Today I’m continuing on the thread of my previous post of LGBTQ2A+ books for children and moving into the realm of Young Adult, or middle grade readers. Let’s be frank. Middle school is arguably late to be introducing LGBTQ2A+ characters to youth. It is important for readers to have characters they identify with when reading, and our LGBTQ2A+ readers are no exception. But here are five of our picks for middle schoolers!
The Boy in the Dress — David Williams
Dennis was different. Why was he different, you ask? Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book… Charming, surprising and hilarious – The Boy in the Dress is everything you would expect from the co-creator of Little Britain. David Walliams’ beautiful first novel will touch the hearts (and funny bones) of children and adults alike.
See You at Harry’s — Jo Knowles
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when she’s not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school; and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesn’t know he’s gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. Then there’s Charlie: three years old, a “surprise” baby, the center of everyone’s world. He’s devoted to Fern, but he’s annoying, too, always getting his way, always dirty, always commanding attention. If it wasn’t for Ran, Fern’s calm and positive best friend, there’d be nowhere to turn. Ran’s mantra, “All will be well,” is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe it’s true. But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. All will not be well. Or at least all will never be the same.
The House you Pass on the Way — Jacqueline Woodson
Thirteen-year-old Staggerlee used to be called Evangeline, but she took on a fiercer name. She’s always been different–set apart by the tragic deaths of her grandparents in an anti-civil rights bombing, by her parents’ interracial marriage, and by her family’s retreat from the world. This summer she has a new reason to feel set apart–her confused longing for her friend Hazel. When cousin Trout comes to stay, she gives Staggerlee a first glimpse of her possible future selves and the world beyond childhood.
Star-Crossed — Barbara Dee
Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.
As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.
The Misadventures of Family Fletcher — series by Dana Alison Levy
The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes disastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most. This series tells the adventures of two dads, four adopted kids, two cats, and one dog!
We hope this list inspires you to seek out some new books in the realm of LGBTQ2A+ fiction. Let us know if you have any favourites that we should read!
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