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Pride Picks from Yvonne Cassidy

Are you ready for another pride themed blog post? Us too! Today’s post was written by Yvonne Cassidy, author of ALA Rainbow List Top 10 pick, How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? Check out her selections below, then be sure to enter our giveaway to win a bundle of books from all of our guest author bloggers!

4 LGBT Reads, Old and New 

Growing up in 1980s Ireland there weren’t too many LGBT books on the shelves of my local library or anywhere else! Writing How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? was in many ways writing for myself the novel I wished I’d had as a teenager and it makes me very happy to hear from young readers about how reading it helped them. Below are some of my favorite LGBT reads, old and new…

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I read The Color Purple at college and wasn’t expecting it to be a book with an LGBT theme. I fell in love with the idea of Celie falling in love with Shug and how in doing so she falls in love with herself. The story seemed so natural – more about love than sexuality – and at a time when I wasn’t ready to categorize myself, the lack of a need to label the relationship was very freeing.

Hood by Emma Donoghue
Okay so the story of two girls – Cara and Pen – falling in love in a Dublin convent school was always going to hold an appeal for me, but there’s so much for anyone to relate to here, no matter who you’ve fallen for or where you grew up. After Cara’s death in a car crash, Pen finds herself closeted and bereaved staying with Cara’s father. But how can she even begin to embrace her new status as a widow when no one recognizes her true role in Cara’s life?

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Winterson lost herself in books to survive her painful childhood which included her evangelical mother’s bitter rejection of her upon discovering her daughter’s sexuality. As an young woman Winterson put salve on her wounds through fictionalizing her experience in her novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, but it is in laying the truth bare in this unflinchingly honest and gripping memoir that she really seems to find self-acceptance, love and even happiness.

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Now a major motion picture, if you haven’t already seen it, read the novel first! Set along the beautiful Italian Riviera, narrator Elio takes us through the summer he turned seventeen and a love affair with Oliver, the exciting older American student staying with his family on a six-week sabbatical. As Elio and Oliver become aware of their feelings for each other, the intensity of their emotions is amplified under the cloud of Oliver’s impending departure. Will this be simply a summer love affair or something with much deeper reverberations in the lives of these two young men?

About the Author

Yvonne Cassidy (New York, NY) is an Irish author who has written three novels, including How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? When she’s not writing, Yvonne works at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and uses her writing skills for fundraising and teaching creative writing. She has also written several articles about her own coming out story, such as for the Irish Times and the Independent. You can find Yvonne online at her website or on social media!
Twitter: @YvonneCassidyNY
Instagram: @yvonnecassidyauthor

How Many Letters Are In Goodbye?
Seventeen-year-old Rhea Farrell has scars from a childhood accident in which she lost her arm. But she also carries scars that aren’t so visible— the loss of a mother she hardly remembers, the impact of her father’s drinking, and her confusion and pain around accepting her sexuality. When Rhea runs away, she turns to the person she’s always wished she could confide in: her mother. And just like she used to do as a little girl, Rhea starts to write her letters—to tell her things she can’t tell anyone else, to share her fears, to ask for help. Rhea’s journey on the streets of New York brings her deeper into her mother’s past, where she uncovers buried family secrets. And as she finds out more about the woman her mother truly was, Rhea also discovers just what kind of woman she wants to be.

It’s officially pride weekend here in Minnesota, and we’re wishing everyone a happy, fun and safe time! Happy pride, from Yvonne and all of us at North Star Editions!

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