A Glorious List of YA Books Narrated By Boys

I occasionally hear murmurs in the back row that most Young Adult books are narrated by only girls. This is totally untrue, of course. But I DO SEE why you’d think that! All the “famous” books, like The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent and The Hunger Games all have female protagonists who kick butt or fight for scrambled eggs rights (a noble cause). So! I shall bring you a list of books narrated by the dudes, today. You are so welcome.

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CONTEMPORARY

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  • ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL: This is such a snortingly (that totally is a word, don’t doubt me here) good book! It’s narrated by Greg, who is has a very self-deprecating sense of humour and is very down-to-earth.
  • WINGER: It’s about boarding school and this little squid of a kid called Ryan Dean who is very stupid and funny and gets into all sorts of sticky pickles.
  • ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE: Once you get past how exhausting the title is…this is an excellent book. It’s set in Mexico and narrated by Ari and it’s very dialogue heavy (which I love!) and has an LGBT romance.

FANTASY

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  • INK AND BONE: It’s narrated by Jess, who is the BEST dude of ever because he loves books. Like really loves them. It’s a reimagined future where the Alexandria library still existed! And said library is…kind of psychotic.
  • THE FALSE PRINCE: This is more lower YA, but it’s epic fantasy and wonderfully funny with some HUGE plot twists you won’t see coming. Orphan boys pretending to be princes? What could go wrong?
  • FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK: Ahhh, I love this book! This is a spectacular high fantasy adventure with a super detailed fantasy world of corruption and murder and bad guys. Finnikin is the narrator. I’m hoping your super sleuth skills already guessed that, though.

 

MENTAL ILLNESS

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  • CHARM AND STRANGE: This one will probably break you. It’s endlessly emotional. It’s about Drew who has delusions and PTSD and — wait…you want to know why? WELL READ THE BOOK.
  • IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY: is not actually a funny story at all. It’s about Craig who has depression and his journey through a mental health hospital.
  • FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK: Ahhh this book is incredible. Seriously, INCREDIBLE. It’s about depression and possibly Autism (though it’s not stated directly) and it’s about Leonard the day he took a gun to school. It takes place over one day!

 

SPECULATIVE FICTION

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  • BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER MEET ME: This is super interesting because it’s narrated by two boys who have disabilities that will let them never meet! Moritz is blind and has a pacemaker, and Olly is allergic to electricity. It goes all X-Men at the end. Super cool.
  • NOGGIN: This dude, Travis, is dying of cancer, so he elects to have his head CUT OFF AND FROZEN, and then they “bring him back to life” 5 years later. Is that not interesting?!? IS THAT NOT COOL?!
  • PLAYING TYLER: It’s about Tyler (duh) who has ADHD and ends up testing out some video games for a dubious company…but the games aren’t always what they seem.

 

DYSTOPIAN

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  • THE GIVER: This is like the forefront of YA dystopian and is so a must read. It’s about Jonas who’s in this “perfect” society that (of course) isn’t what it seems. It’s told so simply but GAH. It’s powerful.
  • UNWIND: It’s set in a society where if you don’t want your kids, you can totally just use them for spare parts. I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING. It’s entirely chilling. Conner is going to be “unwound” because no one wants him, so he’s on the run.
  • STONE RIDER: It’s a futuristic motorbike race! Woot! Lots of action and adventure and dead people everywhere. Adam is signing up to the race, despite facing certain possible death, for the chance to win money and get a better life.

 

Review: The Fever by Megan Abbott

9781447235910I have been meaning to ready Megan Abbott for ages. I’ve only heard good things, in particular her latest books, so thought I’d begin with her brand new novel. Abbott’s last few novels have all been set in the world of teenage girls, a world she has been exploring because ‘Noir suits a 13-year-old girl’s mind’

Not only is The Fever a fantastic noir crime novel but it is a great exploration of the secrets and lies of teenage life and the hysteria that can so easily get whipped up now in a world of social media, Google and 24 hour news.

One morning in class Deenie’s best friend Lise is struck down by what seems to be a seizure, she is later rushed to hospital and put on life support. Nobody knows what caused the seizure. When other girls are struck down with similar symptoms confusion quickly turns to hysteria as parents and authorities scramble for answers. Are the recent student vaccinations to blame? Or is it environmental? And what steps are authorities taking to protect other children?

Abbott tells the story from one family’s point of view alternating between Tom, a teacher at the school, his son Eli, who is the object of a lot of girls’ affections and younger daughter Deenie, whose best friend Lise is the first girl struck down with this mysterious ailment. Each point of view is almost a different world giving not only a different perspective to the story but a different emotional intensity and sense of urgency.

The secrets and lies of teenage lives coupled with the paranoid and hysterical nature of parenting in the 21st century make for a truly feverish and wickedly noir-ish read.