Recommended Books for teens in support of LGBT History Month 2020
To celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) month we have put together a list of recommended titles for teen readers:
‘From Prejudice to Pride’ by Amy Lame This book looks at the rise and achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement and the different communities, pioneers and stories of heartbreak and courage that have marched alongside it. Perfect for readers aged 11 and upwards, this book will inspire courage and pride in young LGBTQ+ people and help answer questions for all readers interested in gender and identity.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour. ‘I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.
Proud – An anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, responding to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Trans mission : my quest to a beard by Alex Bertie Being a teenager is difficult enough, but having to go through puberty whilst realising you’re in the wrong body means dealing with a whole new set of problems: bullying, self-doubt and in some cases facing a physical and medical transition. Alex is an ordinary teenager: he likes pugs, donuts, retro video games and he sleeps with his socks on. He’s also transgender, and was born female. He’s been living as a male for the past few years and he has recently started his physical transition. Throughout this book, Alex will share what it means to be in his shoes, as well as his personal advice to other trans teens.
Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green Painfully shy Alex lands a summer job at Wonderland, a run-down seaside arcade. He gets to know the other teen misfits who work there, and he even starts developing feelings for co-worker Ben. Then, as debtors close in, Alex and his new friends take it on themselves to save their employer. But in Wonderland nothing is quite what it seems.
Letting go by Cat Clarke When Agnes made a promise to her girlfriend Ellie, she thought that they would be together forever. One year later, Agnes is keeping that promise and it’s put her in a situation she never could of predicted; climbing a desolate mountain, in miserable weather, with Ellie and her new boyfriend Steve. But when the weather takes a frightening turn and the sky-high tension between the trio hits its peak, Agnes will have to push herself further than she ever thought was possible.
What if it’s us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera Meet Ben and Arthur. Ben is a battered dreamer who’s shipping his ex-boyfriend’s things back to him. Arthur is new to New York and struggling to fit in. After an memorable meet-cute in a New York post office, the boys lose touch only be be brought back together via a ‘missed connection’ advert. Is it fate? It looks like it. But after a series of disastrous first dates, Ben and Arthur may have to accept the universe should’ve minded its own business.
Pulp by Robin Talley Two women are connected across generations through the power of words. In 1955 18-year-old Janet Jones must keep the love she shares with her best friend a secret – in the age of McCarthyism, to be gay is to sin. But when Janet discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in her. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a new-found ambition to publish her own story, she risks exposing herself – and Marie – to a danger all too real. 62 years later, Abby Cohen can’t stop thinking about her senior project – classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. She feels especially connected to one author, ‘Marian Love’, and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity. But is Abby prepared for what she will find?
Read me like a book by Liz Kessler Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her. Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?
Beyond magenta : transgender teens speak out by Susan KuklinAuthor and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender identity. Portraits, family photographs and candid images grace the pages, augmenting the emotional and physical journey each youth has taken.
Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark From the outside, Brendan Chase seems to have it pretty easy. He’s a star wrestler, a video game aficionado, and a loving boyfriend to his seemingly perfect match, Vanessa. But on the inside, Brendan struggles to understand why his body feels so wrong – why he sometimes fantasises about having long hair, soft skin, and gentle curves. Is there even a name for guys like him? Guys who sometimes want to be girls? Or is Brendan just a freak? In razor-sharp verse, Kristin Clark folds three narratives into one powerful story. Brendan trying to understand his sexual identity, Vanessa fighting to keep her and Brendan’s relationship alive, and Angel struggling to confront her demons.
This book is gay by James Dawson Former PSHCE teacher and acclaimed YA author James Dawson gives an uncensored look at sexual orientation and gender identity. Including testimonials from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, this frank, funny, fully inclusive book explores everything anyone who ever dared to wonder wants to know – from sex to politics, how to pull, stereotypes, how to come-out and more.
Two boys kissing by David Levithan The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. They’re hoping to set the world record for the longest kiss. They’re not a couple, but they used to be. Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different. Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next. Cooper is alone. He’s not sure how he feels. As the marathon progresses, these boys, their friends and families evaluate the changing nature of feelings, behaviour and this crazy thing called love.
Hero by Perry Moore Thom Creed is used to being on his own. Even though he’s a basketball star, his school classmates keep their distance. They have picked up on something different about Thom. Plus, he can’t escape his father’s history. Hal Creed was one of the greatest superheroes of his time until a catastrophic event left him disfigured and an outcast.
The art of being normal by Lisa Williamson David is funny and quirky and has always felt different from other people – but he also has a huge secret that only his two best friends know. Ever since he can remember, he has felt like a girl trapped in the body of a boy.
Like other girls by Claire Hennessy Here’s what sixteen-year-old Lauren knows: she’s not like other girls. She also knows it’s problematic to say that – what’s wrong with girls? She’s even fancied some in the past – but if you were stuck in St Agnes’s, her posh all-girls school in Ireland, you’d feel like that too. Here everyone’s expected to be Perfect Young Ladies – it’s even a song in the painfully-cheesy and sexist musical they’re putting on this year, directed by Lauren’s arch-nemesis. Lauren is not like other girls, and nor is her friend Evan, who’s just come out as a trans boy – which Lauren knows she’s supposed to be cool with but still feels betrayed by. (Having had an unrequited crush on Evan for years doesn’t help, either). Why can’t everyone just be themselves without obsessing over labels? Then Lauren discovers she’s pregnant – the most girlish thing of all.
Fight like a girl : 50 feminists who changed the world by Laura Barcella Feminism is a hot topic. The battle for gender equality is being fought by everybody from politicians to indie social media campaigners, celebrities to school girls. But how did we get here and who paved the way for today’s badass women? ‘Fight Like a Girl’ profiles 50 fearless women – both the historical icons and the unsung heroes – such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Frida Kahlo and Roxane Gay. Each extraordinary life story is accompanied by a stunning portrait, along with eye-opening sidebars on their hard-fought causes and iconic quotes. Be inspired by their stories, arm yourself with their knowledge, get active and ‘Fight like a girl.
History is all you left me by Adam Silvera OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means.
All of the recommended titles can be borrowed from Wokingham Borough Libraries https://wokingham.spydus.co.uk or visit www.wokingham.gov.uk/libraries