Does Male POV Make Sense For YA?

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Over at #askagent on Twitter last night, there was a sub-thread about male POV in young adult stories. Did teenage girls — the ones who make-up the bulk of the YA audience — want to read thoughts, feelings, and adventures from a male point of view (POV)? An editor pointed out that girls don’t want to read about the self-involved, whiny boys they’re already dating. Well said. But what about a male POV that makes girls swoon?

I don’t know about you gals, but the inner thoughts of a charming, thoughtful, and passionate guy sounds like a good read to me! It’s like climbing through his window and watching him sleep, imagining the stories of his heart and realizing he has hopes, dreams, and desires for love just like you!

Is male POV a growing trend? One agent noted that she sees the trend changing, but that it’s still harder to sell than YA female POV. There are simply more teen girls hitting the books than guys, which leads me to these questions: what do teen boys want to read, and what kind of boy do teen girls want to read about?

These are two different animals. Boys, with their smelly socks, puppy dog tails and sass, like adventure and excitement, mayhem and action. On the other hand, girls want longing and romance, desire and true love. If you’re writing a YA male POV novel, you need to know (like all stories) who your book is geared to. Simply having a male POV isn’t a guarantee that you’re hitting a stride with either audience.

I’d bet that because girls beat the boys in the YA reading category, it makes sense to tug at the heartstrings and go that route – if that is the kind of story you want to write. By all means, if you’re penning a trilogy that leads frog wizards on psychotic quests through time, go for it. In the end, if your audience loves your work, you’ve done your job, regardless of what sex your POV comes from.

6 thoughts on “Does Male POV Make Sense For YA?

  1. Julie,

    Please accept compliments on a fine post. In general, I have struggled with male v. female pov and have given up trying to understand for my adult work.

    In particular, though, and with regards to a YA novel I have begun, I am redoubling my attempt to understand differences between male and female pov. Your post has established markers for reference.

    Thank you,

    William E. Spear
    Two Plus Plus Productions LLC
    # 30 #

    • Julie Duck

      Hi William –

      Thank you for your kind note. It seems so many books are female POV. However, some of the most touching I’ve read come from the male perspective. I believe that to truly write female POV well, one should also understand the male POV – a challenge at first whether you’re a male or female writer!

      Please feel free to ask me anything… and thank you for stopping by!

      – Julie

  2. I’ve read a few male POV YA books. I enjoyed them immensely. I don’t seem to come across them too much, either because I don’t gravitate to them or there are more female POV books out there.

    • Julie Duck

      They’re like rare gems in the field of YA! I especially love Nick Hornby’s work. Another writer, Alex Flinn (female) had an especially intuitive perception of a male POV with Breathing Under Water (about a boy who is abusive to his girlfriend). It was done in such a way that I couldn’t hate the character, but feel empathy and insight into his suffering. I’m currently reading Martyn Pig, another male POV book.

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