Pride month just wrapped and I wanted to recommend some of my favorite YA books with LGBT characters. One you should buy NOW, one you should borrow from the library and the other you should avoid at all costs and burn if you come across it.
When the Moon Was Ours by Anne Marie Mclemore
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
This book is so beautiful and so quiet and you have to read it as soon as possible. There’s fantasy and the very real anxiety and necessity of hiding your trans identity as a teen. Get it!
Great by Sara Benincasa
A retelling of The Great Gatsby with a lesbian main character.
When Naomi Rye arrives in the Hamptons to spend the summer with her socialite mother, she fully expects to be miserable mingling with the sons and daughters of her mother’s mega-rich friends. Yet Naomi finds herself unexpectedly drawn to her mysterious and beautiful next-door neighbor, Jacinta, a Hamptons “It” girl who throws wild, lavish parties that are the talk of the town. But Jacinta is hiding something big, and events unfold with tragic consequences.
The connection to the source material is loose and some people had issue with the tragic lesbian trope, but that is part and parcel of the original idea so take it with a grain of salt.
Drag Teen by Jeffrey Self
In this novel the main character is trying to get out of his podunck town in Florida and enters an exclusive beauty pageant for LGBT teens. The premise was silly on its face because there were no stakes. I hate to see the college or die trope in YA because it’s like people have never heard of community college or financial aid. Also, the pageant aspect was dopey and it just wasn’t great.