Leslie Margolis' Boys Are Dogs has been a HUGE hit in my school, so I was very excited to read the sequel, Girls Acting Catty. Annabelle is still struggling to find her place in middle school, and matters are complicated when her mother announces that she is going to marry her boyfriend, whose college age son comes to spend vacation time with the family. Annabelle and her friends also have to deal with the "popular" girls who feel a need to put them down for inconsequential reasons. (E.G. Annabelle doesn't shave her legs.) While I had a little trouble believing that the evil Taylor would really challenge her friend to eat and wearing only green things for three months in order to be taken on a vacation with her, this was an isolated Clique moment in an otherwise very realistic novel that addressed all-consuming teen angst moments with clarity and humor.
All students deserve to see themselves reflected in the books in my library, which is why I read Lee F. Battle's David Inside Out. David is a runner who has a crush on his teammate, Sean. Sean returns his interest somewhat, but in ways that are not helpful to a healthy relationship between the two. David's friend, Eddie, is openly gay, and when David sees the trouble that Eddie has in school, he tries to "break" himself of his own feelings.
If David were heterosexual, I would not buy this book. It is not appropriate for middle school. There is drinking, graphic sex (with a girl as well), and language. The fact that David is homosexual does not change my position. I really do wish that there were more books with homosexual characters that did not include descriptions of behaviors that 6th graders do not need to read. High School collections should certainly consider this title.
It should be noted that in Girls Acting Catty, there is a very brief mention of Annabelle's uncle and his boyfriend. The point is not belabored; the characters have other roles to play. This is what I would like to see more. Just don't tell Scholastic. They might pull the book from from their fairs, ala Lauren Myracle's book.