Happy Pride Month! What parades are you all attending? I’m going to be at Denver Pride on June 15 and NYC Pride on June 30th, and I’m debating if I can get away with wearing the same outfit to both.
While October is important because it is LGBT history month, June is the month where literally thousands of LGBT folks and their allies take over your neighborhood’s downtown area to celebrate ourselves, which is awesome. In honor of that, here are my favorite LGBT YA novels for you to take to the beach, or wave around like a flag as you march in a parade. It’s up to you!
Of the novels that have come out (see what I did there?) this year, my favorites are David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing and Bill Konigsberg’s Openly Straight. Levithan’s novel is about two boys who decide to break a new world record for kissing, and the story is “narrated” by a chorus of gay men who have lost their lives to AIDS. Openly Straight is lighter but no less complex fare: a boy who is sick of being tokenized as The Gay Kid decides to stay in the closet when he moves to a new school. I especially appreciate Openly Straight because while bullying and homophobia are addressed frequently in literature, tokenization is more complex and not discussed nearly as often.
One of the best lesbian novels I’ve read recently is The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth (a 2013 Morris Award finalist). I’m a sucker for lesbians in rural settings (Far from Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters is a book I love of the same variety), and what’s nice about danforth’s story is that while it deals with homosexual conversion camps and other bleak issues, the narrator is witty and the novel is fun to read, something that can’t be said for a lot of other lesbian novels (why can’t we have nice things?).