Queer Books your YA Lit Loving Heart will Swoon Over | Family Matters
QUEER BOOKS YOUR YA LIT LOVING HEART WILL SWOON OVER | FAMILY MATTERS
You know that thing where I’m a librarian by day? That means I know a lot of books. Like, a lot. My goodreads has 514 books on it right now and that’s only what I remember to log, nothing compared to the number of books I’ve actually read. One of the topics I consider myself highly well read in is LGBT fiction, specifically for teens as, let’s be honest, YA lit is a guilty pleasure for so many. But it shouldn’t be guilty! We should just enjoy reading books, regardless. Yes, even you Twilight and 50 Shades folks, you should be allowed to enjoy your books sans guilt.
I’ve teamed up with some other awesome librarians to bring you all the best of the best YA, Middle Grade, and Children’s books covering a whole range of topics from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Throughout Pride Month, I’m going to be dropping lists of books that will make you feel all the feelings ranging from “for the love of god just kiss already!” all the way to actual tears of feels. Many books will cross over on lists and that’s an awesome thing!
Today’s list? Family Matters. Books where family is most important, where the queer isn’t just driving the plot but where it supports the family. Being queer can make familiar relationships… interesting to say the least and these books showcase that beautifully.
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right? (Goodreads)
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
The first day of senior year:
Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.
Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? (Goodreads)
I’m reading this book right now and am absolutely loving it! It captured me from the beginning. It’s been a slow read, taken me ages to make any real progress, but from the beginning, Sal has you captured in his journey.
The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry used to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before—before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa…and before Annabeth was killed in a car accident.
Enter Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out—at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy—a hot one—and falls hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending—if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story. (Goodreads)
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. (Goodreads)
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”
At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.
Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.
The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.
This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. (Goodreads)
Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
In sight not see
black light not be
This is the curious instruction that comes with the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet that Montgomery Sole buys online for $5.99. It’s also the next topic of discussion at Mystery Club (members: Monty and her two best friends, Thomas and Naoki), dedicated to the exploration of the strange and unexplained.
When Monty wears the Eye of Know, strange things happen, all targeted at people she despises. Maybe it will help Monty take down her newest enemy, a preacher who has come to save her town from so-called sinners—sinners like Monty’s moms. Or will its mysterious powers mean the end of the friendships Monty cherishes most?
Mariko Tamaki has created a thoughtful, funny, and painfully honest story about family, religion, ignorance, and other unsolved high school mysteries. (Goodreads)
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
Three women – three secrets – one heart-stopping story. Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can’t reveal. Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her. Katie’s grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and ‘capable of anything’, despite suffering from Alzheimers. As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is ‘badness’ genetic? In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love. Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories. (Goodreads)
Honestly Ben by Ben Konigsberg
Ben Carver is back to normal. He’s getting all As in his classes at the Natick School. He was just elected captain of the baseball team. He’s even won a big scholarship for college, if he can keep up his grades. All that foolishness with Rafe Goldberg last semester is over now, and he just needs to be a Carver, work hard, and stay focused.
There’s Hannah, a gorgeous girl who attracts him and distracts him. There’s his mother, whose quiet unhappiness he’s noticing for the first time. School is harder, the pressure higher, the scholarship almost slipping away. And there’s Rafe, funny, kind, dating someone else…and maybe the real normal that Ben needs. (Goodreads)
The Marvels by Brian Selznick
The journey begins at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage.
Nearly a century later, runaway Joseph Jervis seeks refuge with an uncle in London. Albert Nightingale’s strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past. (Goodreads)
Brian Selznick is an award winning author who was selected to share the 2015 May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture, which is basically an award to write a paper and speak about a topic an author cares about. His lecture is titled, “Love is a Dangerous Angel: Thoughts on Queerness and Family in Children’s Books.” Luckily, the library who hosted the Arbuthnot filmed the ENTIRE lecture and you can watch it here. And you should because it’s brilliant!
DISCLAIMER: ANY AND ALL OPINIONS SHARED ARE OURS ALONE AND ARE NOT NECESSARILY REFLECTIVE OF OUR EMPLOYERS.
- https://www.leewind.org/ (I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read?)
- https://glbtrt.ala.org/rainbowbooks/rainbow-books-lists (Rainbow List)
- http://www.ala.org/rt/glbtrt/award/stonewall/honored (Stonewall Book Award)
- Dannie’s goodreads
- Emily’s Goodreads
- Eti’s Goodreads
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- Ari’s Goodreads