Simon vs. The Home Sapiens Agenda and Love, Simon

June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the diverse and underrepresented community that exists in our society. The library will be hosting several children’s events for Pride Month, but you can also show your support by reading books with LGBT+ characters. I have done quite a bit of research on the different topics within the community, and find that YA is the leading genre for books with these diverse characters. The teen audience in this day and age seem to be the ones connecting most with these types of characters, and even if you don’t personally relate to these themes, it’s always a good thing to expand your knowledge to subjects you might not have considered learning about before. The library has quite a large selection of LGBT+ books in the Teen section, but here are just a few of the ones I have read, and hope to inspire others to read:

Leah On the OffbeatThe first book I would like to mention is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Recently popularized in the media by the film adaptation Love, Simon and following the life of sixteen-year-old not-so-openly gay Simon Spier, this story was a big hit with teens. The movie was the first of its kind, a mainstream film with a gay main character directed at teen audiences. I highly suggest investing some time into this story, of course, by reading the book then watching the movie. Also by this fantastic author, we have a “sequel,” Leah On the Offbeat, which centers around Simon’s best friend, Leah. It goes further into her life, revealing that she is Bisexual, and takes place shortly after the events of the first of the “Creekwood” tales novels.

What if it's UsBecky Albertalli also worked with another popular LGBT author, Adam Silvera, to write the book What if it’s Us. Arthur is in New York for the summer, and Ben is a native, headed to the post office to mail back a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. When they meet by chance, they wonder what the universe has in store for them; After being separated by the crowd, it seems like nothing. But what if it is something? Is the universe pushing them together or pulling them apart?

Adam Silvera also has written several books of his own, including More Happy Than Not, History is All You Left Me, and They Both Die at the End. As can be inferred by the titles of his books, Adam Silvera likes to invoke strong feelings from his readers. The first of his books, More Happy Than Not, centers around Aaron Soto, a teen struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy. As he grows closer to his friend Thomas, however, he begins to discover something about himself that he doesn’t want to be true. With a new process at the Leteo Institute, he would be able to have his memories altered to straighten him out, but he has to figure out if he’s willing to do it at the cost of forgetting who he truly is.

Silvera’s second book, History is All You Left Me also follows a sad story, only this time it’s with the death of main character Griffin’s ex-boyfriend. The only person who understands his pain is Jackson, the guy his ex started dating, but no matter how much they open up to each other, nothing can stop Griffin’s downward spiral. He realizes that the only way to carry on is to confront his history and piece together every lasts part of the heartbreaking puzzle that is his life.

Finally, Silvera’s most recent solo publication, They Both Die at the End, follows the story of Mateo and Rufus, who had both received phone calls that they’re going to die today. Through the ‘Last Friends’ app, they meet up for one last adventure and live a lifetime in a single day. I cried at least once while reading each of these books, as the characters are so well-developed and loveable. Once you pick one up, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve finished it. Each of his books are standalone and can be found at the library.