remain unnamed,) and there's much I enjoy about it, but one thing is driving me crazy. Early on in the story, the main character falls madly in love with the requisite Bad Boy, and the only reason I can see is that he is so dangerously hot. It's really bugging me. I keep asking, "Wait, why do you like him?"

This is a somewhat disturbing trend you see in YA these days: main girl goes ga-ga for the kind of jerky, but oh so gorgeous hottie. I suppose they think it's "realistic" but I think it's actually selling teenagers short. Are there shallow girls out there who only like the hot guy? Of course. But is that how all teenage girls are? No way! In fact, I would venture that the kind of girls who are avid readers are the intelligent, well-rounded types that look for more in a guy than a six pack and big biceps.

Ladies, what attracted you to guys when you were a teenager?

I know for me, it was NOT only looks. Did a gorgeous pair of brown eyes make me melt and think I might be in love? Sure. I can admit that. But was that the sole reason why I liked a guy? Uh-NO!

I was attracted to talent. Intelligence. Humor. A guy who was genuine and not stuck up. Where are these qualities in our YA male love interests??? They are there, but falling sadly by the wayside. I want to see these kind of guys overpower the Gorgeous Bad Boy. I want to see our female protagonists develop feelings for the guy who will treat them with respect and like them for their personalities as well. Isn't that SO much more helpful to learning how to develop real, mature love?

I say, down with the hot Bad Boy! Who's with me?!


Tere Kirkland said...

Hear, hear! Young girls need to learn eventually that today's football hero is tomorrow's used car salesman.

Sic transit hotness.

Mim said...

I'm with you on that one. The things that attracted me to my boyfriends and eventually my husband were they way they treated me and their intelligence.

Plus I think that it is important to model healthy relationships in Young Adult--not all books need to be that way, but I'd love it if more were.

Natalie said...

I couldn't agree more. I like a hot bad boy book every now and then, but I think there have been a few too many bad boy books lately.

Healthy relationships can be cool too!

JaneyV said...

Definitely with you. Sure I fancied the good looking guys but it always amazed me how quickly the gaga feeling disappeared if he was full of himself. For me the ability to make me laugh always won the day.

(That and a nice smile and broad shoulders - I admit it - I may be a teensy bit shallow)

Natalie Whipple said...

There definitely needs to be a balance. I'm Bad Boy fatigued right now, but you know that.

Kasie West said...

I think I know exactly what book you're talking about. Where is the relationship development? Seriously! :) And I'm with you on the falling for the bad boy. I don't mind a good bad boy, but only if the girl hates him at first and then has to see through his outer shell to what's causing the "jerkitude". AND only if he doesn't disrespect her. But seriously, there are so many other personality types out there as well. Let's explore them. :)

Kiersten White said...

No, hotness trumps ALL.


This is why my girls always end up with the hot jerks who treat them poorly but have washboard abs.

Wait, that doesn't happen in my books? EDITING TIME.

Candice said...

I'm pretty sure I know which "bad boy" you're referring to. I like a guy who can make you laugh. My guys always have a sense of humor and a quick wit. I focus more on their personality than their looks because I think when a girl falls for a guys personality she's usually attracted to him, even if he's just average in the looks department. Of course some guys have it all: looks personality, a penchant for danger, and you can't really hold their good looks against them. :) So I have one of those in my books occasionally too.

Renee Collins said...

Tere-lol, so true!!

Mim-Yes, I definitely agree. That's what bothers me. Relationships like the ones in these stories simply don't work out in real life.

Natalie-Amen! And nice guys can be fun as well!

Janey-Absolutely. And humor would translate so well in writing. It's amazing that there aren't more like that. Of course, maybe I'm just not reading them.

Natalie-Yep. And a balance with the girls as well. I'm getting fatigued with shallow female MCs.

Kasie-With this book, I just don't see why the author couldn't have added a touch more personality in the guy. Some element other than naughty hotness.

Kiersten-Do it!! I so totally want to see Lend as a huge jerk! Please!!!

Candice-You hit the nail on the head! So many girls I know go for personality first, and that makes them find the guy attractive. That seems much more real to me.

Craftsman of light said...

i got in here wondering what midnight meditations could...ye, boy....what a surprise!
But your profile search seem to strangely resemble i guy i see in the mirror evry morning!

i'm joking ok.... You girls are far more cuter and intelligent, even funny than us guy! ;p

Anyway , seriously speaking if you accept i would like to i'd like to be back here to read your posts , cuz there's plenty!!

Hayley said...

Okay, only if the nice boy can wear a leather jacket, I really like leather jakckets. Yes, it's shallow, but that's okay. You're right though, there are way to many books out there that praise this. I'm with Kasie, if there's a reason why he is the way he is, then as long as he doesn't disrespect her its okay. Cause I know I've been interested in the bad boy, occasionally, but I'm always interested to the boys who treat me with respect. If only more YA authors wrote the respectful boy into the story.

Lora said...

I'm with ya!

In high school I was after the talented kinda quirky boys (theater, chemistry, art, whatever) who had passion for what they did.

Not bad boys. Dated one of those in college. He smacked me. Bad IS bad. Just sayin.

Nikki said...

Ok, I kind of like the jerks. But, like Kasie said, they are HOT jerks on the outside, and loveable scared little boys on the inside. There has to be something underneath, something to connect with. An unsure glance, a moment of weakness, something that shows their vulnerability, that makes the girl think she knows their secret. So that when he acts the jerk, she (and the reader too) knows the truth. Does that make sense?

Jessie Oliveros said...

What attracted me to guys when I was a teenager? Vibrant personalities, awesome senses of humor, good singing voices (found myself in love with the ugliest boy on the block for two days because his voice made my heart melt), and oh yes...a six pack and biceps. Just kidding-I think the biceps/singing voice combo was pretty rare. In a book I started girl likes jerky hot boy only best friend boy wins in the end.

Renee Collins said...

Craftsman of light-Welcome. :) Feel free to come back anytime!

Hayley-hehe, leather jackets are acceptable. :)

Lora-Yes! Passion! That was huge for me. I found it sooo attractive.

Nikki-I can definitely see what you are saying. And don't get me wrong, that bad boy can be done well. My main vent is on the girls who don't look for anything other than looks/danger.

Jessie-Ooo yes, the good singing voice. Ditto! I'm madly in love with Josh Groban, and he's not even that hot, but his voice . . . I melt. :)

Terresa said...

As a teen, I was attracted to personality and looks. But, like Tere says, ..."today's football hero is tomorrow's used car salesman." Yep. That's as real as it gets.

Becca said...


Apparently I am straight out a YA cliche teen novel ;)

You know how I love my "bad boys"....but remember...rough on the outside, soft on the inside (which implies non-jerkyness).

BUt lest be honest, we both know I am pretty much a lost cause when it come to a swarthy pirate ;)

Lady Glamis said...

Ah, the bad boy. At least my bad boy in Breakaway was a nerdy looking one. Hah.

I know what you mean. No offense, but this is one of the reasons YA usually drives me crazy. I know it's not all like this, but it's one of the reasons the plots sometimes feel superficial. Now I've got to go read the YA list Natalie gave me to rid myself of that!

Miriam S.Forster said...

I've never been a hot bad-boy type, really. I was much more into scruffy musician types.

I think we need more of those in YA... :)

I do have a hot bad-boy sort in my current project, and it's fun to gradually reveal his good side.

Blank said...

Love this post. And I completely agree. Why must nice guys finish last? They're NICE! That's HOT!

Renee Collins said...

Terresa-hehe, so totally true. :)

Becca-Ah Becca. What is there to be said?

j/k, in truth you are not shallow, and that is really my main beef with the prominence of bad boys, is that the girls seems to only like them because they are hot and bad. You're not like that. :)

Michelle-You know, for these reasons I avoid several YA series. I just know where they're going, you know?

Miriam-Ah, the scruffy musician. That's a good one. I'd be plenty happy to see more of them as well. :)

Blank-Exactly!! Glad you liked the post. :)

Julie said...

I was reading through the comments, ready to have my say about the bad boys when I saw your reply to a comment...about Josh Groban.
And I have to say, I may have fallen in love with you for saying it! :)
His voice stole my heart years ago and no one seems to understand because he's not...hot. Lol!
Oh, yeah, and bad boys...right. That's what the comment was supposed to be about. Sorry.

Renee Collins said...

Julie-A fellow Josh fan!! Yes, he isn't "hot," but oh how hot he is. :) I think we understand each other on a deep level now. :)