http://theinkymuse.livejournal.com/ ([identity profile] theinkymuse.livejournal.com) wrote in [personal profile] manifesta 2010-08-01 02:00 am (UTC)

Coincidentally, I actually posted about this same topic and also *just* responded to Tamora’s post, too. :D

I think I’ve said about as much as I can say on the topic, but to reiterate my focal point: I don’t believe that when people argue for “more boy books” they mean books with more male protagonists; I tend to think they’re referring to the recent surge in Twilight-esque books being published, essentially detailing stories of “bland girl, stalker guy; true love; also, stuff happens.” I like to think the current movement is for books with actually interesting plots and relatable characters, whether they be male or female. Because *that* I can understand.

Here’s the link to my post if you’re interested (http://theinkymuse.livejournal.com/14489.html). Also, this is what I posted in response to Tamora’s LJ post:

“I was linked here, so I hope you don't mind me joining the discussion. :)

First and foremost, I want to point out that while Hannah Moskowitz seems to be speaking from the contemporary aspect of the industry, I speak from the fantasy front--and more importantly, concentrating solely on mid-to-upper YA.

I say this because when you speak of recommendations to parents for male readers, it seems to me that you're addressing a much younger audience. I myself, being eighteen, have no interest in magazines or comics or short, action-packed books with big explosions and many fights; and I happen to enjoy the coming-of-age story, wherein female characters find their strengths or come to terms with themselves; and I buy books by the bucket-load, which always hurts my already pathetically thin wallet. Of course, I may be the exception on that front, but I felt that that portion of your argument was a bit narrow and generalized in what males perceive as interesting (no offense, of course).

That aside, I honestly don’t believe that the claim of “not enough boy books” has anything to do (or at least very little to do) with the fact that so many protagonists on YA shelves happen to be girls; I think it stems more from the recent surge in Twilight-esque books, wherein the main plot and focal point of the story seems to be something like this: “helplessly normal and bland girl meets mysterious/powerful/dark/misunderstood/controlling/stalker-ish etc boy, they fall hopelessly in love within five pages, and many things coincidentally conspire to tear them apart.”

Because to be frank, who wouldn’t be sick of books of that nature?

What the industry needs are protagonists who have true stories and adventures, with actual troubles to sort out, whether those protagonists be male or female. I always refer to Lyra Belacqua of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Material series (I can’t help it, it’s a much enthused favorite :D) as a perfect example: she is female, yes; and there is a romance with the male protagonist, yes; but that doesn’t detract from the plot (or make it up as a whole), and it certainly hasn’t stopped her from becoming my favorite heroine of all time.

In the end, I think it comes down to having books with more story than a flimsy romance and an obscure, out-of-the-way town acting as a backdrop. We see more of these in print, and I think the complaints will simmer and die out.”

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