Friday, February 16, 2007

Young Adult Novels for Boys

Many of my readers emailed to thank me for recommending The Dangerous Book for Boys. If you are still looking for some reading for the young man in your life, here are a couple of recommendations for novels for the modern male at a terrific new blog full of book reviews: Books for Kids.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a regular poster here under a pseudonym that the other regulars here would recognize. But I'm posting this one anonymously, for reasons that will become apparent.

When you follow the link that Helen posted to the BooksForKidsBlog, look over to the right side of the page. There are links to two more articles in the series. All are worth reading.

The second article contains a review of Laurie Halse Anderson's "Twisted". I quote from it this passage:

"until, totally wasted at a wild party, she comes on to him in a complete drunken passion. In a funny internal conversation between his "Hormones" and "Best Self," Tyler resists the obvious temptation and gallantly makes sure Bethany gets home safely--and totally furious with him."

This is quite possibly the most difficult thing a man is ever called upon to do. When I was in college, I lost a couple of girlfriends that way. I had occasion to think about it recently. I was out of town on a business trip, and one evening I went to the hotel bar after dinner to have a beer and watch "Deal or No Deal" with whoever else happened to be there. Eventually, a lady about my age came along and started making conversation with me. At first, she also talked to the guy sitting next to me at the bar, but when he left to go out for a smoke, she turned all of her attention towards me.

I'm thick-headed when it comes to women, but eventually it occurred to me that she was hitting on me. Yeah, we flirted for a bit, but when it finally dawned on me, I realized that we were both feeling temptation and that somebody had to put a stop to it. And, owing to her state of inebriation, I knew that person would have to be me. Sigh...

Not knowing how to go about such a thing (how many decades has it been since a woman hit on me in a bar?), I asked her to step over in a corner with me. I explained to her as best I could that I was truly sorry, but I simply could not give her what she wanted. Fortunately, I think she knew what I was going to say before I said it. She was married too. So I made my apologizes, and she talked about her kids for a few minutes (sounded like they were good kids too), and we gave each other our regards and left.

I could tell she was lonely. I don't know what problems she might be having in her marriage that would have led her to seek out an affair with an out-of-town stranger. But I could not give her what she wanted. I think it's the most helpless, frustrating feeling a man can ever have. I'm glad that she took it well. That made it a lot easier.

Thinking back about that night makes me wonder how the protaganist in "Twisted" dealt with his situation, of being dumped (and later ostracized) for not taking advantage of a teenage girl. It makes me want to go buy the book just to find out. Have our morals really reached the point where a man who refuses to take advantage of a woman in a compromising sitaution is viewed merely as a dork and a chump?

2:25 PM, February 16, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 2:25:

Thanks for sharing this story. Have you noticed that men are often put in a no-win situation? If they "take advantage" of women, they are no good cads, but if they refuse, or turn women down for sex, they are seen as dorks or chumps. So with this double bind, what is the answer?

3:07 PM, February 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


That is a tough double-bind, but part of being a grown man, or grown women of course, is being able to tell your friends and peers to STFU when it's necessary. Someone who calls you a chump for not having sex with someone who is in no shape to give consent is him- or herself an imbecile, they should be told so, and then they should be dropped out your life. End of.

I have a 19 year-old you has probably been in these situations, (and hasn't deigned to brief me later) so this is a fairly live issue for me. He is the sort of person who would counterattack if someone ranked him for not taking advantage of someone in an impaired state. I would hope. I would also hope he would have the sense not to do the chivalrous thing and give her a ride home. Charity begins at home.

3:40 PM, February 16, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

Check out my blog. My focus is movies, but I also review the books I read and lately those have been YA. My first suggestion is to seek out male authors.

I think most boys will like these:

Harry Potter
The Inheritance Trilogy
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More
The Thief Lord
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Sea of Trolls
The Cricket in Times Square
The Boxcar Children
The Phantom Tollbooth
Maniac Magee
Any book by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Single Shard
Crispin: The Cross of Lead

2:31 PM, March 29, 2007  
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