So far we’ve talked about my experience growing up a female, females in my writing, females in current YA, and even a guest post from a guy about females. Could there be anything left to this discussion? Of course…let’s talk about boys!
“Huh?” you might be asking. “What do boys have to do with females in YA?” And to that I say, “It’s about how teen girls in books are looking at boys that interests me.” (And then you promptly tell your screen you’re sick of reading about females in YA and go check out that video of Miley Cyrus at the VMAs…I’m so not giving you a link to that garbage here!)
I am so, so, so tired of reading books where the girl POV character first sees the boy (who will inevitably be the love interest) and talks about how hot he is. His purposefully messy but sexy hair. The way he walked into a room with a strut that said, “I’m hot and I know it.” His piercing green eyes that took in her curves.
Girls, is that really that first thing you think about when describing a guy? How hot he is? (This is the point where I frantically go back into Elixir Bound and check how Katora first describes Hirsten…and blow a sigh of relief to see the first thing she thinks about–though with a blush when his name is mentioned–is his work ethic. Though, she does comment on his gorgeous eyelashes quickly after that!)
And maybe it’s just me, but when I first meet a guy (even in my days when I wasn’t married), I don’t immediately assess his hotness. Sure there are those guys you see and are like, “Whoa! He’s a hottie!” But then are just boys you meet. Maybe they have a nice smile or they say something that interests you, and that’s what you notice about them. Not how awesome he might look naked.
I’m not saying looks don’t matter, especially with first impressions, but every guy worth meeting, dating, or loving isn’t going to be drop-dead-gorgeous hot. I can tell you from experience, it’s often not the hottest (in that superficial meaning of what makes a person attractive) boy who is going to make the best boyfriend.
And one of the best things about falling in love with someone is finding them more attractive as you fall more deeply in love with them. So even if the hottest guy on the planet (for argument’s sake let’s say Ryan Gosling) wanted to take you out, you’d say no because you already have the most perfect guy for you, and he’s way hotter than any other guy in the world because of that!
I’m not sure I even remember the first time I saw my husband (we met working in a hardware store while we were in high school). I had a boyfriend at the time, so I wasn’t looking at every boy in a is-he-a-potential-boyfriend way. But once I got to know him (and was single), seeing him from across the store did give my heart a thump. And, yes, I did think he was a hottie (and still do)! But I didn’t fall in love with him for his looks (well, maybe a little because I was envious of his gorgeous, long eyelashes!).
What are some books that you think have memorable first descriptions of boy characters?