Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

GLBTQQIAA Teen Fiction

So, I jumped at the chance to bring to your attention the wonderful books available in the YA/Teen GLBT range… and then I floundered.  I have read precisely TWO!  That’s not a particularly brilliant range of material in which to inform is it?  I mean, how many heterosexual teen novels have I read?  I would guess in the many hundreds (close to thousands if you count the ones I’ve never finished!).  I’m supposed to be a children’s expert bookseller… epic fail. 

So I did what every “expert” does when they don’t know something… I asked someone who does.  Cue Facebook message to my awesome friend Graeme.  This post is going to be a little strange I’m afraid.  Mostly because it involved a rapid exchange of Facebook messages between me and Graeme and I would much prefer to share with you his thoughts, rather than trying to translate them and make them mine.

image Graeme introduced me to my first gay teen book and sold it to me by saying it was “An awesome superhero coming-of-age story, plus gay.”  Hero by Perry Moore is the story of Thom, a basketball player and son of an ex-Superhero. This is an amazing book full of warmth and humour and I loved the way Thom and his father interacted and the development of their relationship while at the same time Thom discovered who he was himself.  It was full of very much a larger-than-life comic book figures which were utterly fabulous.

The other book I’ve read is a modern take on Cinderella called Ash by Malinda image Lo.  This is a beautifully written tale, very reminiscent of the age old storytelling with incredible imagery and  fabulous characterisation.  There are many differences between this tale and Cinderella though but the main one (which only becomes apparent half way through the book) is that the main character, Aisling  falls in love with the Huntress rather than the handsome prince. 

Okay, those are the only two books I’d read (sorry!!!).  So instead of only bringing you half-measures I did a bit of corresponding and it goes like this…

Me: Graeme… HELP ME!

Graeme: Honestly, you are rubbish!  Okay, here you go…

image 1. Boy meets Boy by David Levithan. If you make people read one gay teen book, make it this one. It is utterly the most joyous, lovely, uplifting book ever. It is set in a town where there is no prejudice and no one cares about sexuality and the school quarterback is also the home coming queen… she also gets all the best lines! It’s truly great. Amazing. David Levithan has also written a few others, not quite as excellent though is Wide Awake (maybe only available through USA websites) is very good, it’s about a gay teen couple 80-ish years in the future and the election of the first gay Jewish President… until Kansas starts fucking things up… its good. He’s also written a book called Ely and Naomi’s No Kiss List with a woman called Rachel Cohn which is ok (they also wrote the film Nick and Norah’s Infinate Playlist, starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings (very good if you’ve not seen it).

2. Alex Sanchez – The Rainbow Trilogy. Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High and Rainbow Road. All very good – told from 3 very different gay boy’s perspective.

3. Jacqueline Wilson – Kiss – got a good younger gay in it, with a cool main girl too.

4. Brett Hartinger – Geography Club – very good book about a group of gay teens.

5. There was also books called Desire Lines and Boys and the Bees but can’t remember the authors which were good for younger gays.

DO NOT IN ANY WAY recommend the book My Side of the Story by Will Davis. It is just shit.


Me: Oh thank you!  I shall give you a big sloppy kiss when we meet up next.

Graeme: Yuk.

I just realised they were all gay men books… Alex Sanchez’s books main boys are two gay men and one bi guy, also the third one, Rainbow Road has a transgendered male-to-female, and I think Wide Awake has trans folk too… Boy meets Boy has it all… but… no real lesbian’s (only background ones in Rainbow Boys and Boy meets Boy) so… I phoned my lesbian’s who said this…

The main one lesbian teen book is Nancy Garden’s Annie on My Mind, published in 1982, tells the story of two high school girls who fall in love. The novel, which has never been out of print, was a  step forward for homosexuality in young adult literature. It was burned by some dickhead Senator after it’d been donated to the local library… I’d check the details though… (I did and sure enough according to Wikipedia copies of the books were burned!!)

Split Screen by Brent Hartinger is supposed to be good, and of course Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill… which makes it the only British gay teen book on the list… hmmm… a niche there one feels… so that’s you got G’s L’s a B and some T’s. 🙂

Now… you do realise your piece is now GLBTQQIAA – that’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning, intersex, a-sexual and allies…


So I would just like to thank wonderful Graeme for saving my ass and giving me a VERY long list of GLBTQQIAA books to add to my to-be-read pile.  I do hope you add some of them too!

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve used to have full time job as a children's bookseller and she was the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love was definitely literature for children and teens, about which she has nerd-level knowledge. However she has since become involved in grown-up books and has co-written her first adult novel with Cath Murphy. Eve and Cath Podcast, blog and have far too much fun on their website Domestic Hell. Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website :

14 comments on “GLBTQQIAA Teen Fiction

  1. annebrooke
    May 19, 2010

    Great stuff, Eve & Graeme – and some fascinating books on this list, thank you!



  2. rosyb
    May 19, 2010

    Enjoyed this so much. I was pleased to see a goodly number of lesbian-themed books this week as normally this side of things can get very neglected. I think this post must have covered all bases there!

  3. annebrooke
    May 19, 2010

    And some we hadn’t thought of, Rosy! 🙂 Axxx

  4. Nikki
    May 19, 2010

    I’m glad this is not a subject that’s been avoided in YA lit. I read in the paper a while ago that some parents were up in arms over introducing homosexuality into the curriculum (in the PSHE lessons, I think), so I’m pleased it’s not a subject being repressed elsewhere.

  5. Trilby
    May 19, 2010

    Great piece, Eve. May I suggest another to add to the list?

  6. Eve Harvey
    May 19, 2010

    Oh thank you everyone! I’m so glad to be a part of this, it’s opened my eyes to an area where my knowledge was sorely lacking. I have now gathered a raft of titles… I feel a new theme bay in the shop coming on 🙂

    That looks brilliant Trilby, thanks for that.

    Any more, anyone?

  7. Lee Wind
    May 19, 2010

    It’s exciting that there are so many more GLBTQ Teen books now than there used to be. My list is up to over 200 books at I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell do I Read? where they’re sorted by a number of categories to help folks out.
    thanks for highlighting these titles, and spreading the word!

  8. Lynne
    May 20, 2010

    I was a children’s librarian twenty years ago when books of this type were just starting to filter into the library. I made a deliberate decision to stock as much as I could, so long as it was quality writing. So books such as What are ya?(good) and Happy endings are all the same (I have some reservations about this one) were in my collections. I had a few stand up fights with parents over them too. Luckily, my boss backed me everytime.

  9. Lynne
    May 20, 2010

    Opps, sorry. Mis-remember a title, It should be Happy endings are all alike. I didn’t realise at the time, but it’s from the 1970s. No wonder I thought it was rather old-fashioned.

  10. Col
    May 20, 2010

    Boy Meets Boy is a great read.

    I presume you have the Aidan Chambers – Dance on My Grave, on your list. Also Postcards From No-Man’s Land.

    And the very good ‘Brothers’ – Ted van Lieshout
    and, Centre of My World by Andreas Steinhofel.

  11. Clover
    May 20, 2010

    I loved Boy Meets Boy. It just put a big smile on my face when I was reading it.

  12. Jackie
    May 20, 2010

    A very entertaining post on a different angle for our theme week. I think LGBT books would be especially valuable for young readers, because a person is discovering so much other stuff about themselves & the world at that time, that learning others struggled with the same issues might make them more comfortable with themselves. Really glad to see there’s so many books available for them.

  13. Hilary
    May 20, 2010

    Hugely enjoyable piece, and lots of information in it, and in the comments – thanks, Eve, Graeme and commenters!

  14. Audrey Beth Stein
    May 21, 2010

    Thanks for this post! I’m always looking for more GLBT teen books to read… I loved Alex Sanchez and Brent Hartinger’s books (in both cases I got one out of the library and then went back for everything else), and would also recommend the short story anthology “Am I Blue? Coming Out From The Silence” edited by Marion Dane Bauer — especially the title story by Bruce Coville. It’s been a while since I read it, but Michelle Tea’s “The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America” really stuck with me, especially for the voice. (It’s not marketed as YA, but the narrator is about 14 at the beginning.)

    If you’re looking for memoir, might I be so bold as to suggest my own? MAP is a coming-of-age story about a time when it was easier to admit that you were in love with another girl than that you had met someone on the internet, and it’s a finalist for the upcoming Lambda Literary Awards. (BTW, the Lambda Literary website is another good place to find recommendations.)

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This entry was posted on May 19, 2010 by in Uncategorized.



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