Garrard Conley once stated, “I came to therapy thinking that my sexuality didn’t matter, but it turned out that every part of my personality was intimately connected. Cutting one piece damaged the rest.” Conley is the author of the memoir Boy Erased, which documents his time in a 12-step ex-gay conversion therapy program. Conley’s family is very religious and his father was a Baptist minister. When his family discovers he is gay, he is forced to make a difficult choice: enter conversion therapy to be “cured” or be shunned by his family, faith and friends. In theatres soon, Boy Erased, stars Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges and Joel Edgerton. If you’re as excited about the movie as we are, here are similar reads to binge before the release.
Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
This teen romance tells the story of Joanna Gordon, who has been out and proud for years. However, when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and moves the family to a conservative town, he asks Joanne to hide her homosexuality during her senior year, which Joanna reluctantly agrees to do. She reconsiders keeping this promise to her father when she starts to fall for Mary Carlson, the sister of her new friend at school. This is a heartfelt novel about coming out and discovering young love and yourself.
Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman
This award-winning novel is the story of Oliver and Elio’s sudden and powerful romance. They are both unprepared for the feelings they have for each other but they can’t resist despite consequences. The reader is taken on the journey of their summer romance and the twenty years that follow. Call Me By Your Name was adapted into a film in 2017 starring Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer.
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
Under the Udala Trees is a coming-of-age debut about star-crossed love. Ijeoma is eleven years old when she is sent away for safety during the Nigerian civil war. While away from her family, Ijeoma meets Amina, another displaced young girl, and the two fall in love. Because they are both girls, their love is forbidden by their different ethnic communities. When Ijeoma is sent home and forced into an unhappy marriage with a man, she struggles with her attraction to women.
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home is a graphic-novel memoir about the author’s experience with exploring her attraction to women and how her father rejects her as a homosexual. After her father is hit by a car and killed, Bechdel reflects on her father’s own journey as a closeted homosexual who was involved with his male students and a family babysitter. Fun fact about the author: she came up with the Bechdel test, which is a method for evaluating the portrayal of women in fiction.
They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
This New York Times bestseller follows a day in the life of Mateo and Rufus, who are complete strangers. They both receive calls in the morning from Death-Cast telling them that they will die that day. Rufus and Mateo are brought together by a social network app that connects people on their last day alive called Last Friend. As they spend the day checking items off their bucket list, their newfound friendship grows into something more. Together they explore what happens when they fall in love but only have a limited time left.