Holly in By Any Other Name is hiding a huge secret from everyone in her new life. But she’s not the only character in the book with something to hide. Joe’s covering something up too, and that kind of gets to Holly. What is going on with him and why should she care anyway? She’ll have to wait a while to find out…
She’s not alone in finding a boy with a secret intriguing – who doesn’t like a little mystery? I can’t resist that lure so love to these fictional guys (in no particular order):
1. Alec Lightwood from Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones
Alec with his hopeless dress sense and stabbing jealousy of Clary is one of Cassie Clare’s most endearing characters. Forever trying to do the right thing and never quite managing it, life and sexuality confuse him. And Magnus Bane confuses him most of all…
2. Four from Veronica Roth’s Divergent
Four probably wins my vote for most adorable male mc in YA fiction right now. And he’s an enigma from the start. Oh, we know before Tris does why he doesn’t want to watch her fight but for the rest he’s a gorgeous bundle of mystery you can’t wait to see unwrapped. Actually you’ll still love him just as much when you know his secrets in Insurgent, the next book in the series.
3. Ronan Lynch from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys
I never go for the bad boys – never! So I’m defending Ronan as a good boy with extreme issues. I just don’t know what they are yet as Maggie Stiefvater is stringing us all out on just what Ronan’s secret is. However you can’t not love a character described as ‘a soldier in a war where the enemy was everyone else.’ I have faith that Ronan will turn out to be a secret gem eventually.
4. Nick Ryves from Sarah Rees Brennan’s The Demon’s Lexicon
Now Nick is a bad boy, but he is too funny to dismiss and his complete lack of understanding of the motives of everyone around him mean he’s one of the most original characters in urban fantasy. And his secret…I couldn’t possibly give anything away but my jaw hit the floor. I did not see that coming at all. Kudos to Sarah Rees Brennan for one of the best and most surprising revelations in YA fantasy.
5. Lucas from Kevin Brooks’ Lucas
The beautiful and completely mystifying Lucas turns up on Caitlin’s island and by contrast shows just how ugly other people can be. All the grit of a usual Kevin Brooks novel paired with a fairytale-like quality that works – probably no one but Kevin Brooks could get that particular combination right. You never will entirely understand Lucas but not everything is life can be understood.
6. Sirius from Diana Wynne Jones’ Dogsbody
A departure from YA to venture into children’s book territory. Sirius is a luminary punished for a crime he didn’t commit and forced to hide in the body of a dog until he can prove his innocence. An absolutely beautiful piece of characterisation inside one of the defining books of my childhood. To be able to create the personality of a star inside a dog and stay true to both requires staggering talent.
7. Mr Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre
My favourite Bronte male. Well, he just made a real mess of things when he was younger, didn’t he? And pays the price and tries to make it as right as he can. Until he falls in love and gets himself in another pickle. Completely fallible and so very human because of that, Rochester is a decent guy who wants to be loved. Aww, come on, how can you not have a soft spot for him?
8. Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series
Ah, Magnus – just a walking ball of secrets. He unfurls them slowly, showering glitter as he goes, through all of Cassandra Clare’s books. The thing about Magnus is he’s so gloriously outrageous and also so wise – I guess immortality can do that to you though it doesn’t seem to have worked so well for some of the vampires – and at times so very, very sad you want to cry for him. I love at lot of Cassie Clare’s secondary characters (oddly not her main characters so much), especially the kick-ass Isabelle, but Magnus is her finest creation.