As readers, we clamor for sexiness in YA. The brooding, handsome boy with a dark secret. The girl-next-door who grows into gorgeousness overnight. The young adult genre is fraught with hotness, because that’s what sells.
So why is this genre strangely lacking in sexy villains?
I’m not talking about the bad boy who wears leather or the girl with tattoos and piercings. I’m talking about honest-to-God villains – the kinds who want to take over the world, who poach baby seals, who commit arson and theft and murder. Why do all the dark wizards of YA have greenish-gray skin and snake-noses? Why can’t the irredeemable bad guys be charming and charismatic and – dare I say it – hot?
Probably because there’s something decidedly creepy about being attracted to evil.
Oh, we can walk the fence all we want – we can read about bad boys who seduce their girlfriends to the point of near-rape; we can read about the stalkers with hearts of gold; we can read about the jocks on steroids who beat up boys on their teams, but really they just want to make their dads proud - but when it comes to outright villainy, we shy away. We turn the really bad guys into withered witches or hulking monsters. Leave the sexiness for the good boys, or at least the baddies with a few redeeming qualities.
But the thing about evil is that, sometimes, it’s a little bit attractive – and that is scary. There’s nothing more terrifying than the knowledge that someone or something is twisted, wrong, wicked, harmful…but you want it anyway.
And that, my friends, makes for some darn good literature.
(I know, right? I DIDN'T fall off the face of the earth.)