You read book after book but you just can't find that one book that, even if the story isn't exactly your story, still feels so...you. The character feels things that you have felt, they experience things that you have experienced--and when you find that book, it just clicks with you and it's kind of like that feeling you get when you meet someone and they just get you in a way that most other people don't.
When you read that book, it's like the author rummaged around in your head for a while then wrote down things you've felt that you couldn't find words for and you just have that moment of, "Yes, that's it. That's exactly how I feel."
Every reader deserves to have books like that in their life. So maybe you can help me find that book for someone.
On our book blog tumblr earlier, we got a message from someone who is trying to find That Book and since I couldn't think of one that fits what he is looking for, I decided to ask you guys if you can think of any recommendations.
Basically, he's looking for a book where the main character is gay. In his words, "A boy whose life doesn’t revolve around the fact that he’s gay, but yes, who just to happens to be gay." and you can find a more detailed version of what he's looking for on his tumblr in this post and this one.
What he's searching for? That's one of the main reasons I can't think of any books for him. I don't read much LGBT fiction, and it's not because I don't want to, it's because none of the books are what I'm looking for (closest that comes to mind is Will Grayson,Will Grayson by John Green by David Levithan).
So many YA LGBT books still come across as Issue Books. The ones that get shoved into the same category as teens dealing with eating disorders or self harm or that sort of thing, and they all focus on the Coming to Terms With Your Sexuality/Coming Out stage in the characters life.
And that's fine, that's great, and maybe some of them are wonderful. It is something that should be written about. But trying to find books that are written after that point, and the character is gay and they're not questioning it, they're not in denial, not dealing with the whole coming out thing and they're content with who they are as far as their sexuality and gender identity goes? Trying to find books like that is is like trying to find a needle in a haystack (at least for me).
There are teens out there who are struggling with their sexuality, and it's good that there is books out there that explore that, but shouldn't there also be more out there for the ones who aren't at that stage and just want a book that represents who they are now too? Or, even for the ones still struggling, shouldn't there be books out there that can show where they can be once they figure things out?
If someone wants to read a LGBT romance, for example, then why can't it just be about two people falling in love; just a romance. Why does the whole falling in love thing have to seem like an afterthought with the fact that they're both male/both female stealing all the limelight?
I've also found that girl/girl seems to be easier to find than boy/boy, but maybe I'm just not searching hard enough.
I was trying to find books that have LGBT characters, and these are the ones I could find that seem to have a gay protagonist that doesn't sound like the focus is on coming out or all about sexuality related angst. But, I haven't read any of them so I don't know for sure if they're any good or like the summary makes them sound:
- Outtakes of a Walking Mistake by Anthony Paull (at a glance, the reviews look promising)
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Anyway, it's 4:30am and I have not slept, but before I shut up, some questions for you (the first obviously being the most important one):
Later.1. Can you recommend any LGBT books (preferably with a male main character) that are good and might be what this guy is looking for?
2. Have you read any of the books I listed? If yes, did you like them?
3. Just something I'm curious about: what do you think of the approach most YA books seem to take with the LGBT subject matter (i.e. putting a lot of focus on the issues, writing characters who are Gay Characters instead of characters who are gay)?