Hey, Fanboys and Geek Girls, have you been wandering aimlessly through your local bookstore searching for something to read? Are you sick of seeing vampire novels everywhere you turn? Would you love to read some literature that actually features LGBTQ characters that aren’t tokens or stereotypes?
If you answered yes to all three, then look no further than the 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalists! There are many awesome books on this list, but here are some of my favorites!
(All Book reviews, descriptions, and art found below are from autostraddle)
The Butterfly and the Flame, by Dana De Young
I love dystopias! (I mean. To read about.) In a dystopic 2404, being gay is a capital offence, capital punishment is back, women are not allowed to work, and forced marriages are everywhere. Fifteen-year-old Emily La Rouche is being forced to marry her landlord’s son. If she refuses, her family will suffer, and if she agrees, the world will discover that she was born a boy, and so she flees across post-apocalyptic America in search of a new home. From the Bibrary review:
“Emily’s story is an emotional one, a tragic tale that contains just enough hope to make the heartache and the sorrow palatable. She’s a wonderfully well-rounded character, but one who is plagued by the dual angst of being a teenager and being transgender. Only a transgender author could so accurately portray the depths of Emily’s emotion, whether it’s her suicidal despair as she fashions her own noose, or her blissfully innocent joy as she is gifted with her first dress. Throw an arranged marriage into the mix, with the intended’s family wholly ignorant of Emily’s secret, and you have the makings for a complex take of human relationships.”
Huntress, by Malinda Lo
Huntress is set in the same world as Ash (Lo’s first novel, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella), but centuries earlier, and incorporates elements of the I Ching. Like Ash, it avoids stereotyping gay characters and falling into the traditional plotlines of gay YA. On her website, Lo writes:
“I knew that I wanted certain things in the story: A girl having an adventure. A romance with sexual tension. A world on the verge of dying (I’m a big fan of dystopians). Powerful, creepy fairies. Weapons. And I wanted it to be a hero’s quest. As I noted in my writing journal back in October 2008 when I was figuring out what would happen, ‘The point of the quest is to bring order and harmony back to the mortal world.’ Putting all those things together, the book that came out was Huntress.”
Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft
Lesbians and steampunk are together at last in this collection of fifteen short stories, edited JoSelle Vanderhooft. Contributors include Sara Harvey, Mike Allen, NK Jemisin, Shira Lipkin, Meredith Holmes. Matthew Kressel, Beth Wodzinski, Georgina Bruce, JosSelle Vanderhooft, and Aml El-Mohtar. According to Goodreads,
“The 15 tantalizing, thrilling, and ingenious tales in ‘Steam-Powered’ put a new spin on steampunk by putting women where they belong — in the captain’s chair, the laboratory, and one another’s arms. The women push steampunk to its limits and beyond.”
(All Book reviews, descriptions, and art via autostraddle)