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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Gay and Lesbian Books for Youth
As Michael Cart wrote in “YA Talk” [BKL Je 1 & 15 99], “scarcely more than 100 titles [for young people]” that deal sensitively with gay and lesbian themes have been published since the first one, John Donovan’s 1969 book I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip. Several years have passed, and we’re glad to be able to add at least a few more noteworthy books to the mix, although we had to go back several years to find the best, some of which came to the U.S. from Australia and New Zealand. I know Michael will agree with our plea to U.S. publishers to think about doing more such books here at home. For more on gay and lesbian literature, be sure to read Michael’s latest “YA Talk” on the following page.
Bechard, Margaret. If It Doesn’t Kill You. 1999. Viking, $15.99 (0-670-88547-9).
Gr. 9-12. When his father moves out to be with another man, Ben feels betrayed and ashamed. Then he meets someone who teaches him the difference between people who lie to manipulate and those who withhold the truth because they are struggling to discover it themselves.
Boock, Paula. Dare Truth or Promise. 1999. Houghton, $15 (0-395-97117-9).
Gr. 8-12. Willa, an outstanding student, wants to practice law; Louie simply wants to get through her exams and become a chef. Who would think they would fall in love? Like M. E. Kerr’s 1994 novel Deliver Us from Evie, this affecting story, set in New Zealand, is about two lesbians who stay together despite pressure to split them apart.
Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 1999. Pocket, paper, $14 (0-671-02734-4).
Gr. 11-up. A gay character is part of the mix in this darkly funny, explicit novel, originally published for adults. It’s about a precocious but naïve and cautious 15-year-old who tries to come to terms with a dreadful part of his past and discover who he is by breaking away from the “old him.”
Ferris, Jean. Eight Seconds. 2000. Harcourt, $17 (0-15-202367-4).
Gr. 6-12. At rodeo summer camp, John Ritchie admires the skills of his new friend Kit. When John discovers that Kit is gay, his old perceptions are challenged in ways that change both young men forever.
Ford, Michael Thomas. Outspoken: Role Models from the Lesbian and Gay Community. 1998. HarperCollins, $16 (0-688-14896-4).
Gr. 7-12. Ford’s collection of 11 interviews sensitively introduces men and women who have left the sexual angst and turmoil of adolescence behind to accept their homosexuality.
Garden, Nancy. The Year They Burned the Books. 1999. Farrar, $17 (0-374-38667-6).
Gr. 7-12. When high-school senior Jamie Crawford writes an editorial in favor of a health curriculum that includes condom distribution and frank discussion of homosexuality, she becomes embroiled in a controversy that leads to violence. An issue book, but a thoughtful one with solid characters.
Hines, Sue. Out of the Shadows. 2000. Avon/Tempest, paper, $6.99 (0-380-81192-8).
Gr. 9-12. Sassy humor leavens some of the serious concerns as three high-school friends grapple with sexual identity. Teens, gay and straight, will connect with the realistic friendship and honesty of this engaging story, which appeared first in Australia.
Mastoon, Adam. The Shared Heart. 1997. HarperCollins, lib. ed., $15.89 (0-06-029556-2); HarperTempest, paper, $6.95 (0-06-447304-X).
Gr. 8-12. A cross-section of young people, ranging in age from 16 to 22, contributed these poignant, uplifting coming-out stories that show the cruelty of homophobia as well as the importance of understanding parents and peers. Photos personalize the words.
Taylor, William. Blue Lawn. 1999. Alyson, paper, $9.95 (1-55583-493-0).
Gr. 9-12. The girls in David’s small New Zealand town have him in their radar. At 15, he’s handsome, smart, and really nice. But it’s the new guy, Theo, who gets David’s attention in this forthright story about same-sex attraction.
Wittlinger, Ellen. Hard Love. 1999. Simon & Schuster, $16.95 (0-689-82134-4); Aladdin, paper, $8 (0-689-84154-X).
Gr. 7-12. John thinks he’s immune to emotional attachments until he meets bright, brittle Marisol. But Marisol is gay and just wants to be friends. Funny, reflective, and poignant.
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