Books

Cinders

Seventeen-year-old Ash has been living with her mother in her mother’s boyfriend’s house, along with his daughter Mimi and son Noah. When Ash’s mother dies, Ash stays so she can attend a high school with a top coding program. But her stepsiblings take advantage of Ash’s precarious living situation, with Mimi posting embarrassing pictures of Ash online and Noah making her do his homework. Ash’s only solace is the social media app she has developed to support people who are being bullied online.

Using the handle Cinders, Ash starts chatting online with a girl who calls herself Charming. They become close, without ever meeting in person. When Ash finds out that Charming is Char, an aspiring singer who goes to her school, she admires her courage in identifying herself as a lesbian and singing about it. Char helps Ash see her own strength in not letting her situation cause her to be bitter, but instead using it to reach out to help others. For the first time since her mother died, Ash feels like someone sees that she is special and is there for her.

With a modern version of Cinderella as the main character, Cinders tells the story of a teen girl who overcomes adversity and bullying with kindness and compassion.

 

Charming

Seventeen-year-old Char has studied music, but didn’t think of it as a future until she posted a video of herself singing and it went viral. So now, instead of going to queer youth events or taking part in the Gay Lesbian Alliance, Char spends her time figuring out how to get enough online fame to fuel a singing career. When one of her videos is bombarded with vicious online comments she is pleased to find an app that offers support and encouragement to people who are being bullied online.

Using the handle Charming, Char gets to know the creator and moderator of the app, who calls herself Cinders. Cinders inspires Char to reconsider her obsession with having the ideal online presence and concentrate on who she really is. But when Cinders turns out to be Ash, a shy girl who goes to the same school, Char must find a way to show Ash how much she means to her.

With a modern female version of Prince Charming as the main character, Charming expands the story of the fairy-tale prince to one of a teen girl who learns the true nature of fame and love.

 

You're You Image

In this book author Mette Bach offers a believable portrayal of an LGBTQ teen who has always identified as a lesbian. When she finds herself attracted to a South Asian boy, she comes to a new identity for herself as bisexual.

17-year-old Freyja is outspokenly lesbian and politically active about LGBTQ issues at her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. When her girlfriend Rachel breaks up with her, she suspends her work on the online video blog they created together to celebrate their pride. Instead she starts volunteering at the local food bank. But she can’t figure out why the team leader at the food bank, a guy named Sanjay, doesn’t seem to approve of her.

Freyja learns about food justice, and becomes attracted to Sanjay’s passion for the cause. As her friendship with Sanjay grows, she realizes that they connect in a way she never did with Rachel. But can Freyja be in love with Sanjay if she identifies as a lesbian? When members of her school’s GSA assume that Freyja has “gone straight” and oppose her leadership of the group, Freyja has to choose between sticking with her old idea of herself — and taking a chance on love.

 

Love is Love

Unhappy at home, Emmy gets sexually involved with a popular classmate so that people will think that she is worth liking. When she realizes that he is just using her, she decides to leave her home in Winnipeg to stay with her uncle’s family in Vancouver. Emmy has always been intimidated by her perfect cousin Paige and Paige’s cool friends, so she is surprised to find that the coolest of them is transgender. Emmy is instantly attracted to Jude, and starts hanging out at the coffee shop where he works. She even performs at the poetry slam Jude hosts there.

Emmy is never sure where she stands with Jude, and can’t believe that such a confident, charismatic guy might actually be interested in her. Both her mother back in Winnipeg and Paige warn her away from Jude, saying that he will just use her and she will get hurt. But it’s not until she almost falls again into the trap of casual sex to boost her self-esteem that Emmy realizes it’s worth it to put your true self out there for real love.

 

Killer DropMarcus has it all: charm, good looks, successful parents, endless opportunities and anything money can buy. Along with his best friend, Tom, and Tom’s crush, Yasmin, he escapes to his parents’ resort condo during a school trip to Whistler, B.C. And he can’t refuse when drinking makes Yasmin determined to hook up with him instead of Tom. The three decide to ditch the rest of the group and ski out of bounds. And the thrill is extreme — until Yasmin dies going over an unmarked cliff and Tom is left paraplegic. To Marcus’s horror, the school decides to blame and expel Tom rather than face the power of Marcus’s father and his lawyers. Can he deny his part in what happened? Or should he turn his back on his perfect life and face up to the consequences of his actions?

 

femme

Academics have never been Sofie’s strong point; she’s too busy spending all of her free time with her boyfriend, Paul the captain of her Surrey high school’s soccer team. When her English teacher implements a new program that pairs her with straight-A student Clea, Sofie worries about how Paul will react to her hanging out with the only out lesbian at school. Sofie is as surprised as Paul at how close she and Clea quickly become.

When Sofie discovers that Clea is planning a road trip to check out some American colleges over the winter break, she invites herself along, causing more issues with Paul. But it’s only after a college student asks if Sofie identifies as a “femme” lesbian that she starts to question her own sexuality and her relationship with both Clea and Paul.

 

off-the-highwayAbout thirty kilometres south of Vancouver, just over the Alex Fraser Bridge and bordering with Surrey and Ladner, lies North Delta, a suburb replete with strip malls, single detached family homes and every–half–hour bus service.

It was a sleepy suburb, one considered the boonies, until 1986, when as part of the Expo city–wide upgrades, the Alex Fraser Bridge was built to connect the two sides of the Fraser River.

Part social commentary, part personal memoir, and part history, Off the Highway is Mette Bach’s thoughtful examination of growing up in North Delta. We learn about the valiant efforts of the Burns Bog Conservation Society volunteers who work tirelessly to preserve the Bog, North America’s largest raised peat bog and one of Canada’s natural wonders. We find out that her family rented a bedroom in their home to Expo 86 visitors and that her mother composted, a practice well ahead of current environmentally–responsible times. We also get a glimpse into North Delta’s storied settlement in the 1860s when Alexander Loggie opened the first cannery, which supplied the British with canned sockeye salmon.

From Henry’s Canadian and Chinese Restaurant run by childhood friend Elaine’s parents, to Michael’s Pizzeria where many North Deltan teenagers, including the author, spent their formative years, Bach takes us on a grand tour of the landmarks that define the suburbia in which she grew up.