Tag: debut novel

Pride parade

15 LGBTQ Books to Read for Pride Month

It’s finally June which means…it’s finally Pride month! 


In case you’re unfamiliar, Pride month is the time of year when Pride parades appear, everything is covered in all the colors of the rainbow, celebration ensues, and all that glitters is, in fact, gold. Pride is the time for the LGBTQ community to come together and celebrate the pride they have and the beauty inside of who they are. The LGBTQ community has had to fight insanely hard for the freedom to openly be the people they were born to be and love the people they were born to love. They’ve had to stand up, protest in the streets, risk incarceration (or even death) just so they could gain equality and basic human rights (and they’re still fighting, especially the transgender community; trans women have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered (a 1 in 8 chance for trans women of color)). 


This is why Pride is so significant. It’s vital for the LGBTQ to be seen because they fought so hard to get here. It’s important to take to the streets and laugh and scream and celebrate all the progress that’s been made, and to continue standing up and fighting for the progress that’s still yet to come. 


And, in the words of famous gay liberation activist Marsha P. Johnson:


No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.


So, come on and celebrate Pride this month with the following LGBTQ-centered books:



1. Trans: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques 


Trans: A Memoir

Via Amazon


In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to the present moment: a story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics.

Fresh from university, eager to escape a dead-end job, she launches a career as a writer in a publishing culture dominated by London cliques and still figuring out the impact of the Internet. She navigates the treacherous waters of a world where, even in the liberal and feminist media, transgender identities go unacknowledged, misunderstood or worse. Yet through art, film, music, politics and football, Jacques starts to become the person she had only imagined, and begins the process of transition. Interweaving the personal with the political, her memoir is a powerful exploration of debates that comprise trans politics, issues which promise to redefine our understanding of what it means to be alive.

Revealing, honest, humorous, and self-deprecating, Trans includes an epilogue with Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?, in which Jacques and Heti discuss the cruxes of writing and identity. 


2. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden


Annie on My Mind

Via Amazon



From the moment Liza Winthrop meets Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there is something special between them. But Liza never knew falling in love could be so wonderful . . . or so confusing.

Of the author and the book, the Margaret A. Edwards Award committee said, “Nancy Garden has the distinction of being the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending. Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves.”

The 25th Anniversary Edition features a full-length interview with the author by Kathleen T. Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Ms. Garden answers such revealing questions as how she knew she was gay, why she wrote the book, censorship, and the book’s impact on readers – then and now. 


3. Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace


Tranny: A Memoir

Via Amazon


It began in a bedroom in Naples, Florida, when a misbehaving punk teenager named Tom Gabel, armed with nothing but an acoustic guitar and a headful of anarchist politics, landed on a riff. Gabel formed Against Me! and rocketed the band from its scrappy beginnings-banging on a drum kit made of pickle buckets-to a major-label powerhouse that critics have called this generation’s The Clash. Since its inception in 1997, Against Me! has been one of punk’s most influential modern bands, but also one of its most divisive. With every notch the four-piece climbed in their career, they gained new fans while infuriating their old ones. They suffered legal woes, a revolving door of drummers, and a horde of angry, militant punks who called them “sellouts” and tried to sabotage their shows at every turn.

But underneath the public turmoil, something much greater occupied Gabel-a secret kept for 30 years, only acknowledged in the scrawled-out pages of personal journals and hidden in lyrics. Through a troubled childhood, delinquency, and struggles with drugs, Gabel was on a punishing search for identity. Not until May of 2012 did a Rolling Stone profile finally reveal it: Gabel is a transsexual, and would from then on be living as a woman under the name Laura Jane Grace.

Tranny is the intimate story of Against Me!’s enigmatic founder, weaving the narrative of the band’s history, as well as Grace’s, with dozens of never-before-seen entries from the piles of journals Grace kept. More than a typical music memoir about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll-although it certainly has plenty of that-Tranny is an inside look at one of the most remarkable stories in the history of rock.


4. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan


Boy Meets Boy

Via Amazon


This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance. 

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.


5. Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown


Rubyfruit Jungle

Via Amazon


A landmark coming-of-age novel that launched the career of one of this country’s most distinctive voices, Rubyfruit Jungle remains a transformative work more than forty years after its original publication. In bawdy, moving prose, Rita Mae Brown tells the story of Molly Bolt, the adoptive daughter of a dirt-poor Southern couple who boldly forges her own path in America. With her startling beauty and crackling wit, Molly finds that women are drawn to her wherever she goes—and she refuses to apologize for loving them back. This literary milestone continues to resonate with its message about being true to yourself and, against the odds, living happily ever after.


6. Dry by Augusten Burroughs



Via Amazon


You may not know it, but you’ve met Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twentysomething guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve; when the ordinary person went home at midnight, Augusten never went home at all. Loud, distracting ties, automated wake-up calls and cologne on the tongue could only hide so much for so long. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers. But when Augusten is forced to examine himself, something actually starts to click and that’s when he finds himself in the worst trouble of all. Because when his thirty days are up, he has to return to his same drunken Manhattan life—and live it sober. What follows is a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power.  

*Although a heavy part of the plot of this memoir is based around Burroughs’ struggle with alcoholism, the heart of it comes from the pains of watching his best friend/ex-lover’s health deteriorate more and more as his struggle with HIV soon becomes a fight against AIDS (hence why it’s on this list). This book will break your heart.


7. Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronns-Mills 


Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

Via Amazon


This is Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, on community radio 90.3, KZUK. Im Gabe. Welcome to my show.”” My birth name is Elizabeth, but Im a guy. Gabe. My parents think Ive gone crazy and the rest of the world is happy to agree with them, but I know Im right. Ive been a boy my whole life. When you think about it, Im like a record. Elizabeth is my A side, the song everybody knows, and Gabe is my B sidenot heard as often, but just as good. Its time to let my B side play. Winner of the 2014 Stonewall Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. 


8. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth


The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Via Amazon


The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and provocative literary debut that was named to numerous best of the year lists.

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone, and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Talor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship, one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to “fix” her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self—even if she’s not quite sure who that is. 


9.  It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura


It's Not Like It's a Secret

Via Amazon


Sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyohara has too many secrets. Some are small, like how it bothers her when her friends don’t invite her to parties. Some are big, like the fact that her father may be having an affair. And then there’s the one that she can barely even admit to herself–the one about how she might have a crush on her best friend.

When Sana and her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it’s finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana’s ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana’s new friends don’t trust Jamie’s crowd; Jamie’s friends clearly don’t want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad’s affair is becoming too obvious to ignore.

Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy…what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated. 


10. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli



Via Amazon


Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli. 


11. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson


The Art of Being Normal

Via Amazon


On the first day at his new school, Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan–especially because Leo is a trans guy and isn’t out at his new school.

Then Leo stands up for a classmate in a fight and they become friends. With Leo’s help and support, the classmate, who is a trans girl, prepares to come out and transition–to find a new name, Kate, and live a truth that has been kept secret for too long. Kate and Leo are surrounded by bigots, but they have each other, and they have hope in their future.

The Art of Being Normal: A Novel by Lisa Williamson is an uplifting story about two teenagers set in the modern day in the United Kingdom. The author was inspired to write this novel after working in England’s national health service, in a department dedicated to helping teens who are questioning their gender identity.

This novel, which won awards in the UK, is a first-person narrative about two transgender students, and is ideal for cisgender (cis) readers―people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth―to learn more about gender identity and what it means to be transgender. 


12. Boy Erased: A Memoir of Identity, Faith, and Family by Garrard Conley


Boy Erased

Via Amazon


The son of a Baptist pastor and deeply embedded in church life in small town Arkansas, as a young man Garrard Conley was terrified and conflicted about his sexuality.
When Garrard was a nineteen-year-old college student, he was outed to his parents, and was forced to make a life-changing decision: either agree to attend a church-supported conversion therapy program that promised to “cure” him of homosexuality; or risk losing family, friends, and the God he had prayed to every day of his life. Through an institutionalized Twelve-Step Program heavy on Bible study, he was supposed to emerge heterosexual, ex-gay, cleansed of impure urges and stronger in his faith in God for his brush with sin. Instead, even when faced with a harrowing and brutal journey, Garrard found the strength and understanding to break out in search of his true self and forgiveness. 
By confronting his buried past and the burden of a life lived in shadow, Garrard traces the complex relationships among family, faith, and community. At times heart-breaking, at times triumphant, this memoir is a testament to love that survives despite all odds. 


13. She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan


She's Not There

Via Amazon


She’s Not There is the story of a person changing genders, the story of a person bearing and finally revealing a complex secret; above all, it is a love story. By turns hilarious and deeply moving, Jennifer Finney Boylan explores the remarkable territory that lies between men and women, examines changing friendships, and rejoices in the redeeming power of family. She’s Not There is a portrait of a loving marriage—the love of James for his wife, Grace, and, against all odds, the enduring love of Grace for the woman who becomes her “sister,” Jenny.

To this extraordinary true story, Boylan brings the humorous, fresh voice that won her accolades as one of the best comic novelists of her generation. With her distinctive and winning perspective,She’s Not There explores the dramatic outward changes and unexpected results of life as a woman: Jenny fights the urge to eat salad, while James consumed plates of ribs; gone is the stability of “one damn mood, all the damn time.”

While Boylan’s own secret was unusual, to say the least, she captures the universal sense of feeling uncomfortable, out of sorts with the world, and misunderstood by her peers. Jenny is supported on her journey by her best friend, novelist Richard Russo, who goes from begging his friend to “Be a man” (in every sense of the word) to accepting her as an attractive, buoyant woman. “The most unexpected thing,” Russo writes in his Afterword to the book, “is in how Jenny’s story we recognize our shared humanity.”

As James evolves into Jennifer in scenes that are by turns tender, startling, and witty, a marvelously human perspective emerges on issues of love, sex, and the fascinating relationship between our physical and our intuitive selves. Through the clear eyes of a truly remarkable woman,She’s Not There provides a new window on the often confounding process of accepting ourselves. 


14. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeannette Winterson


Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Via Amazon


Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a life’s work to find happiness. It is a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in a north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the universe as a cosmic dustbin. It is the story of how a painful past, which Winterson thought she had written over and repainted, rose to haunt her later in life, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. It is also a book about other people’s literature, one that shows how fiction and poetry can form a string of guiding lights, a life raft that supports us when we are sinking.

Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belonging—for love, identity, home, and a mother. 


15. Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager


Queer, There, and Everywhere

Via Amazon


World history has been made by countless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals—and you’ve never heard of many of them.

Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.

By turns hilarious and inspiring, the beautifully illustrated Queer, There, and Everywhere is for anyone who wants the real story of the queer rights movement. 






Featured Image via uwishuknew.com

Synopsis Via Amazon

Amber Tamblyn

Amber Tablyn’s Debut Novel Set to Release This Month!

Popular film and television actor Amber Tamblyn (The Sisterhood of the Traveling PantsJoan of Arcadia) will be releasing her debut novel this month.



'Any Man'

Image Via HarperCollins Publishers


The book is entitled Any Man and details the story of one woman, Maude, as she hunts down men in bars, online, and even from within the comfort of their own homes and sexually assaults them in the most horrific of ways. The entire story takes place through the perspectives of the victims as they struggle against a justice system that doesn’t believe them, friends and family who shame and alienate them, and a media that hounds them while revealing their personal lives and the details of their assaults to the public. 


The novel is meant as a commentary on rape culture and a society that is so obsessed with views and the idea of celebrity that it doesn’t consider the lives it is damaging when it forces victims into the limelight. It also shows the ways in which victims of sexual assault are shamed, quieted, and tossed aside; along with the power and strength it takes to survive something so horrific.


It’s also interesting that the novel flips the story so the assailant is a woman and the victims are men. When asked about this, Tamblyn told Buzzfeed:


“By flipping the gender norms of rape culture, I hope to elicit some fresh, challenging conversations and examinations of who we are as a society while also allowing readers to relish in what I hope will be one of the most vile, heartless, and haunting female protagonists in modern American fiction.”


The novel sounds like it will be dark, unsettling, and all too relevant in a society in which, according to RAINN, an American is assaulted every ninety-eight seconds and one out of every six women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.


Sexual assault is so wildly prevalent in today’s society, new stories seem to appear in the media on a daily basis. The assaults are happening everywhere; HollywoodWall Streetthe militarythe NFLthe White House, and even within our schools.


The epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses was revealed in the Emmy-nominated documentary The Hunting Ground; showing how colleges fail to protect, acknowledge, and find justice for victims despite the fact that one in four women will be sexually assaulted while attending college.


This is why Any Man is extremely important and, as someone who has publicly spoken out against assault before, it’s no surprise Tamblyn would choose this as the topic for her first novel.


However, despite this being her first extended work of fiction, Tamblyn’s not exactly new to the writing scene. She has a collection of chapbooks she’s self-published and released over the years, along with a collection of poems she released with Harper Collins in 2015 that describes what it means to be an actor in Hollywood, many famous celebrity deaths, and how it feels to be constantly in the limelight, Dark Sparkler.


Any Man is set to release on June 26.




Featured Image via Variety


Dawson's Creek Via Vanity Fair

5 New Books for Die Hard ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Fans

 In case you missed it, it’s the 20th anniversary of the iconic teen drama series Dawson Creek. We don’t wanna wait for it be over before we find our next Pacey and Joey fix. Since the cast has yet to announce a much-coveted reunion, we’re satisfying our Creek desires with these new books about life, love and growing up.

1. The Frontman: A Novel by Ron Bahar


Image Via Book Sparks

Image Via Book Sparks

In this fiction debut based on Bahar’s real life, readers get a glimpse into a coming-of-age story about family, first love and finding your purpose in life. Ron’s strict Israeli immigrant parents know the path he should take in order to be successful but Ron himself has other ideas. Falling for a non-Jewish girl and embracing his love for music, Ron enters into a world of sex, drugs and rock and roll and before he knows it, he’ll have to make a decision about where his life is headed and decide what kind of man he wants to be.

2. The Ensemble: A Novel by Aja Gabel


Image Via Book Sparks

Image Via Book Sparks

The Ensemble tells the story of four unlikely friends, brought together by their love of music. Coming from all different walks of life, Jana, Brit, Daniel and Henry form the Van Ness Quartet  and together, the young friends begin a journey to self-discovery. Enduring heartbreak and all the highs and lows of being young musicians, the quartet quickly learns the importance of friendship. This unique story of friendship will remind you of the heart-touching storylines between the original crew in Dawson’s Creek.

3. Manifesting Me: A Story of Rebellion and Redemption by Leah Reinhart


Image Via Book Sparks

Image Via Book Sparks

Remember when Jen Lindley was the new girl in Creekside? Manifesting Me will give you a new perspective on kindness and acceptance. Leah Reinhart was only six years old when her family moved from their small midwest town to Oakland, California. Having to start a new life in an unfamiliar place, Leah quickly learned to face her fears and adapt to her new beginning. On a quest to find love and her purpose in life, one young girl inserts herself into a new culture where she’ll discover that things aren’t always what they seem.

4. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison


Image Via Book Sparks

Image Via Book Sparks

Author Kristin Hannah calls Jonathan Evison’s voice “pure magic,” and we couldn’t agree more. In his latest novel, a young man will come to terms with where his life is going and how to accomplish his dreams. Attention all Pacey fans: Mike Munoz has never gone after what he wants—content with waiting for something great to happen instead. But now that he’s graduated high school and is working boring odd jobs, he’s beginning to think that it’s time to change his ways. This new release is a highly-relatable read for anyone struggling to find their way in the world.

5. Things to Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapely


Image Via Book Sparks

Image Via Book Sparks 


Mae Summers and Gabe Broadbent grew up in a town just like Creekside. The two were raised by Mae’s grandparents in an idyllic town on the edge of the St. Lawrence River. Their friendship grows into a first love, which ends in heartbreak when Gabe leaves town suddenly. Years later they are brought together again in their hometown. Will their teenage romance resurface or will the secrets they discover tear them apart for good? Things to Do When It’s Raining should be at the top of your #TBR pile.


Featured Image Via Vanity Fair

Amber Tamblyn

Amber Tamblyn’s Debut Novel Tackles Rape Culture in an Unexpected Way

Hopefully you’ve heard of Amber Tamblyn.  If you’re like me, you probably remember her as Tibby in the movie adaptations of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.  You might also know that she has already written and published three books of poetry. What you might not know is that she is finally publishing her first novel, and as usual, she’s not shying away from the hard topics. 



Image Via YouTube


The novel Any Man follows Maude, a female serial rapist who preys on men. She doesn’t care who they are or where she finds them.  Each of her victims are then left to deal with the aftermath of shame, doubt from the police, relentless media speculation, and alienation from friends and family. Meanwhile, Maude becomes the object of society’s fears and fascinations.


Speaking to Buzzfeed, Tamblyn said, “I could’ve never predicted how timely the subject matter would someday become.” She hopes that by flipping gender norms in her book, the novel will spur new examination of rape culture in our society.


Any Man

Image Via Buzzfeed


The book will be available this summer on June 26.  Pre-order it on Amazon here.


Feature Image Via USA Today