Thursday, February 27, 2014

Things I Want to See More (or Less) of in LGBT YA Fiction

I signed up for the LGBT Reading Challenge at the beginning of the year, and one thing I love about this challenge is that it goes beyond just reading LGBT books - part of the challenge includes discussions, which is really fun. This month’s discussion is things you’d like to see (or see more of) in LGBT YA fiction. I've done a mixture of things I'd like to see more and less of.

First, I should admit I haven’t read a ton of LGBT books, so I might not be well equipped for this discussion topic, but I wanted to weigh in based on what I have read. Feel free to recommend books to me in the comments!

  • I was reading a bunch of LGBT synopses on GoodReads the other day and at least half of them seem to be ‘best friends who fall in love’ stories. While I enjoy these stories, it’s becoming overdone, and I’d like to see people fall in love in another way. Another common thing I noticed while reading synopses: someone discovering they were gay after the death of a parent. I found at least four books with this premise (and just finished reading one with that premise yesterday). Why are there so many similar plot lines in LGBT books?
  • Speaking of overdone: I want less of the stereotypical ‘super gay best friend’. And less of the super gay guy in general. It's so cliché. How about a manly gay guy? Or a nerdy gay guy? Break the stereotypes!
  • More happy endings (it seems LGBT books are notorious for non-happy endings).
  • Characters who are out, accept the fact they’re gay (or bi or whatever), and not just characters who suddenly discover they like members of the same sex and are really confused and trying to deal with all these new, scary feelings. I have no problem with coming out books - I know that the whole coming out process can be terrifying and it’s definitely important for there to be books about that - but I’d also like to see some gay characters who are okay with who they are and accept it and have other people accept it. I basically just want regular stories where a character or characters just happen to be gay and that doesn’t define them.
  • Issue books where the ‘issue’ isn’t that the main character is gay. A book where the character just happens to be gay but is ill, or is grieving the loss of a loved one, or is handicapped in some way. Even just regular everyday issues like in most contemporary books - breakups, heartaches, unrequited love, trouble at school, trouble at home, etc.
  • Gay characters in genres other than contemporary. How about a gay heroine in a fantasy novel? Or a kickass gay hero in a dystopian novel? Or a gay vampire? Or a gay superhero? Or a gay demon hunter? Even these types of characters as secondary characters would be cool.
  • More sexytimes. #sorrynotsorry
  • A gay character in a position of power - either on a big scale like governor, president, prime minister, senator, congressperson, etc., or on a smaller scale for YA/NA books, like class president, head cheerleader, star quarterback, etc
  • Bisexual characters. Gay characters of colour. Interracial relationships.
  • Sweet, sexy love stories. I love romance, and while some of the LGBT books I’ve read have had good romance, it’s usually fraught with conflict because one or both characters are in the closet or unsure of who they are. I just want a love story that is what it is with moments that make you swoon or get your blood pumping.

For more LGBT awesomeness, check out the LGBT Month Fighting Dreamer and Laura Plus Books are hosting in April.

Do you agree with any of the things on my list? What are some things you want to see more or less of in LGBT books?


  1. Yeah I don't need to write a list because you wrote it for me. Everything you wrote is something I want to see or have seen too much of.

  2. I completely agree with your last three points.

  3. Really? I keep finding glbt ya books where the main character falls for the "new guy" or someone he hasn't talked to before.

    "someone discovering they were gay after the death of a parent." or that's when they finally admit it to themselves. But yes, it seems to be a trend.

    "Break the stereotypes!" YESS please.

    Oh yes, deep down I'm a romantic who likes happy endings the best. Luckily, most contemporary lgbt books (both ya/na and adult) seem to cater to my "needs" :D

    "want regular stories where a character or characters just happen to be gay and that doesn’t define them" SAME.

    I <3 contemporary stories, but yes I'd like to see more LGBT characters in other genres as well.

    "More sexytimes." - you should try some New Adult like the Rear Entrance Video series by Heidi Belleau (I esp. liked Wallflower)

    "A gay character in a position of power" - that's something I haven't thought of before but it sure is a nice sounding idea. :)

    "Bisexual characters. Gay characters of colour. Interracial relationships" - yes, yes and yes. And I love me some SWOONS ~.~

    Awesome list!! <333

  4. I love your list! I could definitely just add "me too" to just about everything.


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