What have they got in common? A Brit boy love interest. Yeah, I'm going to focus on boys. It's more fun.
(come on, it's what we're all thinking. Yeah, I'm not the biggest Harry Styles fan)
Apparently, British boys are hot (the accent, etc). I'm kind of used to it, so it's not particularly exciting to me, but even I am not immune to the Mr Darcys - scratch that, Mr Tilneys - of this world. And, excluding Harry Styles/SuBo, I love One Direction.
And as a British reader of a lot of US YA, I find it frequently hilarious when the Brit boy becomes a combination of Prince William and Dick Van Dyke, constantly mentioning 'blokes' and such. So here is a list of five dos and don'ts for writing hot Brit boys...
5) Don't engineer situations for your Brit boy to 'show off' his dialect/language. Unlike the LI in 'aeroplane book', I have never once heard a boy call a fly a 'bloke'. It just doesn't work.
4) We're not all from London. Most of us Brits are actually from *gasp* other places. Also, in London there's accents other than cockney or hooray henry posh. I live four hours away from London, and I've only visited the place 4 times in my entire life.
3) One slang word I'd love to hear more of is 'fit'. Translation: Hot, stunning, great body. Works for girls too. i.e. "One Direction are so fit - shame about that minger Harry". So common is the UK that we don't use it to describe a well-exercised person anymore, in case they got the wrong idea. But good news, 'angsty girl' book mentioned it!
2) Brit boys do not wear suits as leisure wear. 'Angsty girl' book was guilty of this - the LI was always dressed in a skinny shirt/trousers/tie, always a bit rumpled etc. Yes, the majority of our schools wear uniform, granted. Consequently, then, boys don't fancy wearing ties in their time off. One Direction are the exception to this, because Simon Cowell wants them to be a brand. In reality, the boys I know wear Abercrombie/Hollister t-shirts (American), cream chinos or jeans, and Vans/Converse trainers (American).
1) There may only be about 60 million people in Britain, but only a tiny percentage of us have met the royals. Most teenage boys don't give a flying monkeys about Will or Kate. The only conversation I've ever overheard about the royal family between teenage boys went like this:
"You watch the royal wedding?"
"Yeah. Boring. Bride's sister was fit, though."
"Yeah! Her bum!" *lots of phwoars etc*
"Who would you snog, Kate or Pippa?"
*lots of umming and ahhing*
Obviously this is a nice blog, so I've sanitised it a lot, but you get my drift.
If I sound patronising I don't mean to be - about 90% of my books are US YA - I just want to save American teen girls from coming over to England in their gap year after high school, and being thoroughly disappointed that none of the boys are wearing suits or chatting on their mobile phones to Princess Beatrice. And if a Brit boy calls you fit, you're in there...
What do you think? Ever read any brit boy love interests who've made you cringe? Which authors do it right? And which brit authors write Americans badly?
And finally, can anyone guess which books 'Aeroplane book' and 'Angsty girl book' are?