The Necessary Hunger by Nina Revoyr

necessary hungerBack in the day (1986), the WNBA was just a twinkle in some future sports promoter’s eye. But girls were still taking the ball to their male counterparts. Nancy and Raina, stepsisters and all-star players, are living out their last year of high-school stardom living, breathing and worshipping the Cult of the Hoop. But the girls are tired of dealing with the college recruiters that dog their every step, and the racism that is leveled at them because of their mixed African-American and Japanese-American household. In addition, both girls are dealing with their emerging sexual identities as young lesbian women of color. Can their already stressed-out friendship take the pressure when their teams come into direct competition–with each other? After reading this sharp and sweaty novel of competition on the riot-grrl level, you’ll be saying, “SHE got game!”

Deliver Us From Evie by M. E. Kerr

evieEver felt like you stood out like a sore thumb, an inkblot on an otherwise perfect page? Well, that’s how Evie feels in a nutshell. he’s stuck in the middle of Small-Town America with a big secret, a secret that her conservative-minded neighbors won’t forgive too easily should they find out. To her brother Parr, it’s becoming more and more apparent that there is something different about Evie. And he’s not sure he wants to know what that something is. Told from Parr’s point of view, this novel shows how sometimes its better stick out and be true to yourself that lose your individuality and join the party line. A challenging read.

Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block

weetzie Since you’ve probably outgrown fairy tales, you’ll be sure to appreciate this modern almost-fairy tale of a bigger than life girl named Weetzie Bat who lives on the coast with the most– California. Follow her funky adventures through L.A. Land with her gay glitter-friends Dirk & Duck, and her love-at-first-sight, My Secret Agent Lover Man. For those of you who never grew up, this fractured fairy tale will be your perfect bedtime story. The best way to enjoy this short novel is to read it out loud with your best girlfriend. Before the Spice Girls was Weetzie Bat–REAL girlpower!

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Annie on my Mind
Liza’s first love was Annie. But it ended all too soon. Now away at college, safe from the harsh critics and gossiping tongues that tore them apart, Liza looks back on her first romance. She and Annie were so naive that they didn’t even know what to call their relationship. Were they…lesbians? What did that word mean, exactly? And how could you label something so wonderfully right with a name they had learned was shameful? With dreamy prose, Garden sensitively chronicles the first awakenings of sexual awareness and identity between two young women. A beautiful love story that, gay or straight, you will hold in your heart long after the last page is turned.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Boy Meets Boy My main worry when I started hearing the buzz about this book was that the rosy picture it paints of a incredibly tolerant small town where the star football quarterback is also a drag queen named Infinite Darlene would offend those gay teens who’ve had hard time admitting their homosexuality or coming out of the closet to family and friends. But what I’m hearing from teen readers, gay and straight, is that they love the fact that Levithan wrote a sweet love story between two young men in a high school where no one thinks twice about your sexuality, and that “being gay” is NOT the point of the book. While Levithan’s town is a tad unrealistic, his fantasy vision is balanced by the town next door, where narrator Paul’s best friend Tony has to live and deal with his intolerant, strictly religious parents. At turns sweet, wacky and serious, BMB reminds me most of the writing of my fav FLB (Francesca Lia Block).

Kissing Kate by Lauren Myracle

Kissing Kate Lissa and Kate have always been best friends. And since that night last summer when they both got a little drunk in the gazebo, Kate has tried to act like everything’s the same. But that night changed everything for Lissa. That was the night she kissed Kate, and Kate kissed her back. But that’s not how Kate remembers it, and now Lissa has a difficult choice to make: Can she still be friends with Kate if Kate can’t admit what they both know is true? Meanwhile, Lissa is trying to decide what her own truth is—is she straight or gay or something in between? Does kissing Kate mean that she likes girls, or that she just loves Kate? Lissa’s determined to figure it all out—but maybe not in time to save her relationship with Kate. A first novelist, Lauren Myracle gets that feeling of teenage questioning and frustration just right. A quiet but incredibly solid and well-written story about love, lucid dreaming (you’ll figure out where that comes in after you read it!) and difficult choices.

Stir-fry by Emma Donoghue

Stir-fry College-bound Maria is a small town Irish girl trying on Dublin city life for the first time. As she browses bulletin boards searching for anyplace to live other than the dorm, she finds an ad for a room with two lively female roomates—wickedly funny Jael and earth mother-ish Ruth. The three get along famously until Maria witnesses a rather steamy kiss between her two flatmates. Are Jael and Ruth a couple? And if so, why didn’t they tell her? And more importantly, can Maria live comfortably with two (gulp!) lesbians? Come along with Maria on her journey of self-discovery in this wry and realistic novel by brilliant Irish author Emma D.

Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

Empress of the World Nic Lancaster thinks she knows exactly what she wants–to spend her life happily digging in the dirt as an archeologist. So to help her decide if she’s really meant to be a tomb raider, she’s goes to this advanced summer college program for high school students. There, she gets her own dorm room, a new pack of kooky-cool friends and an archeology professor who seems to really know her stuff–the whole college experience. Nic is only bothered by one thing–why isn’t she falling for Issac, a smart political-science guy who seems to be crushing on her? Instead, she’s finding herself uncomfortably and intensely attracted to Battle Davies, a North Carolina blonde who’s honeyed voice hides a cool intellect. For Nic, the summer will be one of realizing that while you may be able to categorize objects found on an archeological dig, you can’t always categorize your feelings or your sexuality the same way. Impressive first novel by Sara Ryan (who also happens to be a cool-kid YA librarian!!) Check out her web page at

Dare Truth or Promise by Paula Boock

Louie and Willa are like a lesbian Romeo and Juliet. Louie comes from a posh background, money, brilliant family, the whole works. Willa lives over the bar that her mum runs, practices fencing, and wants nothing more than be a chef with her own restaurant. When they meet and fall in love, they are forced to overcome Louie’s restrictive mother, hateful gossip, and a nearly fatal car crash. But unlike Romeo and Juliet, Dare Truth or Promise has a happier ending. Watch out for the language changes–New Zealand author Boock added a handy dandy glossary for those of you who aren’t sure what“ fair dinkum” means or what“ ranch sliders” are. A very literary, angsty lesbian love story, where the points of view sometimes confused me (wasn’t sure who was speaking, Louie or Willa) but the mature and descriptive writing always charmed me.

Name Me Nobody by Lois-Ann Yamanaka

Name Me Nobody Everyone can remember the first time his or her best friend chose a girlfriend or boyfriend over him or her. It sucks. All of sudden, it’s like you don’t even exist. The only thing your best friend wants to talk about is how cute he is or what a great kisser she is. Emi-Lou is starting to feel that way, too, except that her best friend Yvonne hasn’t got a new guy, but has instead fallen in love with a girl on her softball team, the ironically nick-named Babes. Now, people in her school are starting to question and make fun of Emi-Lou’s sexuality as well. Add that to the already emotional backpack of having an absentee mom, an unknown dad and a massive weight problem, and Emi-Lou is not a happy camper. But through a series of painful experiences, she sheds most of that baggage and learns to think for and love herself. What’s so great about this book is watching Emi-Lou realize that it doesn’t matter if Yvonne is a lesbian or not, she (Emi-Lou) can be straight and still love Yvonne just as much. For all of you out there who are still a little bit uncomfortable with your friend’s sexuality, this one’s for you.

Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger

Hard Love
Suppose you had just met the girl of your dreams–she’s smart, funny, cute as hell, and a really good ‘zine writer. She seems perfect for you except for one little thing: she’s gay and you’re NOT a girl. John has totally lost it for Marisol, a cool, cute, completely out teenage lesbian. Even though he knows she only digs girls, he can’t help but wish that Marisol was different. But when he goes about trying to change things, John comes to the painful realization that the only person he can really change is himself. A real whizz-banger of a book–one of my favorites of 1999.

Breaking Boxes by A.M. Jenkins

Breaking Boxes Charlie and Trent are own their own — they have no parents and older brother Trent is raising younger brother Charlie. Anyhoo, Charlie is pretty much a loner until he meets rich boy Brandon in detention. Brandon seems cool, so Charlie decides to take a chance and let Brandon be his bud. But when Charlie confides to Brandon that Trent is gay, Brandon backs off fast, leaving Charlie angry, confused and super cynical. Can Charlie learn to trust again? Should he forgive or just forget Brandon? A pretty original first novel about dealing with other people’s homophobia.

My Father’s Scar by Michael Cart

My Father's Scar? Folks, this is a SERIOUS problem novel, in every sense of the word. Not only is our main man Andy Logan gay, but he has an alcoholic father, an ineffective mother and hopeless crush on his sarcastic professor. In a series of flashbacks, college freshman Andy tells the reader how he dealt with the raging homophobia in his hometown (including the requisite gay-bashing, narrow-minded preacher) by confronting Daddy Dearest and having a fling with a cute football player. A bit on the angst-y side, but highly readable.

Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence edited by Marion Dane Bauer

am i blueThis creative collection contains short stories by some of the most heavy-hitting young adult authors around, including Francesca Lia Block, M.E. Kerr, Bruce Coville, and William Sleator. The title story (by Coville) asks the unusual question — what if everyone who was gay was identifiable, for example, by the color blue? Would you be surprised by how many “blue” people you may know and interact with on a daily basis? These stories look at teen homosexuality from every angle and destroy every gay stereotype you may have heard or read. This is a ground-breaking book, one of the first books published to address homosexual fiction for teens in a mainstream-kinda-way. An added bonus: Because so many great writers contributed to this book, you get a chance to check out the writing style of some of the best authors for teens in one shot!

From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson

melanin sun
Thirteen year old Melanin Sun was looking forward to spending the summer hanging out with his Brooklyn boys, Raphael and Sean, writing in his notebook and thinking about calling his crush, Angie. The last thing he’s prepared for is the load that his mom drops on him when she tells him that her new “date” isn’t a dude, but her close friend, a white woman named Kristin. Melanin is seriously confused — he likes Angie, but if his mom is gay, does that mean he is, too? And how is he going to explain this to his two best friends? And does he even WANT to explain it? Melanin may have to lose some friends and gain some understanding before he comes to painful terms with his mother’s lifestyle.