What’s New in LGBTQIA+ This Summer
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 June 2015 and July 2015 titles. All annotations here are via WorldCat or the publishers. My previous post, from April, can be found here.
This Book is Gay by James Dawson (Sourcebooks, June 2, ISBN 9781492617839):
Lesbian. Bisexual. Queer. Transgender. Straight. Curious. This book is for everyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference. This book is for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder. This book is for YOU.
There’s a long-running joke that, after “coming out,” a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You’re welcome.
Inside you’ll find the answers to all the questions you ever wanted to ask: from sex to politics, hooking up to stereotypes, coming out and more. This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBT also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations.
You will be entertained. You will be informed. But most importantly, you will know that however you identify (or don’t) and whomever you love, you are exceptional. You matter. And so does this book.
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (Soho Press, Inc., June 2, ISBN 9781616955601):
Read my review here and Karen’s review here.
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
The Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-relief procedure seems too good to be true to Aaron Soto—miracle cure-alls don’t tend to pop up in the Bronx projects. Aaron could never forget how he’s grown up poor, how his friends aren’t there for him, or how his father committed suicide in their one-bedroom apartment. Aaron has the support of his patient girlfriend, if not necessarily his distant brother and overworked mother, but it’s not enough.
Then Thomas shows up. He has a sweet movie-watching setup on his roof, and he doesn’t mind Aaron’s obsession with a popular fantasy series. There are nicknames, inside jokes. Most importantly, Thomas doesn’t mind talking about Aaron’s past. But Aaron’s newfound happiness isn’t welcome on his block. Since he can’t stay away from Thomas or suddenly stop being gay, Aaron must turn to Leteo to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he is.
Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen (Penguin Young Readers Group, June 2, ISBN 9780399167713):
A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness.
Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.
Told in raw, exposed free verse, Skyscraping reminds us that there is no one way to be a family.
Glittering Shadows by Jaclyn Dolamore (Dark Metropolis series, Disney-Hyperion, June 16, ISBN 9781423163312):
The revolution is here.
Bodies line the streets of Urobrun; a great pyre burns in Republic Square. The rebels grow anxious behind closed doors while Marlis watches as the politicians search for answers-and excuses-inside the Chancellery.
Thea, Freddy, Nan, and Sigi are caught in the crossfire, taking refuge with a vibrant, young revolutionary and a mysterious healer from Irminau. As the battle lines are drawn, a greater threat casts a dark shadow over the land. Magic might be lost-forever.
This action-packed sequel to DARK METROPOLIS weaves political intrigue, haunting magic, and heartbreaking romance into an unforgettable narrative. Dolamore’s lyrical writing and masterfully crafted plot deliver a powerful conclusion.
The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek by Seth Rudetsky (Random House Children’s Books, June 23, 9780449816721):
Broadway, New York. The shows, the neon lights . . . the cute chorus boys! It’s where Justin has always wanted to be—and now, with a winter internship for a famous actor, he finally has his chance to shine. If only he could ditch his kind, virtuous, upright, and—dare he say it?—uptight boyfriend, Spencer. But once the internship begins, Justin has more to worry about than a cramped single-guy-in-the-city style. Instead of having his moment in the spotlight, he’s a not-so-glorified errand boy. Plus, Spencer is hanging out with a celebra-hottie, Justin’s best friend Becky isn’t speaking to him, and his famous actor boss seems headed for flopdom. Justin’s tap-dancing as fast as he can, but all his wit and sass might not be enough to switch his time in New York from nightmare-terrible to dream-come-true terrific.
Seth Rudetsky’s second YA novel is endearingly human, laugh-out-loud funny, and for any kid who’s ever aspired to Broadway but can only sneak in through the stage door.
Summer Love: An LGBTQ Collection (edited by Annie Harper, Novelstream dba Interlude Press, June 23, ISBN 9781941530368):
From my June 2015 SLJ review:
Gr 10 Up—This anthology of love stories is the perfect summer read—it’s fast, fun, and will leave readers smiling. The nine entries present characters that identify in a variety of ways. Stand-out stories include “Surface Tension” by Ella J. Ash. Logan is part of the swim staff at a summer arts camp and never imagines he could find love there—or while a teenager at all. Meeting outgoing Dave changes his mind. In “What the Heart Wants,” by Naomi Tajedler, Noam discovers her attraction to an art class model, Amber, and isn’t sure if that makes her a lesbian, bisexual, or just Amber-sexual. Meanwhile, her best friend begins dating an asexual boy. Other stories feature a revelation at a gay pride parade, a romance set at the beginning of World War II, a traveling fire-eater, a letter to a best friend, a transgender boy finding love on the Cape, an unexpected crush, and a broken-hearted girl seeking solace but instead finding just the company she needs. All of the stories have happy endings and most feature extremely supportive and loving families. In many cases, the main characters come out to someone at some point, but that’s not the focus of the stories. These are the first published stories for most of the authors in this collection, and it often shows. VERDICT The writing is somewhat unpolished, but the focus on LGBTQ teens finding love, hope, and happiness makes this a solid addition to all collections.
Under the Lights: A Daylight Falls Novel by Dahlia Adler (Spencer Hill Press, June 30, ISBN 9781633920170):
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents’ wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls…opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he’s trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he’s in the spotlight–on everyone’s terms but his own–Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.
Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents’ disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she’s painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van’s life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she’ll have to choose between the one thing she’s always loved…and the person she never imagined she could.
You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 7, ISBN 9780544301122):
“Do not ignore a call from me when you know I am feeling neurotic about a boy. That is Best Friend 101.” —Nash
Maggie and Nash are outsiders. She’s overweight. He’s out of the closet. The best of friends, they have seen each other through thick and thin, but when Tom moves to town at the start of the school year, they have something unexpected in common: feelings for the same guy. This warm, witty novel—with a clear, true voice and a clever soundtrack of musical references—sings a song of love and forgiveness.
Paperweight by Meg Haston (HarperCollins Publishers, July 7, ISBN 9780062335746):
In the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss.
Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert. Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at meal time, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid. Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she, too, will end her life.
Paperweight follows Stevie’s journey as she struggles not only with this life-threatening eating disorder, but with the question of whether she can ever find absolution for the mistakes of her past…and whether she truly deserves to.
About a Girl by Sarah McCarry (St. Martin’s Press, July 14, ISBN 9781250068620):
From my June 2015 SLJ review:
Gr 10 Up—The conclusion to the “Metamorphoses” trilogy (St. Martin’s) follows Tally to a small town outside of Seattle where she seeks out her maybe-father to learn more about her past and her family. The place feels full of magic and people who intrigue her. Tally has a hard time thinking straight here, and her dreams are filled with vivid and terrifying images of blood. She falls for the mysterious Maddy, a girl who seems to hold the answers to her many questions. Based loosely on the story of Jason and the Argonauts, the protagonist’s journey reveals far more about her family than she could have imagined. Maddy keeps saying “no pasts,” but as Tally learns, the past is everywhere—the past is then and now. The stunning, densely packed story is full of as much intoxicating poetry as meticulous scientific explanations. Tally’s initial prim and rather academic narration becomes richer and more dreamlike as her story unfolds. This edgy, smart, and challenging title combines mythology, punk rock, science, a quest, feminism, art, dreams, and the power of stories and storytelling with unforgettable results. The well-developed cast of characters is racially and sexually diverse. The emphasis on the importance of female relationships—as family, as lovers, and as friends—is a welcome exploration of the many levels of intimacy. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but will certainly send new readers looking for the previous books in the series. VERDICT A highly recommended and breathtakingly read for sophisticated readers.
Asher’s Out by Elizabeth Wheeler (Bold Strokes Books, July 14, ISBN 9781626394117):
For his sixteenth birthday, Asher Price gets a date and a death threat. No one believes he’s in danger, but when Asher’s relationship with Garrett is revealed in his small Florida town, he’s certain he will be destroyed. Still haunted by guilt over his brother’s death and his mom’s breakdown, Asher can’t tell the truth. Instead, his best friend’s practical advice to deny everything wins out. When Asher’s mom announces they’re moving to Chicago, it seems like the perfect out, but how can he leave the only place that holds memories of his dead brother? Asher must choose between staying in a town where people know too much or escaping to a city where no one knows or cares, but either way, he can’t hide from himself. In the final book of this award-winning series, Asher exposes his greatest fears and finally develops a clear picture of his true self.
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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