I picked up Michael Cho’s Shoplifter because I was interested in a story about an English major – five years out of college – who realizes that she has only been writing copy for an advertising and that won’t change if she continues down this path. That is an interesting premise. Sadly, the story falls short of interesting.
About two months ago, I said something to my mom about wanting someone to write a YA book with a girl who either is in JROTC or at least wants to join the military. The universe answered, and I found Rites of Passage, by Joy N. Hensley, at the library a week later. Sam McKenna took the last dare that her brother gave her before he died: she joined the first class of girls at Denmark Military Academy. She expected the physical requirements, like push ups and mud crawls, and some hate for being one of the first female students at the school, but she didn’t expect how much some of the boys want her gone.
Riley Cavanaugh, the child of a conservative congressman, is gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and some days as a girl. Now Riley is starting over at a public school and dealing with the congressman’s campaign. A therapist recommends Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent, and Riley creates one under the name Alix. The blog goes viral. Alix/Riley will have to make a decision: abandon the blog or come out and risk everything. Symptoms of Being Human, by Jeff Garvin, describes one experience of being gender fluid and shows.
At the threshold of puberty, two fifth graders, Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki, live with loving families and are well-liked by their classmates, but they share a secret. Nitori is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. As they try to figure out their gender identities and places in the world, they have to deal with their peers’ reactions. Wandering Son, Vol. 1 by Shimura Takako is a coming-of-age manga about two transgender kids and the exploration of gender.
James Liddell is in the closet in his small Vermont town. Everyone in town knows him to be a star athlete who is dating sweet Theresa. He writes his darkest secrets in letters that he will never send, like Abraham Lincoln. He likes boys. As he figures out who he is, he befriends new people and works through his problems in writing.
Difficult Women, by Roxane Gay, is an anthology of the fictional lives of women: difficult women, loose women, crazy women, frigid women, married women, and dead women. There are some flash fiction, contemporary realistic fiction, fantasy and other types of short stories. This collection expands the labels given to “difficult” women, and they show each woman in the story as a real person, how she got this way, and why she is the person she is.
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Pub. Date: 2013 Genres: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, YA Pages: 308 Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars Lucy Beck-Moreau, once a famous child pianist, is still trying to cope with quitting piano. She decided to quit when her family hid that her grandmother was dying before a performance in Prague. When the… Continue reading The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Pub. Date: 2013 Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA Pages: 435 Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars When Cath and her identical twin, Wren, start college, Cath has to strike it out on her own with a stranger for a roommate, a fiction writing class, and an obsession with writing Simon… Continue reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Series: Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1 Translator: Kenichiro Yagi Publisher: Viz Media Pub. Date: 2005 (2014 for this edition) Genres: Shoujo Manga, Comedy, Romance Pages: 178 Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars Haruhi Fujioka, a student at the exclusive and prestigious Ouran High School, stumbles into Music Room 3, seeking a quiet place to study.… Continue reading Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 1 by Bisco Hatori
Publisher: Balzer + Bray Pub. Date: 2015 Genre: Contemporary YA, Romance Pages: 303 Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars Back in June, I saw Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda on display at the library in honor of LGBT Pride Month, but I got around to reading it in July. I was looking for LGBT books at the time.… Continue reading Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli