Young adult fantasy is such a female dominated space that when I picked up Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar, I was surprised to discover that it had a male protagonist. Aspen Quick, our main character, comes from a family that can steal things from people. I don’t mean physical possessions; rather, they can reach into a person and take more nebulous things like good eyesight, a mole, or romantic feelings just by touching something with a connection to that person.
It’s an interesting power, but I wondered at first at the decision to make the protagonist male. However, I discovered that his maleness was essential to the development of the storyline, because the magical system in Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies is perfectly set up to discuss consent and critique male entitlement.
Spoilers for the story below!