It seems as though every time I pick up a book there’s yet another amazing guy to fall in love with. From sword-wielding princes to dimension-jumpers to post-apocalyptic rebels, here is my top ten list of my favourite book boyfriends, YA edition.
- Magnus Damora – Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
If you’ve only read a couple of the Falling Kingdoms books, firstly—why the hell haven’t you devoured all five in the space of a week like a normal person? And secondly, you might be wondering how on earth Magnus has made the number one spot on this list. Well all I can say is this: keep reading. Wait for that ‘ah!’ moment. Then go back and read the first few books again, this time with a knowing smile on your face every time Magnus makes an appearance. The complexity of this character is absolutely amazing, and Morgan Rhodes needs to be applauded for her brilliant writing and the way she has managed to mould and develop Magnus over the course of the series.
‘In the shadow my father has cast over my entire life, you are the only light I can see anymore. And, whatever the cost, I refuse to let that light be extinguished.’ – Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3)
- Will Herondale – The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Brooding, sarcastic, charming, misunderstood. Those adjectives could apply to about 80% of young adult heroes/love interests, but Cassandra Clare’s Will Herondale is about as far as you can get from just another brooding bad boy. His character is incredibly complex and beautifully written. We are left guessing for the entire first book as to why he behaves the way he does, and when the truth is revealed in the second instalment the results are heart-shattering. If you’ve not yet read any of Cassandra Clare’s books, I absolutely urge you to go grab a copy of Clockwork Angel from your local library—you’ll be hooked on the Shadowhunter world after the first chapter!
“’Are you implying that shreds of my reputation remain intact?’ Will demanded with mock horror. ‘Clearly I have been doing something wrong. Or not something wrong, as the case may be.’” Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
- Aaron Warner – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I’ve never had a book hangover as long as the one I had after finishing the Shatter Me series. Not only was it an incredibly captivating and imaginative story, but I was completely entranced by both Juliette and Warner, and when their story was over I just didn’t know what to do with myself. No other book cut it. TV held no appeal. I ended up spending the next three weeks frantically writing the first forty thousand words of Out of the Shadows. So thank you, Tahereh Mafi.
The intricacies of Warner’s character and the method Mafi uses to reveal it is one of the things that makes Shatter Me so special.
“Gone is the boy with the guns and the skeletons in his closet. These hands holding me have never held a weapon. These hands have never touched death. These hands are perfect and kind and tender.
And he leans in, so carefully. Breathing and not breathing and hearts beating between us and he’s so close, he’s so close and I can’t feel my legs anymore. I can’t feel my fingers or the cold or the emptiness of this room because all I feel is him, everywhere, filling everything and he whispers, ‘Please.’ He says ‘Please don’t shoot me for this.’
And he kisses me.” Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
- Aric (Death) – The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole
Aric…sigh. You just can’t help but fall in love with this guy, even after all of his threats and taunts and kidnappy ways. Yes, it’s another loveable psycho for the win. Anyone who’s read her Immortals After Dark series knows that Kresley Cole is the expert in creating kinda-unstable-but-superhot alpha heroes, and she’s carried that over effortlessly to her YA series. Sure, there will be those who argue that these sort of characters are bad influences on teenagers, but let’s be serious; this is fantasy, teenagers are smart enough to recognise it as such. And if these characters did not exist this list would be cut in half.
“By all the gods, I desire you, but you must know that you have my love. It’s given, sieva. Wholly entrusted to you. Have a care with it.” – Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3)
- Adrian Ivashkov – Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Can we get an ‘Awwwwww’? Of all the guys on this list, Adrian is probably the only one I’d actually agree to date if he existed in real life (please, I’m all good with characters going all murdery in fiction, but I don’t need to see any bloodshed in real life. Also, he’s 21 so not quite as creepy as, say, fifteen-year-old Day.) He’s far from perfect, and when we first meet him in the second instalment of the Vampire Academy series he’s basically an alcoholic womaniser skating by on his parents’ money. But after heartbreak and a change of scenery, the Bloodlines series sees Adrian turn his life around and become who I think is Richelle Mead’s strongest character of her Vampire Academy world.
‘You’re my flame in the dark. We chase away the shadows around each other.’ – The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3)
- Han Alister – Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
Over the course of four books, Han manages to turn his life of street crime into one of the highest positions of power in the Queendom. His story involves solving mysteries, fighting battles and absolving himself of murder charges, all with time to spare to seduce the Queen.
‘I want to breathe you in for the rest of my life.’ – The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4)
- Day – Legend by Marie Lu
The most wanted man in the Republic is a fifteen-year-old boy.
I really can’t speak to the inner workings of Marie Lu’s mind, but I have a feeling that if she were writing this book now (six years later) she might have made the characters a little older. Perhaps that’s why by the third book June and Day are suddenly seventeen even though only a few months have past…
Anyhoo…I’ve read this series quite a few times since I first picked it up about five years ago, and the main reason for that is Day. Clever, brave, resourceful and defiant, Day is definitely the rebel leader you’d want if you were living in a dystopian world with a corrupt (obviously) government.
“Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything’s possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time.” Legend (Legend #1)
- Kiernan Dunn – The Chronos Files by Rysa Walker
I think perhaps the only bad thing about Kiernan is that he’s so awesome he takes the focus away from the main character’s real love interest, which you know is just going to mean disappointment. This series is an absolute must read for any time travel nerds and history geeks. And Kiernan (who pretty much steals the show in book two) just adds to the awesomeness.
‘I’m not asking you to hold my hand and tuck me into bed at night, not that I’ll argue if you find yourself so inclined. But we’re partners until this is over, and I’d like to think that you at least consider me a friend.’ Time’s Edge (The Chronos Files #2)
- Roth – The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Jennifer L. Armentrout tends to pull her heroines’ love interests from two categories: the cocky, sarcastic ‘bad boy’ and the stoic, sensible ‘mentor’ (who, for whatever reason, the main character must fight her feelings for). The demon prince Asteroth (Roth) is one of the ‘bad boys’, but even if you feel like you’ve seen this character type done a trillion times before, you just can’t help completely falling for him. He’s funny and cocky and unapologetic. And he brings out the absolute best in the main character, Layla—which is my number one criteria for a good love interest.
“’I’m totally calm. I would just like to know who marred your skin so that I can put a name and face to the creature I’m going to kill very slowly.’
‘I think we might have different definitions of calm,’ I said wryly.
‘I’ve never been calmer in my life.’” Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3)
- Paul Markov – Firebird by Claudia Gray
Well, they say nice guys finish last and that’s definitely the case here. Paul Markov has to be among the nicest of the nice guys in YA fiction (except for that brief stint in the Mafiaverse) but Claudia Gray has written him in a way that is absolutely enthralling, which is something that doesn’t often happen with ‘nice guys’ who can tend to be on the boring side, especially if the story features a more complex and intriguing ‘bad boy’.
‘I would love you in any shape, in any world, with any past.’ A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Who’s your favourite YA boyfriend? Is he on this list?