Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gay Characters in YA Lit

As you know, I'm serving on the YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults committee.  While all of us on the committee are reading broadly, we've also each taken on the responsibility to ensure that certain genres, sub-genres and niches are not being overlooked.  My special niche is books with LGBT characters.  I thought that finding books that fit the bill would be a piece of cake, but it's harder than I thought!

Sure, I know that there are resources like The Stonewall Book Awards and The Rainbow List, but they only publish a list once a year, and the books on their 2013 list were published in 2012 and thus most are ineligible for our 2014 list.  My search for blogs that review with a focus on LGBT YA titles has also been a mixed bag.  The Hub had a post in February of 2012 that gave some recommendations on award lists, blog and author pages to check out for LGBT reading recommendations.  One of the blogs that was recommended, QueerYA, had a bunch of reviews for fiction titles published since September 2012.  Score! I'm Here, I'm Queer, What the Hell Do I Read? also had a bunch of reviews, but a lot were for graphic novels and memoirs (not in our purview), or were out of our committee's designated date range.  Boo! Author Alex Sanchez has an awesome list of fiction recommendations on his website...but none are 2013 releases. I had a similar experience visiting author Malinda Lo's website.  Womp womp.  Then I came across this amazing article from The Atlantic, that was published in March, and listed a whole bunch of new and upcoming releases. Jackpot!  Between this article and QueerYA, I've put together a pretty decently-sized reading list.

Of course, I'm still on the lookout for more titles, so if you have any to recommend and/or know of some good blogs to check out, definitely send them my way.

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  1. Don't overlook fantasy/SF titles, whose queer content might not be splashed across them. The one book along these lines I can think of so far in 2013 is The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar. Will let you know if more come my way.

  2. Now that my review is out, I can also point you toward Winger by Andrew Smith. It features a gay-teen-boy seen through the eyes of his straight-teen-boy friend...whose attitude is basically "Joey's my friend and I'm gonna hang out with him, and if other people I'm gay too because of that, that's their problem." For that reason and others, it's a punch-packing book.

    My review in BookPage is here: