• By Jacquelyn White
  • Posted Saturday, June 1, 2019

Books We Like

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. I’m so glad to be around as a teen librarian when so many great stories are being published with characters who identify as LGBTQ. In the last two years, I’ve read so many great books and purchased them for our teen community. Picking a handful to share was a bit of a challenge, but the three I’ve picked are maybe my top three that shows the breadth and diversity in this growing genre.

"The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali" by Sabina Khan

This story centers around teen, Rukhsana Ali, who is trying to live her best life while dealing with her conservative Muslim parents and their expectations of what is best for her. Because you know parents. Rukhsana’s life is one balancing act that is thrown into confusion when she’s caught kissing her secret girlfriend. After that, her life is never the same as she’s sent to another country with different realities, like arranged marriages.

The path Rukhsana has to take in order to claim her life is compelling and endearing and had me all in my feelings for a few days afterwards. Rated 10 out of 10. Some content may not be suitable for younger teens.

"The Music of What Happens" by Bill Konigsberg

This book is made for a 2019 teen drama TV series. On one hand you have the cool and popular guy, and on the other hand, you have the poetic sensitive guy with family troubles. Mix in a summer job working at an organic food truck and you basically have the makings of this summer’s best Friday night TV show.

What I liked about this story was that it could have easily been the same old teenage love story that has been produced a thousand times and while it does have those elements, Konigsberg switches things up and delivers a fresh addition to the ever-growing menu of LGBTQ romances. Some content may not be suitable for younger teens.

"Pulp" by Robin Talley

Full confession time, I may have been initially pumped to read this book because of the cover. It’s bright yellow and so retro. Aesthetic goals right? Luckily the story, or should I say stories within, kept me so engaged that I have no shame. I’ve never read pulp fiction in my life but after reading this I might explore the genre. “Pulp” gives us secret romances, self-empowerment, heartbreaking sacrifices and stories within stories.

With this book you get four stories in one. Dual narratives follow an 18-year-old closeted lesbian in 1955, keeping a secret romance and wanting to write her own stories, along with another young woman 62 years later studying 1950s lesbian pulp fiction for her senior project. While going through this story, you’ll also get some historical tidbits of the persecution of the LGBTQ community and some well-deserved girl power.

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