Representing the Rainbow in Young Adult Literature: LGBTQ+ Content Since 1969

JENKINS, Christine A. & . 310p. bibliog. index. Rowman & Littlefield. Mar. 2018. pap. $45. ISBN 9781442278066.
RedReviewStarJenkins, an associate professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Cart, a columnist for Booklist, build upon their research in this in-depth overview of LGBTQ+ YA literature from 1969 to 2016. Each chapter discusses a mix of broad themes and trends relevant to each decade and insightfully analyzes significant titles—with enough summary that librarians need not have read the books discussed to understand their importance. The authors replicate their helpful framework, originally introduced in their work The Heart Has Its Reasons (2006), which separates queer literature as a whole into three phases: "homosexual visibility," "gay assimilation," and "queer consciousness/community." Though there are some revisions, about a third of the content is pulled directly from the duo's previous work. The rest expands into the contemporary LGBTQ+ publishing landscape. Notably, new content includes additional chapters about comics and graphic novels (and, briefly, manga), nonfiction, and literature with bisexual, transgender, and intersex characters. The burgeoning LGBTQ+ middle grade market and prominent series fiction such as "Sweet Valley High" and "Pretty Little Liars"are also mentioned. Though Jenkins and Cart use the acronym LGBTQ+ (rather than the previous work's GLBTQ), their coverage generally doesn't extend beyond LGBT—mostly because of the lack of existing literature. The authors acknowledge the limitations of their research and, in the conclusion, reestablish their plea for more nuanced representation in the future.
VERDICT An essential update for scholars. The bibliographies will invaluably help round out LGBTQ+ collections.

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