13/01/2015

Bad Boy Rules That Must Be Obeyed {The Birdie Rules}

Bad boys pop up everywhere in YA and NA. Hell, even in Adult literature. They're one of the few constants that connects many different novels and many different genres. They're the inevitable character that starts off as somebody we love to hate and ends up redeeming themselves through acts of selflessness or, most often, mushy, romantic stuff.

So I've examined some of the most popular bad boys and come up with some tropes that keep rearing their heads. Some things we can always rely on when it comes to our darling bad boys and their 'come hither' eyes.




Bad boys can not have brown eyes, but they can have melting chocolate irises, or foaming sea-green speckles or deep cerulean pits that bear into the soul, turning a stormy grey when he's mad, like there's thunder between his lashes. It's important you remember this. Eyes are an essential part of the story and if you don't use at least five adjectives to describe his, then he's not a true bad boy.


 
Bad boys cannot have happy lives, under any circumstances. Parents must be drunks, or addicts, or the boys must just be orphaned. Their home life is also not common knowledge, but instead a deep, dark secret. It weighs on them everyday, but they can't let anybody know, because it'll make them look weak. Except the girl they fall for. The bad boy must inexplicably reveal his sordid life to her after five minutes.


 
Bad boys cannot like the female heroine. At all. They must start off as enemies so that we can cut that sexual tension like cake later on. In fact, they must just be horribly abrasive and judgemental for no reason, so the female character feels like crap. Then, after seeing our girl smile (which no other girl ever does, apparently) or be kind (because everyone else is horrible, apparently), our bad boy's icy heart will be thawed.


 
Bad boys do not try hard at school, because being educated is so 90s and being smart is so totally damaging to their rep. They must not do their homework and generally dismiss classes altogether. Of course, they're secretly super smart, so as soon as our heroine works her magic on getting him to open up, our bad boy will get the A+ he's always had in him.


 
Bad boys must wear leather. No self-respecting mysterious dude walks around in a jacket made of cloth. Oh no, we need shiny and squeaky and motorcycles with revving engines.


 
When our resident bad boy meets our heroine, all exchanges should be made through intense staring and side glances. Real talking shouldn't happen until after our bad boy has pinned the heroine to the wall and kissed her, expressing his undying love.


 
In order for a bad boy to fall in love, he must meet a girl so very different from anyone he has ever known before. She must be the polar opposite of every other woman in his life because God forbid he likes anyone he has something in common with.


 
Bad boys live a life of danger and that means that sometimes their ladies will get thrown in to the drama. But our men will never let the women stand up for themselves and they can't open up about what is really happening. It's essential for our boy to simply push the girl away to protect her, isolating her for her own good.


 
A boy cannot be truly bad unless he has a line of conquests. In order to be the right match for our virginal heroine, our bad boy must be super sexually experienced and able to show the leading lady just how to do things right.




What bad boy clichés do you see popping up in your books? Do you think bad boys are becoming a thing of the past, replaced with actual three-dimensional characters, or are they still a bad smell that follows YA around?


 

Allie is not currently searching for a bad boy of her own, but she does enjoy watching them on TV. Right now, her guy of choice is Bellamy Blake, who she discovered after her blogging friends bullied her into watching 100. She enjoys killing time by staring at GIFs of his face and encourages you to do the same.
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64 comments:

  1. Haha, this is gold. Seriously, this is gold. I can just imagine every cliché bad boy out there in all kinds of genres and demographics. I wish they would stop describing ordinary eyes as some sort of romantic orbs that give you access to heaven or something. I'm totally tired of that. It would be nice to just read an ordinary love interest, you know what I mean? Please make more of this!

    Faye at The Soial Potato

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    1. The eye thing is the worst, because that's not even just limited to bad boys, it's basically every man in fiction EVER. Heck, most girls too if we're going from a male POV. I just don't get what's so hard about saying 'he had brown eyes' and then moving on with the story?!

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  2. Ahhhh, this is the BEST! I've never liked the "bad boy" trope, regardless of how well it was done, and this list of clichés is perfect.

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    1. I used to be a massive fan back in my early reading days, but now bad boys just make me roll my eyes. I'm a much bigger fan of nice guys who make it a point to really treat the heroine right and support her.

      I must admit though, when it comes to TV shows, I like a long redemption arc for guys.

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  3. Oh my gosh, this is awesome! You basically described 75% percent of all books in existence.

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    1. LOL. Hopefully this will start to fade into oblivion soon and all of the nice guys will begin taking control

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  4. LOL I loved this post! Mainly because however sad it is, it is so true as well! Very rarely does a bad boy not have some of these traits or heck, even all of them!

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    1. It just means we end up reading about the same character over and over again and it starts to get so boring!

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  5. I was cackling the whole time I read this post xD A favorite this week for sure! Your gifs are spot on too :D

    I'll admit that I'm probably a sucker for the bad boy, but I try not to fall for the cliches. *totally failing all the time* I think the special snowflake trope is when I draw the line though - it kills me when "you're not like other girls" pops up!

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    1. Haha, I'm glad the GIF usage entertained you. Searching for them made me laugh so much, because there were so many hilarious ones that would've worked well. SPOILT FOR CHOICE!

      I'm a sucker for bad boys on TV, I admit, but I really don't like them in books. And, man, the snowflake thing . . . DO NOT GET ME STARTED. 'You're different. You understand me' blah blah

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  6. OMG ALLIE THIS WAS SO BRILLIANT I WA LITERALLY CHOKING ON MY TOAST WHILE READING THIS BECAUSE IT. IS. SO. TRUE! THE EYE COLOUR, THE DARK PAST (*rolls eyes*) ACTUALLY BEING REALLY SMART AND MANAGING TO GET A+S WITHOUT BREATHING, AND THE LEATHERS!!!!!! *giggles hysterically* YO HAVE NOT MISSED ANYTHING OUT AT ALL!!!

    Also, your gif usage is AMAAAAZING. I think I'll come back in the dead of night and nick those gifs, because they are FABULOUS.

    Wonderful topic, Allie, and so, so, SOOO, true. :))))

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    1. DO NOT CHOKE ON YOUR TOAST I CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR DEATH BY BREAKFAST ;)

      Hehe the leather thing. I'm a bit cheeky with that because my weakness is actually guys in leather jackets. It's a huge turn on for me LOL. So I know, I fall for clichés sometimes :P

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  7. Haha this is awesome! :P

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  8. haha, this is fantastic, and so very true. I don't mind the idea of a "bad boy" but I do like when they feel more realistic and aren't just a walking cliche (which would be a mix of a lot of the things you noted in this post). Honestly, though, I tend to like the funny/nerdy guys in books...and in real life. :)

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    1. Funny and nerdy guys are the best! Or even just regular guys who don't have to be super quirky or super bad ass. Just your standard charming guy who knows how to treat a lady!

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  9. Yup, this is it. This is why I've been missing you Allie. YOU HAVE RETURNED TO US. Never leave us again, okay? GREAT. This, this is great, and so so true, different guys kept popping to mind for different things and I was was like 'damn yes!' - you hit the nail Allie, hit it well. Fantastic post, definitely true. Oh, and also, they always have to at some point carry the girl like a groom would his bride when she is wounded and tell her 'it's okay, I'm here' - say, why couldn't you have been here before I was wounded, goddammit. Brilliant! :D

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    1. I WILL NEVER LEAVE, I PROMISE. Well, okay, except for Christmas again because I'm going to the Dominican Republic :P BUT I'M SORRY YOU CAN COME TOO.

      How could I forget about the carrying? Hahaha. When they show up just a second too late and then spent the next half of the book feeling guilty and making sure they never let the heroine get so much as a paper cut ever again!

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  10. Hahaha! This post is too hilarious and sadly completely accurate of the "bad boy" trope we are seeing EVERYWHERE in YA lately.

    LOL the eye descriptions omfg. Gotta love those emerald green orbs [; or those ice blue pools. HAHAH so cringe worthy.

    And yes the stereotypical sob story making the bad boy so brooding and tortutred. It eats him up inside and NOBODY knows why. Except...enter in heroine and BAM. Like you said he reveals his life story in negative 20 seconds and we just learn he's ~misunderstood~ And of course after some glances the two fall in love, then we learn the bad boy is actually a softie. The heroine changes him!!1!!!! ((((:

    so cute.

    LOL. Anyways again I love this post, and it really can be annoying to see the bad boy trope over and over and over again. Really makes it loose its appeal.

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    1. I swear, even after years reading YA, it still seems to pop up. Every time I think it's gone away BAM, another book with a bad boy. Aren't people sick of the same old character?

      The eyes thing cracks me up because it's like every author is unable to just say the words 'blue' or 'brown' or 'green' by themselves.

      I'm glad you loved the post! :)

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  11. "Eyes are an essential part of the story and if you don't use at least five adjectives to describe his, then he's not a true bad boy."

    Ah, right away you have me laughing. This is soooo true. I don't know what it is about bad boy eyes, but they are always windows to a damaged but, dammit, lovable soul. And our heroines can spot them a mile away.

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    1. LOL. Yes, they are the windows to that tortured, yet somehow loveable soul. Oh, and what about when the heroine can literally see his eyes change colour from across the room? WHAT IS THAT?

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  12. Haha! What a great post Allie! I love these! I've found myself going for good guys lately. I'm over the drama filled bad boys. I can't even tell you how many books sprung to mind while reading through these!

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    1. Good guys are my thing – I like to read about the kind of guys I'd go for in real life and tortured douchebags are so not my type!

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  13. Love, love, LOVE this post Allie! <3 So accurate and spot-on. There are so many bad-boy cliches, and I think you've nailed all of them. I wish that authors didn't feel so confined to these "restrictions" and were willing to branch out and actually develop their "bad boy" instead of just defining them as having dark pasts and initially hating the heroine. Thanks for sharing this, and great post! <3

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    1. It's like they think this is the only way to create tension and make the romance interesting, but it's just not the truth. So many well-crafted stories have boys who aren't 'bad'. If the author takes time to properly craft a character, they don't need to have so many clichés riddled through them!

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  14. This is fantastic! I love it all :) Especially, the eye description adjectives and the past so dark he can't wear shades! It is all so true!

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert

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    1. What is with all the dark pasts? Even if you're gonna have a bad boy, does he need to be so tortured? Some boys are just 'bad', regardless of upbringing!

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  15. BAH AHAH A! This is the most perfect thing I have ever read. YES. Gosh, unless a bad boy ticks all these boxes HE CLEARLY IS NOT REALLY A BAD BOY. Particularly the eye thing. Obviously kids with average eyes ain't going to pull off the broody. *nods*

    Bad Boys must also have a soft spot for small baby animals or small children. This is a huge part of (even if they're emotionally abusive) how they get a girl.

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    1. Regular people eyes do not belong in fiction. FICTION IS THE PLACE FOR MAGIC EYES THAT EXIST SOLELY TO WET PANTIES.

      Ahh yes, I forgot how good they must be with kids too! That's something I see SO MUCH (it was in Perfect Chemistry with Alex Fuentes too, if I remember right).

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  16. Ha, good post. Very funny. I am really hoping that these bad boy cliches are being less and less used. I would like to think authors are using more three dimensional characters, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. :)

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    1. You can hope, but I think they're like that fly in the room you can never manage to squash!

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  17. I LOVE this post! I seriously laughed out loud several times, and now those around me probably think I am insane ;) But these seriously could not be more accurate! I am thinking of all the "bad boys" in books I've read (hell, even in movies, TV, etc) and this describes EVERY ONE. Why?! Maybe I want a little diversity in my "bad boy"! (Actually, who am I kidding, I want his nicer, non-dangerous friend).

    Best line ever: " No self-respecting mysterious dude walks around in a jacket made of cloth." DEAD. Thank you for this post, I am in love :)

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    1. JOIN IN MY INSANITY. IT'S A CONSTANT PARTY!

      Thing is, there are so many ways an author could actually write a 'bad boy'; so many techniques and background stories they could use. But every author seems to recycle the same old plots and tropes and it's like I'm reading the same character in every book.

      LOL. That line was inspired by this quote from My Cousin Vinny (awesome movie if you haven't seen it!)

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  18. STORMY EYES OMFG THIS. Those stormy pools are out to steal out hearts BAHAHAHA

    YOU'VE HIT IT THE NAIL ON ITS HEAD. THIS POST, MAN. PERFECT. It's so sad that the tortured bad boy is still around though /creys. I feel like it should be a thing of the post, along with a couple of other tropes that we hate (*cough*LURVEEEEE TRIANGLE WITH DEM BAD BOYS AND "NERDY" BFFSSSSS). WHY WON'T AUTHORS GIVE THEM UP?? WHY???

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    1. YOU MUST WEATHER THE STORM TO BE ABLE TO HAVE HIS MAGICAL KISSES.

      Jeeeeeess, why must you sour my mood by even mentioning the dreaded love triangle? it's bringing me out in hives, man! I just can't. And how they're always so opposite because the girl must love two entirely different men just so we can tell them apart. IT IS RIDIC AND I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT

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  19. I JUST LOST MY COMMENT 3 TIMES. What even is life.

    Anyway, back to the point again. This is absolutely hilarious and you totally nailed the bad guy image and turned it upside down, girl.

    I used to love bad boys but now they're just annoying unless done REALLY well. (Which I am still waiting for..) Can't we just have normal guys with normal eyes that aren't described as windows overlooking a completely new galaxy? And oh yes, I hate it when their bad boy image is topped off with something like a troubled past or a love for cute kitties that makes the heroine want him. Like, NO PLEASE.

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    1. NOO WHAT?! Let me know if you keep having problems. I don't want Blogger to declare war on me!

      Bad boys were my thing back in the day, but now they're just so trite because it's the same recycled story over and over. NO MORE LOVING CUTE KITTIES. I can't handle it!

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  20. LOL, Allie, you are killing me with this post. Love it! So I kinda swoon super easily and form crushes with no problem, so I'll readily admit that many of my favorite boys would fall under this category. Though I do appreciate it when they are much more layered than that. But yes, I think you hit every cliche out there on the head. It's sad that so many of these YA boys fall under every single one of these categories. :P

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    1. We're all prone to some guilty-pleasure swooning. I guess authors wouldn't use these cliches if they didn't work! :D

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  21. Oh Allie I literally just finished my second paper for the day and yours is the first blog I've visited today to start my commenting and this post had me laughing out loud.

    GOODBYE TO THE FROWN MY FINAL PAPERS PUT ON MY FACE.

    Like Faye said, this is comedy GOLD. GOLD GOLD GOLD.

    There is a checklist for bad boys, eh? You'd think authors would have picked up on this and than would have tried to stray away from the conventional bad boy *sigh* but they haven't *double sigh*
    But yes to the eye thing. I mean, bad boys always have a harem and never speak and wear leather but it's the eyes that truly make a bad boy a bad boy. They must be so complexly explained.

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    1. That is me. TURNING MY LILY'S FROWN UPSIDE DOWN. Next week: juggling.

      Yes what is it with them hardly talking? Like 'I'm so bad and brooding I forget what words are. WHAT IS LIFE EVEN?'

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  22. I absolutely LOVE this post. 'thunder between his lashes'. My goodness Allie, I couldn't even dream up this stuff! Every. Single. Point is how I reckon most new adult authors craft their books. It's almost a template. The bad boy, slept around, lots of eye sex then suddenly he's in love with the girl who's typically a virgin with an attitude. Then once they have sex, she turns into nymph. Because you know, he's all that.

    Absolutely brilliant post Allie, had me giggling and nodding like mad <3

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    1. I think there must be a 'new author checklist' somewhere but, heck, even seasoned authors do this too! NO EXCUSE. And why does the MC almost always need to be a virgin? Why is that still a thing?! WHY WAS IT EVER?

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  23. LMFAO. I love this post. Everything about it. It is all so true. XD

    because God forbid he likes anyone he has something in common with
    Lines like these had me cracking up because I could imagine miscellaneous books that completely fit into these god awful cliches. XD

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    1. Haha, I'm glad to have made you giggle! <3

      Really though, why can't he like someone he actually has things in common with? Isn't that the person you're meant to like?

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  24. ASLKJADSL;!!! I WAS JUMPING WITH EXCITEMENT AS SOON AS I READ THIS POST TITLE!!! (Okay, I'm turning off caps now - well, for the most part anyways) xD

    I was laughing out loud to some of these things. There are SO many instances in books where the talk about eyes -- it's ridiculous! I sometimes don't even remember what the guy looks like, just his eye colour! I always struggle to understand how they sometimes suddenly find a girl so special, and how they've kept their lives a secret but then reveal all to their newly found true love.

    I'm not going to lie though, I love me a good bad boy in a book, as well as movies! I also love the good guy with the slightly dark streak, but at the end of the day he's gotta be a gentleman (it's never really that black and white though!). This comment totally ended up being longer than I anticipated, I blame the extra two cups of coffee I had today xD

    Great post Allie!!! :D

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    1. YAY I'M SO GLAD I COULD MAKE YOU SMILE :)

      Right?! Eye colour is legit the only thing I ever remember because they spend four pages describing it -_- and they do it constantly. So several chapters later we're told AGAIN about the stormy seas of his eyes. I can't even.

      Movie bad boys, I do admit I like. But I think that's because I'm less picky with movies than with books!

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  25. Hahaha, this is fantastic. The 'bad boy' is one of the reasons why I read so little YA nowadays; I'm so bored of the tropes that are constantly popping up. :\

    You've been tagged in the Taylor Swift Book Tag! :) http://themoormaiden.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/taylor-swift-book-tag.html

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    1. Ohh, don't give up on YA. There are SO many books that ignore these cliches and are fantastic

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  26. OMFG BAHAHAHAHA ALLIE YOU ARE SO ON POINT LATELY HERE'S A GOLD STAR. Now excuse me as I continue to snicker at these bad boy cliches.

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    1. YES THANK YOU. I WILL TREASURE THIS ALWAYS *hugs star*

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  27. Hahahahh! I wonder, is it possible to have a bad boy that has NONE of these cliches? Or would that just make him a regular boy? Most of the bad boy tropes I read about include drinking and abuse and skipping school, basically everything you mentioned hahaha!

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    1. Ahh yes, the abuse! Either they've been abused or they're abusive to the heroine and WE'RE SUPPOSED TO SWOON -_-

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  28. LOL... I love it. I've never really been one to fall for the "bad boy", but this list is spot-on.

    One thing I've seen recently is the bad boy who isn't actually bad. I mean, the author tells us he's a smoldering jerk of a player who has a dark past... but on the page, he's a perfect gentleman who seems to be dealing with his crap just fine. Show, don't tell... please!

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    1. Oh my god, yes! I've noticed that too! All you hear about is how big of a jerk he is but then every time he appears he's really sweet and nice. I don't get that AT ALL. It's just inconsistent and lazy

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  29. This blog post is the best I've read all day (and I've read a lot of blog posts today, so that's saying something). Hilarious and completely agree with every single point! Look, I appreciate the appeal of bad boys in literature. They are mysterious and (ALWAYS) ridiculously handsome, but there are certain boundaries. And I think you've managed to list all the clichés right here.

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    1. Oh wow, THANK YOU! Always glad to make someone smile :D

      I would love one day for a guy to just be a bad boy and have none of these cliches. No tortured past or magical eyes. Just an honest to god bad boy who is capable of being redeemed (but, God, not just through love for the heroine) or one who is constantly deliciously douchey

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  30. OMG this might be one of my new favorite posts EVER! You NAILED it and did so very hilariously might I add. I am not always fond of the bad boy, but a few have melted my heart and I am pretty sure all of these tropes apply all of the time. Kudos to you! and Thank you for making me laugh amid my somewhat dreary Sunday morning!

    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

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    1. Ohhh, that is the sweetest <333 thank you!!

      I've had my heart melted too, don't get me wrong! Though that's mostly from movies or TV (hello Angel / Spike!) and my early days of YA. I'm much more fussy with my reading these days.

      Glad to brighten up your Sunday! I'm here all week, try the veal ;)

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  31. AHAHAH OMG I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH. You've literally summed up every single perfect bad boy out there. ;)

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    1. LOL, glad to make you smile! I can't believe how common these tropes are!

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  32. Hahahahahahahaha this is PERFECTION. I love this, thank you Allie <33 It's so true, I see these pop up all over the place! ;)

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Ohhh, you little sweetheart <3 THANK YOU!!

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