Boy Books

Hi, my name is Chelsea, and I write boy books. Even though I’m a girl and even though boy books aren’t necessarily flying off the shelves. But you knew that already.

There was a big kerfluffle lately, as a lot of you probably heard about, started when the NYT posted this article, about the lack of YA boy books out there and, consequently, the lack of boy readers. There have been a lot of good posts made by other authors about this, so I don’t want to get into the article so much as I want to talk about boy books in general. Especially since I’m a girl and I write them and that’s not exactly the norm.

I don’t really think of my books as boy books or girl books. They’re just, you know, MY BOOKS, and the ones I actually enjoy writing tend to have 1st person guy narrators. I don’t sit down and think, “Ah, I’m going to write a boy book! For boys! Now, what do they need to read about? What would I want to read if I was a boy?” Psh. Seriously, I write what *I* like reading. I’ve actually been surprised at how many girls have thought they wouldn’t like Renegade X–but totally loved it once they started reading–because it’s got a male protagonist. O__o I mean, I’m a girl, so I tend to write about guys that girls will love, while still being real boys. I write stories that I hope resonate with both genders, that are full of adventure and romance and snappy dialogue.

I can’t say how many boys are reading YA or not, but I can say most of my fan mail and reader comments are from boys, usually teenagers, while most of the public reviews are written by girls. I don’t know if this means girls are just more public about their opinions, or if it means boys don’t have enough books to bother making a review site. That’s not to say that girls don’t write to me, or that guys never write reviews, because they do. But girls have told me that they relate to Damien and his dilemmas in the book, and guys have told me they saw my book at the store and grabbed it off the shelf. So, yes, girls can relate to male protagonists (while also finding them swoon worthy), and guys are going to the book store, even to the YA section. They’re also going to the library.

It would be cool if there were more boy books out there, because I’d like to read them. (And I wouldn’t mind if I never got another rejection letter stating that a male protagonist makes a book unsaleable.) I’d also like if there were more dystopians (yes, really, especially actiony ones like The Maze Runner), and more horror. Definitely more horror. Double points for a dystopian horror with a male MC, plenty of action, and a romantic subplot.

One Comment
  1. Tiffany

    Male Protagonists books are unsellable? Really? That’s just… psssh. Guess the people who sent the rejection letter never heard of J.K. Rowling, K.A. Applegate, Libba Bray, or Rick Riordan. That’s all that I can think up on top of my head. I know there are tons of other YA who kind of do true life YA (wrong side of tracks boy meets rich girl. Falls. Overcome obstacles), but I can’t think of any. I know they do use boy POV in their books.

    I know that men only make up 20% of the fiction book market. But perhaps that’s cause they don’t find relateable characters or books. My brother didn’t really start reading books till late middle school and that’s cause he loved star wars and read the books that were related to the original 3 movies.

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