Top Ten! Sex! Bodies! Femininity is not one shade (of grey)!
First, I haven't done one in awhile, and I really like this one, so let's do a Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish!This week's TOP TEN TUESDAY are romances! (It's Valentine's Day week...what'd you expect? Bitterness? No, no, I'll bring that *later*. Patience, friends.) I've mentioned that I'm a not-so-secret hopeless romantic right? Yeah. Be prepared.
THIS IS YOUR SPOILER WARNING
Top Ten Literary Romances (in NO particular order because that would take me HOURS) Complete with my favorite quotes from those books relating to the romance1. Perry & Aria in Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night by Veronica RossiTheir romance surprises both of them, and it's like watching a storm slowly roll in off the ocean. It feels just as magical and beautiful and scary as that as well. Aria softens Perry's brittle and hard edges. Perry balances Aria's tendency to slip away (as she's always been taught was acceptable by her society).Favorite line from UTNS: “She absorbed the terror and beauty of him and his world. Of every moment over the past days. All of it, filling her up like the first breath she'd ever taken. And never had she loved life more.”Favorite line from TTEN: “He brought a sense of rightness. She felt it every moment she spent with him. Even the wrong ones. Even the painful ones, like now.”2. Tris and Four from Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica RothI've mentioned before that I identify strongly with Tris (oh hey, it was on another Top Ten Tuesday post!) but I dare you to read this book and not also fall head over heels for Four. Come on. I know, I know, the mysterious boy with a Past has been done a lot, but this is FOUR and he's imperfect and rough and sensitive and COME ON. Seriously. My sister and I were just talking about how if you put us in a dystopia society with questionable morals/ethics and give us an angsty boy, we're happier than a cat in sunshine.Favorite Divergent quote: "“Then I realize what it is. It's him. Something about him makes me feel like I am about to fall. Or turn to liquid. Or burst into flames.”"Favorite Insurgent quote: “His hands skim my bare arms. “Just bounce a little when you walk,” he says, kissing my forehead, “and pretend you’re afraid of their guns” —another kiss between my eyebrows— “and act like the shrinking violet you could never be ”—a kiss on my cheek— “and you’ll be fine.”3. Josephine March and Friedrich Bhaer from Little Women by Louisa May AlcottI love Jo. I think she may have been my first literary crush (although, Almonzo from the Little House books...a man and his horses...). I identified with her so much. I cried the first time I read Little Women and read Jo's happy ending to her little tale and to the most unlikely of them, the professor who challenged her and admired her and never talked down to her in any way.Little Women quote (book): “Be worthy love, and love will come.”4. Juliette and Character X in Shatter Me and Unravel Me by Tahereh MafiThis is too new of a book for me to name Character X. Needless to say, Chapter 62. Seriously. Don't skip ahead. Read all the way to it.But I am going to give you a quote. It's okay to fan yourself after reading this: “I want so many things,” he whispers. “I want your mind. Your strength. I want to be worth your time.” His fingers graze the hem of my top and he says “I want this up.” He tugs on the waist of my pants and says “I want these down.” He touches the tips of his fingers to the sides of my body and says, “I want to feel your skin on fire. I want to feel your heart racing next to mine and I want to know it’s racing because of me, because you want me. Because you never,” he says, he breathes, “never want me to stop. I want every second. Every inch of you. I want all of it.”5. Celia and Marco in The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternTwo magicians pitted against each other against their will in a magic duel that can only end when one of them dies. It takes years. They build their own setting. And they fall in love. Celia is self-assured despite of her father and she is sassy. Marco's stubborn and persistent, and willing to trust when he has the right to distrust everyone. Tell me that I was supposed to resist this.Quote: “Do you remember all of your audiences?" Marco asks."Not all of them," Celia says. "But I remember the people who look at me the way you do.""What way might that be?""As though they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or they want to kiss me."" I am not afraid of you," Marco says.”6. Mia and Adam from Where She Went by Gayle FormanI still haven't read If I Stay, actually. I read Where She Went last year. And then I read it again. And I reread it. Because it was that good. I didn't need Mia and Adam's history together to understand that they had serious chemistry and they both are stubborn, fierce, and extremely emotional. So did this book's pages catch fire? Basically. They push and pull each other, but they make each other better. I love that.quote: “It's my turn to see you through,' she whispers, coming back to me and wrapping me in her blanket as I lose my shit all over again. She holds me until I recover my Y chromosome.”7. Shaun and Georgia in Feed, Deadline, and Blackout (Newsflesh Trilog) by Mira GrantThis is a spoiler, for some people, but it shouldn't be if you read Feed with an open mind and discerning eye. It's practically spelled out in Deadine, and then it's there in Blackout. I can't say a lot because Spoilers (big time) but, Shaun and Georgia are *adopted* and not related by blood, so it's not really incest except to everyone else. Still, one of the most beautiful handlings of this scenario I've seen, and in the face of a world where the dead walk and munch on pepole, that's not too bad.No quote that wouldn't give away major plot spoilers.8. Saba and Jack, Blood Red Road, by Moira YoungSaba is almost genderless for most of Blood Red Road. She's tough, violent, fiercely driven towards a singular goal, and not particularly empathic. She uses everyone around her as much as she can before she discards them. Except Jack. Jack gets under her skin. He's cocky and he's the strangest Bad Boy I've seen in a post apocalyptic story (but then, Blood Red Road is one of the stranger post apocalyptic novels I've ever read). And their chemistry is fun and spunky, not unlike both of them.Quote: “I grab his face an' kiss him on the lips. Then I step back. We stare at each other. All the air gits sucked outta the tunnel. The heartstone burns into my skin. The blood pounds in my ears.Yer timin stinks, he says.”9. Alanna and George in the Lioness Quartet by Tamora PierceAlanna gets around, but it's always George, isn't it? When it comes back to it, he's the one who isn't jealous of the others because he loves her so thoroughly and so purely? It's always the dancing-eyed thief. My love for George only grows when he and Alanna get cameos in the other Tortall books by Pierce.Quote (from In the Hand of the Goddess): “Shouldn't you know what love's like, before you begin renouncin' it"10. Katsa and Po in Graceling (and subsequently Bitterblue) by Kristin CashoreDo you love YA fantasy? And you haven't read Graceling yet? Go read it. If we want to talk about two characters who aren't perfect, a male love interest who doesn't obey any of the "rules" and a female main character who also refuses to obey rules, then we need to talk about Graceling. Katsa is a creature of violence (or so she thinks) and she has little sympathy for wallowing or sentimentality. She's fiercely independent and single minded. Po is introspective, emotional, sensitive, and at points, selfish to the point of wallowing. He's also utterly unselfish when it comes to Katsa. It hurts, sometimes, to read them, because they feel that real and they love each other with that stubborn ferocity that dares anyone to challenge what they feel for each other.Quote: "“She shivered as he left her to go to the fire, and find water and cloths. He leaned into the light, and brightness and shadows moved across his body. He was beautiful. She admired him, and he flashed a grin at her. Almost as beautiful as you are conceited, she thought at him, and he laughed out loud.”Speaking of romance, YA Highway has a brilliant post on Girls and Sex and Babies and Sexuality and So On that you should probably read.This is another post, and this one is on body language. I think about this a lot with my stories (especially with my current project where there's a lot of give and take, and two very closed characters who are very (very) attracted to each other).This came across my tumblr dash and boy was it a good read. Everyone can tell you how to write a female character, but this is how NOT to write a female character. It can also be summed up with the line, "You know, just like men." Some of these things are my pet peeves too. Girls who are tomboyish *become* more girly as they fall in love with a boy in the story. No. Sorry. Speaking from personal experience? Attraction to a member of the opposite sex does not actually change who you are. A character (or person) may feel the NEED to become more stereotypical, but that transformation shouldn't be permanent.This is your kiss reference post. I'm not kidding. It's from Steve Rogers.And finally, YA Highway did a whole Sex in YA series awhile back. Here's the link to the first one!