So today is the launch of the Openly YA Tour!
For those of you wondering, this means “Openly Young Adult.” Several friends who are not aficionados of young adult literature have wondered what “Ya!” means, which has led me to imagine a North Dakota schoolmarm saying these words about a gay fellow in a sentence, perhaps, “Oh ya, he’s living openly, ya!”
And since I have a hint of OCD, that sentence gets stuck in my head and I can’t make it stop, which is another story for another time.
Anyhow what Openly YA is, is a tour that has never happened before. Four young adult authors, all gay, sharing the stage and sharing their novels together. I could not be happier because I get to work with David Levithan, who is a rock star (to say the least); Alex London, who has written an amazing dystopian novel with a gay protagonist called Proxy; and Aaron Hartzler, whose memoir Rapture Practice, about growing up in a deeply religious household, had me in tears and occasionally stitches.
Think, for a moment, about the diversity of subject matter here. There may have been a time when all gay young adult novels were coming out stories, but David helped change that 10 years ago with the publication of Boy Meets Boy. So we have in that novel a utopian world where gay is considered the norm, a dystopian world in Proxy where divisions of class far outweigh divisions of sexual orientation, Aaron’s depiction of a deeply religious household where a family awaits the rapture, and my own Openly Straight, where a boy is already comfortably out but tired of being labeled.
So it is interesting to me to see what similarities and differences we find as authors, as storytellers, etc. Does the label “gay” overwhelm the discussion, or does it fall to the backburner? This is a new world order, and I couldn’t be happier to be part of it!
Catch us at one of these venues!
Wednesday, June 19, 7pm: McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince St., NYC
Thursday, June 20, 3:00pm: Children’s Book World, 17 Haverford Station Rd., Haverford, PA
Thursday, June 20, 5:30pm: Giovanni’s Room, 345 S. 12th St., Philadelphia, PA
Friday, June 21, 7pm: Clinton Book Shop, 12 E. Main St., Clinton, NJ (with Special Guest A.S. King) — RESERVATIONS REQUIRED!
Saturday, June 22, 2pm: Books of Wonder, 18 W. 18th St., NYC