Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, recently wrote an essay for the Times about two buzzworthy young adult titles—John Green's Paper Towns and Kevin Brooks’s Black Rabbit Summer. I'm only mildly interested in these specific titles, but I was intrigued by what Sutton had to say about young adult books for boys: basically, that there aren't many.
I don't quite agree. Sure, the books featured in your local chain store's teen section might be overwhelmingly aimed at female readers, but I've always thought that was because publishers like to consider books about young men's coming-of-age "universal literature", and books about young women's coming-of-age "fluffy, sophomoric trash". That doesn't mean there aren't any books about teenage boys; it means that most of 'em are shelved in the regular fiction section. One of my all-time favorite books is Chris Furhman's The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (about a group of eighth-grade boys in a Georgia Catholic school in the 1970s), and you know where that's shelved?
That's right: the general fiction section, where the books for grown-ups live.