I do feel that the boys are getting left out. Girls will read boys' books, but boys won't read girls' books. If you're writing for a girl, you've got most of the audience on your side anyway.
'The Outsiders' cast in particular was a joy to be around - sweet kids, normal goofy teenagers off camera and serious artists on. They were great. I never got them mixed up with the characters, though. Each of them had his own strong personality.
I was a 'young adult' when I wrote 'The Outsiders,' although it was not a genre at the time. It's an interesting time of life to write about, when your ideals get slammed up against reality, and you must compromise.