In my review of Our Chemical Hearts a few days ago, I received a comment from Advocate of Books saying they find it easier to connect to a story when the narrator is male:
I’m also excited that this is told from a male perspective, so thank you for highlighting that. For some reason, I seem to connect better when the narrator is male, I don’t know why!
The thing is, lately I seem to share this preference. And there’s a very upsetting reason behind this…
I’ve picked up on quite an obvious (well, at least it’s pretty noticeable for me) pattern in YA books written from female point of views – teen girls are being portrayed as petty, insecure and catty; and I’m not okay with this generalization. It’s as if authors are placing all girls in one box with a big “DRAMA” label stuck to it, in big, bold, shouty capital letters. It highlights negative behaviour and harmful stereotypes that I feel we should’ve moved past by now.
As you can see, this topic requires its very own post, so I’m not going to dig too deep into this matter right now. What I’d like to share today though, are a few of my favourite stories told by a male narrator.
OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS BY KRYSTAL SUTHERLAND
This is my most recent read, and if you’ve seen my review then you know that I really enjoyed this book. It was a heart warming, bittersweet tale of first love, friendships and family ties told by a quirky, humorous narrator that I thought was just too cute for words. I enjoyed the refreshing break from a story being told by the stereotypical “emo” girl and the experience of looking at a journey from the outside.
TIME TRAVELLING WITH A HAMSTER BY ROSS WELFORD
This book is narrated in its entirety by Al, who is right on the door step of becoming a teenager – a time most of us look back on with a lot of cringing and embarrassment. On his twelfth birthday, Al’s Mom gives him a letter that was written to him by his late father; and this is where the adventure begins… On this quest to rectify mistakes made long ago, Welford introduces us to truly unforgettable characters, while keeping us entertained with a very unique story line. I had such an adventure with this one!
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALL FLOWER BY STEPHEN CHBOSKY
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age book told in a way that will transport you back in time to those belly wrenching roller-coaster days that came along hand-in-hand with growing up. Although this book has a heavier tone throughout the story compared to the previous two books I mention here, it still had that heart melting moments that brings on a sense of nostalgia. This is a book I feel anyone, from any age group can appreciate.
EVERY DAY BY DAVID LEVITHAN
I absolutely adored this book. The storyline, the characters, the writing style; just EVERYTHING about this book was lovely.
This book is about a sixteen year old boy who wakes up each morning in a different person’s body. Each chapter takes on a new day and we get to explore the life of a complete stranger every time, which I found really interesting. The boy then falls in love with a girl, and the story becomes a tangle of lies and schemes to bring this pair together. What was interesting to me in this book was how David Levithan exposes the reader to different people, from all walks of life, and we get to be someone else for a day.
THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS BY JOHN BOYNE
This book ripped me apart in all the wrong sort of ways – which is exactly what I feel history books should do. It is one of the most tragic, soul shattering historical fiction books I ever read.
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in set during World War II, and is told from an eight year old boy’s perspective. Going in, I KNEW this book was going to destroy me. I anticipated heartbreak and sorrow because that is just the way with historical fiction novels based on tragic events. I still don’t know how to rate this book because it left me feeling completely hollow. But what I really loved about this book was the narrator, Bruno. He was just so innocent in everything that was happening around him and because he was a child, I got to see things unfiltered. He really is one of my favourite male narrators.
A MONSTER CALLS BY PATRICK NESS
A Monster Calls told a tale of strength and courage in a way I found to be enlightening and thought provoking in the best possible way; especially considering the heart-breaking circumstances it involved. Patrick Ness encourages the reader to face reality no matter how hard it gets, and to use the strength, that we often forget we have, to move past the pain and find peace.
ROOM BY EMMA DONOGHUE
The story is narrated, in its entirety, by the energetic five-year-old Jack, which gives the reader the rare opportunity to see the world through the eyes of a child. I struggled at first to follow his thought pattern and it was difficult for me to understand what he was describing; but after a few pages it became easier. The complete innocence of Jack is what makes this book utterly compelling, and it is the sole reason I pushed through reading when it became extremely disturbing. The way Jack sees the ‘world’ was brilliantly captured by the author; and for this reason it is one of my favourite books narrated by a boy.
I wrote my full review of Room here, which gives much more insight into this book.
Do you agree with my views on the way teenage girls are portrayed in YA books? And do you have any favourite books that are narrated by boys?