Category Archives: *** A good read

Rage – A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

aKnopf, 2009

Lesbian – High School

Johanna has been nursing a wild crush on Reeve, who she scarcely knows. She grasps at the opportunity to make a place in Reeve’s life for herself, even as Reeve pushes her away, and as her friends, and ex-lovers of Reeve’s warn her that she’s getting into trouble. Reeve lives in a home permeated with violence, drug and alcohol abuse. She struggles to survive and protect her brother Robbie, who is perhaps autistic. She can’t risk letting anyone get close to her, and violence is the only way she knows to push people away. Johanna, however, keeps coming back for more, in a pattern that becomes almost impossible to be willing to break.

Teens will find themselves deeply engaged in this very well-written book which deals realistically with the difficult issues raised; however, it is disappointing to read yet another LGBT novel that is so filled with pain and violence and hopeless relationships.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, High School, Lesbian

Sexile/Sexilio by Jaime Cortez

[Los Angeles]:  Institute for Gay Men’s Health, c2004.

Gay/Transgender – Adult/Teen interest

This bi-lingual graphic novel tells the story of a Cuban exile who first thinks he’s gay, then realizes he’s really transgender.

Some “mature” content.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, Adult, Gay, Sexually Explicit, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

Choir Boy by Charlie Anders

aSoft Skull Press, 2005.  

Transgender – Adult/Teen Interest

Thirteen-year-old Berry wants nothing more than to remain a choirboy all his life. In humorous and heart-rending fashion Berry goes from nerdy teen to confused transgender-kid.  Anders brings new life to the term teenage angst.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, Adult, Soldier Girls and Dancing Boys

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

Publication7Sourcebooks, 2013.

Gay – High School

Sixteen-year-old Lucy feels like everything is going wrong in her life: new student, and drama camp rival Elyse wins the role of Juliet that Lucy had expected to get. Then her boyfriend of two years, Ty, who is playing Romeo, dumps her for Elyse. On top of that her mother, Lisa, who has made exactly two previous appearances in her life has arrived, and Lucy’s dads decide to let her stay with them.

Lucy can’t imagine how much worse things can get, but waking up with a horrible hangover in a strange bed, with a naked man she only vaguely recognizes is just the beginning of it. When she tests positive for HIV, she is ready to give up. The support of her two fathers, a support group they force her to go to, and ultimately the support of a couple of long-term friends and a potential new boyfriend help her regain her desire to fight for her future.

This well-written book tackles a subject that has been largely neglected – that of white middle-class heterosexual teens who contract HIV. Most recent books focus on HIV/AIDS in the gay community, or, more often, among young people in Africa.

The fact that Lucy has two fathers is treated matter-of-factly.

Recommended.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2010s

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

a Amulet Books, 2010

Gay – Elementary/Middle School

Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang have been best friends practically forever.  Like most girls, they want to be popular, and they worry about the pressures of junior high. With the idea of recreating themselves over the coming year they embark on a project to figure out how to become popular. They keep a secret notebook, with Julie recording the results of their various experiments in words and pictures, while the braver Lydia will be the subject (or victim) of these attempts to understand what it is that popularity is all about.

They try to bleach Lydia’s hair with laundry bleach; try to be interested in boys that the popular girls seem to think are interesting – or try to be interested in boys at all; they try to convince their parents’ they need cell phones (Julie has two dads, something that is only mentioned in passing, although they do appear in the story periodically); join sports that they aren’t really interested in; try out for the school play; enter the talent show, etc.

They make some new friends, learn that the popular girls have problems of their own, have a falling out, and come back together again.

The characterizations are spot-on, the graphic format appealing for the age group, and preteen girls will recognize themselves in Julie and Lydia, and laugh at, and with them.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s

Water Seekers by Michelle Rode

aPrizm Books, 2008

High School

Set thirty some years after a nuclear apocalypse, the unnamed narrator, a young loner who travels from camp to camp in the Southwest desert looking for work in exchange for food, and especially water, has been listening carefully to discussions and rumors of a place in the North called the Great Lakes where water is supposed to be easy to come by. He plans to travel alone to check these rumors out, but is convinced by Zara, an “old one” (someone who remembers life before the disaster) that traveling in a group would be safer. Ultimately a group ranging in age from the very young to Zara’s crazy mother, with varying survival skills, set forth. They encounter storms, bandits, hostile camps, quicksand, illness, and arguments, as they search for something no one is sure exists.

There are a couple of secondary characters who are lesbians.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, High School, Lesbian

My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman

aHenry Holt, 2009

Lesbian/Questioning – High School

Sisters Roz and Eva, a year apart, have always been best friends and confidantes, but suddenly Eva is shutting out Roz, their parents, and her best friend Carmen. Roz is hurt and is looking for reasons for this sudden change in her sister.

Both sisters participate in theatre at school, with Eva always winning the main roles. When Roz wins the role of Rosalind in “As You Like It,” she worries that this is the reason Eva is mad.

When she discovers Eva has a lesbian novel hidden under her covers, she guesses that Eva is a lesbian and is afraid of coming out. Always the more gregarious and impetuous, Roz, whose (male) crush is dating Eva, decides that girls could be a possibility in her future, and decides to come out to pave the way for Eva.

Encountering some unexpected homophobia in the form of name-calling and pranks, even from her sister, Roz plows bravely forward with her new “lifestyle,” and strikes back with pranks and attacks of her own.

Mirroring “As You Like It,” Roz and Carmen, and the members of the drama club all seem to be in love with, or have crushes on the wrong people. And as in the play, all is sorted out in the end, with the “real” lesbian(s) standing up, the sisters reunited, and Roz with a surprising new love interest of her own.

Overlooking the annoying cover photo, this was actually an entertaining light read that teens will enjoy.

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Filed under *** A good read, 2000s, High School, Lesbian, Questioning