Let’s Hear It for the Boys, Title Trend Edition

The literary field is thronged with daughters, wives and girls. This summer, we compiled lists—long, long lists—of novels featuring daughter, wife, and girl in their titles. In the end, we found more than 550 published in the last 20 years. Most recently, we’ve turned our gaze to the male half of the population, seeking out books whose names include the word boy or boys. In a world where female readers outnumber male ones, do titles follow suit?

boys featured imageThe short answer: absolutely. From 1996 to 2017, a mere 138 boy titles appear in the Booklist Online database. To be sure, 138 titles are nothing to sneeze at, but the fact remains that this sum is 75 percent smaller than that of its feminine counterpart—not to mention that a search for books called “The ____’s Husband,” or “The ____’s Son,” yields a measly ten titles. (Hey women’s studies majors looking for a thesis topic—this one’s on us!)

What do you think of when you hear the word boy? The vast range of relationships and personhoods tied to that simple word resists any sweeping generalizations, but the quantity of these titles point to an enticing—and perennial—appeal.

So what is that appeal? In a post about books with girl titles, Caitlin Brown offered a potential theory that revolves around a relational center: a broad category is easier to relate to. When you pick up a copy of a book called “(Something) Boy,” it could be an exercise in empathy. Or maybe it allows the reader to align her personal experience with a general and collective dialogue.

But I’ll let you decide for yourself. Below, a list of boy titles linked to their Booklist reviews when possible.

american boy American Boy, by Larry Watson (2011)

Bad Boy, by Dream Jordan (2012)

Beard Boy, by John Flannery (2016)

Beetle Boy, by M. G. Leonard (2016)

Beetle Boy, by Margaret Willey (2014)

Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks, by Anne Fuller (2010)

 Best Boy, by Eli Gottlieb (2015)

Blueberry Boys, by Vanessa North (2015)

Boy in Box, by Christopher Michael (2013)

Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China, by Yu Hua (2014)

Boy Meets Dog: A Word Game Adventure, by Valerie Wyatt (2013)

Boy on the Edge, by Fridrik Erlings (2014)

 Boys of Blur, by N. D. Wilson (2014)

Boys of Summer, by Jessica Brody (2016)

Boys of Summer, by Steve Berman (2012)

Boys of Wartime: Will at the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863, by Laurie Calkhoven (2011)

Civil War Drummer Boy, by Verla Kay (2012)

Crane Boy, by Diana Cohn (2015)

Cutter Boy, by Cristy Watson (2016)

Dead Boy, by Laurel Gale (2015)

Dead Boys, by Richard Calder (1996)

December Boys, by Joe Clifford (2016)

Desert Boys, by Chris McCormick (2016)

Diamond Boy, by Michael Williams (2014)

Dinosaur Boy, by Cory Putman Oakes (2015)

Dream Boy, by Mary Crockett (2014)

Farm Boy, by Michael Morpurgo (2012)

Free Boy: A True Story of a Slave and Master, by Lorraine McConaghy (2013)

 Glass Boys, by Nicole Lundrigan (2012)

Golden Boy, by Tara Sullivan (2013)

 Golden Boy, by Abigail Tarttelin (2013)

 Golden Boys, by Sonya Hartnett (2016)

 Guantanamo Boy, by Anna Perera (2011)

Guitar Boy, by M. J. Auch (2010)

Hurricane Boy, by Laura Roach Dragon (2014)

Lost Boy, by Tim Green (2015)

Lot Boy, by Greg Shemkovitz (2015)

Lottery Boy, by Michael Byrne (2016)

Lucky Boy, by Shanthi Sekaran (2017)

Lucky Boy, by Cameron Morfit (2016)

Money Boy, by Paul Yee (2011)

Moone Boy: The Fish Detective, by Chris O’Dowd (2016)

Moone Boy: The Blunder Years, by Chris O’Dowd (2015)

Night Boy, by Anne Laurel Carter (2012)

Owl Boy, by Brian Schatell (2015)

Pirate Boy, by Eve Bunting (2011)

Prison Boy, by Sharon E.McKay (2015)

boy from reactor fourReality Boy, by A. S. King (2013)

 Rich Boy, by Sharon Pomerantz (2010)

Some Boys, by Patty Blount (2014)

Swan Boy, by Nikki Sheehan (2016)

 Temple Boys, by Jamie Buxton (2015)

The Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout (2011)

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, by John Boyne (2016)

The Boy from Ilysies, by Pearl North (2010)

The Boy from Reactor 4, by Orest Stelmach (2013)

The Boy from the Dragon Palace, by Margaret Read MacDonald (2011)

The Boy in His Winter, by Norman Lock (2014)

The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds (2015)

The Boy in the Box, by Cary Fagan (2012)

The Boy in the Garden, by Allen Say (2010)

The Boy in the Oak, by Jessica Albarn (2010)

 The Boy in the Shadows, by Carl-Johan Vallgren (2016)

The Boy in the Snow, by M. J. McGrath (2012)

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: A Fable, by John Boyne (2006)

The Boy in the Suitcase, by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnette Friis (2011)

The Boy in the Woods, by Carter Wilson (2014)

 The Boy on Cinnamon Street, by Phoebe Stone (2012) 

The Boy on the Bridge, by Natalie Standiford (2013)

The Boy on the Page, by Peter Carnavas (2014)

The Boy on the Porch, by Sharon Creech (2013)

The Boy Who Biked the World: Riding Home through Asia, by Alastair Humphreys (2016)

The Boy Who Could See Demons, by Carolyn Jess-Cooke (2013)

The Boy Who Cried Alien, by Marilyn Singer (2012)

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!, by Scott Magoon (2013)

The Boy Who Cried Ninja, by Alex Latimer (2011)

The Boy Who Drew Monsters, by Keith Donohue (2014)

The Boy Who Escaped Paradise, by J. M. Lee (2016)

The Boy Who Howled, by Timothy Power (2010)

The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker, by Kat Spears (2016)

The Boy Who Knew Everything, by Victoria Forester (2015)

The Boy Who Knew Too Much, by S. T. Bolivar (2016)

The Boy Who Learned Upside Down, by Christy Scattarella (2013)

The Boy Who Lost Fairyland, by Catherynne M. Valente (2015)

The Boy Who Loved the Moon, by Rino Alaimo (2015)

The Boy Who Said No: An Escape to Freedom, by Patti Sheehy (2013)

The Boy Who Said Nonsense, by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky (2016)

The Boy Who Shoots Crows, by Randall Silvis (2011)

The Boy Who Speaks in Numbers, by Mike Masilamani (2015)

The Boy Who Stole the Leopard’s Spots, by Tamar Myers (2012)

 The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas, by David Almond (2013) 

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook, by Gloria Whelan (2011)

The Boy Who Wouldn’t Read, by Denise Walter McConduit (2013)

The Boy with 17 Senses, by Sheila Grau (2016)

The Boy with Pink Hair, by Perez Hilton (2011)

The Boy with the Big Hair, by Khoa Le (2016)

The Boy with the Hidden Name, by Skylar Dorset (2014)

The Boy with the Sweet-Treat Touch, by Laura North (2014)

The Boy with Two Heads, by Andy Mulligan (2015)

The Boys from Baraboo: The Story of the Ringling Brothers, by Michael Lancaster (2013)

The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter, by Tom Mendicino (2015)

The Boys of Fire and Ash, by Meaghan McIsaac (2015)

The Boys of Summer, by Richard Cox (2016)

The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout (2013)

The Buttermilk Biscuit Boy, by Amanda S. Nelson (2014)

The Cemetery Boys, by Heather Brewer (2015)

 The Disappearance Boy, by Neil Bartlett (2014)

 The Drowned Boy, by Karin Fossum (2015)

good boyThe English Boys, by Julia Thomas (2016)

The Foundling Boy, by Michel Deon (2014)

The Good Boy, by Theresa Schwegel (2013)

The Herd Boy, by Niki Daly (2012)

 The Hollow Boy, by Jonathan Stroud (2015)

The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig (2013)

The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter (2010)

The Last Wild Boy, by Hugh MacDonald (2014)

The Leopard Boy, by Julia Johnson (2012)

The Lost Boy, Camilla Lackberg (2016)

The Lost Boy, by Greg Ruth (2013)

The Lucky Boy, by Caroline Gerardo (2011)

The Mary Smokes Boys, by Patrick Holland (2014)

 The Medici Boy, by John L’Heureux (2013)

The Miracle Boy, by Patrick Irelan (2013)

The One-in-a-Million Boy, by Monica Wood (2016)

The Other Boy, by M. G. Hennessey (2016)

The Painted Boy, by Charles de Lint (2010)

 The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater (2012)

The Real Boy, by Anne Ursu (2013)

The Saturday Boy, by David Fleming (2013)

The Scar Boys, by Len Vlahos (2014)

 The Silent Boy, by Andrew Taylor (2015)

The Stone Boy, by Sophie Loubière (2014)

 The Twelve-Fingered Boy, by John Hornor Jacobs (2013)

The Vincent Boys, by Abbi Glines (2012)

 Thunder Boy Jr., by Sherman Alexie (2016)

Tiger Boy, by Mitali Perkins (2015)

Wild Boy, by Rob Lloyd Jones (2013)

Wilder Boys, by Brandon Wallace (2015)



About the Author:

Muriel currently serves as the Booklist intern for summer 2016. She is a student at the University of Chicago where she hopes to earn a degree in English Language and Literature.

2 Comments on "Let’s Hear It for the Boys, Title Trend Edition"

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  1. Dorothy Mulkey says:

    I searched for one of my favorites, The Boys in the Boat, and didn’t find it on your list.

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