Girls buy more books than boys, I get it. From a sales standpoint, it makes sense to market Young Adult to the girls, who often find a female protagonist more relatable. So YA fiction is one of the few places women are over-represented and men are under-represented.
In my mission to help parents find quality age-appropriate books for boys, I’m not suggesting boys shouldn’t read books with female main characters. My point is that for boys to get sucked into reading early on, they need to find engaging books to read. One way to get engaged is to relate to male protagonists.
Around 70% of the protagonists in YA fiction are female—I’ll say girls without being pejorative here. Interestingly, this doesn’t carry through to films, where the significant majority of movies aimed at teens have a male protagonist. It’s all about the buyer market, and it’s a numbers game that makes it hard to find good YA books with a male lead.
I don’t want my boys to read exclusively male-focused fiction, that’s not my point. I try to find a good mix of male protagonist/point-of-view and good, strong female protagonist/POV. When I’m making recommendations for my own kids, I probably recommend three books with male leads for every one book with a female lead. The recommendations on my website make this easy.