June is generally recognized as LGBT Pride Month. In honor of this, the Lambda Awards were announced last week for excellence in LGBT literature. A long list of winners in a wide variety of categories can be found on their website.
The winner in the LGBT Children's/Young Adult category is Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright. This novel is about high school student Carlos Duarte who is juggling a job at the Macy's makeup counter, a jealous boss, his sister's abusive boyfriend, and a difficult crush. Booklist's review of Wright's novel remarks that "there's a whole lot going on in Wright's novel, but it's handled deftly and, for the most part, believably. Best of all, Carlos is not completely defined by his homosexuality. It is an important part of him, yes, but so are his ambition, his concern for his sister, and his capacity for friendship."
The Lambda Awards have a history of awarding some really excellent LGBT YA books including Boy Meets Boy by the amazing David Levithan, So Hard to Say by the writer of the ground breaking Rainbow Boys series Alex Sanchez, the touching and tough Sprout by Dale Peck, and the historical and heartbreaking Wildthorn by Jane Eagland.
Not a Lambda Award winner -- but a 2012-2013 Rosie Nominee - also don't miss Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan who alternate writing chapters of two boys named Will Grayson who happen to meet each other one random night in Chicago. The two Wills are the main characters in this novel, but the side characters and the wicked funny dialogue combine to really make this book worth reading. There are both straight and gay romance story lines and like Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy one of the strengths of this book concern friendships, especially in difficult times.