Young adult lit has long been a place to find beautifully written, nuanced stories following LGBTQ characters. These novels, short stories, graphic novels, and nonfiction collections feature protagonists who are POC — which means while they're navigating their evolving sexualities and gender identities, they're also discovering what it means to be gay and black, bisexual and Muslim, Mexican-American and queer. Kim Fu's story of a Chinese Canadian trans girl finding the strength to be herself in a household that can be less than open-minded has received a seemingly endless list of awards and accolades, from a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice to Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction. Fu's writing is wonderfully lyrical, evoking a strong sense of a small town, and of what it means to break with that small town's small-mindedness. Judy is dealing with the fact her beloved uncle Steven is dying of AIDs.
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I was a senior in high school, hanging out in the library during my free period. For a school of only students, our library had a vast selection of books. I pulled it out, making sure no one was in the aisle watching me. I stared in fascination at the light blue cover with candy hearts that spelled out Boy Meets Boy. I held it like it was the most precious artifact, because to me, it was. I sat down on the tile floor, hidden by the towers of books, and started reading. I peeled the library bar code off the cover and stole the book.
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30 Essential LGBT+ Books for YA Readers
We look for ourselves in fiction. A great book resonates with us as we empathize with a protagonist's struggles and triumphs, and encourages us to step into their shoes as they set off on a fantastic journey. Expanding our world with different perspectives is part of the thrill of reading, but it can be very lonely to only read books where there isn't anybody like you. AbeBooks supports a future where younger generations can pick up a book and see themselves on the page - where they learn that they can be the heroes of their own stories, especially those with happy endings.
Along with stories of white, cisgender teens are tales in which transgender, nonbinary, and intersex youth are the heroes and queer people of color get the spotlight. I wrote this book for us. Thomas tells Teen Vogue it was important to acknowledge the struggles QTPOC face daily but also to give readers of that population a reprieve. My hope is my readers will see themselves in his story and feel inspired, too — and if they have a good laugh along the way, all the better!