Of course, I have more than one (HELLO, don't you know me??) However, like with the authors, I'll only write a little extra about one. So, first: I mentioned Michael Moscovitz yesterday, and he's definitely one of them, because he's a real boy written like a real boy. And he'll show you his Blueside. My second one is the incomparable Boy With The Bread, Peeta Mellark. Oh, my #PeetaPocket.
Okay, for real now, here's my pick and why.
Cricket Bell from Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
*as imagined by Simini Blocker
I've never been one of those girls that goes for the bad boys (I did once, not quite realizing that he was one, and let's just say it didn't end well). I never really wanted to date the boy you needed to change or fix. Frankly, I'm awesome, and I should be treated awesome. When I am treated awesome, I respond by treating you awesome in return. Win-win, as they say.
HOWever, I've found that I'm the complete exception to this rule, and it was especially evident when I was a teenager. While other girls at my school were going after jerky dudes who didn't even know they existed, I was always the one chasing after the musicians, the theater geeks, the smart guys... essentially, the nerdy guys. And Cricket Bell is just about as nerdy as they come. He is the epitome of all the things I love best about nerdy guys. He's sweet and charming, he cares about people and isn't afraid to show it, he's awkward and tall and has crazy hair and... I just love him.
Cricket is sort of an anomaly in modern YA, where he's presented from the beginning as already in like with the main character, rather than assuming they don't like each other and will have tons of ridiculous conflict together over and over until finally he says, "Oh wait, this girl is kinda amazing, I should stop being mean to her." And then the girl says, "Well, I know you've been mean to me for a long time, but I know it was really because you lurved me!" (Yes, this is a GINORMOUS generalization, but whatever.) Cricket's just like, "Yep. Like you! Let's go out!" And when he finds out Lola has a boyfriend who's kind of a dillhole, he says that while he desperately wants to be with her, he'd rather she BE HAPPY and he will LET HER GO if the dillhole is really what she wants. But he's also willing to fight for her, to wait for her to realize that he's the much, much, MUCH better choice. He stands up for her, understands her, sees that she's not perfect in the larger sense of the word but that she just might be perfect for him. Some argue that being sensitive isn't manly, but I disagree. I know I always be saying this but to me, there's nothing more bad-ass than being yourself. You don't have to punch some guy to prove that you're strong.
So when Cricket leaps back into the scene just in the nick of time, I'm basically just a big ball of swoony swoons until the very last page.
That's why I love this boy, because he understands what true love is. It's wanting the one you love to be happy, regardless of your own happiness. And that's why the sensitive/nerdy guys of the world- the Cricket Bells, the Peeta Mellarks, the Michael Moscovitzs, the The Hubs Jacks- will always have my heart. I don't want to chase. I want to be truly loved. Thankfully, I am.