Tonight at the Manhattan JCC, Leanne Lieberman will appear live talking about her new novel, Gravity, which might be the only Orthodox young-adult lesbian coming-out novel that…uh, exists. Despite the Catholic-school-fantasy-inspired cover, it’s a great read. It’s neither exploitative nor sensationalistic, and the fact of the main character’s struggle with her own sexuality is played on par with her mother’s struggle to sing in synagogue, which is a nice refresher from the afterschool-special type of young-adult literature, but is also subtle, nuanced, and powerful.
Lieberman, who herself is neither queer nor Orthodox, is nonetheless an interesting personality with some great stories — she herself is a former student at Pardes in Jerusalem; her brother came out as gay while they were walking down the street in Meah Shearim; and, most tantalizing of all, she might tell us what she’s working on next. I’m not sure if I’ll get a chance to get out tonight, but if you do, your first assignment is to show up here and let us all know about her next project. After the last one, we’ll be waiting with baited breath.