A Lambda Literary Most Anticipated LGBTQ Book of January 2021
It’s the summer before high school, and thirteen-year-old Jorge Fuerte wants nothing more than to spend his days hanging out with his fellow comic-book-obsessed friends. But then everything changes. His parents announce they’re divorcing for a reason Jorge and his twin brother, Cesar, never saw coming—their larger-than-life dad comes out as transgender. Jorge struggles to understand the father he’s always admired, but Cesar refuses to have anything to do with him. As Jorge tries to find a way to stay true to the father he loves, a new girl moves into the neighborhood: cool, confident, quirky Zoey. She tames Jorge’s unruly terrier and enlists the terrier and Jorge in a dance routine for the back-to-school talent show. As the date of the show draws near, Jorge must face his fears and choose between being loyal to his brother or truthful about his family’s secret. Although he’s no superhero, Jorge already has the world’s greatest superpower—if he decides to use it.
“Provides representation and context for kids of transgender parents, readers exploring their own gender identities, or tweens wishing to better understand themselves…Sanchez deftly weaves commentary on race, specifically in regards to Latinos, and inequality into his larger narrative. There is a lot to love here, and the hopeful, honest representation of a transgender parent is essential for all library collections.”—School Library Journal
“While navigating gender, family, friendship, dating—and Cesar’s bid for student body president—Jorge learns a lesson about having the confidence to be yourself. This heartfelt novel avoids some pitfalls in representation. . . .Sanchez provides a nuanced depiction of navigating race, as readers see how the biracial brothers’ experiences diverge.”—Kirkus Reviews
YOU BROUGHT ME THE OCEAN (DC Comics, 2020)
A GLAAD Media Award Nominee for Outstanding Comic Book
The voices that shaped LGBTQ Young Adult literature, Lambda Award-Winning author Alex Sanchez (Rainbow Boys) and New York Times bestselling illustrator Julie Maroh (Blue Is the Warmest Color), present a new coming-out romance and origin story for Aqualad.
Jake Hyde doesn't swim--not since his father drowned. Luckily, he lives in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Yet he yearns for the ocean and is determined to leave his hometown for a college on the coast. His best friend, Maria, however, wants nothing more than to stay in the desert, and Jake's mother encourages him to always play it safe.
There's nothing "safe" about Jake's future--not when he's attracted to Kenny Liu, swim team captain and rebel against conformity. And certainly not when he secretly applies to the University of Miami. Jake's life begins to outpace his small town's namesake, which doesn't make it any easier to come out to his mom, or Maria, or the world.
But Jake is full of secrets, including the strange blue markings on his skin that glow when in contact with water. What power will he find when he searches for his identity, and will he turn his back to the current or dive headfirst into the waves?
BOYFRIENDS WITH GIRLFRIENDS (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011)
Four teens explore the fluidity of love, sexuality, and identity in this acclaimed novel from Alex Sanchez.
Sergio is bisexual, but his only real relationship was with a girl. Lance has always known he was gay, but he’s never had a real boyfriend. When the two of them meet, they have an instant connection—but will it be enough to overcome their differences?
Allie’s been in a relationship with a guy for the last two years—but when she meets Kimiko, she can’t get her out of her mind. Does this mean she’s gay? Or bi? Kimiko, falling hard for Allie, is willing to stick around and help Allie figure it out. Boyfriends with Girlfriends is Alex Sanchez at his best, writing with a sensitive hand to portray four very real teens striving to find their places in the world—and with each other.
"[An] innovative, important book that explores, with empathy and sympathy, largely ignored aspects of teen sexual identity. ...there have been only a handful of novels that so plausibly and dramatically bring the nature of bisexuality and sexual questioning to life. Sanchez does both."—Booklist (starred review)
"A breezy romantic comedy [that] stays pleasantly upbeat ... readers will enthusiastically root for both couples."—Kirkus
"The carefully multicultural cast and representation across the GLBTQ spectrum make this an important book."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
BAIT (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009)
Diego has gotten into trouble because of his temper before. But when he punches out a guy in school who was looking at him funny, he finds himself in juvenile court, facing the possibility of probation, or worse—juvenile jail. Mr. Vidas is assigned as his probation officer, but Diego doesn’t trust or like him. However, he doesn’t have a choice—he has to talk to Mr. Vidas, or he’ll find himself in worse trouble. It’s only when Diego starts to open up to Mr. Vidas that he begins to understand that the source of his anger is buried in his past—and to move beyond it, he needs to stop running from his personal demons.
"Bait opens some new, deep territory--difficult, heartbreaking, and courageous; Diego's story will stick with readers for a long time. Alex Sanchez is a wonderful writer, brave and compassionate."—Terry Trueman, Printz Honor author of Stuck In Neutral
"An authentic and tender story...Sanchez does a masterful job."—Publishers Weekly
"Sanchez draws his characters lovingly, making it very apparent that he...genuinely understands their peril."—Kirkus Reviews
"The emotions are keenly conveyed here, and long after the other plot details have faded, Diego's raw urgency and need will likely linger with readers."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
GETTING IT (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007)
Fifteen-year-old Carlos Amoroso is a virgin--and he isn't happy about it. He'd love to hook up with gorgeous Roxy, but she has no idea he's alive. Watching a TV show one night gives Carlos an idea: What if he got a makeover from Sal, a senior at his school who's gay? Sal agrees--but only if Carlos helps him start a Gay-Straight Alliance. Carlos doesn't expect the catch. What are his friends going to think? And is he ever going to get what he wants?
"The message of tolerance is strong, but it is dramatized with humor and truth."--Booklist, starred review
"This sweet, simple examination of homophobia and friendship is a welcome addition to the genre."--School Library Journal
THE GOD BOX (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006)
SO HARD TO SAY (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004)
RAINBOW ROAD (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005)
RAINBOW HIGH (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
RAINBOW BOYS (Simon & Schuster, 2001)
Alex Sanchez is the author of the award-winning young adult RAINBOW trilogy that includes Rainbow Boys, selected as an American Library Association (ALA) Best Book for Young Adults and praised by School Library Journal as a book that could “open eyes and change lives.” Two sequels, Rainbow High and Rainbow Road, were both Lambda Award finalists and chosen as New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age. His middle grade novel, So Hard To Say, was the winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award. His novel, The God Box, was selected as an ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adults. His novel, Getting It, won the Myers Outstanding Book Award for Human Rights. His novel, Bait, won the Florida Book Award Gold Medal for young adult fiction and the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award. And his latest novel, Boyfriends with Girlfriends was chosen both as an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and by the Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book Committee as a Best Children’s Book of the Year. Additionally, in 2011 Alex was the winning recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist’s Prize.
Originally from Mexico, Alex received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Old Dominion University and for many years worked as a youth and family counselor. He now divides his time between Florida and Thailand. When not writing, he speaks to groups around the country on the importance of being true to who you are.