Sometimes you can find motivation in a book to keeping on doing what you do and being true to yourself. Sometimes it is just about reading about a character who overcomes tough times that is enough to encourage us to choose what we are willing to fight for and ultimately to survive another day. Here are a few books with characters who overcome some big obstacles in their lives.
George by Alex Gino is an inspiring read which will stay with you long after you have read it. The main character knows she is a girl even though most people see her as a boy. It takes playing Charlotte in the school play to show everyone who she really is. Fun fact: It took the author over 10 years to write this book!
In A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy you meet Evelyn and her new friend Queen. Queen is new to school and is bullied for his name and his fresh wardrobe! This cute quick read is not a coming-out story rather one of friendship and discovering who you want to be in the world. PS. don’t worry if you don’t know – it’s a lifelong adventure.
Meet Pen. She has to make some tough choices in the book Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard. She’s a queer girl who Being stuck in the middle of expectations from her traditional Portuguese family, peer pressure from her friend group, a new girlfriend and defending herself against bullies who don’t accept her Pen is the epitome of sticking to her guns. She’s got her brother on her side and she takes on the world against the odds.
Jaye Robin Brown has written a really cool lead character in Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. Her name is Joanna, a young queer girl whose popular religious evangelist dad asks her to hide her identity for a bit when they move to a small conservative town. You can guess that it’s an interesting ride as Joanna is a kind of “undercover” as a straight girl (complete with a makeover) and when she hits it off with a girl in youth group it gets even more complicated. If you just need a book with a happy ending – this may be what you are looking for.
If you are looking for strong characters who will stick around in your head for a while two more books I recommend you run down to the library and pick up. The first is The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson. The book centres on two sisters who move from Brooklyn to Barbados where their family is from but the book is about a lot more: mental illness, belonging, culture, identity. I also recommend Under the Udala Trees by Nigerian writer Chinelo Okparanta for an emotional read about a young girl who falls in love with another girl in Nigeria during the civil war. Both are recommended for mature readers –these books are shelved in the adult sections at the library.
It is a breath of fresh air, a desperately needed one, to see all the new #diversebooks being added to our library shelves. Thankfully, there are more and more books for young people with LGBTTQ+ characters, families and stories. For more suggestions: Check out the fabulous LGBTTQ+ book list on Booked and our new LGBTTQ+ info guide.