At Mount Washington High, the setting of Siobhan Vivian’s The List, each school year begins with the publication of the list: an anonymously written document that announces each grade’s prettiest and ugliest girl. It’s hard at the top—more than one prettiest feels the pressure of staying in first place—but impossible at the bottom. Of course, the horribly dehumanizing clique-y-ness of a hotness list made us think one thing:
We want in. But judging based on looks is so juvenile. Our list will be based on grit, charisma, intelligence, attractiveness—all the qualities that make us want to reach through a book’s pages and pull out a character and make them our boyfriend/girlfriend/spirit animal.
Here’s our list of the hottest characters in YA, in no particular order (and of no particular gender).
Fire (Fire by Kristin Cashore)
Fire is so attractive that people regularly threaten to kill each other for the chance to be with her. When they realize they don’t have a chance, they threaten to kill Fire. Of course, Fire is completely uncomfortable with this attention, so she does what any preternaturally attractive woman would do—uses her looks to win a war.
Jesse (The Mediator series by Meg Cabot)
So, we’re not docking points cause he’s a ghost. Jesse is all kinds of fine, from the top of his Spanish ghost-hair to the bottom of whatever that weird ghost-tail thing is called. You know. What Casper had. And the Genie from Aladdin. But frsrs, Jesse’s love of Suze, his old-fashioned manners, and his adorable terms of endearment (querida—a side of heart-melt, anyone?) make him a super undead cutie patoot.
Gemma Doyle (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray)
Gemma faces visions, shifting alternate worlds, shadows that kill, death, magic, and power beyond belief—all while being tempted by even more power, more than anyone should ever have. Gemma struggles and fights and wins, and she does it all in a corset. You know what that incessant tenacity is? Mad hot.
Jace Wayland (The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare)
Jace is cocky, arrogant, kick-ass, blonde . . . tattooed . . . buff . . . And he’s willing to do anything for the girl he loves. That’s pretty compelling ammo for our hot rifle. That metaphor got weird, but we’re sticking it out. Like Jace, we commit.
Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
We were never fooled by the frizzy hair and the buckteeth—as soon as Hermione opened her whip-smart mouth, we knew she would have the boys falling all over the hem of her robes. When she came down to the Yule ball and everyone realized how smoking Hermione’s potion was, we were like, “Um, DUH! Brightest witch of her age? Bright like a light bulb! And thanks to an imperfect conduction of energy, light bulbs are also HOT! KAPOW!” But Hermione would have made this list even if she never got prettied up in a conventional way: She’s the all-time best spokesperson for the “smart is sexy” movement.
Jacob Black (Twilight by Stephenie Meyer)
Here’s the thing; you can hit us with every counterpoint you’ve got. Oh, but he’s so manipulative in the books! You’re only saying he’s hot because of Taylor Lautner! If he wore more clothes, no one would think he was attractive! Sure. Okay. Fine. All of those. But the guy can rock a pair of jorts like we’ve never seen. He’s staying on the list.
Will Parry (His Dark Materials series by Phillip Pullman)
Will figured out how to cut inter-dimensional portals BY HIMSELF. He saved an angel. He helped free an entire underworld of fading souls so that they could dissolve into nature. He LITERALLY stopped the world’s energy from slipping away into nothingness EVEN THOUGH it meant losing the girl he loved because he is selfless and brave and caring and WILL PARRY WE LOVE YOU! We actually have no idea what you’re supposed to look like, but we pledge our unending loyalty.
Thumbnail credit: Melanie-m via flickr.