Guest Posts

Honey Girl Author Lisa Freeman Shares Her LGBTQ Reading List

Lisa Freeman and Honey Girl
Set among the waves and hot sand of beachfront Santa Monica in 1972, Lisa Freeman’s debut YA novel, Honey Girl, is one of those delicious books you want to drink down in one sitting. In telling the story of Haunani Grace Nuuhiwa, a new arrival to Santa Monica after the death of her Hawaiian father, she creates a world rich with detail and description, dropping you into the complicated social structure of elite surfers and the girls who want them. Honey Girl is also a sexy love story, as Haunani discovers her crush on queen bee Rox just might be reciprocated. Here’s Lisa Freeman to talk about some of her favorite LGBTQ books for teens.

Honey Girl

Honey Girl

Hardcover $16.99

Honey Girl

Lisa Freeman

Hardcover $16.99

When I was growing up and in the closet, the idea of queer YA was unthinkable. Make no mistake, nothing makes coming out easy, and yet these LGBT books deal with queer youth and making peace with who you are, even if the world doesn’t. The recurring theme of secrets dominates these books in very different ways. 

When I was growing up and in the closet, the idea of queer YA was unthinkable. Make no mistake, nothing makes coming out easy, and yet these LGBT books deal with queer youth and making peace with who you are, even if the world doesn’t. The recurring theme of secrets dominates these books in very different ways. 

Better Nate Than Ever (Nate Series #1)

Better Nate Than Ever (Nate Series #1)

Paperback $7.99

Better Nate Than Ever (Nate Series #1)

Tim Federle

Paperback $7.99

Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle
A lot of people know they’re gay at a very young age, and middle grade novel Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle is a must-read. It chronicles the quest of Nate Foster, a 13-year-old boy whose dream is to sing and dance. He runs away to New York for an audition for Broadway’s ET, the Musical. The plan is to get back to Jankburg, Pennsylvania, before his vacationing parents do. Unfortunately, his scheme does not work. Instead, Nate’s Aunt Heidi and her roommate, a man Nate playfully refers to as Freckles, take Nate on an adventure in New York, exposing him to a world that doesn’t exist in Western Pennsylvania. In New York, there are lots of cupcake places and guys are allowed to dance with each other. After a call back, Nate is confronted by his frantic mother who’s had one too many drinks. It’s during her nap that Freckles comes out to Nate and explains that Aunt Heidi and him will never go out on a date because she is not his type. Freckles tells him that he likes men, opening a door for the young Nate to put a word on his own feelings that he will deal with in the future. Tim Federle never identifies Nate’s sexuality, he simply identifies what young gay boys might experience. It’s difficult to find a middle grade LGBT book that is lighthearted yet addresses sexuality with the respect a sixth or seventh grader deserves.

Better Nate Than Ever, by Tim Federle
A lot of people know they’re gay at a very young age, and middle grade novel Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle is a must-read. It chronicles the quest of Nate Foster, a 13-year-old boy whose dream is to sing and dance. He runs away to New York for an audition for Broadway’s ET, the Musical. The plan is to get back to Jankburg, Pennsylvania, before his vacationing parents do. Unfortunately, his scheme does not work. Instead, Nate’s Aunt Heidi and her roommate, a man Nate playfully refers to as Freckles, take Nate on an adventure in New York, exposing him to a world that doesn’t exist in Western Pennsylvania. In New York, there are lots of cupcake places and guys are allowed to dance with each other. After a call back, Nate is confronted by his frantic mother who’s had one too many drinks. It’s during her nap that Freckles comes out to Nate and explains that Aunt Heidi and him will never go out on a date because she is not his type. Freckles tells him that he likes men, opening a door for the young Nate to put a word on his own feelings that he will deal with in the future. Tim Federle never identifies Nate’s sexuality, he simply identifies what young gay boys might experience. It’s difficult to find a middle grade LGBT book that is lighthearted yet addresses sexuality with the respect a sixth or seventh grader deserves.

Rubyfruit Jungle

Rubyfruit Jungle

Paperback $7.99

Rubyfruit Jungle

Rita Mae Brown

Paperback $7.99

Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown
When Rubyfruit Jungle was published in 1973, it was a groundbreaking LGBT novel, the kind of book that saves lives. I would classify this must-read as new adult fiction, because it’s written in first person with the narrator looking back from college to her youth. Nonetheless, Molly Bolt is my favorite fictional lesbian character. This book parallels Better Nate Than Ever in its character’s similar quest to get to New York, and the trials and tribulations that follow. This LGBT read remains relevant even as time marches on with more coming-of-age stories.

Rubyfruit Jungle, by Rita Mae Brown
When Rubyfruit Jungle was published in 1973, it was a groundbreaking LGBT novel, the kind of book that saves lives. I would classify this must-read as new adult fiction, because it’s written in first person with the narrator looking back from college to her youth. Nonetheless, Molly Bolt is my favorite fictional lesbian character. This book parallels Better Nate Than Ever in its character’s similar quest to get to New York, and the trials and tribulations that follow. This LGBT read remains relevant even as time marches on with more coming-of-age stories.

Far From You

Far From You

Hardcover $17.99

Far From You

Tess Sharpe

Hardcover $17.99

Far From You, Tess Sharpe
In this mystery-driven crime novel, Sophie Winters becomes obsessed with finding the murderer of her beautiful best friend, Mina, even at the expense of her own safety and fragile sobriety. She has already suffered so much after a near-fatal car crash that crippled her and started an addiction to oxycontin pain medication. After losing the trust of her family, friends—everyone except Mina—Sophie must find an inner strength to fight off the constant craving for drugs and the polarity of hopeless despair. When Mina is murdered, the police blame Sophie for luring her friend into the woods to buy drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now Sophie must prove her innocence, not only to survive, but to avenge Mina and keep their forbidden secret safe.

Far From You, Tess Sharpe
In this mystery-driven crime novel, Sophie Winters becomes obsessed with finding the murderer of her beautiful best friend, Mina, even at the expense of her own safety and fragile sobriety. She has already suffered so much after a near-fatal car crash that crippled her and started an addiction to oxycontin pain medication. After losing the trust of her family, friends—everyone except Mina—Sophie must find an inner strength to fight off the constant craving for drugs and the polarity of hopeless despair. When Mina is murdered, the police blame Sophie for luring her friend into the woods to buy drugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now Sophie must prove her innocence, not only to survive, but to avenge Mina and keep their forbidden secret safe.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Paperback $17.99

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel

In Stock Online

Paperback $17.99

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
For the nonlinear reader, I can’t say enough about Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. It’s not listed as YA, but it’s a great autobiography about her struggles as a gay child/teen and coming out in a family with secrets.

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
For the nonlinear reader, I can’t say enough about Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. It’s not listed as YA, but it’s a great autobiography about her struggles as a gay child/teen and coming out in a family with secrets.

I Am J

I Am J

Paperback $10.99

I Am J

Cris Beam

In Stock Online

Paperback $10.99

I Am J, by Chris Beam
The next book I plan to read is I Am J, by Chris Beam, a story about a young transgender boy, born in a girl’s body, who struggles with who he is and finding others like himself. What really interests me about this book is his struggle to get T-shots (testosterone), something underage teens cannot do without their parents’ permission. The character arch of the mother intrigues me, as she must come to her own decision about what’s best for her child.

I Am J, by Chris Beam
The next book I plan to read is I Am J, by Chris Beam, a story about a young transgender boy, born in a girl’s body, who struggles with who he is and finding others like himself. What really interests me about this book is his struggle to get T-shots (testosterone), something underage teens cannot do without their parents’ permission. The character arch of the mother intrigues me, as she must come to her own decision about what’s best for her child.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Paperback $10.99

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Emily M. Danforth

In Stock Online

Paperback $10.99

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth
The other book that’s been sitting on my nightstand for way too long is The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth. After the death of her parents and her eventual outing as a lesbian, Cameron is sent by her religious aunt to a conversion camp, where she grapples with who she is versus who others want her to be. I’m a great admirer of Ms. Danforth’s ability and integrity in writing about a religious conflict facing Cameron as a young lesbian in a conservative community.
Lisa Freeman’s Honey Girl is on sale now.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth
The other book that’s been sitting on my nightstand for way too long is The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily M. Danforth. After the death of her parents and her eventual outing as a lesbian, Cameron is sent by her religious aunt to a conversion camp, where she grapples with who she is versus who others want her to be. I’m a great admirer of Ms. Danforth’s ability and integrity in writing about a religious conflict facing Cameron as a young lesbian in a conservative community.
Lisa Freeman’s Honey Girl is on sale now.