August 11, 2021 7:34 AM EDT

Lauded as one of the first teen novels to openly explore queerness, I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, published in 1969, broke early barriers in the now-thriving queer-YA movement. Paving the way for influential and beloved LGBTQ books like Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys and Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, John Donovan’s tender novel depicts the blossoming romance between two teen boys. At the center of the story is Davy Ross, a lonely 13-year-old who moves to New York City to live with his estranged, alcoholic mother after the death of his grandmother, who raised him. When Davy strikes up a friendship with Douglas Altschuler, a classmate at his new school, the boys’ relationship quickly develops into something more. While the book’s conclusion, which leaves Davy’s sexuality ambiuguous, may feel slightly out of place in the current landscape of LGBTQ literature, Donovan’s novel remains a seminal work in the history of gay teen fiction. —Megan McCluskey

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