Imagine the following scenario:
You’re sitting in class, probably bored because of the routine of it all. The teacher’s voice barely registers in your head and you doodle some things in your notebook to at least appear to be taking notes. There’s a knock on the door, and he steps in. The new student. The girls take notice immediately. He looks different, maybe exotic, maybe mysterious. Whatever thing is new about this guy, the main requirement is that he’s cute. Oh, and that he takes a seat near you, of course.
You feel it. A tingling sensation brought on by his arrival. Something is about to happen.
And that something is: plot. Crazy things are about to go down, and you’ll be tangled up in it. All because of this new guy and his odd attractiveness.
I’m pretty sure that we’ve all encountered this kind of thing in a book. MC meets the new guy who usually turns out to be her new love interest. There’s a chance that this story will turn into insta-love, which makes me roll my eyes. It’s one thing to be nice to the new guy and help him out, it’s another thing to pledge your entire life to him within a week or month of his arrival.
The plot coupon of “MC meets the cute new guy” seems to be relatively prevalent in stories. So what are some of the things we might see when this plot coupon is cashed in?
- The New Guy is cute. He’s got to be cute in some way that catches the attention of the others in class. The MC will shrug this off at first, but after some teasing on the part of the BFF, she will admit to finding him cute too.
- The New Guy and MC will share classes. If this is the kind of school where the students can pick their subjects, these two will somehow (by the rules of plot) have the same classes.
- Since they share classes, it follows that they will have study sessions. Maybe they’ll have study sessions with other friends, but those friends will eventually disappear until they have a study session all to themselves.
- MC’s Childhood Guy Friend suddenly gets jealous. Dude, you’ve known this girl your whole life and have never even given her a HINT of your interest. But now that another guy’s in the picture, you’re going to act all overprotective and jealous? Oh man.
- MC will face some sort of gossip from her peers for “hogging” the New Guy. Bonus points if Alpha Bitch Popular Girl is in the picture and tries to steal the New Guy away.
- If it’s a fantasy story, the New Guy has some weird connection to the fantasy stuff and will probably end up either helping the MC, or becoming her enemy. But he’s still her love interest, OF COURSE. Think of the drama!
So what are my thoughts on this? Well, it depends.
When I first read this, alarm bells for insta-love start going off. I become a little more wary of this because I really don’t want to see a potentially good story being derailed into “oh yes let us continue to suck face and angst about each other even though we should do important plot stuff.”
Unless the book is specifically a romance novel instead of one say about, a murder happening in school, the key lies in not letting the romance take over the story. If the MC suddenly undergoes a personality transplant where the New Guy is the ONLY person she cares about, I’m out.
One possible alternative to having the New Guy become MC’s plot partner is for one of her existing friends to do it. Maybe she doesn’t know her friend as well as she does. In all their years of friendship, maybe she never detected a hint of magicalness about him. It would be interesting to see how their relationship might change because of what’s happening in the story. (Bonus? The story feels a little less like insta-love to me. :P)
So, what about you, dear reader?
Have you come across a book that had The New Guy as its plot coupon, whether done well or not? What are you thoughts on this kind of thing in books?
Let me know in the comments!