“Let’s hear it for the boy” – celebrating some of our fave leading lads in YA

If we asked you to list as many YA books as possible we’re pretty sure you’d easily rattle them off. But how many of those would have a male main character? We love our female protagonists here at MP! but we are also wondering ‘where the boys at?’

The Boys’ Reading Commission reports each year on the gaps between girl and boy readers. Boys are “more likely to only enjoy reading a little or not at all.” So the bigger readership is female, but we’re more than sure girls are happy with a male protagonist too. Harry Potter, hello?

harry potter

Here we’ve put together a list of some of favourite fellas from fiction right now.

The ‘Alex Rider’ series by Anthony Horowitz

Espionage. Say it with us. Ess. Pee. On. Ahge. It’s such a good word, isn’t it? And so is this series. Action packed, dramatic and as many secrets as there are bullet holes. Horowitz has created a steadfast and compelling character in Alex. Espionage…


‘The Maze Runner’ by James Dashner

“Remember. Survive. Run.” Do these things and everything will be ok. Ok? Not ok! For many, Thomas was the first dystopian YA lead they read about. A punchy trilogy with a plucky protagonist.

maze runner

‘Ink and Bone’ by Rachel Cain

Moving away from high octane action for now. Jess Brightwell’s story is surrounded by everything books. Echoes of Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’, Jess makes for a solid main character that anyone who loves books will be intrigued by. Not dissimilar to our old mate Harry, Jess would be less than a whole without the help of his friends.

adventure time

‘The Death House’ by Sarah Pinborough

There is something reassuringly classic about the style of this book. But on the other hand, it shows us a terrifying world these “sick” kids have to live in. Toby knows his time is limited, and yet somehow he experiences all the joy and heartache and feels that teenage life can bring, and more. So much more.

the orphan

‘Winger’ by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West is a funny, crude, dork of a boy. And readers all over have loved him. One thing’s for sure, this book is very ‘teenage boy’, if you catch our drift? It’s not going to sugar coat it. Much like Toby from Pinborough’s ‘The Death House’, Ryan has a full range of experiences and emotions lobbed at him. And he reacts in pure teen boy glory.


Honourable mentions montage!

ya boys mentions

So there you have it. A list of books about boys, narrated by boys. Boys. But before you go, let us leave you with this:

Tweet us your favourite male protag @maximumpopbooks

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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