bookish · discussions

where are men in young adult books?

book boyfriend, love interest or villain; these are the main aspects in which we see men (or boys) in young adult books. in the most popular books/series, the main characters are female (the most common case in a sixteen years old teenager). but where are men as main characters in young adult books? 

on twitter, i asked what are some books in which the main character is male, and not female, and i kept receiving the following answers:

  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Half Bad by Sally Green
  • Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Images & videos iPhone 1341i’ve also received Percy Jackson as an answer, but i think it’s more counted as a middle grade series than a young adult one (please correct me if i’m wrong). i think that’s the problem: there are TONS of male main characters in middle grade books, but then we find a lack of them in young adult books.

i don’t say that there isn’t young adult books where the main character is male, but there usually isn’t a lot of hype around them, and most of the time not a lot of people know about these books.

one of the other type of answers i’ve received is split point of views books, like All The Bright Places, An Ember In The Ashes and Six of Crows. however, i think it isn’t enough.

there isn’t just girls in the book community, there are also boys. and these boys surely want to relate to what they’re reading. and they certainly won’t feel connected to characters in novels if all they’re reading about is girls. they DO have the right to fall in love with the love interest as much as girls do, and maybe even pick their favorite out of them. and how do you think that is possible? by simply showing more importance to young adult books with male main characters.

i do believe we need more men as main characters in books, and not just split point of views, but full attention on them.

we talk about diversity, and yet we still scrutinize one of the main aspects in it: diversity in gender.

maha

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20 thoughts on “where are men in young adult books?

  1. YOUR BLOG IS SO ACTIVE AND I LOVE ALL YOUR POSTS AND I LOVE UU. I also completely agree with this. I wonder if it has something to do with publishing companies finding male protags harder to sell? Who knows! I think this is one of the rare times where males are actually underrepresented.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hm.. this post is definitely interesting! I do see where you’re coming from but I sort of disagree with your point just because that men are already represented in so much media, and women are systematically more oppressed than men are. I find this to be very common in real life as men are payed more and respected more in the workplace; teenage girls are seen as silly when expressing their opinions while teenage boys are seen as mature and insightful, where you can definitely see the double standard. I believe this to be somewhat of a statement regarding reverse sexism, which I fully believe isn’t real. So while I do believe that male protagonists are lacking in young adult novels, I think it’s important to realize that the world’s “protagonists” are men as they systematically have more influence and power over any other gender in real life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i totally respect your opinion. i DO thing men in real life are payed more and respected more in the workplace, and i’m totally against sexism. however, i’m not talking about other medias, i’m just talking about young adult novels. i can’t talk about men’s presence in other subjects because i simply don’t know about it as much as i know about young adult books. and all i know about it is that the amount of novels i read where the main character is a man aren’t higher than five books. maybe it’s just me, and all i wanted to do is share my thoughts with you all, so maybe i’m wrong about it? i really don’t know….
      thank you so much for your interest about this post! (and i’m really sorry for the super long reply xD)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I LOVE THIS POST OMG — I was actually thinking of doing a discussion like this too (great minds think alike? Haha) 😉 Personally, male POVs are my fav. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like female POVs too but I’ve found that I happen to like books with a male POV more. For some reason it’s easier to relate to (even though I’m a girl)? Idk, I’m weird. xD But it sucks so much that YA doesn’t have that many books with males as the main characters. 😥 Honestly, I think I’ve only read 3 YA books (Aristotle and Dante, Take Me There, and The Lost Prince) where the MC is the male.
    I feel like there should be a more equal amount of books with female POV and books with male POVs.

    Love your blog so much!! Your discussion posts give me life. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ooooh thank you so much! and YES, i do believe the amount of men’s POV should be as equal as women’s POV! i’ve also only read The Maze Runner and Half Bad as books with male POVs, and i really hope i’ll read more soon!

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  4. I love this discussion so much!
    I love male characters A LOT and I always love reading from their perspective, but I have to admit it’s harder and harder each day – especially with contemporary novels.
    However, I think one of the reasons for that is the amount of female authors of YA books. If we look at the amount of writers we know, the majority of them are woman, so it’s natural that they decide to write from the same perspective.
    But I agree with you completely that both genders deserve equal representation, moreover when we think about all the male readers out there.
    Great post, Maha! 💟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much! ❤
      i think as you said this is one of the reasons. female authors probably know how to write about a girl more than a boy. i haven't though of that to be honest! and thank you again so much! ❤

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  5. Yeees, this is a great question! Most YA books have MCs that are female in my experience as well, and I can only think of some with male leads to add to your list: More Happy Than Not, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Steelheart (though not really YA), A Darker Shade of Magic, I’ll Give You The Sun, An Ember in the Ashes – though admittedly some of these are dual perspectives so also have female MCs at the same time.

    PS: the Fanboy Book Club focuses on YA books with male protagonists if you’re interested. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a great topic! A few days ago, my friend and I were swapping book recs and she had said that she didn’t like books with male protagonists, Male protagonists are few and far in YA and I do like reading from a male’s perspective. There should be gender equality in the books we read!
    P.S Your posts are FABULOUS! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I came up with a few more male POV(s)!
    -John Green’s novels (except tfios)
    -Andrew Smith books
    -Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
    -Ernest Cline’s books
    Great topic idea and discussion! This was super interesting to read about.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a very interesting post! I can completely see where you’re coming from, but I have to disagree with you (in a respectful way!!). I have 4 favourite books (though about 100 more tho lmao), and they’re all written in first person, with a male narrator. I’m not biased towards men, so I don’t enjoy reading about them more/less – these just happen to be the books that speak to me. Women are so oppressed in today’s world that it’s shamed upon for us to share our voices and opinions, which is basically what a book is. I agree that in YA there tends to be more male protagonists, but I think in the real world, we tend to hear more of men’s opinions. It’s actually a nice change to not be constantly bombarded with men, haha! 😀

    Denise | The Bibliolater

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i completely agree with you: men have a bigger voice in real life than women. i understand women need to raise their voice, and they do it by writing more feminist books. but i feel like fanboys need to relate more to YA books. i’m not a boy, so maybe i’m wrong, but that’s just how i see things.
      thank you so much for your interest in my post! 🙂

      Like

  9. I think a lot of readers cut their teeth on more classic books which do heavily feature male protagonists e.g. Harry Potter, The Hobbit, any fantasy series you can throw a stone at. Outside of YA, the representation for women is actually very appalling across most genre fictiob, so I am glad that we have at least this genre to balance the scales, and I think it is the reason a lot of women of all age groups are drawn to YA in particular. Of course, I would love boys to feel that they can be included in books, and I wish books weren’t sold in such a gender specific way – because I think boys can and will continue to relate to female protagonists like Katniss.

    If this is a call for male-POV recs, I can give you The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan & Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for your interest in my post, and for the recommendations!
      i would love to have more male-POVs books too (you probably noticed it lol)!
      and i didn’t know Red Rising has a male POV, so thank you for letting me know about this too ❤ 🙂

      Like

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