I have been remiss in updating! I have not one, not two, but SEVEN more titles added to my list of Canadian YA GLBT books! (I know, it’s a bit of a specific niche, but one near and dear to me all the same.) I haven’t had a chance to read everything on this list yet, so the blurbs are all the back of the book publishers’ copy. But I can tell you that I’m looking forward to trying to read them all.
Evil? by Timothy Carter. “Stuart Bradley knows there are a lot of reasons people in his small, conservative hometown might not approve of him. He’s openly gay, he’s mouthy in church, and he conjures demons in his spare time—the usual. So Stuart knows something is odd when his little brother catches him ‘self-pleasuring’ in the shower and, before he knows it, an angry mob is chasing down every teen who ever had an ‘impure’ thought. Stuart soon discovers that the new preacher in town is more than he seems. He’s a fallen angel-fallen because he became too obsessed with a certain harmless adolescent activity. If Stuart and his demon sidekick don’t stop him, blindness is going to be the least of anyone’s worries.”
Out by Sandra Diersch “No one in Alex’s world is who they seemed to be. Alex struggles with his faith when he witnesses a church member cheating on his wife and learns that his brother is gay. When his brother is brutally attacked, Alex is forced to decide where is loyalties lie and what he really believes in.”
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne Jones . “Mimi Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU, thanks to a foolish affair with a professor who still haunts her caller ID. So when her artist father, Marc, offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she’s glad to hop in her Mini Cooper and drive up north. The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key is hidden right where her dad said it would be, so she’s shocked to find someone already living there — Jay, a young musician, who is equally startled to meet Mimi and immediately accuses her of leaving strange and threatening tokens inside: a dead bird, a snakeskin, a cricket sound track embedded in his latest composition. But Mimi has just arrived, so who is responsible? And more alarmingly, what does the intruder want? Part gripping thriller, part family drama, this fast-paced novel plays out in alternating viewpoints, in a pastoral setting that is evocative and eerie — a mysterious character in its own right.” Secondary GLBT characters: Jay has two moms.
Will’s Garden by Lee Maracle “As Will prepares for his Becoming Man Ceremony, relatives fill the house, bringing with them memories, tradition and customs. As they work together beading, carving and cooking, Will reflects on their stories of working on railroad construction or surviving Residential Schools. The Ceremony takes on new importance for Will. After the Ceremony Will is inspired to take action to make changes in his own life. An outcast at his high school, where racism is commonplace, he befriends the ‘nerds,’ comes to terms with his new friend’s homosexuality and commits himself to a future of change. He is transformed into the man that he promised to become in his Becoming Man Ceremony. Maracle, of Salish and Cree ancestry, is an award-winning author.”
Inferno by Robin Stevenson. “Dante thinks high school is an earthly version of hell. She hates her new home in the suburbs, her best friend has moved away, her homeroom teacher mocks her and her mother is making her attend a social skills group for teenage girls. When a stranger shows up at school and hands Dante a flyer that reads: Woof, woof. You are not a dog. Why are you going to obedience school?, Dante thinks she’s found a soul mate. Someone who understands. Someone else who wants to make real changes in the world. But there are all kinds of ways of bringing about change…and some are more dangerous than others.”
Skim by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. “It’s the early nineties and “Skim” is Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth stuck in a private girls’ school in Toronto. When a classmate’s boyfriend kills himself because he was rumoured to be gay, the school goes into mourning overdrive, each clique trying to find something to hold on to and something to believe in. It’s a weird time to fall in love, but that’s high school, and that’s what happens to Skim when she starts to meet in secret with her neo-hippie English teacher, Ms. Archer. But when Ms. Archer abruptly leaves, Skim struggles to cope with her confusion and isolation, armed with her trusty journal and a desire to shed old friendships while cautiously approaching new ones.”
Bonus international title from a Canadian publisher:
Girl from Mars by Tamara Bach, translated by Shelley Tanaka. “Miriam is fifteen and she has lived in the same little town her whole life, going to school with the same kids who know everything about her. But now she’s in high school and wishing she lived in a big city where she could meet new people and see new things. In other words, like fifteen-year-olds everywhere, Miriam is desperately waiting for her life to start happening. Something, anything — a first love, perhaps. And then love comes, in a completely unexpected way, when Miriam meets a new classmate, Laura. Suddenly, life is very complicated and unsettling, as Miriam finds herself lying to her girlfriends, avoiding her brother’s probing questions, and second guessing every move she makes. At the same time she’s constantly on edge trying to figure out Laura’s moods and exactly how her arrogant friend Philip fits into her life. Then Philip, Miriam and Laura take a weekend trip to the big city — a trip that makes everything clear, and more confusing than ever.”