I'm going to compare how Jimmy Ruth and Ria from the Jimmy Ruth and Bone Song novels respectively, relate to the young men in their lives. I'm just beginning to delve into Jimmy Ruth's personality which is a pleasure but a bit frightening too. Frightening because of the unknown about her. I'm giving her free rein on the page and she is taking some unexpected turns, like with Louis for instance. She likes Louis because of the challenge he poses. He is friendly without being smitten by her. He is not self-absorbed but rather self-reliant. He is comfortable in his skin. But he does appreciate Jimmy Ruth and she him. He is not a young man to go for easy beauty or the nonchalant flirt. He likes having her as a friend. I don't know yet but I don't think Jimmy is used to this kind of relationship with a boy. She has an easy fun-loving friendship with Claire who she's been friends with since first grade but when it comes to boys she still feels a bit alien around them. Even so, she is warming up to Louis. She likes how he listens to music, all kinds, and that he reads, lots. They have much in common, including the beginning of a physical attraction.
Ria, on the other hand, is two years younger than Jimmy Ruth. Her main friendship is with her horse, Peanut, although she is close to Jason from the very beginning. They have been friends since she was eight and he ten. She relies on Jason. He is a helper and protective of her. He is not a challenge for her. Their friendship is cemented from the start of the story. They are not physically attracted until the end of the story. What fuels their friendship is their long history together. Also, their trust of one another. Jason likes Ria because he sees her as vulnerable, but powerful. She is someone he can protect but also someone who can offer him knowledge of an ancient medicine. He respects her knowledge but realizes her vulnerability. He is her helpmate in the traditional sense but there is no real "dance" between them until the end of the story. This is because Ria no longer needs Jason's protection and it frees her up to look at him in a different light.
Although I enjoy both characters, I am happy to be working on the Jimmy Ruth novel and developing Jimmy's friendship with Louis which is complex. Ria's relationship with Jason is more traditional and less complex. The real development with Ria has been within herself. She had a good deal of psychological development amidst an uncaring family so it wasn't until the end of the story that she is free to look upon Jason with interest.