What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA September and October 2016
It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents). 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 September 2016 and October 2016 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (July and August 2016 titles) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers.
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (ISBN-13: 9780062404176 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/06/2016)
All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty.
But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth—that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.
As I Descended by Robin Talley (ISBN-13: 9780062409232 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/06/2016) SEE MY REVIEW FROM SLJ HERE.
From the acclaimed author of Lies We Tell Ourselves, Robin Talley, comes a Shakespeare-inspired story of revenge and redemption, where fair is foul, and foul is fair.
Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—but one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. But Delilah doesn’t know that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to unseat Delilah for the scholarship. After all, it would lock in Maria’s attendance at Stanford—and assure her and Lily four more years in a shared dorm room.
Together, Maria and Lily harness the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school. But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what’s imagined, the girls must attempt to put a stop to the chilling series of events they’ve accidentally set in motion.
It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt (ISBN-13: 9780763687199 Publisher: Candlewick Press Publication date: 09/06/2016) SEE MY REVIEW FROM SLJ HERE.
In spare, understated prose heightened by a keen lyricism, a debut author will take your breath away.
A new state, a new city, a new high school. Mike’s father has already found a new evangelical church for the family to attend, even if Mike and his plainspoken little sister, Toby, don’t want to go. Dad wants Mike to ditch art for sports, to toughen up, but there’s something uneasy behind his demands. Then Mike meets Sean, the new kid, and “hey” becomes games of basketball, partnering on a French project, hanging out after school. A night at the beach. The fierce colors of sunrise. But Mike’s father is always watching. And so is Victor from school, cell phone in hand. In guarded, Carveresque prose that propels you forward with a sense of stomach-dropping inevitability, Rafi Mittlefehldt tells a wrenching tale of first love and loss that exposes the undercurrents of a tidy suburban world. Heartbreaking and ultimately life-affirming, It Looks Like This is a novel of love and family and forgiveness—not just of others, but of yourself.
The Graces by Laure Eve (ISBN-13: 9781419721236 Publisher: Amulet Books Publication date: 09/06/2016)
When a glamorous family of teenage witches brings a mysterious new girl into their fold, they unwittingly nurture a powerful black magic that could destroy them all. This paranormal YA fantasy features intrigue, spells, and a devastating twist. In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. But what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.
This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.
Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova (ISBN-13: 9781492620945 Publisher: Sourcebooks Publication date: 09/06/2016)
Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.
Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.
The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…
Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (ISBN-13: 9781945053030 Publisher: Novelstream dba Interlude Press Publication date: 09/08/2016)
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
Radical by E.M. Kokie (ISBN-13: 9780763669621 Publisher: Candlewick Press Publication date: 09/13/2016)
Determined to survive the crisis she’s sure is imminent, Bex is at a loss when her world collapses in the one way she hasn’t planned for.
Preppers. Survivalists. Bex prefers to think of herself as a realist who plans to survive, but regardless of labels, they’re all sure of the same thing: a crisis is coming. And when it does, Bex will be ready. She’s planned exactly what to pack, she knows how to handle a gun, and she’ll drag her family to safety by force if necessary. When her older brother discovers Clearview, a group that takes survival just as seriously as she does, Bex is intrigued. While outsiders might think they’re a delusional doomsday group, she knows there’s nothing crazy about being prepared. But Bex isn’t prepared for Lucy, who is soft and beautiful and hates guns. As her brother’s involvement with some of the members of Clearview grows increasingly alarming and all the pieces of Bex’s life become more difficult to juggle, Bex has to figure out where her loyalties really lie. In a gripping new novel, E. M. Kokie questions our assumptions about family, trust, and what it really takes to survive.
Before by K.E. Payne (ISBN-13: 9781626396777 Publisher: Bold Strokes Books Publication date: 09/13/2016)
When the confident, determined Alex Brody joins the successful band Be4, sparks fly between her and her bandmates, none more so than with Tally Mullins. But as their success continues and Tally learns more about Alex, her dislike turns to admiration. Soon Tally finds out that there’s far more to Alex than she first thought.
Do-Gooder by J. Leigh Bailey (ISBN-13: 9781635330038 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Publication date: 09/15/2016)
No good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it, though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.
However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.
The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2) by Erin Bow (ISBN-13: 9781481442749 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date :09/20/2016)
Treacherous twists await Greta as the stakes get even higher in this stunning follow-up to the “masterful” (School Library Journal, starred review) novel, The Scorpion Rules.
Greta Stuart has become AI. New transmitters have silvered her fingerprints. New receptors have transformed her vision. And the whole of her memory has become one book in a vast library of instant knowledge. Greta is ready to rule the world.
But the new technology is also killing her.
Greta is only sixteen years old, but her new enhancements are burning through her mortal body at an alarming rate. Of course the leader of the AIs, an ancient and compelling artificial intelligence named Talis, has a plan. Greta can simply do what he’s done when the time comes, and take over the body of one of the Swan Riders, the utterly loyal humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.
First though, Greta will have to find a way to stay sane inside her new self. Talis’s plan for that involves a road trip. Escorted by Swan Riders, Greta and Talis set out on a horseback journey across the strange and not-quite-deserted landscape of Saskatchewan. But there are other people interested in Greta, people who want to change the world…and the Swan Riders might not be as loyal as they appear…
The Best Man by Richard Peck (ISBN-13: 9780803738393 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 09/20/2016)
Newbery Medalist Richard Peck tells a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes in this novel for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos
Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer,; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth—Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school.
But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn’t see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he’s the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story.
In pages that ripple with laughter, there’s a teardrop here and there. And more than a few insights about the bewildering world of adults, made by a boy on his way to being the best man he can be.
The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey (ISBN-13: 9780062427663 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 09/20/2016)
A beautifully heartfelt story about one boy’s journey toward acceptance. A book that Jill Soloway, the award-winning creator of Transparent, called “a terrific read for all ages” and Ami Polonsky, author of Gracefully Grayson, called “an emotionally complex and achingly real read.”
Twelve-year-old Shane Woods is just a regular boy. He loves pitching for his baseball team, working on his graphic novel, and hanging out with his best friend, Josh. But Shane is keeping something private, something that might make a difference to his friends and teammates, even Josh. And when a classmate threatens to reveal his secret, Shane’s whole world comes crashing down. It will take a lot of courage for Shane to ignore the hate and show the world that he’s still the same boy he was before. And in the end, those who stand beside him may surprise everyone, including Shane.
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (ISBN-13: 9781250058669 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Publication date: 10/04/2016)
Anna-Marie McLemore’s debut novel The Weight of Feathers was greeted with rave reviews, a YALSA Morris Award nomination, and spots on multiple “Best YA Novels” lists. Now, McLemore delivers a second stunning and utterly romantic novel, again tinged with magic.
To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.
Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from this talented author.
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig (ISBN-13: 9781250085634 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 10/04/2016)
Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking question he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.
Look Past by Eric Devine (ISBN-13: 9780762459216 Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers Publication date: 10/04/2016)
Someone brutally murdered Mary Mathison, daughter of a prominent and very conservative local pastor. Whoever it was is now taunting Avery, a transgender boy, with disturbing messages, claiming that Mary’s murder was revenge for her relationship with Avery. The killer’s demands are simple and horrific: Avery must repent for changing his gender identity, or he will be the next one killed.
Can Avery deny who he is to catch Mary’s killer? Or will sacrificing himself be the ultimate betrayal?
Girls Like Me by Lola St.Vil (ISBN-13: 9780544706743 Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication date: 10/04/2016)
Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, and threats from a girl bully in school. When she falls in love with Blake, a mysterious boy online, insecure Shay doesn’t want to tell him who she is. But with the help of her two best friends, as well as an assist by Kermit and Miss Piggy, ultimately Shay and Blake’s love prevails.
Girls Like Me is a fun and fresh poetic take on teen angst, social media and online anonymity, and high school romance.
Beast by Brie Spangler (ISBN-13: 9781101937167 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 10/11/2016)
A witty, wise, and heart-wrenching reimagining of Beauty and the Beast that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan.
Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.
Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?
No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista (ISBN-13: 9781250100627 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends Publication date: 10/18/2016)
A romantic European vacation is the perfect excuse to let go in No Holding Back, the highly anticipated sequel to No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista.
Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston…Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But… what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?
Tattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen (ISBN-13: 9781481432801 Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication date: 10/18/2016)
A teenage sociopath is “fixed” after he gets an implant that’s supposed to cure him in this thrilling coming of age tale from the author of Willful Machines.
A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.
Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.
Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?
Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.
But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?
The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily (Dash & Lily #2) by Rachel Cohn, David Levithan (ISBN-13: 9780399553806 Publisher: Random House Children’s Books Publication date: 10/18/2016)
New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are back with a life-affirming Christmas romance starring Dash and Lily.
Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers first watched the couple fall in love. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.
With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday magic of New York City in December.
Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily reunites two beloved characters and is bound to be a Christmas favorite, season after season.
Hold by Rachel Davidson Leigh (ISBN-13: 9781945053092 Publisher: Duet Books Publication date: 10/20/2016)
Luke Aday knew that his sister’s death was imminent—she had been under hospice care for months—but that didn’t make her death any easier on him or their family. He returns to school three days after the funeral to a changed world; his best friends welcome him back with open arms, but it isn’t the same. But when a charismatic new student, Eddie Sankawulo, tries to welcome Luke to his own school, something life-changing happens: In a moment of frustration, Luke runs into an empty classroom, hurls his backpack against the wall—and the backpack never lands. Luke Aday has just discovered that he can stop time.
A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith (ISBN-13: 9781626720442 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Publication date: 10/25/2016)
A troubled girl confronts her personal demons in this time-travel thriller alternating between present day and 19th century Japan.
No one knows how to handle Reiko. She is full of hatred; all she can think about is how to best hurt herself and those people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt at her home in Seattle, Reiko’s parents send her to spend the summer with family in Japan, hoping she will learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping backward in time into the nineteenth-century life of Miyu, a young woman even more vengeful than Reiko herself. Reiko loves escaping into Miyu’s life . . . until she discovers Kuramagi’s dark secret and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.
Filed under: New Releases
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
SLJ Blog Network
One Star Review, Guess Who? (#184)
Review of the Day – Trees: Haiku from Roots to Leaves by Sally M. Walker, ill. Angela McKay
Review: Nat the Cat Takes a Nap
Here Be Monsters: On Horror, Catharsis, and Uneasy Truces with Yourself, a guest post by author Rebecca Mahoney
The Classroom Bookshelf is Moving