I’m taking a few liberties with this week’s #TopTenTuesday topic, which is books we’re looking forward to for the back half of 2016. In the wake of what happened in Orlando on Sunday, and the scary and sometimes completely incomprehensible violence around us, I thought I’d use this week’s #TTT to highlight some recent and upcoming books that promote inclusivity, diversity, and compassion, especially for the LGBTQ community.
For me, the book community is a place where everyone is welcome and tolerated, whether you’re a geek or a nerd, a white person, a person of color, an introvert or an extrovert, and much, much more. It’s been my safe place for the last four years – often taking up so much of my headspace not just because of a shared love of books, but also because in this community, I found people who GET it. Who get my weird passion for story, and who are willing to talk and debate about things mundane and political. And I feel like everyone should get a space like that.
What I’m trying to say is that books – and our community – have given me a space to explore ideas and expand my mind. In the last four years, I’ve learned and discussed and thought a lot because of books and because of story. So for today, I wanted to highlight some of the books that I personally am looking at to continue my understanding of tolerance and compassion in the upcoming months.
10 Recent and Upcoming YA Books That Promote LGBTQ, Diversity & Compassion
- You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour and David Levithan (June 7) – I’m reading this one now, and it’s a delightful, sweet story of friends who are dealing with their own fears and insecurities about being out and being in love.
- All We Have Left by Wendy Mills (Aug 9) – a book that looks at 9/11 from a before and after standpoint, and from the views of a Muslim girl at the Twin Towers and a white girl who lost her brother in 9/11.
- The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne (May 31) – Daisy’s best friend Hannah comes out to her, and Daisy goes overboard to prove that she’s an LGBTQ ally, only to have the media (and one cute college journalist) explode out of control. I can’t wait to read this book about being an ally and what NOT to do.
- Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes (July 12, middle-grade) – Fifth-graders explore what 9/11 and being American means when you were never alive to see the Twin Towers.
- Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard (Sept 6)- Tomboyish Pen just wants to be who she really is – without having people question what gender she is or who she likes. Really looking forward to this Canadian YA debut about gender fluidity!
- Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz (Sept 27) – Hard-working Filipino girl wins a national scholarship only to find out that her family is in the US illegally.
- The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Nov 1) – This romance between two teens, one of whom is a Jamaican about to be deported with her family, highlights immigration issues as well as young love.
- As I Descended by Robin Talley (Sept 6) – dark supernatural YA about a lesbian power couple determined to unseat the school Queen Bee. Not my usual thing, but the synopsis mentioned that it’ll be Shakespearean-like revenge, which I really, really like.
- Outrun the Moon by Stacey Zhang (May 26) – I’ve made no secret of the fact that I adore Stacey’s ability to discuss racial and cultural issues with Chinese-Americans in the context of history, but this recent read about the San Francisco fire was also just a superb girl-power novel about boarding school and finding your calling. Highly recommended to everyone!
- A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Aug 30) – I know, even I’m surprised that I’m putting a fantasy on this list! But I loved the world-building in An Ember in the Ashes, even if I didn’t love the characters, and I think it’s more than a little important to be reading authors of color as well as characters of color.
I hope you put some of these on your to-be-read list! Obviously, there are some amazing organizations out there like #WeNeedDiverseBooks who are doing fantastic work to promote inclusivity and tolerance and you should totally check out their recs as well, but let me know if you have other LGBTQ or books that promote inclusivity that you think I should add to my TBR. And thank you guys so much for reading and chatting books with me. 😘