May 19, 2022 · 7:48 am
For my thesis (which is now actually “nearly done” and will, come hell or high water, actually be submitted sometime in the middle of 2022) I analysed YA novels with non-binary protagonists. When I tell people that, often they’re surprised that there are enough books in that niche to make a study out of. And I get to say “yeah! There’s more than you might expect! In fact, I had to change the whole format of a chapter because there were too many to talk about all at once!”
So in celebration of nearly, actually, almost being done, and in celebration of the many fantastic books that have filled this category over the past couple of years (making said thesis, in its current state, possible!) I’ve compiled a pile of them for your perusal.
Please note this is only a handful of personal recommendations from within my studies: there are others I haven’t written about and others I haven’t read yet. Plus, this list is narrowed to non-binary protagonists (here defined as “a main POV character”) and if I included texts with non-binary love interests or ensemble cast members, there would be even more! More books exploring the complexity of gender in a variety of genres are being published each year, so no doubt I’ll come back and make more lists in future! For now, though, read on…
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Filed under Alex Reads, And I Think That's Neat
Tagged as Alex yells at their thesis, Alison Evans, Anna-Marie McLemore, Blanca and Roja, Euphoria Kids, Even if we Break, Felix Ever After, Hal Schrieve, Kacen Callender, LGBTQ+, Marieke Nijkamp, Out of Salem, queer YA, The Mermaid the Witch and the Sea, YA, YA fiction
September 30, 2021 · 6:44 am
That night left each of us holding pieces of broken glass. And ever since, we have been gripping them. We have been clenching our fingers around them, the edges cutting into our palms, blood on the silver.
We may never be able to set them down for good. They may be in our hands forever, something we’re always holding. But we don’t have to grip them. We don’t have to hold them so tightly that they’re forever cutting our fingers.
Instead, we hold them as lightly as we can. We let them rest on our palms. We don’t help them do the work of drawing our blood.
We live with them. We learn the ways that broken things can catch the light.
Premise: after Ciela and a boy she hardly knows are sexually assaulted by classmates at a party, Ciela’s world begins to change. She loses the ability she’s always had to guess exactly what sweets and pan dulce her customers want and need. The seasonal winds are eerily still. Trees are vanishing inexplicably from the neighbourhood. And, most troubling, everywhere Ciela goes objects and plants are turning to mirrored glass. When the boy turns up at school, Ciela sees someone she needs to protect—and wonders if them helping each other recover is what might bring the magic back.
Content considerations: sexual trauma as a main theme, the act itself described in detail; systemic racism, internalised victim-blaming
Rainbow rep: a pansexual protagonist, her ex-girlfriend turned best friend, various queer side characters
This is a beautifully written book about a difficult subject, making it simultaneously really fun and really stressful to read. It’s also a book I really want to tell people about, but it’s difficult to write on. I want to sing to the skies how good The Mirror Season was, but I also find myself just… floating, haunted yet serene, in the waters of the feelings this story left with me. That’s a kind of magic in itself, I suppose.
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