The Dudes of YA, a “Lit-Erotic” Photo Spread

Sean Beaudoin offers a survey of the guys trying to stake their claim in the female-dominated genre of Young Adult fiction.

YES, THESE ARE the Twelve Sexy Apostles of Young Adult writing. A dozen hot pockets of raw literary expression. Twelve men who’ve come together–not only in the spirit of community–but to publicly assert their masculinity, physicality, and fierce writing chops. Despite toiling in a genre traditionally dominated by women–outnumbered, emasculated, and marginalized–these dudes nevertheless bravely forge ahead with creative intensity, ripped abdominals, and thrusts of powerfully rhythmic prose.

The Weeklings staff spent the last six months hitting lonely back roads–scouring dank alleys, dive bars, and a spate of greasy diners–to finally catch up with each and every one of these true Americans. The result is a compendium of in-depth interviews, raw admissions and racy poses. We could not be prouder of the outcome, having compiled an edgy and utterly provocative photo essay. It’s a piece of journalism unlike any you’ve ever seen before.


Readers, hold on to your skirts: The Weeklings proudly presents:

Twelve Very Literary Men

1. Jon Skovron

Jon “Jonny Skov” Skovron is the author of Struts & Frets and Misfit, published by Amulet Books. His next novel, Man Made Boy, about the teenage son of Frankenstein’s Monster, will be published October, 2013.

Likes: Summer mornings, almonds, being confused with Paul Weller.

Dislikes: How everything doesn’t look purple enough.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: Love Between the Stacks–to grope or not to grope in the library? A: “Librarians are dreamy. In fact, hot, tattooed librarian might be the ideal match for me. Especially if she also played bass in a punk band. Or drums. I’m not picky.”

Jon says breathily: “Being a writer is falling in love. Recklessly, fecklessly, endlessly.”

Woman enough to handle more Skov? Get a spoonful over at


2. Allen Zadoff

Allen “Z-dog” Zadoff is the author of Since You Left Me andFood, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have. However, after an accident involving a truckload of liquid testosterone on an L.A. freeway, he wrote a thriller series about a teen assassin called Boy Nobody. You will want to read it.

Likes: Ladies who know a Hollow Point from a Black Talon.

Dislikes: Profound hearing loss, Socialist gun control laws.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: Romance on book conference panels: sizzling or overrated? A: “I’ve never had a book panel romance, although I think John Green was giving me the eye when we did an event together in Houston. He also may have had something stuck in his eye. He will have to confirm or deny.”

Allen softly whispers: “There are three kinds of men in this world. Men willing to fight and die for their country. Men who write young adult literature. And I forget the third kind.”

For another taste of Allen, visit the web at:


3. Josh Berk

Josh “Oh, you better believe I’ll make it work” Berk is the author of the young adult novels The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin and Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator,which boasts numerous fart jokes. He’s been a journalist, a poet, and a guitarist (mostly in bands known for things other than fine guitar-playing.)

Likes: Publicist running her fingers through his “chest angora.”

Dislikes: An empty pipe, a naughty dog, and whatever he’s staring at on the far wall.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: What’s your preferred author picture–Enigmatic, 80′s magician, Puppy dog, Wry Smirk, Depressed Genius, or Plausibly Date-able Genius? A: “Depressed 80′s magician.”

Josh suggestively intones: “Finding time to be a writer, a librarian and a mustache-owner is a challenge, but as Abraham Lincoln famously said ‘The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.’ So let’s have a tête-à-tête with the triple-threat and see how this spicy piece of Berk makes it work.”

To whisper “you’re my huckleberry” in Josh’s ear, go to:


4. Aaron Hartzler

Aaron “Off the Charts” Hartzler is the author of 1,984 tweets (currently) and the YA memoir Rapture Practice (April 2013, Little, Brown) about getting kicked out of his Christian high school two weeks before graduation.

Likes: Black & Decker; Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Dislikes: When the words get in the way of the wood.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened in the YA groupie van? A: “One time the van stopped at Book Expo America in New York, and I was standing next to Ellen Hopkins when a couple of teachers came running up to grab the advanced reader copy of her latest book. One of them turned to Ellen not knowing it was her, and said, ‘Have you read this yet?’ I leaned in and said, ‘Got one better for you. She wrote it.’ Both of the teachers burst into tears and spent the next 10 minutes telling Ellen how much their students loved her books. Take that, book-banners.”

Aaron poutily insists: “As the son of a preacher man, I’ve got a long history of ‘moving’ people. The most important part of doing that through writing is having the right tools for the job. Sometimes, I’m able to dazzle the mistakes out of my manuscripts with my Sunday church smile. Other times, I have to break out the big guns and actually saw the pages apart.”

For 440 more volts of Aaron, go to:


5. M.T. Anderson

M.T. “No one punctuates baby in the corner” Anderson is the author of Feed (Winner of the 2002 LA Times Book Prize) and Octavian Nothing: The Pox Party (Winner of the 2006 National Book Award). His most recent novel is The Chamber in the Sky, the fourth and final book in the Norumbegan Quartet.

Likes: Slyly implying his initials stand for “Meat Thong.”

Dislikes: Classical music, foreign languages, historical facts.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: Who red-lined your sexiest edit? A: “Who can say? Cut me, editorix. Cut me till my pages reflow.”

M.T. murmurs: “Being a writer is like being in a Penthouse letters column every single day. At two, three, even four in the afternoon, we fling open the front door to welcome the UPS man, half-dressed in our pajamas and bathrobes. We murmur, ‘So, my friend … It looks like you’ve got a, um, package for me?’ And just when the whock-a-whaa music is about to start up, the UPS guy says, ‘Sure do!’ and hands over a box of our books that’s been remaindered at Buck-A-Book or Nickel-A-Novel. That’s when the dream kind of goes poof.”

To decode M.T. up close and personal, go to:


6. Sean Beaudoin

Sean “pronounce me French” Beaudoin is the author of Fade to BlueYou Killed Wesley Payne, and the spanking new rude-zombie opus The Infects. He is a fan of chess, basketball, pointless political arguments, and failing to appear Socratic.

Likes: When a lady says “it’s okay for us to go slow.” Also, the heart-shaped freckle on his inner thigh. 

Dislikes: Anything M.T. Anderson likes. Also, the word “slacks.”

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: What’s the hardest you’ve ever been blurbed? A: “Salman Rushdie said of my first book: ‘in hindsight, my Verses were merely pedestrian–Beaudoin’s are truly Satanic.’”

Sean smolders: “All writing is coded poetry–churning out the carnal rhythms of love, lust, and ruin. Plus, some crap about the undead.”

To see what else lurks under the fur, go to:


7. Lish McBride

Lish “Way, way down inside” McBride is the author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer andNecromancing the Stone. In his spare time he chops wood, fixes cars, and hangs out in seedy pool halls. He is a professional grizzly bear harasser.

Likes: Cheese fritters, Rollie Fingers, the remake of Red Dawn, and the ace of spades, motherfuc*er.

Dislikes: Kevin Emerson, skim milk, fans who get her book cover tattooed on their neck.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: Best way to ramp down the sex appeal in a pinch? A: “The podium covers many sins.”

Lish ululates: “Being a young adult author is a lot like fighting a grizzly bear. Only the grizzly bear doesn’t know you’re fighting. It’s too busy trying to catch a salmon while you’re standing on your tiptoes trying to make yourself look big. That’s what writing is like.”

To score Lish’s digits, or at least her binary code, go to


8. Dave Yoo

Dave “Are you with me Dr. Wu” Yoo is the author of two novels, Girls For Breakfast andStop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before, along with the barely read (ie: cult) middle grade novel, The Detention Club.

Likes: Milk, Madonna, and McHale.

Dislikes: Girls who don’t “get him,” girls who aren’t “super positive,” and girls who “can’t dunk.”

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: In twelve words or less, why writers are twice as masculine as firefighters or marines. A:“Writers don’t sleep every night in cavernous rooms full of other writers.”

Dave sussurates: “Being a writer means being a sex symbol to other aspiring writers. My sex symbol handle is King of the Mole People.”

To gently wipe the sweat off Dave’s brow, check out:


9. Kevin Emerson

Kevin “You’re not going Ralph Waldo on me, are you?” Emerson is the author of The Lost Code, the Oliver Nocturne series, Carlos is Gonna Get it, and the forthcomingFellowship For Alien Detection. Kevin also makes sweet music with his brainiac kids-rock outfit, The Board of Education, and teaches at Richard Hugo House and Seattle’s Writers in the Schools program.

Likes: Certain properties of PAM™ non-stick aerosol spray.

Dislikes: When a lady-friend forgets to season his skillet.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: Sexiest writer of antiquity? A: “Edgar Allan Poe. No one thrusts a head more cautiously and cunningly into a dark space than him. (Come on, guys, that’s a Telltale Heart reference.)”

Kevin purrs: “Being a YA author, people expect me to be beautiful and perfect all the time. Sure, I keep it tight, but I wish people could see me for the intimate waxings of my prose, not just of my…other stuff.”

To tell Kevin he’s your Cherry Pie, go to:


10. Adam Rex

Adam “Rhymes with sextet” Rex is the author and/or illustrator of something like 19 books, including the YA never-coming-of-age-story Fat Vampire. His first novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, will be a Dreamworks movie in the Fall of 2014, assuming everybody’s wrong about the Mayans

Likes: The anticipation of wondering what awaits in the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop.

Dislikes: Doug Henning. Esquivel. Penn but not Teller. 

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: Shakespearean character hook up– who do you want to spend a midsummer’s night with? A: “I’d spend a tempestuous night with Miranda, pre-shipwreck. I’d be the only man she’d ever laid eyes on who wasn’t her dad, and I like those odds.”

Adam saucily insists: “Being an author is like being a chaste Hugh Hefner. Spend all day in your pajamas? Sure. Eight girls for every boy at librarian conferences? Oh yeah. But your pajamas smell like cat, my friend; and those librarians only want to know if you’ve met Neil Gaiman.”

To snuggle up Next to Rex, go to:


11. Barry Lyga

Barry Lyga is the Yale-educated author of Archvillian, Fanboy and Goth Girl, and I Hunt Killers, a book which dares to ask “what if the world’s most notorious serial killer was your Dad?” And then dares to answer “buy the book and find out, genius!”

Likes: Frosting between his teeth, being groomed by his personal assistant.

Dislikes: Frosting in his beard, napkins, dentists.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: What’s the worst pick-up line you’ve ever heard while signing? A: “’Do you know where Stan Lee is?’ I know what she really wanted to know. She was so coy. It was cute.”

Barry rasps to you in the darkness: “Being a writer is all about showing off your big, heaving vocabulary and letting people get a peek at your exposed verbiage. It is so hot.”

To Pour Some Sugar on Him, go to:


12. Danny Neff

Danny “All heft” Neff is the author of the Unwinder series, including Rewind, DetwineEvil Twin and Betwixt. His vampire novel So Punctured has been optioned by the Coen brothers, and his latest novel, Strong Girl in an Evil Future was called “A classic of dystopic trending” by Neff also helms the popular ‘Nuff Neff podcast, which has more followers than Adam Corolla. He lives in Berkeley with his life-partner Angstia and their three and a half cats.

Likes: Four Loko, organic produce, morgellons, Rick Astley.

Dislikes: People who talk while I’m reading, people who talk while I’m talking.

Hot Question, Hotter Answer: Q: What would make the world of YA 77% sexier? A: “For one thing, 77% more Frey. For another, a series about teen plushies. Who are magic.” 

Danny coyly insinuates: “It is what it is, girlfriend. Get on the bus or get left behind. So don’t even go there.”

To see what an extra “F” buys you, go to:


And there you have it friends, a tour of the tour-de-force that is the Dudes of YA. As I think you’ll agree, no mere genre can contain these inkhorns–and no mere adjective can properly objectify them. But try “virile” on for size anyway.

Read them, love them, shelve them–or tragically misunderstand these Dudes–it’s your choice. But either way, it is statistically probable one of them will be coming to an independent bookstore near you. Very, very near you. And nothing in the world could keep them away.



***Special thanks to Cat Patrick for the original Dudes-piration.


Originally appeared at The Weeklings


Sean Beaudoin is the author of Fade to Blue and You Killed Wesley Payne. His latest novel is the rude zombie opus The Infects. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including: The Onion, Salon, Glimmer Train, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the inflight magazine of Southwest Airlines. He frequently ends his bio with an ironic or self-deprecating personal comment.

About The Weeklings

"The Weeklings' mission is this: a single essay a day, every single day. Their core company of seven contributors—one for each day of the week—covers politics, sex, music, art, literature, film, truth, justice and the American way. Save the day with @TheWeeklings !


  1. I once sat next to Danny Neff on a red-eye flight to JFK. He not only kept me awake all night with stories about his days as the mop boy at the Lusty Lady, but he also smelled peculiarly like mentholated fish sticks.

    • Neff told me those same stories, but I know someone who worked at the LL & they claimed to have never heard of him…

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