Monday, September 1, 2008

The He-Man and YA

Lana (over at* posted about how the fact that, in many romance novels, the heroines are so overwhelmed by their love interest's... manliness... that they lose their heads and dignity and are swept away in floods of passion. Her post led to an interesting discussion about guy love interests in girl-centered books.

We talk a lot about how girls are portrayed in literature, but what about boys? Stereotypes are found on page and in life; is the literary spectrum wide enough to include all kinds of guys?

I made a list of my favorite guy protagonists, love interests and least favorite (short list, but I know there's more.) What this reveals to me is that, with the exception of Edward Cullen, I like nerds more than jocks and guys with a unique perspective (funny, same with girls.)

Here are my three lists. Please add to them!

My Most Awesome Guy Protagonists

Julian Singh in A View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg (Oh. My. Gosh.)
Augie Hwong AND T.C. in My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger
Jerome P. Foxworthy in The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks
Ken Bauer in Love, Football and Other Contact Sports by Alden Carter
Hassan in An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (technically, he's a supporting character, but Hassan took over the whole book)
Roscuro in The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo (even though he's the bad guy)

My Favorite Guy Love Interests

Finn in Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys by Kate Brian
Edward in Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (but not so much in Breaking Dawn)
Titus in Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
Matthew in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart... but he needs a little brainwashing
Cameron in Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, if he's a love interest. Debatable.
Nat in The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare ("And love was Nat.")

My Least Favorite Guys, Villains or Otherwise
Thomas AND Josh in Private by Kate Brian
The Prince in A Frog's Tale by E. D. Baker
Eragon is tempting.

I can't think of any others off the top of my head, so help me out. What guys in literature, whether in guy books or girl books or crossovers, make you want to scream? Or fall in love? Or run outside and do the hokey-pokey for the joy of being alive?

*I originally said Lenore of Presenting Lenore, but this was a complete goof-up on my part (the L's!) Lenore has a lovely blog, but she had not posted on this particular topic.


Angela said...

I second your vote for Titus!

Lana said...

I'll come back and actually respond substantively, promise.
But did you mean my post? Or is there something over at Presenting Lenore that I missed?

Gabrielle said...

WOW I feel embarrassed. You're so right, I think the Ls messed me up. I've corrected it on the blog. *Many* apologies for unintentional third party plagiarism! I can only plead Beginning of School-itis.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Hmm...maybe I should post on the topic! Ha! But I do have to give it a bit more thought :)