What’s new in LGBTQIA+ this (late) winter
Every other month I’ll be doing a roundup of new and forthcoming YA books (and sometimes some non-YA books) featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. I’ll try to include as many titles as possible. Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers February 2015 and March 2015 titles. All annotations here are via WorldCat or the publishers. My previous post, from December, can be found here.
Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton (ATOM, February 5, ISBN 9780349002064):
Megan doesn’t speak. She hasn’t spoken in months. Pushing away the people she cares about is just a small price to pay. Because there are things locked inside Megan’s head – things that are screaming to be heard – that she cannot, must not, let out. Then Jasmine starts at school: bubbly, beautiful, talkative Jasmine. And for reasons Megan can’t quite understand, life starts to look a bit brighter. Megan would love to speak again, and it seems like Jasmine might be the answer. But if she finds her voice, will she lose everything else?
Promposal by Rhonda Helms (Simon Pulse, February 10, ISBN 9781481422321):
Prom should be one of the most memorable nights of your life. But for Camilla and Joshua, some elaborate promposals are getting in the way. Will they be able to land their dream dates in time for the dance?
Promposal (n.)—an often very public proposal, in which one person asks another person to the prom, eliciting joy or mortification.
Camilla can’t help hoping her secret crush, Benjamin, might randomly surprise her out of the blue with a promposal. But when she’s asked to prom by an irritating casual acquaintance—who’s wearing a fancy tux and standing in front of a news crew—she’s forced to say yes. However, all hope is not lost, as a timely school project gives Camilla a chance to get closer to Benjamin…and it seems like the chemistry between them is crackling. Is she reading into something that isn’t there, or will she get her dream guy just in time for prom?
Joshua has been secretly in love with his best friend Ethan since middle school. Just as he decides to bite the bullet and ask Ethan if he’d go to prom with him, even if just as friends, he gets a shocking surprise: Ethan asks Joshua for help crafting the perfect promposal—for another guy. Now Joshua has to suppress his love and try to fake enthusiasm as he watches his dreams fall apart…unless he can make Ethan see that love has been right in front of his eyes the whole time.
The road to the perfect promposal isn’t easy to navigate. But one thing’s certain—prom season is going to be memorable. (SEE MY REVIEW HERE)
Dark Rites by Jeremy Jordan King (Bold Strokes Books, February 17, ISBN 9781626392458):
The actors in the 1922 production of Weinstein’s Wonderacts have a secret: they aren’t just performers, they’re members of a Circle, a coven dedicated to enlightenment through magic. To enhance their power, they have their eye on the new girl in the cast, Margarite, a natural witch. But the coven’s leader, Vincent, isn’t satisfied. He’s hungry for more, to become a Complete Man. He turns to a mysterious wanderer for counsel, but could the teacher’s intentions and rituals be malevolent? Being the only one with true gifts, it’s up to Margarite to save her friends from enacting these dark rites.
Top 250 LGBT Books for Teens: Coming Out, Being Out, and the Search for Community by Michael Cart and Christine A. Jenkins (Huron Street Press, March 2, ISBN 9781937589561):
Identifying titles that address the sensitive and important topics of coming out, being out, and the search for community, this catalog spotlights the best gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, and questioning books written for teens. The authors cover fiction of all kinds, as well as graphic novels and general nonfiction aimed at readers in middle school and high school, and include recent publications as well as classics that continue to be read and enjoyed by 21st-century teens. Information on how to find library programs, services, and additional resources for LGBTQ teens is also provided, making this a one-stop sourcebook for LGBTQ teens, their families, friends, and classmates, as well as teachers and librarians.
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz (Simon Pulse, March 3, ISBN 9781481405966):
From the award-winning author of Break and Teeth comes a raw and honest exploration of complicated identities in a novel about a girl living on the fringe of every fringe group in her small town.
Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.
Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere—until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca might be Etta’s salvation…but can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself? (SEE MY REVIEW OF THIS TITLE HERE.)
Honey Girl by Lisa Freeman (Sky Pony Press, March 3, ISBN 9781632204257):
How to survive California’s hottest surf spot: Never go anywhere without a bathing suit. Never cut your hair. Never let them see you panic.
The year is 1972. Fifteen-year-old Haunani “Nani” Grace Nuuhiwa is transplanted from her home in Hawaii to Santa Monica, California after her father’s fatal heart attack. Now the proverbial fish-out-of-water, Nani struggles to adjust to her new life with her alcoholic white (haole) mother and the lineup of mean girls who rule State Beach.
Following “The Rules”—an unspoken list of dos and don’ts—Nani makes contact with Rox, the leader of the lineup. Through a harrowing series of initiations, Nani not only gets accepted into the lineup, she gains the attention of surf god, Nigel McBride. But maintaining stardom is harder than achieving it. Nani is keeping several secrets that, if revealed, could ruin everything she’s worked so hard to achieve. Secret #1: She’s stolen her dad’s ashes and hidden them from her mom. Secret #2: In order to get in with Rox and her crew, she spied on them and now knows far more than they could ever let her get away with. And most deadly of all, Secret #3: She likes girls, and may very well be in love with Rox.
Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles(Candlewick Press, March 10, ISBN 9780763663872):
Does anyone ever see us for who we really are? Jo Knowles’s revelatory novel of interlocking stories peers behind the scrim as it follows nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day.
Thanks to a bully in gym class, unpopular Nate suffers a broken finger—the middle one, splinted to flip off the world. It won’t be the last time a middle finger is raised on this day. Dreamer Claire envisions herself sitting in an artsy café, filling a journal, but fate has other plans. One cheerleader dates a closeted basketball star; another questions just how, as a “big girl,” she fits in. A group of boys scam drivers for beer money without remorse—or so it seems. Over the course of a single day, these voices and others speak loud and clear about the complex dance that is life in a small town. They resonate in a gritty and unflinching portrayal of a day like any other, with ordinary traumas, heartbreak, and revenge. But on any given day, the line where presentation and perception meet is a tenuous one, so hard to discern. Unless, of course, one looks a little closer—and reads between the lines.
Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan (Penguin Young Readers Group, March 17, ISBN 9780525428848):
Especially for those of us who ordinarily feel ignored, a spotlight is a circle of magic, with the strength to draw us from the darkness of our everyday lives.
Watch out, ex-boyfriends, and get out of the way, homophobic coaches. Tiny Cooper has something to say—and he’s going to say it in song.
Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers, Hold Me Closer is the no-holds-barred (and many-bars-held) entirety of the beloved musical first introduced in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, the award-winning bestseller by John Green and David Levithan.
Tiny Cooper is finally taking center stage . . . and the world will never be the same again.
Fifty Yards and Holding by David-Matthew Barnes (Bold Strokes Books, March 17, ISBN 9781626390812):
Victor Alvarez is in serious trouble. Now seventeen and flunking out of high school, he’s been chosen as the leader of the violent street gang he’s been a member of since he was thirteen. Riley Brewer has just broken a state record as the star of their high school baseball team. When Riley and Victor meet by chance, a connection begins to grow. When friendship turns to love, both young men realize their reputations contradict who they really are. Once their secret relationship is discovered, Victor realizes their lives are at risk. Refusing to hide in order to survive, Riley vows that only death can keep him apart from Victor.
Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy, (Simon Pulse, March 24, ISBN 9781442495739):
A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!
Darren hasn’t had an easy year.
There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.
Then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.
Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy’s debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.
Half Wild by Sally Green (Penguin Young Readers Group, March 24, ISBN 9780670017133):
Half Bad Trilogy series book 2.
“You will have a powerful Gift, but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad.”
In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he’s on the run—but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.
Playing a Part by Daria Wilke, Marian Schwartz (Scholastic, Inc. March 31, ISBN 9780545726078):
The first young adult novel translated from Russian, a brave coming-out, coming-of-age story.
In June 2013, the Russian government passed laws prohibiting “gay propaganda,” threatening jail time and fines to offenders. That same month, in spite of these harsh laws, a Russian publisher released PLAYING A PART, a young adult novel with openly gay characters. It was a brave, bold act, and now this groundbreaking story has been translated for American readers.
In PLAYING A PART, Grisha adores everything about the Moscow puppet theater where his parents work, and spends as much time there as he can. But life outside the theater is not so wonderful. The boys in Grisha’s class bully him mercilessly, and his own grandfather says hateful things about how he’s not “masculine” enough. Life goes from bad to worse when Grisha learns that Sam, his favorite actor and mentor, is moving: He’s leaving the country to escape the extreme homophobia he faces in Russia.
How Grisha overcomes these trials and writes himself a new role in his own story is heartfelt, courageous, and hopeful.
Filed under: GLBTQ
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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