Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Guest Post: Sarah Alderson on YA boys

12 Dec 2012

Today, I have the pleasure of inviting Sarah Alderson, author of two of my favourite series ever - Hunting Lila and Losing Lila; and Fated and Severed! Severed was recently released and heck, it was SO amazing<3 But make sure you read Fated first before starting Severed :)

After meeting yet another sexy badass male character in Severed, I asked Sarah to write a post on YA men. How on earth does she write such swoon-worthy male characters? (Alex, Lucas, Cyrus and Jack are 4 of the HOTTEST YA men! No kidding. If you don't believe me, then GO READ THE BOOKS!!)
So, without futher ado, here is the secret behind writing these ridiculously hot guys...

YA Boys

A lot of my characters are inspired by people I know or by actors. When I start a book I have a vague outline of them and this then fleshes out as I type.

Alex from Hunting Lila was based on the actor Alex Skarsgard after I saw him in Generation Kill. I just loved the coolness of his character Ice Man, but then I added a few of my husband’s qualities, namely his eyes (with the amber flecks) and inscrutability, to make a character that had edges and quirks. Alex ended up being very much my dream man.

Jack was based in part on my own brother, especially the banter between him and Lila. All my other boy characters sprung from my imagination, but I have fed my imagination well over the years!  

In the book I just finished – Control – which is set in New York - I got the idea for the main character after watching Ryan Gosling in Drive. I just thought, Wow, how hot! A boy who can drive like that and who’s got a bad boy streak.  I then created this character Jaime (Jay) who is 19 and half-cuban and just the sexiest, sweetest guy ever (who can also drive a car like Ryan Gosling in Drive).

My favourite character after Alex is probably Cyrus, who appears in Severed. I never meant for him to become so key but he came to life on paper and was just so funny and so goddamn infuriating, but chivalrous too when it came to it, that I fell in love with him as I was writing. In my head I always had the guy who plays Silas in Weeds. Hunter Parrish.

In The Sound (out August 2013), the main character Ren is an English girl who goes to Nantucket, an island off the coast near Boston, to nanny for the summer, which is something I did when I was 17. I did have a very sweet summer romance when I was there, which inspired the romance between Ren and Jesse.

For me a hot boy isn’t one that’s controlling or obsessive, too over-protective or violent. They do what they have to do to protect the people they love but they also are in control of their actions and emotions.

I’m horrified by a lot of ‘heroes’ in stories today who are violent and abusive and display stalker like tendencies. For me a hot YA boy (actually any man) has to have these things:

  •          An awesome sense of humour
  •          Integrity
  •          Willingness to act and stand up for what they believe in (and that doesn’t mean punching the crap out a guy who looks sideways at the girl they like).
  •          Tenderness / kindness
  •          Intelligence
  •          Decisiveness
  •          A talent for kissing
  •          Did I mention the six pack?

My top 10 favourite fictional boyfriends (not including my own ;) )

1.       Augustus Waters  -The Fault in our Stars. (funny, sweet, tragic, beautiful. My heart still aches for Augustus).
2.       Alex Fuentes – Perfect Chemistry. (I don’t need to explain this one surely?)
3.       Jack – Blood Red Road. (He’s just got so many winning qualities (see my list above)
4.       George Emmerson – A Room with a View. (Be still my beating heart…that kiss in the sunflower field…)
5.       Rhett Butler – Gone with the Wind. (Rhett’s the definition of a full-blooded male who knows exactly what he wants)
6.       Rupert Campbell Black – Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles. (I whiled away many an hour in Italy reading those books).
7.       Noah Calhoun – The Notebook. (OK, I’ve only seen the film but Ryan Gosling is just so pretty…see above).
8.       Richard Sharpe – The Sharpe Books. (I grew up on those and was completely obsessed by him.)
9.       Han Solo (OK, he’s not in a book but I have to include him because he was the first person I fell in love with when I was 5).
10.    James Bond (but only as Daniel Craig).
I had this MASSIVE grin on  my face when I read the post!! A talent for kissing? And a six pack? HELL YEAH! To be honest, I've never watched a Ryan Gosling movie (shameful, I know) but I promise I'll watch a few of his movies soon :) I seriously cannot wait to meet Jay in Control!
Oh, and have you guys realised most, if not all, characters named Noah are so freaking hot? Noah Hutchins, Noah Shaw, and Noah Calhoun...(and like I said above, I NEED to watch one of Ryan Gosling's movies!)

Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool and trying to machete open coconuts without severing a limb.
She finished her first novel Hunting Lila just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel – Losing Lila – on the beach in India, and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they reached Bali.
A third book, Fated, about a teenage demon slayer, which was written during their stay in California, was published in January 2012 by Simon Pulse (an imprint of Simon & Schuster).
The sequels to Fated are slated for release in November 2012 and March 2013, while two standalone YA thrillers will be out in summer 2013 & summer 2014.
She is currently co-writing the Hunting Lila screenplay and working on several other books and screenplays.


  1. Sarah, her books and her boys are all amazing and reading this post only reminds me of it, not that I could ever forget ;D I LOVE this post and it was so interesting seeing who inspired which of her boys.

    Alex Fuentes. ♥ Sarah and I nearly got into a fight over that boy. Oh, good times, good times. All Noah's and all Alex's are smoking hot. Need proof? Alex from Hunting Lila. Alex from Perfect Chemistry. *swoon*

  2. Yes to all the things on Sarah's list of delicious hot male qualities!!! I finished Hunting Lila not too long ago and LOVED it, especially Alex. I can't wait to read Fated and Severed though I'm waiting for book three due to the cliffhanger situation at the end of Severed:) I just reread Perfect Chemistry and fell in love with Alex all over again - he is definitely one of the hottest YA boys out there I think!

  3. A six pack is a must, of course. ;) I'm very excited to hear there was some Ryan Gosling influence when it came to writing Control! I didn't think it was possible for me to want it even more. :)

    Lovely post!

  4. Oh my, a book with a boy based on Ryan Gosling? I need it! He is hot! Thanks for sharing this, so much fun to read :D


  5. HAN SOLO ALL THE WAY! HAHA. But I also totally approve of Noah Calhoun. *sighs* There's way too many hot YA boys out there! Great post!

  6. Eeep I love this post! Sarah is awesome and her books rock! And I so have to watch Generation Kill because dude Alex rocks!

    Also, I'm totally horrified by some of the controlling jerks that we have to put up with in YA--and are suposed to FALL FOR THEM! What is up with that? I have DNFed and 1-2starred so many books bc of that. (Of Poseidon was one). But yes all the points she mentions, Integrity for sure!, is what I look for in YA gyus and those are the romances I like the most. What Happens Next is an example of what a romance should be!

  7. Oh goodness. Alexander Skarsgard as a soldier... yes... yes I can see that.

    Happuly :D
    Bahaha! And I can't stop giggling about Jack being based -- in part -- on your own brother. I kind of wonder how that with feels with everyone drooling over him? :D

    I love this: "For me a hot boy isn’t one that’s controlling or obsessive, too over-protective or violent. They do what they have to do to protect the people they love but they also are in control of their actions and emotions."

  8. Oh yeah... and I only inspire Sarah when it comes to babies. Okay that sounds weirds... rephrase! And to think I'm represented in The Sound as a baby. Next time, Sarah, I'm a darn love interest, okay? :P

  9. I'M DESPERATE TO READ SEVERED SOON. I am determined to break my bad luck with ebooks by actually finishing one, because I so need to meet Cyrus. And DAMN, what is this ending everyone speaks of?! And let's not forgot getting hot and heavy during the sexy times in between ;D ANYWAY.

    I think this post proves why Sarah Alderson is Queen of Hot Boys.

    For me a hot boy isn’t one that’s controlling or obsessive, too over-protective or violent. THIS. EXACTLY.

    I love that her boys are ones you genuinely would want to date in real life. A sense of humour is a MUST for and um, the six pack sure doesn't hurt :D But if I recall, Lila said Alex has a TWELVE PACK.

    AUGUSTUS *weeps* Also, I think I need to rewatch The Notebook this weekend.

  10. Ahhhhhhhhh this post is absolutely amazing Shirley and Sarah, I'm sitting here with this bog goofy grin on my face reading it. I totally agree with all of your points Sarah, a hot guy does what they have to do to protect people they love and not be all over the top about it. I can't wait to meet the new hotties in you upcoming books. Thank you so much for the brilliant post! :)

  11. Wonderful, wonderful post ladies! I fully approve of Sarah Alderson's list, especially the last point. ;) And Rhett Butler is one of my favourite fictional crushes! But it highlights everything about YA romances I loathe (I'm staring at you, Fallen, and you, House of Night). I seriously need to begin this series! And yet again, I question why I haven't done so already... *sigh*

  12. I hear there are some SERIOUSLY cute boys in Sarah Alderson books. Which begs the question: why haven't I read any yet?


    Thanks for this fun guest post, now I want to read the books EVEN MORE.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden


Hey there,
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog :) Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section; I appreciate all comments left here!
If you have a blog, I'll be sure to visit it and comment back(I love finding new blogs so feel free to leave a link!)
Thank you & have a nice day