The New Character On The Block

Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite topics: books. Specifically, young adult books. I, for one, will never grow out of them. People underestimate young adult books because of their target demographic, but people also underestimate young adults. Both of those things make me angry. When you’re a young adult everything feels so raw. You really feel things like when that boy doesn’t text you back or when you’re out with your friends and you laugh until your stomach hurts.  Adults don’t feel like teenagers do. I think it’s mainly by choice because emotions are seen as a weakness in our alpha dog society. No other type of writing can capture raw emotion like young adult fiction does.

That leads me to what this post is all about, the queen of young adult fiction, Cassandra Clare, and her newest Shadowhunter’s book Lady Midnight. Cassandra Clare has been my favorite author for years now and I still get giddy like a 15-year-old when she publishes a new book. I’m not going to start fangirling too hard, but Jace Herondale is my ideal book boy. He has everything from the long curly blonde hair to the golden eyes to the “I don’t care about myself” attitude he is always portraying. Despite my surface level love for Jace, I’ve always had a problem with his character deep down because he’s one big walking, talking emotional mess. And we romanticize him! We love it when he puts himself in danger over and over again. We love it when he sacrifices himself for the good of Clary instead of stopping and thinking about what “the love of his life” really wants him to do. Jace is a stereotypical bad boy with daddy issues and a death wish, but don’t worry timid, perfect little Clary can save him. Gag. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jace and Clary and everything Cassandra Clare writes, and to this day Jace is still my favorite boy that Cassie has ever written, but, come on, he’s purely a boy from a book. I know the point of Jace is to embody the Herondale mystic of being “beautiful and broken,” but he the only thing that makes him exhibit any redeeming quality is Clary and, I’m sorry, I know love conquers all, but no amount of love can fix deep-seated mental issues which Jace clearly has. I hate that the stereotypical Jace character is shown to young adults over and over and that the Jaces in young adult fiction always get magically fixed.  

Julian Blackthorn. Now that’s a name that I can get behind. Julian is Cassandra’s newest male main character from Lady Midnight, her series about the young shadowhunters from Los Angeles. Julian is one of the best, most refreshing characters I’ve read in the recent months. He’s so real. He’s not a bad boy. He cares about thing and people and isn’t afraid to show it. He is real with Emma. He’s also beautiful, but hey, it’s young adult fiction, what do you expect? I’m tired of the classic beautiful, emotionally distressed boy that is constantly cycled through every young adult book ever. I’m tired of the Jaces in books that target young, impressionable minds. I want more Julians because no matter what you read, a relationship has to be mutual and supportive, not one selfish person and one savior. I want boys like Julian, who could actually be a person who could exist outside of the pages of a book. I don’t want Jaces that are too good to be true, and set up young girls to aspire to have a boy who is emotionally unstable that you can’t actually fix just by loving him enough. It is apparent throughout the whole novel that Julian loves Emma and Emma loves Julian, and Julian actually deserves Emma’s love. Julian is kind to Emma. He never lashes out irrationally. He doesn’t treat everyone like crap except for Emma. It’s soft, sweet, and an OTP that I can get behind.

                  I think that Cassie writing a character like Julian, who is the epitome of the nice boy, might show a change of weather for young adult writing. If the queen of young adult fantasy can write a novel with the main character being real and loving, then maybe other young adult authors will take her lead. I know that the cliché bad boy will always be present in fiction, but maybe this is the first step in portraying real boys in young adult fiction. Cassandra, us young adults thank you.