LGBTQ+ in YA
Hello, lovely readers! Happy Pride Month! June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, and what better way to celebrate than with some representation in YA books. If you would like more books featuring LGBTQ+ characters, check out the Stonewall Awards. Each year, the American Library Association recognizes books (for all ages) for excellence relating to the LGBTQ+ experience with this award.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Prince Sebastian knows he should take more of an interest in his parents’ search for a bride for him. But he would much rather focus on being Lady Crystallia, who has taken Parisian high society by storm! Sebastian’s secret weapon is Frances, his best friend who dreams of being more than a secret dressmaker—she wants to be a great one. Can these two friends find a way to make both their dreams come true? Available as an e-book on Overdrive. FUN FACT: Though it did not win a Stonewall Award, this graphic novel did win an Eisner Award in 2019 and a Harvey Award in 2018. Both awards were in the teen categories.
Birthday by Meredith Russo
Eric and Morgan are best friends. They share a birthday and have shared secrets all their lives. But Morgan has a secret that no one in his small Tennessee town knows. Not even Eric. Told through years of shared birthdays and alternating points of view, this heart-wrenching story follows two friends trying to stay friends while keeping secrets. And as they drift apart and together again, Morgan finds the courage to make the change he’s wanted all his life…the change from him to her. Available as an e-book on Overdrive. FUN FACT: Meredith Russo is a transgender woman. Her first novel, If I Was Your Girl, won a Stonewall Award in 2017 and is available as an e-audiobook on Overdrive.
Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian
Set in the late 1980s during the AIDS epidemic in New York City, this emotional read follows three teens as they navigate romance, identity, and activism. Reza has just moved to the city and is worried that someone will learn that he’s gay. But all he knows of gay culture is what the media shows of AIDS and the men dying from it. Judy worships her uncle, who is gay and dying of AIDS. She has also fallen hard for Reza, and soon the two are dating. Art is Judy’s best friend and the only openly gay students at their school. And when Reza starts falling for Art, things become complicated because someone will end up heartbroken. Available as an e-audiobook on Hoopla. FUN FACT: Like a Love Story was a Stonewall Honor Book in 2020.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Jam, a transgender teen, is shocked to see a creature emerge from one of her mother’s paintings. And this creature is hunting a monster, which Jam has been told all her life does not exist. But how can Jam help Pet find and defeat a monster if none of the adults will admit it exists? And the search opens up a new question for Jam—how can she save her lifelong best friend? Available as an e-book on Hoopla. FUN FACT: Pet was a Stonewall Honor Book in 2020, and the author, Akwaeke Emezi, uses the pronouns they/them.