In the vast sea of YA novels, there used to be a dearth of stories for the LGBTQ community. Slowly but surely, though, new young authors are penning fiction that reflects a more authentic, diverse world. Julia Watts’ Secret City is an important addition to the genre. (more…)
Z Egloff’s novel, Leap (Bywater Books), is not simply a coming of age novel. It is a novel about interpersonal relationships, the quest for the truth, the psychological turmoil brought about by lies and deception, and apprehension about the future. Leap is also about love, not just romantic love, but self-love, familial love, and platonic love. (more…)
Rafael Fannen is indeed young (14 years old), gifted (recipient of a minority scholarship to an all-male Catholic preparatory school), and black. He is also caught in a world where everything he relied upon is changing as he himself is changing. Rafe must confront the strange culture of his new school while contending with a mother who believes she is talking to angels. On the weekends, he tries to relate to his ex-con father’s latest commercial venture involving selling African related masks and spiritual items. (more…)
Every time I read a Michelle Tea book, I fall through some portal into a strange new world. No matter if it is fiction or nonfiction, Tea has a way of making whatever she writes about jump off the page with an all-encompassing verve. (more…)
In Sagebrush & Lace (Banty Hen Publishing), the writing team of Ryder and Cutler introduces us to Samantha Williams and Charlotte Hart, two women who conspire to flee their lives of comfort in Chicago during the late 1870s and escape the prospect of an arranged marriage for Samantha. That the women have no idea what they’re getting into when they strike out alone is an understatement. Their learning curve is fast and their fugitive status is established even faster. Adventure abounds as the two are tracked by Pinkerton detectives, attacked by renegades, and helped by madams, journalists and lawmen as they make their way across the plains toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the freedom of a bohemian life in San Francisco. (more…)
When you send your “love” and thoughts out to the riders of an airplane flying above your head, can the passengers feel it? Does it make a difference to them? Does unconditional love exist? Can you love a girl and not be a lesbian? If she loves you back, are you then a lesbian? So far, all seventeen-year-old Astrid Jones knows is sending her “love” to the airplanes feels like freedom. “It’s love without strings. It’s ideal.” Loving someone like Dee doesn’t feel like that.
“Keeping secrets isn’t my specialty,” declares 16-year-old Chelsea Knot. Talking about everyone and everything is her specialty—the key to her social status. After all, gossip is how she became best friends with Kristen, one of the most popular girls in school who is about to attend the best New Year’s Eve party ever. When Chelsea arrives at the party with the latest piece of gossip (complete with pictures), she suspects—if all goes according to plan—that she and Brendon, her ultimate crush, will be a couple by midnight. (more…)
Ivan E. Coyote knows the hearts of teenagers. One in Every Crowd (Arsenal Pulp Press) is an homage to the outsider: to the young boy who steals his mother’s lipstick, to the girl who slip-slides in and out of gender identifications, to the ones who can’t put themselves in boxes. To the ones who cannot abide by the binary. It is a love-touched and memory-soaked ballad to queer youth.
High school student Shai (pronounced Shy) doesn’t mind that the love of her life, Marlena, is closeted. They have shared a love neither of them can imagine being without, despite the intrusion of Rick, whom Marlena’s Puerto Rican family thinks is her perfect match. On Shai and Marlena’s second anniversary—which falls on the last day of school—Shai can’t resist reading Marlena’s explicit text messages while in class, thrilled and excited by them as she hides her cell phone behind a textbook. Until the teacher (Fart Face) catches Shai and reads the messages in their entirety to the class.