Welcome to the Andrew Christian Banned Book Club, where each month we'll be highlighting acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction... that also happened to be banned from libraries across the nation by reactionary and bigoted parents who fear their children being exposed to the realities of life. Obviously if you find yourself on the team that wants to ban books, it's time to reevaluate things. So in the spirit of celebrating talented authors at the margins, today we're recommending the wonderful graphic novel Queer by Maia Kobabe.

Queer is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale about the author's personal experience growing up and questioning things like gender identity and sexuality. Maia, who uses pronouns e/em/eir pronouns, went through a lot before discovering that e is nonbinary. The beautifully-illustrated comic-book style novel takes us through eir trials of tribulations trying to make sense of being assigned female at birth, puberty, romantic love, asexuality, and much more. Maia takes you a journey that is both moving and profound.

The graphic novel is saturated with heartfelt moments of joy and triumph but also confusion and despair. In a society that wants to ban the very existence of such people, the process of accepting who you are is never going to be easy. For young people struggling with their own gender identity or sexuality, the story of Maia can help put things in perspective. You're never alone, and eir story reminds us that things will get better with time. Puberty and young adulthood are especially confusing times for those of us in the LGBTQ community, and even if your experience with growing up and coming out was totally rosy, novels like these help expand the circle of empathy. Reading this novel is entering Maia's head, and eir experience is truly illuminating.

The illustrations and sincere personal touches make this graphic novel a real-pager turner with nary a dull moment. The book is dense with specifics of a nonbinary perspective, so if you or someone who know is still struggling to understand that experience, Queer is a great place to start. Books like these are so important to shed light on all the corners of the LGBTQ experience, and it will only help to destigmatize and uplift future generations of queer kids. Maybe that's why the bigots want it banned so badly! So stick it to the man and do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Queer today!