Being the dream boy in a teen romance novel might seem like an easy job. All you have to do is flash an adorable smile every once in a while that shows your slightly overlapping front teeth, wear blue suede shoes to school, and be sure the author points out the paint splatters. You'll be so adorable the book will get optioned for a movie (we're looking at you, The Fault in Our Stars) and it's all easy street from there.
Not so fast. You can't pull off that sensitive-boy stuff unless you're really sensitive—or a sociopath, of course, but that's another book for another time.
Once upon a time in Noah's life, there was a boy named Pitt. We don't get much detail about him, but we know he was the lovey love love, just as Kyle was for Paul, and their breakup was apparently so tragic that even Noah's little sister Claudia has a chip on her shoulder about it. Does Claudia serve a prospective new boyfriend a smoothie without telling him not to be a Pitt to her brother? Oh no, Claudia does not.
So Noah may be dreamy, but he's damaged. Which, paradoxically, somehow makes boys hotter—just ask his classmate Jasmine, who latches onto Ted post-Joni. As Paul says, "she'll fall for anybody, guy or girl. The hitch is that the person has to be on the rebound from a serious break-up. Something about this fragile-yet-vindictive state entrances her." (13.37)
The upside of being a sensitive teen romance boy is that you're capable of really feeling it when you're in love. And the joy of feeling it can obliterate enough of the memory of the pain that you're willing to try love again, just one more time, as Noah does with Paul. You could even say he tries another time after that—there's the initial risk of dating someone new after crawling out of the Pitt pit, then there's the taking Paul back after he does, indeed, dent Noah's heart.
Keep it up, teen romance boy, and you might just find yourself with the cutest date for the dance at the end of the book. (Spoiler: he does.)