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Friday, October 29, 2010

YA Bloggers Want...Mainstream GLBT: BookChic

James of BookChic and I go way back...back to the early days of readergirlz, when our base of operations was at our MySpace page - and BookChic always came out to comment on the books and chat live with authors.

So you can imagine how honored I was when he wanted to be a part of the TMAS blog tour. And he liked the book! ("It really is that good," he said. Wow. Thank you, James!)

Plus I keep running into him at conferences...here we are at ALA 2010: LK Madigan, me, Amy Brecount White, Harmony, Tiff, and James:

I'm very pleased to be able to focus on James today as he tells us what he would like to see on the YA shelf.

Welcome, James!


I'd love to see more mainstream GLBT fiction. I go to Lee Wind's blog every so often and notice that a lot of books mentioned there are from smaller presses or even self-pubbed. It's heartening to see GLBT characters more and more in YA books as supporting characters, but I want to see them take the spotlight more. Maybe I'm just not looking as hard or something but it seems like GLBT main characters are fading away.

Gay YA authors like Brent Hartinger, Alex Sanchez, and David Levithan haven't published much in the way of GLBT literature in the past few years (aside from Levithan's collaboration with John Green on Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which was amazing and I was happy to see it made the NY Times Bestsellers list, apparently a first for a gay YA book). I was also happy to see in the Little, Brown YA bag from BEA a book called I Am J by Cris Beam, which features a transgender protagonist and looks really interesting. What these books do is give hope to GLBT teens that they can find love just like everyone else. It's hard to realize that with little representation.

My Top YA faves include:

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (started me on my YA love!)
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (a hard book to swallow, but just so amazing)
In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg (a cute romance done really well)
Burned by Ellen Hopkins (my favorite of all her books)
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe (absolutely hilarious, as is the sequel)


Thank you, James!

Readers, do you think GLBT characters are fading away? Do you think a wider variety of characters are finding more of a voice in publishing, or less? I'm curious about this and would love to hear from some of you.

Plus your comments enter you to win a book prize! Woohoo! Thanks for coming to support YALSA's Teen Read Week and National Book Month!


  1. Thanks so much for having me! You're the best! :)

  2. I love the list of fave YAs!

    Also, I second the issue here. I wish there were more mainstream books dealing with LGBT characters, rather than them being sidelined into a marginal genre.

  3. I think they are coming out more and more.

    I don't really have an issue with it but I haven't really noticed that there were people wanting more of it. I hope it helps others who look for comfort in books.

    I recently read Scars by Cheryl Rainfield and the main character is a lesbian.

    Also, in Nightshade a couple of the supporting characters are Gay and that is a Paranormal film.

    :) Thanks for the recommendations.


  4. I for one really hope that GLBT characters aren't fading away. There is so much diversity in the world and I want to read books that embrace our diversity.

    I do think that a wider variety of characters are finding their voice but I can only assume it isn't always easy for them to make it to the printed page.

    I have a great respect for authors who write from the heart and as a reader, I welcome everyone!

    Awesome post! Thanks for stopping by James!

  5. Valorie and Emily- You know what's funny? It seems like 2011 is gonna be the year of the gay, lol. I already know about three GLBT books (Brent Hartinger, Alex Sanchez, and Scott Tracey) and I'm sure there are plenty more coming out. But it's still such a small amount and they're not always being published by the big places. Flux is a really great GLBT-inclusive publisher and they're doing both Brent and Scott's books next year.

    Also, I just finished Nightshade and loved the gay supporting characters in that. I do love that there are more gay secondary characters in YA novels, but like I said, I'd also like to see them being the main character and going through their own adventure.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Bee, Valorie, and Emily!!

  6. I think we need more GLBT characters! BookChic--I'd like to see them as main characters also. I have no problem with gay people but I want to read about them!

  7. I agree with James that they seem to be fading away. I read A LOT and very rarely do I encounter a GLBT characters.

  8. I have no problem with it. We are surrounded by so much diversity in the world today that there should be options for everyone and I don't think there is enough. I don't see very much and haven't come across any GLBT main characters, just a few that have been mentioned here and there. I think having more characters in books out there is a great way to educate our youth

  9. I've found that in reading I've encountered more GLBT characters than before. Although they're usually side-characters, I think they still have a voice.
    As main characters, though, I think GLBT characters are fading. If a book has a gay main character, it's usually labeled as GLBT, and that can be a turn-off to some people, so the book isn't read as widely as it should be.

  10. I think that a lot of types of characters are fading away. Most characters now are just a main female and main male character that fall in love and it always involves one of them being paranormal or not human. I think YA characters are really limited but I would love to see it grow and change.

  11. I'm not really sure what to say about whether or not GLBT characters are fading away. On one hand, I've noticed a lot more books coming into the market than ever before. On the other hand, except for a select few, I can't recall that many getting the attention that they deserved. I think part of the problem is that there's this huge boom in paranormal romance, as if that's the only thing teens want to read. Other things are still being published, of course, but they aren't getting the same level of press. Which is a shame. I love contemporary novels just as much as I love any other genre, if not more.

  12. I can say there weren't any books when I was younger. I had no one to identify with. I hope the books/characters aren't fading away. I think we just need to keep writing and writing, and supporting each other. That way we can get the characters/books the attention that they deserve... GREAT POST!!!!