You’ve followed him on Twitter and you can’t help but ❤ his photos on instagram. Now, meet the man behind the fanboying: GuyReadsYA
We sat down with our only bearded colleague and talked all things books. Thanks also to bloggers Jaz and Eugenia for contributing awesome questions of their own!
We all remember the first time we read a YA book that really hooked us. Tell us about your first time – which book was it? When did you read it? Why did you love it?
I really only rediscovered YA about 4 years ago. As a kid I seemed to skip it and moved straight from middle grade to adult titles. It was actually Department 19 by Will Hill that was my first. It was easy to pick up, it had everything I liked about books, lots of action, some horror and a whole heap of blood.
Why I loved it – firstly that the main protagonist is male (a lot of YA is female character driven) which meant that I could relate, the experiences and all the emotional and issue stuff that is right up on top of other YA is all under the surface, right behind the action. The complexities of relationships, the absence of a father figure, the need to impress people and to have your own identity. It was all there, but it wasn’t the focus.
I would ask why most guys don’t read YA – is it a case of stereotypes or something else? – Eugenia from Genie in a Book
I think it’s the lack of male voice. So much YA deals from the female POV, when I was growing up I found that fantasy filled that gap. It dealt with similar issues that teens would face, Feist’s Magician is a great example, (bullying, fitting in, finding yourself, coping with change and loss) but all of the issues were dealt with subtlety, amidst the action.
Film adaptations are helping to make all YA more accessible to guys, seeing strong female protagonists like Katniss and Tris on the big screen and knowing that they are based on books, helps them to dip in to books they wouldn’t normally read. I think that’s the starting point, and then once they start enjoying the stories, recommendations come easily.
What’s your favourite genre? Can you still relate to the MC when it’s from a first person female POV? – Jaz from Fiction in Fiction in Fiction
I’m generally drawn to YA books with great plots and lots of action. For me, the female POV doesn’t bother me, it’s all about the story. If it’s driving along full speed and the character has their complexities and their issues, it doesn’t matter if they are a guy or a girl, I want to see them through it. I only struggle when the story revolves around ‘which guy will I choose’ and the signposting is too clear. I’m just not invested in those characters because they aren’t developed as individuals, the choices that they make aren’t necessarily about them, but rather about becoming a couple. I’m not anti-relationship, I’m just not a fan when that’s the focus.
If you HAD to pick a favourite love triangle…?
Clara, Tucker and Christian from Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series.
And your favourite fictional girlfriend?
I’ll admit I switch it up a bit. Generally I’m massively influenced by the latest thing I’ve been reading. Previous book girlfriends include: Tris from Divergent for her relentlessness, and Ruby from The Darkest Minds for her determination. At the moment it’s Clarke Griffin from The 100. She’s feisty, smart, resourceful. I guess I gravitate to strong book girlfriends.
If you could go on a date with your favourite fictional girl, where would you take her?
A picnic by the lake. It’s quiet that it would just be the two of us, we could go for a swim, eat, talk. It’s nothing fancy but personal I guess.
Most underhyped series?
Department 19 series and The Darkest Minds. I love both but they don’t get the recognition in Australia they deserve
Most anticipated read?
The third book in the Dorothy Must Die series. I finished The Wicked Will Rise on the weekend and OMG I need to know what happens next.
Favourite book to movie adaptation?
The Fault in Our Stars. I was really impressed with how Josh Boone brought it to life – the casting, the texting and emails, the pivotal moments. NAILED. IT.
What kind of non-YA books do you read?
Mostly fantasy. Patrick Rothfuss, Raymond E Feist, James Barclay, Mark Lawrence & Robin Hobb. Although I do dip into some military history and some crime from time to time.
Why should guys read YA?
I think YA has changed a lot over the years, it’s gotten so much better. It’s not all about girls and their relationships with boys anymore.
Take Falling Into Place or The Last Time We Say Goodbye for example, both are excellent examples of how YA deals with grief and suicide. The narrative is original, it’s relatable, and it lingers once you’ve finished them – both books make the reader reflect afterward and I reckon this is a great way for guys who often don’t want to address these kind of issues publicly, a chance to deal.
Then you’ve got some of the best action stories I’ve ever read. The Maze Runner, Disruption, Dorothy Must Die, all of them are on par with The Bourne Ultimatum, Ice Station, etc, except that the protagonists are teens. It’s definitely worth exploring YA, like with all books in all genres. There are some books you will like and others you won’t.
Want to keep chatting with Guy Reads YA? Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at the handle @guyreadsYA (original, right?)
Stay tuned later this week when we announce our guy’s first pick for 2015 #BTCBookClub! (It won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen his photos)