Romance for Boys: The Secret Genre

The other day I had a request from a student that really made me stop and think.

Student: “Ma’am, do we have any cool books about a boy pursuing a girl?”

Me (mentally): Twili… nope that’s a girl.  Hmmm… Hunger Ga… nope, girl.  What about Tamora Pierce’s books?… nope, Briar doesn’t actually pursue love.

After staring blindly into space for a full minute (which I’m sure made him think I hadn’t even heard his request), I had to admit defeat.  I just couldn’t think of any books off hand that had a male protagonist who was pursuing love and not being pursued by some angsty girl.  Not even a Google search was really of any help. He went away with a recommendation to check the public library, and I made it my mission to find some Romance for Boys.

This is what I’ve come up with.

1. Because, as we all know, boys are unfeeling fighting machines who are NEVER interested in anything but blood, guts and gore.

2. Because of point 1, books written for YA boys are rarely of the romantic variety.

3. If a book does have a boy pursuing love, it is usually located within the LGBT genre. Nothing wrong with that, in fact I love YA LGBT fiction and have procured some for the library.  But not what this student was looking for.

4. Reading is a girls world.  No doubt about it.

So, needless to say, that afternoon I was a little bit frustrated by my lack of research amazingness that usually allows me to find anything I want within 10 seconds by adding or deleting or completely changing my search parameters.  It was then that the little lightbulb inside my head went off and I was able to think of 2 books that we have in our library that would have fit this student’s needs to a T.

1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – yes it is considered LGBT, but the one Will Grayson is definitely straight and is after the “girl who got away because I was too blind, but now I know that I love you”.

2. Youth in Revolt – HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT THIS BOOK???! Seriously.  I saw this movie!  I knew it was a book! I ORDERED it because it was a romance for boys! I can’t even defend myself… except with maybe an excuse about a lack of coffee.

As for my search, I’m still looking for other great modern YA books that have that perfect mixture between a sword fight to the death and winning the pretty princess.  Any suggestions?




Filed under Rants

5 responses to “Romance for Boys: The Secret Genre

  1. Also, Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese is a YA graphic novel that has a boy-pursues-girl subplot.

  2. …. AND Marcelo in the Real World!

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