Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Darkly Delicious Male POV in YA Lit by Monica Ropal
I’ve read some amazing male POV YA in the last couple of years, and while I’m usually prepared for the honesty of the sexuality of the teenage male mind, I am surprised again and again by the absolute complexity of the emotions of these books.
I love drama in YA--voice and narrative that has me swept up with pangs of love and loss and hope and all the rest. But I often am surprised that the ones that cut me the deepest are the ones told by male characters (not necessarily male authors). I think that’s because of the honesty of these narratives--the absence of fear of being complicated and messy and raw in their exploration of issues.
When I sat down to right this post I made a list of male POV books that have lately made an impression on me:
Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going, Saint Iggy by K.L. Going, Winger by Andrew Smith, and The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp.
What I found myself thinking about was how the POV characters of each of the titles and how each one have a varying sense of bravado in how they externally encounter the world, they all have, internally, a vulnerability that makes us love them through all of the layered imperfections.
With female POV, on the other hand, I find sometimes (even in my own writing) a sense that the female must be an everyday Katniss Everdeen and display attributes that we want young girls to be proud of: Brains and guts and independence, etc. We would never want our female lead to play the victim. But the authors writing these fellows, seem more concerned with making the lead be human. Allowing them the room to have seeming inconsistencies—to be both scared and brave, insightful and oblivious, damaged and hopeful.
I may not be writing a male POV character this next time around, but I want my main character, no matter who they are, to embody all of the complexities of the male POV characters that inspire me. I want to brave and raw and complicated. I want her to be honestly . . . human.
What are some YA male POV’s that have inspired you?