This seems to be developing into a bit of a meme among some of the book blogs I've read, so I thought I'd start off here by adding my two cents (and because I haven't recently finished any books to review). So here are my five favourite fictional guys from the world of YA literature... and the five fictional guys that I wish didn't exist (even if it's just on the page):
Top 5 Dudes:
5. Eugenides - The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The character was what really made me fall in love with this book. Gen (as he's usually known) is cheeky, funny, self-deprecating, and seems like the sort of person you'd want to have around when you're on a quest to recover a legendary artifact. Too bad the author totally ruined the character with the second book in the series; she might as well have killed him off.
4. Howl - Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I'm talking about the Howl from the book here... not the effeminate girly-man with the out-of-place baritone voice and emo tendencies from the movie. What's so fun about Howl is that he is, in some ways, just a boy... and yet he's also able to pull off playing the romantic lead as well.
3. Stephen - I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
He's sweet and relatively innocent. Sometimes that's refreshing in a world of "bad boys".
2. Nick - Willowmere Chronicles by Alison Baird
Can't really say much about this delicious bad guy without giving too much away. (I don't really understand why, with the popularity of books like Twilight and Evermore, this series hasn't taken off. Could be because the third and final book is only available in Canada. But if you can get your hands on it, do so.)
1. Tom - Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
He's the perfect tortured hero with a secret. I realize that some people think that Tom is a bit of a pervert, as a grown man who becomes friends with a little girl. However, there's nothing even remotely sexual in their relationship (especially at first, and much of their communication is through letters). By the time any kind of attraction develops, Polly has grown up. Fire and Hemlock was written decades ago, when we were all a little more innocent. I'd be much more worried about a couple of the guys in the following list...
Top 5 Duds:
5. Owen - Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
A 35-year-old mind in the body of a 17-year-old boy lusting after a 15-year-old girl. Need I say more?
4. Harry Potter - Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
I'll admit, Harry was charming at first. But by the end of the series, the character was grating on my nerves. In Book 7, I was actually rooting for Voldemort (but I'm not too pleased with him, either... he turned out to be too stupid to be really formidable).
3. Keenan - Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Is it just me, or was Keenan just boring? Actually, I found all of the characters in that book boring. They all lacked depth. For Keenan, this was especially frustrating, as he should have been someone to dread or be attracted to; for me, it was neither.
2. Damen - Evermore by Alyson Noel
Why does every guy in YA fantasy have to look like a 17-year-old supermodel? Sometimes flaws (physical or otherwise) are interesting. Aside from that, I can't really get too excited about a guy who's constantly doing bad magic tricks. If he's going to pull stuff out of thin air, at least he could manifest something more useful than tulips.
1. Edward Cullen and Jacob Black - Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer
Two for the price of one!
Edward Cullen: stalker, chauvanist, and pimp. Just what every girl wants in a man, right?
As for Jacob, I'll admit, I did like him at first, back when he was just a sweet kid from the rez. But after all the emo whining, shapeshifter/werewolf nonsense, and implied pedophilia... Well, all I can say is "ick". I do have to give Stephenie Meyer props, though... she did manage to completely ruin two salvageable characters within the space of a few hundred pages. That can't be an easy task.