YA LGBT Books discussion

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Book Related Banter > What I want to see in the next YA book I pick up is...

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message 1: by Kaje (last edited Dec 01, 2015 09:03PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments What do you hope to find in that next YA LGBTQ book you pick up to read? What have you been waiting for?

A particular type of character?
A theme or genre you haven't seen yet?
A book where being LGBTQ is not central to the plot?
Great dialogue? A character who references your favorite music?
Main characters from a particular country or ethnicity?
A dark dystopian? Time Travel?

If you could commission that next book and have your say in what's between the covers, what would you look for?


message 2: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 715 comments Butch female characters!

Lesbian, bi, and straight. I want to see gender-nonconforming girls who aren't on the transgender spectrum. It seems like these days, every time a character transgresses gender norms, it's shown as a sign of being trans. I find that potentially problematic. It's in effect erasing all of the girls who identify as girls yet don't fit feminine social expectations.

I'd also love to see some butch girls in YA who are in relationships with other butch girls. As far as I know, there aren't any. There are plenty of femme/femme couples and some butch/femme couples, but no butch/butch couples at all.


message 3: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments I want more YA books with LGBTQ characters who are out and not agonizing over the closet, but are dealing with other stuff in their lives. Like, somewhat incidental LGBTQ as part of a bigger story.

And conversations that feel real - my biggest tip to new writers would be to read the conversations aloud to yourself. When I get a book where the conversation between the MCs, and the MCs and adults feel like living interactions, those are the ones I love most.


message 4: by Rez (new)

Rez Delnava (rez_delnava) | 583 comments I'm looking for a book (an eBook specifically) that really pushes the format and shows what the medium is truly capable of. I've seen some eBooks that try, like using a unique embedded font for each character's speaking voice and didn't use quotes or segues like "Kate said..." And I've seen some progress with graphic novels where the images and dialogue float/fade into place dynamically as you're reading.

But I want something that really shakes things up and challenges my current definition of a reading experience. David Levithan came so close with The Lover's Dictionary (I know it isn't a YA book, but the content is very ephemeral and yet totally approachable) by telling the story in a series of alphabetized dictionary entries filled with emotion. Because the entries are alphabetical, the story is very non-linear and disjointed. It left me wishing for a button at the end of the book that I could hit, so that it would restart the novel, but this time in chronological order.

That's what I'm looking for, something where the content doesn't necessarily change, but by changing the presentation of it, drastically changes the way we interpret work as a whole.


message 5: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Rez wrote: "I'm looking for a book (an eBook specifically) that really pushes the format and shows what the medium is truly capable of. I've seen some eBooks that try, like using a unique embedded font for eac..."

Wow. Cool idea. (The biggest problem is that there are so many reading devices that are all so different - I had an internal table of contents once that worked on many, didn't work at all on some, started at the bottom and the down button made the cursor go UP the TOC on some... So cool formatting will fail on a subset of readers.)

But yeah, that would be awesome - maybe a pick-your -event book where you could choose for the character at important points in the story and it would branch into different versions, and then you could read it again and make other choices...


message 6: by Jay (new)

Jay Clark (jaydclark) | 488 comments I think I'd like to read about teens in a mismatched pack of shifters, no two the same kind. Or if of the same shifter animal type, then one or both LGBT and pairing across shifter species.


message 7: by A.O. (new)

A.O. (ao-chika) | 10 comments I'm writing a YA LGBTQ, to be released 30th January next year, I have the book page with the synopsis there, can you read it and tell me what you think. I also have the book trailer on my profile.


message 8: by Julia (new)

Julia Ember (jules_chronicle) | 42 comments I'm really looking for more intersectionality featuring Muslim characters. I would love to read a YA book featuring a LGBTIQA Muslim protagonist.


message 9: by Preston (new)

Preston | 4 comments I want see Chris O'Guinn as the author and have him do a story as powerful as his book Fearless which showed a different kind of love between males, the loner and the stoner.


message 10: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Some great ideas here <3


message 11: by Jay (new)

Jay Clark (jaydclark) | 488 comments Julia wrote: "I'm really looking for more intersectionality featuring Muslim characters. I would love to read a YA book featuring a LGBTIQA Muslim protagonist."

I saw an ad for a film about young gay Muslims in Britain struggling to reconcile their personal reality with their faith and culture. I would read a LGBT YA novel on that topic. I know a number of young adults with cultural ties to India and Britain who also struggle with personal realities and too many conflicting traditions.


Avid Reader and Geek Girl (avidreaderandgeekgirl) | 52 comments I want to see more transgender and intersex characters.


message 13: by Matthew (new)

Matthew J. Metzger (matthewjmetzger) | 15 comments Julia wrote: "I'm really looking for more intersectionality featuring Muslim characters. I would love to read a YA book featuring a LGBTIQA Muslim protagonist."

I'm working on adult novels with Muslim protagonists (one published, two in progress) but your comment makes me think I should do a couple of YA ones too, thanks! :)


message 14: by Kaje (last edited Jan 02, 2016 09:09AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments That would be cool! And I'd be interested in the adult ones, if you PM me sometime or just let me know when they're done - there aren't enough varied characters on the adult side either.

You really do have a bunch of projects in the works, eh?


message 15: by Matthew (new)

Matthew J. Metzger (matthewjmetzger) | 15 comments Kaje wrote: "That would be cool! And I'd be interested in the adult ones, if you PM me sometime or just let me know when they're done - there aren't enough varied characters on the adult side either.

You reall..."


Thicker Than Bone is the published one. The others are nowhere near done yet so I'm not even going to guesstimate, though one of them is my resolutions project for this year.

And lol yes, I always do :)


message 16: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Thanks! And good luck.


message 17: by Rick (new)

Rick (ndalum) I want to see more books with East Asian male teen characters. If anyone knows of good ones, please tell me.


message 18: by D.J. (new)

D.J. Jamison (dj_jamison) | 10 comments Kaje wrote: "Rez wrote: "I'm looking for a book (an eBook specifically) that really pushes the format and shows what the medium is truly capable of. I've seen some eBooks that try, like using a unique embedded ..."

I used to love the choose your own adventure books. I saw one in the LGBT genre, though it wasn't YA. As a writer, I can't even imagine how tricky that would be. On the other hand, it'd eliminate some of those pesky decisions you have to make, because you could play out multiple scenarios. Could be fun!


message 19: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments I think it would be a blast to write - I love that kind of scenario play. I think it would be a bitch to format correctly though... You know what would be fun too? Start a story and get different people to write endings to it. Maybe we'll do that as our creative writing one day. Like a story tree...


message 20: by Rainbowheart (last edited Jan 27, 2016 06:18PM) (new)

Rainbowheart | 715 comments Rick wrote: "I want to see more books with East Asian male teen characters. If anyone knows of good ones, please tell me."

I didn't realize how few there were until I went looking! Not many male MCs who are Asian, let alone on the LGBT spectrum. The only ones I found were Inclination, My Most Excellent Year, and Two Boys Kissing.


message 21: by Maxman217 (new)

Maxman217 | 16 comments two big things I'm always on the look out for is better representation of minorities and people with disabilities, to date I've read a few books with Latino/hispanic main/major characters and one or two with Asian, even a few Native Americans, but so far none with black main or major characters which is upsetting

on the disability front, 2 books with mute major characters, one with a deaf main character but to date none with blind people, or people in wheelchairs, one with an Autistic main character and lots with stress disorders, PTSD etc, but so far no other metal illnesses etc


message 22: by Kaje (last edited Feb 18, 2016 07:09AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Maxman217 wrote: "two big things I'm always on the look out for is better representation of minorities and people with disabilities, to date I've read a few books with Latino/hispanic main/major characters and one o..."

You might enjoy a look at books by Gene Gant like The Thunder in His Head The Thunder in His Head Library Edition  by Gene Gant
Also Pretty Shade of Grey Pretty Shade of Grey by A.D. Truax
And I really love Vivaldi in the Dark Vivaldi in the Dark (Vivaldi in the Dark, #1) by Matthew J. Metzger series which includes an MC with clinical depression

- but yes, this is a significant issue with all LGBTQ but particularly YA (I could give you more of each in adult M/M but even there, better representation is just getting started.)


message 23: by Maya (new)

Maya (mayareadsalot) Hey :)
I really want to read a good romance of enemies to lovers. I recently read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and was disappointed. So if you have REALLY good enemies/rivals to lovers kind of story, could you give me some titles?


message 24: by Kaje (last edited Feb 20, 2016 05:10PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Maya wrote: "Hey :)
I really want to read a good romance of enemies to lovers. I recently read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and was disappointed. So if you have REALLY good enemies/rivals to lovers kind of story,..."


You might try asking in the "Looking for a YA Book about..." thread in Book Related Banter for more help - https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Maybe The Red Sheet
This theme in YA tends to be bully/victim/change of heart, like this book.


Linda ~ they got the mustard out! ~ (linda2485) | 336 comments Enemies to lover in YA - can't say I've come across many. The Red Sheet is probably the only one and I detested it. However, I'm in the minority on that one. Definitely check out the sample and some reviews to see if it's something you might like.

Not quite enemies to lovers but close is Gives Light - the blurb pretty much spells it what the conflict is so you can decide from that if it's what you're looking for.


message 26: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 715 comments Maya wrote: "I really want to read a good romance of enemies to lovers."

Not out yet, but Love Interest by Cale Dietrich seems like it would fit the bill. The two MCs are definitely rivals.


message 27: by Maxman217 (new)

Maxman217 | 16 comments Maya wrote: "Hey :)
I really want to read a good romance of enemies to lovers. I recently read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and was disappointed. So if you have REALLY good enemies/rivals to lovers kind of story,..."


try After School Activities by Dirk Hunter


♫✯Em loves Hollenstein✯♫❤the summertime and butterflies all belong to your creation❤ | 43 comments diversity in not only sexual orientation, but in gender equality, race and religion.


message 29: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments ^^^ yes, this is important and happening slowly. (Even in adult LGBTQ it's hard to find books with Muslim or Buddhist or other faiths)


message 30: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments I want to revive this thread - two years later, we've had some new books come out. In particular, among these wish lists, we have had more transgender and intersex characters, and a couple with disabilities and neuro-atypical guys. We're still looking for those two butch girls, and Muslim characters, and minorities.

Anything you want to add to the list?

Do you want more LGBTQ characters where coming out is not part of the story? If so, what genres or plots of story should they be starring in?


message 31: by Rez (new)

Rez Delnava (rez_delnava) | 583 comments Kaje wrote: "I want to revive this thread - two years later, we've had some new books come out. In particular, among these wish lists, we have had more transgender and intersex characters, and a couple with dis..."

I'm so glad this topic got necro'd!

One of my favorite books, The Great American Whatever, published since this thread first ran, was my first time reading a character that actually had ADHD and the narration actually reflected the atypical thinking patterns of someone who, like me, has a complex inattentive form of the disorder.

I'm just getting to the point where I've beaten depression back with a stick long enough to take a break and start writing again. So, I found a writing buddy to read through one of my old prompts/samples for feedback. And the feedback came back as, "why are this character's thoughts so... everywhere?" And it really reinforced what I had forgotten was one of my main objectives when I first started writing the project for NaNoWriMo 2015: that I wanted the main character to be neurodiverse, like me. I had already decided before sending it for critique, to rework the format to include the POV of a second character, so that I can better contrast the thinking patterns and show that the style is intentional and not some quirk of me being ADHD.

So, more neurodiversity is something I'm actively trying to find/make more of in the genre.

I'm also still looking for the Next Big Thing (tm)


message 32: by Kaje (last edited Apr 13, 2018 10:37PM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Have you read Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! - that has a neuroatypical MC. I hadn't seen a good ADHD so I'll move TGAW up on my TBRs. :)


message 33: by Whitetiger01 (new)

Whitetiger01 | 15 comments I actually hope to see a book in which it tells a story of a single father who tries hi best to take care of his son after his divorce because he caught his ex-wife cheating on him. His son keeps on asking him that whether he will have a new mother but the father isn't able to find love anymore because he doesn't want to be betrayed ever again. It's like he's afraid to love again.

Because he works so hard to make his son happy while doing his job as a music teacher in a music school owned by his best friend, he forgets how to make himself happy. He's famous for being a workaholic and a loving father and it actually concerns his son who always feels sad whenever he sees his father secretly cries in the middle of the night, still grieving at the fact that his wife betrayed his trust and played with his sincere love.

The son asks his kindergarten teacher for some advice. He's his favourite teacher in his kindergarten. Despite his scary looks and rude personality, he always thinks that deep inside his heart, his teacher is the kindest and the nicest person he ever met (after his father, of course, because no one can beat his father in terms of kindness) The teacher is deeply concerned because it can affect the father's health and afraid he will be sick and no one will be able to take care of his son. So, from that day, he starts to go to his student's house to take a good care of his father. However, no one, neither the father and the teacher realised that a deep connection has risen from them and they can't resist it.

Isn't it nice? I actually think of writing this and making it into a story but if someone has written something like this in the future, I would really love to read it.


message 34: by Kaje (last edited Apr 14, 2018 08:48AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Whitetiger01 wrote: "I actually hope to see a book in which it tells a story of a single father who tries hi best to take care of his son after his divorce because he caught his ex-wife cheating on him. His son keeps o..."

That's pretty detailed. I hope you do write it - sounds like you have it vividly in mind.

It would be hard to make that a YA story, though. For a guy to have a kindergarten age son, and still be a YA protagonist, he'd have to have been a father around 13-14, and that puts the marriage theme into a different light. (Older woman? Another teen girl, in which case the cheating angle takes on some pathos.) Keeping these main characters under 21-23 and keeping the themes appropriate to coming of age characters would be an interesting challenge. Might be more satisfying to write as an adult gay romance, although as a YA it would be fascinating.

I wouldn't mind seeing YA dealing with teen pregnancy among LGBTQ teens.


message 35: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (skimmer) | 2 comments Oh, I've mentioned this in MMRG I think, but I'd love to see more diversity in the types of young people featured in YA. The shop class guy or gal who loves creating with his or her hands. The debate team superstar who gets in with the wrong party crowd on all those trips. The 4H kid who gets chosen as a companion to a magical animal.

The girls and boys who care for younger siblings or grandparents. The ones who work out of necessity after school and don't have time to do anything but just get by. There is so much diversity in people and yet YA often gets narrowed down to the football player, the nerd, the cheerleader, the outcast reader, etc.

I'd also like to see more focus on relationships besides romance. What it means to have an inspiring teacher or other adult (with no crush!) How powerful it can be to make the kind of friend who lasts your whole life. How enemies become allies, how people change.

Kissing some frogs -- and maybe becoming friends -- before finding a high school love. Progressing as a person, in experience, in understanding of oneself and others. Being unsure of sexuality. Unsure of anything. Exploring what being LGBTQ means when you aren't ready to have sex or perhaps even have a girl or boyfriend.


message 36: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I've written quite a bit of YA, and none of it is high school drama or romance. I write about kids on the street, homeless, addicts, runaways, prostitutes, kids with disabilities, mental and physical. Some of them go to school, but if they do, it's just one setting for some of the scenes, not their whole life. There is a lot more to teen life than jocks, geeks, and cheerleaders.


message 37: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Kimberly wrote: "Oh, I've mentioned this in MMRG I think, but I'd love to see more diversity in the types of young people featured in YA. The shop class guy or gal who loves creating with his or her hands. The deba..."

Great list Kimberly.


message 38: by Iamshadow (new)

Iamshadow | 334 comments I'm a sucker for sweet stuff like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I'd like that kind of thing, but with an autistic protag. Dream writer would be someone like Corinne Duyvis, since she can really write autism well and is an #ownvoice, but I know it's not really her genre.

Also, the overlap between autism and trans/NB/other gender difference is much larger than the general population, so an autistic character that isn't cishet would be great. It's an area I haven't seen explored.

I'd also love a queer book with a character with anxiety I can really click with. I read 10 Things I Can See from Here, and it was cute, but the character's anxiety was a different flavour to mine.

I guess I just want more neurodiverse queer characters I can see myself in. It sounds like a pretty self-centred thing, I guess, but I'm just sick of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time being held up as The Perfect PortrayalTM when it's written by a neurotypical dude who doesn't even use the word autism once in the entire book.


message 39: by Kaje (last edited Apr 16, 2018 07:05AM) (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Have you read Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! or Maps - both those guys strike me as Aspergers, not autistic, but they are both great and have sweetness.

I haven't seen genderqueer and neuroatypical combined in an MC - that would be great. A challenge, to not have people discount the gender identity as something to be "fixed" as autism is so often seen as something to be "fixed."

Nobody's Butterfly MC has anxiety and elective mutism but it has roots in their past experiences which is easier to explain but not clearly true for many with anxiety.


message 40: by Iamshadow (last edited Apr 16, 2018 07:41AM) (new)

Iamshadow | 334 comments Kaje wrote: "Have you read Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! or Maps - both those guys strike me as Aspergers, not autistic, but they are both great and have sweetness.

I haven't se..."


Asperger's isn't a DX anymore, not for five years. It's all autism now - 'classic' (Kanner's) autism, Asperger Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified - it's all under the Autistic Spectrum Disorder umbrella. So, for anyone that fit under those four labels, they are autistic. Also, a lot of people who didn't fit neatly into one of those DXes DO fit under the new DX criteria. It's a very good thing, and also, one of the reasons there is no 'epidemic', just a different label these days for kids and adults who were previously called psychotic, retarded, schizophrenic, or disturbed.

I will totally check out those titles, though. Both Shut Your Face and Nobody's Butterfly are on Scribd, so I can read them for free. :)


message 41: by P.D. (new)

P.D. Workman (pdworkman) I have one character who is autistic and trans, but only a very minor character. He gets a few scenes.


message 42: by Xander (new)

Xander Cassel (xandercassel) | 22 comments I need there to be more fantasy/scifi books with M/M romances involved, but not, like, the main focus.


message 43: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments Xander wrote: "I need there to be more fantasy/scifi books with M/M romances involved, but not, like, the main focus."

Agreed! Especially SciFi IMO.


message 44: by Xander (new)

Xander Cassel (xandercassel) | 22 comments Kaje wrote: "Xander wrote: "I need there to be more fantasy/scifi books with M/M romances involved, but not, like, the main focus."

Agreed! Especially SciFi IMO."



I'm more of a fantasy guy, but yeah, I need my dragons and my gay boys.


message 45: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments I prefer fantasy too, but I think there are more fantasies with gay MCs than SciFi. Have you read Distant Rumblings series? Might meet some of your criteria.


message 46: by Ella (new)

Ella Layton (notenoughbookshelf) | 1 comments I am a black teen in the LGBT community, and honestly I want to see more representation of myself in literature. I'd like to see more LGBT books that show struggles and challenges of being lesbian/gay and especially gender non-conforming identities like genderfluid, intersex, or trans characters in the black community. It seems to be that only white teen Americans with strict Christian/Catholic parents are in many popular teen LGBT novels. By showing a black teen in LGBT books, it might show different hurdles that may not be shown in some current teen LGBT novels.


message 47: by J.S. (new)

J.S. (jsedge) | 33 comments I want more reads with more humour than angst - or at least a good balance between the two.
I love character-driven stories, where there's more going on than just the romantic relationship.
Whip-sharp dialogue is a must.
I'm also quite the fan of a fantasy setting.
Any recs, please feel free to pass them on! :)


message 48: by Xander (new)

Xander Cassel (xandercassel) | 22 comments J.S. wrote: "I want more reads with more humour than angst - or at least a good balance between the two.
I love character-driven stories, where there's more going on than just the romantic relationship.
Whip-sh..."


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a good one. Hannah Moskowitz' Teeth is a little more on the angst side, but it's really good. Grasshopper Jungle is very funny, if your sense of humor is as odd as mine. And Shaun David Hutchinson's At the Edge of the Universe is a personal favorite of mine--We Are the Ants is good too, but I found the MC to be, frankly, a whiny bitch at times.


message 49: by J.S. (new)

J.S. (jsedge) | 33 comments Xander wrote: "J.S. wrote: "I want more reads with more humour than angst - or at least a good balance between the two.
I love character-driven stories, where there's more going on than just the romantic relation..."


I've read Carry On and loved it. But I'll definitely be looking into those others. Thanks :)


message 50: by Kaje (new)

Kaje Harper | 16510 comments J.S. wrote: "I want more reads with more humour than angst - or at least a good balance between the two.
I love character-driven stories, where there's more going on than just the romantic relationship.
Whip-sh..."


You might also like The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. Know Not Why is very funny if you have some tolerance for the "denying I'm gay" trope. Outtakes of A Walking Mistake has a fair bit of humor though it dives into some angsty territory.


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