WARNING: I tried hard not to give away spoilers, but it was hard to say what I loved about my book boyfriends without doing so. Though I tried to be as vague as possible, read at your own risk!
Marcus from The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers. Marcus was my book boyfriend all throughout high school and college. I’ve since progressed in my thinking, and looking back, he’s not really that great. I remember even while I was reading the series (all 10+ times I’ve read it!), there were some red flags in the way Marcus acted, but since my reading was limited in my Christian high school, I just thought that was the way men were, and had a right to be. Plus, this is a historical fiction, and the controlling way Marcus acts probably lines up with the way the culture was in Ancient Rome, where women didn’t have any rights. THAT said, apart from his controlling, condescending nature, Marcus is all shades of swoonworthy. Attractive, humorous, rich, and with a lot of power in society. And those four features are what I used to fashion Kalen Rydell with. Fun Fact: Kalen used to have the exact same characteristics as Marcus, but like I said, I’ve since progressed in my thinking and transformed him into what a real gentleman should look like. 😉
Maxon from The Selection series by Kiera Cass. Who else likes the innocent boy who’s never touched a girl? I love Maxon’s innocence, and I love how he doesn’t expect the women to fall all over him, even though he’s the prince and they’re at the palace for him. Like Maxon, Kalen is in a high position in society, and women basically throw themselves at him, yet when Lark, a slave, enters his estate, he doesn’t expect her to act like that at all.
Cash from Slave by Laura Frances. Here is another example of a boy who respects the girl he loves. Even though Cash desperately wants to keep Hannah safe, away from the battle scene, he respects her decision to fight for her people. And even though he was once in the place of high position and power, he is humble and puts others above himself. I wanted Kalen to come off that way—humble, despite his popularity, position, and power.
Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. Usually I can tell from the moment he steps onto the page who the heroine is going to fall for in the end. Not so in this case. I hated, HATED Warner in the first book. I was thoroughly disgusted with him, and wished Juliette had killed him at the end. But then I read the novella Destroy Me and saw a different side of Warner. And then he sort of grew on me in Unravel Me, and by Ignite Me I was ready to punch Juliette for not figuring out her love for him sooner! I love that behind his villainous exterior is a wounded hero. I love that he wants Juliette to rule the world, and only wants to be a part of it. I’m not really sure what Warner has in common with Kalen, apart from the fact that they’re both placed in high positions on the wrong side of society, and they want to change the world for the better, but feel powerless to do so.
And my absolute favorite book boyfriend: Rhysand from the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy by Sarah J. Maas. OMG probably my favorite thing about Rhysand is how fiercely he cares for Feyre. I love how he risks everything to keep her going strong Under the Mountain in ACOTAR. I love how he treats her like his High Lady throughout ACOMAF and ACOWAR. He respects her decisions and never forces or stops her from doing anything. I wanted Kalen to be like Rhysand in that vein. Throughout The Vanishing Spark of Dusk, Kalen respects Lark’s decisions, up until the point where he basically says that whatever she decides, he’s with her. <3
About The Vanishing Spark of Dusk:
When Lark is stolen from Earth to be a slave on the planet Tavdora, she’s determined to find her way back home to her family, no matter the cost. Placed in the household of a notorious slave trader, Lark quickly learns her best assets are her eyes and ears. And if she’s brave enough, her voice.
Kalen is the Tavdorian son of a slave trader and in line to inherit his father’s business. But his growing feelings for Lark, the new house slave who dares to speak of freedom, compel him to reveal his new plan for the slave ships returning to Earth—escape. Together, they just might spark a change that flares across the universe.
About Sara Baysinger:
Sara was born in the heart of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador where she spent her early life exploring uncharted lands and raising chickens. She now makes her home among the endless cornfields of Indiana with her husband and two children…and she still raises chickens. Her dystopian novel BLACK TIGER was self-published in 2016. When not getting lost in a book, Sara can be found gardening, devouring chocolate, and running off the sugar-high from said chocolate. You can visit her online here.