Romance is a key factor in a novel for me. I'm disappointed if I don't get one and I am constantly sniffing out the love interest. I love hot, sexy love interests. Who doesn't? But is that a realistic depiction of the majority of love interests in the real world? No.
Most boys are described as muscular, tanned, slim, attractive, smouldering eyes. I understand why writers do it. If I wrote a novel I'd love my male love interest to be nice and sexy, sure. Readers swoon at sexy!
But you know what? Readers also swoon at sweetness. They swoon at a boy that is charming and kind and funny. Cricket from 'Lola and the Boy Next Door' is one of the sweetest characters I have come across. And he's who I would choose over say Patch or Alex from Perfect Chemistry. The sexy ones also tend to be the bad boys. Bad boys are great in books. Bad Boy gone Good can even be great in real life. I'd much rather a good boy that treats me right though.
Am I saying male character should be ugly and unattractive? No. I'm just saying it would be nice to see them looking maybe a little gangly or not toned, or a little overweight or - um, what word would decribe all these things - oh yes, normal. As it is romance novels do tend to raise people's expectations, especially young girls, into thinking they will find love so easily and with a guy who looks like an model no less. I find realistic romance novels the most enjoyable kind and I'd love it if the male lead was realistic too!
If you have any recommendations for books that have realistic guys please let me know in the comments!