It is a truth universally acknowledged that any adolescent reader in possession of a book (and thousands of pages of online fanfiction) will develop a crush on a fictional character. And there's nothing wrong with that! Look, it's better to crush on Sirius Black and be devastated when he (spoiler alert!) dies than to crush on that cute boy in your math class, and be devastated when he cheats on you at summer camp.
But even though literary ladies and dudes couldn't actually break our hearts, those crushes felt pretty damn real at the time. We logged hundreds of hours on fantasy relationships, argued with our friends over which Gryffindor would be the most date-able (the answer is obviously Hermione), and totally missed the point of countless English classes (but we can all agree the Mercutio is way sexier than Romeo).
Whether your first fictional crush was a classic romantic lead, or a slightly more offbeat choice (Bartimaeus from the Bartimaeus Trilogy, anyone?), it probably says something about the person you are today. Or at least, the person you were in high school.
Unfortunately, I couldn't fit every literary crush on this list (my apologies to Ron Weasley, Jay Gatsby, and the cats from the Warriors series), but read on for some in-depth analysis of your first literary crush:
1. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
What's not to love about Mr. Darcy? Awkward, rich, emotionally withdrawn — he's the ideal man. If you were a fan of Mr. Darcy, you're probably a hopeless romantic at heart. You just like to mask it with a lot of tea and repression. You've got enough common sense to understand that life wasn't really that much more romantic in Regency Era England, but you secretly like to fantasize about a more "refined" time. You're also holding out for the perfect romantic partner, and you're not interested in settling for less.
2. Harry Potter from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
You're the main character of your own life, and you're not about to go and date some kind of side character. You need someone who's just as much of a big deal as you are. Someone with an intriguing backstory doesn't hurt, either. But you're not a narcissist: You're a Gryffindor through and through, so you always want to do the right thing. You're not especially subtle about it, either. You've got the ferocity and passion of a Ginny Weasley, so it's no wonder you always saw yourself with the one-and-only Harry Potter.
3. Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
You're faintly embarrassed about your MySpace page from back in the day. You probably went through an extended Hot Topic phase. But, you know what? You have nothing to be ashamed of. You like an emotionally fragile bad boy, and you have a thing for bleached blonde brats. You know that being a Slytherin just means that you're cunning and ambitious. That's not inherently a bad thing at all, and you're always ready to advocate for the misunderstood underdog (especially if he wears a lot of leather).
4. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
You love who you love, and you could care less what anybody thinks. Your ideal date probably involves outdoor sex, possibly in the rain, and you can see the appeal of shunning the rest of society and living in a cabin in the woods. You also have a thing for bad boys or bad girls, but you'd think Draco Malfoy was a privileged little snot. You'd rather be with someone who can rough it with you if need be. It's all about finding a fellow free spirit, and then running around with them on a windswept moor.
5. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
You've definitely fallen for an emotionally unavailable hottie before. But hey, you like a girl who can take care of herself. You're not so interested in a traditional romance with roses and gazing at each other from across the room. You just want a straightforward person who's going to tell it like it is, and you like to be able to debate political theory with your special someone. You've also had serious thoughts about how you would survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
6. Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
You always prefer the book to the movie. You know all the independently owned coffee shops with free wi-fi, and you can always get the best deal in any thrift store. You've had at least one relationship with a guy who claimed that you didn't "get" his art, or a girl who scoffed at your taste in music. In high school, you probably spent a significant amount of time rolling your eyes at everyone in the "mainstream," but now you're much more forgiving of other people's interests (and you now deeply regret some of hats you wore "ironically" back in the day).
7. Edward Cullen from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
You're a straight up hopeless romantic, and you're not even trying to hide it. You love a good old-fashioned romance, especially if it involves a lot of obstacles, poetry, and tortured brooding. You might also have an un-ironic passion for boy bands, glitter, reality television, and soap operas — and if anyone calls your interests trashy, you just say bite me. You know it's more fun to be enthusiastic about things than judgmental, and you're having way more fun than any of those buzz-killers.
8. Alanna from The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce
You were a tomboy (or you were really into tomboys), and you have no patience for prescribed gender roles. An ideal date for you probably involves discussion of Bell Hooks and/or a game of touch football. You're extremely driven, and you don't let anything stop you from getting exactly what you want — especially if everyone tells you that you shouldn't want that thing. That just makes you want it more.
9. Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
OK, so this one might not have been your very first literary crush, but you still fell hard for one-legged golden boy Augustus Waters. You love a sad story, and you're a sucker for snappy romantic banter. You find crying therapeutic, and you like to have a few motivational Post-it notes over your desk at all times to remind you to keep going. You're amazing at finding the perfect book to give your significant other for their birthday or Valentine's Day (or y'know, for no reason at all... because you're that charming).
10. Violet Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Competence is incredibly attractive to you. You don't need heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, you just need someone who can hold an intelligent conversation and maybe also fix your computer. You like a person with skills, because you pride yourself on your own work. You might also wear a lot of black and have a very dry sense of humor. You're waiting for someone who just gets you (and who appreciates a challenging logic puzzle and/or mathematical problem).
11. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman made you feel weird about all those teenage fantasies you had about Atticus Finch. You care deeply about justice and you were able to appreciate the so-called "dad bod" long before it became a buzzword. You go for well-dressed nerds who can talk to you about literature or necessary law reform, and you might like your prospective partners a bit on the mature side. But it's only because you're also a mature, in-control individual, who definitely digs the salt-and-pepper type. Really though, intelligence and compassion are what matter most to you (but sexy glasses don't hurt).
Images: Focus Features, Giphy (9)