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Over the Rainbow:
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Fiction and Non-Fiction
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Last Exit to Normal by Michael Harmon - What could be better for an urban, skateboard-loving teenager being raised by two dads than moving to rural Montana?  Almost anything, in Ben Campbell's eyes.  The town is too small, the people are too country, and now it's even harder for him to deal with his gay dads.  What he discovers, however, is that if you make the best of what you have, life can be good no matter where you are.
 
Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - Naomi and Ely's best-friendship is shaken when Ely kisses Bruce, Naomi's boyfriend, and winds up falling in love.  Told from multiple perspectives (including Ely, Naomi, and Gabriel, the hunky doorman with a thing for Naomi), and featuring a quirky cast of characters from their Greenwich Village apartment building, this story follows a group of young adults as they discover the meaning of love, and the meaning of friendship.
 
Girl from Mars by Tamara Bach - At fifteen, Miriam's life in a small German town lacks excitement and meaning--until she meets Laura, and sets off on a personal journey.  Learning about love, loss, and true friendship, she ultimately discovers herself, and how full and rich her life really is.
 
Hero by Perry Moore - With a mother who has inexplicably disappeared, nascent superpowers and a burgeoning understanding of his gay sexuality, Thom Creed's life is anything but normal. Moore (an executive producer of the Chronicles of Narnia films) gives his debut novel a contemporary setting, albeit one rife with superheroes and villains straight out of the Golden Age of comic books.
 
Freak Show by James St. James - Inspired by his own experience, adult author ("Disco Bloodbath") and media personality James St. James makes his YA debut with this novel about a young drag queen who makes a grand entrance into a conservative high school.
 
Wide Awake by David Levithan - In the not-too-impossible-to-imagine future, a gay Jewish man has been elected president of the United States. Until the governor of one state decides that some election results in his state are invalid, awarding crucial votes to the other candidate, and his fellow party member. Thus is the inspiration for couple Jimmy and Duncan to lend their support to their candidate by deciding to take part in the rallies and protests. Along the way comes an exploration of their relationship, their politics, and their country, and sometimes, as they learn, it's more about the journey than it is about reaching the destination. Only David Levithan could so masterfully and creatively weave together a plot that's both parts political action and reaction, as well as a touching and insightfully-drawn teen love story.
 
M or F? by Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tebbetts - Frannie and her best friend Marcus are both "boyfriend virgins," but Marcus has an excuse -- eligible gay boys are hard to come by in their small Illinois town. Frannie is desperate to get the attention of her crush, Jeffrey, but she's way too shy to make a move. Marcus insists that Frannie chat with Jeffrey online, but Frannie won't type a word without Marcus's help. In the chat room, Marcus and Jeffrey hit it off. The whole plan seems to be working! But the more Marcus writes, the more he's convinced that Jeffrey is falling for him, not Frannie. Whose romance is this anyway?
 
Rainbow Road by Alex Sanchez - Jason Carrillo came out to his basketball team senior year and lost his university scholarship. Now, with graduation behind him and summer ending, he's asked to speak at the opening of a gay and lesbian high school across the country. But after spending years in the closet and losing his scholarship dream, what message can he offer? Kyle Meeks is getting ready to go to Princeton in the fall and trying to see as much as possible of his boyfriend Jason before they have to separate. When Jason tells him about his speaking invitation, Kyle jumps at the chance to drive across country with him. Yet he can't help worrying: Will their romance survive two weeks crammed together in a car? Nelson Glassman is happy his best friend Kyle has found love with Jason. Now he's looking for his own true love -- and hopes he might find his soul mate during the road trip. But will being the "third wheel" in a trio ruin his friendships with Kyle and Jason? During an eye-opening postgraduation summer road trip, each of the three very different boys also embarks on a personal journey across a landscape of love, sexuality, homophobia, and above all, friendship.  Sequel to Rainbow Boys and Rainbow High
 
Totally Joe by James Howe - As a school assignment, a thirteen-year-old boy writes an alphabiography--life from A to Z--and explores issues of friendship, family, school, and the difficulties of being a gay teenager. Sequel to The Misfits.
 
Absolutely, Positively Not by David LaRochelle - Steven's a 16-year-old boy with two obsessions: sex and getting his driving license. The problem is, Steven's not thinking girls when he's thinking sex. Could he be -- don't say it -- gay? Steven sets out to get in touch with his inner he-man with Healthy Heterosexual Strategies such as "Start Hanging Out with the Guys," and "Begin Intensive Dating." But are Steven's tactics going to straighten him out, or leave him all twisted up? Absolutely hilarious. Positively sidesplitting. But absolutely, positively NOT GAY!
 
Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters - Mike Szabo must deal with more than her share of problems in this engaging, angsty novel. Her alcoholic father committed suicide, her obese mother has given up on life, and her no-good brother has driven the family plumbing business into the ground. To make matters worse, Mike falls deeply in love with a new girl in their small Kansas town. Bad-girl Xanadu has been sent to live with her aunt and uncle after getting into serious trouble dealing drugs. She befriends Mike instantly, though she's undeniably straight, and Mike suffers when Xanadu starts dating. Mike copes by working out at the gym, fixing her neighbors' plumbing, leading her softball team to a winning season, and occasionally binge drinking with her friends. Throughout the novel, she struggles to come to terms with her sexuality–while she is attracted to girls, she doesn't want to label herself, and objects when her gay best friend, Jamie, tries to do so. The people of Coalton are accepting of Mike and Jamie, but eventually Mike realizes that she will need to leave her small town in search of a first relationship, and that her athletic talent might give her a way out.
 
Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson - The friendship of three high school girls and their relationships with their friends and families are tested when two of them fall in love with each other.
 
Orphea Proud by Sharon Dennis Wyeth - While reciting her poetry at a club in Queens, New York, seventeen-year-old Orphea recounts her childhood in Pennsylvania, leaving after her parents and the girl she loves die, and learning about her family and herself while living with her great-aunts on a Virginia mountaintop.
 
Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill - After fifteen-year-old Kim transfers to a new school, she finds herself falling in love with the glamorous Maria "Sugar" Sweet.
 
Not the Only One edited by Jane Summer - This revised edition of Alyson's groundbreaking anthology for gay and lesbian teens features new original fiction which reflect both the tension and relief of being true to oneself. Contributors include Gregory Maguire (Wicked), Brent Hartinger (The Geography Club), Claire McNab (The Wombat Strategy), Michael Thomas Ford (Last Summer) and Bonnie Shimko (Letters in the Attic). These stories provide hope and inspiration to gay and lesbian teenagers as they take the first exciting, often difficult steps toward accepting their sexuality and emerging from the shadows as open and proud individuals.
 
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger - Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Goodkind High School. Then his online gay-chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school's baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students too. There's his best friend, Min, who reveals that she's bisexual, and her soccer-playing girlfriend, Terese. And there's Terese's politically active friend, Ike. But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves? "We just choose a club that's so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!" Brent Hartinger's debut novel is a fast paced, funny, and trenchant portrait of contemporary teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest school club, but who learn plenty about the treacherous social terrain of a typical American high school and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart.
 
Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger - This powerful sequel to "Geography Club" is a humorous, hip, and thoroughly engaging story filled with skinny-dipping, making out, Indian legends, and the mystery of a secret society called The Order of the Poison Oak.
 
So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez - New to California, Frederick makes fast friends with Xio, an outgoing girl who develops a crush on him. But Frederick is drawn to Victor, the popular captain of the soccer team. Frederick is confused about what his feelings can mean--and part of him is afraid to find out.
 
Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer - A collection of short stories about homosexuality by such authors as Bruce Coville, M.E. Kerr, William Sleator, and Jane Yolen.
 
My Father's Scar by Michael Cart - In a series of flashbacks, college freshman Andy Logan tells his story of coming out to his family and his hometown, and how he dealt with the aftermath.
 
My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann WeyrMy Heartbeat by Garret Freymann Weyr - Ellen has always been in love with James, her older brother Link's best friend. At fourteen, she is ready to do something about it; until she hears at school that James already likes somebody-- Link. Ellen loves James, James love Link, and no one knows who Link loves...
 
Letters in the Attic by Bonnie Shimko - Lizzy McMann, A Feisty twelve-year-old, lives with her immature mother and Manny, her father (she thinks) in a fleabag Phoenix hotel. One night, Manny's sudden announcement that he wants a divorce forces mother and daughter to move to upstate New York to live with Lizzy's grandmother and grandfather--a mixed blessing. At school, Lizzy befriends, then falls in love with, Eva Singer, who is dyslexic, looks like Natalie Wood and lives right down the street. Like all girls her age, Lizzy has to deal with her first period, her first bra and her first boyfriend. But what scares her most is her love for Eva. She is also concerned with getting a new husband for Mama--especially after reading Mama's letters that she has found in the attic. Then Eva gets a boyfriend and Mama's life enters what seems to be a new crisis. . . . How Lizzy comes to grips with life's strange twists and turns makes fascinating reading for adults and young readers alike.
 
Dare Truth or Promise by Paula Block - When Louie and Willa first meet, they don't know their lives will soon be changed forever. Self-assured Louie is gearing up for another successful year in high school, starring in a production of Twelfth Night and running the Comedy Club. Kicked out of her last school and still stinging from a past relationship, Willa wants only to get through her final year at school quietly so she can graduate and become a chef. More than anything, she wants to be left alone. But each girl unexpectedly finds that plans mean nothing when it comes to love. Louie discovers that everything she was sure of-acceptance, faith, and identity-are not what they had seemed. And Willa finds herself suddenly willing to take another chance.
 
The Eagle Kite by Paula Fox - Liam's father has AIDS, and his family cannot talk about it until Liam reveals a secret that he has tried to deny ever since he saw his father embracing another man at the beach.
 
Deliver Us from Evie by M.E. Kerr - Sixteen-year-old Parr Burrman and his family face some difficult times when word spreads through their rural Missouri town that his older sister is a lesbian, and she leaves the family farm to live with the daughter of the town's banker.
 
Bad Boy by Diana J Wieler - A.J. Brandiosa becomes the bad boy of the Cyclone hockey team, and learns that his best friend is gay, as he tries to cope with his own sexuality during his senior year in high school.
 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steve Chbosky - A high school freshman, who is straight, finds a new circle of friends including a boy who is comfortable with his own homosexuality.
 
The Misfits by James Howe - What do a 12-year-old student who moonlights as a tie salesman, a tall, outspoken girl, a gay middle schooler and a kid branded as a hooligan have in common? Best friends for years, they've all been the target of cruel name-calling and now that they're in seventh grade, they're not about to take it any more. Howe focuses on the quietest of the bunch, overweight Bobby Goodspeed (the tie salesman), showing how he evolves from nerd to hero when he starts speaking his mind. Addie (the outspoken girl) decides that the four of them should run against more popular peers in the upcoming student council election. But her lofty ideals and rabble-rousing speeches make the wrong kind of waves, offending fellow classmates, teachers and the principal. It is not until softer-spoken Bobby says what's in his heart about nicknames and taunts that people begin to listen and take notice, granting their respect for the boy they used to call "Lardo" and "Fluff." The four "misfits" are slightly larger than life, wiser than their years, worldlier than the small town setting would suggest, and remarkably well-adjusted but there remains much authenticity in the story's message about preadolescent stereotyping and the devastating effects of degrading labels.
 
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - High school sophomore Paul lives in a present-day gaytopia, where boys come out of the closet to become class president, and the Gay-Straight Alliance has more members than the football team. The cheerleaders ride Harleys, and the cross-dressing homecoming queen is also the star quarterback. Paul meets artistic Noah in the bookstore. They pass notes rife with meaningful detail; paint in Noah's psychedelic, art-covered room; and fall in sweet, realistic teenage love, unencumbered by gay bashing, sexual-identity crises, and parental rejection. With these real-world plot constraints removed, the narrative is driven completely by colorful, literate characters at their unfettered best. Paul is the cerebral teen's dream narrator-reflective and insightful, occasionally snarky, and consistently hilarious.
 
Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle - The kisser is best-friend-since-seventh-grade Lissa. The kiss is no peck on the cheek, and therein lies the rub. Since the fateful event, Kate has been cold to her friend. In this first-person narrative, Lissa, hurt and confused, details her present state of inner turmoil, with frequent flashbacks to the girls' blissful (pre-kiss) days. To complicate matters, Lissa and her younger sister are being raised by an uncle (their parents died in a plane crash), and lack the emotional rudder a maternal figure might have provided. At first Lissa misses Kate dearly, but gradually, through personal insights derived from some new and unexpected friendships (and forays into new-age dream therapy), she finds the strength to confront both Kate and her own sexual identity.
 
Keeping you a Secret by Julie Anne Peters - Holland Jaeger goes steady with a good-looking boy and contemplates attending an Ivy League college in the fall. Then she meets "out-and-proud" lesbian Cece Goddard, and her life changes. Within a matter of weeks, the two begin an affair that eventually leads to a committed relationship. Holland loses old friends, encounters vicious discrimination, and is thrown out of the house by her hysterical mother. She finds help at the local Gay Resource Center, however, and begins to look forward to attending a local college after high school, with Cece by her side.
 
Luna by Julie Anne Peters - From as early as she can remember, Regan O'Neill has known that her brother, Liam, was different. That he was, in fact, a girl. Transgender. Having a transgender brother has never been a problem for Regan until now. Liam (or Luna, as she prefers to be called by her chosen name) is about to transition. What does it mean, transitioning? Dressing like a girl? In public? Does Liam expect Regan to embrace this decision, to welcome his sex change? She's always kept her brothers secret, always been his confidante, but now Regans acceptance and love will be put to the test.
 
Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss, and What I Learned by Judd Winick - Pedro Zamora Changed Lives. When the HIV-positive AIDS educator appeared on MTV's The Real World: San Francisco, he taught millions of viewers about being gay and living with AIDS. Pedro's roommate on the show was Judd Winick, a cartoonist from Long Island. They soon became close friends. Judd created Pedro and Me, a book in words and pictures, to honor Pedro Zamora, his friend and teacher, and most of all, an unforgettable human being.
 
Please Don't Kill the Freshman: A Memoir by Zoe Trope - The 44-page nucleus of this book was originally published by a small press when the author was 14. Her precociously perceptive and preternaturally poisonous pen then drew the attention of HarperCollins, which offered her a six-figure book deal to keep the caustic coming-of-age diary ranting and raving through the increasingly irrelevant remainder of her high school career. Zoe's entries chronicle her tortured search for truth in love and art, her faltering faith in the value of activism in the face of universal apathy, and her bottomless disdain for just about every figure and fixture in her high school life. The language is undeniably raw-a hip mixture of bald statement, cyberesque shorthand, and stream-of-consciousness prose. Her frank accounts of her transgender search for the perfect kiss and her first girlfriend who becomes her first boyfriend will surely shock certain audiences. Still, like Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (MTV, 1999), this is an important offering for exceptional, alienated readers-the talented and the tortured misfits who need to know that they are not alone. The fact that a dorky teen can actually pursue personal success completely on her own terms; make lots of people read, wince, laugh, and think; and score a major wad of cash in the bargain will actually give them something to cheer about.
 
Drowning of Stephan Jones by Bette Greene - Hate. It's the farthest feeling from sixteen-year-old Carla Wayland's mind. She can't believe people would persecute others just because they are different. But she isn't about to worry about the injustice surrounding her because she's in love with handsome and popular Andy Harris. Although raised to act on her ethical beliefs, Carla finds that her enchantment with Andy makes her a silent partner in his hate campaign and harassment of gay couple Stephan Jones and Frank Montgomery. At first Carla manages to overlook and explain away Andy's atrocious behavior toward the men. But Stephan drowns as a direct result of what Andy and his friends do, and Carla can no longer deny the truth. Carla must decide before the trial which side she's on and what she stands for. Will justice prevail?
 
Baby Be-Bop by Francesca Lia Block - Dirk is just your average teen living in a fairytale LA, except that he receives surreal storytelling visitations from his dead father and grandmother. Sound weird? Well, maybe, but these visits help him come to terms with being gay. Check out this author's other books, too: Weetzie Bat, Witch Baby, and Missing Angel Juan.
 
Ironman by Chris Crutcher - Bo Brewster has been fighting with his father as long as he can remember. After angry outbursts at his football coach and English teacher that get him kicked off the football team and almost expelled, Bo gets sent to Mr.Nak's before-school Anger Management group. He also deals with finding out his swim coach is gay.
 
Eight Seconds by Jean Ferris - Before his senior year of high school, John goes to rodeo school. He likes being one of the guys, getting into fights and dating pretty girls. Sometimes, though, he still feels like an outsider. Things only get more complicated as he becomes close friends with Kit, a great guy who is smart, tough, fascinating, and - gay.
 

Alt Ed by Catherine Atkins - Atkins paints a gripping portrait of an overweight teenage girl who's coming to terms with her father's estrangement, her brother's hostility because her new friend is gay, and the slow torture she's received at the hands of her classmates.

 

 
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden - Annie On My Mind tells the story of two New York City high school seniors, Annie and Liza, who are immediately drawn to each other in this novel of first love.
 
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan - Nic Lancaster knows exactly what she wants in life. She's even attending an advanced summer college program for high school students to get a jump on her chosen profession, archeology. But her detached point of view doesn't help her much as she finds herself falling for one of her cool new friends- a friend who just happens to be another girl.
 
Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez - Here are three high school boys with some serious issues. Jason is a top football player with a serious girlfriend. Kyle is a quiet, serious student. Nelson is a flamboyant loner. What could these guys possibly have in common? All three are gay. Seeking help through a Gay/Straight Alliance, the boys find the courage to be themselves and stand up to those around them.
 
Rainbow High by Alex Sanchez - Nelson Glassman and Kyle Meeks, best friends for many years, are gay teens at Walt Whitman High School. Kyle becomes romantically involved with basketball jock Jason Carrillo, while Nelson embarks on a strained relationship with Jeremy, who has tested positive for HIV. Jason comes out to his teammates and endures public scrutiny on television, eventually losing his athletic scholarship. On the homefront, Kyle's parents desperately want him to attend Princeton, although this would mean leaving Jason behind, and Nelson's mother insists that he end his relationship with Jeremy. Throughout these vicissitudes, the young men provide support for one another as graduation approaches.
 
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger - John has found the best girl in the world. In fact, she is absolutely perfect for him in every way- except she's gay. Though Marisol is completely honest with John about her orientation, John can't help but think he can change her mind. But his plans to win her over just might ruin their friendship for good...
 
Non-Fiction
Gay America: Struggle for Equality by Linas Alsenas - This book of events in queer politics for the past century is peppered with photographs of movers and shakers who changed the country from a closeted population to a world in which gays and lesbians can marry.
 
Bend, Don't Shatter: Poets on the beginning of Desire Edited by T. Cole Rachel & Rita D. Costello - This new poetry anthology navigates the rocky waters of teenage sexuality and confusion with insight, clarity, and understanding. The poems were written by adults who keenly remember the turmoil and excitement of their own adolescent sexual explorations but now have the perspective and sense of self that come with growing up. They employ concrete details - reaching across car seats, the electric touch of fingertips - as well as more ephemeral concepts, such as facing desire as powerful as a thunderstorm. Offering comfort, illumination, and acceptance, the book reflects the nuances and complications of teenage sexuality, and explores the confused joy of it, the bright desire, the shame and isolation, the shock of sexual discovery, and the thrill - or horror - of waking up to a new identity. The poems give teens new insight and new language for dealing with gender issues as a whole.
 
GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer & Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel - Are you queer or questioning? If you are, this book is for you. Do you know someone who might be queer or questioning? If so, this book is for you, too. Or are you someone who just wants to learn more about what it's like to be queer or questioning? This book is a great place to begin. Discovering that you, or someone you love, might be GLBTQ is a revelation. Accepting it is a process. One thing that can help that process is information. This book can't answer all of your questions or counter all of the misinformation, misconceptions, myths, half-truths, and outright lies you might have heard about being GLBTQ, but it's a start.
 
Hear Me Out: true stories of Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia : a project of Planned Parenthood of Toronto by Planned Parenthood - Twenty-two young people involved in a Toronto organization talk about the experiences that led them to T.E.A.C.H. (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia), as well as their ups and downs as program volunteers and counselors–and beyond. The stories are frank and personal and sometimes heartbreaking, but they all share a sense of individual growth, personal acceptance, and hope. Another thing they share is a strong allegiance to T.E.A.C.H., which seems to be an effective tool in promoting not only self-awareness, but also tolerance and understanding. Yet, at times, this often-moving collection can sound a bit like a vehicle to promote the organization, which, in some sense, it is. Accordingly, it may prove to be most useful as a resource for educators, youth workers, and parents, functioning as a catalyst for ideas, discussions, and programs. Stories are written by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual/transgendered youth, and short biographies of the contributor are appended.
 
The Journey Out: A Guide for and about Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens by Rachel Pollack - Suggests how gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers may discover their sexual orientation, find self-acceptance, come out, cope with prejudice, and deal with religious and political issues.
 
Gay and Lesbian Rights by Marilyn Oliver Tower - Examines the issue of gay and lesbian rights in the United States, covering the history of the gay rights movement, the current struggles it faces, and arguments both for and against it.
 
What if Someone I Know is Gay? Answers to Questions About Gay and Lesbian People by Eric Marcus - Marcus's question-and-answer book "about gay stuff for young people" is similar to his popular book for adults, Is It a Choice? Answers to 300 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Gay and Lesbian People (HarperCollins, 1999). The author provides useful information and anecdotes on many issues concerning friends and family, dating, sex, religion, school, activism, and discrimination.
 
The Shared Heart: Portraits and Stories Celebrating Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young People by Adam Mastoon - This non-fiction book features photos and first-person accounts about the challenges of growing up gay. Meet class presidents, athletes, artists, and their families, and read their true stories.
 
The Underground Guide to Teenage Sexuality by Michael Basso - The classic guide to teen sexuality updated and expanded with information on sexually-transmitted diseases; contraception; sexual abuse; healthy relationships; hotlines and resources; and more.
 
Kings and Queens: Queers at the Prom by David Boyer - Like so many closeted gay teenagers who faced this high school rite of passage, David Boyer asked a girl to his senior prom. More than a dozen years later, now openly gay Boyer began collecting stories of this enduring ritual from queers who survived it. These stories form the basis of Kings and Queens: Queers at the Dance.The book is divided into two major sections: Before Stonewall begins around the time of the Depression and ends at the 1969 uprising. These stories suggest what it was like to come of age before the gay rights movement really began, before the word gay assumed its current meaning. After Stonewall charts queers' progression from closet to mainstream. Not intended as a definitive retelling of gay history, Kings and Queens illustrates how growing up gay has - and has not - changed over the years. It is a bumpy but irresistible ride through a history that has been unspoken for too long.
 
Popular GLBTQ Authors
Brent Hartinger
Nancy Garden
Francesca Lia Block
M.E. Kerr
Alex Sanchez

David Levithan
 
More Ideas published by American Library Association's Rainbow List
 

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Kristin Pekoll
kpekoll@west-bendlibrary.org
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