Saturday, 16 March 2019

PROUD BLOG TOUR | My favourite LGBT+ YA & How they Helped Me Become a Better Ally

Hey guys, and happy Saturday! Today I am thrilled to be part of the blog tour to celebrate the *long-awaited* publication of Proud, a brilliant and urgently needed anthology that showcases and celebrates LGBT+ voices and artists. I finished reading this last weekend and honestly, this book really does reflect everything I love about the YA industry and it's continuing efforts to publish responsibly and diversely. I can't even imagine how many young people this book will inspire to be themselves and celebrate who they are. It is also simply just a wonderful book, with stories and artwork that will delight and inspire you until the very last page.

Check out the blurb here...

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN.

A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White.


I'd just like to point out that I am both cis and heterosexual, and I have never experienced any form of harrassment, judgement or threat due to my sexuality. Reading this book made me realise that reading LGBT+ is what has helped formed me to be the ally I am today. I might never fully understand what it feels like to be LGBT+ and constantly needing to explain who you are and the way you feel to the rest of the world (heck, I never needed to come out to my parents as straight), but I truly believe that reading LGBT+ literature has deepened my understanding to the point where I cannot imagine not feeling passionate about defending and advocating for the rights of LGBT+ people. I am a believer that ignorance can be one of the most harmful and toxic things in our society today, and I am so glad that kids today will grow up being able to read about people who are both similar and different to them, and have a much broader picture of what the world really is like. 

So as part of the blog tour, I'd love to share my favourite LGBT+ books, to celebrate their existence as both ways of promoting LGBT+ stories, and also because they are just bloody brilliant books.

Pulp - Robin Talley
Pulp is a fantastic book with a narrative that transcends generations, with storytelling and lesbian pulp fiction at its heart. It is a story about how far we have come, yet still how much further we still have to go. It is about two young women who are facing different battles, yet still have a lot in common. Pulp is also in many ways a love letter to writing and to stories, and how despite everything writing can be an escape from the realities of life, when things are at their most difficult. Janet and Abby are both so similar, even though they are from completely different societies, yet their circumstances are much more common than first expected. In Pulp, the dual narrative really allowed me to examine American society for what it was and how it still is, and how whatever happens, we can't allow ourselves to be complacent. We must keep fighting for those that others marginalise and sideline, and we can't afford to be silent.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Emily M. Danforth
This is an absolute whirlwind of a book. The Miseducation of Cameron Post follows Cameron over many years, as she comes to a realisation about her sexuality, and what consequences may follow from that realisation. It is a story that is both horrific yet full of hope, and it is about having the strength and bravery to be yourself, even when the very way the fabric of society is constructed forbids you to do so. What was so gripping about this book was the narrative; Cameron is a real flesh and blood individual. Emily M. Danforth is a marvellous storyteller. 

Beyond Magenta - Susan Kuklin
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out is a wonderful and vitally important book chronicling the lives of transgender and gender-neutral teenagers. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six young adults, who appear throughout the book. You meet these young people before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender identity. The pages are filled with portraits and family photographs, making this an emotional and unforgettable read.

Honor Girl - Maggie Thrash
Honor Girl follows Maggie, as she navigates another summer at Camp Bellflower for Girls, although this summer is a little different. Suddenly, and unexpectantly, she feels herself falling for Erin, one of the Camp's counsellors. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for Maggie to express her true feelings, and even her proficiency at the rifle range and her adoration for Backstreet Boys isn't enough to distract her. This gorgeous graphic novel shows that one summer really can change everything, and when you're a teenager, it changes your whole world. I zoomed through this, and was left wanting more and more. 

Read Me Like a Book - Liz Kessler
Read Me Like a Book chronicles one teenage girl's journey as she navigates the thorny path of adolescence, and begins to question her identity. Ashleigh, the protagonist, is on a journey of terrifying self-discovery, and the narrative reflected this brilliantly. Not every single teenager feels confused about their sexuality, but every teenager sometimes feels confused, period. Read Me Like A Book made me feel okay about that, and opened my eyes to what it might feel like to begin to question everything you had ever thought about yourself and who you might be. It's awful to think that today, in our supposedly 'modern' society, people are still afraid to speak about who they really are. Read Me Like A Book is not only groundbreaking in subject matter, but also in its message of always staying true to yourself, no matter how frightening that seems to be. 

Make sure you guys check out these books, if you haven't already, and also check out Proud! There will be a gloriously glittering review coming soon...

Also, be sure to check out the rest of the posts on the blog tour!

Buy Proud here:

Check out Juno Dawson (who compiled the collection) here:

Until next time :)

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