Pride recommendations from our booksellers and TPC for today’s Teen Thursday!
IT’S PRIDE, Y’ALL! June celebrates LGBTQ+ history and in honor of that, our booksellers are recommending some of their fave books that feature or center queer characters and their experiences. From lighthearted romance to swashbuckling adventure and magical realism, we have a little bit of everything for ya. We’re thrilled that YA is constantly growing in representation, and there are so many fantastic stories to spotlight. What teen books are you reading for Pride?
Uriel loves recommending his “hometown boy”, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, whose gorgeous writing is not to be missed! Inexplicable Logic of My Life is great for fans of Aristotle and Dante who want to revisit that similar tone, and to brand new readers who will be blown away by Sáenz’s storytelling.
Willow recently read and LOVED Tanya Boteju’s Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, which also comes highly recommended by Ivy from our Teen Press Corps– it was the Teen Buzz Book for the month of May. Willow calls it “sweet, heartfelt, unputdownable” and Ivy says: “Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is a diversely queer novel, with a fairly original concept and uniquely real characters. Nima Kumara-Clark is a brilliant protagonist, sweet and innocent while still growing and changing throughout the novel. As the reader explores drag alongside her, we get a good sense of her feelings, the feelings that she isn’t totally sure of herself. There’s a sincerity to Nima that’s hard to find in most protagonists, especially YA protagonists. Tanya Boteju has a lot of talent, so her future is infinite. My hope for Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is that it can at least change some people’s mindset regarding the benefits of drag, and introduce young people to a new art form they didn’t know they needed.”
Thomas has two great paperbacks for the summer season. He calls Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue “a reminder that queer culture isn’t something new and we didn’t spring out of the woodwork in the 60s—also just crazy fun swashbuckling euro-pirate adventure and I love it!” And about bookseller favorite Six of Crows, he says: “When you have four male main characters and two female main characters, you get the feeling like there will be two romances and someone will get left out, but by the end you have three romances and no one gets left out and it’s kind of THE BEST.”
Tomoko throws it back with a classic: David Levithan’s Every Day. She says: “Every Day was the first time I’d encountered a non-binary character and it blew my mind. I was thinking about A and what they represented, and what they meant to me, for months– this book STILL sticks with me.”
Eugenia adores Nic Stone, and says she wishes she could have read Odd One Out when she was younger. “In her author’s note for Odd One Out, Nic Stone talks about writing the novel she wishes she had when she was a young girl, confused by her attraction to both boys and girls. Stone has succeeded in writing a personal and intimate exploration of those feelings, with characters that are realistic, funny, and smart as hell. I wish I’d met these characters when I was younger– especially Coop, a proud and confident feminist who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable with his friends. I loved how openly this book discusses not only sexuality and pleasure, but misogyny, prejudice, embracing and refusing labels, and the importance of belonging…”
Meghan highly recommends When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore! She says: “Roses grow from wrists, and painted moons pulse with luminous power in this richly resonant novel of sexual / gender identity, culture, cruelty, and witchcraft. Sumptuous prose and simmering secrets mark this mesmerizing, memorable tale.”
Stacks on Stacks on Stacks on Stacks
Are you looking for some history and other nonfiction reads? Looking to get inspired through a great biography, or learn more about the struggles the LGBTQ+ has faced? Are you a HUGE graphic novel reader? Are you constantly waiting for the next Tillie Walden to come out? We feel ya. We have a great selection of titles for you, too! Come and talk to us on our second floor!
All Out comes specifically recommended by Ivy, who says: “Overall, All Out was an awesomely diverse ride that brought together a complete spectrum of sexualities and genders to a YA audience with perspectives throughout time, place, class, and race. A joy to read for any kind of YA fan, and a must-read for any queer teen out there.” Read the whole review here.
Want more great Pride reads?
Come visit our display in the Teen section, curated by bookseller MK!