Category Archives: GLBTQ

Wrapping up Pride Month…

scotus-same-sex-0626I was going to review another book I recently read, but I am just too excited about today’s historic Supreme Court ruling!  Instead of posting a random review of a book, I think I’m going to simply highlight the GLBTQ books I have reviewed in the past.  Enjoy!

Happy Reading!

The Misfits by James Howe

misfitsI listened to this audiobook a few months ago, but I decided to wait and review it during LGBT Pride Month.  It’s not because the entire story was about one particular LGBT character or centered around a specific LGBT problem, though, because it wasn’t.  The story actually revolved around a group of self-proclaimed misfits and their attempt to stop bullying in their school.  Joe, nevertheless, was identified as being gay and other characters recalled that Joe used to wear dresses sometimes.  I really appreciated the way Joe’s sexual identification and history of cross-dressing were treated as more of a side note to explain why some people bullied him and but that his story didn’t overshadow or make light of the other forms of bullying at their school.  This was a story in which a variety of students were bullied for a variety of reasons, all of which were wrong.

Everything started back when Addie refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance; she was adamant about the fact that there wasn’t “liberty and justice for all” and, on principle, refused to say the pledge anymore.  Even though her teacher didn’t quite seem to understand where she was coming from, her friends, the misfits, thought she was on to something.  They were tired of being made fun of and mistreated, and they were fairly certain that nothing would improve unless they did something about it — so they decided to go about affecting that change by creating a third party in the student council elections.  The book did get a little didactic at times, but I think many tween and teen readers will appreciate Addie’s brand of idealism and the fact that working together actually made a difference in their school.  Fortunately, many schools are making an effort to teach character education and to promote an environment free from hatred and bullying… but it’s still out there.  Sadly, I’m all too certain there will always be kids who can relate to this story.

Happy Reading!

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

wasnt-meDespite the fact that the American Psychiatric Association put forth a resolution in 2009 stating that “there is insufficient evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work,” there are still numerous facilities and therapists that claim they can “cure” homosexuality.  It breaks my heart and makes me angry, in equal measure, when I hear about teens being sent off to so-called conversion therapy camps.  To put it plainly, I find the notion that GLBTQ people can/need to be “fixed” is simply horrifying.  I recognize that some people’s religious views are the reason they don’t condone homosexuality, but I reject the implication that one’s religious beliefs can or should be forced upon anyone else.  Though some some places [California, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington D.C.] have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors, I am appalled that so many states haven’t stepped up.  Hopefully, books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me and The Miseducation of Cameron Post can help to open people’s eyes and to bring about further change. Continue reading

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlCath was not just a Simon Snow fan.  She was an über Simon Snow fan who actually had followers of her own.  How?  Cath wrote fan fiction.  More specifically, she wrote Simon/Baz fan fiction.  And her story, Carry On, got tens of thousands of hits every time she posted a new chapter.  While I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Cath entered college with the intention to be a fiction writer, I was interested in how she struggled with creating stories all her own even though the fan fiction flowed so easily for her.  And even more than that, I was impressed by how wholly I found myself being absorbed into Cath’s everyday life and her struggle to adjust to the new realities of her life as a college freshman.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

darkest-part-of-the-forestHappy Teen Tech Week, everybody!  Before I get to the actual audiobook review, I would just like to take a moment to remind y’all that public libraries are about WAY more than just books.  Of course we lend out books and audiobooks — but we also lend music, movies, and video games.  Many public libraries even lend e-books and downloadable audiobooks FOR FREE via OverDrive.com!  As someone who listens to audiobooks ravenously, always has an ebook waiting on her Kindle, and is cheaper than cheap, this service is something I’m thrilled to take advantage of and to share with my library patrons and blog readers.  (There are even streaming video and magazines available now on OverDrive, though I haven’t fully explored those options yet.)   But, I digress.
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Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

BelzharAs the outgoing President of the Youth Services Section of the NY Library Association, I had the honor of sitting at the head table for the 2014 YSS Empire State Award Luncheon.  During the luncheon, the ESA winner, Jacqueline Woodson, was discussing some of the books she had read recently and could not stop gushing about Belzhar.  (I didn’t realize at the time that she was also the featured blurb on the back of the book, but she had me sold.)  I somehow managed to forget to add a request on the book when I returned to work, though.  Fortunately, a colleague put Belzhar on the “Staff Picks” display last week and my friend [upon seeing it on display] asked whether I had read it yet.  I said that I didn’t yet but certainly planned on it.  She insisted that I take it home RIGHT THEN so that she would have someone with whom she could discuss the ending. Well, I picked it up for a “short” reading break yesterday afternoon, and I read more than half the book.  I had to stop reading to eat dinner and to read bedtime stories with my kids, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Belzhar and had to finish reading it before I could go to sleep!   Continue reading

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

ask the passengersWhen Astrid Jones and her family moved from New York City to Unity Valley, PA, none of them quite realized how drastically their lives would change.  Astrid’s mom became so concerned with how other people saw her and so controlling that it seemed nothing Astrid did was ever even close to good enough.  Her little sister, Ellis, was so concerned with popularity and upholding her reputation that she’d probably have disowned Astrid if it would have guaranteed her immunity from the rumor mill.  This apparently pleased her mom, though, since she frequently invited Ellis to “mommy and me” nights out.  And their dad?  When he wasn’t moping about his lack of job prospects and smoking pot in the garage or attic, he seemed content enough to sit silently while his wife belittled him in front of the kids. Continue reading