By Jenna Goodall
With a new year comes a lot of evaluation of the previous year’s books. Were LGBT people well represented in 2013’s YA books? Let’s take a look at the statistics:
In her post, “2013 LGBT YA by the Numbers,” Malinda Lo compiled statistics about the publishers of 2013 LGBT YA and the gender of the characters. She found that “1.9% to 2.4% of YA books published in 2013 include LGBT main characters or are about LGBT issues.” This is an increase over last year. However, there were fewer LGBT YA titles published from mainstream publishers (and an increase in publications from LGBT publishers), and the majority of these books are about cisgender males.
Lo also gathered data on LGBT YA books from the last decade in her post “LGBT Young Adult Books 2003-13: A Decade of Slow But Steady Change.” Her conclusion states, “Despite the struggles that go into publishing LGBT YA, I don’t think the prognosis is entirely grim. The number of LGBT YA books has been rising, albeit slowly, and the kind of LGBT YA books being published has been changing. There are more LGBT YA books being published in which the LGBT aspect is not situated as a problem to be overcome; more LGBT YA is simply about a character who is LGBT; and recently there have been more science fiction and fantasy LGBT YA novels.”
Over at the blogs Stacked and YALSA’s The Hub are posts about the appearance of LGBT YA books on various “Best of 2013” lists. In Stacked’s post, “Best of 2013 YA List Breakdown, Part 1,” Kelly J. lists five books she noticed on major “Best of” lists that feature characters indentified as LGBTQ: More Than This by Patrick Ness, The Sin-Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. Bick, Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, Winger by Andrew Smith, and Zero Fade by Chris L. Terry.
Emily Calkins at The Hub discuses her findings in the post “A Different Light: LGBTQ Characters on 2013 ‘Best of’ Lists.” She mentions four books with LGBTQ characters found on “Best of” lists. Three were also on Stacked’s list (More Than This, Two Boys Kissing, and Winger). The fourth title mentioned is The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson. Similar to what Lo’s statements about gender representation in 2013’s LGBT YA books, Calkins notes that the characters from these four books are all cisgender gay boys.
Will we see an increase in LGBT YA books in 2014? Will there be more female, transgender, and bisexual representations? Take a look at at some forthcoming books on the Goodreads list “2014 Books with (Possible) LGBT Themes,” and add titles that are on your radar.