Over the past several years acceptance for the LGBT community in mainstream culture has vastly increased. Media has played a large role in this with everything from TV shows and movies to music to comics books and novels all including LGBT characters. One author that has played a large role in this is Alex Sanchez. He has written several award winning novels including So Hard to Say, Getting It, The God Box, Bait, and Boyfriends with Girlfriends as well as the Rainbow trilogy (Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, and Rainbow Road).
All of his book are wonderfully written with captivating storylines. He does a wonderful job of exploring issues relating to the LGBT community. While the overall theme of his books is about acceptance and being who you are each book approaches the subject differently. So Hard to Say is aimed at younger readers (around middle school age) and has won a Lambda Literary Award. One of his other books deal with religion and sexuality while another deals with bisexuality. All of his books are absolutely amazing but personally I think that the two that really shine are The God Box and Boyfriends with Girlfriends.
The God Box deals with the issue of whether Christianity can co-exist with identifying as LGBT. It follows the story of Paul, a very religious teenager from a small, conservative town. His world gets turned upside down when he meets Manuel. Paul is stumped by Manuel because he says that he is Christian and yet also says he is gay, something that Paul can’t fathom co-existing. Manuel’s interpretations of the Bible causes Paul to re-examine his whole life as feelings he had been trying to suppress, begin to surface. The story in the The God Box includes very eye-opening interpretations of the Bible and is a must read from Alex Sanchez.
Boyfriends with Girlfriends does something that is still being largely ignored by the media even with the growing acceptance of the LGBT community, it includes bisexual characters. The story revolves around four teenagers, Sergio who is bisexual, Lance and Kimiko who are gay, and Allie who is questioning her sexuality. This is a great story of the ups and downs of teen dating, whether it is occurring in the LGBT community or not. This novel also does a good job of exploring different acceptance levels from family members. What I think is really great about this book is the fact that it includes bisexual characters. Often in all forums of media bisexual characters are either completely ignored, regarded as not a real thing, or highly sexualized. Boyfriends with Girlfriends does a wonderful job of avoiding these pitfalls and creating characters that are believable and relatable to all teens.
Overall, Alex Sanchez is an incredible author whose work also holds incredible value. Whether you identify as part of the LGBT community or as an ally, his books are amazing reads that should not be missed. The world needs more books like his.
-Angela J., 12th grade