Identity — who we are, how we become those people — is a central theme in lots of YA novels. Given what Claire Gross calls the “still-in-progress audience” of YA literature, the prevalence of questions surrounding identity is not surprising. Two recent articles examining queer* YA were published recently: “What Makes a Good YA Coming-out Novel?” by Claire Gross in The Horn Book and “A New Way for Gay Characters in Y.A.” in The Atlantic Wire‘s YA for Grownups series. Although they’re written from different perspectives and with different questions in mind, both delve into the importance of identity in queer YA. Maybe this is unsurprising too; after all, “sexual identity” is often used as synonym for “sexual orientation.” What struck me in the articles, however, was the authors’ focus on the importance other parts of identity, parts of identity not related to who and how a character loves. Gross and Doll agree that good queer YA often focuses as much, if not more, on other questions of identity than it does on questions of sexual and gender identity. Sexual orientation may be a synonym for sexual identity, but a person’s identity is not defined solely by her sexual orientation. Gross and Doll recognize this and see the importance of it in queer YA different but complementary ways.