Happy June, and happy Pride month! To all of our friends and readers on the LGBTQIA spectrum and beyond, we’re so happy you’re here. I hope you take a few moments to celebrate and breathe—being yourself shouldn’t be a radical act, but it is. The world has a long way to go, but I have faith in your (and our) fight. So no matter where you are on your journey, remember that there will always be people in the world who support you. You always deserve a seat at the table. And you always deserve to be seen in the books you read.
So friends and allies—if you’re looking to add more LGBTQIA books to the never-ending TBR for this month and beyond, go give these books some love!
In Trans Mission, Alex Bertie—activist, YouTuber, and educator—tells the story of his life, struggles, and victories as a transgender teen. Part memoir and part guidebook for transitioning and questioning teens, Alex’s first-hand account explores the complexities of gender and sexuality, while writing with compassion and clarity. Alex’s memoir is for everyone—for transitioning teens, their allies, and anyone looking to better understand others (and themselves).
Fresh and funny, with a dash of suspense, Jack of Hearts is the sex-positive, shamelessly queer YA you wish you had in sex ed. Our fearless protagonist, Jack, doesn’t love the gossip that swirls around his unapologetically active queer sex life—but he believes that it could always be worse. But when Jack starts writing a teen sex advice column, the worst happens: a stalker is sending threatening love letters attempting to curb Jack’s sexuality and force him back into the closet. And now, it’s up to Jack and his best friends to uncover the blackmailer once and for all.
If you don’t know who Brandy Colbert is, WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? I recommend starting with Little & Lion, Brandy’s Stonewall Award winning novel about step-siblings Suzette and Lionel who begin to fall in love with the same girl. While Lionel grapples with his bipolar disorder, Suzette must face her own demons and come to terms with her bisexuality. A story of love, loss, identity, and redemption, Little & Lion is an emotional and gorgeous journey—and will make you board the Brandy Colbert fan train.
Play the power, not the game: always make sure your romantic comedies have hilarious, grand feminist hoaxes and enemies-to-lovers tropes. Harriet Price: wealthy, smart, over-achieving, the perfect student at Rosemead Preparatory School. Will Everhart: troublemaker, never met an injustice she didn’t fight. Will and Harriet couldn’t be more different and can’t stand to be in the same room together. But when their swim coach’s inappropriate behavior gets swept under the rug, they reluctantly team up to make Amelia Westlake, an imaginary student who pulls legendary pranks and writes scathing political cartoons about all the injustices at Rosemead. But as Amelia’s pranks escalate and tensions burn between Harriet and Will, how long and how far will they go to make a difference?
AREEE YOUUU READDYY TO CRY YOUR EYES OUT? Ex-football player Adam Kurlansky and Walt Whitman fan-boy Jo Hopkirk are partnered as pen pals in English class. Jo and Kurl’s letters weave a tale of what begins as reluctant friendship, and transforms quickly into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and familial abuse in the background, Jo and Kurl will have to overcome their own conflicts before they can truly be together.
One of the original queer YA titles, Ash is on its way to becoming a modern classic—just as it should. In this lesbian retelling of Cinderella, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother after the death of her father. So when she meets the dangerous fairy, Sidhean, she believes her luck is turning. But her heart begins to change when she meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, and her desire to live and love reawakens. Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, though—so now Ash must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.
It’s the end of high school, and Aubrey and Rae only have 2 weeks left before they leave for college. They have time for one last romp around Europe before they and their best friends, Clara, Jonah, and Gabe, have to say goodbye. But old secrets can’t help coming to light: first, there’s Aubrey and Gabe’s unresolved history, complicated by the fact that Aubrey is currently dating Jonah. And then there’s Rae’s hopeless crush on Clara—hopeless, because what’s the point in admitting your true feelings to someone moving to a different side of the planet in just a few weeks? First kisses, warm summer nights, and the bittersweet ache of endings and new beginnings make this a * chef’s kiss * perfect summer romance.
Once & Future
by A.R. Capetta, Cory McCarthy
Gender bent 👏 King Arthur👏 in SPPAAACCEE👏! Once & Future is another queer, bold retelling of a classic tale that’s a romp, an adventure, and an action-packed fantasy. When Ari Helix crash lands on Old Earth and pulls out an ancient magic sword from its resting place, she becomes the forty-second reincarnation of King Arthur. Along with the recently awakened Merlin, she must work to break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back by defeating their cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all.