Some GLBTQ-friendly YA Books Librarians Like, and Other Stuff (a post by Lou Hoffmann)

Lou Hoffmann Icon-logo-squareHi! Lou Hoffmann, back at Anne Barwell’s Drops of Ink blog for my August guest post—thanks, Anne, for lending me your pixels and bandwidth!

I’d intended to write this month about the School Library Journal (SLJ) Teen Live 2016 virtual conference—a meeting of librarians, publishers, authors, and readers that took place earlier this month. Alas, no matter how I try, I was unable to get my PC to receive the keynotes and workshops, and I’m still unable to download that archived material. Even so, if you visit the organization’s website you’ll find all manner of interesting material.

For instance the “Best of 2015”
stonewall ann bausum cover
features a slide show and lists of titles judged the “best” in picture books, middle grade, and YA books, as well as non-fiction, which includes the notable Stonewall: Breaking out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum.

In the YA fiction category, More Happy than Not, Adam Silvera’s serious, street-tough look at teen life. Here’s the blurb.

There’s plenty that 16-year-old Aaron Soto would like to forget, including life in the poverty-ridden Bronx projects, his father’s suicide, and his own attempt to carve a smile into his wrist, but he only seriously considers a cutting-edge “memory-relief procedure” when his all-consuming friendship with Thomas turns into unrequited love. Characters with straight-up street cred, a heart-searing narrative, and a must-reread resolution provide an unforgettable look at gender identity and coming-of-age issues.

The website also includes news, previews of what’s coming up, and information geared to the classroom. The “Reviews” section is more than just book reviews—I found an article entitled “Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft and Life Outside the Box.” And, a fun highlight, in the tech section I found “Pokemon Go: What Librarians Need to Know,” complete with a portrait of Bulbasaur.

To summarize: If you’ve got the tech to check out the archive of workshops and such from the conference, I’m pretty sure it will be worth your time. If you’re just interested in knowing a bit more about books for young people, and maybe what School Librarians are doing, seeing, thinking, and planning for, check out the website!

Now some Lou Hoffmann News: On October 6, the second book in the Sun Child Chronicles series will release. Since it’s been a while since book one came out, I posted a refresher (sans spoiler) of book one, Key of Behliseth, on my own blog. Click here to link there. If you haven’t read Key of Behliseth, you could even win a copy there.

Meanwhile, here’s a brand new book trailer for Key of Behliseth. Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

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Welcome A.L. Bates – Surfacing

I’m hosting A.L. Bates today on my LJ as part of her blog tour with Eyes on Books for Surfacing from Wayward Ink Publishing. There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway.

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Welcome April Kelley – Ashley

I’m hosting April Kelley on my LJ today as part of her blog tour for Ashley from Extasy Books. There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway.

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Cover Reveal – Good Boys by Keelan Ellis

I’m hosting Keelan Ellis today on my LJ as part of her cover reveal with Eyes on Books for Good Boys from Wayward Ink Publishing.

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Welcome Alina Popescu – Dawn to Dusk

I’m hosting Alina Popescu today on my LJ as part of her blog tour with Eyes on Books for Dawn to Dusk. There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway.

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Welcome Ned Ericsson – Jeremy’s Story

I’m interviewing Ned Ericsson today on my LJ as part of his blog tour with Eyes on Books for Jeremy’s Story from Wayward Ink Publishing. There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway.

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Book Blast – House of the Rising Son by Trevann Rogers

I’m hosting Trevann Rogers today on my LJ as part of her book blast with Embrace the Rainbow Book Promotions for House of the Rising Son. There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway.

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Book Review – Whither Thou Goest by Tinnean

Finding Home: Book Two
Johnny Smith meets Church Chetwood during the dark days of the Great Depression. He knows Mr. Chetwood can’t be his forever. Why would the handsome and charming director want to stay with a young man who has nothing but his body and skills in bed to offer? His Mr. Chetwood can have any woman—or man—he wants, but Johnny is going to keep him as long as he can.

When they have to leave suddenly on the SS August Moon to evade the process servers trying to find Church, Johnny is glad they’ll have more time together. But the crew rises up against the good Captain Johansen, urged on by a stowaway who wants the August Moon for himself. Johnny and Church, together with the captain, the cook, a wireless operator, and the little girl Johnny saved from prostitution, are cast off into a small lifeboat—and doomed to the open sea. Their other option is to try to land on the island where Church once discovered a saber-toothed tiger. The problem is, the last time Church was on this island, twelve men paid the price with their lives. Will Johnny, Church, and their friends make it out alive this time?

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Whither Thou Goest by Tinnean is set in the 1930s, and I thought captured the time period well. It’s written in first person, but is told from the perspective of several different characters. Although the first few chapters are from Johnny’s POV, it then switches to Church’s and then others of the ‘cast’. Although I haven’t read a book that switches POVs and does it in first person for more than two people before I thought it worked well and it fleshed out the characters nicely.

I also haven’t read the first book in this series—Call Me Church—but that didn’t take away the enjoyment of this one. Enough backstory is given to fill in the gaps without bogging down the storyline, which I appreciated.

This story is more of an ensemble with the focus not only on Johnny and Church’s romance but also the relationship between Charley aka Chow Chi and Captain ‘Jo’ Johansen. Hildy, the eight-year old girl they find on the island, is an interesting character, and I’d like to read more of her as an older woman—she had a lot of spunk and insight for a little girl, but without coming across as precocious or a Mary Sue type character. I would like to read more about Nick—the ship’s wireless operator—too.

There’s a lot of story going on, and I found Charley’s particularly interesting. I’d love to read more of his and Jo’s story. The villain of the piece is a nasty piece of work, and I thought the author did a good job with him, painting a picture of a motivated man without crossing the line into caricature.

The story, although taking the time to flesh out characters is still full of action, with the trip to the island etc a nice homage to the 1933 King Kong movie. Although Whither Thou Goest is an historical, what they find on the island also adds a dash of fantasy so it’s one of those stories which is a mix of genres.

I’d recommend Whither Thou Goest to readers who enjoy an old fashioned adventure with a touch of fantasy story in the style of King Kong with interesting characters and an ensemble cast. 4 out of 5 stars.

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Welcome Mann Ramblings – Priest and Pariahs

I’m hosting Mann Ramblings today on my LJ as part of his blog tour with Eyes on Books for Priest and Pariahs from Wayward Ink Publishing. There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway.

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Welcome Christopher Hawthorne Moss – A Fine Bromance

I’m hosting Christopher Hawthorne Moss on my LJ today. His new YA novel A Fine Bromance released today from Harmony Ink Press.

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