As slim as the pickings for LGBTQ+ nonfiction usually are, there’s a recognized need for informational books that center queer experience. Though proportionally small compared to the amount of fiction published, nonfiction tends to do well at the Stonewall Award. In seven of the past nine award years, a nonfiction book has been among those honored. In this post, I’ll cover a few nonfiction titles for teens on MoMM’s radar this year. (See Alec’s post on Pride and Sewing the Rainbow for a look at some of this year’s nonfiction picturebooks.)
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Dial Books, August 2018
Reviewed from hardcover
Plot Summary: “Fractional Persian” Darius knows Klingon better than Farsi. This bodes well for Darius and his white father: their mutual love for all things Star Trek is one of the few things they have in common besides their chronic depression. But when Darius and his family go to Iran to visit his mother’s ailing father, Darius’ unfamiliarity with his Persian heritage leaves him feeling like even more of an outcast than he does at home in Portland, Oregon. As Darius struggles with his sense of self, a Bahá’í teen named Sohrab shows Darius what acceptance can feel like. The two boys strike up a powerful friendship. But can it stand the test of long distance when Darius returns home to America?
In the eight years the Stonewall has been given to children’s and YA literature, only one picture book has ever won the medal: This Day in June (2015). Two picture books have been honored: 10,000 Dresses (2010) and Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress (2015). This is partly due to the relative scarcity of picture books with queer content but I’m happy to report that there are so many titles this season—15 by our count—that we will have two posts!
Odd One Out by Nic Stone
Crown Books for Young Readers, Oct 2018
Reviewed from ARC
Plot Summary: Courtney has known his best friend Jupiter since they were kids. Together, they’re “Jupe-and-Coop,” a unit so inseparable that they often fall asleep cuddling. Which isn’t okay because, even though Jupiter is an out and proud lesbian, Coop is in love with her. The arrival of new-girl-in-town Rae Chin sparks jealousy and misunderstandings–especially when it’s not clear to anyone, Rae included, whether she’s falling for Coop or Jupiter. Told from three perspectives, Odd One Out’s doozy of a love triangle is a dramatic reminder that sexuality is complicated and so are human relationships.