Category Archives: Gay

Gay

Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Harlequin Teen, 2012.

Chelsea Knot is one of the popular girls, based almost solely on the basis of her friendship with queen bee, Kristen, who manipulates her, and everyone around her to get what she wants. Most of their time together is spent putting other people down, shopping, and gossiping about boys.

Chelsea is also known for her inability to keep a secret, unless she can blackmail someone for something better than the thrill of spilling the latest gossip. When she finds out that Tessa is sneaking around with her best friend, Megan’s boyfriend, and has pictures to prove it, Kristen convinces her not to share the photos if Tessa will get them two fake IDs.

So far, there is nothing likeable about Chelsea – and it’s all about to go downhill at a New Year’s party at Kristen’s. Drunk, and in desperate need of a bathroom, Chelsea stumbles into a bedroom where she discovers two boys making love. With the best secret of the year in her grasp, Chelsea blurts out the details to everyone within hearing range. Kristen, her boyfriend Warren, and others react in horror, disgust and anger, and Warren and his sidekick Joey follow the two boys out the door, saying they’re just going to teach them a lesson.

When she finds out from Kristen, the next morning, that Noah, one of the two gay teens, is in the hospital, Chelsea accedes to Kristen’s threat not to say anything to anyone.

Surprisingly, her conscience gets the better of her, and she confesses everything to her parents, and makes a statement to the police.

She then takes a vow of silence.

Returning to school, Chelsea finds that all of her friends have turned against her, and she is treated to verbal and physical abuse and harassment that the school administration manages to remain ignorant of. Given detention every day by her English teacher for not participating in class, Chelsea makes a new friend, who draws her into a new circle of people who are respectful of her silence.

These new relationships are not uncomplicated – they all know what she did, and one of the teens in this group is Noah’s boyfriend, who is furious and resents her presence in his life.

What Chelsea learns about herself through her silence, and through her new friendships is what makes this book worth reading, and not simply another story of a gay-bashing.

 

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2010s, Gay, High School, Middle School

Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones

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Llewellyn Publications/Flux 2007.

Gay – T

Belle had expected to marry her high school boyfriend, Dylan, after college, so she is devastated when he comes out to her. However, she soon starts dating someone else, and even manages to be there as a friend to Dylan, despite her anger.

Jones has nothing new to offer with this well-worn plot theme.  Low recommend.

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Filed under ** Low recommend, 2000s, Gay, High School

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah Brannen

Putnam, 2008.  a

Gay – Infant-Preschool

Guinea pigs Chloe and her Uncle Bobby are best buddies. They do everything together. When Chloe learns that Uncle Bobby will be marrying his friend Jamie, she worries she will be left out in the cold. After a talk with Uncle Bobby she feels reassured, and even grows to appreciate Jamie.

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Filed under **** Highly recommended, 2000s, Gay, Infant - Preschool

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

Magic and Misery by Peter Marino

Haoliday House, 2009.

Gay – High School

Another stereotypical teen novel in which the girl (Toni Jo), has a crush on a guy (Pan, short for Pansy–yes really), only to find out he is gay. Stuck together in their miserable little town where nothing’s happening, they swear best friendship and loyalty to each other, only to have it shaken when teen jock, Caspar, falls for Toni Jo.

Pan acts like a jealous boyfriend, and Toni Jo lies to both boys, alienating each of them: not telling Pan when she has a date with Caspar, and not telling Caspar that the reason she can’t go to the prom with him is that she already promised to go with Pan.

Meanwhile, Pan is the victim of increasing harassment from two classmates, and refuses to complain to school authorities. Nothing Amy can say will convince him to report the abuse, and ultimately, he and his family decide they need to move out of the area.

While there is nothing glaringly wrong with this book, it isn’t a strong title. None of the characters is well-developed, and the dialogue is occasionally wooden. Caspar is consistently portrayed as somewhat slow on the draw, and it isn’t clear what Toni Jo sees in him beyond the fact that she’s desperate for male attention.  And Pan’s jealous behavior comes close to being the frightening sort which parents ought to be warning their daughters against.

Marino is a playwright and has published a previous novel that was well-received.

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Filed under ** Low recommend, 2000s, Gay

“Mommy, Mama and Me,” and “Daddy, Papa and Me” by Leslea Newman

aTricycle Press, 2009

Lesbian, Gay – Infant/Preschool

Written by the well-known author of  “Heather has Two Mommies,” these two titles are the first board books to focus specifically on same-sex parents. Illustrated by Carol Thompson, they depict loving families in warm, inviting colors, with the brief story about a day in each family told in easy rhyme.

These books will be welcomed by the thousands of same-sex parents looking for books reflective of their families, but all children will enjoy the familiar stories of a day spent with loving parents.

The books have won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Best Book Award.

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Filed under ***** Must Read, 2000s, 2010s, Book Awards, Gay, Infant - Preschool, Lesbian

The Blonde of the Joke by Bennett Madison

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HarperTeen, 2009

Gay – High School

Val is one of those students at high school who just blends in. She doesn’t have any particular friends, she skates by with a B+ average though she could do better; her physics teacher can’t even remember her name.

Then Francie joins her class and everything changes. Francie is flamboyant, defiant, she smokes, she’s always late to class, her clothing pushes the dress code: she’s nowhere in Val’s league. But for some reason, she latches onto Val, who is astonished and grateful, and willingly learns to smoke, cut class, and learn the skills of shoplifting from Francie.

Val is even a little bit in love with Francie, although “not in a lesbo way.” Homophobia rears its ugly head in this book, with Val, and her brother’s ex-girlfriend referring to him as a fag, and their mother unable to fully accept him. Fourteen year old Francie sets out to “cure” him by dressing particularly provocatively, and then can’t handle it when she gets attention from a group of construction workers.

Fissures start to edge into the friendship, and it all comes crumbling down one day at the mall as Val and Francie realize that their vows to be there for each other can’t address the real issues each of them is facing. An interesting psychological story of a friendship built on the shaky structure of two girls each needing something that the other ultimately can’t give.

This would be a much better book without the homophobia–or if it was something that the characters worked through.

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Filed under ** Low recommend, 2000s, Gay, High School