I was on Publishers Marketplace the other day, a place I probably need to stop going as sometimes it drives me crazy, when I saw several deals involving New Adult books. All of them featuring… Bad Boys.Bad Boys are the new chic. And I dig it. I read Kristen Ashley’s Own the Wind and I was completely down with the idea that a girl’s boyfriend would beat up her boss just because he was giving her a hard time at work. I mean really what’s a little assault and battery when a man’s woman is being hassled?
But here is the thing about bad boys… in fiction they are not really “bad”. In fiction there is a core of goodness that runs through them usually driven by the powerful love they feel for the heroine. I mean what girl doesn’t want the biggest, baddest, strongest man standing between her and the rest of the world.(I will also add that I do think there is a link between women getting stronger, professionally and financially etc… and wanting the bad boy fantasy even more. If we in the US elect Hillary Clinton as president oh my goodness we’re going to see some bad bad boys. Just sayin’)
But I’m not worried… or I can’t be worried… about young teenage girls devouring these New Adult stories riddled with angst and bad boys and fearing that they are going to only want for themselves in real life bad boys. Because despite what people say to the contrary women and girls can separate fantasy from reality. I was fourteen reading Kathleen Woodiwiss. I didn’t think Roark was going to ride up on his horse and carry me away.But one of the things that does worry me a little is that we seem to be losing balance. Yes I read bad boy stories back in the day. Elizabeth Lowell alphaholes - I could not get enough of them. But there were other heroes too. Jayne Ann Krentz’s heroes were always strong steady reliable family men. Nora Roberts heroes were often similar.
I get New Adult is the spawn of Twilight and all that entails but I also hope there is room in there for the good guy. I wrote about Pitch Perfect as a New Adult movie and that is a perfect example. The hero in that story was a great guy. He was funny and personable. He won the girl over not by grabbing her by the neck, sticking her on the back of his bike and saying you’re mine. Instead he was just nice and friendly and he sang. Also he was really nice to his geeky roommate.Let’s not forget them… The good guys. Because at the end of the day… in life those are the guys you want to spend your time with. They should be represented well in fiction too.