J is for Jocks and Stereotypes – my favorite male leads
I only have to look at my some of favorite books in the last few months to find my favorite male leads. PERFECT CHEMISTRY, WICKED LOVELY, NIGHTSHADE…
These main guys could’ve been a stereotype. And I guarantee I would not have liked the book as much if they were.
What do Alejandro, Seth, and Ren have in common?
They all had potential to be a stereotype.
Alejandro, the Mexican, belongs to a gang, lives in a low economic area, good with mechanics, and has tattoos.
Seth, the bad boy, lives alone, tons of piercings, hot, somewhat of a playboy.
Ren, the alpha werewolf is tough, demanding, cocky.
So what made me fall in love with these seemingly shallow stereotypes?
Alejandro loved his family. He was willing to cross lines and visit Brittany in her home. He was sweet. He was willing to die for his family. And ultimately, he was willing to turn his back on his “brothers” to be with Brittany.
Seth, for all his looks, put Aislinn first. He’d given up the life of a playboy to wait for her. He believed in her. He was sweet, caring, and was nothing like you’d expect to be from outward appearance.
And Ren. Yes, he was all Alpha. But there were times, where the author showed how much he cared for Calla. How much he was willing to do for her. If I were Calla, I’d choose Ren.
The only time there is a stereotypical character, male lead or not, is when the character is underdeveloped.
Who are some of your favorite male leads? What did you like about them?
Ha, love it! I don’t think my male lead is a stereotype, but you know, don’t want him to be wimpy either. 🙂
My favorite male lead is Ponyboy of the Outsiders. A tough guy with a heart.
Demetri in Vampire Academy. He was tough but also honest and good…in a sexy way- not a whiny emo way.
Great post! Yep, altering the typical stereotype goes a long way…
I’ve read all them! Great examples!!! Ha ha I actually married a jock with a soft side. 🙂 I mean, soft as in: he’s not afraid to show his love for his family.
My favorite was Peeta from HUNGER GAMES. The fact that he would risk his life for Katniss (even when she wasn’t being very nice to him) was amazing. Characters who are willing to sacrifice themselves in some way, or deny themselves something they may have wanted, for the good of the girl, get to me.
Great Post again today, Laura. Thanks! (And just what I needed). I’m having trouble developing my MC guy. You have reminded me that I need to go back and see who my favorite male leads have been and why.
What’s a story without a great male lead????????? BAD!
I think that stepping away from stereotype brings the characters to life because real men only act tough. Most of them are soft and gooey on the inside. Yet, we still want our men to be strong and able protectors. That’s probably why Peeta and Edward Cullen have been so popular.
I love it when a seemingly “stereotypical” guy gets turned on its head and becomes a much more deeper character.
Here are some of my favorites:
Alex from the dead & the gone (Susan Beth Pffefer)
Neily from All Unquiet Things (Anna Jarzab)
Tyler from Twisted (Laurie Halse Anderson)
Jace from The Mortal Instruments series. He’s tough and cocky and gorgeous, but not around Clary. She brings out a softer side that makes me, er, readers go all quivery inside 🙂
I can’t believe so many people are team Ren on Nightshade…not me…but maybe I’m too anti-alpha to see past the stereotype (my issue, not the author’s:).
One of my favorites is Valek from “Poison Study”. He’s an assassin for the Commander (ruler who took over after Valek assassinated the king). He comes across as very cold initially, but as you get to know him, his motivations, and actions you would never have guessed about him, he turns out to be a completely different person than you initial thought he was.
I love emotionally complex male leads. One of my favorites is the guy (I don’t remember his name!) from THE SPECTACULAR NOW. Really messed up, but charming. His heart is in the right place. Usually.
I have to agree with MC Higgins. I tend to go for the more complex leads, definitely not stereotypical. One of my favorites is Peeta,his strength wasn’t in his brawn but in his ability to say the right thing. Give me complicated and I’m in.
So many possibilities! I’m so glad I found your great blog. I’m stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.