Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bad boys in YA literature

Disclaimer: the following opinions may not be very popular.

This week for Top Ten Tuesday, we were able to pick our own topic. I (along with several others) chose to post my top five book boyfriends: Morpheus, Ignifex, Zarek, Four, and Vincent. All of these guys have something in common - they all have serious attitudes. Sometimes they're standoffish, sarcastic, and arrogant. But none of them are completely controlling or abusive.

Since the first time I ever picked up a YA book (which, interestingly enough, was not when I was a YA) I've seen the trend of bad boys as the main romantic interest. There are cases when this works really well (like those I've already listed), but there are some times when I think the author takes it too far.

The target audience of young adult literature (teenagers) is so suggestible that it's it's kind of concerning to see how many of them fall head over heels for characters who, in real life, would be labeled "control freak" or even "abusive," but are hailed as heroes for some reason as long as they remain tucked safely inside the pages of a book. There's a very fine line between okay and too much when it comes to protectiveness as a character trait in a man and I'm not sure why that line is so blurred in books.

While my opinions on some of these has made me unpopular with fellow readers, I think they deserve some discussion. Why do we crave books about people who we would be repelled by in real life (at least normal, healthy individuals should be repelled)? Let me share with you a couple popular examples of this with review excerpts.

Nothing about Travis is okay. Going around beating the hell out of everyone who looks at a girl you aren't even dating yet is NOT normal. And attempting to control the people she hangs out with, the clothes she wears, the places she goes... None of this is normal.

The relationship between the two main characters is completely dysfunctional and bipolar. Seriously, who loses her virginity to someone just so he'll leave her alone? If some guy got my name tattooed on his wrist immediately after we got back together, I'd be out the door.

This is the Katy/Daemon relationship summed up in a few sentences: Daemon is a jerk, threatens her constantly, and yet won't leave her alone at school for some reason, constantly poking her with a pen (wink wink nudge nudge) and flirting with her, much to the amazement of her super slutty classmates...Sometimes she's super pissed by his assholery and others she's super turned on because apparently his bright green eyes make the panties drop. At some point, he admits that he likes her (kinda) and wants to be with her because she's attractive.

Girls! This is not normal behavior! If a guy is a jerk to you, move on! 

Go ahead, be mad, but I just don't get it. Some other examples are Edward from Twilight (come on, he watches her sleep and stalks her) and Jace from what I read of The Mortal Instruments. Now, I'll admit that Twilight is one that I'm on the fence about. Maybe it's because I read it when it first came out and I was much younger then. It has always been a guilty pleasure.

Maybe I just disagree with the masses because I'm married and I've dealt with these men. I dated controlling jerks before I met my husband, who happens to be one of the good guys.

Can we please get back to the wholesome, sarcastic (but ultimately sweet) leading men?