Monday, March 21, 2011
Meandering Monday (13)- Books Teen Boys Should Read
OK, so there's this whole hubbub going on about boys not reading and how it's because women are dominating YA (and blogging) and not making (or recommending) any books for boys or something like that.
Essentially, a lot of BS.
Yes, I'll grant you that boys do seem to read less, but it's not because of women writing stories for teen girls to read, or female bloggers supposedly not showing any attention to male POV books. It's because for some reason, reading is deemed as a girly attribute and expanding your mind and imagination is somehow uncool. It's society's fault rather than the publisher's or author's.
Honestly, I just want to shake all the teen boys who think reading is uncool and tell them to get over themselves. Reading doesn't make you girly, it makes you interesting. Reading doesn't turn you gay, it makes you smarter. Reading doesn't make you inferior in some way, it makes you SO MUCH better and superior to those that pick on readers.
Now that we've got that shocker of a message out of the way, I've compiled a small list of books I think teen boys should read. It's hardly comprehensive as I'm doing this sort of spur-of-the-moment, so there may be tons of books that I would recommend but can't think of right now. Feel free to throw in suggestions in the comments. Maybe I'll do a second list next week if I think of a bunch; I've already thought about doing a more extensive GLBT list (though not extensive as I haven't read everything) if people want one.
OK, so for those looking for some sports-related books, check out Joshua Cohen's Leverage, which is extremely intense and a superb book about just how far some people go to win. Some action-y books include Subject Seven by James A. Moore and Spray by Harry Edge, though both do have female narrators interspersed throughout the books. For a creepy urban fantasy, take a look at The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, a book I really enjoyed and Mackie's (the MC) characterization was just so pitch-perfect.
Freefall by Mindi Scott (yes, a female author writing male- WHOA!) and Adios, Nirvana by Conrad Wesselhoeft deal with the loss of a loved one close to the narrator and how they deal with it afterward. They're wonderful, more serious books if you're looking for that. It's the same sort of thing with Ellen Hopkins' books- some of them contain male narrators and I think boys will appreciate her raw, realistic, pull-no-punches story-telling. I'd recommend her books Impulse and Tricks. Be aware that they are books told in verse, so while they may look huge, the inside pages are probably less intimadating because there's usually lots of white space.
If you're a GLBT teen, look to the big three- Geography Club by Brent Hartinger, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, and Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez. Both Brent's and Alex's books have two sequels. Like I said earlier, if my readers want more GLBT titles, let me know and I'll put together a post that's more extensive.
Humor is a big draw, at least for me, and these books have plenty of them. Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore is about a vampire boy who may end up being more than he seems. Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride is about a necromancer and it is a laugh-out-loud read. I think there's also a sequel being written, which is awesome.
If you're into music, Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron (and Freefall, for that matter) is a fantastic read. It's one of my favorite books.
Finally, for those a bit more adventurous and don't mind reading some books from a female perspective, I present the following books and series-
Forest trilogy by Carrie Ryan
Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Tiffany Aching quartet by Terry Pratchett
Carrie's trilogy is set in a future where zombies have sprung up but there are still some small communities with barriers that keep them out. Each book is from a female perspective but aside from some small romances, you'd barely be able to tell. These books have some awesome action and thrilling moments throughout, all with zombies.
Cindy's two-book set is high fantasy set in Asia a long time ago and it's full of magic, monsters, and some great action scenes. The second book also has the plus of a male narrator for half of it (the origins of a character seen in Silver Phoenix). There is romance involved but I think the action and suspense will captivate male readers, though honestly, what's so bad about romance and love? It happens to boys too; they aren't immune to it.
Across the Universe has the awesome extra of having a dual cover with the spaceship design on the inside of the book jacket. Half of the book is told from a male perspective and there is a romance too, but the mysteries, intrigue, explosions, and people dying far outweigh that.
Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors ever and he has a YA series featuring a female protagonist. These are smart and funny adventure books with some magic thrown in and they're just really good reads. There's four books- The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight. I'd also recommend his adult books too.
Phew... this is much longer than I thought and I've barely scratched the surface. I may do a series of these and try to do more research during the week in anticipation of these posts. Hope you all enjoyed!