Books With GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) Characters

Books With GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) Characters

As a little bit of a tease, I do have some great news to share, but I can’t share it right now until a certain condition is met–and another piece of awesome news, but the details are still being worked out. On the other hand, I can give you a hint about the latest book I’m working on: this book contains an asexual male. This book is actually a re-vamped version of a book I started last year, so it’s a dramatic change, but one I’m sticking with because I finally want to delve into writing contemporary YA issues-based books. The Stars Trilogy will probably be my last and only trilogy/series.

With that in mind, I have been reading¬†a lot of books along the GSM spectrum, and while I haven’t been able to find any books with asexual characters you don’t have to analyze to know they are asexual, I’ve still found a few golden reads, and I’d like to share them with you. With the increasing attention the GSM community is getting, I think it is vital that people start to read books with GSM characters in order to understand what it’s like living with sexual and gender identities that are neither cis nor hetero.

Now keep in mind that these are all YA novels, because they are primarily what I read, but they still give you a fantastic glimpse of what it’s like for people in the GSM community.

  • LunaLuna by Julie Anne Peters. This book involves the story of a transgender teen wanting to transition from male to female. She calls herself Luna (real name Liam). She only feels safe transforming into Luna in the safety of her basement bedroom. This is the first book I read with a transgender teen, and I’m going to try to find others to read as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • freakboyFreakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark. Brendan Chase feels like he’s in the wrong body–but then sometimes he doesn’t. He’s actually gender fluid, and this was the first time I learned about gender fluidity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • safe Safe by C. Kennedy. All Caleb wants to do is protect his boyfriend Nico from his father. This book was actually quite a shock to me, because some scenes were a little more detailed than what YA generally allows. But its publisher, Harmony Ink Press, is about pushing the boundaries of YA literature, do I figured I would throw this one in the list for breaking boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • HeavyweightLGHeavyweight by MB Mulhall. Ian’s crush on Julian Yang threatens to reveal that he’s a gay youth living in a backwater southern town. This book is unique because it isn’t just about a gay youth, but a gay youth who also struggles with an eating disorder. It’s uncommon to find books about males struggling with eating disorders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • scarsScars by Cheryl Rainfield. Kendra is self-harming to suppress some horrible memories of childhood sexual abuse. I chose this book because it doesn’t even revolve around Kendra’s sexuality at all. Yet, near the end, she has a girlfriend, and she never once thinks that it’s unusual. So this book treats homosexuality like heterosexuality, and that’s what I liked about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Currently I’m reading Tales from Foster High by John Goode, and it seems like the series is going to revolve around several gay youth during their high school years. I might post a review on this when I’m done with it.

I definitely recommend checking out these books. Also check out Harmony Ink Press for more books, because they are about publishing books with teens in the GSM community.

 

Inspiration From Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals

Inspiration From Inpatient Psychiatric Hospitals

This will be the working hook for the revision of Stolentime.
This will be the working hook for the revision of Stolentime.
My first hospitalization at Summit Ridge greatly influenced the most recent book that I am working on. While I hated being there because I felt like I was in Kindergarten, I always enjoyed the group therapies because everyone had a different story to tell for why he or she was at Summit Ridge. There were people who attempted suicide, people struggling with suicidal ideation and self-harm (like I did), people who were there because they had violent breakdowns, people who wanted to be kept safe from themselves, people unstable on meds, or people just unable to care for themselves.

There was one man I met who inspired my main character’s, Gene’s, diagnosis. This man was struggling with treatment-resistant depression. He had already undergone three treatments of ECT (electric convulsion therapy) when I arrived there. I asked him if he felt the treatments working, and he told me he didn’t.

This was terrifying to me, to think you could be depressed forever with nothing ever working for you. You can have therapy and positive thinking, but it doesn’t change the fact that you have to work 100x harder than a mentally healthy person to get things done. Or to live. To even just breathe.

Being who I am, I was terrified that I’d be one of those people, especially after my second hospitalization. Finding medication stability with¬†bipolar is not easy. You can’t be on antidepressants–any type–because you could go manic. So you have to rely on mood stabilizers to get you to where you are, but they have crappy side effects, so you really spend time trying to find the right medicinal cocktail with the least crummy side effects. But it was these experiences that shaped my main character, Gene.

There are plenty of YA books that deal with depression, but I haven’t found any that deal with a teen who must learn to live with such a morose disease. It’s always books about teens with untreated mental illnesses that once they are diagnosed, the doctors make the treatment seem so easy. So I decided to be the one to write that book where the treatment isn’t easy. So my fears and my dealings with psychiatric units have shaped what it would be like to live with treatment-resistant depression. People with hard-to-treat depression often have to learn how to live this way. It is unfortunate many believe that suicide is the only way out because it is tough to live with depression. It’s a terrible disease that warps your thoughts and has physical effects on you too. So in order to create Gene, I asked myself, ‘What would it be like to be a teen living with treatment-resistant depression?’

I want Gene to exist for teens, for anyone out there who feels he or she cannot go on because he/she knows the depression is forever. Gene’s depression is pretty much terminal, but he has to learn how to live with it. So Stolentime is a book about a depressed teen going through trials that will teach him the value of his own life. I know in real life people aren’t going to be tested the way Gene is, but I hope they look into Gene’s character and find the hope they need so they can live to be the hope for others going through similar trials.

To me, suicide is tragic not because it is the end of a human life but because it is the end of hope, the end of potential, the end of someone else’s reason to live.

Currently I am 32,000 words into the book. If I continue writing a chapter a day, I will have the book finished the week after next. Once I begin revisions, I will be able to start talking more about this book. And hopefully by then I will have more information on When Stars Die.