Four of my favourite books with LGBTQIA+ representations

Since President Barack Obama declared June lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pride Month on June 1, 2009 there are many celebrations around North America throughout the entire month. Pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity, equality rights, increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.

Now, we stretch that abbreviation a little more because LGBT was still excluding some people and how I tend to stick with the abbreviation is LGBTQIA+, queer, intersex, asexual and other communities under the umbrella. Pride Month is to celebrate and in Toronto alone there'll be 50 events this year in the span of 24 days!

In celebration of Pride Month, I'll be sharing LGBTQIA+ books throughout the month and this week I'll be sharing with you some of my favourites!

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances. 

One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace’s world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again.        How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter’s relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

Running with Scissors by Augusten Burrough

Publisher: Picador 
Genre: Nonfiction
The true story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock-therapy machine could provide entertainment.

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. So at the age of twelve, Burroughs found himself amidst Victorian squalor living with the doctor’s bizarre family, and befriending a pedophile who resided in the backyard shed. The story of an outlaw childhood where rules were unheard of, and the Christmas tree stayed up all year round, where Valium was consumed like candy, and if things got dull an electroshock- therapy machine could provide entertainment. The funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances.

Everything is Awful and You're a Terrible Person by Daniel Zomparelli

Publisher: Arsenal Press
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction, Canada
In these unconventional, interconnected stories of first-person narratives in an age of text messages and Instagram posts, gay men look for love, steal office supplies, hook up on Grindr, bake pies, see therapists, have threesomes with ghosts, and fear happiness. With wry abandon and a beguiling heart, Everything Is Awful and You're a Terrible Person is a deadpan, tragicomic exploration of love, desire, and dysfunction in the twenty-first century.

Daniel Zomparelli is editor and founder of Poetry Is Deadmagazine, and the author of the poetry collections Davie Street Translations and (with Dina Del Bucchia) Rom Com. This is his first work of fiction.

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

For the 2018 information guide click here!

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