01 August, 2017

#SpecialFeature :: Top 9 YA Couples Who Kick Ass And Take Names by Aarti V.Raman

*** Special Feature - August 2017 ***

About the Author:
Aarti V Raman is an Amazon India bestselling romance writer who dabbles in romantic thrillers and contemporary romance. Happy Ever After are her three favorite words in the English lexicon. 

Aarti graduated from Mumbai University in 2007 with a degree in Mass Media focused on Journalism which provided her the perfect background for conducting sound research on any project. But she has also worked as a copy editor, social media consultant, commercial content writer-editor while pursuing her goal.
Aarti’s ambition of honing her craft and writing stories, particularly romances that have strong characters and stronger plots that remain etched in the reader’s minds, grew when she sold her first novel WHITE KNIGHT (Leadstart Publishing), in 2012. 

In 2013, her work was excerpted in the Tamil Edition of Mills and Boon novels. And in 2014, her short story “Post-Coital Cigarette” was chosen to be part of the Rupa Romance Anthology “An Atlas of Love” curated by bestselling author Anuja Chauhan.  Her last novel “Kingdom Come” (Harlequin MIRA) has enjoyed a brief stay at the bestseller lists in Amazon India. Her third book “With You I Dance” (Fingerprint! Publishing) released in April 2016 and debuted on the Amazon India Romance Bestseller list. 

Aarti was chosen to be part of the Goa Arts and Literary Fest 2014 in December 2014 and The Hyderabad Literary Festival in January 2015. 

She is represented by Red Ink Literary Agency, India. 

Connect with the Author:

Top 9 YA Couples Who Kick Ass And Take Names

Harry Potter. Hermione Granger. Edward Cullen. Jacob Black. Annabeth Martin. Percy Jackson. All genre-bending teenage characters that basically made even grown women (such as me) swoon. In the case of the pansy-ass sparkling vampire, he even spawned off a successful fan fiction franchise, which let’s face it, stars a much-hotter dude than the original ever could. That being said, I am and always will be, I heart Team Edward complete with a t-shirt and everything.

It is incidental that all three of these series sold millions of copies of books and their series are the most popular thing in the history of writing. Not literature, because FSOG does not great literature make.

Lately, I have been on a bit of a YA-reading binge and I have stumbled across a lot of great, talented authors who could give Stephanie Mayer a run for her money. And characters, who I SWEAR, are such cool, much awesomer than their real-life, grownup counterparts.

You call it reading, I call this research but hey, all for a good cause in search of writing the next perfect novel.

Anyway, with this much reading (35 books in as many days) I fell in love with the genre all over again and the characters who made it so popular.

Teenage love is this AMAZING space to explore so many issues: political, emotional, sexual, and spiritual. And any of these authors will guarantee you a good time, so go ahead and pick ‘em up after giving this post a read.

Here are my top nine Young Adult ‘Ships of all time in descending order

9. Seth Summer And Grace
Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy has star-crossed lovers Seth and Grace become werewolves at different times, pulled together by a deep, abiding love that is best captured by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Stiefvater’s prose is stunning and lyrical but it is Seth’s longing that shines through clearly with each book. Seth is reluctant Alpha in the making, wounded by his tormented relationship with his parents and his desperate, hopeful love for Grace is a thing of absolute beauty. Read it all in one sitting to get a new twist on ancient werewolf lore.

8. Prince Ash Shakespeare’s Robin Goodfellow/Meghan Chase
Julie Kagawa has quickly become one of my new favorite YA authors to watch out for. Her retelling of the land of faerie (one of two entries on this list) using characters from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is spot on and funny and with a heroine Meghan Chase who is mouthy and courageous and dependable. She isn’t prone to hand-wringing except when pining over Winter Prince Ash, or ‘Ice-boy’ as Puck loves to call him. While there is no actual love triangle since Meghan clearly has the hots only for Ice-boy, the two characters are memorable for their hateship-friendship and of course, Ash is one hot Faerie Prince. He is also very open with his feelings once he sheds his ice-boy persona and that is such a welcome change from the contemp heroes who make you work for it!

7. Percy Jackson and Annabeth Martin
Between Harry and Percy, I’d choose Percy simply because he has more character flaws and he is so very messed up with his choices (choosing to take a dip in the River Styx, picking a fight with Ares!) His choices are messed up but his courage and battle tactics more than make up for his hubris. Plus, the demigod is loyal to a fault (Harry/Ron fighting over the Horcrux!!!) and that gives this dangerous boy-next-door pizzaz that everyone’s favorite wizard lacks. Annabeth, on the other hand is brilliant in one word. And this cool younger sister I wish I had.

6. Rath Roiben Riven And Kaye Thomas
Roiben is one of Holly Black’s many, many creations. But by far, he is my absolute favorite. Stuck up, annoying, and proper almost to a fault, he more than makes up for the trouble he causes Kaye Thomas from the Tithe trilogy by giving up his rightful place as King of the Unseelie Court to be with her! (Yeah, these princes and their foreswearing…lesser mortals stand no chance, do they, ladies?) Rath Roiben Riven is not his actual name but if I give it away here, y’all might use it to make him fall in love with you and we can’t have that, can we? Read the book to find out what his real name is!

5. Carswell Thorne, Wolf, Emperor Kaito and Jacyn Clay And The Cinder Ladies.
Marissa Meyer, the other Meyer has written a fabulous retelling of fairytales with Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter. Winter is by far my favorite because it has all the couples and their storylines merging together to form a great finale. Not a disappointment at ALL! And yeah, Kai is a pretty great guy for falling for Android Lunar Princess in hiding Cinder, it’s Wolf’s absolute devotion to Scarlet and his absolute berserker that really got me. Same for Sargent Jacyn Clay with Princess Winter (their mad-love and Snow White-worthy ending made reading 800 pages of Winter so delicious!) And if there was a prize for Most Irreverent Pirate Of All, it would go to Captain Carswell Thorne. He is badass, funny and droll! It’s an irresistible combination of charm and piquancy and unexpected vulnerability that made Cress and me fall for him, hook, line and sinker.

4. Patch Cipriano aka Angel Jev And Nora Grey
So Becca Fitzpatrick’s Patch in the Hush Hush trilogy has this way of talking to heroine Nora Grey that made me feel like I was in the middle of a French film. Every line was full of double meaning, innuendo and so damned classy inspite of it. And on top of that, he was determined to save her (over and over again) when he’d been sent to kill her! He does display stalkerish tendencies but his Italian black-eyes more than make up for it and color me impressed when he gives Nora a necklace with his real name on it. Promise. Ring. Much.

3. Dimitri Belikov
Technically Richelle Mead’s baddesst of the badass Dhampirs Dimitri Belikov is not YA young, (he is 24 when he is introduced to us in Vampire Academy), and when I first read of a guy who is six-seven and snooty and uptight with a liquid vodka Russian accent to boot, I was like WHAAAAT?! No, not working for me. Then I saw the movie (badly-made, deliciously cast) and I was all onboard the Dimitri train. By book three Shadow Spell I was totally swooning over Dimitri and rooting for Rose Hathaway (she can totally take Buffy’s place as a vamp-loving demon hunter any day) to get it on with him. Honestly, he was the only Strigoi vampire I could imagine macking with, even as I read feverishly for the cure that would change him back to the loving, warm (more action/less talk) Dimitri that Rose adored.

2. Kaz Brekker And The Crow Five
So I can NOT stress enough how much I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing. She dazzled with her first Grisha trilogy, but in my humble opinion, she’s come into her own with the Crow duology! Set in the same world as the Grishas but a separate storyline, Six of Crows’ ringleader Kaz Brekker, alley rat turned king of the Ketterdam docks is that rare hero: Bad to the bone, vulnerable to just the heroine Inej (OH! WHAT A JOY SHE IS!) and so smart you could kiss him for his brains alone. He limps (a la Dr. House) and has his personality to match but there is so much going on with Kaz that reading Crooked Kingdom felt like a small death in and of itself. Not least because the way a particular Viking lookalike gets treated. The Crow duology is also not shy of experimenting with same-sex relationships and giving the heroines such relatable flaws you find yourself sniffing as the pages turn.

1. Jace Wayland And Clary Fray (almost!)
So, Jace Wayland has been my favorite YA hero since 2009 when City of Ashes, the second book in the Mortal Instruments’ Trilogy released and I read arguably, the BEST finale ever written in a book. Sure, I find Cassandra Clare’s Clary Fairchild to be occasionally whiny even though she is a very cool customer to take on the apocalypse with nothing but drawing skills and a stele, but Jace kicks ass up, down and four ways to Sunday. Jace is a jerk, an arrogant know-it-all with no apparent vulnerabilities and also vaguely stalkerish tendencies. Plus, he lashes out when he is hurt and at the end of City of Bones, he turned out to be Clary's brother! EWWW, right? Wrong. Cuz then comes CoA and everything I loved about YA heroes became this boy, the yardstick by which I measure all future YA heroes by.
Demon hunter extraordinaire, musician in his spare time and using humor as a defence mechanism Jace is ALL that you want from a hero, YA or otherwise. He is Nephilim (half mortal-half angel) brave, badass, reckless, smart, and uses his heart to his own detriment. His friendship with Alec Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood is a rare and wondrous thing to read in modern books and he perfectly embodies the Perfect Outsider alienation emotion with every character reveal. He also has these amazing amber eyes that…well, you get the picture! I could gush about this boy forever!

Honorable Mentions

Peeta Mellark And Katniss Everdeen: Yeah, Susan Collins’s doomed Tributes could have made the top eight if Kaz and The Crow Five hadn’t come along and upset the apple cart. But the truth is, he is NICE enough to make a great hero, just not badass enough. He is smart as all hell though with that camouflage trick in Hunger Games, isn’t he? And Katniss is everything you’d want in your dystopian YA UF heroine – cold, calculating, confused and cute.

Malyen Oretsev And Alina Starkov: I am become a blade. Leigh Bardugo’s hero from the original Grisha trilogy has this tattooed on his back as the series progresses and he realizes how far apart from the heroine Saint Alina Starkov (yeah she becomes one by the end – read the series to get a grip on Russian folklore and religionism) he really is, how he can never be powerful and magic like her. And how his hunting and killing skills are the only things of value he has to offer her, apart from his wasted, beautiful heart. Extreme sighs alert.

Cabel Strumheller And Janie Maguire: Lucy McMann’s words are like bullets. Fast, piercing, lovely and sure to leave a scar. Her hero Cabel is no one special. Just an ordinary high school student with a very gifted girlfriend who he is madly in love with. And that’s EXACTLY why he is so awesome. He lets dream catcher Janie from the Wake, Fade, Gone series take the lead and provides silent backup and never once tells I told you so to her even when she almost gets raped/killed in a dream. Isn’t that just what we all want in a dude?

Angel Akiva And Karou: Just the names – Akiva means shelter in Hebrew and Karou means hope in Japanese - was enough to make me reconsider all my notions of love and happy ever after, and in Laini Taylor's first book Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I was flat out falling for Akiva. But in the second book things took a dark turn and he started crying a LOT. I mean, a LOT and while it is nice to see a hero in touch with his feelings I kind of wanted to see him revert to being a badass and kill things! His fighting skills took a drastic backseat and he became an also-ran instead of ending up in the top 9. May I add that the series too took a drastic turn for the depressing in Days of Blood and Starlight. 

So, there you have it, folks. My dream list of yummy heroes. Demigods, fairy princes, fallen angels, alley rats and more made the cut. Who’s on yours? Tell me in the comments below.
Till next time,

Writer Gal aka Aarti V Raman.

PS: There is one hero who I refuse to mention here who has equal claim on my silly reader's heart as Jace Wayland: Half-Bad trilogy hero Nathan Blackwood, who becomes such a comically tragic figure in the end, it reads like an emo song. I mean! WHY! WHY did he have to die, Sally Green. Why couldn't he have just lived with Gabrielle's happy memories such as they were?

About the Book:
Meera Sagar had everything—the perfect job as a principal ballerina (for a prestigious New York ballet company) and a man who loved her as much as she loved him. But tragedy struck on the night before her biggest performance, forcing her to do the one thing she never wanted to do—come back home. To Mumbai.

Now, a year later, Meera is still trying to pick up the pieces, while
fending off marriage proposals from her well-meaning but
traditional Gujarati family, and figure life out all over again. By
starting a ballet school in Mumbai. But she has two problems. One, she doesn’t know anything about running a business. And two, she can’t dance. Not anymore.

Enter . . .
Abeer Goswami. Hotshot junior partner at a South Bombay law
firm and a man nursing a broken heart. When he meets Meera
again, the woman who left him, he tries his hardest to be her friend,to help her . . . and not let the past get in the way.

And then . . .
There is the sexy Zoya Sehgal. Meera’s only friend in the city and the woman Abeer is currently seeing. They say triangles have pointy edges, for a reason. 

Will Meera find a new dream in her ballet school? Can Abeer and Meera find their way back to each other again? And, most important, has Meera danced for the last time?

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  1. Replies
    1. Haha! yeah! But I don't like the next series with Jason as much. Leo, I love!

  2. Wow so many YA couples,awesome.Will try to read those books. Thank you for the giveaway and that too amazon gift card.Fingers crossed.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post, Devika! And I hope we can have a conversation about all these heroes and heroines soon.

  3. Hi, What are your favorite movies which are made from books?

    1. Lord of The Rings is undeniably my best best adaptation :) And for the rest, too many to count...

  4. Interesting list. Have read a few of them :D

  5. What amazed me?

    That's a really cool list of YA couples. Especially the personal way in which it's written. Helps relate.

    What made me sad?

    I only have some idea about Percy and Annabeth. That too from the movie. Gotta read a lot.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thank you Banaja! Get your read on soon! Percy and Annabeth are very awesome but Jace is where my heart is.

  6. You read 35 books in 35 days?!?!?! I am SO jealous! Also because you have read so many of these amazing books that I keep hearing about. Now my TBR overfloweth... But thank you for writing this post and tagging me. I wouldn't have wanted to miss this one!

    1. Haha. I binge-read sometimes! I tagged you cuz of the Maggie Stiefvater connect. I remember your review of the second series.

  7. Aarti I love your writing style, specially the way it flows smoothly and build this beautiful world!
    Your characters are always relatable and no wonder I love them because you have mentioned all my favorite YA book characters!!! *millions of hearts*
    Jace as you know is my heart and soul and Clary is my spirit and I can easily relate to everything you have said!!!
    Dimitri Belikov!! *Sigh* Percy Jackson and Annabeth Martin! Girl you have the best taste ever!!!

    And I love Abeer the hot shot lawyer and Meera Sagar!!