Gay YA

Lip Gloss & Curling Heat: A Talk on First Kisses & Malinda Lo’s YA Novels

Illustration by Manuela Salvi

Illustration by Manuela Salvi

On Wednesday 18th May, the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL), my research centre at the University of Roehampton, held their annual ‘PhD Day’. This is a day where all of the children’s literature post-graduate research students gather and share a slice of our research from the most recent academic year. The title for my presentation was ‘Lip Gloss & Curling Heat: “First Kiss” Scenes and Malinda Lo’s Young Adult Science Fiction novels’.

For the last 6 months, I’ve been looking at Malinda Lo’s four YA novels: Ash (2009), Huntress (2010), Adaptation (2012) and its sequel Inheritance (2013). While the third chapter of my thesis examines all four novels, this talk focused on close readings from Adaptation. My research overall, as you might have gathered, focuses on lesbian loves stories. As such, I’ve been examining how those love stories are constructed–particularly when the two characters are teenagers who identify as lesbian/bisexual or are in a same-sex relationship. One narrative event that has become of great interest to me is the ‘first kiss’ scene. Thus, the first half of my talk looked at ‘first kiss’ scenes across a selection of lesbian YA novels in my corpus, including examples from The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2012) by Emily M. Danforth, Everything Leads to You (2014) by Nina LaCour, and Empress of the World (2001) by Sara Ryan. I then focused on Lo’s novels with close readings of the ‘first kiss’ scenes between Reese and Amber, and Reese and David in Adaptation.

Why are the ‘first kiss’ scenes so important? I’m hoping to post a video of my talk soon so you can join in the conversation, or contact me if you’re working in a similar field. I’m always happy chatting about YA novels with LGBTQ characters!

Made with Love: A Fundraising Campaign

Four weeks ago, I kicked off the Indiegogo campaign entitled Made With Love in the hopes of funding my second year’s tuition for my MPhil/PhD programme at Roehampton University. I am pleased to report that with the help of so many generous people—through their conversations, their sharing, their love—I have raised over half of my goal: £2,325.* Wahoo!!!

An Indiegogo Thank You

My hope in running the campaign was that I could use my creative skills to design perks that might tempt people to contribute towards my PhD. I also hoped that people would be inspired by my research on love and romance in LGBT YA novels—my vision to engage in a discourse about love and same-sex relationships in young adult novels into academia—and contribute for that reason as well.

I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many folks and this post is for those who are ‘Loves:’ individuals who contributed and asked only for a poetic thank you in return. Those 5 people are Julie Barton, Adriana Haines, Lucy Iwamoto, Liz Chapman, and one anonymous donor. Below are four love poems by different poets that make my heart sing. I’ve also included one of my own poems, as a humble offering of gratitude.

I hope you, my ‘Loves,’ enjoy the poetry: THANK YOU. For everyone else who contributed to the campaign, I look forward to fulfilling your perks in the coming months.

With much love and gratitude,
Erica

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LGBTQ YA Month – Once Upon a Bookcase

http://www.onceuponabookcase.co.uk/

I’m a Once Upon a Bookcase LGBTQ YA Month participant!

For the WHOLE month of July, Jo at Once Upon a Bookcase is hosting LGBTQ YA month! Her schedule includes everything from daily reviews of some of the best LGBTQ YA books available, but she’ll also have author interviews, discussions, link round-ups and guest posts—including a post from me on 30th July! I’m particularly excited to read the interviews she’s conducted with Joanne Horniman (author of About A Girl) and Emily M. Danforth (author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post).

I’ll be posting a link when my guest post goes up at the end of the month, but in the meantime, go check out Once Upon a Bookcase’s LGBTQ YA Month!!

UPDATE: My blogpost for Once Upon a Bookcase is live! 6 LBGT Young Adult Novels with a Twist

xx

Review on The Lesbrary: Malinda Lo’s Adaptation

My first guest lesbrarian review has been published on The Lesbrary! Yay! When I figured out I could submit my own reviews to this awesome website, I jumped at the chance. Just having finished Adaptation by Malinda Lo, I sent through my thoughts on this brand-new sci-fi novel. I’ve been so impressed with Lo’s style, narrative and portrayal of her bisexual protagonist I’ve been telling everyone who will listen/read about it!

Check out my full review here.

UPDATE: For all of my reviews as a lesbrarian, click over here.