YA lit of all sorts has been having a boon these past few years. My most recent obsession, and apparently a lesbian favorite, the HUNGER GAMES Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic), is just one example of the smart, thoughtful, quirky, and dark books being written for YA audiences and those of us who are still 11 at heart.
This week, the American Library Association announced the winner of The Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit for children or teens relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. The first gay book I stumbled upon in the library was MAURICE by E.M Forster and while it hasn’t done me any noticeable harm (one treacherous punting expedition notwithstanding), I am thrilled to see so many books about school and love and angst and identity actually set in this century.
ALMOST PERFECT by Brian Katcher (Delacorte Press). When Logan falls for cool and mysterious Sage, it seems he’s finally over the heartbreak of his last girlfriend’s cheating. But when he acts on those feelings, Logan is broken apart all over again by Sage’s revelation: she’s a boy.
Four honor books were also selected:
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan of Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, and Boy Meets, Boy fame (Dutton Books). 2 boys named Will Grayson + one high school musical = fabulous.
LOVE DRUGGED by James Klise (Flux). There seems to be a pill for everything these days so why not suppressing homosexuality, too? And, if you were a high school freshman afraid of being discovered as gay, wouldn’t you take it?
FREAKS AND REVELATIONS by Davida Willis Hurwin (Little, Brown). Inspired by the true story of a vicious hate crime in Los Angeles in 1980, Hurwin follows the lives of both the victim and the perpetrator with candor and sympathy.
Besides the gratifying number of major publishing houses represented here, transgender issues do seem to be a trend. I’ll chime in with my not-so-recent favorite in that category:
LUNA by Julie Anne Peters (Little Brown, 2006). About Liam, who only reveals his true self at night…until now.
But…where are the girl books?