Handsome and cocky. You know the type. Their bodies and piercing eyes are enough to let any passerby swoon. But the second they open their mouths, you can't help and be infuriated. They strive off of making you pissed off, usually saying things he knows will make you mad for the fun of it. Did I mention their grins?
Like any person, there are always things about bad boys that make them unique. In these instances, they're usually seen with something to indicate their badassery (yes, I made that word up and no, I'm not sorry about it). Daemon from "Obsidian" has these incredible eyes that cross between beautiful and tough. Alex from "Perfect Chemistry" has tattoos all over. James Dean was always shown with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Dean Winchester and Fonzi are always clad in their leather jackets.
And every great once in a while they have their adorable moments when their tough exteriors are shed.
I feel like I've just described half of the male love interests that I've read lately in YA literature. I'm not saying it as a bad thing, I tend to love these characters. Heck, doesn't everyone love a bad boy? But I wanted to point this out. I mean, bad boys have been around forever in films and movies and still we aren't sick of them. Why? Why do we still find them interesting and worth reading?
It all has something to do with a well thought-out character and character development. If he's all tough guy and smart-ass without any redeeming qualities, he'll get old for the reader. If he doesn't have any reason behind his ways, he's not going to pique the reader's interest for long. If you don't show why he's worthy, the audience will not want him to get the girl or guy at the end. If you don't know him as a character (likes, pet peeves, etc), he'll be one dimensional. Oh, and a little sexual tension never hurt anyone.
I feel like I've heard so many writers lately tell me that they're not sure if their book will ever sell because they're not sure if their ideas are original enough but they're writing it because they felt compelled to. I say, don't worry. If you write strong characters with a solid and engaging story line, people will love it. Just how everyone loves a bad boy time after time.
Oh, and if you're looking for a new YA read along these lines, I found this great compilation list HERE.
Who are your favorite YA bad boys? What do you think makes us love them time after time? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!