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Positive books for secondary students

You Could Be So Pretty by Holly Bourne. This dystopian novel aims to encourage readers to question the porn-influenced sexual violence that they might think is normal. In this Daily Mail article, Holly describes her harrowing experiences as a former online sex and relationships adviser for young people, and says, “I believe the widespread consumption of hardcore pornography is now a public health emergency.” 

Always Erin by Erin Brewer (2021)

Written for young people with pictures about the author’s journey through gender dysphoria and out the other side. Her dysphoria was the result of a childhood sexual assault and puberty and counselling helped her accept her body. Available from Partners for Ethical Care.

Dare Truth and Promise by Paula Boock (1999). (New Zealand)

A lesbian teenage love story. Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie wants to be a lawyer and is an outstanding student. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through the year so she can graduate and become a chef.

Detransition Booklet. (Detransitioners are people who have adopted an opposite sex identity and later reverted to their birth sex.)

Here are gathered written experiences of 75 female and male detransitioners, their wishes, advice and thoughts. The 50-page long booklet has the objective to reach detransitioners and desisters, their relatives and close ones, people who consider a transition and wish for more information, health professional,s such as endocrinologists or therapists, or anyone who wants to learn more about the topic.

Everything Changes by Samantha Hale (2014)

Seventeen-year-old Raven Walker has never had a boyfriend. She's never really been interested in boys. But she was always too afraid to examine what that might mean. Until she meets Morgan O'Shea and finds herself inexplicably drawn to her. As their friendship develops, Raven is forced to face the possibility that her interest in Morgan might actually be attraction and that she might be gay.

Girl Mans Up by M.E. Girard (2016)

Young adult novel about a lesbian girl who struggles with the attitudes and beliefs of her family and friends. Everyone thinks the way Pen looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—but she’s not. All she wants is to be the kind of (lesbian) girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it?

Girl Stuff 13+ by Kaz Cooke (Updated every year)

Has everything girls need to know about: friends, body changes, shopping, clothes, make-up, pimples, sizes, hair, earning money, guys, embarrassment, what to eat, moods, smoking, why diets suck, handling love and heartbreak, exercise, school stress, sex, beating bullies and mean girls, drugs, drinking, how to find new friends, cheering up, how to get on with your family, and confidence.

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Kabi Nagata (2017).

(Graphic Novel in manga form.) This is an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age.

My Period by Milli Hill (2021).

A positive book about having a period. Gives parents some good language to use to describe intercourse in a way that's factual without being too graphic or too clinical.

Sex and Gender: An Introductory Guide by Phoebe Rose

Southernmost by Silas House (2018)

A flood has swept away the small town where preacher Asher Sharp lives. When he offers shelter to two gay men he risks losing everything.

The Book of Essie by Meghan Maclean Weir (2018)

When her religious, reality TV famous family discover Essie is pregnant, it’s decided that she should marry, but whom? Essie slyly convinces them that Roarke Richards, captain of the high school baseball team, would be perfect. Roarke is surprised that Essie knows his secret—he is gay—and only reluctantly agrees with her plan, but eventually he becomes a willing and supportive accomplice.

The Book of No Worries: a survival guide for growing up by Lizzie Cox and Tanja Stevanoic (2018)

Lots of tips about how to handle growing up, including managing self-image, how common it is for kids going through puberty to dislike themselves/their bodies and tips on mental health and relationships

The Care and Keeping of You (Books 1 for younger and 2 for older girls) (2012)

To introduce and inform daughters about periods and growing up. Lots of info about self care, diet, emotions, friends etc. The Guncle by Steven Rowley (2021)

After a parent tragedy Maisie and Grant are looked after by their gay uncle who doesn’t really know what to do.

Feminist histories for teens:

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