These books are from my middle school reading collection. This year has shown our school to be more diverse in identity than administration expected. It’s been my pleasure, along with our school librarian, to help students find books where they can find themselves in the story.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
What if angels looked like monsters, but the real monsters were people? Jam, a Black trans girl, has to answer that question when the adults in her life refuse to believe reality.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love, a trans boy, wants to be in love and to be loved in return. Through the novel, he learns he’s worthy of love, top scars and all.
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
Colbert shows marginalizations overlap – Suzette is black, Jewish and bisexual, Emil is biracial (Korean/African-American) and hard of hearing due to Ménière’s disease, Lionel is Jewish and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Rafaela is Latina and pansexual. Family keeps secrets, but should they?
George by Alex Gino
More of an elementary book, this tells the story of Melissa, who wants to play Charlotte in her school’s production of Charlotte’s Web. However, since no one knows she’s a girl, she’s not even allowed to try out, but that doesn’t stop her.
Flamer by Mike Curato
This graphic novel explores what it’s like to be a middle school boy that feels strongly about life and not having a place in it. The story takes place at summer camp, where he crushes on another boy and decides that he won’t let others’ opinions stop him from living his best life.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
A love story told through two timelines and across deep space in a graphic novel. Mia falls for Grace way back in boarding school and finds her again as an adult.
Former combat vet Rook Riley is a writer, game enthusiast, and all-around linguistic badass trained in Krav Maga and spoon warfare. They split their time between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the family farm where the bulk of their writing is done. They are a member of the Dallas Defensive Shooters Club and the PTA. Hobbies include binge-watching Netflix and collecting tattoos.