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.

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What are some YA male POV’s that have inspired you?


  1. I love strong characters, male or female. A couple of my favorite male POV books are actually books with alternating POV. Two that come to mind off the time of my head are Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry and the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles.

  2. Yes! I love some of the raw matter-of-factness of a voice male POV. A few of the recent Morris nominees did this so well. I really recommend DR. BIRD'S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS and SEX & VIOLENCE. Looking forward to seeing some other recs here!

  3. Making a list to add to my TBR pile! Thanks for commenting Cherie and Kip!

  4. I realize that out of the 5 books I've written, three are male POV, one is dual females, and WANTED is alternating male/female. I wonder if this is because I have two brothers and always liked sports, so I hung around a lot of guys. My boyfriend in high school had a pack of guys, so I spent a couple years with them. Wish more high school boys liked to read...

    My faves: most of the novels by John Green and Jay Asher, as well as Stephen King, which usually feature male POVs.

  5. Of my four novels, three have male POV. One all male and two mixed. The one on submission now is also male. It wasn't a conscious decision to choose a male voice. It was just that's what the stories called for. It's weird because I tend to gravitate to a female voice when I'm reading. Saint Iggy is on my to read list.

  6. My novel, January Black, is told mostly in a teen boy's POV. I didn't really give it much thought, but my husband said I got the inner gears turning right. I actually prefer writing teen boys than girls.

  7. John Green. Awesome writer. AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES was especially good. Great post. :)