When the poet Tennyson wrote that in spring, a young man’s thoughts turn to love, how could he know how wrong that would be? Thanks to modern commercialism, one is reminded shortly after Christmas that Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so it’s in cold February when thoughts of love start to turn. And turn our thoughts have, to our favorite book boyfriends.
In truth, this YA reader is very fickle and tends to follow the herd. Case in point, book boyfriend #1: pale sparkly skin, smoldering intensity, inhuman restraint and best of all, that aging thing? Conquered! Okay, so maybe he was a little cool to the touch, and less likely to take a girl out to dinner than prevent her from being eaten, but he would die for me (which was a real sacrifice considering he was immortal).
Then, there was book boyfriend #2, a post-apocalyptic baker’s son. Strong, sincere, unwavering in his devotion (unless he was brainwashed), here was a guy who, despite everything the Capital threw at him, really did have the odds ever in his favor. So great was his commitment, he would die for me (are we seeing a pattern here?).
And let’s not forget book boyfriend #3: soulful and smart, he worked in a bookstore and read poetry—in German! Faithful as a puppy, he did tend to morph disappear in the winter, and there was that time when he was shot and nearly died for me, which *sob* leads me to book boyfriend #4.
Gorgeous, witty and compassionate, he didn’t let cancer keep him from embracing love and living an open and adventurous life. Here was a guy with a wry sense of humor, a generous spirit and real empathy. He wasn’t supernatural, paranormal, or futuristic, he was just an extraordinary human boy, who did what all my other book boyfriends didn’t—he died. (I can’t even write this without getting teary!)
It’s taken a few hardboiled mysteries, some juvenile fiction, one sci/fi horror story and probably rereading M.T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing before this reader will even go near another romance, realistic or otherwise. In the interim, please feel free to share your book boyfriends or girlfriends with us for future consideration. Because, you know, what Tennyson said . . . and spring is not that far away.