June is Pride month which makes it a great time to feature a few recent books written by IPOC authors with LGBT+ characters.
King Geordi the Great by Gene Gant (Harmony Ink Press)
Growing up means overcoming obstacles: facing reality even when it hurts, being brave enough to stand up for yourself, and being your own man even when going along with others’ expectations is easier.
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (Swoon Reads) ages 13-18 Debut Author
Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St Onge and Joy San. Image Comics. GN
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.
Fire Song by Adam Garnett Jones Annick Press. Debut Author
How can Shane reconcile his feelings for David with his desire for a better life? Shane is still reeling from the suicide of his kid sister, Destiny. How could he have missed the fact that she was so sad? He tries to share his grief with his girlfriend, Tara, but she’s too concerned with her own needs to offer him much comfort. What he really wants is to be able to turn to the one person on the rez whom he loves―his friend, David. Things go from bad to worse as Shane’s dream of going to university is shattered and his grieving mother withdraws from the world. Worst of all, he and David have to hide their relationship from everyone. Shane feels that his only chance of a better life is moving to Toronto, but David refuses to join him. When yet another tragedy strikes, the two boys have to make difficult choices about their future together. With deep insight into the life of Indigenous people on the reserve, this book masterfully portrays how a community looks to the past for guidance and comfort while fearing a future of poverty and shame. Shane’s rocky road to finding himself takes many twists and turns, but ultimately ends with him on a path that doesn’t always offer easy answers, but one that leaves the reader optimistic about his fate.
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender Scholastic. ages 8-12 Debut Author
Born on Water Island in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane, which is considered bad luck, twelve-year-old Caroline falls in love with another girl–and together they set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother.
Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini. Papillote Press.
A coming-of-age tale with a twist: a clinically depressed Trinidadian teenager, who has attempted suicide, is banished by her mother to Canada to live with her aunt. She feels lonely and in exile. But with the help of her lesbian aunt, a gorgeous-looking boy and her Skyping best friend “back home” in Trinidad, she begins to realize that loving families can exist in different shapes and sizes. Then her mother arrives and threatens to take her back to Trinidad. Where then is home?
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera; Riverdale Avenue Books. released for adults
“Even if Holden Caulfield was born in the Bronx in the 1980s, he could never be this awesome.” Inga Muscio, author of Cunt Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Suguira. HarperTeen. ages 12-18
This charming and bittersweet coming-of-age story featuring two girls of color falling in love is part To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and part Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself–the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.
Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee. Duet Books. ages 12-18
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship only it turns out to be for the town s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious ‘M,’ who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay. Knopf/Random House. ages 14 and up
Unable to celebrate the holidays in the wake of his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting, Lolly Rachpaul struggles to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a fantastically creative LEGO city at the Harlem community center.
They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera. HarperTeen. ages 12-18
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.
Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. Feiwel & Friends. ages 12-18
For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, hiding a terrible legacy, until mysterious Fel arrives and Estrella helps him explore his dangerous past.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. Clarion. ages 12–up
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.