Hey Savvy Readers! Happy National Coming Out Day! I hope you’re having a safe and happy day surrounded by people who who love and support you. Whether you’ve already shared your sexuality and/or gender with the world, if you’re not ready yet, or if you’re just looking to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, here are a list of books for all ages of readers!
Hazel’s Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Hazel knows a lot about the world. That’s because when she’s not hanging with her best friend, taking care of her dog, or helping care for the goats on her family’s farm, she loves reading through dusty encyclopedias. But as Hazel gets ready to start eighth grade at a new school, she doesn’t feel like she has the answers with what’s to come. As Hazel struggles to cope, she’ll come to realize that sometimes you have to look within yourself—instead of the pages of a book—to find the answer to life’s most important questions.
This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender
Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings. Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life. Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend. After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?
Crier’s War by Nina Varela
After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will. Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death: by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier was made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla. Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.
Sontag by Benjamin Moser
No writer is as emblematic of the American twentieth century as Susan Sontag. Mythologized and misunderstood, lauded and loathed, a girl from the suburbs who became a proud symbol of cosmopolitanism, Sontag left a legacy of writing on art and politics, feminism and homosexuality, celebrity and style, medicine and drugs, radicalism and Fascism and Freudianism and Communism and Americanism, that forms an indispensable key to modern culture. Sontag explores the agonizing insecurity behind the formidable public face: the broken relationships, the struggles with her sexuality, that animated—and undermined—her writing. And it shows her attempts to respond to the cruelties and absurdities of a country that had lost its way, and her conviction that fidelity to high culture was an activism of its own. Utilizing hundreds of interviews conducted from Maui to Stockholm and from London to Sarajevo—and featuring nearly one hundred images—Sontag is the first book based on the writer’s restricted archives, and on access to many people who have never before spoken about Sontag, including Annie Leibovitz. It is a definitive portrait—a great American novel in the form of a biography.
Love & Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford
The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies. Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the weeks before his birthday. But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that. As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets. A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.
Be My Love by Kit Pearson
For as long as she can remember, Maisie has spent her summers on Kingfisher Island. She and her beloved cousin Una run wild, and Maisie feels the warm embrace of her big, extended family. This summer Maisie needs that escape more than ever. But Una has returned from her mainland school a sophisticated young woman too mature for childish games, and even worse, she has an all-consuming infatuation with David Meyer, both an old friend and an older man. Soon Maisie finds herself jealous of Una and David’s closeness, and unsure of what those feelings mean. When Maisie’s greatest attempt to maintain the special magic of her friendship with Una goes up in smoke, it seems as though all is lost. But with an enormous revelation, and a heartrending intervention, Maisie may finally discover the strength she needs to find the same peace that the island has brought her within herself.
Pulp by Robin Talley
In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real. Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity. This dual narrative weaves together the lives of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. A stunning story of bravery, love, how far we’ve come and how much farther we have to go.
Logical Family by Armistead Maupin
In this memoir from the beloved author of the bestselling Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco, and his evolution from curious youth to ground-breaking writer and gay rights pioneer. Maupin recalls his losses and life-changing experiences with humor and unflinching honesty, and brings to life flesh-and-blood characters as endearing and unforgettable as the vivid, fraught men and women who populate his enchanting novels. What emerges is an illuminating portrait of the man who depicted the liberation and evolution of America’s queer community over the last four decades with honesty and compassion—and inspired millions to claim their own lives.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy-that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth-that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.
What books are you reading this National Coming Out Day? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @SavvyReader!
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