Like many teens, I liked reading about love. I loved the classics: Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Anne and Gilbert, Betsy Ray and Joe Willard. You see, I’m old enough that YA wasn’t really a thing the way it is now. But during family pilgrimages to Philadelphia, I discovered a whole series that made me swoon. My parents would take me to Borders on Chestnut St, which was one of the biggest bookstores I had ever seen and I would make a beeline for the Sunfire Romances. There I could find exactly what I wanted to read: a historical setting, an adventure, a choice of beaus, a happily ever after.
Just as I believe every person has a right to love and be loved, I believe everyone should be able to find exactly what they want in a YA romance. Everyone should be able to find a book that makes them feel as satisfied as I did after reading Anna and the French Kiss. Unfortunately, for some, that’s pretty difficult. Currently most books, especially those with big publicity budgets and lots of press have characters that are cisgender (anyone whose gender identity corresponds with their biological sex as assigned at birth) and heterosexual (feeling sexual desire for the opposite sex).
In the past, I used the really dreadfully inadequate tag of LGBT to mark books that contained characters who were not heterosexual. In the future, I’m hoping to be a bit more specific. After all, if you’re looking for a book about a boy falling in love with another boy, you don’t want a LGBT book, which is maybe about girls being in love, or is about a character whose parents happen to be the same gender. If you want a book about two girls falling for each other, you want a f/f, not just a generic LGBT. On top of that, LGBT omits so many sexual identities that are every bit as valid as those four. For many, QUILTBAG is an acronym that works to include a far greater number of people. QUILTBAG stands for: QUeer/QUestioning Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay.
So this month, with Valentine’s Day lurking just a few weeks ahead, I want to share some books that spread the love, but not the easy to find, grab any number of books at the bookstore kind of love. I wanted to some happily-ever-after-ing for people who should have be able to read about exactly the kind of love they want to read about, even if it is a bit harder to find. I got some great recommendations from Dahlia Adler, who loves nothing more than recommending QUILTBAG books to anyone who asks. In fact, check out her blog post from February 2014 with lots of lovely links. As you can see, it’s not that there aren’t books available, it’s just that you may not have heard of them. And of course, there can always be MORE!
And get ready to fall in love, something that everyone should have the opportunity to do.