Book List

The Bad Boys of YA

May 16, 2017
Jill Hacking
Riveted Editorial Board

Wow am I a sucker for a misunderstood bad boy with a heart of gold. Literally walked out of the theater after watching Thor 2 and couldn’t recall anything about the movie that was not Loki-related. And while I’m absolutely not ok with the male lead being cruel or abusive, I’m definitely all about mystery, troubled pasts, and redemption.

Christian Kane from The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (available as a free read until May 29th!) may not be the stereotypical bad boy, but he is an insolent, arrogant playboy with a past (ok yeah, he’s so a bad boy). He also happens to be completely charming and totally won me over. It got me thinking about all of the YA bad boys I’ve found my self loving. Just for you, I’ve rounded up all my faves so you can admire them and fall in love with them, too (you’re welcome)!

Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Wakeby Lisa McMann


Cabel has dark, dangerous secrets, but he helps Janie when she needs it most. He is surrounded by rumors about what he’s done and where he’s been, but the things he’s survived don’t define him and when it counts, he’s still able to treat Janie with a delicate touch when she needs it most. 

The Diabolicby S. J. Kincaid


Tyrus is kind of a jerk sometimes, but he accepts Nemesis, despite what she is, and he helps her. He sees the best in Nemesis and isn’t afraid of her even though she could literally rip him to shreds. In fact, he applauds her strength while also showing her that she has the capability of being gentle and caring. He also has no qualms about killing people but they mostly deserve it. 

By Your Sideby Kasie West


Dax is shrouded in rumors of fights and juvie and bad news, but is that the whole story? NO WAY. He’s definitely someone you’d wanna be locked in the library with for the weekend. Plus, it eventually becomes clear that his bad boy persona is just hiding a soft and lovable interior.

Clockwork Angelby Cassandra Clare


Will is infuriating in the best way: flirty and sometimes distant, has the obligatory troubled past, and is above all else fiercely loyal. Um…did I mention he’s also incredibly dreamy?

City of Bonesby Cassandra Clare


Jace might have a tendency to knock on trouble’s door, but he’s a fiercely loyal friend and an incredible Shadowhunter. It’s actually pretty easy to overlook his tendency to cause trouble when he loves so truly and learns to let his vulnerable side show. 

A Court of Mist and Furyby Sarah J. Maas


Rhysand is the feared High Lord of the Night Court and actually seems like a really really bad guy but *SPOILER* he only plays one on TV (it’s a joke, people). He acts the part of the bad guy in order to keep his city safe and prosperous, but he is one mighty fine actor. It’s nice to see him when he’s acting like himself though, because he’s someone who has great power but is still extremely kind, caring, and gentle.

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