The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content 1969-2004

The Heart Has Its Reasons: Young Adult Literature with Gay/Lesbian/Queer Content 1969-2004

by Christine A. Jenkins, Michael Cart
     
 

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Society does not make it easy for young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to find accurate, nonjudgmental information about homosexuality. It makes it even more difficult for young homosexuals to find positive role models in fiction either written or published expressly for them or—if published for adults—relevant to them and their lives.

Overview

Society does not make it easy for young people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to find accurate, nonjudgmental information about homosexuality. It makes it even more difficult for young homosexuals to find positive role models in fiction either written or published expressly for them or—if published for adults—relevant to them and their lives. The Heart Has Its Reasons examines these issues and critically evaluates the body of literature published for young adults that offers homosexual themes and characters. Cart and Jenkins chart the evolution of the field of YA literature having GLBTQ (gay/lesbian/bisexual, transgendered, and/or queer/questioning) content. They identify titles that are remarkable either for their excellence or failures, noting the stereotypic, wrongheaded, and outdated books as well as the accurate, thoughtful, and tactful titles. Useful criteria for evaluating books with GLBTQ content are provided. Books and resources of all types are reviewed based on a model that uses the category descriptors of Homosexual Visibility, Gay Assimilation, and Queer Consciousness/Community. An annotated bibliography and a number of author-title lists of books discussed in the text arranged by subject round out this valuable reference for teachers, librarians, parents, and young adults.

Editorial Reviews

The Bulletin Of The Center For Children's Books
...[an] overview of gay/lesbian themes and characters in young adult literature.
Booklist
Both a comprehensive overview and a lively, detailed discussion of individual landmark books, this highly readable title...discusses 35 years of YA books with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (GLBTQ) content....this is a valuable YA and adult resource, sure to be in great demand for personal reference and group discussion.
CHOICE
This Scarecrow series continues to impress...Essential.
Reference and Research Book News
Cart (young adult literature, UCLA, and Assembly on Adolescent Literature of the National Council of Teachers of English) and Jenkins (library and information science, U. of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign) trace the development of young adult literature with gay, lesbian, and queer content, beginning in 1969 with the first novel incorporating that theme, by John Donovan. They evaluate character portrayal and themes-also illustrated in a chart at the end-using three categories: homosexual visibility, gay assimilation, and queer consciousness/community. In addition to the chronological bibliography, the chapters, organized by decade, included annotated references to books published during those periods, up to 2004.
Feminist Collections
...charts the growth in young adult novels with gay content...Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins...comment on the meager amount of critical analysis of YA literature on their theme. Their book redresses this dearth considerably.
Horn Book Magazine
The authors do a fine job of applauding what is 'accurate, thoughtful and artful,' while chastising what is 'stereotypic, wrongheaded, and outdated,'...
Choice
This Scarecrow series continues to impress...Essential.
Silive.com
...a definitive work on the subject....Thoughtful and insightful analysis is a real strength of the book....This book will be important for those wishing to make their library holdings more inclusive or who want to understand the changes that have occurred in this YA genre from the 1970s through the year 2004.
Feminist Collections: A Quarterly Of Women's Studies Resources
...charts the growth in young adult novels with gay content...Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins...comment on the meager amount of critical analysis of YA literature on their theme. Their book redresses this dearth considerably.
The Horn Book Magazine
The authors do a fine job of applauding what is 'accurate, thoughtful and artful,' while chastising what is 'stereotypic, wrongheaded, and outdated,'...
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
...[an] overview of gay/lesbian themes and characters in young adult literature.
Feminist Collections: A Quarterly Of Women's Studies Resources
...charts the growth in young adult novels with gay content...Michael Cart and Christine Jenkins...comment on the meager amount of critical analysis of YA literature on their theme. Their book redresses this dearth considerably.
VOYA
Writing a critical study of young adult novels having homosexual, or less commonly, bisexual or transgender themes seems almost an act of courage in our highly polarized society. Yet here is a definitive work on the subject. Using a chronological approach, the authors examine nearly two hundred books that have appeared since the 1969 publication of John Donovan's book, I'll Get There, It Better Be Worth The Trip (Harper & Row, 1969). Each chapter analyzes the most important books of a decade beginning with the 1970s, discusses plots and points of view, and concludes with a comprehensive annotated bibliography of titles. Following the 1990s is a chapter titled "A New Literature for a New Century?" This bibliographic essay considers the first four years of the twenty-first century and concludes with a year-by-year annotated bibliography. Finally the authors make a plea for more teenage fiction that deals honestly and realistically with issues of sexuality and shows true literary merit, providing multidimensional characters, verisimilitude, and an original voice. Thoughtful and insightful analysis is a real strength of the book. The appendixes will also be useful, particularly the comparison between the development of African American literature for young people and that of books dealing with gay issues; and a chart of 191 novels arranged alphabetically by author and showing portrayals, content, and roles of gay protagonists, either primary or secondary. But here an explanation of abbreviations would be helpful. This book will be important for those wishing to make their library holdings more inclusive or who want to understand the changes that have occurred in this YA genre from the 1970sthrough the year 2004. 2006, Scarecrow Press, 224p.; Index. Charts. Biblio. Chronology. Appendix., PLB $42.. Ages adult professional.
—Rayna Patton
School Library Journal

This terrific and long-overdue resource chronicles the development of GLBTQ-themed young adult literature over time and intersperses critical commentary with annotated bibliographies of related fiction. Cart and Jenkins use a three-part framework to describe the historical changes in content and the depiction of gays and lesbians in terms of what they call "homosexual visibility," "gay assimilation," and "queer consciousness/community." The authors take a historical approach and examine GLBTQ-themed young adult literature decade by decade, discussing pivotal works in detail, and conclude each chapter with an annotated bibliography and a list of notes or works cited. Well organized and easy to read, Heart is a valuable, semi-scholarly reference for both collection development and research.
—Amy S. PatteeCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810850712
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/2006
Series:
Studies in Young Adult Literature Series , #18
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
5.94(w) x 8.86(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Cart is a past president of the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association and the current President of the Assembly on Adolescent Literature of the National Council of Teachers of English. He teaches young adult literature at UCLA, he is the former head of the Beverly Hills Public Library, and the author of several books on children's and young adult literature, as well as a young adult novel, My Father's Scar, a gay coming-of-age story selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. Christine A. Jenkins is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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