Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Boys

Recently--okay, when I was talking with agents--I made a list, in case anyone asked me, of my most recent LOVED books. It seems like there have been many of them lately, an Abundance of Awesome, and it was tough to pick and choose. But when I studied my carefully whittled-down list, I noticed a certain trend. See if you can spot it.

Susan's Recent LOVE books:

I HUNT KILLERS (Barry Lyga)
BLACK HEART (Holly Black)
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD (Kendare Blake)
NAME OF THE STAR (Maureen Johnson)
BOY 21 (Matthew Quick)

Do you see it?

With the exception of NAME OF THE STAR, all of those books have a boy MC. But these are the books that stood out for me, that I thought about into the night, that thrilled or touched me.

Boys. Teen boys. While I have been a teen girl, I was never a teen boy.

However, interestingly (and perhaps not coincidentally, *cough*), HAPPY SAUCE* has a boy MC too. So I have been in a boy's head for much of the past year, and I am now. And though I'm sure I'll write girls again (I do still love to read girl MCs too), I'm enjoying it very much.

What is it that I like about the boy POV as opposed to a girl's? What is it that's different? I'm still thinking this through. But a few things I'm positing as possibilities:

--Directness
Most of the boy MCs get right to the point, in words and actions. I also do this, so I appreciate it.

--Sparseness
I have never been a fan of long bits of description, setting, clothes, etc. Boys--at least my boy, I guess I shouldn't extrapolate--don't seem to do as much of this.

--Conversational style
I LOVE having dialogue where my boy says very little, but his thoughts are churning underneath in a million different directions. Just because he doesn't say much (and he doesn't) doesn't mean he's not deeply considering the issue. And then when he does say a lot it means more.

--Boy humor
I like boy humor. I always have. Except the fart jokes. Y'all can keep those. Also, side note, my boy is a gamer and a bit of a nerd, which is fun. I like having him play HALO and COD with his friends.

--Difference
For me, it's fascinating to explore the differences. To think about shaving and attraction to girls and male parts that don't behave (yes, I really just want to type boner there). To not have to think about shaving your legs or doing your hair or what shoes to wear. To have physical tasks come a bit more easily. To explore how his relationship with his sister is different, less competitive, than it would be if he were a girl.

It seems to me there are a bunch of good boy MC books coming out lately, and they're not necessarily just for the male teen audience. They're great books.

What about you? If you're a girl, or a woman, do you read male MCs? Do you like them?

If you're male, do you read/enjoy female MCs?

Also, on this theme, I happen to have a lovely ARC of BOY 21 by Matthew Quick sitting here next to me. See?


I think I should give it away. To get someone else reading about boys--but more particularly, to get this WONDERFUL book out there into the world more.

Do you want to win it? All you have to do is comment below. Simple. Direct. :)
(forgot to say when it closes--contest will be closed Friday morning, 8 am!) 

CLOSED TO FURTHER ENTRIES.



*I hope it's clear that HAPPY SAUCE is not its real name. It just made me so happy to write it that I called it that.

12 comments:

Patty Blount said...

Excellent! *rubs hands* You're GONNA love SEND :)

Linda G. said...

Okay, trying really hard not to laugh at "Happy Sauce" in conjunction with a boy protag.

(Yeah, just try to think of it as "Happy Sauce" with a straight face now. I dare you. *grin*)

And, of course, I already know you nailed (heh) the male teenage voice with this one. :)

SarahP said...

I DOOOO want to read it!

Have you read HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER? Great boy voice in that one, really enjoyed it. I liked ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, too. And...Did you mean BLACK CAT for the Holly Black book?

Sincerly,

DOOM

DOOM said...

p.s.

I do know how to spell "sincerely".

D

Susan Adrian said...

Patty: I'm sure I will!

Linder: *sigh* I know. I thought of that a while ago. It will probably be a good thing when I Reveal Real Title. :)

DOOM (ha): I haven't read necromancer! I will try it. And nope, it's Black Heart (I checked!), but it's part of the White Cat series.

SarahP said...

Oh yeah--WHITE CAT, RED THINGIE, BLACK HEART. Of course!

I think you'll like NECROMANCER.

thatcovergirl.com said...

I LOVE boy MCs. Which makes me even more excited for HAPPY SAUCE.

I love the male MC for reasons similar to your own, but your conversational style bit really connects with me. And humor! (I also do not like fart jokes.) ((Or That's What She Said jokes.))

PS - not entering the contest, but just wanted to comment anyhow. =)

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

I like the boy MC as well. Not so much time spent on angst and emotion. I have enough of that on my own :) Thanks for the giveaway@

Amanda Salerno said...

I've been thinking about this exact topic for some time now, mostly because I've been considering writing from a boy's perspective.

I'm ashamed to admit that I have never read a YA book with a male MC. (Harry Potter being the exception.) Your blog post has inspired me to do so!

Also, thanks for hosting the giveaway!

DeadlyAccurate said...

The book I finished this morning had a boy MC. I've also bought the last book in the trilogy (Catherine Jinks's Genius series, Evil Genius, Genius Squad, and Genius Wars).

I think it's about 50/50 for me.

Susan Adrian said...

Sheila: Yes, not so much open angst. Maybe. I kind of put my boy through the wringer. ;)

Amanda: Try it! It's a great challenge.

Deadly: I'll have to try that series. Thanks!

Tiffany Schmidt said...

I ADORED BOY 21! Hmmm, my capitalization for emphasis combined with capitalization for the title makes it look like I'm shouting. I'm not.

And, yes, I've also been reading a lot of male narrators lately!