Boy books vs. girl books

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Thu Jun 20 14:34:30 EDT 2002

As though I needed more unmarked messages saved in my inbox....

Hallie mentioned the Court and Crown Duel books with the comment "just not
for a boy?"  This is an issue I've been wondering about too.  I'm sure
you've all heard the idea that boys will only read "boy" books, but girls
will read both.  "Boy" books have boy protagonists, adventure, fighting, not
many girls...I think.  And "girl" books have girl protagonists, some
romance, fluffy bunnies...I don't know.  Even if there's fighting--as in
Crown Duel--if a girl's the main character, the prevailing wisdom is that
boys won't be interested.

I would like your opinions, especially those of you who are boys, or used to
be boys, about what kinds of books boys are interested in reading.

1. Is there any truth to the above notion?  If so, why?

2. If not, *are* there any literary elements that specifically and
universally turn boys off a book?

3. If you began reading science fiction and/or fantasy as a young teen, what
interested you in such books?  (Boys or girls)

4. Boys: If you know why you like to read F&SF, do you think those elements
of your personality, those interests, are markedly different from those of
other boys?  In other words, do boys not like to read because of who they
are, or because of outside pressure: being seen as a sissy, perhaps.

5. Girls: I've noticed that female protagonists in fantasy are frequently
described as being different physically or intellectually from their
families or immediate social group.  Did you feel similarly unique, and was
that an element of your interest in fantasy or science fiction?  (This has
nothing to do with the issue at hand, but I've got this book upstairs I've
been trying to read and the whole "she was dark and tall compared to all the
petite blondes in her adopted family" is sticking in my craw.)

If you have any comments, I'd like to hear them.

Melissa Proffitt
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