I want to tell you about two books that I read last week. I've been saving Euphoria by Lily King to read since last year. It's a historical novel about anthropologists in 1930s Papua New Guinea, inspired by Margaret Mead's life. As a former anthropology grad student I found it fascinating and believable, and as a writer I found it beautiful, complex, and skillfully written. It inspired me to be less afraid of breaking the rules when writing myself. Euphoria also features queer main characters who are written as completely normal — and I'd expect nothing less of the visionary anthropologists who are the main characters. I honestly didn't even notice that the main characters were queer until well into the novel; the details and hints had been there all along, but it was so smoothly integrated, so normal, that it felt normal. It was so well done.
I also had the pleasure of reading Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, a young adult graphic memoir coming from Candlewick Press on Sept 8 (find it here). It's about a girl at a Christian summer camp falling for a camp counselor, an older girl. I was so captivated by the story and the illustrations. It had just the right combination of humor, honesty, and the rush of first love. Honor Girl is not so much a coming-out story as a coming-to-realization story, and it rang very true to me even though I've never been to a Christian summer camp. I highly recommend it.