6 Young Adult Fiction Male Protagonists to Root For

Every October we celebrate teachers and librarians at Half Price Books, AND last week was Teen Read Week, so we’ve had school days on the brain lately. In fact, this post was originally slated as a post about books with school settings. After thinking about it, however, I realized that my favorite books about schools don’t necessarily have as much to do with the setting as the all-important coming-of-age experience that happens in a final stretches of high school.

I also have a penchant for male protagonists — no offense to their female counterparts, but I found that I rooted a little harder for the lead boys in these books in particular:


Row 1: Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield, the original in existential teen angst; Where Things Come Back‘s Cullen Witter, who searches for his missing brother while his small town obsesses over a long-believed-extinct woodpecker; Paper Towns‘ Quentin Jacobsen, who searches for his missing love using clues she left behind just for him.

Row 2: Me, Earl and the Dying Girl‘s Greg Gaines, who makes you root for him by being completely unaware of his own worth (even though everyone else thinks he’s awesome); The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s Charlie, whose old-soul voice captures you from the first paragraph; Will Grayson, Will Grayson‘s Will Graysons — two kids with the same name whose intersection changes them both forever. 

Of course, my favorite young adult protagonist of all time is Harry Potter, but I think what sets these boys apart are their first-person voices. So, who did I miss? Which Book Male in a Leading Role did you love?
– Kristen D.

Kristen is Public Relations Specialist at Half Price Books Corporate. 
You can follow her on Twitter at @kristendickson.

One thought on “6 Young Adult Fiction Male Protagonists to Root For

  1. These are all fantastic choices. I would add Ed Kennedy from I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, though he's technically not still in high school. Cameron Wolfe from Zusak's The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl trilogy is also awesome.Melina Marchetta also writes great male protagonists. Tom Mackee from The Piper's Son is heartbreaking, though like Ed Kennedy, he's out of school. If you like fantasy, her Lumatere Chronicles (featuring male protagonists Finnikin and Froi) is excellent.Coincidentally, Marchetta and Zusak are both Australian authors that should get more attention over here in the States (though Zusak's amazing The Book Thief is quite well known).

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