I was absolutely thrilled when Gay YA asked me to write a guest blog for their fantastic site (though baffled as to why they asked me- I’m just a regular blogger), and then even more thrilled that they gave me a second chance after I completely spaced on the deadline. Sorry about that, guys!
So they asked me to talk about reviewing in general as well as spotlighting GLBT books on my blog. I’ve been doing this for almost 6 years now; I started June 23, 2007 and have been going ever since, moving from Myspace (yes, remember that?!) to Blogspot in 2009. It’s been a wonderful journey and I hope to keep going for many years to come. I absolutely love being a part of the children’s book community and getting to talk books online and in person at book events with other book-obsessed people. It’s fantastic!
I love sharing my thoughts on all kinds of books with my readers through my blog. While I do mainly review Young Adult, I have also ventured into picture book, middle-grade, adult, and non-fiction territory. Luckily, my readers go along with me on those posts too.
Since the beginning, I’ve definitely kept my eye out for GLBT YA though I will admit I haven’t spotlighted it as much as some other blogs. I do the best I can, and I have run two GLBT-themed weeks over the years on my blog, featuring reviews and guest posts (One such week can be found here- http://bookchicclub.blogspot.com/search/label/GLBT%20Week; the other is on Myspace and therefore no link since I didn’t tag anything).
Spotlighting GLBT YA on my blog is something I love to do when I’m able to do it, and not only by just posting a review but also interviewing the author or have them writing a guest post. I’ll be reviewing Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg soon (absolutely loved his debut, Out of the Pocket), which I’m really enjoying so far. I also have Nora Olsen, whose new book Swans and Klons is out now, doing a guest post, which I just got in my inbox today, so cannot wait to post that.
As a young gay man, GLBT YA is very important to me. I was a happy teen for the most part and never really had the struggle that many teens do with their sexuality (though I was not out until college) and with being bullied, but I did feel the loneliness every so often. I wanted what so many of my friends had- a relationship, someone to really confide in and be with, even if it was fleeting as so many high school romances are- and still do to this day (I’ve been single for a few years now).
Reading the debut books from David Levithan, Brent Hartinger, and Alex Sanchez helped me feel less alone and were released during my high school years. I had to kind of sneakily check them out from the public library so my parents didn’t see. No joke, I didn’t know other gay people existed anywhere near me until I was a junior in high school and there was this gay boy in the summer theatre program I worked Stage Crew for (and then of course 4 high school friends came out to me after I graduated high school). I loved those books and cherished them so much. And while the world is getting better, it’s not totally perfect when it comes to GLBT people and their rights, so I feel there is still a need to push any new GLBT book into the hands of teenagers to help them get through these years. I feel good whenever I post a review of a GLBT book or let a GLBT author sound off on my blog because it feels like I’m doing something to help, even though it’s just something very minor. I have the hope that it’s helping someone somewhere, which is also what I want to do with my own writing someday.
Thanks again, Gay YA, for letting me take over your blog for a day and ramble on about random things. I will be constantly checking for comments so feel free to leave any questions for me!