So far, we've paid homage to some of our favorite female protagonists in contemporary literature, then went on to celebrate books which tackled multiple perspectives well. Not ones to be outdone without a fight, this week we have chosen our ten favorite books told entirely or largely from a male point of view.
But boys never truly are in the shadow here, as our all-time favorite series (and some incredibly close contenders!) are ones with a male protagonist. One need only count just how many times J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter has claimed a place among our Top 10 Monday picks. We can't always boast incredible originality - we are awfully partial to modern classics and like to shout it from the rooftops. And if ever there was a week to celebrate some of the best ones in style - this is it.
And as always, this list is in no particular order.
1. Harry PotterAs the book (series) which defined a whole generation, Harry Potter was a choice which was always going to top this list. It is also a choice we need scarcely elaborate on. In seven successive books, told through the eyes of a boy, it is a coming-of-age tale to rival the best of them.
Both individually and collectively, this series have taught us that it is our choices which define who we become, and in that vein to always choose what's right over what is easy.
Of course it happened inside our heads - but that definitely doesn't mean it wasn't real - and that it didn't define us all.
New Adult as a genre has fallen into somewhat of a habit of retelling its primarily female-narrative stories from the male (or rather the love interest's) point of view. So far, these retellings have ranged from unsuccessful to quite good, but none has managed to truly wow and capture the audiences as expertly as S.C. Stephens's Thoughtful has. Told from the love interest's perspective from the Thoughtless series, this is a story of the beginnings of a man that is Kellan Kyle, the beginnings of the band that are the D-Bags and the beginnings of a love that is Kellan and Kiera. And while our opinion on the matter is all too biased, we believe this to be the retelling and the book where re-reading the same events from a different perspective still manages to bring something fresh and new to the overall series.
3. Percy Jackson
It's very common that Young Adult books are written from the point of view of a female, but Middle Grade is a different story. In our experience, a large number of those are mostly written from the male perspective. It's also no secret that I love the Percy Jackson books, and the reason? Not just the amazing adventures, the friendships and the strange yet wonderful Greek mythology included. It's also Percy himself. Seaweed brain. His personality and the way he thinks is exactly the kind of hero that I love. He is witty, sarcastic and just so funny! Percy is the type of guy I'd definitely be friends with, so the main enjoyment of these books for me were all down to him.
Author Rick Riordan has put a lot of his personality into his main character, and I've noticed not only based interviews, but also the way he writes 'Sorry about the cliffhanger... not! Hahaha!' comments at the start of his books.
Thanks, Rick. Never change.
4. Destroy Me
No one does point-of-view quite as successfully as Tahereh Mafi - so much so that this 100-page novella stands out like a beacon in the night and simply defines the series. At the same time, Destroy Me is an in-depth character study, poetry in prose, and one of the most defining narrative changes in YA literature as a whole. Where the full-length novels are told from the protagonist's point of view, this novella follows the love-to-hate and hate-to-love anti-hero Warner Anderson as he struggles to come to terms with himself, his new position in the dystopian society he is a part of, and his familial conflicts in turn.
And it is absolutely beautiful one hundred percent of the time.
5. Point of Retreat
It is The Honest Bookclub's weekly Top 10, and it seems that we can't have a list on here and not include a Colleen Hoover book. We wouldn't be doing our duty as CoHo fangirls! And although most of her books follow the New Adult standard of being narrated from the point of view of the female lead, in this case Colleen has broken the pattern. After the first book, we were lucky enough to get a continuation of the story of Slammed from the love interest, Will's, perspective. It's not a retelling, either. And it didn't disappoint at all. The emotions hit us in the heart, the humour and romance was on target, and we also fell in love with Will all over again. We didn't think it was possible... but she did it. Colleen always does it.
6. Warm Bodies
Nothing about this novel promised a narrative memorable enough to land it a place on this list. The zombie books we'd read in the past didn't seem overly concerned with the way each sentence was delivered. But along came Warm Bodies, and all this came to a rapid stop. The beauty of Isaac Marion's writing is that it's personal, it's engaging and it's right there in the moment. It never appears to take itself too seriously - most of it rather resembles a good joke on its way to an even better punch line. Except when the punch line comes along, it is a thought so provoking that it has succeeded in having us reevaluate our whole lives without ever knowing how we got there. This was funny, right? So why am I determined to change my whole life right now?
7. The Perks of being a Wallflower
Perks has become a well-known book in its own right, largely thanks to the movie. With the book itself, it is a different kind of writing style than others on the list. The book is written as if the male lead, Charlie, were writing letters to the reader. I loved the way this was done, and Chbosky gave us a chance to delve into the mind of someone so different, someone who is going through many different things as he matures and finds his place in the world. And it was written very well.
Of course it's not everyone's cup of tea, but we do honestly recommend it. It is not a long book, but the story is well-rounded and well worth the read. And whether you find Charlie relatable, or whether you find him the complete opposite of you. you are very likely to zip through this and discover a brand new way of storytelling.
8. The Kingkiller Chronicles
The Kingkiller Chronicles is a kind of meta-storytelling experience. It is a story told by a storyteller (Patrick Rothfuss, the author) about a story told by a storyteller (Kvothe, the protagonist). If this fact alone didn't earn it a spot on our list, what surely would is the fantastical, magical, almost surreal undertone to each and every line. It is story of a life's journey in retrospect, but so dynamic, so emotionally-charged and so driven that it draws the reader in from the first turn of the page. The journey feels every bit as ours as it does Kvothe's, and this is the true mark of a memorable narrative.
9. Losing Hope
Yep. Colleen again! We can't help it, she's just such a wonderful writer. Hopeless was a highly emotional book, in case you didn't know, so getting the chance to relive the sadness isn't always a good idea, but y'know we just can't help ourselves. Losing Hope was highly anticipated as we finally got to read book one from Dean's view, and it didn't disappoint! The flashbacks and the secrets he was keeping were interesting to read, and knowing exactly when he was starting to piece things together regarding Hope was fascinating. She knows how to write the perfect male lead, he's not too perfect, he has flaws but he's still a book boyfriend we can't help but pine over. More Dean Holder is always a good idea.
10. The Hobbit
If ever there was a quintessentially male and quintessentially fantastic book at the same time - J.R.R. Tolkien has penned it. And while one could also make a strong case for The Lord of the Rings, it was The Hobbit which came first and paved the way for the former, and it is The Hobbit where an all-male ensemble of protagonists was embraced and loved by both male and female readers of all ages. In an effort to get female viewers to the theaters, Peter Jackson's movie adaptation has given more prominence to some female characters than was the case in the source material. And while we applauded the effort all the way, we have to admit that even as-is, The Hobbit was an incredible introduction to literature at a young age, even for a female reader, and for that it has earned its place on this list today.
Those have been our picks - but what are yours? We haven't actually tried it, but we're fairly certain we could have amassed a top 100 in this category alone, as in any other which has focused largely on a point-of-view. So we'd love your input as far as your favorite male-told stories, and ones you found to be over or underwhelming. Let us know in the comments below, or find us on social media - as always.
TOP 10 BOOKS WITH A MALE POINT-OF-VIEW
4/ 5Oleh The Honest Bookclub