Investigated – Is YA mostly geared toward females?

Posted May 20, 2014 by Emz Chang in Investigated / 5 Comments

investigated

A lady at the library the other day asked me to recommend a book for her 14 year old son and I drew a blank. Technically, the question shouldn’t have been that hard to answer – not only is my brother around that same age, so am I and we both read. A lot. That being said the reason why I drew a blank was because she also added that her son hated romance and loved action. Oh, and did I mention that he usually prefers reading from a male point of view? Yeah, that’s why I drew a blank. And, yes, I know what you guys are all thinking – so what Emz, what’s your point? My point is that I’ve come to realize that there are not that as many books written for boys as there are for girls (that I know of). What do I mean when I say that? Well…

Elements… *cough, cough, ROMANCE*
Most YA novels contain some of the same sort of elements. A boy. A girl. Romance. Love triangles. An adventure. Self discovery. Life lessons. I could go on. The key element is romance. There are very few, like one or two, YA books that I’ve read can contain no romance what so ever. Now romance isn’t so bad, but if I went to my brother and asked him to read a contemporary romance novel like The Summer I Turned Pretty, he would probably just chuck the book at my face… and there’s a whole genre full of books like that. And all the guys would probably run 100 laps than be caught reading a book like that to protect their “manhood” or something. (The thing is I know a few that would probably read them while no one is watching).

The Message
In most of the books I read, the main message is usually something about independence or self empowerment. Most specifically, female empowerment. Take The Hunger Games and Divergent for examples. Both of them feature two strong ladies that took charge to make a change. Some also portray guys as pigs and lying, cheating, dirt bags that can’t be trusted. Who wants to read about their gender being portrayed in a negative light?

Point of View
Most of the YA books I’ve read are written from a female point of view. Occasionally there will be dual POVs with a female alternating with a male. Even more rare is just a male narrating. Okay, so I don’t really know whether this is just because I’m a girl and tend to read more “girly” books or if there really are just less books written in a male POV. But my point is I prefer reading from a female POV because it’s more relatable to me – there are struggles girls go through that boys couldn’t possibly understand and vice versa.

But this section is also very interesting because the only “popular” YA novels that I know feature a male POV and only a male POV are the Alex Rider series and The Maze Runner. Speaking of The Maze Runner, that book is especially cool because in that entire book there is only one girl and like 20 guys. Anyways, back the POV thing, it’s interesting because the two series I remember most from a few years ago when I still read Juvenile, are Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, which both feature male POV. Interesting.

Book Adaptations
Besides Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Lord of the Rings, and The Maze Runner (which is supposed to come out in September 2014), I can’t think of any other book to movie adaptions that focus primarily on guys. A lot of them are more focused on the female audience, going back to the message thing from above. Also, some “popular” book adaptions target the female audience as usually they are projected to bring in the most money for the movie makers. It is predicted that most of the people who expressed interest in seeing The Fault in Our Stars are female (The Hollywood Reporter).

Disclaimer
With all the being said, I think it’s important to remember that I am a girl and therefore I don’t really know how boys think and / or feel. I must sadly admit, some of things I’ve written are sort of based off stereotypes because I really have no clue how guys think or what they like and I’m writing about the things I’ve noticed and those things are based of the books I read. So a lot of things I’ve talking about may not be completely true. This is kind of like a one sided conversation where I don’t know anyone else’s opinions or views on this topic. There could be plenty of books out there written for boys, but I wouldn’t know about them because they aren’t exactly my thing. I’m in no way an expert and this post is not really backed up by any factual support.

What do you think?

Emz Chang

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5 responses to “Investigated – Is YA mostly geared toward females?

  1. Great post, I think it can be hard to recommend books for guys because a lot of YA books are female POV’s. But I think it’s good because let’s face it, more women than guys are reading. When I was growing up I just grabbed stuff in the fantasy/ sci fi section, YA wasn’t really a thing like it is now with its own section.

    I do like most of the YA I read, whether male or female POV. Some good recent books with a male POV are The Paladin Prophecy (and sequel Alliance) – which had a nice romance and a HUGE twist in book 2- and The Rule of Three. I also liked Vitro and Panic which alternated between male and female POV. And of course Percy Jackson. I hope guys that are readers just go out and find what they like, whether it’s “YA” or not…

  2. I think it’s true that the YA genre is biased to women but I think that has a lot to do with women participating more heavily and more often.

    The only author I’ve read that consistently only writes male POV with a lot of action is D.J. MacHale and he’s been one of my favs long before I got back into reading and into the book blogging atmosphere. There’s also Percy Jackson but the spinoff series features girls so it goes back into neutral territory (not that it wasn’t at the beginning, maybe just a little male biased) so I think Rick Riordan is incredible. Then there’s the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. Very extreme with the interaction. It’s a shame this series isn’t more popular. John Flanagan has two series, only one I’ve read, but it’s definitely a “boy series” if it’s accurate to say that. (But I’m totally against forced standard gender roles and whatnot).

    As for (pretty accurate in my opinion) male POV written by women: Cinda Williams Chima, Marie Lu, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Brigid Kemmerer.

    But also as a girl, there’s not much I can say for the male POV. I just kind of wish more male authors would write more male MCs and “step up in the fandom”. But I guess that’s another thing, girls would obviously be more fangirly when it comes to fans, fandom and ..social website interaction.

  3. I don’t think YA is mostly geared toward females, but I do know that the YA books I choose to read are more likely to be enjoyed by females. There are a lot of male authors writing books with male characters that I tend to avoid because I just can’t relate to a teenage boy. So I probably wouldn’t be able to recommend many books to a young boy either.

  4. You have a point. I think most YA is geared toward females. There are some books that are primarily written for boys (mostly action books like the Alex rider series). I read books regardless if they were written for boys or girls. I think maybe that girls read more….or atleast they express their love of reading more.

    How many book blogs have you seen that are owned by a boy? …. I can only think of ScottReadsIt.blogspot.com after that I draw a blank. Do you know of anymore?

  5. I do think most YA is geared towards girls, somewhat due to there being so many female YA authors, but also because that is what sells. From my understanding, it seems that guys’ readership tends to drop around the middle grade years. Sometimes they might pick reading back up as an adult, but those teen reading years are lost for many of them. Also, there are a lot of grown women (in their 20s, 30s, maybe even beyond) who are open to reading YA, and there are fewer grown men who do the same. I do think that there ought to be more books that focused on male characters and less on romance. I’m not saying it has to overtake the market, but it would be good for guys who want it to have a few more options!