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.

A Librarian Reads I am J

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

I am J by Cris Beam

J is a young transgender male. So he was physically born a female but has identified as male his whole life. He has also kept this as a secret from his friends and family due to guilt and fear. One night he kisses his best friend Melissa who doesn’t know how J sees himself. She flips out and calls him a lesbian. J feels betrayed and decides to fully embrace who he is. He seeks out information on getting testosterone shots so he will look and sound more like a man. He also makes a special bra that binds his breasts so he looks like he has a flat chest. J starts ditching school and then runs away from home. He is afraid to tell people the truth about himself. Soon he finds himself at a shelter. How has he fallen so far? Will J ever be accepted by his family and friends? Will J ever accept himself?

I am J is a interesting novel about a young man struggling with his identity and finding the courage to be himself. It is appropriate for all ages as long as you understand it is frank about transgender and LGQBT issues . However it does sometimes read like an “after school special”.

A Librarian Reads Gemini Bites

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan

Judy and Kyle Renneker are fraternal twins who live in the middle of a family of nine. Everyone in the family competes against each other just to survive. If you want the biggest helping of dinner you need to make sure you are first in line. If you want an amazing present for Christmas you better start dropping hints in July. That is how life has always been in the Renneker family. But since Judy and Kyle are twins they compete against each other more than any other member of the family and it always seems that Judy wins. When Kyle came out as gay to his family Judy came out as a born again Christian. She is always one-upping her twin.

Then one night Judy and Kyle’s parents make an announcement. The family will have another member soon. Garret Johnson, the son of a friend of their father’s, will be staying with them for the rest of the school year. Garrett’s parents are moving to California but want him to have the stability of staying at one school for his junior year of high school. At first Judy and Kyle are concerned that their home will have one more person squeezed into it, but soon Judy notices that Kyle has an interest in Garret. Now she sees Garret as an opportunity to compete with her brother for a boyfriend.

But Garrett has his own plans. He makes it no secret to Judy and Kyle that he is a vampire. Garrett even has a Van Helsing type stalker at school who has vowed to destroy him. Judy and Kyle aren’t sure what to make of any of this but can’t deny being intrigued. So who will win in this love triangle? Judy? Kyle? Or the vampire?

Gemini Bites is a very funny, yet realistic, story of sibling rivalry gone haywire. Highly recommended for those looking for a quick, fun read about family, romance and vampires. It is appropriate for ages 16 and up due to a few scenes involving physical intimacy.