Queer YA books are selling in record numbers despite bans targeting them

Storytelling, said Marie, is an important act of creative expression and personal affirmation, but also a political statement. “Art is political and always has been, so I hope people and publishers can continue to rally behind queer authors whose works are targeted, especially those who are trans and/or non-white, and therefore the most targeted,” said Marie. “Combating media censorship that validates the existence of queer and trans youth is integral to protecting current and future generations of our community.”

And despite the onslaught of legislation and policies that specifically target young queers, what Stamper feels is particularly remarkable about the current moment is that this creative expression continues, out loud.

“We always tell our stories and our experiences – stories of joy and pain — and you see these different experiences on the shelf,” Stamper said. “As much as you can try to ban books, it doesn’t stop those books from existing, which is pretty amazing.”

As the back-to-school season begins, here are some queer YA titles recommended by the authors interviewed for this story.

Amanda DeWitt recommends:

Hell followed with usby Andrew Joseph White

“It’s a trans horror story. I read it and thought, ‘Wow – I’ve never read anything like it.’

The problem with robotsby Michelle Mohrweis

“It’s a mid-level novel where one of the protagonists is bi and the other is asexual. In middle school, you try to figure out all of these feelings and identities, and it’s great to see middle-level books giving kids the words to describe themselves.

Sierra Elmore recommends:

I kissed Shara Wheelerby Casey McQuiston

“It’s a story of enemies to lovers, which is one of my favorite types of books. The main character doesn’t even enter the book until the second half! The main character, Chloe, has to come to terms with “OK, I really like girls. I like that the main character was sure of his sexuality. For a while, most YA [that] was going out [were] stories about people being more hesitant about their sexuality, but Chloe says, “I know what I am.” I like this.”

Ophelia after all” by Racquel Marie

“There’s this big gay group of friends and a lot of social support for someone who’s gay. Ophelia is figuring out who she is and it’s not entirely clear by the end of the book. And that’s OK. It won’t always be clear. »

Colin L. Johnson