The Atlantic

A New Way for Gay Characters in Y.A.

Y.A. literature can be depended on as a key reflector of what teens are thinking and doing—so how well is Y.A. doing at reflecting the current state of teen culture with regard to LGBT issues, and how far need we still go?
Source: Bloomsbury; Arthur A. Levine Books; Knopf; Walker; Farrar, Straus, and Giroux; Houghton Mifflin; Roaring Book Press

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Suddenly, it seems like gay characters are everywhere in Y.A. literature. Or, if not everywhere, certainly in far more places and in a greater variety than ever before. Perhaps the most eye-catching recent example, which preceded , is —and its cover with, yes, two boys kissing. But beyond the covers, plots involving LGBT characters are twisting and turning and emerging anew from the traditional coming-out story of years past. In last year's , by Marisa Calin, for instance, a girl develops feelings for her female teacher at the same time that she works through feelings for her best friend, who is referred to as “you” throughout, lending gender-ambiguity to the story. Or take upcoming novel which features Rafe Goldberg, who's been out since eighth grade in his supportive community of Boulder, Colorado. His life appears fine to all those around him, but part of Rafe’s desire to transfer to a new school across the country is so he can try to live without the label of “gay” that he feels determines how people see him, first and foremost.

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