Do not want pseudo-vampires and magicians. Anything actually unique and entertaining to read?
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Feed by M.T. Anderson is a sci-fi futuristic thing that I thought was quite good, and the main character's a boy.
(Er, I don't understand your problem with female characters. Is it just female characters in stories with vampires and magicians, or female characters everywhere?)
No vampires, no magic, just the cruelty of human monsters and the curiosity of the main (male) character. Takes place before and during the American Revolution.
Samurai Shortstop by Alan Gratz
Turn of the century Japan. Japan is being westernized and the way of the Samurai is forbidden. The main character (again male) is accepted into the top school and has to deal with hazing, fitting in, and his father's impending sepukku.
Both of these books are great reads.
I agree, but I wish whoever did the plotting had given that detective a backstory. With comics you do more looking than reading, though.
You might also like to try some of John Green's books. The two I read, Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines were both rather unique stories from male perspectives.
I saw Scott Westerfeld mentioned, but not my fave novel by him which is Peeps. Although it is arguably a vampire novel it is more about a disease that mimics vampirism.
I also second the suggestion for The Graveyard book.
Anyway, I enjoyed the book sooo much more. It's hard to explain, and I feel bad because it has both wizards and a female lead, but it's so different from everything I've read. It completely captivated me, and was one of the first YA books I read that really hooked me on the genre.
Also, I suggest the Uglies series or anything by Scott Westerfeld. The Uglies books are about a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society that forces total face and body reconstruction on everyone at the age of 15. It's tech and futuristic flash with hoverboard chases and wilderness survival, but underneath it's a story about identity and growing up and all those other touching topics. I also enjoyed Westerfeld's Peeps, which takes vampirism as a form of parasite, and features a male protagonist, and his So Yesterday, which is all about modern New York City and pop culture, and the main character is a guy with an awesome narrative voice.
Anyway. That was long. But this is the first thread I've ever replied to, so, forgive me?
--I second Generation Dead. Don't judge it by its cover.
The Chocolate War It starts off as a dare, but one guy bucks the system of education. He refuses to sell candy for the high-school fundraiser, no matter the cost. There’s also a sequel, Beyond the Chocolate War. I’d really recommend anything by Robert Cormier. I am the Cheese is my other favorite by him. Can’t describe it, just read it. ;)
It's Kind of a Funny Story Male author and protagonist. A teenage boy contemplates suicide and is put into the adult ward of a mental hospital for a few days.
Body of Christopher Creed The school freak turns up missing after sending an email to the principal. People laugh at the idea of him either running away or killing himself. One of his former bullies becomes drawn in and has to find out what happened for himself.
Thirteen Reasons Why A high school boy comes home to find a package containing the audio tapes of a girl who recently committed suicide. If he gets this package, he is one of the thirteen reasons why she died.
Skin You don’t usually get a guy’s perspective on anorexia. This one has the character watch his sister fade from it.
Burger Wuss To get back at an ex-girlfriend, a guy decides to wage war on the local burger joint that her fling works at. What’s the best way to destroy a place? From the inside. Anderson also did Feed, but I was surprisingly let down by it (and it involved vampires, anyways)
The Book of Lost Things After his mother dies, a boy hides in a tree and wanders into a magical realm. It’s a twist on many of the classics, and I promise you it’s worth the read.
The Witch’s Boy by Michael Gruber. Follows the life of a boy who was raised by a witch and a bear. Also has the twist-on-classic theme. For those of you who liked Graveyard and Book of Lost Things, I think you’ll love this.
Tooth Fairy Graham Joyce became one of my top three authors with this one. Most of his other stuff is adult, but fantastic as well. This ain’t your dainty princess fairy. She’s a sight, and a foul-mouthed one at that!
The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd. Okay, this one has a female main character, but it’s an action-based twist on Alice in Wonderland.
The Neverending Story If you’ve only seen the movie, you’re majorly missing out.
Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys Fanfriggintastic. I went to a Catholic school all my life, and parts of this made me go “YES!”--anyways, it’s about a circle of guys who live to prank. To get out of one stunt, they have to come up with the ultimate prank.
edited because Witch's Boy touchstone not working. I put the author for you as well.
I second (third?) Peeps. Trust they others when they say it's not really about vampires. A great, great book.
*edited because I've lived in a foreign country for too long. Note to self... 'before' is not the same as 'between' despite the fact they both start with the same two letters. Arrgh.
When I finished it, I actually went right back to the first chapter and started over again, it was that good!
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is also fabulous. It is about teenage boys in gangs and all of the stuff they go through.
The Giver by Lois Lowry is a great book about a futuristic society.
I Love You, Beth Cooper by Larry Doyle (former "Simpsons" writer) and King Dork by Frank Portman are both great books whose heroes are high school boys who are unpopular dorks. The books cover their romantic conquests and life in general. They are both pretty funny as well.
Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith is a good historical fiction book set in the Civil War.
I hear that anything by Chris Crutcher is good. Whale Talk is the only book by him that I have read and it is very good. It deals with everything from sports to racism to dealing with abuse to befriending outfits and so much more.
Hope these suggestions help!
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas: a fable which really isn't a fable at all, but rather a young boys perspective on WWII and concentration camps.
While I'm on that trail, Night by Elie Weisel. The view from the other side of the fence.
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer is a little science fiction-y, but very cool, about a clone growing up on his patron's farm.
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean - another female protagonist, but really not terribly relevant
The Montmaray Journals series by Michelle Cooper, because it's YA historical fiction that's not at all romance- or action-driven
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
...and who could leave out Lord of the Flies by William Golding?
All of the above recommended for being a bit weird and my favorite reads that aren't like many other books I've read.
I also second Fade and Tangerine.
If you like fantasy try
Susan Cooper The Dark is Rising series.