This week’s Bookish Parade is in celebration of LGBT April. Don’t know what LGBT April is? It’s a month-long event hosted by Cayce andLaura that encourages participants to read at least one book containing a LGBT character and to share their thoughts on LGBT YA!
Bookish Parade: LGBT YA Covers from 2013
Usually for my Bookish Parades post I tend to focus on one book and feature the different covers that have been designed for it around the world. For LGBT April, I decided to do something slightly different. Instead of focusing on one LGBT book, I focused on all the LGBT books published by the mainstream publishers in 2013 from this list by Malinda Lo. And instead of talking about what I like/dislike about each cover, this parade led me to a discussion post. Whoops!
What I find interesting about this collection of LGBT YA covers is that, except for a few of them, you cannot tell just by looking at the book’s cover that the book is a LGBT YA novel. The only one that really shouts LGBT YA, in my opinion, is David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing (though Just Between Us and If You Could Be Mine make it fairly obvious as well). The rest of those covers could easily be covers for any type of book.
Now, is this a problem? I’m not sure. In a way, it takes me back to my string of thought I was having when writing my post about my past experience with LGBT YA: making it so the book doesn’t scream out LGBT YA isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it may draw in readers who might not otherwise pick it up and, in some cases, it isn’t really the focal point of the story so doesn’t need to be highlighted. Why not treat it just like any other book?
But of course, the flip side of that is the fact that these books are NOT being treated like any other books. If they were, we would see more of these LGBT couples featured on covers. You can spot numerous covers with guys and girls all over each other, whether hugging, kissing, or holding hands, but that kind of thing doesn’t tend to get featured on LGBT covers. Why not?
And really, I do think in many ways it is important to start highlighting the fact that a book is LGBT YA. Some readers are truly interested in reading from diverse perspectives and seeing a LGBT relationship featured on the cover might be an easy way for them to pick that book up. And other readers are eagerly searching for LGBT YA to gain a better understanding about being LGBT, and while it may seem like an obvious thing to search for such books online, wouldn’t it be better for them to just be able to find them by looking at a cover like everyone else?
I don’t know. I was just very surprised when pulling the covers together for this Bookish Parade that so many covers didn’t communicate the LGBT content that is inside. I’m not fully sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I’d really like to know what you think.
What Do you think?
Are you surprised that many LGBT YA books do not really communicate the fact that they’re LGBT YA on the cover? Do you think this is a good thing, a bad thing, or it doesn’t really matter? Would having a LGBT cover affect your decision to purchase such a book?