Cute and a little bit dorky, Simon is the rare kind of protagonist that almost any reader can relate to. When he finds himself being blackmailed, he has to choose: risk coming out of the closet and dragging another with him, or go along with his blackmailer’s plan to land the girl? Not to mention the play is coming up, he’s in love with someone he doesn’t even know, and his friends all have their own problems, too. Your students will fall in love with Simon in Becky Albertalli’s young adult LGBTQ novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
I am J by Cris Beam does a wonderful job of introducing teen readers to the story of J, a transgendered teen who struggles to accept himself. This novel is simultaneously heart wrenching and hopeful. It is a great read for students who are struggling with their own gender identity or who would like to understand further the struggles of their transgendered peers.