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.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Infinite In Between - There's a Gay Love Story In This Tale of Five Teens Going Through Four Years of High School

Infinite In Between by Carolyn Mackler

It was the day before the first day of high school. They wrote those letters to their future selves, hid them in a secret place, and vowed to unearth them at graduation.

As if any of them had a clue what the next four years had in store.

Gregor is quietly, desperately in love with Whitney until a tragedy transforms his world. Zoe is running from everything: her celebrity mom, a public scandal, a long-held family secret and, ultimately, herself. Jake knows what it means that he has a crush on his best friend, Ted; it’s everything else that’s so confusing. Beautiful Whitney seems to have it together, but looks can be deceiving. And then there’s Mia. She watches them all, but doesn’t say a word until it’s almost too late.

Five teens. Fours years. An unforgettable journey.

Add your review of "Infinite In Between" in comments!

Monday, March 6, 2017

UN Free & Equal's New Animated Short Video, "The Lesson"

The video aims to raise awareness of the scale and impact of anti-LGBTIQ bullying and calls on parents, teachers, schools and governments to play their part in stamping it out. Created with children's author Daniel Errico and animation house Kavaleer Productions, the video tells the bittersweet story of a boy whose friendship with a girl becomes problematic when his mother sees her kiss another girl.

Free & Equal is a project of the United Nations Human Rights Office. The campaign raises awareness of homophobic and transphobic violence and discrimination, and promotes greater respect for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people everywhere. Find out more here.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Is your LGBTQ kidlit book on the ALA's Rainbow Book List Committee's Radar?

There's a form to let them know about it.

And it doesn't have to be just your book - is there a book by someone else that's been or being published in 2017 that you want to make sure gets the chance to be included on the American Library Association's Rainbow List? Let the committee know!

And we'll all benefit, by having more great LGBTQ kid lit books to recommend and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Weird Girl and What's His Name

Weird Girl and What's His Name by Meagan Brothers

In the podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old geeks Lula and Rory share everything sci-fi and fantasy fandom, Friday night binge-watching of old "X-Files" episodes, and that feeling that they don t quite fit in. Lula knows she and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, he came out to her years ago, and she's shared with him her sacred texts: the acting books her mother left behind after she walked out of Lula's life. But then Lula discovers that Rory, her Rory, who maybe she's secretly had feelings for has not only tried out for the Hawthorne football team without telling her, but has also been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her identity and her own sexual orientation, and she runs away in the middle of the night on a journey to find her mother, who she hopes will have all the answers.

This novel won the IndieFab Young Adult Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and made the Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Books 2015 list. Add your review of "Weird Girl and What's His Name" in comments!