Have Some LGBTQ+ Books for This Year by Riley Jensen
It is now the beginning of pride month, and I know that the LGBTQ+ community is facing a lot of challenges. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I want to highlight some of the books coming out that have LGBTQ+ representation. I know that there are a lot of people right now who do not want the LGBTQ+ community to have this visibility but is important that we do not let this deter us from feeling the joy that we get when we see representation of ourselves in books.
I am not going to lie and say that I am not afraid of what is happening in our country today because I am. I am afraid of how this country is targeting the LGBTQ+ community, but that is not going to stop me from celebrating pride month. Even in these moments of fear, we deserve to celebrate our sexualities and identities. To celebrate this pride month, I am going to share some books that are coming out about the LGBTQ+ community that I am excited for.
Becoming a Queen by Dan Clay
If only Mark Davis hadn’t put on a dress for the talent show. It was a joke―other guys did it too―but when his boyfriend saw Mark in that dress, everything changed.
And now, fresh on the heels of high school heartbreak, Mark has given up on love. Maybe some people are just too much for this world―too weird, too wild, too feminine, too everything. Thankfully, his older brother Eric always knows what to say to keep Mark from spinning into self-loathing. “Be yourself! Your full sequin-y self.”
But Mark starts to notice signs that his perfect older brother has problems of his own.
When the source of Mark’s strength suddenly becomes the source of his greatest pain, the path back to happiness seems impossible. Searching for a way out, Mark slips into a dress to just, briefly, become someone else, live a different life. His escape, however, becomes an unexpected outlet for his pain―a path to authentic connection, and a provocation to finally see other people as fully as he wants to be seen.
Stuck With You by ‘Nathan Burgoine
Ben is on a train back to Ottawa after a visit with his dad in Toronto when he runs into the last person he wanted to see: Caleb, the handsome, confident boy who recently and accidentally broke Ben’s phone. Preoccupied by worrying about whether he should take a gap year, Ben has little time for Caleb’s jibes.
But when the two start talking, not only does Ben find himself won over by Caleb’s roguish charm, but he also learns his seatmate is bisexual.
Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See
Less than a year away from graduation, seventeen-year-old Joy is too busy overachieving to be worried about relationships. She’s determined to be Caldwell Prep’s first disabled valedictorian. And she only has one person to beat, her academic rival Nathaniel.
But it’s senior year and everyone seems to be obsessed with pairing up. One of her best friends may be developing feelings for her and the other uses Caldwell’s anonymous love-letter writer to snag the girl of her dreams. Joy starts to wonder if she has missed out on a quintessential high school experience. She is asexual, but that’s no reason she can’t experience first love, right?
She writes to Caldwell Cupid to help her sort out these new feelings and, over time, finds herself falling for the mysterious voice behind the letters. But falling in love might mean risking what she wants most, especially when the letter-writer turns out to be the last person she would ever expect.
Songs of Irie by Asha Ashanti Bromfield
It’s 1976 and Jamaica is on fire. The country is on the eve of important elections and the warring political parties have made the divisions between the poor and the wealthy even wider. And Irie and Jilly come from very different backgrounds: Irie is from the heart of Kingston, where fighting in the streets is common. Jilly is from the hills, where mansions nestled within lush gardens remain safe behind gates. But the two bond through a shared love of Reggae music, spending time together at Irie’s father’s record store, listening to so-called rebel music that opens Jilly’s mind to a sound and a way of thinking she’s never heard before.
As tensions build in the streets, so do tensions between the two girls. A budding romance between them complicates things further as the push and pull between their two lives becomes impossible to bear. For Irie, fighting—with her words and her voice—is her only option. Blood is shed on the streets in front of her every day. She has no choice. But Jilly can always choose to escape.
Can their bond survive this impossible divide?
Something Like Always by Miel Moreland
On the worst day of her life, Madison is dumped by her girlfriend, then fired as said (ex)girlfriend’s campaign manager… plus she accidentally rear-ends the student government advisor―the one person whose good word might help her win a spot at a prestigious youth politics summer camp.
But Madison is nothing if not a girl with a plan, and she isn’t going to let a little thing like heartbreak (or a slightly dented bumper) get in her way. Soon, she has a new junior class president candidate to back―although the two of them might be getting a little too close on the campaign trail. Between navigating her growing crush and corralling a less than enthusiastic election team, Madison has had it with unexpected changes to her carefully laid plans. But when she and a group of queer classmates discover a pattern of harassment within the student government, Madison’s forced to shift gears once again.
The Borrow a Boyfriend Club by Page Powars
Noah Byrd is the perfect boy. At least, that’s what he needs to convince his new classmates of to prove his gender. His plan? Join the school’s illustrious (and secret) Borrow a Boyfriend Club, whose members rent themselves out for dates. Once he’s accepted among the bros, the “slip-ups” end.
But Noah’s interview is a flop. Desperate, he strikes a deal with the club’s prickly but attractive president, Asher. Noah will help them win an annual talent show—and in return, he’ll get a second shot to demonstrate his boyfriend skills in a series of tests that include romancing Asher himself.
If Noah can’t bring home the win, his best chance to prove that he’s man enough is gone. Yet even if he succeeds, he still loses . . . because the most important rule of the Borrow a Boyfriend Club is simple: no real boyfriends (or girlfriends) allowed.
And as long as the club remains standing as high as Asher’s man bun, Noah and Asher can never explore their growing feelings for one another.
The Minus-One Club by Kekla Magoon
Fifteen-year-old Kermit Sanders knows grief and its all-encompassing shadows. After losing his beloved older sister in a tragic car accident, nothing quite punctures through the feelings of loss. Everywhere Kermit goes, he is reminded of her.
But then Kermit finds a mysterious invitation in his locker, signed anonymously with “-1.” He has no idea what he’s in for, but he shows up to find out. Dubbed the “Minus-One Club,” a group of his schoolmates has banded together as a form of moral support. The members have just one thing in common―they have all suffered the tragic loss of someone they loved.
The usual dividing lines between high school classes and cliques don’t apply inside the Minus-One Club, and Kermit’s secret crush, the handsome and happy-go-lucky Matt (and only out gay student at school), is also a part of the group. Slowly, Matt’s positive headstrong approach to life helps relieve Kermit of his constant despair.
But as Kermit grows closer to Matt, the light of his new life begins to show the cracks beneath the surface. When Matt puts himself in danger by avoiding his feelings, Kermit must find the strength to not only lift himself back up but to help the rest of the group from falling apart.
Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lew Croucher
It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other.
They’re forced to spend the summer together at Camelot in the run up to their nuptials, and within 24 hours, Gwen has discovered Arthur kissing a boy and Arthur has gone digging for Gwen’s childhood diary and found confessions about her crush on the kingdom’s only lady knight, Bridget Leclair.
Realizing they might make better allies than enemies, they make a reluctant pact to cover for each other, and as things heat up at the annual royal tournament, Gwen is swept off her feet by her knight and Arthur takes an interest in Gwen’s royal brother.
Here Lies Olive by Kate Anderson
Growing up in the dark tourism capital of the United States, sixteen-year-old Olive should be comfortable with death. But ever since an allergic reaction almost sent her to the wrong side of the grass, she’s been terrified that there is no afterlife. And after the death of her surrogate grandmother, Olive has kept everyone at arm’s length because if there’s Nothing after we die, relationships and love can only end in sorrow. When she summons a spirit to answer her questions about death, Olive meets Jay, a hitchhiking ghost trapped in the woods behind the poorhouse where he died. Olive agrees to help Jay find his unmarked grave in exchange for answers about the other side and what comes next. Meanwhile, someone―or something―is targeting Olive’s classmates, and the longer Jay lingers, the more serious the attacks become. Blaming herself for having brought Jay back, Olive teams up with maybe-nemesis, maybe-crush Marisol, ex-best friend Davis, and new girl Vanessa to free Jay’s spirit before he’s trapped as a malevolent shade and the attacks turn deadly. But in doing so, Olive must face her fear of death and risk losing another person she loves to the Nothing.
Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo
For Jaime, returning to the tiny Vermont town of Saint Juniper means returning to a past he’s spent eight years trying to forget. After shuttling between foster homes, he hopes he can make something out of this fresh start. But every gossip in town already knows his business, and with reminders of his past everywhere, he seeks out solitude into the nearby woods, called Saint Juniper’s Folly, and does not return.
For Theo, Saint Juniper means being stuck. He knows there’s more out there, but he’s scared to go find it. His senior year is going to be like all the rest, dull and claustrophobic. That is until he wanders into the Folly and stumbles on a haunted house with an acerbic yet handsome boy stuck—as in physically stuck—inside.
For Taylor, Saint Juniper is a mystery. The surrounding woods speak to her, while she tries—and fails—to practice the magic her dad banned from the house after her mother died. Taylor can’t seem break out of her spiral of grief, until a wide-eyed teenager barges into her life, rambling on about a haunted house, a trapped boy, and ghosts. He needs a witch.
The Folly and its ghosts will bring these three teenagers together. But they will each have to face their own internal struggles in order to forge a bond strong enough to escape the Folly’s shadows.
Filed under: LGBTQ
About Riley Jensen
Riley Jensen is a college student studying forensic chemistry. She likes to read books about murder and friendship because those go together really well.
SLJ Blog Network