2018 LGBTQIA+ Starred Review Roundup

Over at Medal on My Mind, we’ve been hard at work sifting through all the titles eligible for the Stonewall Book Award this year. I created a Goodreads list of 2018 LGBTQIA+ children’s and YA lit to track all the titles. Then I decided it would be fun to embark on a little research project and concurrently track the number of those books that receive starred reviews. I’m no statistician, but it’s been super interesting to see how our choices for Stonewall compare with what the journals rank highest. Not to mention the types of stories, the kinds of identities, and the authors who are prized most.

If you’re interested in this kind of thing, I know Malinda Lo has done excellent research on perceptions on diversity in book reviews. You can also see all the children’s and YA books that received stars in 2018 (not just the queer ones) at Jen J’s goldmine of a spreadsheet, which I relied on heavily to compile this list.

89 titles received 1 or more star. 26 titles received 3 or more stars. To weigh these numbers against the total number of titles published, we’ll have to wait until the CCBC releases its new stats. But, according to last year’s CCBC stats, 136 LGBTQIA+ titles were published in 2017. If roughly the same number were published in 2018, then over half the published titles received stars—wow!

6 stars
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (Booklist, BCCB, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)

5 stars
Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (SLJ, Kirkus, Booklist, Bulletin, PW)
Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Kirkus, BCCB, Booklist, SLJ, PW)
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (BCCB, Horn Book, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)

4 stars
Endling: The Last by Katherine Applegate (Booklist, Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
Prince and the Dressmaker
 by Jen Wang (PW, SLJ, Booklist, Horn Book)
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand (Booklist, SLJ, PW, Bulletin)
War Outside, The by Monica Hesse (Booklist, PW, SLJ, BCCB)

3 stars
Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson (Booklist, PW, SLJ)
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore (Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist)
Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (SLJ, PW, Kirkus)
Grace for Gus by Harry Bliss (Kirkus, PW, Horn Book)
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Booklist, SLJ, Kirkus)
Ivy Aberdeen’s Love Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (Kirkus, SLJ, PW)
Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu (Booklist, SLJ, Kirkus)
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Kirkus, SLJ, Booklist)
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden (PW, Booklist, SLJ)
Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman (Booklist, Kirkus, SLJ)
Toil & Trouble edited by Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood (Booklist, Kirkus, PW)
Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens, ed. Marieke Nijkamp (Kirkus, Booklist, PW)
What if It’s Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli (Kirkus, PW, SLJ)
You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P! by Alex Gino (SLJ, PW, Kirkus)

What about 1 or 2 stars? Here’s a link to the full list for curious minds.

PW = Publisher’s Weekly
SLJ = School Library Journal
BCCB = Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books

updated 2/5/21 Using CCBC’s Diversity Statistics Book Search, I added additional titles that I had missed in the initial post. These original post noted 68 titles received 1 or more star and 14 titles received 3 or more stars. Both numbers are incorrect and have been updated above. The link to the full list indicates which titles were added and which do not appear in the CCBC’s database.

4 thoughts on “2018 LGBTQIA+ Starred Review Roundup

  1. Alec, this is exceptional! Thanks so much for compiling this list. There were several titles which I did not know. Also, I will be checking out the links that you have shared. Are you aware that NAGC has published in its Select Series: “Needs and Approaches for Educators and Parents of Gifted Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Students.” I co-authored this book and I wrote the chapter on curriculum in which I emphasize the use of literature in creating GLBTQ friendly curricula. I also do presentations on addressing diversity through the use of literature and I want to thank you for your picture book list which I share in my presentations. Thanks for all you are doing. By the way, in my public school teaching — middle school kids were my favorite and I have literately taught learners of all ages. Dr. Bob Seney, Professor Emeritus/Gifted Studies, Mississippi University for Women.


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