No, this isn’t my usual type of subject. Today, I was out Christmas shopping for my niece and nephew. My nephew is an avid reader, and is interested in adventure, especially anything that involves aircraft. He’s 14.

While browsing through the “teen” shelves at Barnes & Noble, I found virtually nothing suitable for boys. Almost every book had a female protagonist, and if they featured a boy at all, the story was a romance. What 14-year-old boy wants to read a romance?

So, my next stop was the teen fantasy and adventure section. (I discounted teen paranormal romance out of hand.) What did I find? More girls. Just a couple of series that featured boys. Still probably 90% aimed at girls, most by female writers. (Harry Potter was in the 12 and under section.)


They say that boys don’t read. Well, I’m pretty sure this explains why. There is nothing for them to read. It is a classic chicken and egg phenomenon. If you don’t give boys books that interest them, they won’t read. Writers don’t write for boys because they don’t read.

Writers and publishers, get your acts together. This is an untapped market. Harry Potter proved that boys will read, and if the books are good, girls will read them, too. Male writers, it is time to write some teen/YA fiction.

5 thoughts on “Boys

  1. Edward Hotspur December 16, 2012 / 12:42 am

    I think a 14-year-old boy should read romance. There’s more to life than pew-pew-pew and adventure.

    • thecultofanne December 16, 2012 / 12:46 am

      I think they ought to be able to read whatever they are interested in, not forced by female writers to read about … ick … girls. They grow up quickly enough as it it.

      • Edward Hotspur December 16, 2012 / 1:01 am

        Yes, they should read what they like. No one is forcing them. I was only thinking of romance as learning about relationships, not suggesting they become playboys.

  2. Neeks December 16, 2012 / 2:11 am

    I agree, how would we like it if there was nothing for our daughters to read but mechanical manuals and sports reporting? There should be a variety for Everyone who wants to read.

  3. thecultofanne December 16, 2012 / 4:37 am

    My point exactly, Neeks. Boys at 14 are being rushed into romance by the media. Girls mature earlier, but boys may not be ready for it. Neither is prepared for parenthood, although a 14-year-old girl is quickly approaching her baby-making physical prime. Making babies weighed heavily on my mind at that age, but my male friends at that time were interested in the stars, weather, science, sports … anything but relationships. Literature should follow boys’ interests, not steer them into something they aren’t ready for.

    Many boys don’t read, and that is because the stories that are out there don’t interest them. Female writers, female heroines, female subjects.

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