Last week, I asked whether you liked the whole good girl/bad boy hookup. I also hinted at writing a post about a certain good girl/bad boy relationship this week.
Well, folks, the time has come.
I give you a good girl/bad boy relationship that works:
Veronica Mars and Eli "Weevil" Navarro
Okay, okay--Veronica Mars is not a YA book. It is a TV show. But have I mentioned that I'm going through an obsession phase right now? Because I totally am. And no, I'm not embarrassed. *blushes*
What I love about Veronica and Weevil's relationship is that it's so... complicated. They started out hating each other (and by hating, I mean h-a-t-i-n-g). Then both of them do some serious 180's--Veronica saves Weevil's life, then he feels like he owes her. He returns the favor, then she feels like she owes him. They keep doing things for each other without realizing they're actually becoming friends in the process. Only by the end of Season 1 does Weevil have an aha! moment, when he protects Veronica from a douchey boy--he does care about her. They're always there to get the other out of a sticky situation.
Do they flirt? Totally. Is there sexual tension between them? I'd like to think so. But neither one of them makes a move. There are several reasons for this, but the one I find most relevant is respect. Sure, the show's writers could've made them hook up, but they figured that would ruin their friendship. Their flirty back-and-forth banter works perfectly on the platonic level--no need to seal the deal.
No need to force romantic chemistry for the sake of ratings.
The same goes for books--no need to force romantic chemistry for the sake of sales. If you're still on the querying/submitting stage, the issue would be to not force it to grab an agent's/editor's attention. When it feels off, they'll know and call you out on it.
So here's my advice: build strong character relationships without the romance first, then make them hook up (if it's necessary...). The more time you take for your characters to see themselves in another light, the more effective that aha! moment will be. Your readers will jump with joy when they finally see the obvious.
There you go: Veronica and Weevil are my good girl/bad boy combo of choice.
Tell me: what's yours??