I'm continually astonished at how little I know about the world going on around me. Recently, I was introduced to a new book genre that is loosely referred to as Book-Boyfriend. I have written before about being sort of flabbergasted by the Billionaire BDSM genre that produced the 50 Shades phenomenon and a bazillion variations on that. Apparently Book-Boyfriend stories are sort of like that except the sex isn't as kinky—or as graphic—and the boyfriends are more inclined to be “bad boys” than billionaires.
Basically this is how the story works: they are generally written in first-person/present-tense from the POV of a young, innocent, naive young woman who has a wound—I'll call it Terrible Past. We'll call her Girl, for the purpose of this post. Girl has endured something that has hurt her deeply and has moved somewhere to try to get her life back together. Girl is a virgin or close to it. Then Girl meets Guy who is sort of a womanizer and probably has tattoos and is involved in something awfully macho, like riding motorcycles or wrestling or being a Navy SEAL or busting broncos. That kind of stuff. There is an initial attraction during which Girl spends a tremendous amount of time thinking about how gorgeous Guy is and being totally sure Guy would never be interested in someone like here. Girl thinks about this a LOT—pages and pages worth.
Then something happens between them and, even though Girl still thinks Guy's gorgeous, she gets her nose out of joint and decides she has to avoid Guy. But then something else happens so they are pushed together in an unavoidable way. Oh, I forgot, during all this time Guy continues to be a bad boy but he also can't help but be fascinated by Girl because she's cute and innocent and spunky. Spunky is very important. So then a series of things go on during which Guy notices Girl more and more and Girl tries to be more attractive (even though Guy thinks she's adorable) but she just can't be like the other women in his life because she's the heroine of the story and heroines are above all that.
Finally, something happens and Girl tearfully tells Guy about her Terrible Past. Guy is deeply moved and finally decides she is worth giving up his wicked ways for and they live HEA (Happily Ever After, in case you don't know.) There are, of course, many, many variations on this and, basically, it is the storyline that has sold millions of romance novels for decades. It's just the “Book-Boyfriend” label that is new to me. I am told that these stories are like crack to young mommies who are dealing with little kids, working husbands, housework, laundry, etc. There are Book-Boyfriend blogs and Book-Boyfriend review sites totally devoted to Book-Boyfriend books.
Now, don't get me wrong, if this is what readers want than God bless the writers who supply it. From what I've read, Amazon royalties are already blessing them abundantly. As a writer myself, there is nothing I love more than coming across a male character in a book that I can fall madly in love with and many of my female readers have swooned—via email—to me over Baptiste, or Syd Jupiter, or Henry Werner and Oliver Eberstark, some of my sexiest men (wait until they discover Joe Quinn in my current WIP!) Fantasies are wonderful things. I revel in them both reading and writing. But I'm a little amazed—and maybe a little jealous—of those who can write/read a book with the primary purpose of creating a book-boyfriend.
So, best wishes to all the readers and writers of Book-Boyfriend stories. And for teaching me something new.
Thanks for reading.