logo Practical Dreamers

Not just a
schoolgirl crush



An annotated book list of teenage novels
on the issues of being lesbian

Compiler:   William E. Elderton

Compiled for young people,  youth workers,  parents and teachers
by the Community of Women and Men in Church and Society
of the Methodist Church of New Zealand  -
Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa
November,  1997

©   The Community of Women and Men in Church and Society   1997
P.O. Box5076,  Dunedin,  New Zealand


Also available on this site are two other annotated book lists by William Elderton:
The male closet in many a classroom  (on the issues of being gay)
Crossing boundaries  (on issues of sexual abuse)




Purchasing titles unavailable locally

Short story collections

Novels dealing with lesbian issues






Novels have the ability to reflect our world,  helping us to feel comfortable in it while providing ways of examining aspects of that world we may never experience in real life.   Furthermore,  good fiction can present a framework in which we may more effectively come to terms with those events in our own lives we might find hard to handle;  we can thus begin to feel that we are not alone.   This is especially applicable to teenagers.

Young people coming to face their sexual development can find through appropriate fictional characters in credible situations an avenue to assist in their coping with inner conflicts.

In the area of sexual orientation high quality fiction is required which can provide a mirror to young readers' uncertainties and which might go some way towards proffering positive guidance.

Many teachers,  youth workers,  and parents are unaware of the growing number of high standard novels being written for the teenage / forms 1 to 5 market on or around the topic of homosexuality.   What follows is an annotated list of contemporary novels for this group which deal with the topic of female homosexuality or  'lesbianism'  as it is also termed.

Together these titles cover the range of issues involved  -  lesbian friends,  parental reaction,  self-doubt and self-awareness,  plus the AIDS question and the difficulties of establishing satisfactory lesbian relationships at this age in life,  and without many public role models.   These novels do all this unobtrusively in the context of strong,  interesting,  and enjoyable story lines with highly relevant characters.   As the annotations will show,  in some books the  'lesbian theme'  (and characters)  is secondary.

Also it is emphasised that these are not  'sexy'  novels.   There is little,  if any,  sexual description to be found;  rather the authors explore more the emotional and mental aspects of homosexuality as it affects the diverse group of people who are  'involved'  when a young person begins to wonder about sexual orientation.

This is not an exhaustive list,  but comprises books known to be more easily available.

At the conclusion of the annotations there is a bibliography of periodical articles which will provide further information on both the topic and some of the individual authors listed.

The books listed are not all in print,  nor available in every public and school library.   They are,  however,  available  (in New Zealand)  through the interloan service provided through your local public library.   The School Library Service of the National Library is the other main source for schools.

High quality bookshops will order titles still in print from overseas,  if market regulations permit.

Publishing houses and dates are as on the editions seen by the compiler.   Titles can change;  publishers,  and foreign editions may be more readily available than the original UK,  US,  or Australian ones.   Also paperback editions are often issued by other publishers.   (Any good bookshop or library will check this.)   Thus no ISBN numbers are given,  as these change with new editions.



Purchasing titles unavailable locally

High quality and specialized bookshops will order titles still in print from overseas,  where market regulations permit.   In New Zealand and Australia such shops include:
AucklandUniversity Bookshop
Auckland Campus and City Branch
Fax to both:   (09) 309 4278
Unity Books
19 High Street
Fax  (09) 373 4883
WellingtonEpworth Books
75 Taranaki Street
Free Phone   0800 755 355
Victoria University Book Centre
1 Kelburn Parade
Unity Books
119 - 125  Willis Street
Fax  (04) 385 4956
Palmerston NorthBennetts University Book Centre Ltd
Massey Campus
Phone  (06) 354 6020
ChristchurchKate Sheppard Book Shop
145 Manchester Street
Phone (03) 379 0784
Fax  (03) 379 1769
University Bookshop Canterbury
Ilam Campus
Phone  (03) 348 8579
Scorpio Books
79 - 83  Hereford Street
P.O. Box 2376
Phone  (03) 379 2882
Fax  (03) 379 2886
DunedinUniversity Bookshop Otago Ltd
378 Great King Street
Fax  (03) 477 6571
SydneyThe Bookshop Darlinghurst
207 Oxford Street
New South Wales
Phone  (02) 9331 1103
MelbourneHares and Hyenas Bookshops
135 Commercial Road
South Yarra
Phone  (03) 9824 0110
The Little Bookroom
185 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne 3000
Phone  (03) 9670 1612   (03) 9602 1392
Fax  (03) 9670 4440
AdelaideKids Books
435 Portrush Road
Glenside 5065
Phone  (08) 379 7022
Fax  (08) 379 5884
Murphy Sisters Bookshop
240 The Parade
Adelaide 5067
Phone  (08) 332 7508
Fax  (08) 331 3559
Sisters By The Sea
14 Semaphore Road
Adelaide 5019
Phone  (08) 8341 7088
Fax  (08) 8242 4100



1.       Short Story Collections

Adler,  Sue (editor)  Mightier than the lipstick:  stories by women
Penguin Plus,  1992

These 11 punchy and astute stories portray different facets of,  mainly,  teenage women.   In  "Codling Moth"  by New Zealand born Margaret Sutherland,  the close friendship between teenagers Mel and Gabrile is poisoned by the bitter suspicions and hints about lesbianism from Gabrile's mum.

Bauer,  Marion Dane  (editor)  Am I Blue?   Coming out from the Silence  
NY,  Harper Trophy,  1994

An American anthology of sixteen short stories devoted to gay and lesbian themes especially written for young adults.   Contributors include M.E. Kerr,  Francesca Lia Block,  Jane Yolen,  and William Sleator.

Blacklock,  Dyan   Call it love
Allen & Unwin (Australia)  1996  (Ark fiction)

A collection of short stories from Australia,  one of which,  "Seddy says you stink",  is appropriate for this list.   It is a seemingly slight tale about the inter-relationships between some high school girls which centre on ablution habits.   The final lines,  however,  shift the weight of what has gone before,  illuminating the signposts to a potential lesbian relationship.

Block,  Francesca Lia  Girl goddess #9  
Harper Collins  1996

Within these nine breezingly zany stories jaunty female protagonists with New Age names recount their fast paced and turbulent experiences.   In  "Dragons in Manhattan"  Turk discovers her lesbian mother's female lover is really her post sex-change father  -  a somewhat challenging scenario even for Francesca Lia Block to tackle!

Duder,  Tessa  (editor)   Nearly seventeen:  New Zealand stories  
Penguin Books  1993

A fine collection of 18 short stories which reflect many of the experiences facing young Kiwi women today.   In Fiona Kidman's  Nobody else  an older teen learns about the romantic beginnings of her parents' relationship before going to meet her lesbian girlfriend.   The loving mother's ignorance of the daughter's intentions,  with the accompanying belief in a "conventional" future for her child,  gives a poignant touch.

Duder,  Tessa  (editor)   Falling in love:  romantic stories for young adults  
Puffin  1995

Ten delightfully credible New Zealand short stories about teenage romantic love.   Paula Boock's  Night Creatures  is a brief account of a lesbian's midnight journey to a lover's home.   Ordinary aspects of the walk across the street then alongside the house to the back lawn are invested with a dream-like quality,  while the mixed-up turmoil of expectation is softly presented and everything makes for a faster-paced vignette than the story's length would indicate.

Grima,  Tony  (editor)   Not the only one:  Lesbian and gay fiction for teens  
Boston,  Alyson,  1995

Twenty-one short stories by mainly U.S. writers about teenagers coming to terms with gay and lesbian issues.   Here are sensitive,  well-written self-awareness experiences,  coming-out stories and accounts of family members coping with the homosexuality of one of their own.

Malone,  John  (editor)   First loves  
Sydney,  Collins,  1989

Fifteen Australian writers present short stories on the pains of first love.   In June Epstein's  The substitute  Marcia falls passionately in love with Glennys Doe,  a substitute English teacher.   Doe's later rejection and the attentions of school peer Herman lead Marcia towards heterosexuality.   Another story,  the very ethereal  Ice Blue  by Rosemary Donovan,  hints at being a lesbian love story.

Nieuwenhuizen,  Agnes  (compiler)   Family:  a collection of short stories  
Mammoth/Reed (Australia),  1994

Sixteen outstanding stories about young adults caught in the complexities of "family"  -  its joys,  realities and mysteries.   The two final offerings qualify this title for the list.   About Zan  recounts the effects on various generations of a family when teenage Zan comes out as a lesbian.   The passing of Aunty Erl  is a poignant picture of the death of one of an elderly lesbian partnership as viewed through the eyes of a gay teenage relative.

Pausacker,  Jenny  (compiler)   Hide and seek:  Stories about being young and gay/lesbian  
Mandarin/Reed (Australia),  1996

Eighteen Aussie authors who have previously shown their ability to effectively tackle homosexual themes here produce a fine gallery of short stories which,  in a variety of writing styles,  offer us many of the issues and situations facing gay/lesbian youth.   The collection is somewhat more senior teen orientated than Marion Bauer's  Am I Blue?

Stories,  Rosemary  (editor)   Some day my prince won't come:  more stories for young feminists  
London,  Lions Tracks,  1990 (1988)

Only one story in this substandard collection of seven has a lesbian theme,  Susannah Bowyer's  On the Verge.   Here 17-year-olds Anna and Carol muse on the possibility they are both lesbian,  and share misinformation and fears.   While virgin Anna experimentally has sex with a male peer,  the more sensible  (and likeable)  Carol susses out a local supportive women's group within which she can appreciate being lesbian  -  if that is where she finally feels she is "at".   An unsatisfactory,  Enid Blyton type tale.   The flat and banal style mirrors the immature teenage world it records with swear words seemingly sprinkled liberally for effect.   Parents,  though present,  are devoid of any supportive,  emotional role.

Walker,  Kate  Changes and other stories  
Omnibus Books,  1995

Sixteen stories reflecting on how young people's lives can change in respect to different circumstances.   In  Gem  Gem devastatingly finds that the loving friendship bond she'd shared with school peer Ellen is being replaced for Ellen by a new interest in boys.   At the story's comclusion,  Gem,  finding she can't feel for a boy in the way she did for Ellen,  begins a new friendship with the class's female activist.   Nothing physical is suggested but one assumes Gem will ultimately define herself as a lesbian.   A useful addition to this list,  Gem  shows the more common development from same sex crushes and intense friendships to heterosexual love.

Westaway,  Jane  Reliable friendly girls  
Dunedin,  Lonacre Press,  1996

These 12 stories by Jane Westaway give credible glimpses into teenage New Zealand.   One offering  You Know Who  is a wistful vignette in which a securely closeted lesbian school girl reaches out from behind her friends' group homophobia to attempt a mutual contact with the school's gossip-proclaimed "lesson".   A book which became a 1997 NZ Post Children's Book Award finalist.

Wheatley,  Nadia  (editor)   Landmarks:  Nine New Australian Stories
Turton and Chambers,  1991

In this general collection of Australian short stories for teens,  two feature gay and lesbian themes.   Off the Wall  by Jenny Pausacker centres on the lead character's lesbianism,  but Joel her  'got-it-all-together'  gay school peer provides a positive role model.   Bron Nicholl's  Only Two Hours by Train  has a minor incident when Kevin inwardly debates the state of his friendship with Theo if the latter were gay.



2.       Novels dealing with lesbian issues

Bess,  Clayton   The Mayday Rampage
California,  Lookout Press,  1993

While accidentally falling in love,  Molly and Jess  (a male classmate)  research a series of hard-hitting articles on AIDS for their High School magazine.   Censorship by school authorities intervenes,  but the final denouement is Molly contracting AIDS through an earlier,  first-ever sexual encounter with Jess's best friend,  who,  in the concluding pages,  is uncovered as gay.   Told in the form of typescripts of taped conversations between Molly and Jess,  the novel develops a pace of its own through the twisting plot.   One of the best novels on AIDS available,  and included because the victim is a girl.

Boock,  Paula   Out Walked Mel
Dunedin,  McIndoe,  1991

After insulting the Minister of Education,  17 year old Mel,  who is vivacious, angry,  and searching,  hits the road from Dunedin for a jaunt to Cape Reinga.   Her adventures,  and the death of her friend while she's away,  help Mel to finally deal with her mother's lesbianism.   This is a short,  fast-moving and skilfully crafted novel,  wholly and invigoratingly New Zealand.

Brett,  Catherine   S.P. likes A.D.
Toronto,  The Women's Press,  1989

In this relatively brief,  but gentle,  Canadian novel,  Stephanie works through her physical and emotional attraction to her classmate Anne.   Stephanie is aided on her journey to self awareness by a middle-aged lesbian couple  -  one of whom assists her with an art project  -  and a school friend whose brother is gay.

Brookes,  Bruce   Midnight hour encores
NY,  Harper and Row,  1986

At 16,  Sib crosses the United States to meet the mother who'd opted out of motherhood's responsibilities after Sib was born.   Her father accompanies Sib,  helping to prepare her for the encounter,  trying to share ideas,  concepts,  music and people,  from her mother's past.   Although only a minor incident in her travels,  Sib's visit with Gwen and her butch highlights the struggle many lesbians have to parent their children from former heterosexual relationships.

Chick,  Sandra   Push me,  pull me
London,  Women's Press,  1987

A moving tale of how 14 year-old Cathy is left to cope alone with the traumatic after-effects of a rape by her mum's de facto.   Until she can work through the issues,  pain,  guilt and anger are the norm for Cathy.   In a brief,  lonely and unguarded moment when she is in need of security she finds herself attracted to her best friend,  Sophie.

De Clements,  Barthe   I never asked you to understand me
New York,  Scholastic,  1987 (1986)

Attending an alternative secondary school for problem pupils,  Dianna pals up with Stacy who we find is a victim of paternal sexual abuse.   The closeness of the friendship causes Stacy's dad to hurl vicious taunts about lesbianism at the girls.   The novel really centres on Dianna's coping with her own family problems,  while the drug use by the school's pupils is a constant theme.

Donovan,  Stacey   Dive
Puffin,  1996 (1994)

Virginia is 15 when her life begins to go down the gurgler,  her dog is killed and her father's terminal illness strains the family togetherness.   Finally lesbian Jane,  her new friend,  awakens in Virginia a new understanding of love.

Francis,  Jaye   Rebecca
Penguin  (Australia)  1991  (Hot Pursuit: 4)

Going from being the school's quiet,  secretive "dag"  to a popular peer leader is achieved by Rebecca in her final High School year,  a transformation achieved after her kidnapping by men wanting to hit at her workaholic father.   Rebecca also accepts the reason for her parents' divorce  -  her mother's lesbianism.   As usual with Australian writers the topic is positively handled and credibly melded into a tense,  action-filled novel.

Futcher,  Jane   Crush
Alyson,  1995 (1981)

In the last year at her girls' boarding school,  Jinx finds that a crush for a friend,  Lexie,  is moving close towards much deeper and more physical expressions.   Lexie,  a user,  betrays Jinx to the school authorities, whose subsequent actions challenge Jinx's belief in the ways society judges.   Set in 1964-5.

Garden,  Nancy   Annie on my mind
London,  Virago Press,  1982

Certainly one of the best teenage lesbian novels to date.   Garden employs a wonderful use of language to convey the myriad mood changes engendered by the characters' experiences.   Liza and Annie are two 17 year olds from different backgrounds both in their final year at two New York schools.   Their discovery of each other and their lesbianism unfolds against surrounding homophobia and the support of a teaching couple who are also lesbian.

Garden,  Nancy   Good moon rising
Farrar,  1996

Jan and Kerry,  two American High School seniors develop a lesbian relationship while involved in a production of The Crucible.   Jan's growth as a mint-new drama producer is an equal element in the novel.

Guy,  Rosa   Ruby
Penguin Plus,  1989 (1976)

A sensitive member of a New York immigrant family from the West Indies,  Ruby is struggling to cope with her mother's death,  her sister's retreat into books and her bombastic father's limited intelligence.   At school the 18 year old Ruby is both accused of being an "Uncle Tom"  and becomes the butt of boys' overt sexual humour. A deepening friendship,  and growing lesbian relationship,  with a brilliant but self-justifying classmate Daphne provide Ruby with a release.   Daphne's cruel ending to their bond devastates Ruby's faith in everlasting love.   The lesbian theme sits unobtrusively within a powerful saga of a girl's search for a strong and stable emotional centre.

Hautzig,  Deborah   Hey,  Dollface
London,  Fontana,  1978

Another private girls school story set in New York!   Here Val and Chloe learn to come to terms with friendships turning into sexual awakening along with the accompanying guilt and fears of peer pressures.

Humphreys,  Martha   Until whatever
New York,  Scholastic,  1993 (1991)  (Point Paperbacks)

A novel about the strengths of friendship.   When Connie,  a former school friend,  contracts AIDS,  Karen has to make some crucial decisions.   Karen's support of the lonely and abandoned Connie against the irrational homophobic feelings within the school community is realistically conveyed.

Kerr,  M.E.   Deliver us from Evie
New York,  Harper Collins,  1994

Evie is a down-to-earth 18 year old farmer and ripper mechanic.   She leaves the closet to family and Missouri Valley neighbours on establishing a romantic,  if controversial,  lesbian affair with the society-orientated daughter of a powerful local magnate.   Events are recounted by Evie's younger brother,  himself falling for his first girl friend.   A delicate exposition of the lesbian theme by this sensitive lesbian writer who also conveys the changing farming scene and climate forces which themselves influence the plot.

Kerr,  M.E.   Is that you,  Miss Blue?
Pan Horizon,  1975

A fine story of American boarding school life,  in which the apparently lesbian teaching couple,  Miss Able and Miss Mitchell,  are sympathetically portrayed.

Kerr,  M.E.   The son of someone famous
Penguin,  1974

An hilarious novel of a mutually sustaining friendship between Brenda Belle and Adam,  the "son of someone famous",  who is living quietly away from media attention.   Brenda has some earlier doubts about her heterosexuality due to a latent development in being boy "aware".

Kesselman,  Wendy   Flick
New York,  Harper & Row,  1983

Flick,  the product of a wealthy,  if dysfunctional,  family,  uses charm to manipulate her peers at a private New York girls school.   Bi-sexual,  she engages in a physical relationship with Nana  -  two years Flick's junior.   We see events from Nana's viewpoint and the author,  if rather over the top,  conveys the younger girl's trauma of longing and rejection.   However,  Flick's recounting of her sexual abuse by her stepfather is convincing.

Klein,  Norma   Breaking up
Pan Horizons,  1980

Alison and her brother Morten are in their late teens when caught up in their divorced father's homophobic rage in his discovery that his ex-wife is living in a lesbian relationship.   The decision about which parent Alison and Morten should continue to live with is made by the young people themselves and they accept and respect their mother's differences.

Klein,  Norma   Family secrets
New York,  Fawcett Juniper,  1985

Sixteen year old Leslie finds the difficulties adjusting to her parents' divorce complicated when her boyfriend Peter  -  with whom she is having a sexual relationship  -  becomes her step-brother upon her mother's brief re-marriage.   Petra,  her best friend,  is openly lesbian and discussions on homosexuality occur in the girls' feminist classes.   An added theme is the struggle both Leslie and Peter's mothers have to find themselves as valued individuals after their marriage breakdowns.

Klein,  Norma   Learning how to fall
New York,  Bantam,  1989

This is a novel of relationships.   Seventeen year old Dustin has a rehabilitated alcoholic father,  a sexually experimenting girl friend and another friend,  Amelia,  whose close family offers Dustin a greater hope for inner stability than the psychiatric world his father sends him to.   Dustin's mother, divorced from her husband,  lives in a relaxed,  normal lesbian partnership which Dustin views as the only decent adult relationship he knows.

Klein,  Norma   My life as a body
New York,  Knopf,  1987

While coming to an awareness of her own body and sexuality Augustine falls in love with a physically disabled male school peer.   Her closest friend,  Claudia,  is a lesbian,  and the two girls,  in their final High School year,  share their different appreciations of selfhood and love.

Klein,  Norma   Taking sides
New York,  Pantheon,  1974

Possibly Nell's divorced mother is in a lesbian relationship with Greta,  the woman she shares a room with in a large house and,  considering Klein's later published novels,  the partnership is highly likely.   However,  the reality of the couple's arangments is never discussed  -  rather this is a story about teenage Nell accommodating her love for both parents within the framework of a split custody situation.

L'Engle,  Madeline   A house like a lotus
New York,  Farrar,  Straus,  Giroux,  1984

While on holiday in Greece,  16 year old Polly O'Keefe comes to understand that there are different types of love.   Although heterosexual,  Polly both accepts the friendship of an older woman back in America and forgives that friend's lesbian advances upon her.   This is a typical novel from Madeline L'Engle  -  the heroine is way above average in intellect and sophistication  -  but fans of this writer will enjoy the book.

Leonard,  Alison   Tinker's career
London,  Walkers,  1988

A novel for older teens.   Fifteen year old Tina learns her mother and grandmother died from a rare disease which she and her Aunt Louise have a 50% chance of inheriting.   Tina's Dad kept the disease,  and Louise,  from her,  fearing the influence upon Tina of Louise and her lesbian partner Deana.   The lesbian issue is a sub-plot in a tightly crafted account of a teenager coming to a more traumatic self-awareness than most people of her age.

Levy,  Elizabeth   Come out smiling
New York,  Delacorte,  1981

Considerable emotional ambivalence follows Jenny's discovery that her summer camp counsellor Peggy is a lesbian.   That she at 14 could still have a "crush" on Peggy leads Jenny to question her own sexuality.   The portrayal of Jenny's ultra sarcastically humorous father adds another dimension to the novel.

Mullins,  Hilary   The cat came back
Vaiad Press,  1993

Seventeen year old Stephanie  (or 'Stevie' to her peers)  is in the third year od a sexual relationship with a male teacher at her private American boarding school.   It takes an acceptance of her growing lesbian relationship with a peer,  Andrea,  to show Stephanie that the teacher's approach to her has been abusive.   An excellent novel.

Oldham,  June   Double table
Penguin Plus,  1990 (1988)

A typically British Ruth Rendell type disappearance mystery,  with a myriad of twists.   Olivia,  a teenage out-of-work actress,  tries to solve the puzzle of a girl's real life vanishing.   Lesbianism is a recurring motif in this challenging work.

Park,  Christine   Joining the grown-ups
New York,  Heinemann,  1986

At 17 Josie sets out to discover the family secrets about her mother's lesbian relationship and to see just what sort of bond might still exist between mother and daughter.   A book for the older teens,  which verges on the adult.

Pausacker,  Jenny   What are ya?
Sydney,  Angus & Robertson,  1987
    also published as  Get a life  by Women's Press (UK),  1991

Barb and Leith are in their final year at a Sydney High School.   After developing a steady relationship with Paul,  Barb casts thoughts about lesbianism aside,  while her friend Leith begins to accept her probable orientation.   Realistic dialogue.

Samuels,  Gertrude   Run,  Shelley,  run!
New York,  Crowell,  1974

When Shelley's alcoholic mother refuses to support her claim of sexual approach from her stepfather,  the 15 year old is sent to one of New York's Juvenile Centres.   Here,  Shelley's life is a round of constant supervision,  minor crime,  drugs,  aggressive big butch lesbianism,  and continual escape bids to the "security" of the only home the girl has known.   It's a sober,  but very convincing documentary novel written from Samuels' experience as a reporter of such cases.   Unfortunately,  this particular view of lesbianism is the sole one conveyed.

St George,  Judith   Call me Margo
New York,  G.P. Putnam's Sons,  1981

While attending a liberal girls boarding school,  15 year old Margo's tennis playing friendship with Miss Frye,  a lesbian teacher,  invokes bitchy gossip among other pupils.   The association also provokes the cruel jealousy of a former lover of Miss Frye  -  the crippled teacher,  Miss Durrent.   An eventual friendship with Peter at the tennis club gives Margo a happy ending.   This novel has rather single-dimensional characterisation and an unconvincing denouement.

Scoppettone,  Sandra   Happy endings are all alike
London,  Pan Horizon,  1987 (1978)

Jaret and Peggy are in their final year at High School when their lesbian relationship bursts "out" into their small town American community.   The trauma increases when Jaret is raped by a male peer who excuses his actions by claiming righteous anger felt when he spied on the girls making love outdoors.   The plot is tightly constructed and the issues are frankly enunciated but the characters,  along with their feelings,  remain somewhat veiled.

Tolan,  Stephanie S   The last of Eden
New York,  Frederick Warne,  1980

Yet another novel set in an exclusive American girls school!   "Mike",  or Michelle,  finds her peace at Turnbull Hall is broken when her best friend,  Marty,  is accused of having a sexual affair with a female art teacher before progressing to an explicit relationship with a fellow pupil.  The plot is rather heavy going and a tad unrealistic although Mike's self-examination of her own sexuality is convincing.

Ure,  Jean   Tomorrow is also a day
London,  Teens Mandarin,  1989

A continuation of the Abe and Marianne trilogy  See you Thursday  and  After Thursday.   Now having sex,  the couple's story is linked with the unfolding revelation of Marianne's Mum's affair with a married man.   Marianne works at a bookshop the proprietors of which are a lesbian couple.   This relationship is accepted by others,  and the shopkeepers' role in the plot is marginal.

Wersba,  Barbara   Tunes for a small harmonica
London,  Pan Horizon,  1976

Despairing of ever being what she in fact is  -  a contented heterosexual female  -  17 year old J. McAlister feels,  acts and is happiest being like a young male Harlem hood.   Our young heroine therefore embarks on a picaresque voyage of self discovery which includes some initial,  but hilarious,  experiments to see if she is a lesbian.   A typically zappy Wersba novel in which the homosexual thread is a minor one,  but how positively and matter-of-factly the writer presents it!

Woodson,  Jacqueline   The dear one
New York,  Dell,  1991

While still coping with her parents' divorce,  grandmother's death,  and mother's successful pull-back from alcoholic self abuse,  12 year old Feline has to adapt to the arrival of Rebecca into her safe,  black,  middle-class home.   Rebecca's being 15,  Harlem-wise,  and heavily pregnant makes it a difficult space for both girls.   Slowly a bond grows between Rebecca and Feline leading to a deep comradeship.   The process is greatly aided by two lesbian friends of Feline's mother.   In this novel with its vigorous,  independent females,  the lesbian couple are positively portrayed.   Woodson is a highly capable writer.


3.     Appendix  -  bibliography

Articles and books which will help put a framework around the bibliography and provide further information on the theme and some individual authors.

I)     Some General Issues in the Writing of Young Adult Fiction

Aronson,  Marc  "The Y.A. novel is dead"  and other fairly stupid tales
School Library Journal,  January 1995  pp 36, 37
The value of Young Adult novels in articulating relevant social issues.
Caywood,  Carolyn  Risky Business
School Library Journal,  May 1995  p44
Books can battle peer pressure and help teens avoid risks.
Donelson, K.C.  and  Nilsen, A   Literature for today's young adults
Scott Foresman & Co,  1980
Note pages 407-413  Sex,  because it's there
Egoff,  Sheila A.   Thursday's Child:  Trends and Patterns in Contemporary Children's Literature
Chicago,  American Library Assoc,  1981
Note pages 66-79  The problem novel
Goforth,  Frances  and  West,  William W.  
How should teachers handle the literature students are reading?
Language Arts Vol 52  No 8  Nov/Dec  1975  pp1135-1140
Grant,  Cynthia  Tales from a Y.A. author:  Slightly uneasy
School Library Journal,  October 1995  pp48-50
Mazer,  Norma Fox  Silent censorship
School Library Journal,  August 1996  p42  (Make your point)
Fearing controversy,  a school abruptly cancelled a writer's visit.
Taylor,  Anne   What shall we tell the children?
Changing social attitudes as reflected in literature for young readers.
Emergency Librarian  Jan/Feb 1988.   pp9-15
Tucker,  Nicholas   Children's books and unwanted pregnancies
Books for Keeps  No 78  Jan 1993  pp4-5
Ulbrich,  Ingrid   Don't read this!
School Library Journal  January 1996,  p46
Colorado teens learn about censorship
Yates,  Jessica   Controversial teenage fiction
School Librarian Vol 32  No 3  Sept 1984  pp206-213

II)     The Issue of Homosexuality

Anderson,  Douglas E   Gay Information:  Out of the closet
School Library Journal  June 1992  p62
Aubrey,  Sean   Queer Reading
Librarians for Social Change:  4  Winter 1973  p17
Auchmuty,  Rosemary   You're a dyke,  Angela
Trouble and Strife  19  Spring 1987  pp23-30
An interesting item discussing the rise and decline of the girls' school story
Clyde,  Laurel A.  and  Lobban,  Marjorie
Out of the Closet and into the Classroom:  Homosexuality in books for young people
Melbourne,  ALIA Thorpe,  1992

An invaluable tool for fiction on gay and lesbian themes.   The excellent introduction is followed by 132 pages of detailed annotations.

Hanckel,  Frances  and  Cunningham,  John
Can young gays find happiness in young adult books?
Wilson Library Bulletin  March 1976  pp528-534
Slayton,  Paul  and  Vogel,  Brenda
People without faces:  adolescent homosexuality and literature.
English in Education
Wolf,  Virginia L.
The gay family in literature for young people.
Children's Literature in Education  Vol 20  No 1  1989  pp51-58

III)     Articles by or about Authors of Novels Handling
Lesbian Themes

Kerr,  M.E.
Me, Me, Me, Me, Me:  not a novel
New York,  Harper Collins,  1983

A delightful autobiographical ramble by M.E. Kerr through her early years,  highlighting how certain experiences and people in her life appeared in her novels.

Sutton,  Roger
A conversation with  M.E. Kerr
School Library Journal  June 1993  pp24-29       [M.E. Kerr]
Klein,  Norma
Being banned
Top of the News  Spring 1985  pp248-255
Klein,  Norma
Growing up human:  the case for sexuality in children's books
Children's Literature in Education  1977  pp80-84
Newberry,  Linda
Jean Ure
Books for Keeps  #90 January 1995  pp12,13       [Jean Ure]
Ure,  Jean
Who Censors?
Books for Keeps  No 58  September 1989  p19
Ure,  Jean
Some more golden rules
Books for Keeps  No 66  January 1991  p5
Wersba,  Barbara  and  Frank,  Josette
Sexuality in books for children:  an exchange
Library Journal  February 1973  pp44-47       [Barbara Wersba]



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