Feature Shelf #27: The Homophobia & Transphobia Awareness Edition

A blog post on other novels that feature characters who are transgender: http://tmblr.co/ZX8F1tnAf4Ss

Hey there and welcome to Feature Shelf, a series that provides book recommendations based on theme or title suggestions. May 17 is International Day against Transphobia and Homophobia, so I thought it’d be a good idea to do a shelf. I am the (book) supplier and this is Feature Shelf # 27.

Today’s shelf is five YA titles that have characters who deal with homophobia or transphobia in some way. Disclaimer: some of these titles will make you angry. Some of these titles make me angry. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading and sharing.

First up is Shine by Lauren Myracle. Shine is a coming of age novel about sixteen year old Cat, who is trying to figure out who is responsible for the hate crime that left her best male friend in a coma. Cat has to battle the intolerance of the members of her small town, and some of her own demons, before she can find the truth.

Second on the shelf is Freaks & Revelations by Davida Wills Hurwin. Freaks & Revelations is told by two very different narrators. One is a thirteen year old gay teen who has been kicked out of his house and is trying to make it on the street. The other is a seventeen year old who moves from emulating the punk style of the Ramones, to hanging out with Nazis. These two stories parallel each other, until their violent meeting, and reconciliation years later.

Third up is Luna by Julie Anne Peters. Luna is told from the point of view of Regan, whose older brother Luna is transgendered. Secretly, in her basement bedroom, Luna gets to be who she feels like she is, with help from Regan’s clothes and make up. She’s ready to show herself to the world, but is the world ready for her?

The last title I have a physical copy of is I am J by Cris Beam. J, born Jennifer, feels like he’s a boy. The story is J’s search for acceptance. I just want to say that many of my graduate students have read this book and said they were surprised with how much they could identify with J, even though they’re not transgendered themselves. That’s a testament to how well the character is written — that is, he deals with the same things other teenagers deal with as well as being transgendered.

The last book on the shelf is one I don’t physically have yet, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman. I include this because the story of what happened to Matthew Shepard is a story from my childhood, and an example of the horrors of homophobia. Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old college student, was lured from a bar, tied to a fence, and beaten to death. October Mourning is a fictionalized account of what happened, through narrative poem, and from alternating perspectives.

Thus endeth this episode of Feature Shelf. I hope you found something that piques your interest. If not, you can request your own Feature Shelf by leaving a comment here or by sending me an email through the contact page at thebooksupplier.com. Thanks for watching Feature Shelf #27, the Homophobia and Transphobia Awareness Edition. I am the (book) supplier wishing you happy reading. Don’t forget to be awesome.

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