My Criteria: The male protagonist has not reached his 13th birthday and their story must have been written in the past 20 years. These male protagonists also are memorable long after the initial book hits the market.
Here they are in no particular order:
Harry Potter in Book 1 (SORCERER’S STONE) and BOOK 2 (CHAMBER OF SECRETS) by J.K. ROWLING Note: Harry turned 13 in book 3.
Percy Jackson in THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan
Charlie Bucket in CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl
Greg Heffley in DIARY OF A WIMPY KID by Jeff Kinney
Jeffrey Lionel Maniac Magee in MANIAC MAGEE by Jerry Spinelli
Artemis Fowl in ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer
Are there any others out there? The list is heavy on the fantasy genre. There are many other male protagonists in recent books but none of them attain the rare feat of becoming a permanent fixture. Authors like Rebecca Stead, Jack Gantos, and Carl Hiaasen have written some marvelous stories with young males as the protagonist but you are more apt to remember the plot than the name of any male lead. Teenage male protagonists would increase the list but it feels like the corner of this publishing market could use additional male peers for our youngsters to enjoy and learn from. Just thinking out loud…