Tag Archives: gay and lesbian books

Out of Left Field: Marlee’s Story – Barbara L. Clanton
Book Reviews
June 19, 2009 posted by Nikki

Out of Left Field: Marlee’s Story – Barbara L. Clanton

High school junior Marlee McAllister lives and breathes softball. She’s the pitcher for the Clarkson Cougars in the North Country of upstate New York. With the season opener approaching, Marlee and her best friend, Jeri D’Amico, go scout their rivals, the East Valley Panthers. The Panthers star pitcher, Christy Loveland, took the All County pitching title the preceding year. It’s a title that Marlee covets. Marlee and Jeri settle in for the game but as the Panthers take the field, Marlee finds herself staring at Susie Torres, the Panther left fielder.

And so starts the beginning of the biggest change in Marlee’s life. When Marlee realises that the feelings she’s experiencing for Susie are nothing like what it feels like to be with Bobby – her boyfriend – she begins to question why they’re even together. All he wants to do is make out and go parking, and that’s the last thing Marlee wants to do with Bobby. When Bobby leaves her for someone else, Marlee is shocked but also a little relieved.

Enter Susie. At a party one night, Susie tells Marlee that she thinks she beautiful. As soon as the words fall on Marlee’s ears, she feels completely unable to hold her feelings in any longer. The girls end up making out and so starts the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Unsure of how their friends will react, the two girls decide to keep their newfound love a secret. And it’s a good thing they do, because Susie’s best friend (and Marlee’s rival pitcher), Christy Loveland, wants Susie all to herself. Not in the same way that Marlee and Susie want each other, but her jealously becomes a major problem for the new couple all the same. Will the new couple survive the pressure so early on in their relationship?

What I loved about this book the most was Marlee’s immediate, unquestioned acceptance of her newfound sexuality. She didn’t go into denial, and she didn’t embark on a downward spiral of self-hate and loathing. When their friends found out that Susie and Marlee were dating, there were no homophobic reactions and certainly no friendships lost over the issue. This is the first book I’ve found for gay teens that doesn’t include the protagonist’s ‘coming out’ being met with a barrage of objections and hate. Although the two girls did express concern about how their loves ones would react, it wasn’t a huge issue and it was clear that they certainly weren’t going to let that stop them being together.  It was so refreshing (and joyous!) to read a novel for gay teens that shows the protagonist in positive circumstances, rather than the tragic ones that so often get published.

Out of Left Field
is a short, punchy feel-good read that gets straight to the point (no pun intended).

If you want information about Barbara’s other books, click here

Rating: : ★★★½☆

Leave Myself Behind – Bart Yates
Book Reviews
June 9, 2009 posted by Nikki

Leave Myself Behind – Bart Yates

I finish my pizza and go upstairs to change clothes before starting work on the attic. My room finally looks like a room. I’ve got a giant poster of Yates on one wall, looking very professorial, and on the other wall are Frost and Emerson and Virginia Woolfe. My books are stacked up on boards resting on milk crates and take up an entire wall; I’ve got the collected works of Dickens, Shakespeare, Wild, Faulkner, Melville and Austen.

Jesus. I guess I really am gay.

I strip off my shirt and open my chest of drawers to get another. Lying on top of the pile is J.D.’s Sierra Club tee shirt. He left it here last week and Mom must have finally got around to doing the laundry. I pull it out and hold it to my face. I can still smell him in the fabric. Damn him. I toss it back in the drawer and get one of my own.

God damn him.

When Noah’s mother packed up their lives and moved them from Chicago to a rural town in New England, Noah never expected to find love, especially not with the boy from across the street. But J.D. isn’t gay. No sir. He’s got a girlfriend, and they’ve even done it and everything. But since when did that mean anything at all? Noah isn’t stupid, and he’s not so completely blinded by his feelings for J.D. that he can’t see how J.D. feels. Even if J.D. can’t, or wont.

It’s not so easy for J.D., though. At least Noah has a supportive mother who loves him regardless of his sexual orientation. J.D. isn’t so lucky. He has a hard time getting any kind of affection out of his mother at the best of times; imagine how it would be for him if he came out…

How long can you deny your feelings for someone, though? J.D. soon discovers that just being Noah’s friend isn’t enough. One thing leads to another and suddenly the whole town seems to know all their deepest and darkest secrets. And in this particular small American town, homosexuality isn’t looked upon favourably. Noah and J.D. find themselves in all kinds of trouble.

Noah’s voice is raw, fresh, and so very real. He tells it like it is: straight up, no BS. He has a real simplistic way of breaking things down, of looking at the world. If there were more Noah Yorks walking the Earth, society would be a better place for all. While Leave Myself Behind deals with some serious, heartbreaking issues, it manages to do so lightly (for lack of a better word). Noah’s sarcasm and his sense of humour shine a little bit of light on an otherwise devastatingly depressing story. I know Noah and J.D.’s story may ring true for some, but I hope that not too many queer readers can relate to the boys’ experiences in this book. No one should ever have to go through what J.D. and Noah did. Not ever.

But this is more than just a coming out story. This is a story about family, truth, and love – all kinds of love. As J.D. so sadly learns, sometimes love just isn’t enough. Sometimes the world throws so much at you, that not even love can heal the deepest wounds.
Leave Myself Behind comes with a tissue box warning, folks. You’ll cry from laughter, but I’m certain you’ll cry from sadness too. A must read for everyone, everywhere.

Rating:: ★★★★★

Win a Julie Anne Peters Prize Pack!
June 9, 2009 posted by Nikki

Win a Julie Anne Peters Prize Pack!

In celebration of Gay Pride Month, we’re giving yaReaders the chance to win one of two ‘Julie Anne Peters Prize Packs’. Each pack contains an autographed paperback copy of Keeping You A Secret and a hardback copy of Luna.

This contest is open to yaReaders from all around the world. All you have to do is reply to this contest at the bottom and tell us why you think you deserve the prize.

Contest open until June 23, 2009. Happy posting!