H is for Hunk

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Teen literature is full of hunky boys and, if I’m being honest, they’re a big part of why I read YA books. The romantic interests are utterly swoon worthy. They’re so unlike the boys I went to high school with, but exactly like the boys I wish I’d gone to high school with. And, they come in every shape, size, color and persuasion, with varying hobbies and flaws and goals and backgrounds.

There’s the angsty rocker hunk, a la Adam from If I Stay

There’s the gawky science hunk, a la Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door

There’s the tattooed bad boy hunk, a la Alex from Perfect Chemisty

There’s the supportive beach boy hunk, a la Tyler from Moonglass

There’s the bold and valiant hunk, a la Four from Divergent

There’s the loyal boy-next-door hunk, a la Jay from The Body Finder

There’s the brooding hunk, a la Conrad from The Summer I Turned Pretty

There’s the cocky jock hunk, a la Doug from Forget You

There’s the super-sweet biker hunk, a la Harlin from A Need So Beautiful

The list goes on, and on, and on.

So, who’s my YA hunk of choice?


Jonah Griggs from Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road

On the Jellicoe Road

Why? Let me count the ways…

1. Jonah’s a badass cadet. My husband’s a soldier. Need I say more?

2. Jonah’s outdoorsy. He doesn’t shy away from dirt or exercise. Hot.

3. Jonah’s got a (very) tortured past, but he doesn’t let it hold him down.

4. Jonah’s tough-as-nails, but he’s incredibly sweet and sensitive and protective when it comes to his main squeeze, Taylor.

5. Jonah’s sort of crass. He doesn’t filter his language, and he doesn’t hesitate to flip someone the bird when they’ve earned it. Maybe I’m weird, but I find this kind of irreverence irresistible.

6. Jonah’s skeptical and analytical. His trust must be earned.

And, because Melina Marchetta portrays him, through Taylor’s eyes, like this:

“If you weren’t driving, I’d kiss you senseless,” I tell him.
He swerves to the side of the road and stops the car abruptly.
“Not driving any more.”

And this:

When I turn around, he cups my face in his hands and he kisses me so deeply that I don’t know who is breathing for who, but his mouth and tongue taste like warm honey. I don’t know how long it lasts, but when I let go of him, I miss it already.

And because he says things like this:

“I’m here because of you. You’re my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don’t think that will be happening in my lifetime.”

So, there you have him: Jonah Griggs, my YA hunk of choice.

Tell me: Who’s you ideal YA hunk?


42 thoughts on “H is for Hunk

  1. Meredith says:

    I definitely think I prefer my hunks Stephanie Perkins style. I can’t decide whether I’m more of the alluring and sophisticated type (Etienne) or the nerdy and genuine type (Cricket). Probably a dash of both?

    • katyupperman says:

      My only gripe with Etienne is that he’s short. That’s shallow, probably, but I’m 5’10” and, well, Etienne and I might look a little silly standing next to each other. Cricket, though… I can find no real flaws in that boy. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I adored Sean as well, Erin! And UtNS is next on my list… Can’t wait to meet Perry.

      Incidentally, I’m very much enjoying Prince Po at the moment. 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      I haven’t read INCARNATE yet, but I’ve heard great things. And please, please, please read JELLICOE, Liz. I know you enjoy poetry, and the prose in that book is absolutely gorgeous!

  2. Rebecca B says:

    *Promises to make good on resolution to read JELLICOE ROAD asap* (I’ve been working to read all the books I have in my physical TBR pile–but that is the first new book purchase I will make!
    And this is so true: “They’re so unlike the boys I went to high school with, but exactly like the boys I wish I’d gone to high school with.”

    • katyupperman says:

      Ha! If only we’d all gone to high school with boys like Four and Jonah and Sean Kendrick and Cricket. 🙂

      I am so looking forward to your thoughts on JELLICOE, Rebecca. I think you’ll love it!

  3. AE Rought says:

    Hm. I tend toward the sensitive badasses like Four in Divergent, or my Thorn in Drenched. Still makes me wonder where Alex came from in Broken… You’ll understand what I mean when you read it, Katy.

    I have, and always will, love Mackie Doyle from The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. So much stacked against him, and he not only survives, but does so with a sense of dignity and self-sacrifice that I adore. Plus, he’s tall. I seem to have a thing for tall heroes.

  4. elschneider says:

    You are so right – the boys of YA are exactly why I read (and write) it! And you’ve got some amazing hunks noted here – after seeing your #1 pick, I know I definitely need to pick Jellicoe Road back up and finish that one (I know this is one of your all time fav reads, but holy crow, the first 100 pages were painfully slow for me!).
    I’d say Etienne is one of my favorites (although definitely on the short side) and of course, Four probably tops the list!
    Great post today, Katy – if that doesn’t get one’s blood going on a Monday morning, I’m not sure what will!

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, I totally get it, Erin. The first 100 pages were rough for me, but I promise (seemingly out of nowhere) JELLICOE picks up and pays off BIG TIME. All that weirdness from the beginning comes together in the most perfect way. I hope you’ll give it another shot!

      Oh, and Four… So fantastic! I can’t wait to be reunited with him in INSURGENT!

  5. Jaime Morrow says:

    Still haven’t ‘met’ Jonah yet. Guess I should actually get around to reading this book that you recommended months ago 🙂 Great list, Katy, and you make a compelling case for your hunk of choice.

  6. Elodie says:

    I just started ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and I´m already liking it. As soon as I´m done though, it´s high time for me to meet Jonah. He really seems very swoon-worthy and those lines as well as your review just let me know that I probably will LOVE this book!

    On my list, i would also add Four, any guys written up by Stephanie Perkins (like Meredith, my heart hesitates between Cricket and Etienne, even though I may have a little penchant for Etienne :D)

    Thanks for sharing, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      I hope you enjoy AtU, Elodie. As you probably know, I’m a big fan of it and A MILLION SUNS. And I can’t wait to hear what you think of JELLICOE. I’ll tell you what I tell everyone: The beginning is weird and you’ll probably be confused. Stick with it! You won’t be disappointed!

    • katyupperman says:

      My male characters are my favorite to write as well, Nicole… They’re fantasy personified! I also love to incorporate bits of my husband into them, seeing as how he’s my REAL ideal guy. 🙂

  7. Sophia Richardson says:

    My my my, I think I need to get my hands on Jonah– I mean, Jellicoe Road. Knew it was on my TBR list for a reason. I like my hunks intelligent, witty, and not afraid to put themselves out there, so I’m gonna go with Augustus Waters of The Fault in Our Stars fame. Though, like you showed with your list, there are a lot of great guys all over the hunk-spectrum. (If the hunk-spectrum isn’t a thing already, it really should be.)

    • katyupperman says:

      Uh, yeah… We’re making the Hunk-Spectrum an official thing for sure!

      I love your choice of Augustus. He really is a witty, well-spoken, and courageous hunk. And please let me know what you think of JELLICOE after you’ve read. 🙂

  8. Christa says:

    I am so pleased to see you’ve already made it to H. Good going, Katy. I have no YA hulks. I’ve been reading too much smut and this has becoming a loaded term. Oh dear. 🙂

  9. Christa says:

    It would also be better if I called it “hunk” instead of hulk which is funny, but different. Damn typing on the iPhone.

  10. Rachel says:

    My first fictional boyfriend ever is someone I still heart, LOL – Tobias from Animorphs. He was an artist (drawing) and was smart (liked history and English) and was a bit emo (it was 90’s! LOL). He is also pretty cool because Four from Divergent is named after him! 🙂 I have a thousand other fictional bfs (literally 2 pgs long…a friend once asked me if I had any haha), but Tobias is my main luvah.
    Today on my blog I’m talking about The Golden Compass. ❤

    • katyupperman says:

      Funnily enough, the name Tobias used to bug me. Then I read DIVERGENT and totally fell for Four AND his given name.

      Looking forward to checking out your Golden Compass post, because I’ve yet to read that book. 🙂

  11. Yahong says:

    “…exactly like the boys I wish I’d gone to high school with.” UM YES TOTALLY. And yo, I completely applaud your choice of Jonah. Those kind of tough, sweetly protective guys always make me feel a wee bit gushy. 😛 As for my YA hunks… hmm, well. Of course there’s Jasper from The Disenchantments. 😉 I also heart Ed from Antony John’s Five Flavors of Dumb, for his adorable shyness and V from Dawn Metcalf’s Luminous, for his strength despite his personal struggles and his, you know, Italian-ness in general. 😛 Love this topic, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, Jasper is absolutely adorable, but I know better than to try to steal him away from you.

      I still need to read FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB. I’ve heard great things about that book!

  12. Taryn says:

    Okay, you convinced me to re-read Jellicoe Road. It will be SUCH a chore :p Hmmmm. I am obsessed with all of Stephanie Perkins’ love interests . . . but if I had to pick, there is no one greater than Cassel Sharpe from the Curse Workers series. But wait. Then there’s Four. Sooo, Cassel and Four. Those are my choices 🙂

    • katyupperman says:

      Don’t hate me, but I haven’t read the Curse Workers series! I definitely need to because I’ve heard nothing but amazing things, and knowing now that you love Cassel makes me want to read it EVEN MORE.

  13. Sara McClung says:

    *chanting* Jonah! Jonah! JONAH!

    I love him so so so much.

    Also? Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went.

    AND RUDY from The Book Thief. (TELL ME you’ve read that book!)

    • katyupperman says:

      Oh, Sara… I HAVEN’T read The Book Thief. *hangs head in shame* I have it, and I want to read it, but I always seem to grab something else over it. Don’t worry — my new goal is to read it by the end of the month. 🙂 Oh, and Adam… yes, please!

  14. Alison Miller says:

    I think this needs to be on my beach reads this week. I have a feeling I would really, really like this guy. 🙂
    I take my hunks with an ounce of badass, a cup of hotness, and a pound of sweetness – my favorite – Heath Luck (House of Night)

    Awesome post, Katy!

    • katyupperman says:

      I haven’t read House of Night, but now I definitely want to check it out. And I bet you’ll love JELLICOE, Alison. Don’t give up during the first quarter… it’s weird and confusing, but the payoff is TOTALLY worth it!

  15. Jessica Love (@_JessicaLove) says:

    It has been way too long since I’ve read Jellicoe Road. I really need to give that re-read.

    Marcus Flutie from the Jessica Darling series is my all-time favorite hunk. Ginger, check. Musical, check. Brooding, check. Funny, check. Sexy as hell, check. Man, I love that guy.

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