A Series of Fortunate Events: Library Collaborations that Help LGBTQ Young Adults Transition to College Life

Co-presented by university librarian Amanda Melilli, head of the Curriculum Materials Library at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Las Vegas (Clark County) high school English teacher and department chair for English in Clark County Ashley Nebe, this session focused on their collaborative relationship, designed to support and encourage LGBTQIA teens both in their high school years and during the transition to college. We also heard from authors Ann Bausum, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, and Mariko Tamaki on their thoughts for supporting LGBTQIA youth during the transition from high school to university.



Nebe spoke (inspirationally!) about the incredible growth of the GSA chapter at her high school, and the work that they have done to partner with other LGBTQIA-serving organizations and allies in the community, including Melilli’s library. The high school group now runs a student Talent Showcase in an open-air setting at the high school that has become a large event with strong participation numbers from students (with the larger community invited). They participate in the community-wide Pride Parade each year, which gives them a chance to make personal connections with college-age LGBTQIA students and faculty before arriving on the university campus themselves. Some key take-aways: Continue reading A Series of Fortunate Events: Library Collaborations that Help LGBTQ Young Adults Transition to College Life

Is This Just Fantasy?: LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction

Just Fantasy LGBTQ+ spec ficAs this recurring feature on The Hub clearly indicates, I love fantasy fiction.  But even a fan like myself must acknowledge that the genre has limitations, especially in terms of diversity.  Speculative fiction has remained a fairly white, cis-gendered, & straight world for a long time.  The fact that there seem to be more dragons and robots than LGBTQ+ characters in fantasy & sci-fi novels is shameful and disheartening, especially to the genres’ LGBTQ+ fans.  So in celebration of LGBT Pride Month, I set out to overview the current status of LGBTQ+ representation in young adult fantasy and science fiction.

High Fantasy

ash_malindalo_500For readers interested in issues of diversity & representation in speculative fiction, Malinda Lo is one of the most exciting authors and insightful bloggers out there.  Her work is also the perfect introduction to high fantasy featuring LGBTQ+ characters.  For readers favoring fairy tale retellings, Malinda Lo’s Ash (2010 Morris Award Finalist, 2014 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults) is an ideal romantic read. In this delicate Cinderella story, an orphaned young woman seeks escape from pain in the promises of a dark fairy but begins to question her choice when she falls in love with the king’s huntress.  Meanwhile, readers looking for quest narratives featuring complex heroines should pick up Lo’s Huntress (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2012 Rainbow List, 2012 Amelia Bloomer List), which follows the journey of two very different young women as they attempt to restore balance to the world–and understand their intense connection.  Continue reading Is This Just Fantasy?: LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction

A Different Light: LGBTQ Characters on 2013 “Best Of” Lists

lgbtqyalitOne of my favorite things about end-of-year “Best Of” lists is the chance to see what I’ve read – and what I’ve missed – in YA in the last year. A yearly review of the lists is also a good chance to track trends as they evolve from year to year. As someone who’s particularly interested in the portrayal  of LGBTQ teens in young adult literature, reviewing “Best Of” lists is a good way to check in on the status on LGBTQ literature for teens.

Before you read this post, do check out Geri’s wonderful by the numbers breakdown of the 2013 “Best Of” lists.  I’ve used the same 5 “best of” lists and data that Geri used in her post and that Hub bloggers have used in the past: Horn Book, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal’s “Best Teen Books for Adults” list. Using the same lists helps maintain consistency between posts and across years (see last year’s breakdown of LGBTQ characters on Best Of lists here). I’ve read  some but not all of the books on the best of lists, so I relied on publisher-provided summaries and Goodreads tags to determine which titles qualifiy as LGBTQ. If I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comments!

There were 64 fiction titles on the lists; just 4 (or 6.2%) focus on LGBTQ protagonists or issues.  This is down from last year when almost 8% of the titles on the list featured LGBTQ themes, main characters, or plot lines. Also notable is the homogeneity of the characters portrayed in the four “Best of” titles. All of LGBTQ characters on this year’s lists are cisgendered gay boys; there are no bisexual or lesbian characters and no transgendered characters on this year’s list (again, I haven’t read all of the books, so do please let me know if I’m wrong!)

The four LGBTQ novels on this year’s “best of” lists are:

More Than This

More Than This by Patrick Ness (2 of 5 lists)

Continue reading A Different Light: LGBTQ Characters on 2013 “Best Of” Lists

Upcoming Trends: More Mermaids, Psychological Thrillers, Human Experimentation, and More

by flickr user NoHoDamon
Our last post on upcoming trends we see in YA lit was such a hit that we decided to follow it up with a more in-depth discussion. Five Hub bloggers–Gretchen, Sharon, Mia, Nicole, and Emily–attended publisher previews, watched preview webinars, picked up ARCs, and scoured upcoming releases titles to get a sense for what’s been published recently and what’s coming soon. Here are some of the trends we observed.

This isn’t a new trend (we talked about it last fall), but it’s definitely still going strong!

  • Of Poseidon by Anna Banks (May 2012)
  • Real Mermaids Don’t Hold Their Breath by Hélène Boudreau (May 2012)
  • The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova (May 2012)
  • Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (June 2012)
  • Waking Storms by Sarah Porter (June 2012)
  • Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama (September 2012)
  • The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (September 2012)

Continue reading Upcoming Trends: More Mermaids, Psychological Thrillers, Human Experimentation, and More

A Different Light: graphic novels featuring LBGTQ characters

A few months ago, I wrote a guide to finding YA with LGBTQ characters and themes. Today, I decided to put my own advice to work and create a list of graphic novels that feature gay, lesbian, or transgender characters.

The portrayal of potentially sensitive topics is made all the more sensitive by the visual nature of graphic novels. Because of this, I’ve divided the list up into two age groups. The books recommended for older teens feature more nudity, language, dark themes, and visual depictions of sexuality than the books suggested for the younger group–but, of course, every title is a little different and every reader has the right to decide what’s best for him or her.

Note: Manga has a rich and complicated history of putting out stories with queer characters. Because I’m not particularly familiar with manga, and because there are so many varieties of approaches to issues of gender and sexuality in the manga universe, I’ve left manga titles out of this list. The only exception is Wandering Son, which I included because it’s a 2012 Top Ten Great Graphic Novel!

For middle schoolers and younger teens

Wandering Son by Shimura Takako, translated by Matt Thorn (2012 Great Graphic Novels Top Ten)

Two students struggling with their gender identity become friends and confidantes in this manga series. The first volume is part of this year’s Best of the Best, so be sure to check it out if you’re doing the challenge!

Continue reading A Different Light: graphic novels featuring LBGTQ characters