Young Adult Book Reading Challenges discussion

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message 1: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (last edited Nov 01, 2011 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
One of the themes in the book is sexuality and same sex romance. Was this compelling for you as a reader? Do you think this theme is important in a retelling of Cinderella? Would you consider this a LGBT YA lit?


Theo | 116 comments I don't think the fact that the main romance was same-sex makes this book about same-sex romance. The world in which Ash takes place seems more evolved than that (meaning that in this world, it seems to me, there is no difference between being gay, straight, or bisexual). You are who you are. Maybe this is done intentionally as a criticism of our world. Ash falling in love with Kaisa isn't extraordinary because she discovers she's a lesbian. It's extraordinary because it gives her strength, like any positive relationship. The romance is just that, a romance, a story of two people falling in love. The fact that they are both women is not important, in my eyes. Maybe in this world everyone is bisexual, and it is more important for the mind and soul to find a mate, regardless of the gender of the person in which this mind and soul reside.


Theo | 116 comments I think Hayley is absolutely correct that it's important that books like this exist. So often in LGBTQ YA lit, the focus is on the realistic, coming-of-age story, where people are coming out, being bullied, etc. While it is important to portray the truth of what teenagers may face, using a genre like fantasy to create a world where same-sex relationships are "normal" and accepted, gives teens an avenue for focusing on love and romance. I think most kids grow up hoping for some kind of fairy tale ending, and Ash gives a different, but still satisfyingly romantic option for the LGBTQ teen community.


message 4: by Solenoid (new) - added it

Solenoid | 3 comments Does anyone else know of any good books that are like this--deal with queer characters, but aren't about homophobia?


Miss Bookiverse (missbookiverse) @Solenoid: Books by David Levithan often feature gay characters without being the book's main focus.


message 6: by Solenoid (new) - added it

Solenoid | 3 comments Thanks, IP. I'll check him out.


message 7: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Theo wrote: "I don't think the fact that the main romance was same-sex makes this book about same-sex romance. The world in which Ash takes place seems more evolved than that (meaning that in this world, it see..."

I agree! I too felt in this world there is no difference between what your sexuality is, and I love this. What I loved is that there was no label on Ash's love. At first I thought there was going to be a big deal at the end of the book about Ash being in love with a woman. But then when Ash was at one of the parties with Kaisa and a woman walked up to Kaisa and the Lore (I think that was her name) tells Ash many women court Kaisa, I knew then that it was going to be OK for Ash!! But then I wasn't so sure because at the last ball when Ash shows up and dances with Kaisa the author states that people were staring because it was unusual. I wasn't sure if she meant two women or someone grabbing the huntress and dancing.


message 8: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Hayley wrote: "I do consider this LGBT YA lit, though I have a very broad definition of LGBT lit--books featuring LGBT characters, but not necessarily about being lesbian/gay.

I appreciate that Malinda Lo creat..."


This is true... it reminds me of Young Adult books in general. Sometimes books are categorized as young adult just because the main character is a young adult.


Tatiana (tatiana_g) I thought to retell Cinderella with a lesbian couple was a fantastic idea. A new twist on an old story? I am in! The premise was very compelling for me, but the novel itself and the relationships within it weren't.

I do agree with everyone here that although there was a same-sex romance in it, it was pretty much a non-issue. To me, Ash wasn't really about sexuality or a same-sex relationship. Because Ash never felt conflicted about her sexuality, the book turned out to be just about a relationship.

Are there are any other definitions of LGBR lit? I've always assumed it was called LGBT if there were gay or transgendered characters.


Tatiana (tatiana_g) Solenoid wrote: "Does anyone else know of any good books that are like this--deal with queer characters, but aren't about homophobia?"

Yes, Leviathan's Boy Meets Boy and Will Grayson, Will Grayson


message 11: by Oscar (new) - added it

Oscar | 51 comments I agree with the idea that this is a LGBT novel in a very broad degree. The thing, however, to echo what has been said, in the world of the novel, as far as we know, there doesn't seem to be too much in terms of labels put on people regarding their sexual orientation.

What complicates the relationship between Kaisa and Ash, I believe, is despite falling in love at the end, they do seem like they are developing more of a friendship than say something sexual. Ash, obviously, is lonely and what appeals to her about Kaisa is that she is friendly towards her. One one hand, then, it looks like a bit of an infatuation. And the novel doesn't really delve into the complexities of a possible romantic relationship, but then again, most fairy tales do not and lean towards idealized romance.

So the LGBT elements present in the novel, in my opinion, are largely used to create gender reversal of Cinderella present the issue in a more idealized fantasy world than to fully delve into real world LGBT. It works well as a fairy tale romance, then, that just happens to involve the same gender.


Grace (gdaminato) | 520 comments Angie wrote: But then I wasn't so sure because at the last ball when Ash shows up and dances with Kaisa the author states that people were staring because it was unusual. I wasn't sure if she meant two women or someone grabbing the huntress and dancing. "

I think they were staring because Ash wasn't dressed appropriately for the ball. She had unusually short hair and was wearing an exquisite cloak. I think her appearance caused more of a stir than her gender.

Later, when she leaves the ball, she runs out without her cloak, so she's running through the ballroom in her everyday work clothes and that's why people stared - she was conspicuous and different.


Grace (gdaminato) | 520 comments Before I got very far in the book, I expected that Ash would have to decide between the huntress, Kaisa, mentioned in the liner notes, and the Prince, Aidan. In other words, I thought the storyline would follow the traditional story.

I found it refreshing that the Prince really was a non-player - he had nothing going for him other than his title. In fact, I pity the poor heiress from SeaTown whom he ultimately chose. I think he would eventually prove to be cruel to her and they will definitely not live happily ever after.

So Ash really had to choose between the huntress, a woman with a tremendous amount of status based on her position, and her "fairy-god-father" who has been cursed to love her to punish him for destroying the lives of innumerable human girls who fell under his spell. I thought this was a brilliant twist on the story.


message 14: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Here is a good article by the author about LGBT!

http://www.afterellen.com/print/2009/...


message 15: by Oscar (last edited Nov 18, 2011 10:37PM) (new) - added it

Oscar | 51 comments Thanks for the link, Angie.

I am certainly interested in reading more about how YA lit writers deal with LGBT themes.


message 16: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
If found this information quite interesting from the article:

"A survey of WorldCat, a worldwide catalog of library content, shows that 20 books with lesbian/bi characters were published in the last five years. Given that only 200 young adult novels with gay and lesbian content were published between 1969 and 2004, the last five years have seen quite a leap. "

Wow... I can't believe that is all the LGBT books for young adults out there. Not very many at all!!


Tatiana (tatiana_g) This article is a little old. I am pretty sure there are much more LGBT YA books are printed every year, more than 20 a year for sure.


message 18: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I hadn't looked at the date on it. Good point, there is even a group on goodreads for young adults who are interested in LGBT. http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/4...


message 19: by Oscar (new) - added it

Oscar | 51 comments The article also mentioned that despite the fact that much of YA Lit is about and for girls there are more books about gay male teens than females.

I don't know if this has changed since the article, but it did get me thinking that sometimes YA Lit does seem to market itself towards one gender or another. One sometimes sees this with the types of gender specific covers and titles that some books have, which isn't exactly a bad thing, but it's there. I was wondering, particularly if anyone here has read more LGBT YA, if these books also seem to write to a very specific gender sexual orientation or if several of them have broader appeal.

Ash was female centric, however, as a male, I enjoyed the story and issues relating to being unhappy with one's upbringing and using stories to escape have a broad appeal.


Chantaal Oscar wrote: "I was wondering, particularly if anyone here has read more LGBT YA, if these books also seem to write to a very specific gender sexual orientation or if several of them have broader appeal. "

In my experience the majority of LGBT YA is aimed at a specific sexual orientation, whether gay or lesbian. Ash is a rare LGBT book in that it moves along and creates conflict from circumstances other than Ash discovering her sexuality. And, while the novel is focused on a lesbian relationship, the depiction of Ash's bisexuality is even rarer (though I don't believe she reciprocated Sidhean's love so much as she was caught up in his world and the effect he had on her).


message 21: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Chantaal wrote: "Oscar wrote: "I was wondering, particularly if anyone here has read more LGBT YA, if these books also seem to write to a very specific gender sexual orientation or if several of them have broader a..."

Interesting that you note that YA LGBT books lack bisexuality. I wonder if that is because it has become a fad on TV rather then being portrayed accuratley causing books that want to be taken seriously to just leave bisexuality out completley?


Tatiana (tatiana_g) The only YA novel about bi-sexuality I know of is Pink, and it's great.


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