Saturday, July 21, 2012

5 teen books about girls who like girls

"Jesse Halberstam does not feel like a member of my family. Sometimes she doesn't even feel like a member of my species. She's so...I don't know, I can't explain her."
- The difference between you and me by Madeleine George

Growing up, our household was all noise and drama llama (no offense to llamas). We were encouraged to speak about all kinds of issues at the dinner table (or coffee table, bedside table). As far as my mum was concerned, nothing was verboten. Some of my friends weren't so lucky. When I was in high school, one of my friends suspected she might be attracted to girls instead of boys. Having been raised in a very conservative family where they weren't encouraged to speak freely about, well, very much, she didn't really have anyone to talk with. I remember suggesting she come home with me and chat to my mum, but she was too embarrassed, and I was too hesitant to insist. We ended up at the library becoming an impromptu bookclub of two. I agreed to read Annie on my mind with her as support and, in return, she agreed to read a book of my choosing. I chose Anne of Green Gables, which I'd read a tonload of times and she never had. I bet you're sitting there thinking, "WTF, Tosca? How the heck do the two go hand in hand?" They don't. The two weren't related in any way whatsoever other than the almost similar first names of the main characters. What can I say? We were kids, and one of us was trying to find answers from any book with a character she might have been able to identify with. After about three or four years, we drifted apart as friends. I wish, though, that we could be in school again today. The quality and range of teen stories featuring girls who like girls is better than it's been in years. And getting better all the time. And if you don't believe me, make sure to check out the review links for each of the titles listed below. (I've read three on this list and am heads down in #4 and #5). So this list - 5 teen books about girls who like girls - is for an old friend, wherever she may be. (And I bet neither of us knew, at the time, that a few years later I'd be going through the exact same thing). (Which doesn't mean that you can't try them, too).

A love story starring my dead best friend / by Emily Horner
For months, Cass has heard her best friend, Julia, whisper about a secret project. When Julia dies in a car accident, her drama friends decide to bring the project'a musical called Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad'to fruition. But Cass isn't a drama person. She can't take a summer of painting sets, and she won't spend long hours with Heather, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school and has somehow landed the leading role. So Cass takes off. In alternating chapters, she spends the first part of summer on a cross-country bike trip and the rest swallowing her pride, making props, and'of all things'falling for Heather. This is a story of the breadth of love. Of the depth of friendship. And of the most hilarious musical one quiet suburb has ever seen. Links to reviews.
The miseducation of Cameron Post / Emily M. Danforth
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 soon 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 (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both. Then Coley Taylor 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, ultrareligious 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 exactly sure who that is. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a stunning and unforgettable literary debut about discovering who you are and finding the courage to live life according to your own rules. Links to reviews.
The difference between you and me / by Madeleine George
Jesse cuts her own hair with a Swiss Army knife. She wears big green fisherman's boots. She's the founding (and only) member of NOLAW, the National Organization to Liberate All Weirdos. Emily wears sweaters with faux pearl buttons. She's vice president of the student council. She has a boyfriend. These two girls have nothing in common, except the passionate "private time" they share every Tuesday afternoon. Jesse wishes their relationship could be out in the open, but Emily feels she has too much to lose. When they find themselves on opposite sides of a heated school conflict, they each have to decide what's more important: what you believe in, or the one you love? Links to reviews.
Sparks : the epic, completely true blue, (almost) holy quest of Debbie / S.J. Adams
Do you feel lost? Confused? Alone? (Circle one): Yes or No. The Church of Blue can help. We are not a cult. $5 for a holy quest is a good deal. Since sixth grade, Debbie Woodlawn has nursed a secret, heart-searing crush on her best friend, Lisa. But all those years of pretending to enjoy Full House reruns and abstinence rallies with Lisa go down the drain when her friend hooks up with Norman, the most boring guy at school. This earth-shattering event makes Debbie decide to do the unthinkable: confess her love to Lisa. And she has to do it tonight-before Lisa and Norman go past "the point of no return." So Debbie embarks on a quest to find Lisa. Guiding the quest are fellow students/detention hall crashers Emma and Tim, the founding (and only) members of the wacky Church of Blue. Three chases, three declarations of love, two heartbreaks, a break-in, and five dollars worth of gas later, Debbie has been fully initiated into Bluedaism-but is there time left to stop Lisa and Norman from going too far? Links to reviews.
Tessa Masterson will go to prom / Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin
Lucas and Tessa's friendship is the stuff of legend in their small Midwestern town. So it's no surprise when Lucas finally realizes his feelings for Tessa are more than friendship and he asks her to prom. What no one expected, especially Lucas, was for Tessa to come out as a lesbian instead of accepting his heartfelt invitation. Humiliated and confused, Lucas also feels betrayed that his best friend kept such an important secret from him. What's worse is Tessa's decision to wear a tastefully tailored tuxedo to escort her female crush, sparking a firestorm of controversy. Lucas must decide if he should stand on the sidelines or if he should stand by his friend to make sure that Tessa Masterson will go to prom. Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin tackle both sides of a ripped-from-the headlines story to show that true friendship will triumph after all. Links to reviews.

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