The Rohnert Park-Cotati library is excited to launch our brand new PRIDE Book Club for Teens! In this monthly book club, we will read and discuss recent YA books featuring queer characters as they navigate relationships with their families, friends, cultures, and love interests as well as their relationships to their own gender and sexuality. Some of these books focus on being queer and touch on themes of coming out, conflict with family, struggling with cultural expectations, finding love, and discovering self-love. Others feature characters who are queer but the books themselves are more focused on their lives and adventures than the fact of their queerness. In our book club meetings we will snack, talk about the book we read and the issues it brings up, watch videos of the author speaking, and just hang out.
Why is this book club focused on reading LGBTQIA+ books?
Reading books with queer characters can help queer teens feel connected to a larger community, which can help them feel less alone. It is important for teens to be able to read books that reflect the realities of their own lives and that tell stories about people they can actually relate to. Of course, not all queer experiences are the same, so in this book club we will read books featuring characters who identify all along the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and who come from different cultural and economic backgrounds, abilities, and experiences.
Reading LGBTQIA+ books is not only important for queer teens, it can help those who are not a part of the queer community understand what their peers might be going through and how they can be better allies.
Also, queer YA books are just the best(!) so we are excited to read and talk about them!
The book club will meet at 4pm on the first Friday of every month at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library. You can pick up a copy of the book at the adult reference desk. This book club is for teens in grades 9-12. Snacks will be provided! Allies welcome!
Upcoming Book Club Picks:
Friday, February 1
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Suzette returns home to Los Angeles from boarding school and grapples with her bisexual identity when she and her brother Lionel fall in love with the same girl, pushing Lionel's bipolar disorder to spin out of control and forcing Suzette to confront her own demons.
Friday, March 1
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out -- without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met.
Friday, April 5
If I was your Girl by Meredith Russo
Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.
Friday, May 3
We are Okay by Nina LaCour
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
Friday, June 7
Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager
Queer author and activist Sarah Prager delves deep into the lives of 23 people who fought, created, and loved on their own terms. From high-profile figures like Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to the trailblazing gender-ambiguous Queen of Sweden and a bisexual blues singer who didn’t make it into your history books, these astonishing true stories uncover a rich queer heritage that encompasses every culture, in every era.
Friday, July 5
It's Not Like it's a Secret by Misa Sugiura
When her family moves to California, 16 year old Sana Kiyohara falls for the beautiful and smart Jamie Ramirez but struggles with differences between their diverse friend groups, a boy's sweet but unrequited affection, and her father's increasingly obvious affair.
Other Recent & Upcoming LGBTQIA+ Books to Check Out:
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes.
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (release date 1/29/19)
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali has always been fascinated by the universe around her and the laws of physics that keep everything in order. But her life at home isn't so absolute. Unable to come out to her conservative Muslim parents, she keeps that part of her identity hidden. And that means keeping her girlfriend, Ariana, a secret from them too. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life at home and a fresh start at Caltech in the fall. But when Rukhsana's mom catches her and Ariana together, her future begins to collapse around her.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different.
None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio
A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she's intersex . . . and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.
The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby's been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she's thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They're going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they're both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There's an app for that. It's called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure--to live a lifetime in a single day.
If you have questions about the Pride Book Club for Teens, please call the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library at (707) 584-9121.
Post written by Terra Emerson, Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library