Friday, August 27, 2010

The Boy Vs. Girl Reader Thing

Earlier this month, The Spectacle had a post called Gender-Neutral? about how conventional wisdom says that girls will read books with male protagonists but boys won't read books with female protagonists. Be sure to read the comment from Jan. Among the things she has to say is, "The boys who are excellent readers or sf/fantasy lovers will also read female centered stories, but not your average boy. Same is true of adult male readers of sf and fantasy."

At Chez Gauthier, I used to "book shop" for the Gauthier boys, bringing in library books "on approval." (They kept up with their reading to a much greater extent than the sons of many of my friends, and I think it was due to the easy access.) One son liked YA humor, which I liked, too, and he read a lot of the YA humor I brought into the house. One day, he said to me, "You always bring me books about girls."

I hadn't noticed, but when I began to think about it, I realized that a lot of the humorous books I was finding did have female main characters. It seemed to me that books with male protagonists seemed to be serious.

This led me to write Saving the Planet & Stuff, which I intended to be YA humor with a male main character.

You might see a little more boy humor for younger readers, especially since Wimpy Kid made the big time.

If YA writers using a female protagonist want to keep male readers, they might want to avoid making their books too intimately female. For instance, in my experience teen guys aren't interested in menstruation humor, no matter how funny it is.

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

There's SUCH a huge difference in what boys and girls read, especially in humor books. Boys like romance books, but they definitely want to read about a boy who is the main character. Keep writing for the boys-- they love your books and we need more of them!