Children’s and YA LGBTQ Books: Spring 2021
We’ve compiled a list of some new and noteworthy LGBTQ-themed books coming this spring and summer for children and teens. Readers can dive into budding queer romances, discover the importance of one’s pronouns, read up on memorable LGBTQ icons, own their own bodies with guides on sex, puberty, and growing up, and much more.
Adventures with My Daddies
Gareth Peter, illus. by Gary Parsons. Peachtree, Apr. 1 $16.99 ISBN 978-1-68263-281-9. Ages 4–8.
Peter and Parsons follow a loving and diverse family, featuring an interracial gay couple and an adopted nongendered young protagonist, as they explore the different worlds that reading stories transports them to.
Born Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope
Jodie Patterson, illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. Crown, Apr. 20 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-12363-8. Ages 4–8.
In this companion to activist and Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board Jodie Patterson's adult memoir, The Bold World, Patterson shares her son Penelope’s frustrations and triumphs on his journey to share himself with the world.
Daddy & Dada
Ryan Brockington and Isaac Webster, illus. by Lauren May. Little, Brown, May 4 $16.99 ISBN 978-0-316-42702-9. Ages 4–8.
Inspired by the co-authors’ family and how they wanted a book for their daughter, Rumi, that portrayed families beyond the typical nuclear set, this picture book affirms that no matter what your family looks like, love is the most important part.
Harry Woodgate. Little Bee Books, Apr. 6 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4998-1193-3. Ages 3–6.
Gramps and Grandad were adventurers; they would surf, climb mountains, and tour the country in their camper. But after Gramps died, Grandad hasn't felt like traveling anymore. That is until their granddaughter comes up with a plan to fix up the old camper and get Grandad excited to explore again.
Jacob's School Play: Starring He, She, and They
Ian and Sarah Hoffman, illus. by Chris Case. Magination, May 4 $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4338-3677-0. Ages 4–8.
While learning their lines and making their costumes for the school play, Jacob’s class finds itself unexpectedly struggling with identity, and what it means to be “he,” “she,” or “they.” The Hoffmans’ third book introduces young readers to non-binary people and the pronoun options available to us all.
Little People, Big Dreams: Andy Warhol
Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illus. by Timothy Hunt. Frances Lincoln, May 4 $15.99 ISBN 978-0-7112-5795-5. Ages 4–7.
Before he became a world-famous artist and LGBTQ icon, young Andy loved drawing but was too shy to show his work to others. He would later grow up to publish his first illustration for a glamorous magazine and start a cultural movement when he showed that ordinary objects, like soup cans he ate from for lunch, could pop.
Little People, Big Dreams: RuPaul
Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illus. by Wednesday Holmes. Frances Lincoln, May 4 $15.99 ISBN 978-0-7112-4681-2. Ages Ages 4–7.
Playing dress-up was RuPaul’s favorite game as a child, and it was where he felt most comfortable. Later, drag became a way to express himself as an artist. After finding success for himself, he wanted to help others find theirs.
This Little Rainbow
Joan Holub, illus. by Daniel Roode. Little Simon, Aug. 31 $7.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-7560-1. Ages 3–5.
Kids can learn about 10 important leaders who represent, empower, and support the LGBTQIA+ community in this primer for leaders-in-training.
Simon James Green, illus. by Garry Parsons. Orchard, June 1 $14.99 ISBN 978-1-338-73618-2. Ages 3–5.
A dazzlin’ dancin’ llama learns to march to the beat of his own drum by strutting his stuff with pride (and a funky feather boa) at the vibrant Llama Glamarama carnival.
My Shadow Is Pink
Scott Stuart. Larrikin House, Apr. 1 $16.99 ISBN 978-0-648-72875-7. Ages 5–7.
Inspired by the author’s own son, this rhyming story features a main character who likes princesses, fairies, and things typically deemed “not for boys.” He soon learns that everyone has a shadow that they sometimes feel they need to hide.
Robin Stevenson, illus. by Julie McLaughlin. Orca, May 11 $19.95 ISBN 978-1-4598-2484-3. Ages 3–5.
A child and their family celebrate Pride Day by meeting up with Grandma, making new friends, and eating ice cream. But then something their dog gets lost in the parade! Luckily, there are lots of people around to help reunite the pup with his family.
Prince & Knight: Tale of the Shadow King
Daniel Haack, illus. by Stevie Lewis. Little Bee Books, Apr. 27 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4998-1121-6. Ages 4–8.
The brave and dashing heroes are happily married and their kingdom is prospering, but soon, a fog of darkness spreads across their land. They get word that the Shadow King is behind this, and rush off to stop him.
Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman
Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays, illus. by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. HarperCollins, June 1 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-297966-7. Ages Ages 4–8.
This picture book autobiography tells the story of Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, and the first LGBTQ congressperson to represent Kansas.
Starboy: Inspired by the Life and Lyrics of David Bowie
Jami Gigot. Henry Holt, May 18 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-23943-3. Ages 4–8.
Gigot delivers a picture book tribute to Bowie’s joyful self-expression and fierce individuality, in this ode to staying true to yourself.
Tuesday Is Daddy’s Day
Elliot Kreloff. Holiday House, May 11 $18.99 ISBN 978-0-8234-4891-3. Ages 3–7.
The girl in this story has two rooms: one at Mommy’s house and one at Daddy’s apartment, which he shares with his partner Henry. Becky likes everything to be the same but learns that sometimes, change can lead to a happy surprise.
Two Grooms on a Cake: The Story of America’s First Gay Wedding
Rob Sanders, illus. by Robbie Cathro. Little Bee Books, May 4 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4998-0956-5. Ages 6–9.
Wed on September 3, 1971, Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first legally married same-sex couple in America. Readers can learn more about their struggle to obtain a marriage license and their subsequent appeals to the state and federal Supreme Courts in this under-told LGBTQ+ story.
What Are Your Words?: A Book About Pronouns
Katherine Locke, illus. by Andy Passchier. Little, Brown, May 25 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-316-54206-7. Ages 4–8.
This accessible introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns follows Ari through their neighborhood as they try to find their words. See our q&a with Locke here.
Ben Y and the Ghost in the Machine (The Kids Under the Stairs)
K.A. Holt. Chronicle, Sept. 28 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4521-8321-3. Ages 8–12.
In this sequel, Ben Y has had it with school. She is struggling to figure out how she defines herself, both on the inside and to others. And home is no better, as the family is still learning how to cope with her older brother’s death.
Both Can Be True
Jules Machias. Quill Tree, June 8 $16.99 ISBN 978-0-06-305389-2. Ages 8–12.
Debut author Machias explores identity, gender fluidity, and the power of friendship and acceptance in this dual-narrative #OwnVoices story about two kids who join forces to save a dog… but wind up saving each other.
Emilie Dufresne. Booklife Publishing UK (IPG/Trafalgar, dist.), June 1 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-83927-084-0. Ages 9–12.
Sometimes being who you are can be a hard thing to do. Learn about people from across the LGBTQIA+ community who celebrate who they are and never stop fighting for what they believe in.
Choose Your Own Adventure: Eighth Grade Witch
E.L. Thomas and Andrew E.C. Gaska, illus. by Valerio Chiola. Oni Press, Aug. 24 $12.99 ISBN 978-1-62010-941-0. Ages 10 and up.
In the first officially licensed Choose Your Own Adventure graphic novel, the reader fills the role of Rabbit, the Afro-Latinx nonbinary new kid on the block as you enter a ghoulish world of nightmares, witches, ghosts, and the dreaded eighth grade.
Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun
Jonny Garza Villa. Skyscape, June 8 $16.99 ISBN 978-1-5420-2705-2. Ages 9–12.
Julián Luna has a plan for his life: Graduate. Get into UCLA. And move away from the suffocating expectations of others. But in one impulsive tweet, his plans for a low-key nine months are thrown—literally—out the closet. Then Mat, a cute Twitter crush from Los Angeles, slides into his DMs.
Beth Turley. Simon & Schuster, Aug. 31 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-7672-1. Ages 8–12.
Chosen for the Spread Your Wings Magazine’s Young Flyers program, Elena Martinez heads to New York City to meet her fellow Young Flyers: fashionable Whitney, social media star Cailin, and investigative Harlow. Elena develops feelings for a fellow Flyer Girl, but each member of the program has her secrets and learns that no one’s life is as glossy as it may appear.
How to Become a Planet
Nicole Melleby. Algonquin, May 25 $16.95 ISBN 978-1-64375-036-1. Ages 9–12.
After she is diagnosed with anxiety and depression, 13-year-old Pluto Timoney, who carries with her an endless curiosity and knowledge of astronomy, experiences her first crush on a girl who is questioning her gender identity.
How to Save a Queendom
Jessica Lawson. Simon & Schuster, Apr. 20 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-1434-1. Ages 8–12.
Life’s never been kind to 12-year-old Stub, who is gender non-conforming. Left in the care of the cruel Matron Tratte, Stub’s learned that the best way to keep the peace is to do as she’s told. She’s accepted the fact that her life just isn’t made for adventure. Then she finds a tiny wizard in her pocket.
The Legend of Auntie Po
Shing Yin Khor. Kokila, June 15 $22.99 ISBN 978-0-525-55488-2. Ages 10–14.
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, 13-year-old Mei tries to remain focused on her job, her growing romantic feelings for the camp foreman’s daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan—reinvented as Auntie Po, an elderly Chinese matriarch.
Nothing Ever Happens Here
Sarah Hagger-Holt. Little Bee Books, May 4 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4998-1181-0. Ages 10–14.
Izzy’s family is under the spotlight when her father comes out as Danielle, a trans woman. Izzy is terrified that her family will be torn apart. Now that all eyes are on Izzy, can she face her fears, find her voice, and stand up for her family and what’s right?
ParaNorthern: And the Chaos Bunny A-hop-calypse
Stephanie Cooke, illus. by Mari Costa. Etch, July 6 $12.99 ISBN 978-0-358-16900-0. Ages 8–12.
A witch named Abby and her three friends—a wolf-girl named Gita, a ghost, and a pumpkinhead—band together to try and save their supernatural town from an invasion of rabid (but adorable!) chaos bunnies in this middle grade graphic novel. Along the way, Abby and Gita explore their feelings for one another.
Puberty Is Gross, But Also Really Awesome
Gina Loveless, illus. by Lauri Johnston. Rodale Kids, Mar. 23 $15.99 ISBN 978-1-63565-353-3. Ages 10 and up.
Filled with easy-to-understand scientific information, interesting studies, and tips from experts—this inclusive puberty book doesn’t shy away from difficult topics.
Thanks a Lot, Universe
Chad Lucas. Amulet, May 11 $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4197-5102-8. Ages 10–14.
After he’s placed in foster care, Brian doesn’t know if things will ever be “normal” again. Ezra is just the opposite: he’s friends with most kids—even Brian. But now, Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but worries his kindness will give away the fact that he has a crush on him.
Tomoko Takes the Lead (The Derby Daredevils Book #3)
Kit Rosewater, illus. by Sophie Escabasse. Amulet, June 1 $14.99 ISBN 978-1-4197-5172-1. Ages 8–12.
The Derby Daredevils features a fierce crew of LGBTQ+ female skaters in book three of the middle grade series as it focuses on shy Tomoko and finds the team at roller derby summer camp in nearby Dallas.
A Lesson in Vengeance
Victoria Lee. Delacorte, Aug. 3 $18.99 ISBN 978-0-593-30582-9. Ages 14 and up.
A prodigy novelist at 17, Ellis Haley is brilliant, and Felicity Morrow can’t shake the pull she feels toward her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five—five students who all died mysteriously one after another—for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. But history begins to repeat itself, and Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway—and in herself.
All Kinds of Other
James Sie. Quill Tree, May 4 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-296249-2. Ages 14 and up.
This YA debut charts a moving coming-of-age love story between two boys—one who is cisgender and just settling into what it means to be gay and one who is transgender and dealing with the loss of his best friend after she ran away from home.
All Our Hidden Gifts
Caroline O’Donoghue. Candlewick, June 8 $19.99 ISBN 978-1-5362-1394-2. Ages 14 and up.
After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet, she becomes the most sought-after diviner in her school. But when Maeve’s ex–best friend, Lily, draws the Housekeeper, the session ends with Maeve wishing that Lily would disappear. Maeve must dig deep into her connection with the cards for clues while struggling to preserve a fledgling romance with Lily’s gender-fluid sibling, Roe.
Any Way the Wind Blows
Rainbow Rowell. Wednesday, July 6 $19.99 ISBN 978-1-250-25433-7. Ages 15 and up.
The finale to Rowell’s YA fantasy, the Simon Snow trilogy, takes Simon, Baz and Penelope back to England, back to Watford, and back to their families for their most emotionally wrenching adventure yet.
Between Perfect and Real
Ray Stoeve. Amulet, Apr. 27 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-4197-4601-7. Ages 12 and up.
Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. But everyone at his high school thinks he’s a lesbian—including his theater director, who just cast him as a “nontraditional” Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. Can playing a role help Dean be his true self?
The Call of the Rift: Crest
Jae Waller. ECW Press, May 18 $18.95 ISBN 978-1-77041-458-7. Ages 13–17.
Kateiko faces a tough decision between moving forward to live the life she desperately wants and staying behind to protect her family and rebuild her home in the third installment and prologue to this high fantasy, alternative history series. The story features bisexual and asexual characters.
Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms
Crystal Frasier and Val Wise. Oni Press, Aug. 10 $14.99 ISBN 978-1-62010-955-7. Ages 12 and up.
An antisocial lesbian joins the cheerleading squad in her senior year to pad her college applications, but finds herself on the same team as her former friend, a trans girl who struggles to keep everyone happy—especially her parents—in order to maintain their support of her transition.
Chella Man, illus. by Ashley Lukashevsky. Penguin Workshop, June 1 $8.99 ISBN 978-0-593-22348-2. Ages 12 and up.
In this story of coping and resilience, Chella journeys through his experiences as a deaf, transgender, genderqueer, Jewish person of color, and shows that identity lies on a continuum.
Cool for the Summer
Dahlia Adler. Wednesday, May 11 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-76582-6. Ages 14 and up.
Lara finally lands the guy of her dreams, only to have her unexpected(ly female) summer fling transfer to her school for their senior year.
The Darkness Outside Us
Eliot Schrefer. HarperCollins/Tegen, June 1 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-288828-0. Ages 13 and up.
Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch. But nothing will stop Ambrose in his rescue mission. Ambrose and his brooding shipmate Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once the two boys, who develop a romance, discover what they are truly up against.
Alison Evans. Echo, June 1 $15.99 ISBN 978-1-76068-585-0. Ages 12 and up.
In this novel featuring three queer friends, ever since Babs was cursed, she turns invisible sometimes. Then, one day, Iris can see her. The two of them are connected to the magic around them. There’s also a new boy at school who’s like them. Something is happening in the other realm, and despite being warned to stay away, the three friends have to figure out how to deal with it on their own terms.
Evelyn Hooker and the Fairy Project
Gayle E. Pitman. Magination, Sept. 28 $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4338-3047-1 Ages 12 and up.
This collection of poems narrates the life of Evelyn Hooker, who had a major impact on the gay community. Sidebars with historical information, news articles, and insight on prejudicial policies relating to homosexuality from the ’50s and ’60s, as well as a note to readers provides information on how to be an effective ally.
Every Body Shines: Sixteen Stories About Living Fabulously Fat
Edited by Cassandra Newbould. Bloomsbury, May 11 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5476-0607-8. Ages 14 and up.
This intersectional feminist YA anthology compiling 16 stories that feature fat main characters in a variety of genres and tropes, written by authors who live those lives too. The contributors come from a wide variety of backgrounds, in stories that are primarily female-forward, but also include male and nonbinary perspectives. Every Body Shines features a foreword by Aubrey Gordon, and stories by Nafiza Azad, Chris Baron, Sheena Boekweg, Linda Camacho, Kelly deVos, Alex Gino, Claire Kann, Amanda Lovelace, Hillary Monahan, Cassandra Newbould, Francina Simone, Rebecca Sky, Monique Gray Smith, Renée Watson, Catherine Adel West, and Jennifer Yen.
TJ Klune. Tor Teen, July 13 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-250-20368-7. Ages 13 and up.
In the sequel to The Extraordinaries, Nick has landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams, but with new heroes arriving in Nova City, it’s up to Nick and his friends to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous.
Margot Wood. Amulet, Aug. 3 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-4197-4813-4. Ages 14 and up.
Elliot McHugh, who is bisexual, has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She’s too busy experiencing all that college has to offer—from dancing all night, to making new friends, to having the best sex. Elliot may make epic mistakes, but if she’s honest with herself, she may just find the person she wants to be. And maybe even fall in love in the process. See our q&a with Wood.
Zoe Hana Mikuta. Feiwel and Friends, June 29 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-26950-8. Ages 13 and up.
Set in a time where a power-hungry nation uses microchip-implanted human pilots to control giant robots known as “Windups,” this story follows a ragtag group of renegades known as Gearbreakers who strive to earn their freedom. Amid the struggle, two girls on opposite sides of the war discover they're fighting for a common purpose—and falling for each other.
The Girl from the Sea
Molly Knox Ostertag. Graphix, June 1 $14.99 ISBN 978-1-338-54057-4. Ages 12 and up.
Fifteen-year-old Morgan is desperate to escape her small hometown, where she’s keeping a big secret: she wants to kiss another girl. Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn't seem so stifling anymore. But Keltie has some secrets of her own.
The Ghosts We Keep
Mason Deaver. PUSH, June 1 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-338-59334-1. Ages 14 and up.
When Liam Cooper, a non-binary teenager, must face the world alone after his older brother Ethan is killed in a hit-and-run accident, they find themselves spending time with Ethan’s best friend, Marcus, who might be the only person who knows exactly what they’re going through—for better or worse.
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating
Adiba Jaigirdar. Page Street, May 25 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-64567-257-9. Ages 14 and up.
Everyone likes Hani Kahn—she’s one of the most popular girls at school. But when she comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Panicked, Hani blurts out that she’s in a relationship… with Ishita Dey, a girl her friends absolutely hate.
Heartstopper: Volume 3
Alice Oseman. Graphix, May 4 $14.99 ISBN 978-1-338-61752-8. Ages 12 and up.
Charlie didn’t think Nick could ever like him back, but now they’re officially boyfriends. Nick has even found the courage to come out to his mother. Not being out to their classmates is hard, though, especially during a school trip to Paris.
Alison Evans. Echo, May 1 $15.99 ISBN 978-1-76068-502-7. Ages 12 and up.
Bodies on the TV. Explosions, barriers, and people fleeing. And a dad who’ll bite your head off—literally. This zombie apocalypse story features a range of queer and gender non-conforming teens who have lost their families and friends and can only rely upon each other.
I Think I Love You
Auriane Desombre. Underlined, Mar. 2 $9.99 ISBN 978-0-593-17976-5. Ages 12 and up.
Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more practical-minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles. What happens if their rivalry turns into a romance?
In Deeper Waters
F.T. Lukens. S&S/McElderry, Apr. 20 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-8050-6. Ages 14 and up.
A young prince must rely on a mysterious boy to save him when he is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour in this romantic adventure filled with pirates, mermaids, and political intrigue.
In the Ravenous Dark
A.M. Strickland. Imprint, May 18 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-77660-0. Ages 15 and up.
In Thanopolis, those with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when Rovan, who is pansexual, accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Mary McCoy. Simon & Schuster, June 15 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-8505-1. Ages 12 and up.
Memphis teen Lee’s life is thrown into turmoil after a breakup with her boyfriend. On a quest to uncover the secrets of love, she starts falling for her new friend Risa.
It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, Gender, and Sexual Health
Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley. Candlewick, May 18 $24.99 ISBN 978-1-5362-0720-0. Ages 10 and up.
In this updated edition of the acclaimed book, a curious bird and a squeamish bee reflect the diverse feelings children have about sex and offer reassurance that the changes and emotions they experience while growing up are perfectly normal.
Jay’s Gay Agenda
Jason June. HarperTeen, June 1 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-301515-9. Ages 14 and up.
There’s one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he’s a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small Washington town. While all his friends can’t stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay compiles a to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.
Kate in Waiting
Becky Albertalli. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Apr. 20 $18.99 ISBN 978-0-06-264383-4. Ages 14 and up.
Contrary to popular belief, best friends and theater nerds Kate Garfield and Anderson Walker are not codependent. But when Kate and Andy’s latest long-distance crush, Matt, shows up at their school, everything goes off script.
Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human
Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan. Random House Graphic, Mar. 9 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-984893-14-7. Ages 14 and up.
This comprehensive graphic novel guide by collaborating couple Moen and Nolan offers answers to questions about teens’ growing bodies and identities. See our q&a with the co-authors here.
Love & Other Natural Disasters
Misa Sugiura. HarperTeen, June 8 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-299123-2. Ages 13 and up.
When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind. But when perfect, heartbroken Willow enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend, Nozomi volunteers with ulterior motives. As the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster.
Jamie Pacton. Page Street, May 11 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-64567-208-1. Ages 13 and up.
28,643,129. That’s how many dollars 17-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. If she reveals her win before she turns 18, Jane’s hoarder mother will get the money. But Jane’s birthday is a month away, and it’s hard to keep $28 million secret for long in her tiny Wisconsin town. Pacton creates a cast of characters with diverse sexual orientations and identities.
The Lucky List
Rachael Lippincott. Simon & Schuster, June 1 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-6853-5. Ages 12 and up.
Nothing has felt right for Emily since she lost her mother three years ago. She’s wrecked things with her boyfriend, her father is selling her childhood home, and the only person she can talk to is Blake, a girl she barely knows. But that’s when Emily finds her mom’s senior year summer bucket list. As she and Blake start going down the list, she finally starts feeling closer to her mom again—and to Blake as well.
May the Best Man Win
ZR Ellor. Roaring Brook, May 18 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-250-62512-0. Ages 14 and up.
In this #OwnVoices contemporary YA debut, Jeremy, a transgender cheer captain and student body president, enters a throwdown battle for the title of Homecoming King with football all-star Lukas, the boy he dumped last summer.
Meet Cute Diary
Emery Lee. Quill Tree, May 4 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-303883-7. Ages 14 and up.
In this rom-com, a transgender teen must decide if he’s dedicated to romantic formulas or open to unpredictable love after an internet troll attack on his blog compels him and a fan to start fake-dating.
Sarah Moon. Levine Querido, Apr. 6$18.99 ISBN 978-164614-042-8. Ages 14 and up.
Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her 17-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine. With no legal guardian to keep them out of foster care, Anna masquerades as Aunt Lisa, but their plans quickly begin to unravel.
The Mythic Koda Rose
Jennifer Nissley. Simon & Schuster, July 13 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-6676-0. Ages 14 and up.
Everything Koda Rose knows about her father, musician Mack Grady, she’s learned from other people. Koda has more important things on her mind, though, such as how she’s in love with her best friend, Lindsay. Agonizing over how to confess her feelings leads Koda to explore Mack’s enigmatic history in search of answers.
Never Kiss Your Roommate
Philline Harms. Wattpad, June 1 $10.99 ISBN 978-1-989365-81-6. Ages 14 and up.
This #OwnVoices LGBTQIAP+ romance follows best friends Evelyn and Seth, who plan to join the student body of their exclusive boarding school. Though the rules clearly state that students must dedicate themselves to their studies, an anonymous blogger called The Watcher is ready to expose Evelyn and Seth’s secrets and threaten their newfound queer romances.
No Way, They Were Gay?: Hidden Lives and Secret Loves
Lee Wind. Zest Books, Apr. 6 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5415-8162-3. Ages 11–18.
In this YA nonfiction title, readers can get a look at the hidden lives and secret loves of 12 well-known historical figures, from William Shakespeare and Pharaoh Hatshepsut to Cary Grant and Eleanor Roosevelt, supported by primary source documents. See our q&a with Wind.
Not My Problem
Ciara Smyth. HarperTeen, May 25 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-295714-6. Ages 13 and up.
This multilayered, irreverent queer coming-of-age story features a slacker who inadvertently launches an underground business as her school’s secret problem-solver—and discovers how to face her own problems in the process.
On Top of Glass: My Stories as a Queer Girl in Figure Skating
Karina Manta. Knopf, Oct. 19 $18.99 ISBN 978-0-593-30846-2. Ages 12 and up.
Figure skater Karina Manta’s memoir covers memorable experiences, such as being published in the New York Times and joining the circus, as well as her queerness. It’s also a story about her struggle with body image, growing up feeling different than those around her, and realizing that everyone else felt different, too.
The Passing Playbook
Isaac Fitzsimons. Dial, June 1 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-984815-40-8. Ages 12 and up.
Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd and a David Beckham in training; he’s also transgender. After transitioning leads to isolation and bullying at his old school, Spencer starts fresh at liberal private school Oakley. But when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play.
This Poison Heart
Kalynn Bayron. Bloomsbury, June 29 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5476-0390-9. Ages 13 and up.
Just as Brooklynite Briseis, a queer Black teen with the ability to control plants, and her two moms face the possibility of losing their flower shop, Bri receives an inheritance: a house and 40 acres in Upstate New York. Yet summer in Rhinebeck reveals that there’s more to Bri’s inheritance than a sprawling mansion, as she soon encounters secrets about her birth family and her own powers. See our q&a with Bayron.
The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures
Christian Allaire. Annick, Apr. 27 $19.95 ISBN 978-1-77321-490-0. Ages 12 and up.
As a fashion-obsessed queer Ojibwe teen, Christian Allaire rarely saw anyone that looked like him in magazines or movies. Now the fashion and style writer for Vogue, he is working to change that, because he believes that style is not just the clothes on our backs—it is self-expression, representation, and transformation.
Julie Murphy. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, May 25 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-06-288045-1. Ages 13 and up.
In this companion to Dumplin’ and Puddin’, fat, openly gay Waylon Russell Brewer’s plan to escape Clover City is ruined when his audition tape for a TV drag show goes viral and he receives a joke nomination for prom king. But Waylon decides to leave high school with a bang and runs for prom court—alongside very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.
Rise to the Sun
Leah Johnson. Scholastic Press, July 6 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-338-66223-8. Ages 12 and up.
After the loss of her father, Toni is desperate to figure out where her life will go from here. Olivia is a hopeless romantic who is beginning to believe that she may never find “the one.” Fate causes the two to collide at a music festival, but when something goes wrong and the festival is sent into a panic, Toni and Olivia find that they need each other more than they imagined.
Skate for Your Life
Leo Baker, illus. by Ashley Lukashevsky. Penguin Workshop, June 1 $8.99 ISBN 978-0-593-22347-5. Ages 12 and up.
In this personal story, professional skateboarder Leo Baker shares their journey in the world of skateboarding and the importance of authenticity and allyship as a non-binary athlete.
The Sky Blues
Robbie Couch. Simon & Schuster, Apr. 6 $19.99 ISBN 978-1-5344-7785-8. Ages 12 and up.
Openly gay Sky Baker is determined not to let his small town ruin his senior year. He decides to make a splash by asking his crush Ali to prom. But when his secret promposal plans get leaked to the entire school via a homophobic perpetrator, Sky must fight back.
Stranger Things: Rebel Robin
A.R. Capetta. Random House, June 29 ISBN $17.99 978-0-593-37556-3. Ages 14 and up.
It’s the beginning of sophomore year, and Robin’s Odd Squad friends have decided: this time, they’re going to fit in. They couple up, they won’t stop talking about college, and they’re obsessed with trying to act “normal.” But there’s one aspect of her identity that Robin knows for sure doesn’t fit in—she likes girls.
Some Girls Do
Jennifer Dugan. Putnam, May 18 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-593-11253-3. Ages 12 and up.
Morgan, an elite track athlete, is forced to transfer high schools after it turns out being queer is against her Catholic school’s code of conduct. When she meets car enthusiast and beauty queen Ruby, the two can’t deny their growing feelings. But while Morgan doesn’t want to keep their budding relationship a secret, Ruby isn’t ready to come out yet.
Summer in the City of Roses
Michelle Ruiz Keil. Soho Teen, July 6 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-64129-171-2. Ages 14 and up.
Seventeen-year-old Iph has always protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But after being sent away to a wilderness camp to toughen up, Orr escapes and falls in love with an all-girl punk band named The Furies. As Iph sets off to find Orr, she meets George, a queer Robin Hood who swoops in on a bicycle and offers to help her.
The (Un)popular Vote
Jasper Sanchez. HarperCollins/Tegen, June 1 $18.99 ISBN 978-0-06-302576-9. Ages 14 and up.
This #OwnVoices YA debut chronicles a transmasculine student’s foray into a no-holds-barred student body president election against the wishes of his politician father.
These Feathered Flames
Alexandra Overy. Inkyard, Apr. 20 $19.99 ISBN 978-1-335-14796-7. Ages 13 And up.
This queer #OwnVoices retelling of the Russian folktale “The Firebird” follows twin heirs Izaveta, who remains at court to be groomed as the future queen, and Asya, who trains with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensures magic remains balanced in the realm. Along the way, the sisters discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.
Julia Lynn Rubin. Wednesday, June 1 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-75724-1. Ages 14 and up.
In this queer reimagining of Thelma & Louise, when Trixie picks up her best friend Lux for their weekend getaway, she’s looking to escape for a little while, to forget the despair of being trapped in their dead-end town and the responsibility of caring for her ailing mother. But a single night of violence derails their trip and forever changes the girls’ lives
Victories Greater Than Death
Charlie Jane Anders. Tor Teen, Apr. 13 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-250-31731-5. Ages 13 and up.
Tina has known since forever that she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, Captain Thaoh Argentian, left on Earth disguised as a human. But her destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Before Tina and her rag-tag crew of friends and the Royal fleet save all the worlds, she will have to save herself first. The novel features a diverse cast of LGBTQ+ characters. See our q&a with Anders.
Leah Thomas. Bloomsbury, June 8 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-5476-0463-0. Ages 14 and up.
Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. They might be more than friends, but Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s trans, she won’t bother haunting him anymore. After all, Sarah’s got good reason to distrust boys, having been strangled by one.
We Should Meet in Air: A Graphic Memoir on Reading Sylvia Plath
Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg. Street Noise, June 15 $16.99 ISBN 978-1-951491-06-2. Ages 16 and up.
In this debut graphic novel, key events in the life of the writer Sylvia Plath are woven with a personal narrative of her own teenage years, exploring such themes as anxiety, self-doubt, love, sexual orientation, and identity.
What Love Looks Like: Sometimes love turns up where you least expect it
Jarlath Gregory. O’Brien Press, May 15 $12.99 ISBN 978-1-78849-162-4. Ages 13 and up.
Ben is 17, gay, and happy most of the time. He’s finished school and is on track to a great career—all that’s missing is falling in love.
When You Get the Chance
Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson. Running Press Kids, May 4 $17.99 ISBN 978-0-7624-9500-9. Ages 13 and up.
Cousins Mark and Talia are both queer, but they soon realize that’s about all they have in common. Well, that and their desire to be in Toronto for the city’s annual Pride celebration. So ensues a humorous road trip as they set their sights on finding what they’re each looking for.
The Witch King
H.E. Edgmon. Inkyard, June 1 $18.99 ISBN 978-1-335-21279-5. Ages 13 and up.
On one devastating night, trans witch Wyatt Croft loses control of his magic. He flees to the human world to escape the consequences. Wyatt strikes a deal with the enemy, hoping to escape Asalin forever, but as the witches face worsening conditions, he must decide what’s more important—his people or his freedom.
Zoe Rosenthal Is Not Lawful Good
Nancy Werlin. Candlewick, Apr.6 $17.99 ISBN 978-1-5362-1473-4. Ages 14 and up.
Planning is Zoe Rosenthal’s superpower. She has faith in a properly organized to-do list and avoids unnecessary risks. But speaking of unnecessary risks, Zoe sneaks off to Dragon Con for the season premiere of Bleeders, the subject of her perfect boyfriend’s lofty scorn. There, a new love interest who is gender fluid enters the picture.