In her new book The Lovely Reckless, out this week, Kami Garcia pairs Frankie, a straight-A student dealing with PTSD after witnessing her boyfriend’s fatal beating, with drag racer Marco, a classic bad boy with demons of his own. After Frankie’s increasingly nihilistic behavior results in her expulsion from private school, she’s forced to move in with her undercover cop dad and attend public school. It’s there that she meets Marco, kicking off a hot-burning attraction endangered by his secrets and her painful past. Here’s Garcia to talk about more of her favorite YA bad boys.
Draco Malfoy (The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
Is there a bad boy more beloved than Draco Malfoy? Even though he’s spoiled, entitled, and vindictive (not to mention a Death Eater), there’s something compelling about that smirk and the chip on his shoulder. And you have to admit he made a great ferret.
Day (Legend, by Marie Lu)
At 15, Day is the most wanted criminal in the Republic—with June, a military prodigy and a one-woman army, on the hunt for him. Day is just a kid from the slums trying to protect his family. If he broke the laws of a corrupt society in the process, is that really so terrible? It depends on whether or not Day actually committed the murder in which he is the prime suspect. Readers will have to decide for themselves.
Ezra (Illuminae Files trilogy, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff)
As Illuminae’s dossier of emails, IMs, security footage, maps, and interviews unfolds, we not only meet badass Kady Grant but her equally badass ex-boyfriend, Ezra Mason. A charming fighter pilot (in space!) whose areas of expertise include sarcasm and sneaky romantic gestures, Ezra is a bad boy with a heart of gold—one you can’t help but love.
Wesley Rush (The DUFF, by Kody Keplinger)
At first glance, Wesley Rush appears to be a walking, talking high school stereotype. Sure, he’s gorgeous and he charms the pants off the underclassmen (literally), but his killer smile isn’t enough to distract everyone from the fact that he’s a womanizing jerk. When Bianca develops an “enemies with benefits” relationship with Wesley—the guy who sticks her with the DUFF (designated ugly fat friend) title—it seems like a horrible idea. But Bianca soon discovers there’s more to this obnoxious bad boy than she thought—and she might just be falling for him.
Warner (Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi)
Oh, Warner, how I love you…let me count the ways. In Shatter Me, the first book in the series, Warner is nasty piece of work. He’s holding our protagonist, Juliet, captive, and he has every intention of using her as a weapon. The guy has serious issues. But he also gives new meaning to the idea that every villain is the hero of his own story.