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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boys On The Side?

So, in the past week I got some very interesting responses about what people are tired of--and what they'd like to see more of--in YA literature. One issue that arose? The male protagonist, and whether it is possible/desirable to have a greater quantity of male protagonists in books primarily targeted to teen girls.

People seem divided on this, and to be honest I am too. @Wavekeeper always prefers female main characters, no matter how subtly characterized the boy protag might be. And as a girl, I think it is easier to "relate" to a female main character.

But is our ability to relate ultimately the thing that makes a book worth reading, or a character's story worth pursuing? I wonder. And might it help reduce some of the Men-are-from-Mars, Women-are-From-Venus style-polarized thinking if we were forced to try and relate, at least through fiction, to members of the opposite sex? (Any girl knows there's almost no hope of relating to guys in real life.... :P)

@LovesSam just read Beautiful Creatures (which looks amazing, btw, and which you can order from Amazon here), which apparently totally rocks out a successful male MC (main character). Now I'm dying to read it, even though I often resist books in which the main character is a guy--strangely, though, only in YA literature. (I didn't put down Great Expectations with a sigh of frustration because Pip wasn't stressing over the shoes he was going to wear to Homecoming...) JessJordan (are you on twitter??) is ready for it to be raining--or at least drizzling--men...in the pages of a book, at least.

The idea of someday writing a book with a male main character does appeal to me, primarily because it seems extremely challenging, and I'm always up for a challenge. Who knows? Maybe writing from a guy's POV would help me sort out/untangle the complexities of the male psyche (if there are any! kidding, kidding)...which, for anybody who has ever tried to navigate the the NYC dating scene, would DEFINITELY be a giant plus!

Okay, those are my thoughts for the day! Happy Thursday!

www.laurenoliverbooks.com (oh, by the way, I will be ending all of posts with a link to my website from now on just in CASE you want to go there and check it out and look at funny prom pictures of me.)


Emily J. Griffin said...

I would whole-heartedly agree that there is severe lacking in male protags. We've all read Harry Potter and are no worse for the wear because the series didn't star Hermione Granger as the MC.

A few authors who do a great job of delivery an addictive male character are John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson (a female author writing as a male protag in Twisted).

I thinks it's true that the more exposure young women have to young male perspectives the easier the real life interactions with them will become (assuming that the charactization is realistic and not say the male equivalent of romance or cheesy chick lit novels) - hopefully.

Here's the way I see it... I would absolutely have read (and possible enjoyed far more than I already did) a few novels in particular: Twilight in Edward's POV(have you read the incomplete Midnight Sun MS? It's the best of them all), The Mortal Instruments series in Jace's POV or even Simon (which is to come, yay)... AND many more I am sure we could all think of too!

Also, it's one hell of an intriguing challenge as a female writer to think about taking on a male protag!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading from a male's perspective. Like you mentioned above, if I can relate to the main character in some way, if I can sympathize with their story and their situation than It doesn't really matter to me whether the protagonist is female or male.

I think there is a lack of male protagonists in the YA genre although the majority of YA writers are in fact female themselves so it makes sense that they write what they know.

I actually find stories with alternating perspectives much like Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry to be very interesting. That way, you get the best of both worlds.

Carla said...

I do like dual perspectives, like Michelle said, Perfect Chemistry did this really well, as did Shiver.

I'm reading The Maze Runner at the moment and that too is from a males POV and I am loving this boyish dystpian novel. Its really intriguing and think works much better with a male lead than it would from a female.

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