5 FAVORITE themed Y/A LGBT books (LGBT super-hero themed reading list?-OH MY!).
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This is a list of my favorite LGBT Y/A novels of all time, and they just happen to share a common thread...
You don't often come across LGBT superheroes, right? Each of the books listed has kept me up, blurry eyed, only to wake up for work and consume a pot of coffee, splash my face with cold water, and realize I left the house with mismatched shoes (true story w/ Superhero). And, the wonderful news is that some have sequels!
Each protagonist is LGBT. Each has a character(s) that have to navigate challenges. Some of these challenges include bullying, mourning someone, and/or a struggle with a disability. Each is empowering, and I specifically selected some book that are a bit niche, and often unacknowledged. While many endeavor to explore complex, serious topics, they do so respectfully, accurately, and yes, you'll find yourself all smiles at the end!
Two of the novels have actual characters with super-hero like powers. Dreadnought & Because You'll Never Meet Me. Dreadnought is the most recognizable super-hero story of the bunch, and the main character is transgender. The author treats this topic with the upmost respect, and takes on issues of prejudice in a unique way. Because You'll Never Meet Me is a fascinating offering, because not only does it capture the essence of childhood, but one of the characters swoons for the other. That isn't all, Ollie and Moritz are corresponding via letters, because Ollie is allergic to electricity and Moritz has a pacemaker. They each have a superpower, but their understanding of it is in its infancy, and this often causes problems. There is an event that links them, and it sort of reminds me of Sense8. You'll Never Meet Me is like if Xfiles had children with Xmen.
Two books focus on main characters writing super-hero comic books, which inevitably helps facilitate courage, strength, and empowerment. They are Superhero and Draw the Line. They are all about self agency and self determination, as well as going inward, but in a healthy and honest way, to resolve a conflict. Superhero by Eli explores the notion that sexuality is fluid. Did I mention that Draw the Line has marvelous illustrations?! Draw The Line takes on heavier themes, such as hate crimes and bullying.
The last, We Are the Ants is unique within the theme of super-heroes. Henry Denton has the power to save the world, but ultimately he must desire to do this on his own, and it hinges on whether he can function in a world without his long term partner. The power to save the world by pressing a button isn't a Marvel Comic super hero strength/power, but surely being charged with saving the world, regardless of the method, is a super-power. He's like Batman, in that his powers aren't flashy, but they accomplish huge feats. It's unique because Henry's sexuality isn't the primary focus, and is regarded as part of him, rather than it being all of him.
I'm adding a 6th book, Hero, because Superhero is not available for a link.
Thom Creed has super powers (a healer), and he’s struggling. You see, his mom left years ago, his dad is depressed, and Thom is hiding his homosexuality. Thom is invited to join the League, which his dad has a history with, so he must keep that a secret too. He’s leading a double secret life, and this is not a very exciting situation for Thom. As part of the League, Thom joins a band of other misfits, some of whom are LGBT, and many mirror the likes of DC characters. At its core, though, is a familiar narrative most successfully thrown down by Xmen. People have compared Xmen characters as manifestations of the marginalized, and that concept is more explicitly illustrated in this novel.
You want a villain?! You got it… a very Super-super villain that is killing off the more powerful members of the League.
Essentially, this is your coming of age, young adult, LGBT themed novel, with a twist. With the help of his superhero pals, Thom must confront his challenges.
These books, in this order, will rock your world.
1. We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
2. Because You'll Never Meet Me (Because You'll Never Meet Me #1) by Leah Thomas
3. Superhero by Eli Easton (this is the one missing?!... http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18192707-superhero)
4. Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) by April Daniels
5. Draw the Line by Laurent Linn