Characters You’d Let Your Daughter Date

Elizabeth Bluemle -- July 6th, 2010

My cousin and her family came to visit last week, and I kept thinking of great guys I wanted to introduce to my cousin’s 16-year-old daughter, Calyn. The problem was, most of the guys were fictional.

There are a lot of great guys in YA lit. I’d really love for Calyn to meet the wildly original, open-hearted, sweet Nawat from Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Choice, for instance. In fact, just about any of the male heroes in Pierce’s books would do; George, the robber king from The Song of the Lioness cycle is my other fave. I’d happily introduce Calyn to Owen from Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen, Max from Cecil Castellucci’s Boyproof, Zach from Nancy Werlin’s Impossible, John from Ellen Wittlinger’s Hard Love.

I’d support dates with Jasper from Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs, or Stephen from Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle. And I’d love to be in-laws with Hilary McKay’s Casson family, in case Calyn found herself pairing up with Indigo. Since I’m a generous soul, I’d even allow her to date my own first literary crush: Aragorn (do I need to explain that this is Tolkien’s character from The Lord of the Rings? I didn’t think so.) Ah, Aragorn. *sigh*

When I raised the question of literary dating with Calyn herself, she admitted to a current crush on Colin in John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines (I have a soft spot for his lazy, funny best friend, Hassan).

As for suitors I’d forbid from Calyn’s doorstep: at the top of the list is Heathcliff (who was my own weakness at 18; by 30, I knew better).

So let me ask you: What characters in literature would you want your daughter to date? And whom would you never let her near?

18 thoughts on “Characters You’d Let Your Daughter Date

  1. Christy

    I know this is 6 years old, but would also like to chime in to express what had been mine for most of my adolescence. They were Calvin O’Keefe from the Wrinkle In Time, Will Parry from The Subtle Knife and Ralph and Simon from The Lord of the Flies (I don’t know what I had been thinking then, but there’s something attractive about good, responsible lads…well sue me if I liked some Gary Stu-kind of characters in fiction).

    I also do have my runner-ups that are more of guilty pleasures (because I know they border on being unpopular generally on consensus). There was Holden Caulfield from ‘The Catcher In The Rye’ (but it was more like I resonate with him and felt some sort of kindred spirit with the character) ; St. John Rivers for most through of ‘Jane Eyre’ (I wish the author weren’t so cruel to him especially about his fate towards the end of the novel, and I had quite wished he had changed a bit and become a little less stoic, but then again, I do have a thing for men who love God like myself haha yes, I admit it all) ; and Perry Smith in the mostly non-fictional crime novel, ‘In Cold Blood’, because maybe it’s the way the author told of his point-of-view that made him this tortured soul ; somewhat a romantic anti-hero, who I could sometimes empathize with (but this can be arguable as this is all pretty much subjective).

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  3. Liz

    Definitely Eugenides! Not to mention Taran of Caer Dallben, Francois Joubert from A Story Like the Wind, Christopher Chant (though she’d probably want Howl), and Indigo Casson.

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  5. Em

    Ooh, definitely Gen from the Queen’s Thief series (what’s not to love about him?!). Gilbert from Anne of Green Gables. I KNOW there’s so many more but they don’t come to mind right now…

  6. Amy

    Fred from THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE. I so wished I hadn’t read the second book of the series so that he’d still be alive!

  7. Kay

    I second all the love for Tamora Pierce’s heros. George and Nawat are in my top ten literary crushes of all time, and I also love Neal and Dom (from the Protector of the Small quartet), but at the top of my list is Numair. Excuse me while I swoon.

    I would certainly have told my younger self to stay away from Heathcliff, Holden Caufield, and Alexei Vronsky, but no promises that my younger self would have listened.

  8. Susan James

    I’m loving all your choices- Nawat, Stephen (partly because of who he is and partly to show Cassandra what she missed!) and Aragorn- he was my first literary crush too (if you don’t count Robin Hood at the age of 8).

    I’m adding Eugenides from the Thief.

  9. Ellen Wittlinger

    Well, my daughter is spoken for, but in younger days I would have set her up with Will Grayson–the straight one–or maybe the protagonist of Ron Koertge’s ARIZONA KID whose name is lost in the mists of time. And my son, I think, would get along famously with CELINE from the book by Brock Cole.

  10. librarygirl01

    I love Tamora Pierce’s books. I think my first literary crush was George.

    I meet authors all the time, no problem. I met Ms. Pierce for the first time at a signing a couple of years ago and completely forgot how to talk. I was a little better the next time I met her at Confluence (in Pittsburgh) but was still a bit star-struck. She was the first fantasy writer I ever read.

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