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Best LGBT Young Adult / Coming of Age

And the Rainbow Awards goes to:

1) Hayden Thorne - Renfred's Masquerade ()

Well written, great characters, if you’re into historical stories, this is for you. –Theresa

A true coming of age boy-to-man has an opportunity to live in 2 very different worlds, and begins to realize that even with human frailty, love will always hold the key to true magic. –Tame

Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (November 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466483903
ISBN-13: 978-1466483903
Amazon: Renfred's Masquerade

Young Nicola Gregori has always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, a brilliant clock-maker who’s famous for his wild, fantastical designs. But his father instead sends him to school to learn more practical matters. Nicola, stricken with infantile paralysis that left him with a deformed right leg, becomes an object of mockery and cruel jokes in school. He learns that in order to survive his daily ordeals, he needs to vanish in the crowd, to stop aspiring, to stop dreaming, and above all, to believe himself unworthy of respect and love. Tragedy strikes when Nicola turns sixteen. Gustav Renfred, an old friend of his father, takes on Nicola as his charge and whisks him away to an isolated islet filled with empty mansions and bordered by a bluebell forest. There Nicola slowly learns about the tragic story that tightly weaves together the fates of Jacopo Gregori, Gustav Renfred, and Gustav’s twin sister, Constanza. Magic, impossible dreams, and unrequited love come together in Ambrosi, the Renfreds’ mansion, where Nicola is caught up in a world of haunting portraits, a ghostly housekeeper, and the mysterious disappearance of Davide, Constanza’s adopted son. When Nicola’s invited to one of Renfred’s magical masquerades, he discovers the answers to riddles as well as the mounting danger that the Renfred family faces with every passing hour. With the masquerades’ existence depending on the physical and mental strength of an ailing Renfred, the task of solving the mystery of Davide’s disappearance before time runs out falls on Nicola’s shoulders, and he has no choice but to depend on things that he’s long learned to suppress: courage, self-respect, and the desire to aim for impossible goals.

2) K.Z. Snow - The Zero Knot

Lovely coming of age story. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. –Janet S.

Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613722044
ISBN-13: 978-1613722046
Amazon: The Zero Knot

Eighteen-year-old Jess Bonner is casting off pretense-and, with it, some friends from his past who aren't particularly trustworthy. In just a few months he'll be starting college, and it's time for him to admit the truth: he's gay, not bi, and only one of his old friends holds any kind of real interest for him. When Dylan Finch, aka Mig, follows his lead and puts some distance between himself and the old crowd, he and Jess give in to a mutual attraction that's been building for years. But navigating a fledgling relationship isn't easy for beginners, and forces they can't seem to control keep tripping them up: sexual appetite, personal insecurities, fear of discovery, and more. They need clarity. They need courage. Just as they're on the verge of finding both, a vindictive act of jealousy sends one of them to jail. All their hard-won victories are in danger of falling to dust. And the only way to save what they have is to recognize it for what it is... and fight for its integrity.

3) Jeff Erno - Another Dumb Jock

I absolutely loved this book. Even when it had flaws, I loved the flaws. Only downside at all was that sometimes the plot was a bit too on the nose, but really? Even that worked. Absolutely loved the characters, both the POV character and his boyfriend. The voice, was excellent, wonderful YA. Honestly, this book has me wanting to go buy a whole stack of Jeff Erno books right now. –Heidi C.

Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (January 22, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1469956543
ISBN-13: 978-1469956541
Amazon: Another Dumb Jock

In Dumb Jock, Jeff and Brett fall in love, but their relationship is not without challenges. Brett’s a football star, and Jeff is the classic nerd. Their coming of age and coming out story is set in the 1980s, and they face many obstacles. Yet their love for each other is strong, and they finally get their happy ending. Now, almost three decades later, their children are teenagers. Adam, their fifteen year old son, is the star pitcher of his high school baseball team. He has grown up with two dads, in a loving, non-judgmental environment. Yet Adam has challenges of his own. He’s failing two of his classes at school, and he’s been suspended for fighting. He resents being labeled and insists that just because he has two dads, it doesn’t mean that he is himself gay. When he is forced to accept help from another student in his algebra class, Adam starts to have feelings that cause him to question his very identity. He’s got to decide whether to follow his heart or to maintain the image he’s worked so hard to portray. Will he have the courage to take a stand for what he knows is right, or will he end up being just another dumb jock?

Honorable Mention:

4) J.H. Trumble - Don't Let Me Go ()

The thing that really grabbed me about this book were the characters. Even though they were stupid and annoying at times, it was age appropriate behavior. But they also felt real and three dimensional. I was immediately sucked into the story and their little world of drama and would have read it straight through if I'd been able to do so. To me, that makes it a great book. There is seriously not enough money in the world that would EVER make me go back to high school, though. : ) –Ethan D.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kensington (December 27, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758269277
ISBN-13: 978-0758269270
Amazon: Don't Let Me Go

5) Kyell Gold - Green Fairy

The writing is top-notch, not only because it has great characterization, but also the easy flow despite of a rather complex storyline. It's not the light-hearted fantasy the flurry characters might suggest, in fact, it's soul searching and at times, gloomy. But absolutely unmissable. –Eve

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Sofawolf Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936689162
ISBN-13: 978-1936689163
Amazon: Green Fairy

Radclyffe & Katherine E. Lynch – OMGQueer

Concept is great: young adult writers telling stories about young adults. A good book. –Heidi C.

There are a few gems which shine brightly. All stories of teenage gays, basically non sexual desires, though most are of teenage angst, nervousness, desire and longing. –Mick

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books (August 14, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 160282682X
ISBN-13: 978-1602826823
Amazon: OMGQueer

Amy Lane - The Talker Collection (3 novellas) ()

The series gets a 40 (heck, each book gets a 40). I love Talker. Amy Lane takes the worst and spins it until it’s the best. Talker is brought to life in full color 3D. From the moment he’s introduced in Talker, he’s a living, breathing person. He’s someone you could see walking down the street. He’s also that person you either avoid or want to know better because you see past the tattoos and scars to the individual underneath. Throughout the three books, you cry, laugh, cheer, and cry some more. Amy Lane took harsh reality and gave it a place to call home. –Jamie

Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (May 11, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161372490X
ISBN-13: 978-1613724903
Amazon: The Talker Collection

8) Geoffrey Knight - The Pearl Trilogy ()

Last one and probably my favorite of the bunch. What a pleasant surprise, too - I hadn't heard about this book. I don't usually cry when I read books, but I think I cried 3 times while reading this. An amazing story I will recommend to anyone who loves MM romance with depth. –Shira

Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 2, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1466398809
ISBN-13: 978-1466398801
Amazon: The Pearl Trilogy

9) Luke Hartwell - Atom Heart John Beloved ()

A refreshing novel which made you feel alive again, and horny, too. Beautiful parts where the two boys make love, actually ‘fuck’ because it was raw, filthy enough to get me hard, if only for an instant, I can imagine what it can do to a much younger reader. Bravo to the author! Welcome to the ranks of truth tellers and seekers. –Mick

This was the book I liked most of all the ones this year. Only the cheating in the middle got on my nerves and I would have loved to hear Nathan's voice as well. --Anke

Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Antinous Press, USA (October 26, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615722350
ISBN-13: 978-0615722351
Amazon: Atom Heart John Beloved

10) James Erich - Seidman

Beautiful book with an unusual setting. Plot development was good and tight. I would definitely recommend. Loved it.

Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press (June 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1613725760
ISBN-13: 978-1613725764
Amazon: Seidman

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