By Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith
We are published authors who co-wrote a post-apocalyptic young adult novel. When we set out to find an agent for it, we expected to get some rejections. But we never expected to be offered representation… on the condition that we make a gay character straight, or cut him out altogether.
Our novel, Stranger, has five viewpoint characters; one, Yuki Nakamura, is gay and has a boyfriend. Yuki’s romance, like the heterosexual ones in the novel, involves nothing more explicit than kissing.
An agent from a major agency, one which represents a bestselling YA novel in the same genre as ours, called us.
Read the rest of the article in Publishers Weekly HERE
I am appalled and saddened by this article although I shouldn't be surprised, I've known for a long time that I inhabit a bubble where social justice matters. As the book buyer for teen fiction for the Diesel bookstores I consider it a plus when the publisher rep tells me there is a positive LGBT point of view in the story, better yet one of the main characters. This will cause me to give a second look to a title I might otherwise have passed. There is a link in the article to a decent list of YA Fantasy & Science Fiction with LBGT POV that I have posted at the Oakland store.
I must say these issues are far more troubling to me than the general state of the book industry. What kind of industry are we trying to save if a stranglehold is put on open-mindedness and diversity.
A few titles from that list:
City of Bones (Mortal Instruments), by Cassandra Clare. Urban fantasy series with major gay characters.
Gone, by Michael Grant. Everyone over the age of 13 vanishes, and the remaining kids begin to acquire strange powers. A major character is a lesbian.
Huntress, by Malinda Lo. A quest fantasy set in a China-inspired fantasy world, with a sweet romance and some quite beautiful passages. The heroines are lesbians.