Stuff I’d like to see in YA (As in books for boys)

I would kill to see a teen version of The Defiant Ones.

 

Oh no, not another list! 🙂

Anyone who knows me knows full well that I’m a notorious list maker. Everything must be listed because without a list I’m quite literally, a mess. (Seriously, when I come to London in October to launch POLTERGEEKS I am bringing a list. If I lose that list, I will probably disappear into a crack in space and time, never to be heard from again.)

At any rate, I’d like to see YA just go ape sh@t, you know? Books that are so completely unlike anything that’s currently on the shelves. Books that tackle the kinds of things that grown ups don’t want to talk about.

Books for boys. There, I said it.

There are boatloads of great YA novels geared toward girls but when it comes to boys, I think there needs to be more books that deal with their issues head on. My son is 22, he’s not a huge reader but when he was reading as a youth, his nose was stuck in a lot of history. Particularly military history. I have a theory that boys will read fantasy if the male protagonist resonates with them. Themes like heroism, sacrifice, honor are a good place to start but put those settings in something completely nontraditional. Also, actions and consequences – I think there’s a gold mine of books for teenage boys on actions and consequences just waiting to happen.

There are books right now that I think boys would love to read – Kim Curran’s forthcoming SHIFT looks like a winner. Zom-B by Darren Shan is another that looks fantastic.

But also, intimate topics – like getting dumped. Like falling in love and dealing with male hormones that are all about having sex as soon as humanly possible – and the ramifications of getting a girl pregnant. Teen pregnancy from the context of the teenage male father – CBC radio did a fantastic radio documentary about this very subject a few months back. It literally blew me away and if I can find the link, I’ll post it.

What do you think? Are there enough YA books being published to attract the teenage male reader? If not, why not and what would you like to see? As for me … I’ve already written something that I think boys would jump at. My agent has it – I need to do revisions before we start submitting. (So I’ll add that to my list of things to do, GAH!)

But I really want to explore this further and I have plans to write something geared toward teenage boys that deals with coming of age, honor and sacrifice. Right now it’s amazing idea laid out in a bullet point outline and my agent knows what it is.

Share

Do Boys read YA?

 

I’m posing this question because as a guy who has his debut YA urban fantasy hitting bookstores in October, I have to admit that when I wrote POLTERGEEKS, I wasn’t thinking about who would be reading it.

You see, I’m not entirely convinced that boys read YA. While we can’t paint everyone with the same brush, I think that if boys are reading at all, it’s probably something else entirely or possibly something surprising. So the purpose of this posting isn’t for me to pronounce that “more boys need to read YA”. I suspect that some are. I suspect some publishers out there would kill for a commercial phenomenon that is attractive to teenage boys in the way that The Hunger Games or Twilight are a phenomenon fueled by massive numbers of teenage girls.

So, what do you think? Are boys reading YA? Aren’t they? If they aren’t, what are they reading or are they even reading at all.

And a final question: what do you think boys want to read. (I have a theory about what they’d like to read and it might raise a few eyebrows. That’s for a blog posting at a later date. First, I want to hear from you.)

Share