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It is important that we speak of LGBT+ issues, if we are to be fair to almost 4% of the population; why these LGBT books for teens are a must read.
On 28th June 1969, there was an uprising by gay rights activists, now known as the Stonewall Riots. June is considered Pride Month to commemorate these riots.
Let us look at these LGBT books for teens that have an LGBT+ protagonist or character – these books introduce lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc. characters to children and young adults, showing us that these are just your everyday, normal people, and do not have horns.
Simon is sarcastic, has a thing for sentence fragments, likes Harry Potter and is obsessed with Oreos. He also happens to be gay, and is closeted. So when he sees a post on the school Tumblr written anonymously by another gay boy, also anonymously, he gets in touch with Blue. Simon becomes more and more attached to the boy he knows only as Blue on email, a boy he knows is probably in his class at school. And one day, the emails fall into the wrong hands. Very quickly, things get all sorts of complicated and Simon’s secret is at risk of spilling out before he’s ready.
Buy it here at Flipkart, at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
Another Simon. This one studies at a magic school called Watford. Simon is a wizard, albeit not a very good one. He muddles through, though, in between multiple attacks from his enemy, the Insidious Humdrum, and from his nefarious roommate Baz, who is probably a vampire. Baz hasn’t bothered to show up for their last year at Watford, and Simon is terrified that he’s busy plotting against him again.
Ollie and Moritz have never met and probably never will. They each have a medical condition that would react terribly to the other person and so they know each other only through letters, and yet they’re best friends. Their stories are told through their letters to each other. Then, Moritz reveals the secret about their shared past and it changes everything―except their friendship. Also, there’s a sequel! It’s called Nowhere Near You and it is even more beautiful and heartwarming (read: heartwrenching) than the first book.
Muskaan is in a coma after an attempted suicide. Three of her classmates tell her story– a heartbreaking story of how an Indian society can break someone who doesn’t conform. (Note: this is nothing like 13 Reasons Why, so don’t go by that trash.)
Komal is terrified that her best friend Sahil is in love with her because it would destroy their friendship. He has something to tell her, and it changes everything. She struggles to understand it. And it’s just possible that her beliefs can be changed, with the help of the internet, a counselor and some shocking statistics. Maybe things don’t have to be exactly as she thought they were. Maybe a cake can be delicious even if it’s slightly burnt.
Ari and Dante are Mexican-American teenage boys. Ari doesn’t fit in. He doesn’t like people. His eyes are sad. But everybody loves Dante. They become unlikely friends. But there are problems ahead, and it’s possible that they might not be able to hold on to each other at the end. Written beautifully in Ari’s musing voice, this book is stunning.
A group of demigods fight to save the world from Kronos, as a prophecy says they must. There are a few secondary LGBT+ characters, but revealing which ones they are would be a spoiler! (They come out in the second half of the series.) Also, Rick Riordan, the author, has said that he sees the Hunters of Artemis, a group of characters in the series, as aromantic asexual.
The second book of the Magnus Chase series, by the same author, has won a Stonewall Award for its accurate depiction of a genderfluid character, Alex Fierro, who is friends with Magnus, the main character. This series is based on Norse mythology, with Rick Riordan’s trademark demigod characters.
Clara is looking for a new colour scheme to use for dyeing a new batch of wool– this is a hobby of hers. She finds some artwork by a minor celebrity, Danielle. And Clara finds Danielle even more beautiful and interesting than her artwork. This is a fluffy f/f (a couple made up of two women) contemporary romance and a light, happy read.
Buy it here at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
Everyone thinks that George is a boy. That’s not true. George knows that she’s a girl. She’s tried of people thinking she’s a boy and yet she can’t bring herself to tell anyone. Then, her school announces that they are going to make a production of Charlotte’s Web, and George knows that she wants to play Charlotte– a female part, as so many people tell her. Maybe this is an opportunity for her to finally show the world who she is.
Patroclus is a young exiled prince living in the kingdom of Phthia. He’s a shy, closed-up person who feels completely lost in his new life until he meets Achilles, the prince of Phthia, an elegant, confident, straightforward person who knows he’s Aristos Achaion: the best of the Greeks. Their friendship blossoms even with the hurdles in their way, and soon they grow to be lovers.
Then tragedy strikes: Helen of Troy has been stolen and the Greek army wants Achilles to fight on their side. Will the two of them make it through alive? Based on the Iliad, and a winner of an Orange Award, this book is skillfully crafted and heartwrenchingly beautiful.
Of these 10 LGBT+ books for teens, I have found only two from Indian writers – Talking of Muskaan, and Slightly Burnt. Maybe it is time we have a few more? Also, a few more books for younger children will be a good idea.
Image source: flickr, for representational purposes only.
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Zefeni. A teenager curious about the world around her, a book lover, poet, and dreamer.
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