You know we all love a bad boy. Who doesn’t? But do you know what’s better than a bad boy – a bad boy who is secretly a good boy. That’s right, we’re talking about everybody’s favorite romantic hero – the sad bad boy who actually isn’t as bad as you think. You know the type. They’ve got a sad backstory and a heart of gold cloaked in a devilish smile and a grim reputation. Handsome, charming, a little infuriating, and a lot infatuating, these bad boys who are secretly good boys are bound to be your next book crush!
Cardan from Folk of the Air
by Holly Black
You knew this was coming, right? Sure, the book is called The Cruel Prince and yes, he is undoubtedly cruel. But over the course of the series we get a look at how he might actually be less-than-cruel, learning that maybe he’s not as evil as Jude thought. Plus, there’s that biting wit, those bedazzling eyes, and the charm that just drips off him. And if that wasn’t enough, we get a look at his backstory in How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories. And quite frankly, if you weren’t ready to give your whole heart and soul to Cardan before, this book will definitely take care of that. And he’s got a tail, what more do you want?
Castian from Incendiary
CASTIAN! King of my heart, I love you so much. And look, admittedly having The Bloody Prince as your book boyfriend might not sound too appealing. But if there’s anything I like better than a hot guy, it’s a brooding hot guy. So what if he’s the big bad? Look, I have no desire to spoil anything from this glorious book, so I will just say this. Things may not always be as they appear and by the end of this book, you’re gonna be rooting for Castian too.
Luka from Wolf by Wolf
by Ryan Graudin
Luka Lowe. What I wouldn’t do for a motorcycle riding hottie in a leather jacket. And while Luka’s relationships with Yael and Adele seem to constantly shift, there is a decided allure to Luka that’s only expanded in Blood for Blood, Wolf by Wolf’s sequel. Luka is competitive and flirty at the same time, and nothing says romantic tension than being competitors in a high-stakes motorcycle race across a continent!
Han Alister from The Seven Realms Series
This thieving bad-boy who is secretly a good boy is the reason I am obsessed with thieving YA heroes. There, I said it. This is the root of my obsession with cute fantasy thieves, and I have no shame in saying so. Han was once a ruthless gang leader, but he’s determined to clean his act up, even if it means bringing less money home for his mother and sister. But when Han steals an amulet during an ill-fated encounter with Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard himself, he knows the Bayar will do nothing to get it back. Han is thrust into the world of politics and royals, while Princess Raisa ana’Marianna has her own battles to fight. Their fates will intertwine in this high-stakes game that will change the fate of the world.
Nathaniel Thorn from Sorcery of Thorns
Nathaniel is a sorcerer, and a fine
, fine one at that. But his power comes with a price and his family lineage is dark. And while Elizabeth may at first think he’s the enemy, the glimpses she gets behind his wall of secrets tell her otherwise. And as we get to know Nathaniel, we learn not only is he powerful and handsome (of course) but charming and tortured. Praise! He’s the whole package! All of this also applies to Silas, Nathaniel’s demonic servant – but while his backstory is less tragic, he is a literal demon, so…
Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Maas
In the first book of this series
, we only get a passing glimpse of Rhysand. He’s definitely the bad guy… or is he? While he certainly seems to be Amarantha’s right hand man, he’s concealing his own ulterior motives. You’ll have to find out what they are by reading the books, but know this he’s definitely hot, misunderstood, and has wings. What more do you want?
Gavriel from The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black
Gavriel, the insane, charming, weirdo vampire of my heart! What can I say of you besides that you are gloriously strange in a wonderful way and are the vampire love I have been looking for? Alas, though, you are not real and thus are relegated to this blog post and living in my mind rent-free.
Aiden from Fence: Striking Distance
Illustrated by Johanna The Mad
Created by C.S. Pacat
Aiden! My poor, love-struck puppy of a boy! Aiden is a heartbreaker and he knows it. How could he not be with a face like that? But behind all the hookups and broken hearts is his own crush on Harvard, best friend and fellow King’s Row fencing teammate. He’s just too nervous to make his first move. What if Harvard doesn’t like him back! Aiden is just a soft, sad boy and deserves to be protected at all costs. And, fair enough, the rest of the boys could probably use protection from him.
Rapley from Teeth in the Mist
Okay, fine. Good boy is kind of a stretch with this one… or is it? Rapley is a mystery, along with everything else at Mill House. It’s 1851 and Roan is one of several wards to arrive at the house. She feels an immediate connection to Rapley, though his behavior to her is cold at best. But as we learn more about Rapley, we learn more about the unholy pact that brought them all to Mill House. And not all is as it appears…