A large number of teen guys actually seem to prefer nonfiction. The teen male brain actually appears to be more stimulated by the real life depicted in these books. In fact, I’ve done several action research studies about this nonfiction preference is the root of what librarians and teachers call “the boy problem.” Side note, there is no “boy problem.” The main issue is that YA librarians tend to be women (who are normally fiction crazy) while YA males themselves are more into nonfiction as a generalized standard. Therefore, the issue is mostly a lost in translation problem.
(Also, there is probably an issue associated with not much fiction variety being targeted toward teen guys until quite recently, but my original YA guy lit post tried to address this problem.)
Nonfiction is still a great option for teen guy lit though. One of the best recent additions to YA nonfiction is You Don’t Even Know Me, composed by Sharon G. Flake. The book itself is a compilation of poems and stories from a rather diverse group of young African American males. The heart of these works show real life problems, fear, strength, and passion that many teen guys feel but tend to keep inside. The amazing book You Don’t Even Know Me shows that letting out these inner emotions and turmoil can produce stunning beauty and truth.
For those who are not fond of poetry (*cough*me*cough*), this selection is perfect. It also can help show YA guys that poetry is not limited to romance and old dead dudes from hundreds of years ago.
Bring It to Life (BITL)!
Write your own poem!
Choose a favorite of the 15 poems and try to write your own in the same style or about a similar feeling. Do not worry about form. Just write. See what happens in the end result!
P.S. – I’d love to read a few of these if you feel like publishing on the blog!