Greetings readers! Today is a pretty big day in our little queer lit community. Today is the day the Lammy nominees are announced. Now if you aren’t familiar with the Lammy’s, that’s okay. I wasn’t either, until a few years ago. The Lammy’s are LAMBDA Literary’s annual awards for books with queer content. They celebrate diverse writers and diverse stories and it’s a great time to look at what new and exciting books should be on our shelves. There are tons of categories but, sadly, only one that looks at books for younger readers. That’s right, one category for all of kid lit, middle grade, and YA. Pretty crazy. But let’s remember that that’s a reminder to all of us, that we have to keep demanding these books so that one day LAMBDA will need just as many categories for young people as they do for adults. For today, I thought I’d celebrate the release of the nominees by telling you a bit about a few of the titles on the list that I was able to get my hands on. Disclaimer- this post is going to veer toward YA because that’s what most of the nominees are. But don’t worry, you younger folk. There will be plenty of recommendations coming your way going forward.
So what’s it about? So the main character in this book, Dylan, well, he’s a big guy. Like really big. And really hairy. Also kind of intimidating. And he has been since middle school. But the truth is Dylan is more interested in using his brain than his brawn.
What makes it queer? Without giving away too much, let’s just say that Dylan get some information from another character that he was not quite prepared to deal with. Anymore than that and I risk giving away more than I care to.
How awesome is it? You know, there were times while I read this when I was thinking, geez, this guy is not the super likable protagonist that I generally expect in my YA. But I kind of think that’s a good thing. Dylan isn’t living his story to try to impress anyone. He’s just trying to get through it, same as the rest of us.
So what’s it about? This book is about an agoraphobic guy named Solomon and a high-achieving girl named Lisa who makes it her mission to cure him.
What makes it queer? One of the three principle characters is dealing with coming to terms with their sexuality.
How awesome is it? It’s pretty flipping awesome. The characters in this story feel authentic, flaws and all. These kids aren’t perfect, not even close, but they all have stories to tell and this book tells them beautifully.
So what’s it about? The story revolves around Riley, a gender fluid high school student living in a conservative town. Riley’s having a tough go of it so when their therapist suggests starting a blog to connect with other gender fluid teens, they figure that it can’t hurt to try. Only Riley didn’t exactly expect to go viral. Oops. There’s a lot at stake if Riley is ever found out.
What makes it queer? Riley identifies as gender fluid, which means that they feel more male some days and more female on other days.
How awesome is it? Riley is a complicated character. In some ways, it’s hard to relate to them. The story veers a little toward the unbelievable side because at some point you kind of just stop being convinced that one character could have all of this stuff happen to them. That said, if you can suspend disbelief for a bit, there is a very poignant story being told.
If you’re interested in finding out what else is up for an award, go here for the full list of nominees.
Until next time, happy reading!