Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Recommendations: Books About Gay Teens

First up: my Virtual Book Tour continues, and this time, BAND GEEK is featured at the blog Dream Big ... Read Often. You can read an excerpt of my novel and once again, sign up to win a prize of a free copy of the book, a CD and some handmade music earrings. Go for it -- it only takes a second to click!

Meantime, I'd like to recommend some more Young Adult novels that I think are worth reading. This time, they all have gay, lesbian or transgender protagonists. In the past few years, there have been so many tragic stories about gay teens who were bullied to the point where they killed themselves. Of course, there are many others who haven't made the news, but are also picked on at school or are not accepted at home. You'd think that in 2012 being gay wouldn't be a big deal, but unfortunately, it still is in some circles.

The following LGBT novels tackle some difficult topics, such as what it means to be gay and Christian, or what it means to be a girl trapped in a boy's body. I think that all are books that can help gay teens feel not so alone and can help straight teens understand what their gay friends, siblings and classmates are going through.

The God Box by Alex Sanchez: Sanchez has written several YA novels that star gay teens, but this is my favorite of his. The narrator, Pablo, a.k.a. "Paul" lives the seemingly-perfect life in Texas: he has a steady group of friends, a beautiful and sweet girlfriend and is a devout Christian who's active in his church and school's Bible club. However, his life is turned upside-down when he discovers that he has feelings for his classmate, Manuel, who's out and proud. Paul not only has to come to terms with being gay, but also questions his religious beliefs and his entire identity. This is an LGBT story that digs deeper than a typical "coming out" tale and takes on a rather controversial angle.

Something Like Summer by Jay Bell: A warning before I begin: though this book is YA and has young characters, there are some explicit scenes in this book! I suggest it for older teens, ages 17 and up. Still, while there are some hot sections, the tale is heartfelt and made me cry in parts. The story follows Ben, an out teen who begins a relationship with closeted jock, Tim. The first section shows readers how Ben went after the object of his affection and managed to win Tim's heart. it then goes on to cover the next 10 years or so of their on again/off again relationship. What I liked about this novel was that it wasn't really a coming out story, which is often what YA LGBT books are. Though it did involve on teen accepting his sexuality, the main portion of the novel focused on the characters' love story.

Keeping You A Secret By Julie Anne Peters; This story is similar to The God Box in that the main character, Holland, has a boyfriend and hasn't quite realized that she's gay. She then meets the school's new girl, Cece, who's an out and proud lesbian, and they fall in love. I enjoyed the romance between the girls, but I also liked that the story didn't neatly wrap up every plot. There were some messy scenes that made me want to smack certain characters and cheer for others. It's always a good read for me when characters make me so emotional!

Luna by Julie Anne Peters: In this novel, Peters introduces readers to a main character who's transgender. the story is told from the POV of Regan, whose brother Liam is a female trapped in a male's body. Regan is the only person who knows of "Luna's" secret and she struggles to accept and deal with the fact that her brother identifies himself as her sister. The one thing I wish is that we'd gotten the story from Luna's point of view; perhaps Luna and Regan could've narrated alternating chapters? Still, it's a moving story about love, identity and acceptance.

If you have any favorite LGBT books, feel free to share in the comments! Meantime, please read and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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