Friday, May 26, 2017

#WearOrange One Week From Today - June 2, 2017 - The 3rd National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Join me and wear orange on June 2, and

"pledge to honor the lives of Americans stolen by gun violence, help keep firearms out of dangerous hands, practice responsible gun ownership, and promise to do our utmost to end gun violence."

More on the event:

On January 21st, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton, a high school student from the south side of Chicago, marched in President Obama’s second inaugural parade. One week later, Hadiya was shot and killed on a playground back in Chicago. Soon after this tragedy, Hadiya’s childhood friends decided to commemorate her life by wearing orange. They chose the color because hunters wear orange in the woods to protect themselves and others. On June 2nd, 2015—what would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday—a broad-based coalition asked people nationwide to join in what Hadiya’s friends started, honoring her life, the lives of the 93 Americans killed by gun violence plus the hundreds more who are injured every day, by wearing orange. In its inaugural year, 30,000 Americans chose to #WearOrange—including more than 100 nonprofits, corporate brands and cultural influencers. In 2016, Wear Orange grew eightfold: President Obama, Viacom, Univision, Kim Kardashian West, Steph Curry, Vogue, Kenneth Cole, the San Francisco Giants and more than 300 noteworthy individuals, brands and organizations answered the call, taking to social media to show their support. The #WearOrange message echoed globally, reaching millions in a single day.

And a special note to my fellow authors, illustrators, and professionals in the world of children's literature: Please join me in the Everytown Authors Council of the Everytown for Gun Safety organziation, the largest gun violence prevention non-profit in the country with more than three million supporters.

As author Jodi Picoult put it so powerfully,

"My job as a writer is to get people talking -- and this is a conversation we as a nation desperately need to have. Will you join me in this fight?"

Click here to find a Wear Orange event near you to help raise awareness in your community.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity - Jess, A Trans Teen, Travels with her Best Friend To Jess' Dad's Wedding... But The Last Time Jess' Dad Saw Her, He Thought She Was a Boy.

Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

The last time Jess saw her father, she was a boy.
Or, he thought she was a boy. She knew she wasn't.

Now Jess is a high school graduate, soon to be on her way to art school. But first she has some unfinished business with her dad. So she’s driving halfway across the country to his wedding.

He happens to be marrying her mom’s ex-best friend.

It’s not like Jess wasn’t invited; she was. She just never told anyone she was coming. Surprise!

Luckily, Jess isn’t making this trip alone. Her best friend, Christophe—nicknamed Chunk—is joining her.

Along the way, Jess and Chunk learn a few things about themselves—and each other—which call their feelings about their relationship into question.

Add your review of "Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity" in comments!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Unbecoming - Katie kisses her best friend and is then shunned by everyone at school... and her grandmother is suddenly in her life, with lots of secrets

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham

Katie's life is falling apart: her best friend thinks she's a freak, her mother, Caroline, controls every aspect of her life, and her estranged grandmother, Mary, appears as if out of nowhere. Mary has dementia and needs lots of care, and when Katie starts putting together Mary's life story, secrets and lies are uncovered: Mary's illegitimate baby, her zest for life and freedom and men; the way she lived her life to the full yet suffered huge sacrifices along the way. As the relationship between Mary and Caroline is explored, Katie begins to understand her own mother's behavior, and from that insight, the terrors about her sexuality, her future, and her younger brother are all put into perspective.

Add your review of "Unbecoming" in comments!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Last Seen Leaving - A Thriller Where a Closeted Gay Teen Is The Last To See His "Girlfriend" Before She Disappears

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

Flynn also has a love interest... another guy, Kaz.

Add your review of "Last Seen Leaving" in comments!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Riptide Summer - A Vintage 1970's Bi Teen Surfer Girl Novel

Riptide Summer by Lisa Freeman

The year is 1973, and sixteen-year-old Nani is firmly established as one of the top girls in the State Beach lineup. She’s looking forward to a long, relaxing summer of days spent in the sun with her surfer boyfriend, and to secret nights with Rox, the lineup’s queen supreme.

But when surf god Nigel breaks her heart, and Rox reveals a secret that tears their friendship—and the lineup—apart, Nani is left to pick up the pieces. If she can’t recruit new Honey Girls to the lineup, the friends will lose their reputation as the beach’s top babes. With the summer spiraling out of control, Nani starts to question everything she’s always believed about how to rule the beach. Maybe it’s time to leave the rules behind, starting with the most important one: Girls don’t surf.

Add your review of "Riptide Summer" in comments!

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Darkly Beating Heart - A Bi Teen Time Traveling Thriller, where modern-day Reiko slips back to 19th Century Japan and the life of another girl, Miyu

A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt at her home in Seattle, Reiko's parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu's life . . . until she discovers Kuramagi's dark secret and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.

Add your review of "A Darkly Beating Heart" in comments!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Of Fire And Stars - High Teen Fantasy Where The Princess Might Be Falling For The Prince's Sister

Of Fire And Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile kingdoms. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire--a dangerous gift for the future queen of a land where magic is forbidden.

Now Denna has to learn the ways of her new kingdom while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria's formidable warhorses before her coronation--and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine, sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, they discover there is more to one another than they thought--and soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms--and each other.

Add your review of "Of Fire And Stars" in comments!

History Is All You Left Me - When a Gay Teen's First Love Dies, He Has To Figure Out How To Live

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

When Griffin's first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he's been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin's downward spiral continues. He's losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he's been keeping are tearing him apart.
If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Add your review of "History Is All You Left Me" in comments!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Look Both Ways - A Teen Girl At Acting Camp Crushes on Her Female Roommate and Finds Herself Questioning Everything

Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry
A summer away from the city is the beginning of everything for Brooklyn Shepard. Her theater apprenticeship at Allerdale is a chance to prove that she can carve out a niche all her own, surrounded by people who don’t know anything about her and her family of superstar performers.

Brooklyn immediately hits it off with her roommate, Zoe, and soon their friendship turns into something more. Brooklyn wants to see herself as someone who’s open to everything and everyone, but as her feelings for Zoe intensify, so do her doubts. She’s happier than she’s ever been—but is it because of her new relationship? Or is it because she’s finally discovering who she wants to be?

Add your review of "Look Both Ways" in comments!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Colorblind - a Teen Lesbian Thriller

Colorblind by Siera Maley
Harper has a secret...and it’s not that she likes girls. She has a rare talent: she can see how old other people will be when they die. Nothing she does changes this number, and that becomes especially clear when her mother dies in a car crash. With only one other person in the world who knows about and shares her gift, Harper is determined to keep her distance from everyone. Then she falls for Chloe… whose number is 16.

That means that Chloe doesn’t have twelve months to live. She doesn’t even have six.
She is going to be dead by the end of the summer, unless Harper can find a way to stop it.

The author self-published this novel. Add your review of "Colorblind" in comments!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Get It Together, Delilah! - A lesbian teen manages her family's cafe... and crushes on the teen girl who dances every night across the street

Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough
Seventeen-year-old Delilah Green wouldn't have chosen to do her last year of school this way, but she figures it's working fine. While her dad goes on a trip to fix his broken heart after her mom left him for another man, Del manages the family cafe. Easy, she thinks. But what about homework? Or the nasty posse of mean girls making her life hell? Or her best friend who won't stop guilt-tripping her? Or her other best friend who might go to jail for love if Del doesn't do something? But really, who cares about any of that when all Del can think about is beautiful Rosa who dances every night across the street. . . . Until one day Rosa comes in the cafe door. And if Rosa starts thinking about Del, too, then how in the name of caramel milkshakes will Del get the rest of it together?

Add your review of "Get It Together, Delilah!" in comments!

Monday, May 1, 2017


My project to highlight 100 organizations and actions in the first 100 days of President (for now) Trump's being in office completed this past Saturday. But the #Resistance continues!

My thanks to everyone who made suggestions of organizations fighting Trump's agenda, and to all of you who amplified on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Here's the Instagram grid of all 100 days:

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Abyss Surrounds Us & Edge Of The Abyss - Lesbian Pirates and Sea Monsters!

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She's been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the giant, genetically engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas's first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas's dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup and teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

Edge of the Abyss

Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?

Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?

Add your review of "The Abyss Surrounds Us" and/or "Edge of the Abyss" in comments!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Love Has No Labels - The "Kiss Cam" Version (with a gay kiss and a lesbian kiss!)

This was lovely, how it shows all diversity as equally worth celebrating, including ours...

Thanks to creators R/GA and the Ad Council, and everyone featured in the public service announcement.

Find out more about the Love Has No Labels campaign here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Alters - A Comic Book Series With A Trans Superhero

Alters by Writer: Paul Jenkins, and Artist: Leila Leiz. The creative team also includes Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain, Letterer: Ryane Hill, Regular Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze

A world where a war between heroes and villains is being fought to a stalemate, with humanity becoming the collateral damage part of the equation...The heroes know they are losing the war. And in the middle of this world-changing conflict, a new threat seems to be emerging: the Alters. They are mutants, possibly – or perhaps they are some kind of ultimate end to our genetic road map. Whatever the case, Alters seem to be emerging all around the country... and they are met with fear, distrust, and prejudice. They manifest new, dangerous powers that emerge without warning.

As the world struggles to accept the emergence of these Alters, a young woman begins her transition from male to female only to find herself also transitioning into a powerful Alter. Faced with persecution by the multi-powered fascist known only as Matter Man, she will face the world as Chalice--a hero for a new age. But as Chalice navigates the path to becoming her true self, she must juggle the complications of her civilian life and the responsibilities of her newfound power.

The promo copy includes this line, "From a diverse team of creators composed of differing genders, gender identities, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations comes a groundbreaking first-ever superhero series with a central transgender protagonist created by a mainstream writer."

There are five comic books so far (#1-5), and the first five books are also collected in a single volume. Here are the covers of 2-5:

The publisher says Alters is best suited for ages 15+, though Jessica, who suggested the series to me, gauged it as PG-13. Thanks for the recommendation, Jessica!

Add your review of any or all issues of "Alters" in comments!

Friday, April 21, 2017

I'll be moderating a graphic novels panel at the LA Times Festival of Books this weekend!

I'm so looking forward to this!

I'll be moderating the Young Adult Graphic Novels: Drawing You In panel on the YA stage, Saturday at noon.

The panelists are author Cecil Castellucci (speaking about her "Soupy Leaves Home"),

Author/Illustrator Faith Erin Hicks (speaking about the second book of her The Nameless City triology, "The Stone Heart")

Author/Illustrator Matt Phelan (speaking about his "Snow White: A Graphic Novel.")

Here's the announcement from the festival website:

If you're there, say "Hi!"

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Breakthrough U - Puppets and LGBTQ-Inclusive Videos

What a cool tool to spark conversations.

Like this Breakthrough U. video, Intersectionality 101:

And check out this one on Gender Norms (covering non-consensual photo sharing, sexual scoring, and how to transform it)!

And this one on Culture Change (touching on Gender fluid identity, homophobic language, and bathroom use.)

Find out more about Breakthrough U. here

Monday, April 17, 2017

Survivor Contestant Zeke Writes About Being Outed As Trans

While I've long since stopped watching Survivor, I thought this piece by Zeke Smith, about his experience on the show, and his being outed as trans by a desperate gay contestant, was important.

This line in particular really shouted out at me:

"Many gay people consider coming out a moment of liberation, because sharing their sexual orientation with the world causes them to be seen more authentically. Often, the opposite is true for trans people. When we share our gender history, many see us less authentically — doubting, probing or denying our identities."

And when he describes the moment he was outed, it's a moment of violence, of cruelty, of inciting "bigotry toward a marginalized minority."

And then Zeke wrote this:

But in calling me deceptive, Varner invoked one of the most odious stereotypes of transgender people, a stereotype that is often used as an excuse for violence and even murder. In proclaiming “Zeke is not the guy you think he is” and that “there is deception on levels y’all don’t understand,” Varner is saying that I’m not really a man and that simply living as my authentic self is a nefarious trick. In reality, by being Zeke the dude, I am being my most honest self — as is every other transgender person going about their daily lives.

It's a powerful moment of a transgender man sharing his story in his own words... and well worth reading.

Here's the link to Zeke's column in the Hollywood Reporter.

And my thanks to Zeke for sharing his story. Hopefully it will help all of us who aren't Trans be better Allies to individual Trans people and the Trans community!

Friday, April 14, 2017

"The root of oppression is the loss of memory." - Paula Gunn Allen

I've been thinking a lot about this quote from the wonderful Lesbian Native American poet Paula Gunn Allen.

And I think we're seeing this in action today, from Trump spokesman Sean Spicer's inane comment about how "Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons" (excuse me? What about the millions of Jews and others who died in Nazi gas chambers -- including members of my family?) to this week's reports of 100 gay men being rounded up and sent to "camps" in the Chechen Republic of Russia where they are being tortured and beaten (Sounds like concentration camps to me), to this crazy uptick in bomb threats to Jewish community centers here in the U.S. (more than 100 in the first two months of 2017.)

We need to remember the past to not allow it to repeat.

And we need to call falsehoods as such.

OUT magazine has six things we can all do to help stop what's happening in Chechnya.

Raise your voice with mine: We remember. And we will not accept our world going backwards to the horrors of the Holocaust.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Lotterys Plus One - Middle Grade fiction where 9 year old Sumac has four parents (two gay dads and two lesbian moms) and a problem grandfather

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue, illustrated by Caroline Hadilaksono

Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant "Grumps," who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn't been part of any of their lives.

Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household... He's worse than just tough to get along with -- Grumps has got to go.

But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs?

While that sounds fun, I actually prefer the more open-about-the-queer-content synopsis on the back of the ARC,

Once upon a time, a man from Delhi and a man from Yukon fell in love, and so did a woman from Jamaica and a Mohawk woman. The two couples became best friends and had a baby together. When they won the lottery, they gave up their jobs and found a big old house where their family could learn and grow... and grow some more.

Now Sumac Lottery (age nine) is the fifth of seven kids, all named after trees. With their four parents and five pets they fit perfectly in the Toronto home they call Camelottery.

But the one thing in life that never changes... is that sooner or later things change.

All together it sounds great. Add your review of "The Lotterys Plus One" in comments!

Friday, April 7, 2017

The scoop on the US Census Not identifying LGBTQ people

This article by Dawn Ennis at lgbtq nation lays out the facts really clearly:

The 2020 US Census wasn't going to measure us, even before Trump took office. It has never measured LGBTQ people.

What has changed is the Trump administration's position towards including LGBTQ people in the the annual American Community Survey, the preliminary step towards being included in the every-ten-year census.

As demographer Gary Gates explained,

"Despite advice from the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development suggesting a strong federal need for better data on the LGBT population, the Bureau now argues that such need does not exist... Their change of heart from at least considering LGBT inclusion in the ACS to now ruling it out offers evidence that the Census Bureau isn’t telling the whole story and may have let politics interfere with decisions about content.”

It's a more nuanced truth than what was reported, about we LGBTQ people being "erased" from the census - as we were never counted in the first place.

But it's still not good news.

At least now we have the scoop.

The light in me recognizes and acknowledges the light in you,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Remembering Gilbert Baker, who created the Gay Pride Rainbow Flag

The Gay Pride Rainbow Flag flying in the interior of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where it is part of their collection.

"...a flag is different than any other form of art. It’s not a painting, it’s not just cloth, it is not a just logo—it functions in so many different ways. I thought that we needed that kind of symbol, that we needed as a people something that everyone instantly understands. [The Rainbow Flag] doesn’t say the word “Gay,” and it doesn’t say “the United States” on the American flag but everyone knows visually what they mean. And that influence really came to me when I decided that we should have a flag, that a flag fit us as a symbol, that we are a people, a tribe if you will. And flags are about proclaiming power…" - Gilbert Baker, in an interview with MOMA

Gilbert died on March 31, 2017. But he left behind a symbol of LGBTQ community, and power, and pride. What a legacy!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The 8 LGBTQ Children's/Young Adult Finalists For the Lambda Literary Awards Are Announced

And the 2017 finalists (for significant LGBTQ character/theme books published in 2016) are:

Beast, Brie Spangler, Alfred A. Knopf

Girl Mans Up, M.E. Girard, Harper Teen

Gravity, Juliann Rich, Bold Stroke Books

Highly Illogical Behavior, John Corey Whaley, Dial Books

Not Your Sidekick, C.B. Lee, Duet

Our Chemical Hearts, Krystal Sutherland, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin, Balzer + Bray

The Midnight Star, Marie Lu, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

It's a great reading list! Congratulations and good luck to all!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Honestly Ben - The Teen Guy Rafe Fell In Love With In "Openly Straight" Gets His Story... And Maybe His Romance, Too.

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg

Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s working steadily in his classes at the Natick School. He just got elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a full scholarship to college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg the past semester is in the past.

Except...There’s Hannah, the gorgeous girl from the neighboring school, who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness Ben is noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there’s Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else . . . and maybe the real normal that Ben needs.

Add your review of "Honestly Ben." the companion novel to "Openly Straight" in comments!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Openly, Honestly - A Free Short Story That Bridges Two Gay YA Novels (And Follows The Romance Between Rafe and Ben)

Openly, Honestly by Bill Konigsberg

Rafe Goldberg was planning to spend winter break at home in Colorado openly mourning what he almost had with Ben. He wasn’t expecting his best friend, Claire Olivia, to kidnap him. And he definitely wasn’t expecting what she has planned to cheer him up...

Ben Carver was honestly planning to spend winter break at home in New Hampshire not thinking about Rafe. But he wasn’t expecting to run into his ex-girlfriend, who’s still interested in him. And he wasn’t expecting to find himself still attracted to her...

Add your review of the free short story "Openly, Honestly" in comments!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Our Chemical Hearts - Teen Guy Henry's First Love for Grace, A Disabled Gender Non-Conforming Teen Girl

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him -- at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.
Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl; she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl.

Add your review of "Our Chemical Hearts" in comments!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Not Your Sidekick - A Bisexual (And Lesbian And Trans) Superhero Story!

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Welcome to Andover, where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, whom Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

Add your review of "Not Your Sidekick" in comments!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Highly Illogical Behavior - A Gay Teen Agoraphobe. The Girl Who's Going To "Fix" Him (His Agoraphobia, not his Gayness). And Her Boyfriend, Who's A Love Interest To Them Both...

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn't left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she's being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to "fix" Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, sitting through Star Trek marathons with him and introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they'd be, and when their walls fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.

What's queer about it is that Solomon is gay. And, as he spends time with Lisa and Clark, he starts to fall for Clark. And then Lisa is afraid she's going to lose Clark to Solomon!

Add your review of Highly Illogical Behavior in comments!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Gravity - Women's Ski Jumping. The Olympics. And 17-Year-Old Ellie, Who's Falling For The Girl Who Is Her Biggest Competition

Gravity by Juliann Rich

A shot at Olympic gold in ski jumping. It's a dream that has been the exclusive property of male athletes. Until now.

For seventeen-year-old Ellie Engebretsen, the 2011 decision to include women's ski jumping in the Olympics is a game changer. She'd love to bring home the gold for her father, a former Olympic competitor whose dreams were blown along with his knees on an ill-timed landing. But can she defy the pull of gravity that draws her to Kate Moreau, her biggest competition and the girl of her dreams?

How can Ellie soar through the air when all she feels like doing is falling hard?

Add your review of "Gravity" in comments!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Beast - A High School Re-Imagining of Beauty and The Beast. And Beauty is Trans.

Beast by Brie Spangler

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn't look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg--and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy--until he meets Jamie. She's funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She's also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality.

As Jamie's humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn't know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn't listening. Something that shouldn't change a thing. She is who she's always been--an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

Add your review of "Beast" in comments!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Girl Mans Up - A Gender Non-Conforming Teen Girl Tries To Figure Life Out

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she's always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she's trying to be a boy--that she should quit trying to be something she's not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty.

But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth--that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she'll have to man up.

This novel was a William C. Morris Award Finalist: Best Young Adult Debut of the Year. Add your review of "Girl Mans Up" in comments.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Inspiration from the First Annual Lambda Lit Fest in Los Angeles

Panels, Workshops, Readings... there was so much to dive into at the inaugural Lambda Lit Fest Los Angeles.

Here are some moments that are still resonating for me:

"Write something that forces people to imagine something radically different." -Justin Torres

"I was a trans kid in an Amish town. Rebellion has been my means of survival." -Our Lady J

"Reporting is a verb... part of my job is to be a witness." -Melissa Chadburn

"As an artist, the first thing you need to believe is that you deserve a place at the table." -Michael Nava

Not assimilating into whiteness but dissolving it into a community where everyone can see each other -Ryka Aoki

"If you're queer and you're writing, eventually you're going to run into the person who tells you your book saved their life." -Ryka Aoki

"Most of us didn't wake up on Nov 9 realizing we are under attack because we've been under attack" -Claudia Rodriguez

"America loves the heroic individual but change doesn't happen that way. Things only change by coalition." -Sarah Schulman

"We need to start talking about art as a regular practice in everyone's life." -D'lo

"Being a human requires looking out for other humans -Zackary Drucker

"Don't let them colonize your imagination. And write!" -Lucy Jane Bledsoe

"Our job right now is to be as queer as possible, so they know we're not going anywhere!" -Alec Mapa

"This is the moment to be alive and do the work." -Luis Alfaro

And maybe most of all, being in community with over 300 other writers who are also creating Queer-themed work! 

It was truly an honor to be part of the Lambda Lit Fest Los Angeles Steering Committee, and I'm grateful to all who participated. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sulu is gay and it's no big deal... and that's a big deal!

This moment in Star Trek: Beyond made me absurdly happy. (Screen shots from watching the movie on a recent plane flight.)

Sulu (played by John Cho), hugging his daughter, his proud/happy husband looking on

Captain James T. Kirk, happy for them, looking on

Sulu, holding daughter, with husband's arm around him

Happy two dad family walking away

Hey, and a cute extra!

It's a powerful statement about LGBTQ people being part of the future.

And it's a tribute to George Takei, the original Sulu, now an out gay man himself, who married his husband Brad Altman in 2008.

And it's pretty awesome.

Thanks to everyone who made this happen, including the writing team, the director, the producers, and John Chu, the actor playing Sulu.