XOXO is delighted to welcome Carola Lovering to the blog today! Carola’s new book, TELL ME LIES, is the story of a romance that’s passionate, addictive…some might say toxic? So we figured she was the perfect author to ask about some of her favorite bookish bad boys. Read on…if you dare!


  1. Cross Sugarman from Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep

Cross Sugarman – the name alone evokes a feeling of intoxication. Cross, or ‘Sug’ as friends call him, is the good-looking, popular jock who Sittenfeld’s introverted protagonist Lee falls for at Ault, Prep’s fictional boarding school. But despite Cross’ lovable personality, he jerks Lee around, abusing his control of their on-the-sly relationship and sending her into an obsessive, self-deprecating spiral that we know all too well is bad news.

  1. Joe Goldberg from Caroline Kepnes’ You

If there’s a spectrum of bad boys, Joe Goldberg is at the very bad end; yet, Kepnes keeps the reader fascinated with his twisted persona. Written in the second person, You tells the story of Joe’s intense, ruthless obsession with Beck, the pretty young woman whose unlucky fate leads her to walk into Joe’s bookstore, after which neither of their lives will ever be the same.

  1. Adam Kipling from Corinne Sullivan’s Indecent

When Imogene Abney falls for high school senior Adam Kipling during her first semester as a teaching apprentice at Vandenberg, an esteemed all-boys private school, their connection consumes her. “Kip” is charming, moody, entitled, and uninterested in having a relationship with Imogene that extends beyond his bedroom – their entanglement is an irresistible recipe for disaster.

  1. Nathaniel Piven from Adelle Waldman’s The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P

Waldman’s protagonist Nate Piven, a thirty-something-year-old Brooklyn novelist, is undoubtedly a jerk when it comes to his tendencies towards women and dating – but, he redeems himself by being the first to admit it. Nate is genuinely confused by relationships and women’s reactions to his behavior, so much so that the reader can almost sympathize with his confounded nature. He isn’t a terrible guy – but you wouldn’t set him up with a friend, either.

  1. Perry Wright from Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies

Perry Wright is the guy who promises time and time again that he’ll change, but of course he never does because, of course, he can’t. His behavior towards his wife Celeste is unpredictable yet cyclical – one minute he’s all over her; the next, he’s icy and abusive, causing Celeste to walk on eggshells in his presence.

  1. Rhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind

Through the unforgettable character of Rhett Butler, Margaret Mitchell proved that bad boys existed long before text messages and Tinder. Devastatingly handsome Rhett is a timeless charmer; he knows what Scarlett O’Hara wants from him but, like any true womanizer, won’t readily offer it. Theirs may be a love story, but it’s not a rosy one.