The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde : Emmy King is the drummer for The Brightsiders, the hottest new band around, and she’s itching to get to sing her own song. It seems like a dismal possibility after the paparazzi smear photos from the worst life of her night over every tabloid around. Now she just needs some time with her friends, one of whom she’s steadily growing even closer with than ever before. It’s also time for her to come out and embrace the amazing community she’s a part of. This is a really great book about leaving toxic relationships behind (both intimate and familial) and celebrating your identity with your community and your friends. It’s not quite as soft and cheesy as Wilde’s previous book but it’s got an equally squeal-worthy end and characters that you’re just so proud of.
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult : This book literally comes with it’s own soundtrack (in CD form) so I’m not sure what more you need. It’s also a really interesting book if you like lesbians coming out later in life, infertility treatment, legal battles, or musical therapy. If any of those sound like things you should know more about. Zoe and her husband have been trying to have a baby for years, having gone through several cycles of IVF, before their ultimate divorce. Zoe’s a musical therapist, who works in environments ranging from the children’s cancer ward to a high school attempting to reach out to one particularly troubled student. Along the way she meets a woman and realizes she’s really a lesbian who wants to have a child with her partner (and soon to be wife). Trying to access the already fertilized frozen embryos left over from previous IVF treatment she’s halted by a lawsuit from her ex-husband, now a recently converted born-again evangelical. It took me this long just to type out the plot and trust me, reading it is just as wild of a ride. It touches on issues relating to infertility treatment you probably won’t see anywhere else, unless of course you happen to regularly research case law regarding ownership of embryos. It also comes with the requisite happy end so have no fear, it all manages to get tied up with a pretty bow at the end, no small feat given how much vitriol gets thrown around in court.
Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow : A day before she’s set to head off to music camp in the Michigan woods, Melly’s parents tell her that they’re getting a divorce. Not to mention her best friend has gone boy-crazy and has ditched her day after day. Now she’s got a lot of pent up anger and is ready to release it into her drums. While other girls are chasing the boy campers Melly is falling for the girl helping her to write her own song. This is definitely a pretty classic coming of age novel; you’ve got a girl starting her first relationship while learning to process and channel her emotions into creating art. If you like character development and songwriting and first love this might be the one for you.
Sister Mischief by Laura Goode : Thoughts on feminist rap? The girls of Sister Mischief are here to entertain, break boundaries, and change minds. When their public school moves to ban hip-hop entirely, Esme Rockett and her friends refuse to go down without a fight. They start up the first hip-hop-GSA combo club their school (or any school, probably) has ever seen. Meanwhile Esme is falling in love with her best friend and fellow MC, a girl who’s too frightened by her conservative family to be open. Like in The Brightsiders, intra-group relationships come with their drawbacks and secrecy may not be exactly what this friend group needs. But if growing up as Jewish lesbian in Bible-thumping Minnesota has taught Esme anything, it’s that she’s stronger and more independent than anyone would have led her to believe.