All Out

alloutAll Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages, edited by Saundra Mitchell
Harlequin Teen, Feb 2018
Reviewed from hardcover

Summary: As the subtitle suggests, All Out is a YA anthology of historical LGBTQ+ short fiction. The stories span from the late fourteenth century up to Y2K and vary widely in locale and subject matter. Most are realistic, some are folkloric, and some have a strong dash of magic in the mix. All feature young people coming into their queer selves and navigating how to live in a way that’s true to who they are, whatever the period or place.

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The Cardboard Kingdom

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sellcardboardkingdom
Alfred A. Knopf BFYR, June 2018

Reviewed from ARC

Plot Summary: In this middle grade graphic novel, a group of diverse children use their imaginations and lots and LOTS of cardboard to create and inhabit a pretend world in their neighborhood. The kids’ stories aren’t all fun and games (for instance, the book tackles subjects like divorce and bullying). But, in their Cardboard Kingdom, the kids regain some control over their lives—and are free to be whatever they please.

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And We’re Back!

It’s almost that time again! Medal on My Mind is getting ready to take a close look at 2018’s queer books for kids and teens in anticipation of the 2019 Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Stonewall Book Award.  Some exciting announcements and housekeeping details before we get into the good stuff:

A New Home

We have an official website! You can now link to Medal on My Mind at

(Though the wordpress address still works, too.)

Our Team

Stacy and Dani are returning to the blog for a second time round. Kazia won’t be here with us this yearbut for very good reason: she’s currently serving on the 2019 Sibert committee. We’re excited to welcome two new contributors: Alec Chunn (who dreamed up the initial idea for MoMM) and Kit Kavanagh-Ryan.

Alec (he/him/his) is a librarian and book reviewer in the Pacific Northwest. He holds joint masters degrees in library science and children’s literature and served on the 2018 Rainbow Book List Committee.

Kit (she/her/hers) holds a Masters of Information Management and is mid-PhD at Deakin University, specialising in children’s fiction, disability and secondary worlds. She works as an alcohol and other drug librarian at a not-for-profit and lectures in young adult and children’s literature at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

What To Expect

Between August and January, every week(ish), there will be a new short post from one of us providing a brief overview of a book and some thoughts on its queer rep. We’ll also do some round-ups to give consideration to as many books as we can.

Guest Blogging

We’re looking forward to featuring more guest posts from fellow queer reviewers this year. If you’re interested in writing for Medal on My Mind, please email with the title(s) you’d like to cover and, briefly, why.  

Up Next

You’ll be hearing more from us soon! Subscribe to this page or follow Medal on My Mind on Twitter for updates.

After the Announcement

Congratulations to this year’s Stonewall Book Award winners and honors!



Though we only had the chance to cover one of the four here, these choices didn’t come at us completely out of the blue. You can find some final reflections at the end of this post.

We are so thrilled to see such diverse and intersectional representation honored this year. The committee awarded all women and nonbinary folks, and while this isn’t unprecedented, it’s unusual enough to merit acknowledgement! Both of the winners address disability, and all four of the chosen titles explore race and racism. Two of the titles feature characters with nonbinary identities (Sasha in The 57 Bus is agender and Charlie in As the Crow Flies is nonbinary). At least two of the books feature characters who are bi.

It was also awesome to see books with queer representation win big in other areas. Printz winner We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is about a queer girl, and Geisel winner Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, with illustrations by Emily Hughes, depicts a gay couple.

We learned a lot from the reading and blogging we did this year–most significantly, that we could use a bigger team! If you are interested in working with Medal on My Mind or know someone who would make a stellar contributor with insightful perspectives on Stonewall eligibles, drop a comment or email us at

We’ll pick back up again in the summer with a broader consideration of 2018’s possibilities. In the meantime, keep up with us on Twitter: Kazia, Alec, Stacy, Dani.

And don’t forget to check out the 2018 Rainbow Booklist

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YA Sci-Fi & Fantasy

We’re getting down to the wire with the ALA YMAs coming up in just over a week! Before they sneak up on us, we’ve got a couple more posts in store. This one takes a look some possible science fiction and fantasy contenders.

There are others that I know I’m remiss not to have included: Shaun David Hutchinson’s At the Edge of the Universe and April Daniels’s Dreadnought and Sovereign, especially. And more have been on MoMM’s radar, too: Julia Ember’s The Seafarer’s Kiss and The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1), Sarah Fine’s The Cursed Queen (The Imposter Queen #2), F. T. Lukens’s Ghosts & Ashes (Broken Moon #2), Linsey Miller’s Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows #1), Rick Riordan’s The Dark Prophecy (Trials of Apollo #2), Tara Sim’s Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2), and AdriAnne Strickland’s Shadow Run (Kaitan Chronicles #1).

Knowing that YA publishing has been a bit slow to catch up on queer representation in any genre that isn’t realism, I’m glad to see a decent number of sci-fi and fantasy books out this year. I regret that I can’t do this selection a bit more justice, but here’s what I’ve got:

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Honestly Ben & Looking for Group

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg
Arthur A. Levine, March 2017
Reviewed from ARC

Looking for Group by Rory Harrison
Harper Teen, April 2017
Reviewed from ARC

I’m not going to lie: I’ve had a really hard time figuring out how to write this post. The books I’m talking about today are COMPLICATED, and so are my feelings about them. I also feel like, despite being a polysexual/polyromantic person (not to be confused with polyamorous), I’m not the most qualified to write about the quality of representation in these texts. Both Honestly Ben and Looking for Group feature teenage boys who move from monosexual identities (straight and gay, respectively) to a more complicated understanding of their sexualities as they experience for the first time profound sexual and romantic attraction to a single person who doesn’t fit into their previous sexual orientation. However, for both boys class and masculinity intersect to shape their own responses to their shifting sexual and romantic identities, and this is something I can’t speak to as a middle class woman (it’s also not something I’m going to touch on in detail here, but it’s an undercurrent that’s always present in the texts). So please bear with me as I try to parse out my thoughts and feelings about these complicated books!

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Like Water

likewaterLike Water by Rebecca Podos
Balzer + Bray, Oct 2017
Reviewed from ARC

It’s a rare treat to find a work of YA contemporary realism that has such a distinct sense of place and is so full of emotion. Podos’s prose has an effortless beauty, and more than anything else, the characters shine. I adored Vanni and Leigh and the ways they push against gender roles and the gender binary.

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