For as long as I can remember, I always fall for the bad boys, the villains of the story.
Yep, you hear that right. And I think most of you fall for them too. At least once in your life, or at least during the ya paranormal phase in your life.
Or is it just me?
They don’t have to be the villains exactly, but they are the rebels, the angsty, brooding love interest. The twisted, manipulative and magnetic one. The daredevils, and the charmer. Some of the examples are Damon Salvatore and The Darkling. You can totally see that my type is the tall dark stranger right?😉
This post basically happened because I have sudden enlightement when I was reading Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas. Here we have love triangle and -you guessed it!- one of the love interest is twisted, manipulative, possesive, and “hot”.
I should’ve fall for him, looking at my past resume. But in reality, he raised all the red flags for me and made me so anxious I had to stop reading. And this, made me realize that I don’t like the bad guys anymore.
I don’t mean that I will never fall for the villains ever again, they are interesting to read and have the grayest moral I’ve ever read about. What I don’t like from them is often, they are manipulative and violent. They do twisted things but for some reason, we (me, other readers, and the heroine) keep falling for them.
Nowadays, I always fall for the funny guys. I guess I always have, but always overshadowed by the bad guys, and this time I just realized it for real. No matter how dire the situation is, how sad their friends are, they always managed to cheer others up.
Exhibit A: Nikolai Lantsov over anyone from the Dregs
Nikolai Lantsov has existed since the Grisha trilogy, yet I just realized the full extent of my love for him. In Grisha trilogy, my love to him was overshadowed by my love to the Darkling. But Six of Crows, for some reasons, have no guys that made me fall for them in “I LOVE YOU ” way, so of course, when Nikolai appeared I go all crazy.
Now, if it’s pre-2016 me speaking, I would certainly fall for Kaz. He’s totally my type. But the reality? No. If it’s the Dregs we’re talking about, my favorite would be Wylan, Jesper, Kaz then Matthias. Wylan made me fall by his naivete, and Jesper by his humour. I should’ve fall for Kaz, but what happened???
I didn’t. I chose Wylan, Jesper, and Nikolai instead.
Exhibit B: Kenji Kishimoto over Warner or Adam
Kenji is one constant bright spot of sunshine throughout this dark and gritty series. Again, if it’s pre-2016 me, I would’ve fall for Warner. I swear I would.
Actually when I first read Shatter Me, I did fell for Warner.
And then I mature and read the next 2 books and as much as I love chapter 42, I still love Kenji Kishimoto the best. I loveee the way he jokes and lighten up the situation, yet can step up and be leader when the situation calls for it. I love how he’s such a good friend he snapped at Juliette during her mopey dopey period.
In short, he’s the type of (boy)friend I would fall for.
Exhibit C: Leo Valdez over anyone from the seven
We have Percy (!!!!), we have Jason who is the poster boy, and we have Frank who has amazing heart and courage (bless him). And yet I fall for Leo. Again, his jokes really makes me love him, no matter what the situation he will always try to lighten it up and made his friends laugh ❤
Does this mean that I have matured? I think yes, and I think I also started to see the problem with bad boys or alpha male or tough guy trope that exists widely in YA. It’s not necessarily about me, but if you think deeper, would you like those tropes as your boyfriend? Well, I’m not, and I don’t want anyone to have boyfriends like that. It might not happen to me or anyone near me, but literature provides some kind of “mirror” to our real life and can set unrealistic and harmful standards to young people. I don’t want someone who “growl” at me, or breaking rules at every turn, become aggresive and protective. I don’t want someone who “threaten” me in the name of love, angsty and dark and keep me wondering about him. I DON’T WANT SOMEONE WHO MANIPULATES ME, just because he loves me and wants the best for me. No thanks, we women are capable of deciding our needs and what’s best for us.
Or at least if someone want to make a decision for me, I would like them to talk things first with me. Making decisions without my consent just shows the lack of respect on his part.
I mean, I’m pretty sure as much as you love Aaron Warner, you wouldn’t want him as your real-life boyfriend. Just because he’s abused and have terrible past doesn’t mean he can manipulates you and fill you with guilt for almost killing a child.
Bottom line is: I’m over them. And I seriously can’t believe those tropes are still exists in YA nowadays! Realizing the problems really help me realize how creepy they are actually, and how it can paint a picture that manipulation and physical things are okay because he loves you.
It took me really long to realize it (18 years!!!) but going to uni, being exposed to different things and being in a relationship really makes me see what’s wrong with these tropes.
this post is so messy and incoherent omg i’m so sorry. i’m terrible at writing discussions.
Do you prefer the villains or the heroes? And why do you think these tropes still exist in YA books?