Of course you hear all the time that boys don’t read. Too many appealing alternatives, too few men in their homes modeling reading, too many Plucky Girl Protagonists with Boy Sidekicks . . . too many sweet girl stories like Charlotte’s Web and too few gross boy books like Vlad the Impaler, parents and teachers just don’t think that the things boys do read (comics, game manuals, whatever) count as “real” reading . . . lots of suggestions!
There’s probably truth in every single one of those suggestions. Definitely there are HORDES of Ubercompetent Girl Protagonists in the big YA hits (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Eon, Graceling, the list just goes on and on and on) but darned few boys are primary protagonists (other than Harry Potter). Also tons of teachers seem to just love books that wallow in interpersonal relationship stuff and really loathe pure adventure stories, and it certainly makes sense that this would be a turn off for lots of boys.
Well, if you happen to be keeping an eye out for great YA books for boys*, then here’s a duology that for some reason hasn’t seemed to make it onto various lists of books for boys: Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn and Skybreaker.
Zeppelins! Pirates! Pretty heiresses with annoying chaperones, beautiful gypsy girls without the chaperones, monsters, ornithopters, treasure hunts, haunted airships, more pirates, and always lots of zeppelins!
These were great — lots of fun and well-written. I appreciated that the dangerous winged catlike animals were, you know, actually dangerous predators and not special telepathic friends.
Great books, really! Even for girls, but especially for boys.
* Also, by the way, my very own most recent book, THE FLOATING ISLANDS, also has a boy protagonist. Just saying.