“I could tell I was standing too still and breathing too silently. I prayed she didn’t notice, but she must have, she was so close to me.”
I was sent this book by Walker Books a couple of months ago and I was immediately intrigued by the the idea of it as a ‘Graphic Memoir’. I know that this isn’t the first graphic memoir, in fact there are many that I’d love to get my hands on, but this is actually the first one I have ever read and boy did I enjoy it! If I had read this a while ago it most certainly would be on my list of Top 5 Graphic Novels. It has everything you would want from a graphic memoir; a compelling and moving story, beautiful artwork, and hilarious writing. Let’s briefly sum up the story:
I was recently reading about the upcoming film adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s fabulous Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda -which I am very excited for- and started thinking about LGBT characters in books. More specifically their roles in books. I was thinking about how LGBT characters often tend to be the protagonists and the story seems to revolve around their sexuality or gender-identity. Obviously this is a brilliant thing; literature and YA in particular is becoming so much more diverse and are telling stories that perhaps used to be “taboo”. More people are being represented and that is always a good thing.
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However I was also thinking about how there are not as many books that have LGBT characters, either major or minor, whose stories do not revolve solely around their sexuality or gender-identity. I really enjoy it when I’m reading a book and I find out that a character is gay and then it’s almost disregarded, in the sense that it’s just accepted rather than being ignored or the focus of the plot. Again I will say that I don’t think that books that do have that as the focus are bad, absolutely not! But personally I do find that there are very few minor LGBT characters which I think is a shame. I’ve compiled a list of books that do include these types of character and if you know of any other books please do let me know:
The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
The Next Together by Lauren James
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
More Than This by Patrick Ness
Hollow Pike by Juno Dawson
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (although this one is slightly debatable)
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There has definitely been a positive shift in the attitude towards LGBT fiction in recent years and I do believe that it can only continue to get better. With more publishers of children’s and young adult books wanting more LGBTQ characters and even children’s TV shows including same-sex relationships. One of my bookish resolutions for 2016 is to read more LGBT fiction, many of the recommendations I will be taking from George Lester’s fantastic video. But if you have any then please let me know!