Sunday, November 23

Books: Let's Hear It For the Boys

Recently there's been a lot of talk about how the poor economy is having a negative impact on book sales. One area where agents say editors are still aggressively looking for new titles is novels for tweens and teens with male protagonists. To understand why this is so, one need only stroll through a bookstore to see how female-dominated most offerings are. Since the theme at TFC this week is Books, I thought I'd go through the list of books I've read thus far in 2008 to see which ones with male protagonists I could recommend. And here they are:

DEADLINE, by Chris Cruthcher. After being diagnosed with an incurable form of leukemia, 18-year-old Ben Wolf decides to forego treatment and keep his illness a secret, instead electing to pack an entire lifetime worth of living into his senior year.

GYM CANDY, by Carl Deuker. A high school football player resorts to steroids to amp up his game.

BOY TOY, by Barry Lyga. A then-and-now story about how the sexual relationship a boy has with his teacher at age 12 still affects everything in his life now that he's 18.

KNIGHTS OF THE HILL COUNTRY, by Tim Tharp. Think "Friday Night Lights" only in small-town Oklahoma, where sometimes football even ranks ahead of God and country.

GETTING THE GIRL, by Marcus Zusak. An earlier work from the best-selling author of "The Book Thief," set in Australia, about family dynamics and competition between brothers.

And since I'd be remiss if I made such a list and didn't give a shout-out to my own husband:

SOMETHING HAPPENED, by Greg Logsted, about a 13-year-old boy, still mourning the death of his father, who falls prey to the attentions of a hot new teacher; and ALIBI JUNIOR HIGH, forthcoming, also by Greg Logsted, about the globe-trotting son of a CIA agent, forced into hiding, who now faces the real challenge of his life: junior high.

Oh, and I just happen to be working on a new book myself with a male protagonist.


Be well. Don't forget to write.


Melissa Walker said...

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is incredible--laughter through tears. Phew.

And I've read an early copy of new author Michael Northrop's GENTLEMEN--set for spring release--and it is fantastic.

Great topic--fantastic list!

david elzey said...

You mentioned Tim Tharp, but his new book THE SPECTACULAR NOW is really good.

And for some sheer fish-out-of-water goofiness there's David Ives VOSS.

T-Rex battling a giant mutant scientist with the aid of a teen boy who can transmit thoughts and power through a mystical bracelet? Yeah, TIM, DEFENDER OF THE EARTH.

And Jack Higgins continues his twin-teens-of-a-spy series with DEATH RUN. These last two are actually boy-girl protagonists, but they are aimed at boy sensibilities (i.e. the girls behave the way boys do).

Steph said...

Anything by John Green, I KNOW IT'S OVER by CK Kelly Martin (teen pregnancy from a guy's point of view - one of the best books I read this year), and also I'm reading and really liking STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE by David Yoo.


Rhonda Stapleton said...

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger--a guy falls for a gay girl. Great story.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Melissa and Steph, thanks for the tips! Some I've read, others not.

David, as a result of your posting here, I checked out Guy Lit Wire and the Excelsior File - what cool sites you have!

Rhonda, interesting about Hard Love. Brian Malloy has a great YA novel, TWELVE LONG MONTHS, that's the absolute reverse: girl falls in love with gay guy.

Alyson Noel said...

My nephew is a major reluctant reader, but if I give him a Gary Paulsen book, he's immersed for hours!

And while I'm a waaay behind on my YA reading, some fave guy reads of mine are anything by Kevin Brooks, 10th Grade by Joe Weisberg (hilarious!), and, of course, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky.

Oh, and Nick Hornby always rocks my world!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Alyson - I love Nick Hornby and I love Paulsen's HATCHET!

Wendy Toliver said...

I second Hatchet and want to mention Star Girl, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Oliver Twist.

Gerb said...

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Very. Good. Book.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Wendy and Gerb!

Sara Hantz said...

The Curious Incident of the Dog.... the others have all been mentioned.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Sara! (Btw, my website email has gone wonky so if there's been any recent TFC news, it needs to go to my regular address.)

Amanda Ashby said...

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud is completely amazing. Oh, and the Artmies Fowl books by Eoin Colfer are also brilliant!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Thanks, Amanda - I gotta get that Stroud!

Little Willow said...

Thanks for the Alibi Junior High heads-up -- I just added it to my books to read post!

My favorite book with a male protag+narrator is The Great Gatsby. I just adore Nick.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

LW, I'm *thrilled* you added my husband's book to your list and The Great Gatsby is my favorite novel of all time by an author now dead.

Shari said...

I'm late chiming in here... Twisted, by Laurie Halse Anderson, and John Green's novels.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Great ones, Shari!