Last month I read The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content, 1969-2004 (Scarecrow Studies in Young Adult Literature) by Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins, a book that, as you may have guessed from its subtitle, examines young adult books with LGBTQ content published between 1969 and 2004. The authors list EVERY YA book published between the years 1969 and 2004, and I decided that I would take it upon myself to read as many books as possible that are listed in its pages.
Although I am not generally an avid reader of young adult books, I’m continuously fascinated by and interested in the portrayal of LGBTQ youth (and adults) within young adult books. And, as a reader who is predisposed to reading entire series of books, the fact that, due to the unfortunately low number of books published, reading every young adult book with LGBTQ content (at least until the 2000s) is actually a goal within my grasp, I am excited by the challenge.
I am using the terms gay and lesbian (as opposed to the more inclusive LGBTQ) for this challenge because these books are very binary and only feature gay or lesbian characters. (Per book. Seriously, the first YA book to feature both gay and lesbian characters was My Life As a Body by Norma Klein in 1987. The first to mention bisexuality was “Hello,” I Lied. by M.E. Kerr in 1998, and the first major transgender character wasn’t featured until 2004 in Julie Ann Peters’ Luna.)
I asked around on Twitter last week if anyone was interested in joining me for this read-a-long, and so far Amy, Jodie, and Carina have signed on to read at least a few with me. I plan on posting about the books sometime during the last week of each month. Some of these books are harder to find than others (especially David Rees’ In the Tent), but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to find them all.
2013 Schedule (all links lead to the book’s Goodreads page)
ETA: This is a complete list of all the YA books with LGBT characters published between 1969-1979. Ten books in eleven years.
January: I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan (1969)
February: The Man Without a Face by Isabelle Holland (1972)
March: Trying Hard to Hear You by Sandra Scoppettone (1974)
April: Ruby by Rosa Guy (1976)
May: What’s This About Pete? by Mary Sullivan (1976)
June: Sticks and Stones by Lynn Hall (1977)
July: I’ll Love You When You’re More Like Me by ME Kerr (1977)
August: Hey, Dollface by Deborah Hautzig (1978)
September: Happy Endings Are All Alike by Sandra Scoppettone (1978)
October: In the Tent by David Rees (1979)