Posts Tagged ‘lgbqt’

Openly Straight

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Cover for Openly StraightOpenly Straight By Bill Konigsberg

Rafe has been out since a very young age. Growing up in Boulder, CO with aging hippies as parents it was okay to be gay.

Except Rafe always felt that is all any one saw in him; he was just the gay kid. In his junior year of high school he decides to take on a experiment that will help him shed the “gay kid” label. He decides to enroll in a prep school in Massachusetts and then just be himself. He won’t tell anyone he is gay and he can just be Rafe; one of the guys.

At his new school he is soon hanging out with the popular jocks and playing soccer. Except he finds one of his new friends, Ben, really attractive. After Ben’s best friend leaves school early Rafe becomes his new friend. Rafe struggles with toeing the line between being friends and crushing on Ben.

Can Rafe just turn his sexuality off? Does he actually believe this experiment makes him more ‘normal’? And what about his friends and family? How will Rafe’s decision to pretend to be straight affect them?

Openly Straight is an interesting take on the “coming out” novel in young adult LGBQT literature. At times it reads like a history of the gay rights movement, and at other times I was frustrated with the naivete of Rafe. Overall it is a good read but recommended for teens who are just starting the process of coming to grips with their sexuality or working up the courage to come out. It is appropriate for ages 16 and up due to scenes involving physical intimacy and drinking.

A Librarian Reads Ask the Passengers

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Astrid Jones doesn’t fit in. Her mother has forced her into a homogeneous small town life after many years of experiencing life in the big city. Small town life has been hard on her parents too. Her father has a crummy job and turns to smoking pot to deal with stress and a horrible marriage. Astrid’s mother is a shut in who works over the Internet and is constantly disappointed in her. The only one who seems to like small town living is Astrid’s younger sister, Ellis, who is a star hockey player.

Astrid knows her family has problems and so she knows the small town loves to gossip. She constantly hears rumors about herself and her family. But she tries to keep her head up and have a positive outlook. Her favorite pastime is laying in her backyard and identifying planes that fly overhead. Knowing how it feels to be unwanted, she sends her love up to the strangers flying above her hoping that they will feel better about their own lives.

She also has friends, Justin and Kristina, who are a couple on the homecoming court. They have a secret that Astrid is keeping. They are only pretending to be a couple. Justin and Kristina are both hay and have have a secret boyfriend and girlfriend respectively. The three of them know that their small town is not ready for out teenagers at their high school. Justin and Kristina encourage Astrid to find a boyfriend so all three couples can go out. But Astrid has a secret of her own. There is a girl named Dee she works with. Astrid thinks she may be falling for her but she isn’t sure. Is being attracted to a girl mean your gay? Is this just a crush that will pass? Astrid has a problem being open about her feelings and bottles her hopes and dreams deep inside. Unfortunately she can’t keep it all in for long. When finally her emotions come out there are consequences she isn’t ready for. Will Astrid be able to handle the curve balls that life and romance throw her way? But a better question is this: is a small town ready for Astrid?

Ask the Passengers is a wonderful story dealing with a young girl’s sexual identity, family, and friends. This is a beautiful book and highly recommended. It is appropriate for ages 16 and up due to some scenes of intimacy.

A Sundry Librarian reads Beauty Queens

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

“Maybe girls need an island to find themselves. Maybe they need a place where no one’s watching them so they can be who they really are.”

In a world much like our own, with an extra dash commercialism, the fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant and their handlers are on their way to a photoshoot when their plane crashes on a desert island. The survivors are sure that they’ll be rescued soon, but as the days on the island start accumulating, the girls begin to realize that they’ll need to rely on each other to survive.

With tongue firmly in cheek, Printz Award-winning author, Libba Bray (Going Bovine, A Great and Terrible Beauty, The Diviners), tells a story that is a mix between Lord of the Flies, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Lost, and Clueless. Beauty Queens is, at times, laugh-out-loud funny and Bray never misses a beat in fitting meaning into every page. She hits on issues of self-esteem, sexual identity, feminism, disability, gender identity, environmentalism, race, war, and commercialism with a deft hand. But at its core, this book is about the importance of letting young women discover who they are, without the pressure of other people’s expectations.

Beauty Queens is not for everyone. The characters are often (purposefully) obnoxious and the story is filled with product-placement mocking footnotes, which could easily turn off some readers. But for others, these characteristics will just add to this excellently written, culture-mocking tale. Readers that enjoyed Going Bovine, An Abundance of Katherines, and The Princess Bride should pick up this book.

Recommended for ages 15 and up.