1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Are Young Adult Novels for Primarily Girls?

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by MilesTro, May 14, 2015.

    It seems like most young adult books are romantic stories, whether or not they have a sub genre. Books like The Hunger Games, Maximum Ride, and The 5th Wave always have a heroine who falls in love with a fantasy dream boy. Of course it is natural for girls when they reach their teenage, but it looks like most of these books are trying to be like Twilight. And maybe that is the reason why most boys are turned off from those books. I enjoyed one of those books, but I couldn't stand how emotional, serious, and romantic these books sometime explore. It would be sexist to think the YA genre is only for girls. And writers are probably too focus on pleasing their female readers. If I write a YA novel, would it have to be targeted to girls?
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I wouldn't think it would have to be targeted at girls - though romance is the biggest genre seller in the world so ...maybe writers keep that in mind and that's why there's such a flood.

    I have the same issues. I have two YA stories ( The Dolls of Veras Crag & Smackdolligus ) on the back burner because I'm not that interested in stuffing romances into the plot. I'm more interested in friendships, and character growth.
    The trouble is romance offers great conflict. Every ante is upped when romance is involved. The decisions become more powerful more emotional. To compete you probably need to find an angle in order to keep your conflict just as intriguing.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Harry Potter and Ender's Game were aimed at the male gender or at least both genders. The Unwind series begins with a male protagonist, not sure where it goes from there.

    GoodReads has a long list of YA for boys.

    I think what you are seeing is girls reading more and boys playing more video games for their fantasy fix. I'm not saying that is absolute or anything. My son was an avid reader and a video gamer.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, what @GingerCoffee said. There are a lot of YA works out there more targeted at boys, which isn't to say boys or girls can't enjoy any of them.
     
  5. Average-Girl
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    I feel like that too. It was a worry when I started writing, I'm not a particularly girlie-girl. Whilst I enjoyed Twilight as a teenager I found it hard to relate to Bella because I was a bit of a tomboy and didn't really pay boys any attention until my late teens. It would be great to have more YA novels that weren't reliant on romance and love. The character doesn't have to have a love interest and if they do, that romance doesn't have to be the backbone of the story.
    In my own novel I'm currently writing, there are couples who are in love, people who like each-other and chemistry but I don't want that to run to story. I don't want people to read the blurb and think 'oh God it's Twilight all over again...'
     
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  6. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I would like to read a book where the heroine doesn't get a love interest. A story shouldn't focus on that, unless it is a romance novel.
     
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  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Plenty of non-romance novels have love interests to one degree or another. I think the love interest can be there without being the focus, so even if the heroine gets one it isn't necessarily a romance story. If the books you're looking at have the love interest as the primary plot, then you're looking at romance stories. Twilight is in that category, but I don't think the Hunger Games is (or at least the first one wasn't).
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    In The Young Elites romance only flirts around the edges.
    In the end it never flourishes and the protagonist's journey from abuse from her father, rejection by society, then rejection by everyone except her sister to her vowing to triumph in the end (there are more books to follow) becomes the story.
     
  9. jodie_nye9663
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    Oh the dreaded twilight fear :D! I too, although its shameful now to admit also liked the twilight books when I was younger.

    Given that my current writing project is aimed for YA and includes a romance, I fear the romance dominating the story and Turning into a twilight.

    Instead I have focused my MC to be desperate to find her missing family members. The romance happens along the way but it's just a sub-story. The true personal changes are driven by her journey and challenges in finding her missing sibling.

    So I suppose its driven by love but not the romantic kind.

    I do think more girls read YA books but that's only because they are marketed towards them. But that's just based on personal observations and based on what books my male friends read.
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's definitely a market for boy-oriented YA. It's just not a big of a market as the girl-oriented YA. I don't think it's because YA books are mostly marketed toward girls, I think it's because YA books are mostly READ by girls, and by women. I mean, the books marketed toward boys don't generally sell as well, not b/c of marketing, but b/c of reading habits.

    A lot of adult women read YA. A lot of teen boys read non-YA. A lot of teen boys barely read at all.
     
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  11. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    If you write a YA novel for boys, how would you attract them?
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a writer? Male main character, for sure. Probably try to make the setting male-friendly - space, war, sports. Lots of action.

    It's pandering to stereotypes, obviously, but if your target market isn't any more specific, broad stereotypes are probably about all you can use.
     
  13. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Makes sense, but what if the main character is a female?
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    Anime and Manga are YA boy friendly. I don't know anything about Guys Read but it was a quick find online.

    It's a bit younger than YA but my son loved Captain Underpants, Goosebumps, My Teacher Is an Alien (and a slew of books by Bruce Coville in that series), and Animorphs. He was always into a new 'chapter book' series. Not that those are YA but I'd think some of the themes would be telling.

    Sci-fi, male protagonists, boy gets girl instead of girl gets boy, anything Marvel Hero, and I'd also go to your local school and ask the school librarian or go to a brick and mortar book store and ask the staff what are young teen boys buying?
     
  15. jodie_nye9663
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    Thats tricky, I don't envy you. I don't think I could write a female character that teenage boys would connect with.

    But if I were to try, I'd say make her a strong leader type. Not necessarily tomboyish but assertive. Maybe military, special forces or spy... Something along those lines.

    I would make her easy on the eye but not over the top unrealistically good looking.

    There's been a big turn around recently, with floods of strong female super hero type characters turning up all over the place. I'm not saying make a super hero but its a strong male market. Research what makes these characters appeal and develop it. Just a thought.

    The TV series agents of shield has a lot of strong female characters too, and that program is popular with YA and also people of all ages and genders.
     
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  16. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    On goodreads, Hunger Games is on the number one list under books for boys. I guess because it focus less on the romance, and the guys could relate to Katness.
     
  17. Jared Carter
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    One YA series I'd recommend is the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfield. It does have a romance which, I hate to say, gets really predictable by the third book, but the steampunk themes and mutants should definitely appeal to male audiences (especially if you're a steampunk fan). Also, if I recall properly, these books had some of the best prose I've read in any YA series and some darn good illustrations by Keith Thompson.
     
  18. b3av3r
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    While I was teaching, 9th grade, I tried to keep something of a pulse on the YA books. I noticed boys liked anything with fighting/war/etc. or sports. Fantasy or supernatural stuff appealed to boys more than girls with the exception of the current trend in vampire romance stories. Girls enjoyed a more realistic setting with a story that focused on drama (family troubles, characters overcoming hardships). This wasn't set in stone and there were certainly boys reading "girl" books and vice versa.

    I've only been around the YA genre for a couple years, but it seems to be a huge area. My students had so many choices when it came time to find a book. I spent a fair amount of time in my school and public library as a kid, and I don't remember the YA section being nearly this large.
     
  19. jannert
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    If there is a strong romantic relationship established early on in the story, (rather than a will-they, won't they theme that trails through the whole book) the relationship will increase the stakes for the characters in most situations. That way you can have 'romance' but it's not the focus of the story.

    I one of the two partners in the romance is threatened in some way, that really increases the stakes for the other one. I don't think this necessarily means that boys won't be interested in the story. In fact, especially if it's written from the boy's POV, it can make boy readers identify strongly with the character's feelings for his girlfriend/lover/partner. He will be worried for her, frightened for her, feel courageous beyond his usual capability in order to protect her. And if something bad happens to him instead, then the knowledge that his girlfriend is out there working hard to help him out will certainly increase the plot potential.

    I do think if the story centres around a will-they,won't-they plot, this probably won't appeal to boys as much as girls.
     
  20. MilesTro
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    Steam punk is cool, and it might be the next big thing. I don't care if the characters are married either, even if their family isn't part of the main plot. They can be a back story to the character's past that explains about his life. And they can be the ones who motives him or her.
     
  21. animenagai
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    Are John Green books targeted at a female audience? I never thought they were.

    Yes, they are driven by romance but I always identified with his main characters.

    Eh, it's probably wrong to lump YA under one big umbrella. Not a particularly useful way of categorising those books.
     
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  22. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    He probably likes romances.
     
  23. dreamersky1212
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    Maybe you would like the Chronicles of Elantra Series by Michelle Sagara. Its mostly fantasy by the MC is a teen female The romance is so minimal as to be almost non existent (there is tension with some of the male characters but 10 books in and not even a kiss..) I think if you want to avoid the romance then there has to be something else driving the characters/plot. In the Elantra Series it is her determination to overcome her past and save the future.
     
  24. Daemon Wolf
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    Try reading a pretty great novel that can't go two pages without describing in detail some "hot guy". Yeah....
     
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  25. Australis
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    A majority of readers at that age are girls. And Twilight catered for the loner can't find romance teen girl. With Hunger Games, I suspect Collins wasn't actually interested in romance, but put it in simply to sell books.
     

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