What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA This Fall
Every other month I’ll be doing a roundup of new and forthcoming YA books (and sometimes some non-YA books) featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. I’ll try to include as many titles as possible. Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers August 2015 and September 2015 titles. All annotations here are via WorldCat or the publishers. My previous post, from June, can be found here.
Living with the Fall by Hannah Thompson (Harmony Ink Press, August 6, ISBN 2940150825963. EBOOK):
In a dystopian future ravaged by a zombie virus, teenaged Flo dreams of becoming a hunter. Instead, he becomes infected, and while plagued by hunger, he is able to control his urges. Hoping his life can still hold some meaning, Flo agrees to travel with hunters Hulme and Dihr, and he discovers a world unlike anything he imagined.
On the continent, people are struggling to hold back the apocalypse by finding a cure for the disease, and Flo might be the key. But friendships and trust are tested as the trio crosses hostile territory and faces dangers beyond the zombie infestation. In the end, only Flo can decide if he can live with what he’s become.
Still Life Las Vegas by James Sie, Sungyoon Choi (St. Martin’s Press, August 11, ISBN 9781250055668):
When Walter Stahl was five-years-old, his mother drove away in the family’s blue Volvo and never came back. Now seventeen, living in the dregs of Las Vegas, taking care of his ailing father and marking time in a dead-end job along the Strip, Walter’s life so far has been defined by her absence. He doesn’t remember what she looks like; he’s never so much as seen a photograph but, still, he looks for her among the groups of tourists he runs into every day, allowing himself the dim hope that she might still be out there, somewhere.
But when Walter meets Chrysto and Acacia, a brother and sister working as living statues at the Venetian Hotel, his world cracks wide open. With them he discovers a Las Vegas he never knew existed and, as feelings for Chrysto develop, a side of himself he never knew he had. At the same time, clues behind his mother’s disappearance finally start to reveal themselves, and Walter is confronted with not only the truth about himself, but also that of his family history.
Threading through this coming-of-age story are beautiful, heart-wrenching graphic illustration, which reveal the journey of Walter’s mother Emily: how she left everything to chase a vision of Liberace across the country; and how Walter’s father Owen went searching for her amongst the gondolas of the Venetian Hotel.
In James Sie’s debut novel, Still Life Las Vegas, the magical collides with the mundane; memory, sexual awakening and familial ties all lead to a place where everything is illuminated, and nothing is real.
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, August 11, ISBN 9780316242165):
1. Kiss Estelle.
2. Get a job.
3. Cheer my mother up.
4. Try not to be a complete nerd/loser.
5. Talk to my father when he calls.
6. Figure out how to be good.
Nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a whole heap of problems, including a reversal of family fortune, moving, new-school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and a massive crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things….
In this charming story of one guy’s efforts to get it together when his life is falling apart, award-winning author Fiona Wood introduces an irresistible voice and a delightfully awkward character who is impossible to forget.
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz (Chronicle, August 18, ISBN 9781452129426):
Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies. But when Beckan’s clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn’t have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected. This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.
Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase (Harmony Ink, August 20, ISBN 978-1-63476-150-5):
This trip down the rabbit hole will reveal a very different Wonderland.
Alice’s younger brother, Henry, is sent to a bizarre world he never really believed existed. His best chance to get home is the Mad Hatter, who is a remarkably stranger, if more handsome, fellow than Henry expects. Hatter’s only goal is to keep his head firmly attached to his body, and his best chance for doing it is to bring “Boy Alice” to the Red Queen as ordered. It’s dislike at first sight for Henry and Hatter, but since circumstances force them to remain together, they try to abide each other.
During their travels and adventures through Wonderland, they grudgingly forge a friendship that tests their values and established beliefs. Learning to tolerate each other and then to compromise, offers them a chance for something more when they reach the end of their journey—if they can survive the obstacles along the way.
Another Day (Every Day #2) by David Levithan (Random House Children’s Books, August 25, ISBN 9780385756204):
In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.
Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.
Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.
Lair of Dreams (Diviners #2) by Libba Bray (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, August 25, ISBN 9780316126045):
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to “read” objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities…
Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?
George by Alex Gino (Scholastic, Inc, August 25, ISBN 9780545812542):
BE WHO YOU ARE.
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.
George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler (HarperCollins Publishers, September 1, ISBN 9780061731075):
Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.
Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….
Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.
Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian (HarperCollins Publishers, September 1, ISBN 9780062349880):
From William C. Morris YA Debut Award nominee Carrie Mesrobian, Cut Both Ways is an unflinching look at a high school senior who must come to terms with his attraction to both his girlfriend and his male best friend.
It took Will Caynes seventeen years to have his first kiss. He should be ecstatic…except that it was shared with his best friend, Angus, while they were both drunk and stoned. Will’s not gay, but he did sort of enjoy whatever it was he felt with Angus. Unsettled by his growing interest in Angus, Will avoids his friend, and even starts dating a sophomore, Brandy. When he’s hooking up with her, he’s totally into it, so he must be straight, right? Then why does he secretly keep going back to Angus?
Confusing as Will’s feelings are, they’re a welcome distraction from his complicated home life. His father has started drinking earlier each day when he should be working on what seem like never-ending house renovations. And his mom—living in a McMansion with her new husband—isn’t much help, just buying Will a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need. Neither feels like much of a parent—which leaves Will on his own in figuring things out with his girlfriend and best friend. He loves them both, but deciding who to be with will ultimately hurt someone. Himself probably the most.
The Body by RJ Martin (Harmony Ink, September 3, ISBN 978-1-63476-258-8):
What happens when the lines between spirit and flesh begin to blur?
In the Adirondack town of Lake Henry, NY, altar boy Jonah Gregory, fifteen, dreams of becoming a priest. Aside from being a spiritual comfort to his fellow man, Jonah pursues his vocation because he knows his special devotion to the Lord is mutual since he believes Christ is gay too. When his older sister, Angie, introduces him to Rusty Naylor, the handsome, closeted son of a romance novelist and a dead ringer for the Messiah, Jonah is thrust into a physical-spiritual love triangle. Jonah knows he must choose between them and the path each one represents, but he can’t look at one without seeing the other, and neither seems willing to give him up.
Jonah is guided on his quest by Rusty’s famous mother, Jace Naylor, his ill-tempered pastor from Brooklyn, his frustrated parents, and the two men who have captured his heart: Rusty and the Lord.
Wonders of the Invisible World by Christoper Barzak (Random House Children’s Books, September 8, ISBN 9780385392808):
Seventeen-year-old Aidan Lockwood lives in the sleepy farming community of Temperance, Ohio—known for its cattle ranches and not much else. That is, until Jarrod, a friend he hasn’t seen in five years, moves back to town and opens Aidan’s eyes in startling ways: to Aidan’s ability to see the spirit world; to the red-bearded specter of Death; to a family curse that has claimed the lives of the Lockwood men one by one . . . and to the new feelings he has developed for Jarrod.
Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz (Candlewick Press, September 8, ISBN9780763676353):
In a futuristic society run by an all-powerful Gov, a bender teen on the cusp of adulthood has choices to make that will change her life—and maybe the world.
Fifteen-year-old bender Kivali has had a rough time in a gender-rigid culture. Abandoned as a baby and raised by Sheila, an ardent nonconformist, Kivali has always been surrounded by uncertainty. Where did she come from? Is it true what Sheila says, that she was deposited on Earth by the mysterious saurians? What are you?people ask, and Kivali isn’t sure. Boy/girl? Human/lizard? Both/neither? Now she’s in CropCamp, with all of its schedules and regs, and the first real friends she’s ever had. Strange occurrences and complicated relationships raise questions Kivali has never before had to consider. But she has a gift—the power to enter a trancelike state to harness the “knowings” inside her. She has Lizard Radio. Will it be enough to save her? A coming-of-age story rich in friendships and the shattering emotions of first love, this deeply felt novel will resonate with teens just emerging as adults in a sometimes hostile world.
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (HarperCollins Publishers, September 8, ISBN 9780062331755):
A captivating and profound debut novel about complicated love and the friendships that have the power to transform you forever, perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Mira is starting over at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to pretend that she could act like a functioning human this time, not a girl who can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.
Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn, it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with mischief glinting in his eye.
Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and impromptu road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.
As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.
Stand-Off by Andrew Smith (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, September 8, ISBN 9781481418294):
Ryan Dean West is back to his boarding school antics in this bitingly funny sequel to Winger, which Publishers Weekly called “alternately hilarious and painful, awkward and enlightening” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
It’s his last year at Pine Mountain, and Ryan Dean should be focused on his future, but instead, he’s haunted by his past. His rugby coach expects him to fill the roles once played by his lost friend, Joey, as the rugby team’s stand-off and new captain. And somehow he’s stuck rooming with twelve-year-old freshman Sam Abernathy, a cooking whiz with extreme claustrophobia and a serious crush on Annie Altman—aka Ryan Dean’s girlfriend, for now, anyway.
Equally distressing, Ryan Dean’s doodles and drawings don’t offer the relief they used to. He’s convinced N.A.T.E. (the Next Accidental Terrible Experience) is lurking around every corner—and then he runs into Joey’s younger brother Nico, who makes Ryan Dean feel paranoid that he’s avoiding him. Will Ryan Dean ever regain his sanity?
From the author of the National Book Award–nominated 100 Sideways Miles, which Kirkus Reviews called “a wickedly witty and offbeat novel,” Stand-Off is filled with hand-drawn infographics and illustrations and delivers the same spot-on teen voice and relatable narrative that legions of readers connected with in Winger.
Breaking (Up) Point by Brian McNamara (Bold Strokes Books, September 15, ISBN 9781626394308):
Brendan Madden is starting his freshman year of college and, although excited, he is sad to say good-bye to his high school boyfriend, Mark. After a rough transition, Brendan carves out a place for himself at school, where he has new friends and newfound independence. With the added strain of distance, however, he now finds it hard to maintain his relationship with Mark, especially due to the fact that Mark still must hide the relationship from most of his friends. Brendan’s college life allows him to be open and honest about who he is. He debates whether he is willing to compromise this for Mark, especially since staying in the relationship means forgoing the possibility of finding new romance at college.
Hostage by Cheryl Headford (Harmony Ink, September 17, ISBN 978-1-63476-264-9):
Astrin Raphael wakes up in a strange place, frightened and confused. He is told to trust someone who seems to hate him, and he tries—he really tries. However, things change rapidly when he discovers his friend is actually his archenemy, Rowan Gabriel, whose abusive behavior stems from a deeply ingrained, if unwarranted, hatred over something that happened many years before, and simply wasn’t Astrin’s fault.
When Rowan’s uncle and Astrin’s father are kidnapped by Strebo Michael, the two crown princes are catapulted into an adventure that forces them to work together, and along the way their feelings for each other grow. Rowan is quick to let his hate go, but Astrin can’t release his inhibitions. It takes Astrin almost dying from a poisoned dagger before he finally accepts Rowan’s love.
When they return home, their problems continue as their Houses try to negotiate a way for the young men to be together. It soon becomes clear at least one of them will need to relinquish his throne.
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About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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