One of the things I love most about YA is the swooniness of the heroes. They can be mysterious, sometimes dangerous, or even kinda nerdy (oh geeks, you slay me with your tech knowledge and hidden hotness), and sometimes they’re the best friend who has been waiting on the sidelines the whole time (which was like me and Twu Wuv in real life, so I’m very partial to stories like that). Watching them through the eyes of the heroine, experiencing the intensity of first loves—both the romance and the fumbling imperfections—makes me feel, at least for the duration of the book, that I’m on the same roller coaster as she is, reeling in that mix of trepidation and euphoria, and crushing on that guy with her emotions as the driving force. Bottom line: I love how these characters are loved by the girls in their lives and even more, how they love (or even like) them back. Here are some of my favorites, though the list seems to keep growing.
- Michael Moscovitz ( The Princess Diaries) Hands down, my favorite romantic hero. He has no competition and never will (do not try to dissuade me on this because YOU WILL LOSE).
- Adam (If I Stay) He digs that Mia is a nerd and he’s in a band? No brainer.
- Joe Fontaine (The Sky Is Everywhere)- He’s a musician, he speaks french, he’s a major romantic AND a huge dork with a smile the size of Jupiter. Sign me up.
- Warner (The Shatter Me series) Oh he’s a naughty one, isn’t he? But he makes me melt. I can’t explain it because I’m in a puddle. On the floor. Now.
- Wes Baker (The Truth About Forever) Oh Wes, you had me at “Gotcha!”
- Jonah Griggs (Jellicoe Road) His name, to me at least, is actually Jonah effing Griggs. There’s just no other way to say it.
- Conrad Fisher (The Summer series)- I don’t even know where to begin with this one. But I love him. He’s so flawed and so real and loves Belly to the end of the Earth.
- Peter Kavinsky (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before)- Peter, what is it about him? Is it his sweetness? The way he adores Lara Jean even though she’s not the Party Girl? I can’t put my finger on it, but I read these books over and over and adore every moment, every flirtation, every bit of his cute arrogance.
- Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre) He’s cranky, but he’s passionate and desperate and funny all at once. I love how he loves Jane and how he teases her. He’s totally flawed and yet somehow still a good man.
- Jay Heaton (The Body Finder series)- He’s the best friend who has always, always loved Violet. It doesn’t get cuter than that.
- Augustus Waters (The Fault in Our Stars)– I have a soft spot for funny guys, what can I say? This boy broke my heart and made me laugh more times than I can count. I know everyone loves this one, but he’s pretty worthy of the adoration.
Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) I know, I know. Not exactly the swoonworthiest book, but I love Atticus. In fact, I would venture to say he is my favorite character (girl or boy) ever written. And since Gregory Peck played him in the film version, how can I not crush on him? Please!
Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler’s Wife) Henry, that genetically messed up librarian who unwillingly travels through time, is one of my all-time biggest book crushes. Sigh.
Mr. Knightley (Emma) Emma is my favorite Austen book. Emma and Knightley are best friends and he has loved her forever. It doesn’t get much sweeter. Bonus Factor: He wears hats and breeches. A world of swoons!