Cast Of Characters: Villain Turned Love Interests In YA

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Belle-and-Adam-beauty-and-the-beast-34638217-1018-1500Adam from Beauty And The Beast

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Villain turned love interests are the so-called ‘bad boys’ to a greater, more palpable extent– that is to say, the heroine turns against him at one point in time, though most are adversaries to begin with, at least until she cuddles up to the irresistible charms,  and stays there, snug as a bug in a rug. In which case, she realizes that she can’t be with or without him (it’s an inevitable tragedy, but not really). These beautiful nightmares are usually widely misunderstood, where behind the evil veneer, lies a heart of pure gold.

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Try to match each quote to the corresponding VTLI who said it from the examples shown above! I may have removed some of the names so that it won’t be such a giveaway! Also to avoid spoilers 🙂

“I love you. I love you more than any other creature, because you are cruel, and kind, and alive.”

“Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens. I need you to remember that I love you.”

“I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head.”

“I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. You and I going to change the world.”

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Kidding! (but goddamn I miss the innocent Stiles)

Okay, not gonna prevaricate, but I think the notion of a ‘bad boy’ is far too common these days, to the extent that the idea of them feels a little hackneyed, which, much to my detriment, subsequently relinquishes their X factor (you know, that one thing, haha. Mmkay I’ll stop with the One Direction references now). But this quandary applies to me (and/or you) especially, because they recur predominantly in Young Adult books, though the occasional author here or there can make them work with exceptional writing. Villains as love interests, however, are a discrepant matter altogether. For one, it could be that many authors are reluctant to turn the tables, because it’s hard to rationalize the actions of an outward rapscallion, and furthermore, give the heroine an upstanding reason to fall in love with him beyond his strange charms. And if the author lays low on his nefarious reputation, does that make him a believable character?

So there lies the dilemma. I, for one, have a hard time tolerating the fact that someone capable of murder and torment is also perfectly capable of love and kindness, although I’m not going to deny the fact that their frequently impervious, almost inconceivable beauty makes it hard for me to spite them wholly. And whenever the heroine speaks of unfurling an affection for such characters, it always makes me controvert her reason, and to an extent, her sanity, because I myself would never think to love someone who engenders an almost unbearable amount of pain and misery.

But guess what? It happens anyway, and sometimes it even works. I guess my sentiments on the matter depend on how the romance is written— I don’t favor unceremonious changes in character, or villains who cut the heroine slack and antagonize everyone else, or even the sympathetic villains, if they continue to walk the path of destruction. Redeeming value is a must, of course!

So I guess it all depends on the pretext. Sometimes, the heroines just happened to have judged them prematurely, such that they’re more decent and accommodating than what one would expect. But as long as they’re not full-blown, cold-hearted, and insensitive bastards who torture and kill with neither rhyme nor reason, I cling to the hope that they’ll make for befitting love interests, and hopefully spice up the lives of the heroines hopelessly in love with them, but who, in the end, can’t ever help it anyway.

What about you? Do you approve of villain turned love interests in YA? Who are other examples that you know of, and which are your favorites? Do tell me in the comments below 🙂

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Review: Unravel Me

 Unravel MeTitle: Unravel Me

 Author: Tahereh Mafi

 Release Date: February 5, 2013

 Publisher: HarperCollins

 Description: 461 pages, Young Adult Fiction

synopsis

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

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Shatter And Destroy, Unravel And Ignite

Before reading Unravel Me, I held certain reservations for this series. I wasn’t sure if Juliette’s story had any more to offer, because she seemed to have ascertained her sanctuary, and found her place among equals who would greet her, not with hostility, but with pride and acceptance. And truth be told, I wasn’t feeling up to a little more sleazy and over-sentimental. However, I was soon to stand corrected– this book held hindrances and vicissitudes more formidable and exacting, throwing down the gauntlet like never before. The numerous twists and turns kept me on edge and in constant tumult, as many of the scenes that unfolded were riveting and sensational in their complexity. The action was satisfying, the romance was rapturous, and the writing kept its uniqueness by preserving the strikethroughs,  the s c a t t e r e d thoughts, and the repetitive repetitive repetitive reflections that allowed us to take a peek into Juliette’s elaborate mind. I found myself hankering for more as I turned the last page, still shocked by the conclusion and surprised at my response to this sequel. Fortunately enough, the second book syndrome didn’t whisper in my ear as I read this one.

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Tattooed On Your Heart

Juliette became a stronger, more trenchant and decisive version of herself, one who never backed down in the face of peril and vulnerability. Though she acted on impulse, regretting her rash, destructive behavior immediately after, I found it hard to judge her because I understood what she had to face. Thus far, her demeanor was easily justifiable. Though she invariably changed her mind throughout the book, feeling helpless one second and strong-willed the next, I admired how she kept on making the right choices in the end, and was able to open to up to situations she never thought were remotely possible. Her chemistry with both Adam and Warner were electrifying, and though it could have been alarmingly disagreeable how she seemed to have played them both, I didn’t actually think she did, and instead believed that she was simply trying to align herself with her thoughts and figure out what truly made her happy.

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Despair And Desparation

Adam and Warner were flip sides of a coin seemingly emblazoned in gold no matter what angle you tried to look at it. Adam, on the one hand, remained a gallant person, thoughtful of others, yet sanguine and snide– and I liked that about him. Despite what others believe, he didn’t seem boring and lifeless to me. On the contrary, he felt energetic and steadfast even in the midst of battle, and his love for Juliette was alive with a passion so overwhelming, it was clearly undeniable. Nevertheless, I did wish he would stop making Juliette feel guilty, and stop spurning a burning hatred for Warner (though I honestly couldn’t blame him). Warner meanwhile, remained his domineering, aggressive self, though I found myself slowly, but surely, developing a soft-spot for him, as he started feeling more human and less machine. I was genuinely excited for his alone time with Juliette, and my views on his character went all topsy-turvy somewhere in between, because oh hot damn. He was beautiful, in ways even Adam wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting to find him crawling into my heart, coaxing me into joining him on the dark side, and even without the cookies, I would’ve gone with him anyway. I sincerely believed that he was better match for Juliette, because inasmuch as Adam deserved her, I was convinced that it was Warner in need. Needless to say, my feels were thrown off balance, and by the end of it, utter confusion was at large. I can’t decide between them, and trust me when I say: I really want to.

 “I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend. The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body. I want to know where to touch you, I want to know how to touch you. I want to know convince you to design a smile just for me. Yes, I do want to be your friend. I want to be your best friend in the entire world.” 

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Promises Unbroken

Overall, this book was a fast-paced read filled with action and passion, one with nary a dull moment. Many of the characters developed well, and there was a certain sense of camaraderie and fellowship at Omega Point, and the threat the Reestablishment posed felt real and impending. Kenji remained his adorkable, humorous self, never failing to make me laugh at his crazy antics. The numerous plot twists in the book were unpredictable, but not outrageous, and the writing this time was exotic, not grotesque. Though Juliette’s seemingly split personality left me perplexed on more than one occasion, her impermanence and volatility never crossed the line into being hateful so as to rub me the wrong way.

As such, if you are looking for a gripping tale of heartbreak, of deceit, of following your heart or your mind and making the right choices, I urge you to pick up this book, because it will not disappoint.

“Yeah, bro.” Kenji puts his utensils down. “You are moody. It’s always ‘Shut up, Kenji.’ ‘Go to sleep, Kenji.’ ‘No one wants to see you naked, Kenji.’ When I know for a fact that there are thousands of people who would love to see me naked.”  

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5 hearts

P.S. People keep asking: Team Adam or Team Warner? Let me just admit it. I have been ripped in two because of this triangle. I mean, Adam is completely deserving, but my views on Warner did a 360 after Destroy Me and Chapter 62. I mean, YOU GUYS. That chapter. I literally could not even. I was unable to even. I lost the ability to even. I just. UGH. I can’t even imagine what he’s going to feel like in case Juliette chooses Adam (I won’t blame her, but, but, BUT. OHGOD). I just.. I will go down with this ship. So Ignite Me, please? Like, right freakin’ NOW.

P.P.S. And yes, you’re not imagining it. My background HAS changed. I know you guys loved my colorful birds, but that was a premade pattern that didn’t coordinate with the color scheme, so I decided to make my own. And if you haven’t yet noticed, I am into constantly redesigning my blog. If you think it’s too tacky or distracting though, don’t hesitate to say so. I’d be glad to take it down 🙂

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