Another question about books.
May 29, 2012 3:42 AM   Subscribe

YA fiction books NOT written from a female's 1st person perspective (POV)?

I'm a female and during the last couple weeks I've read through a few YA novels (Divergent, The Hunger Games, The House of Night mostly) and although I thoroughly enjoyed either series to some degree, there is something about the fact the fact that they have all written from the same perspective (teenager girl 1st person POV) that, well, it doesn't bother me as I actually do enjoy how it works, but makes me wonder what exactly is out there.

Basically what I'm looking for are books which are NOT written from the perspective of a young woman/teenager. Not because I actually have anything against that (which I obviously don't, as pointed out above) but mostly out of being rather curious about the opposite, a MALE 1ST PERSON POV, especially when it comes to ROMANCE/introversion from a guy's point of view.

What I enjoy in these books:

- Dystopic/post-apocalyptic society (although pretty much any interesting setting is fine by me)
- A dash of romance.
- YA goodness. (which is a very general sort of thing, but books targeted at younger adults/teenagers seem to pick my interest the most)

I'm really not too picky, just looking for new interesting things to read. Thanks a lot in advance for the suggestions!
posted by Trexsock to Writing & Language (38 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
YA books from a male perspective that come to mind for me are:
Harry Potter
Ender's Game (Not super YA and no romance but the main character is a kid. Plus, it is an awesome book.)
The Book of Lost Things
posted by gwenlister at 3:50 AM on May 29, 2012

S.E. Hinton. I loved her books growing up. Written by a woman but from a male perspective.
posted by karlos at 3:56 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

OMG you need to read The Knife of Never Letting Go and the subsequent books. It ticks every single one of your bullet points.
posted by like_neon at 3:59 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

The first book of Josh Aterovis' Killian Kendall series starts off with the protagonist in high school. The romance aspect is of the boy meets boy variety.
posted by jaimystery at 4:18 AM on May 29, 2012

Would highly recommend any of these male 1st person POV books and series:

Definitely seconding the Chaos Walking series (The Knife of Never Letting Go and its sequels) by Patrick Ness.

Feed, by M. T. Anderson, also ticks off your bullet points -- dystopian, although not post-apocalyptic, romance element, YA. (Not to be confused with the postapocalyptic zombie novel Feed by Mira Grant; I've heard it's also good but it's not what you're looking for.)

The Curse Workers series by Holly Black (White Cat and its sequels) is modern day noir fantasy rather than dystopian/postapocalyptic, but it's male-perspective YA with a romance element.

Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde, isn't categorized as YA so far as I know, but I suspect you'll find it close to what you're looking for anyway. Post-apocalyptic, romance element, and has a somewhat YA "feel" to it thanks to a light tone even though the protagonist is not a teenager. (Not to be confused with the thirty or so other books also called Shades of Grey or some variation on it ...)
posted by kyrademon at 4:22 AM on May 29, 2012

Most of John Green's books are narrated from a male first-person POV - often a geeky introverted one - and involve romance. (I find them too precious, but other people whose opinions I generally trust love them.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:25 AM on May 29, 2012

Before I clicked the question to read more I thought "Ooh, someone to whom I can recommend The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks!" because it's a rare 3rd person female POV but if we're talking male and dystopic then I'm going to second kyrademon's suggestion of Feed.

If you're ever in the mood for more than a dash of romance, maybe try Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan? It's not set in a dystopia but it is set in a sort of alternate universe.
posted by beekept at 4:29 AM on May 29, 2012

(Although thinking about it, when I say Shades of Grey feels YA because of the lightness of tone, it's a little odd considering that most of the actual YA books in the post-apocalyptic genre lean towards the grimly depressing side of things, as you know if you've been reading Hunger Games, Divergent, etc. But I stand by what I said nonetheless.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:31 AM on May 29, 2012

The first book at least of Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines Quartet should scratch this itch for you: male protagonist, post-apocalyptic setting, shade of romance.

Not post-apocalyptic but Jonathon Stroud's Bartimaeus books have a male protagonist.

Going a lot more old school, Victor Kelleher wrote a host of post-apocalyptic novels with male protagonists in the eighties (not sure how easy to get they would be now, nor how good, but I sure did love them at the time and they won several children's book awards here in Australia), The Makers and Taronga leap to mind.
posted by smoke at 4:41 AM on May 29, 2012

How closely do you want people to stick to your stated guidelines? A lot of the books being recommended in the answers here are not 1st person POV ... for example, the Mortal Engines books are great, but I didn't list them because they're not written in 1st person.
posted by kyrademon at 4:48 AM on May 29, 2012

The novel adaptions of The Books of Magic are YA novels written from a male teenager's POV and contain "a dash of romance". It's fantasy though.
posted by MinusCelsius at 5:04 AM on May 29, 2012

Seconding beekept's recommendation of David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy. I'd also recommend the novel Levithan co-wrote with John Green, Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Also, all the novels Levithan co-wrote with Rachel Cohn have at least one male and one female first-person pov, if you're open to that; some have multiples. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is my favourite (and better than the movie).

I should note that none of these novels have fantastical settings, though they meet your other criteria. Boy Meets Boy is kind of one step past our reality, though.
posted by Georgina at 5:10 AM on May 29, 2012

I haven't personally read it, but many of my friends have enjoyed Ashfall by Mike Mullin. Also, the Gone books seem to get reviewed well. They have terrible covers, true, but I believe they are written in third person and have a mix of male and female protagonists.

Not dystopia, but Ned Vizzini writes in a similar way to John Green, maybe slightly less precious (I agree with Metroid Baby, but YMMV). Another similar, non-dystopia suggestion would be Barry Lyga. I have only read Boy Toy by him, but I enjoyed his writing most out of these three. (Warning: Boy Toy is about sexual abuse, and it is -- for a teen novel -- pretty graphically depicted.)
posted by houndsoflove at 5:19 AM on May 29, 2012

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. I have read that book annually for the last 20 years or so.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:35 AM on May 29, 2012

Holes by Louis Sachar is a delight from start to finish.
posted by zardoz at 5:43 AM on May 29, 2012

Going Bovine has a first person male perspective. It's on the boarder of post apocalyptic (it mostly takes place in the real world, but they are attempting to stop a monster that would destroy the world.) It didn't quite work for me, but it ticks a lot of your boxes and I would gather is worth a look.
posted by FakePalindrome at 5:57 AM on May 29, 2012

Paul Zindel and Robert Cormier are two YA authors who were popular and respected in their day, but aren't read as much as they used to be.
posted by box at 6:10 AM on May 29, 2012

Sticking with 1st person male YA but widening past the other qualifiers ...

I'll third Boy Meets Boy, agree with FakePalindrome that Going Bovine is interesting but doesn't quite work, and add in:

Interstellar Pig by William Sleator
I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier
posted by kyrademon at 6:14 AM on May 29, 2012

Peter Cameron's Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You.

I will also second (or third?) anything by John Green or David Levithan.
posted by mlle valentine at 6:16 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

The first book that came to mind for me is not YA, though it's not far from it-- set among college-age kids. It's Donna Tartt's fantastic debut novel "The Secret History," which featured a very well-written male POV character. It's a drama and mystery, but certain events compel me to add "fantasy" or at least "magical realism" to that list. The prologue alludes to a tragedy at the end of the book and then the reader is cast back to an earlier time while still wondering what could've lead to those final events.

This is a book that you'll pass on to people, and tell them to keep passing it.
posted by Sunburnt at 6:39 AM on May 29, 2012

Try The Maze Runner. It fits your criteria. The dash of romance is really just a dash towards the end. But it's the first book in a series, so I'm sure it increases. My one complaint with the book is that it takes a long time to get to the action. And when the action starts, the book ends. But I have been meaning to pick up the next book to see if it satisfies me more -- thanks for the reminder.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 6:45 AM on May 29, 2012

N-thing the Chaos Walking series, as well as Robert Cormier. While I can't vouch for I Am The Cheese as kyrademon suggested, I strongly, strongly recommend After The First Death, a book that I read five years ago and still think about from time to time.

John Green is pretty cool too, and I enjoyed Paper Towns - like metroidbaby says, his protagonists can be too precious so as to be tiring.

Don't know if this is YA, but Lois Lowry's The Giver is written in 3rd person with the protagonist a young boy. Implied post-apocalyptic, endearing and totally worth a read. Also a bit young (but which I found quite fun*) are Malcolm Rose's Traces series. Dystopia, hint of romance and futuristic detective stuff.

*I'm 18 and most of my fiction is YA or younger, and the books I most enjoy rereading are Gail Carson Levine's. Just to say, YMMV when it comes to maturity level.
posted by undue influence at 6:49 AM on May 29, 2012

Chrestomanci series by dianna wynne jones
posted by mulligan at 6:50 AM on May 29, 2012

Oh, and seconding The Maze Runner series! I was just considering whether to add that in. I agree that it takes a while to warm up, but less impatient readers might find joy in it. It felt a bit contrived as it went along though, obviously each to his/her own. And yes, Chrestomanci! I think I have a crush on Chrestomanci.
posted by undue influence at 6:54 AM on May 29, 2012

Pure by Julianna Baggott is 3rd person & alternates POV w/a girl & boy character. Also lots of dystopian stuff.
posted by apostrophe at 7:15 AM on May 29, 2012

Remembered another couple.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff is 1st person male YA which, while not really dystopian, has a nice creepy feel to it.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake I'd describe in similar terms, although I didn't think it was quite as good as The Replacement.

Both of them also have a romance element.

(Just FYI, as far as I can recall from having read them, The Maze Runner, the Chrestomanci books, and Holes are told in third person if that's important.)
posted by kyrademon at 7:17 AM on May 29, 2012

The Newsflesh trilogy are 50% male POV, and have some romance but not that much. I was surprisingly fond of The False Prince (no real romance, though). Fair Coin was a male POV and also had romance.
posted by jeather at 7:21 AM on May 29, 2012

Ship Breaker is dystopian and has a male protagonist, though the narrative is third person. There's hardly any romance, though. It's gritty and dark.
posted by scratch at 7:24 AM on May 29, 2012

The Chrysalids is a classic.
posted by ODiV at 7:38 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Markus Zusak's The Messenger isn't dystopian, but has a male protagonist and is in first person POV. There's a slight romance element, and it is all in all a very sweet book.
posted by yasaman at 7:38 AM on May 29, 2012

Sorry to be posting so many times, but I'm sorry - kyrademon's right about the third person thing. (And The Chrysalids is fab! Can't remember if it's first person POV though.)

thank you for this question (:
posted by undue influence at 7:44 AM on May 29, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Monster, by Walter Dean Myers. This is told through screenplays from the perspective of an incarcerated 16- or 17-year-old awaiting trial.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:50 AM on May 29, 2012

John Christopher's Tripods trilogy is great and I think it is first person narrative.
posted by Zen_warrior at 8:15 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. It's about vampires, but not the sparkly kind. It's got a sci-fi detective feel to it that I really enjoyed, but I wouldn't call it strictly dystopian. 1st person male POV.
posted by sarahnade at 10:14 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. 1st person male POV, check. Dystopian, nope. It's awesome though.
posted by micah.nonimas at 1:02 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Most books by William Sleator are good and not from a teenage girl's perspective. He wrote YA sci-fi and has some really great concepts/science.
posted by tacodave at 4:24 PM on May 29, 2012

Thirding+++ the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. Among other things, it won the James Tiptree Jr Award for exploration of gender in SFF.

John Green is hit or miss, but "Paper Towns" and "An Abundance of Katherines" definitely hit with me.

"Split" by Swati Avasthi is an outstanding study of the lasting effects of domestic violence on a teen's relationships with his estranged older brother and with a potential new girlfriend.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:16 PM on May 29, 2012

A high-school wrestler finds out if he can beat his best friend and escape from small-town Pennsylvania in Wrestling Sturbridge... The poor cousin to the scions of a town in rural America has to choose between his rich family and his poor friends in The Winchesters... A mixed-race teenager fights fires and works on modern Indian identity in the backwoods of Wisconsin in Dogwolf ...Two working-class Australian brothers take up underground boxing in Fighting Ruben Wolfe...A young cross-country runner finds himself caught between radical environmentalists and the local logging company in his small hometown in California Blue...An at-risk high school senior tries to get his life together before graduation in Wish You Were Here...A sensitive teenager checks out of life for a while after putting too much stock in his flighty, absent mother in A Solitary Blue (related: The Runner, another installment in Voight's Tillerman Series).

Except for the last two by Cynthia Voight, they are all told in first-person and most have a love interest or romantic component of some kind. No dystopias, though, sorry.

heh, apparently my kitchen is hardscrabble athletes in rural America, who knew.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:26 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

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