Our first post is from Samantha Boyette, the author of the YA lesbian fantasy, Morning Rising, which we reviewed recently. She recommends Ash by Malinda Lo.
Which lesbian book should you read first?
I’m gonna guess my first lesbian book was the same as a lot of my people my age. I think it was ninth or tenth grade and I read Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden, a book that was already almost twenty years old by then. It’s your usual figuring out you might be gay story, and at that point in time I was pretty much just excited to read something where two girls kiss. At the time there weren’t a lot of options out there, readers today are lucky to have way more options.
If I was recommending a first lesbian book to someone today, I would recommend Ash by Malinda Lo. Ash is the book that I wish I could have read first because it’s exactly what I wanted to read back then. It’s still the sort of lesbian book I want. Like a lot of people, my favorite genre is fantasy, and you know what I want in a book? What I wanted even more desperately as a teenager? A fantasy where two girls lived the sort of adventure I loved reading about.
Of course I know not everyone loves fantasy, so maybe they wouldn’t appreciate the lesbian retelling of Cinderella that Ash is. However, Ash has something else going for it that I would’ve liked back then; it’s not an issues book. As a teenager I already knew how hard it was to realize your feelings. I knew how scary it was to think about telling my parents and friends. Reading a book like Ash where the two girls falling in love wasn’t an issue would have been a relief. Even more than the fantasy elements of this book, I would have enjoyed seeing a story where two girls can fall in love and no one bats an eye.
Books like Ash continue to be important to readers long after their first reading experience. Not every reader is going to have the easiest time coming to terms with who they are and there are more who will get a hard time from other people. Reading a book that shows a world, or a time, or a place where any two people can be in love is sometimes exactly what you need to remind you that this world doesn’t always suck.
Samantha Boyette lives in Upstate NY and works in the wine industry when she isn’t writing. She was the 2010 Textnovel.com co-winner in their fiction contest and her most recent short story can be found in the Winter 2011-2012 issue of the Red Penny Papers. You can read more of her work at www.samanthaboyette.com and find her book Morning Rising for sale on Amazon, B&N, and Lulu.com.
- Read our review of Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
- Read our review of Ash by Malinda Lo
- Read our review of Morning Rising by Samantha Boyette
- See more guest posts in the Introducing Lesbian Fiction Event