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May 2, 2013

Teen Board: What Makes a Novel "Girly?"

By Kate F.

Girls only like romance novels about love triangles and love at first sight. Boys only like novels that are fast-paced, action thrillers with tons of violence. Do these stereotypes sound familiar? Are they true? Our Teen Board member, Kate, talks about what she thinks makes a "girly" novel.

I’ve asked and been asked this question a lot! From what I’ve seen, girls are more likely to be open to different kinds of novels, whether that book is TWILIGHT or ENDER'S GAME. Boys however, are very opinionated when it comes to books. Multiple factors come into play when boys decide if a novel is “girly” or not. In order to get multiple opinions, I decided to interview some of my classmates about what they think makes a novel “girly.”

Johnny, an eighth grade boy, says that he considers factors such as the cover. If the cover has a girl on it, he considers it a “girly” novel, or, as he likes to call them, a “Kate” book (due to my tendency to read novels with girls on the cover.) Grace says that she doesn’t think the cover pertains to whether the novel could appeal to girls or boys. She instead says that romance is the main factor or if the novel is from a girl’s perspective about her life. Sloan agrees with Grace about the romance, but also adds that if the novel has no action, it most likely won’t appeal to guys.

Overall, I feel that the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” comes into play when deciding whether a novel is girly or not. For example, Susan Dennard’s SOMETHING STRANGE AND SOMETHING DEADLY has a girl depicted on the cover, but is about a world where zombies, or the “undead,” roam the streets, and it's filled with action! To write a novel off as a “girly” novel without reading the synopsis isn’t the best way to decide if this novel would be right for you. Keep this in mind the next time you roam the aisles at a bookstore, looking for that perfect book. Otherwise you might end up doing yourself a disservice.

Whether you're a guy or girl, have you ever read a novel that you thought would be too “girly” for your tastes? If so, what did you think of it?