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September 04, 2012



Do you mean there are 8 male authors for every 10 female authors in terms of children's books? Or are there 8 out of 10 total?


Congrats! My daughter tried to buy it at Jordan landing last weekend and they were sold out! The b&n guy said he had never seen something fly off the shelves so fast. So we ordered it.


I think the complaints about "no boy books" are usually directed at YA specifically -- there's this idea that boys go straight from Middle Grade to Adult. There are loads of MG series with male characters (which is mostly what I saw on the list).

I had an agent reject a YA manuscript that she otherwise enjoyed because the MC was male -- she said male-POV YA simply doesn't sell, but she'd look at the mss again if I made the MC female or changed it to MG.

I'm all for guys reading books about girls (I married a guy who's read more Jane Austen than me & he rocks), but the bias I've seen against YA male-POV does make me sad. I'd like to read (and write!) both.

shannon hale

Ooh, super interesting, MKH. I didn't know that schtuff went down!

Zena Parks

I feel like a proud supporter of that NYT booklist! Bought PofS last week, tore through it in two hours, and have lent it out to my brother for a read (then off to my sister, then I get it back a second perusal :) ). It was brilliant, thanks for writing it!

I'm currently writing a YA where the MC is a boy, and the worst critique I get from my writing group is that they wish I'd chosen a female protag. instead. They really struggle with his voice (funny, I do too...hint for my revisions?) but the whole journey of the book relies on him being a boy. I wouldn't know how to have him struggle with the same issues if he were a girl - besides, shoot me for saying it, but I wanted to write a book my youngest brother would actually read. He's not a big reader (he prefers playing Minecraft), and won't touch a book with a ten-foot pole if he thinks it's "girlie."

I find MKH's comment interesting, because if people are "so" concerned with boys' literacy, wouldn't they want a male voice in the text? Hm. Food for thought.

shannon hale

But I'd add, MKH, to take the agent's advice with a grain of salt. The Goose Girl was rejected many times. One said it wasn't edgy enough for YA (but of course there's a market for non-edgy YA), another said it wouldn't hold a young reader's interest (but it has). Agents and editors say stuff that isn't always universally true. It wasn't right for that agent, but I don't think that means that no agent or editor is interested in a male voice YA.


Thanks for the encouragement, Shannon. I actually have a great agent now (and, subsequently, crossed fingers). I didn't mean to imply that no one's interested in male-YA, but I was surprised to run up against strong prescriptions against it. YA and MG are often conflated (like on the NYT list), so I hoped my experience would be an interesting data point.

Gail Leinweber

Best seller lists are interesting, but you also have to take them with a grain of salt. Remember for instance that at least 50% of books published in the US are romances, a category that tends be dismissed by literary critics. Romance is also the only genre that both in author and readership skews massively female.

Rin Isilee

You know, I've always thought that if boys actually read a lot of the same girl-read books that girls read, they'd find dating them a lot easier. Seriously.


I have noticed that books that do well with boys but have female main characters are those books that share the POV limelight with a boy, as in there is more than one main central character. I can think of three examples off the top of my head. The first two are Rick Riordan's series, Heroes of Olympus and The Kane Chronicles. In both these series, the story telling shifts perspectives evenly between two or three main characters, one in each book being a girl. And then there is the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, whose story perspective shifts between the main boy and the main girl (who spends the book pretending to be a boy, but that may or may not be a moot point).
I'm not really trying to make an argument or prove a point, but just make a passing observation.


Several of my guy friends have read girl books like Princess Academy or Princess of the Midnight Ball!


I hadn't thought about the ratio of male to femail YA authors. I realized most of the books I read are by female authors. Last week I finally read some 'boy' books. I started the Ranger's Apprentice series. Male author, mostly male characters. I like it. I tried to talk my 10 year old boy into reading it, but he said the cover is a little creepy/scary.
So he is reading Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George. (If I"m not mistaken, Shannon, you and she have reviewed each others books.) I thought about getting him to read Princess Academy, but I thought I'd have a better chance of getting him to read if there are dragons, or at least more boys. So we'll ease into that one!

Emily Crook

My brother reads your books. He said that he didn't realize they were girl's books specifically, and he doesn't mind reading about female leads, as long as they're interesting. Actually, he reads pretty widely, which I didn't know was so unusual until I started talking to other guys. But he has odd tastes: The Goose Girl, The Way of Kings, physics textbooks (for fun! I don't understand!), The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged), Timothy Zahn's books, and the Ranger's Apprentice series, to name just a few examples. I guess he's pretty weird, but I'm glad that he's willing to expand his horizons.

Amber Argyle

I love it when guys read my books and enjoy them! But I have to admit that I have a harder time reading books with male MCs, so I get where some of them are coming from. I wish I could read from both with equal amounts of love.

Vanessa Culpepper

Hey Shannon! We were at your Changing Hands Bookstore visit in Tempe, and you asked us to send this photo of Tristan reading one of your books :) ... Tattooed man w/ wine, dog, and "Princess Academy" LOL


Hannah B.

I find it interesting that boys read the Hunger Games even though Katniss is the main character. So it can't be about the girl main character thing can it? But it is. It so is. Boys are silly.


Amazon has been en fuego with offering your books for the Kindle daily deal. Needless to say, I am the proud owner of Princess Academy, Austenland, Midnight in Austenland, and all of the Books of Bayern, all neatly stored on my Kindle. I should have a Kindle just for my 72-hour kit so I can read all of your books in case of emergency.


I just got Palace of Stone yesterday for my birthday! I was going to reread Princess Academy first, but I can't help it. I'll have to go back and read them both again in order sometime. Thank you so much for writing such great books! :)

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I just read an article by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series, where he addressed boys not reading books with female protagonists. And he issued a dare...a DOUBLE DOG DARE, no less. Check it out! http://nerdybookclub.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/i-double-dog-dare-you-by-jarrett-j-krosoczka/


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I became aware of the blog via the VOR braascodt. It's great to see that people of like mind are taking the time to raise awareness about our role and place within the natural world. This is a much needed perspective.

Heidi Noel

We had fun with the photos. And, yes, they have read the books. http://bahlmannbasics.blogspot.com/2012/09/boys-reading.html


Yay libraries! I just did the same thing saw a book on sohteming I am really interested in, it's brand new, still in hardcover, and I thought I might shell out $25 but then, I did exactly as you did and found it at a nearby library. It's on its way FREE! I adore libraries, adore librarians, worship them.Oh wait. That means I have to worship my sister. Uh oh


Hmmm young adult nonfiction no, not that I can think of off the top of my head. My laetst order with Baker and Taylor was focused on fiction, and I just did an order with a rep that was primarily nonfiction, but series nonfiction, not what I think you're asking about.

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