Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Coming Out For Animals – A Fascinating Video About the Overlap Between LGBTQ and Animal Rights

I was vegan for a long time, and now as a (mostly) vegetarian, and as a gay man, I found this under 5 minute video, Coming Out For Animals, especially fascinating.

And maybe, with Thanksgiving coming up in the USA, especially thought- and discussion-sparking!

What do you think?

You can find out more about the organization that put this video together, Our Hen House, here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

These Things Happen - 16-year-old Wesley Moves In With His Dad and His Dad's Partner... And then Wesley's best friend comes out

These Things Happen by Richard Kramer

The story starts when WESLEY BOWMAN, 16, sharp and funny and defiantly individual, moves downtown from his book editor mother’s home on the Upper East Side home to live with his father and his partner for the fall term of school; Wesley, becoming a man, feels the time has come for him to more closely know (his words here) the “man from whom I did, actually, spring.” Kenny, who came out after his marriage to Wesley’s mom ended, is a much-honored gay-rights lawyer, a regular on Rachel Maddow, Charlie Rose, a frequent contributor to the Op-ed page of the New York Times.

But Wesley, when he moves in, finds his father distant and inaccessible; he has much more luck connecting with his father’s partner, George, a former actor/dancer who now runs a theater district restaurant. George is present, genuinely interested, fully at ease with himself; all the things Kenny is not. He and Wesley become like father and son, really, and not because George is in any way trying to supplant Kenny. It’s just that these things happen.

Then everything changes. When Wesley’s closest friend surprises him and everyone else when, after being elected class president, he comes out at the end of his acceptance speech. the two boys find themselves at the center of an act of violent, homophobic bullying (even though Wesley is straight). Within the family, tolerant facades crumble as George, suddenly, becomes suspect. Wesley’s mom values and cares for him, and has worked to have a relationship with him, as she suspects this will assure the presence of Kenny in Wesley’s life. But, now, with Wesley in the hospital being held for observation (“When did I,” she wonders, “turn into someone whose kid is held for observation?”) isn’t it her duty to wonder and worry about what might have been going on when her back was so progressively turned? Did she fail to keep her son safe? Does she, indeed, know him? Does she know George, so delightful and pleasing, an author of agreeable evenings? And, more worryingly, does this accomplished, insightful, deeply curious woman really, in the end, know herself?

Add your review of "These Things Happen" in comments!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jacob's New Dress - A picture book about a gender non-conforming little boy that I wish had been read to me when I was a little kid!

Jacob's New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case

Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. And the story starts out with him wearing the pink dress in the dress-up corner, pretending to be a princess.

Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob really wants to wear a dress to school. He asks his parents, and then asks again, and eventually, he and his mom make him a dress.

He's confronted by the boy who says he shouldn't wear dresses, and stands up for himself.

All in all, it's a really sweet story (with charming illustrations) about being authentic, even if that makes other people uncomfortable. I really like how Jacob doesn't waver – he knows what he wants, and he's consistent. It's really Jacob's parents who have the journey of coming around from hesitantly supportive to encouragingly supportive, enabling Jacob to have his moment (and, we expect, future) of authenticity. He's a boy in a dress, a gender non-conforming kid, and that's just fine...

I do wish this had been read to me when I was a little kid. That message of authenticity would have resonated then, as it does now.

Add your review of "Jacob's New Dress" in comments!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Reappearing Act: Coming Out As Gay On a College Basketball Team Led By Born-Again Christians – A Memoir By Kate Fagan

The Reappearing Act: Coming Out As Gay On A College Basketball Team Led By Born-Again Christians by Kate Fagan

It's hard enough coming out, but playing basketball for a nationally ranked school and trying to figure out your sexual identity in the closeted and paranoid world of big-time college sports--that's a challenge.

Kate Fagan's love for basketball and for her religious teammates at the University of Colorado was tested by the gut-wrenching realization that she could no longer ignore the feelings of otherness inside her. In trying to blend in, Kate had created a hilariously incongruous world for herself in Boulder. Her best friends were part of Colorado's Fellowship of Christian Athletes, where they ran weekly Bible studies and attended an Evangelical Free Church. For nearly a year, Kate joined them and learned all she could about Christianity--even holding their hands as they prayed for others "living a sinful lifestyle." Each time the issue of homosexuality arose, she felt as if a neon sign appeared over her head, with a giant arrow pointed downward. During these prayer sessions, she would often keep her eyes open, looking around the circle at the closed eyelids of her friends, listening to the earnestness of their words.

Kate didn't have a vocabulary for discussing who she really was and what she felt when she was younger; all she knew was that she had a secret. In "The Reappearing Act," she brings the reader along for the ride as she slowly accepts her new reality and takes the first steps toward embracing her true self.

Add your review of "The Reappearing Act" in comments!

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Screaming Divas - An All-Grrl Rock Band in 1980s California with estranged friends, lesbian crushes and big dreams

The Screaming Divas by Suzanne Kamata

At sixteen, Trudy Baxter is tired of her debutante mom, her deadbeat dad, and her standing reservation at the juvenile detention center. Changing her name to Trudy Sin, she cranks up her major chops as a singer and starts a band, gathering around other girls ill at ease in their own lives. Cassie Haywood, would-have-been beauty queen, was scarred in an accident in which her alcoholic mom was killed. But she can still sing and play her guitar, even though she seeks way too much relief from the pain in her body and her heart through drugs, and way too much relief from loneliness through casual sex. Still, it's Cassie who hears former child prodigy Harumi Yokoyama playing in a punk band at a party, and enlists her, outraging Harumi's overbearing first-generation Japanese parents. The fourth member is Esther Shealy, who joins as a drummer in order to be close to Cassie--the long-time object of her unrequited love--and Harumi, her estranged childhood friend. Together, they are Screaming Divas, and they're quickly swept up as a local sensation. Then, just as they are about to achieve their rock-girl dreams, a tragedy strikes.

Add your review of "Screaming Divas" in comments!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wollstone - A Gay Boarding School Story That's Also A Contemporary Fairy Tale Fantasy

Wollstone by Hayden Thorne

The moment Emil Gogean sets foot inside Wollstone Academy’s fairy tale-like campus, he realizes his freshman year in high school is bound to be a very strange one. The school itself, a uniquely romanticized boarding school for boys, boasts remarkable elements that appear to be deliberate -- as though a hidden power has chosen woodland details, a chapel ruin, and school masters who seem to hearken back to a long-gone age, with a clear purpose in mind.

When strange things begin to happen to Emil, an unnerving warning from his late grandmother returns to haunt him. A warning about Emil attracting the attention of the king of the dead.

Strange faces in wood patterns and mullioned windows. The apparition of a boy among the trees. The unfathomable feeling of sadness permeating the idyllic environment. Emil gradually learns that Wollstone is more than just a school, that the answers to a three-hundred-year-old mystery surrounding a tragic romance lie in the ruined stones of a small chapel and in Nature itself. And that Emil, whose appearance in school has set certain wheels in motion, will have to place himself at the mercy of three mysterious students if he wishes to learn the truth about Wollstone, the boy lost in the woods, and himself.

Add your review of "Wollstone" in comments!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Her Name In The Sky – First Friendship, Then Love? With a Girl? That's not what 17-year-old Hannah planned!

Her Name In The Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Seventeen-year-old Hannah wants to spend her senior year of high school going to football games and Mardi Gras parties. She wants to drive along the oak-lined streets of Louisiana's Garden District and lie on the hot sand of Florida's beaches. She wants to spend every night making memories with her tight-knit group of friends. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a girl--especially when that girl is her best friend, Baker. Hannah knows she should like Wally, the kind, earnest boy who asks her to prom. She should cheer on her friend Clay when he asks Baker to be his girlfriend. She should follow the rules of her conservative community--the rules that have been ingrained in her since she was a child. But Hannah longs to be with Baker, who cooks macaroni and cheese with Hannah late at night, who believes in the magic of books as much as Hannah does, and who challenges Hannah to be the best version of herself. And Baker might want to be with Hannah, too--if both girls can embrace that world-shaking, wondrous possibility.

Thanks to blog reader Dana for the recommendation! This book was self-published by the author. Add your review of "Her Name In The Sky" in comments!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bill Konigsberg Guest Post: "The Lessons I Learned From the Trevor Project Awareness Tour"

This past September, I embarked upon a 5,100-mile driving tour of the South and Midwest. I stopped at 22 locations in 17 states to talk to LGBTQ youth about suicide, depression, and coming out.

Bill and young people at the Nashville Oasis Center

It was a life-changing trip. I met so many people who have forever changed me as a person, and as a writer. Those changes have shown up immediately in my life, and they’ll be seen in my writing as soon as my next book, HONESTLY BEN, which will come out about a year from now.

Following are the major lessons I learned, as well as a world-premiere sneak peek into one way these lessons are manifesting in my current writing.

I knew that the current generation of teens were exploring gender in ways that my generation never did, but I don’t know that I realized just how much that was dwarfing all the other letters in the LGBTQ acronym. At least in terms of the visits I made to community groups along my route, I would estimate that 70 percent of the young people I met consider themselves to be somewhere on the trans spectrum.

I’m fascinated by this! I had so many questions, and the teens I met were happy to answer them. The big thing for me was that I came in with a binary notion of gender. My understanding was that “trans” meant that someone believes that they are not of the gender to which they were born. This is a terribly incomplete understanding of trans. Most of the teens I met considered themselves gender fluid, with some sense that sometimes they felt more male, and sometimes more female, and sometimes an entirely different gender. I met kids who were asexual, and pansexual, and polyromantic, and genderqueer. I think when I was growing up, these were not really considerations for my generation. I am so proud of those young people who are exploring their authenticity in these new ways, and I do think it’s up to those of us who write LGBTQ YA fiction to catch up.

2. I’M OLD!
Along those lines, I am SO OLD! I’ve never felt older than I did on this trip. I am 44, which by most standards is not actually that old, but I began to understand the gulf between the time when I went to school, and the current day. A few times when I spoke to groups that consisted of mostly trans and genderqueer teens, I was keenly aware that to them, my discussion of coming out in the 1980s would have been like someone coming to my high school and talking about coming out in the 1950s, pre-Stonewall. I would have found it interesting, but not particularly useful to me in my current situation. I definitely had the sense sometimes that kids were looking at me thinking, “when will this old, cisgender gay dude stop talking?”

Oh well. I am who I am, and I know that the teens I met know my heart was in the right place. And of course I did meet many teens who were clearly very glad to hear me speak. No matter how much better things get overall for LGBTQ teens, there are still so many painful stories. Which leads me to:

What I saw, over and over, was a world which is IN GENERAL far more accepting and celebrating of teens who are on the LGBTQ spectrum, but can still be extremely cruel on a micro level. That’s something of which those of us who are involved in this movement need to be very aware. I met countless young people who expressed to me, either in group settings or privately, that they weren’t sure that they’d make it through this challenging time. Being different than one’s family of origin, and being in a sexual or gender minority in a school setting remains extremely challenging for many people. Those who think coming out stories are passé are completely wrong. We still need to write these stories, because these stories are still terribly important to young people. We just need to update them. And of course we also need to write stories in which young people are LGBTQ but aren’t focusing on the coming out process. We need to do both.

Which brings me to my final point. And I haven’t said this to anyone yet, so this would be a world premiere: I’m finishing up the sequel to my popular novel OPENLY STRAIGHT, and I am incorporating much of what I’ve learned into this book. Toby, as it turns out, is gender fluid. Going to a conservative all-boys school in Massachusetts, that’s going to be a struggle for them. But as those of you who have read the first book can attest, Toby is nothing if not authentic, all of the time. He’s not going to let anyone stop Toby from being Toby!

This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m so glad I took it. Traveling around and meeting kids throughout the South and Midwest gave me a chance to see just how similar we all are. Whether we’re 17 and trans and living in Little Rock, Arkansas, or 44 and cis and living in Phoenix, Arizona, we’re all in this together. We all need help sometimes, and we all struggle with shame and we all have moments when our hearts are entirely open. That’s the most important thing for me to remember when I’m writing for teens. No matter our age or our label, we are all one.

Bill Konigsberg is the award-winning author of three Young Adult novels: Out of the Pocket, Openly Straight, and The Porcupine of Truth. He coordinates the Your Novel Year writing program at The Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, and he lives in Chandler, Arizona, with his husband, Chuck, and their two Australian Labradoodles, Mabel and Buford. For more information, check out

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fag – Aaron, a closeted high schooler, deals with homophobia online and in the real world

Fag by Krissy Bells
Aaron Garrett is many things in life: he is a son, a friend, a student, and caring boyfriend to his lovely girlfriend Leigh Ann. In these roles, he is kind, hardworking, smart, loving, dedicated, and considerate. At Jefferson High School, he is a leader, a football star, and well-respected by his peers. Aaron’s life is perfectly on track, he is pursuing a college scholarship and hopeful for the future, except for just one thing: Aaron Garrett is gay. When a former child star from Aaron’s small Southern town saturates the national media after making homophobic comments, Aaron’s life is turned upside down as supporters rally around the sentiments. Social media attention begins to swell nationally and locally until it begins to eat away at every part of Aaron’s existence.

Add your review of "Fag" in comments!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Playing A Part - A Young Gay Man Grows Up In His Parents' Puppet Theater... In Homophobic Russia

Playing A Part by Daria Wilke, translated by Marian Schwartz

For as long as Grisha can remember, the Moscow puppet theater has been his favorite place in the world, his home away from home. The dressing rooms and workshops, the gorgeous marble lobby, the secret passages backstage—he knows them like the back of his hand, and each time the curtain rises and the stage comes alive, it feels magical.

But life outside the theater is a different story. The boys in Grisha's class bully him mercilessly, and his own grandfather says hateful things about how Grisha's not "macho" enough. And to make things worse, Sam, Grisha's favorite actor and mentor, is moving away: He's leaving the country to escape the extreme homophobia he faces in Russia. Normally, Grisha would turn to his best friend, Sashok, for support, but she's dealing with problems of her own as she faces a potentially life-threatening heart condition.

Grisha's world is crumbling. He needs to find the strength to stand up to bullies and be there for his friends—but how?

It's interesting to note that this book, published by Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic) is cited as the first young adult novel from Russia to be translated into English. Here's the original cover of the novel in Russian:

My thanks to Avery Udagawa for the heads-up on this one! There's also a great interview here at the wonderful Cynsations blog with Marian Schwartz, the translator.

Add your review of "Playing A Part" in comments!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jim McCarthy (Dystel & Goderich Literary Management): Agent Looking For Diversity


That's the idea. And this series is an effort to do just that.

For now, we're focusing on agents, and today's post features agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Agent Jim McCarthy
Here's Jim's bio:

Jim McCarthy is Vice President and literary agent at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in New York, NY. He has been with the agency for 16 years, initially starting as an intern way back in the ‘90s. He represents a wide range of fiction, adult and young adult, commercial and literary. He is also seeking narrative nonfiction, particularly memoir, history, and pop culture. His clients include New York Times bestsellers Richelle Mead, Victoria Laurie, Juliet Blackwell, Morgan Rhodes, and Suzanne Young.

And our interview:

Lee: Hi Jim!

Jim: Hi, Lee!

Lee: Thanks so much for agreeing to talk about your interest in Diversity in Children's and Teen Literature!

Jim: Happy to be here!

Lee: There's been growing discussion about how the 5,000 or so traditionally published books a year don't reflect the actual diversity of our world, including the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement and the stunningly low numbers of representation revealed in "Children's Books by and about People of Color Published in the United States," put out by the CCBC (The Cooperative Children's Book Center.)

To start us off, of the submissions you get, let's say in the past year, how many of those projects included some kind of diversity of characters or theme?

Jim: I don’t have exact counts, but I’d estimate 10-15% and say that for sure it’s less than I’d like to see.

Lee: Let's unpack that a bit: Are you seeing many stories featuring protagonists of color?

Jim: Many? No. More? Yes. Several years ago, I added language to my bio stating that I was seeking “underrepresented voices.” While I have seen an increase, the percentage of queries I receive about protagonists of color, it doesn’t match up with actual racial and ethnic breakdowns nationwide.

When I do see stories about kids of color, I’m more likely to see black or Asian characters than Latino or Middle Eastern. I’d love to see a broader array of voices in my inbox if people want to send them to me!

Lee: How about LGBTQ characters, and please break that down - are you seeing lesbian characters? gay? bi? trans*? questioning? queer or gender non-conforming?

Jim: I’ve seen a real surge in the amount of queer content. Some of that may be because I'm openly gay— I'm sure some people come to me because they connect with that personally or with certain books I've previously represented. I also think that cultural inclusion is helping, as well as the deliberate push for diversity in literature.

Breaking down my queries, I’m seeing more queer, bi, and gay females. Fewer gay males, a few more bi males. I'm encouraged by the increase in questioning, queer, and gender non-conforming characters. So far, I haven't really seen more asexual or intersex characters, which is disappointing. I am seeing a huge surge in transgender characters.

Lee: How about characters with disabilities?

Jim: This is a group whose visibility seems to have benefitted least from the diverse books push, at least in my inbox. I’d love to see more of these voices. I’d point to books I’ve represented like COURTING GRETA by Ramsey Hootman or THE ELEMENTALS by Saundra Mitchell for beautifully drawn characters who are disabled.

Lee: Are you seeing other types of diversity in the works submitted? - And please share any specific categories that spring to mind.

Jim: Diversity is such a catch-all word, so it’s hard to say. One thing I’ll note is that I’ve seen more books outside of specific faith-based publishing lately where characters explore their religion (or lack thereof). I also have a new manuscript I’ll be submitting in the Fall that really tackles issues of body image in a fascinating way while also telling a broader story.

Lee: How about the creators? Are you seeing under-represented writers and illustrators submitting to you?

Jim: What’s unfortunate to me is that I’m seeing more underrepresented characters than authors.

Lee: There's a lot of discussion about who has the 'right' to tell the story of an under-represented type of character. What's your take?

Jim: Most broadly, I believe that people need to be able to write across all kinds of lines. People can and should write about characters who don’t look or feel like them. If they didn't, that would lead to the world’s least interesting literature.

Unfortunately, along with genuinely diverse queries on the rise, I'm also seeing a sharp increase in the number of awkwardly-handled token characters who kind of hang around in the periphery until they’re called upon to be saviors.

There is so much responsibility taken when writing, and you better damn well do your research. And that’s not, “Oh, I had my one bisexual friend read it, and he said it was okay.” It’s reading and discussing and learning and challenging yourself to actually understand a group that you aren’t a part of. AND it’s about making sure that character isn’t being exploited.

You don’t get to use a black character just to show that a white character is open-minded. You can’t write a character of a religious background different than yours just to “disprove” their beliefs.

Lee: Here, here! Well said!

When you're submitting projects to editors, do you think stories with under-represented characters take more 'selling' on your part?

Jim: Less so than ever before. Years ago, I represented a novel about a black transgender teen living in poverty and trying to survive through sex work. It was a brutal and beautiful novel that I never managed to place. Pitching it felt like throwing myself into a brick wall again and again.

Occasionally, I’d get little nibbles of interest, but they went away as soon as someone tried to clear their editorial board. The closest I came was with an editor who asked me whether the author “shared the same experiences as the main character.” Because that might be more marketable.

“Is she asking if I grew up as a transgender hooker?” my client asked me. “I…um. I think she is.” He hadn’t. The editor passed.

I can’t say that I would be able to sell that novel today, but a decade on, I can say that the responses I got would have been infinitely more sensitive, appreciative, and understanding. And yeah…it would have been an easier sell. Things are getting better, yes.

I think that publishers are allowing themselves to publish broader content which means agents don’t have to worry about having a phone call where they are told that “X group doesn’t buy books,” or “Y group doesn’t buy books about X group.” Or, “It’s really good, but…I just don’t know who the reader is.”

They aren’t all the way there, but there are slow gestures in the right direction.

Lee: I often feel the sense of ‘otherness’ is transferable. That from my own experiences being marginalized (for being Gay, being ill as a teen, being Jewish, being an Atheist, etc…) I feel tremendous empathy for people who are marginalized for other kinds of ‘otherness’ as well.
Can you share what’s driving your desire to see more diversity in Children’s and Teen books?

Jim: I’m interested in stories, and I’m interested in people. It’s a really big world, and I read to understand it a little bit better. That means reading about people who live places I’ve never been, have identities I’ll never share, and respond to the world in ways I don’t.

I was the nerdy, fat, gay kid in Catholic school, so sure I’ve had some experience feeling “other.” At the same time, I’m a white man in America. I’m not going to try to pretend like I’m not extremely privileged.

I can’t claim that I understand what it’s like to be a member of most oppressed populations, so I read. I read to get closer to that understanding—I’ll never live it, but I can read the words of people who have. And that, to me, is profoundly valuable. Because understanding breeds sympathy breeds healing. And I think we need as much healing and understanding as we can get.

Lee: Tell us about some books that highlighted or included diversity that you loved and that inspired you (maybe even ones you wish you represented). What’s a Picture Book favorite?

Jim: Here’s where I confess that I know next to nothing about picture books.

Lee: Middle Grade?

Jim: Is it possible for anyone to answer this question and not mention BROWN GIRL DREAMING? Truly one of the most exquisite books in the past few years. WONDER is a stunning book. BETTER NATE THAN EVER is a favorite.

Lee: Young Adult?

Jim: I adore Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN ASHES. And Marie Lu’s LEGEND. These are diverse books, but they’re not books about diversity. They’re in that teen fantasy space that I so love and tell exceptional stories.

Lee: Okay, here’s your wish list moment. What are you looking for? Put out the call...

Jim: Oh gosh. I just want great stories. I want things that make me laugh or cry. I want to see romance and adventure and fantasy. I’m open to pretty much all middle grade and young adult.

I can say that I’d love to see books about people from a broader array of economic backgrounds, folks who live in other countries, novels set in states that aren’t coastal…truly, any experiences out there that are specific and distinctive interest me.

I also am always, always, always looking for stories set in sharply defined communities—that can mean a rural Amish community or a group of LARPers in San Diego. I’m fascinated by strong bonds within a community and the support they offer as well as the friction they cause.

I want all of those things, reflected through every lens. Is that vague enough? Send me anything amazing!

Lee: Nice. Just looked up LARPers and yeah, I'd love to read that book, too!

And for writers and/or illustrators reading this who feel a resonance with what you’ve shared and who want to submit to you, how should they go about that?

Jim: All my info is at, and I’m always open to submissions!

Lee: Getting the world of Children’s literature to better reflect the diversity of our world -- the world kids today are growing up in -- is so important. Thank you so much for working to make things better!

Thanks, Jim! Look for another AGENT LOOKING FOR DIVERSITY interview of the first Monday of next month. Until then,

Illustrate and Write On!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Elected Series - In A Future America, A Girl Pretends To Be A Man To Become President (With A Girl-Girl-Guy Love Triangle!)

Elected by Rori Shay

It’s the year 2185, and in two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place as president of the country. But to do so, she must masquerade as a boy to avoid violating the Eco-Accords, four treaties designed to bring the world back from the brink of environmental extinction. As she struggles to lead amidst a brimming political battle, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, meanwhile battling feelings for the boy who knows her secret. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust.

She understood leadership required sacrifice. She just didn’t realize the sacrifice might be her life.


In the year 2185 Earth is rebuilding after climate change created a global eco-crisis. Countries maintain complete isolation so there is no warfare over scarce resources. One Elected family is chosen to lead each country for 100 years to ensure stability. Women aren’t allowed to take office and must reproduce at all costs. Technology use of any kind is banned to preserve what’s left of the environment.

And yet, I’m my country’s Elected. I’ve just sanctioned technology use to ready us for war. I’m about to cross the border to spy on our neighbor. And…I’m a girl.


There's also a prequel story, The Pendant, written from the perspective of Aloy's mother in the anthology Athena's Daughters Volume 2.

Add your review of any or all of the stories in "The Elected Series" in comments!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Some Assembly Required: The Not So Secret Life Of A Transgender Teen - a memoir

Some Assembly Required: The Not So Secret Life Of A Transgender Teen by Arin Andrews

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning first-of-its-kind memoir. Now with a reading group guide and an all-new afterword from the author
In this revolutionary first-of-its-kind memoir, Arin Andrews details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a boy in a girl's body, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes--both mental and physical--he experienced once his transition began.
"Some Assembly Required" is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.

Add your review of "Some Assembly Required" in comments!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Pebble Champion - a gay teen comes of age in the face of loss, guilt and figuring himself out

The Pebble Champion by Alan David Pritchard

Haunted by the death of his mother and the loss of a childhood friendship, 15-year-old Chris moves to the coast to begin a new life with his estranged father.

There, alone on the beach, he deals with his sadness and guilt by entering an imagined world where he competes to become The Pebble Champion, skimming stones farther than anyone else across the surface of the sea.

With each pebble thrown, and with each new encounter, Chris gradually learns how to let go of the burdens of the past, how to hold on to what really matters, and how to embrace his bewildering desires.

Add your review of "The Pebble Champion" in comments!

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Paths Of Marriage - 3 generations of Indian and Indian-American women struggle with a granddaughter's coming out and keeping their family from coming apart.

The Paths of Marriage by Mala Kumar

Lakshmi, a bright student who grew up in poverty, marries and immigrates to the United States from India to provide a better life for herself and her family. Clinging to her cultural realities, she forces her American daughter, Pooja, into an arranged marriage, creating a rift of resentment. Pooja's daughter, Deepa, is an out lesbian to everyone but her family. The woman Deepa loves presents an ultimatum—come out to Pooja or break up—and Deepa is forced to confront her greatest fear.
From the harsh slums of Chennai to the bustle of New York City, it's a cathartic generational collision to try to come together as a family.

It's also worth checking out this article by the author where she explains her own coming out as an Indian-American "brown, gay girl." The article made me nearly cry - twice! Her mother's response to her coming out, and her father's eventual understanding that only came about from reading Mala's book – this book.

Add your review of "The Paths of Marriage" in comments!