World Pride is currently happening in the city of Toronto and it’s such an amazing and inspiring event. I thought I’d take some time to share with you all few of my favourite LGBT reads, since in the last few years this has become a booming market, especially in YA. With this amazing event currently under way, I thought I’d highlight five LGBT books that I absolutely adore and think you should check out.
One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva (Published May 27th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
So I’ve actually had the pleasure of exchanging words with Michael Barakiva and he is an insanely talented man. This novel looks at Alek, a young Armenian boy who at first seems confused as to his sexual orientation. It’s then that Alek meets Ethan and ends up having one of the most extraordinary summers of his life. This book has a ton of passion, and its infused with a variety of cultural and social issues to take light of. Alek’s voice is beautiful, honest and full of humor. This book does an amazing job of showing us how one can become connected to their sexual orientation and still be equally connected to their culture. Plus this book makes reference to Rufus Wainwright, and I love me some Rufus.
Ask the Passengers by A.S King (Published October 23rd 2012 by Little, Brown BFYR)
Those who know me well know my undying love of A.S King. Her books have a way of sucking the reader into some of the most heartbreaking and honest situations ever to be see in Young Adult. I read Ask the Passengers in one sitting, and it’s because Astrid story is one of identify, understanding, and the woman she falls in love with creates a spiral of mess, love, catastrophe and honesty. What I love is Astrid’s desire to connect with others, even those she doesn’t know, because it’s in these quieter moments where she really begins to understand who she thinks she is, and who she wants to be. Seriously, if you’ve never read a book by A.S King, do it. Her books has these magical quality and it’s so easy to connect with her narrators because they only give bits and pieces of their puzzles to solve.
Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters (Published May 10th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, also known as Pretend You Love Me)
I have the biggest love-hate relationship with this book and that because it’s so damn heartbreaking. Mike is a trans-woman and is well known in her community for this. The acceptance in her town, while not entirely perfect, is getting there. Insert Xanadu: beautiful, fearless, complete trouble, and straight. Mike’s story is a whirlwind and Peters does this amazing job of giving you Mike’s emotional insecurities, because let’s face it: you can’t help who you fall in love with, and when you have all the feelings of love/hate/fear/etc screaming through your body, eventually something has to give. Mike’s story is beautiful, but that ending, I was so mad for her. I was, and that just goes to show you how well Julie Anne Peters can play with people’s emotions. A fantastic, but frustrating book as well.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (Published May 10th 2005 by Alfred A. Knopf)
If you read YA, in particular GLBT YA, then you David Levithan. The man has ensured that every LGBT group has been represented in his works in some way and of all of them, Boy Meets Boy is still my favourite. Paul and Noah have one of the sweetest relationships to grace YA, and they are accompanied by one of my all time favourite fictional characters, Infinite Darlene. If you do not know who Infinite Darlene is, you are missing out on someone who knows who they are and is proud to flaunt it. This book is a quick read, another one I read in a day. The story is just so wonderful that I wish more people would read it: it’s a classic! And while your at it, read Levithan’s other books, they are pretty great too.
Ash by Malinda Lo (Published September 1st 2009 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
This was a book that took me by surprise. A lot of people who I’ve talked too for whatever reason didn’t seem to enjoy this book. I went in knowing what others had felt and I… loved this book. It was a very clever retelling of Cinderella that had a wonderful twist with Ash being a lesbian. Moreover, Ash and Kaisa’s romance is gorgeously written and they were so easy to root for throughout the story. This book also focuses on the transformation one makes when dealing with stages of grief I can’t recommend this book enough to people, it’s deep, it’s interesting, and so wonderfully intense. Love, love, love this one.
And there you have it! What are some of your favourite LGBT reads? I wish I could have listed all the ones I have read that I have enjoyed, but that would take forever. Still, I’m glad we have so much more LGBT literature out there for teens to explore because I know when I was growing up it was so much more scarce. Happy Pride Week, folks!