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Booklist: Male Protagonists in Teen Fiction

September 18th, 2015 (07:00 am)

Current Mood: awake
Current Song: I Believe by Jennifer Love Hewitt

Melissa asked for recommendations for a 16-year-old boy, specifically modern-day realistic fiction with male protagonists. In alphabetical order by author:

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Funny Little Monkey by Andrew Auseon
Nothing but the Truth by Avi
Shift by Jennifer Bradbury
Candy by Kevin Brooks
13 by Jason Robert Brown and Dan Elish (inspired by the musical 13, also written by Brown and Elish)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
Breaking Point by Alex Flinn
As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway
Playing in Traffic by Gail Giles
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
Storm Warning by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski
Looking for Alaska by John Green
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Godless by Pete Hautman
Totally Joe by James Howe (Sequel to The Misfits)
Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player by Antony John
Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar
Big Slick by Eric Luper
Bug Boy by Eric Luper
So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow, illustrated by David Ostow
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt
Loser by Matthue Roth
Play Me by Laura Ruby
The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Flavor of the Week by Tucker Shaw
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
- Companion: After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
The Sleeper Conspiracy by Tom Sniegoski (two-book series)
- Book One: Sleeper Code
- Book Two: Sleeper Agenda
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli (Love, Stargirl, the sequel, is from her POV)
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (Follow-up, not a direct sequel: The Last Days, from other people's POV)
So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger (Sequel: Love & Lies: Marisol's Story, from her POV)
Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt
I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak

Here are some of my fantasy favorites with teen male protags:

The Fallen by Thomas E. Sniegoski
- The Fallen
- Leviathan
- Aerie
- Reckoning
- End of Days
- Forsaken
- Armageddon

Prowlers by Christopher Golden
- Prowlers
- Laws of Nature
- Predator and Prey
- Wild Things

The Secret Journeys of Jack London by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
- The Wild
- Sea Wolves
- White Fangs

Legacy by Tom Sniegoski

Snowblind by Christopher Golden (Note: This is adult fiction, typically shelved in the horror or sci-fi/fantasy section of bookstores.)

Straight on 'til Morning by Christopher Golden (Note: This is adult fiction, typically shelved in the horror or sci-fi/fantasy section of bookstores.)

Magical, mythical series that my customers love:

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
Percy Jackson and the Olympians books by Rick Riordan

Before it was a movie, it was a book:

Beastly by Alex Flinn (This retelling of Beauty & the Beast is a contemporary fantasy.)

Two protagonists, one of each gender, split the POV in these realistic novels:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Naomi and Ely's No-Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Please consult my Multiple Narrators booklist for additional titles.

Two or more protagonists, at least one of each gender, in various genres:

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (second in His Dark Materials trilogy, following The Golden Compass)
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (third in the trilogy)
The Misfits by James Howe (then read the sequel, Totally Joe, listed above)
The Watcher by James Howe

One of my favorite books has a rather interesting POV:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Death, the first-person narrator, is genderless)

I would also like to add two with female protagonists:

The Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala - Though the main character is a teenage girl, many of the supporting characters in this intriguing murder mystery series are male, including but not limited to the medical examiner, his assistant, and one of the main detectives, not to mention Jenna's father, who is a criminology professor, and her friend Hunter. There are ten books in the series, all of which are written in third person. Start with the first book, Body Bags.

What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci - The title character, Lani, is the boy who befriends the main character and changes the way she views her popular friends' values and virtues (or, rather, lack thereof). This book is the anatomy of a hate crime. It is brilliant.

Related Booklist: Male Protagonists in Juvenile Fiction

A portion of this list was printed at GuysLitWire in November 2008. Thanks, Colleen!


Posted by: Melissa (mango_firefly)
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)

Thanks for putting together the list. I think I'm going to read some John Green soon. Which would you recommend?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)

I recommend reading Alaska first, then Abundance. Looking for Alaska, his first novel, is a drama, and a hard-hitting one at that. An Abundances of Katherines, while still a realistic drama, is lighter and more fun. Alaska will make you gasp; Abundance will make you chuckle.

Posted by: Trouble (literaticat)
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)

um, KING DORK by frank portman?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)

There you go.

Posted by: gneri (gneri)
Posted at: April 19th, 2007 04:21 am (UTC)

This is a subject near and dear to my heart: fiction for young men. I have been growing my recommended reading list (http://gregneri.com/g.neri_readinglist.html)
and will add some of these as well.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 19th, 2007 04:26 am (UTC)

Thanks! Great lists you have there. Best wishes with your forthcoming books.

Posted by: crissachappell (crissachappell)
Posted at: April 19th, 2007 01:24 pm (UTC)

I would add Brian James: Dirty Liar and several books by Joyce Sweeney (who often features male protagonists)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 20th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)

I've yet to read Sweeney. Can you believe that? SHAME!

I have read Dirty Liar.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 24th, 2007 03:39 am (UTC)

Excellent list! As far as male protagonists go, I'm currently reading Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher and it's completely blowing me away. - a. fortis

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 24th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)

Thanks! I know I ought to read that as well.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)

All right. That's it. It's final. I'm going to go buy Paper Towns NOW!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 24th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)


Posted by: Vivian Lee Mahoney (hipwritermama)
Posted at: November 25th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)

I love your book lists, LW!

Thanks so much for compiling and updating all your lists! They are such a great resource.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 25th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)

Thanks, HWM! :)
Happy almost Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: December 3rd, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Another suggestion

I just read Night Road by A.M. Jenkins, told in first person by a hemovore (don't call them vampires.) I would rank it up there with Peeps by Scott Westerfeld (god among YA authors.)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 3rd, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Another suggestion

Thanks for the rec, anonymous soul!

Posted by: Melissa Wyatt (melissawyatt)
Posted at: April 9th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
Re: Another suggestion

A. M. Jenkins has a lot of great books with guy protagonists. Damage and Out of Order are contemporary, non-fantasy.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 9th, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: Another suggestion

So far, I've only read Repossessed by Jenkins, but I've eyed the others - both realistic and fantasy - more than once.

Posted by: yalitgoodbadugly.wordpress.com (ext_177415)
Posted at: May 4th, 2009 05:42 pm (UTC)

The Blog Carnival has been published today- Here's a link http://yalitgoodbadugly.wordpress.com/ya-lit-carnival/1-ya-lit-carnival/

Next month's is about Printz Winners.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 5th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)

Thanks for letting me know! :)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 13th, 2011 11:42 pm (UTC)

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Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 13th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Djokovic


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