Hello, everyone! Today’s post is all about recent LGBTQ+ releases that I can’t wait to read. I did a similar post earlier this month about five upcoming LGBTQ+ YA releases that I’m excited for, and now it’s time to write about five novels that have already been published! Four out of the five stories are YA, and the last one is middle grade. As all of the books listed here were published in either April, May, or June, they are quite new and therefore may not be very well known yet, so I thought I’d feature them in a post!
Adrian Piper is used to blending into the background. He may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay, but at his Texas high school those traits only bring him the worst kind of attention.
In fact, the only place he feels free to express himself is at his drawing table, crafting a secret world through his own Renaissance art-inspired superhero, Graphite.
But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside-down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be. Maybe it’s time to not be so invisible after all – no matter how dangerous the risk.
I picked this up on a whim in the library because I liked the cover, so imagine how happy I was when I actually read the blurb on the dust jacket and realized it was LGBTQ+ YA! This story blends prose and illustrations, which is one of my FAVORITEST things. I’ve read a handful of novels told this way before and thoroughly enjoyed this, so I’m excited to dive right into this book.
Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series – I Am Jazz – making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults.
In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don’t understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence – particularly high school – complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy – especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.
AHHH I’M SO PROUD OF JAZZ. She does amazing work as a young advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and I was so happy to hear that she recently published her second book! This autobiography looks like a short, fun read.
Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie.
But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.
This novel is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts – and I love stories told that way! The premise actually reminds me a bit of Derek Landy’s Demon Road series because both stories are partially about LGBTQ+ characters and their love of fandom… and as a tiny gay fangirl, I can SO relate to that.
What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will she risk for acceptance?
In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.
Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.
I DEMAND MORE LGBTQ+ LIT SET IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH. Or anywhere that isn’t California or the east coast, really. I feel like most of it – the most well-known stuff, anyway – is set there, and I wish there were more stories about other places.
Also: I LOVE THIS COVER. It gives me all of the feelings. I love summery stories about queer girls!
Eleven-year-old Martin can hardly imagine a worse summer. His dad is sending him to his great-aunt Lenore, who lives on a tiny island called Beyond. Martin’s dad wants him to like “normal” boy things – playing sports and exploring the outdoors. Martin’s afraid he’ll never be the son his dad wants him to be. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere won’t change that.
But nothing about Beyond is what Martin expects. Not peculiar Aunt Lenore, not mysterious Uncle Nedâ – and certainly not the strange, local boy who unexpectedly befriends Martin. Solo can canoe and climb trees and survive on his own in the wilderness, and Martin’s drawn to him in a way he doesn’t quite understand. But he’s not sure he can trust Solo. In fact, can he trust anything about this strange island, where everyone seems to be keeping secrets?
THAT COVER, THOUGH. I LOVE IT. SO MUCH. The story sounds amazing, as well – amazingly adorable, that is. I LOVE STORIES ABOUT LGBTQ+ KIDS SO VERY VERY MUCH. And it’s another summery story, which means I gotta read it.
If you have either heard of or read any excellent new LGBTQ+ releases – YA, middle grade, or otherwise – you should totally let me know! I plan to read outside as much as possible this summer, and there are few things I love more than curling up in the grass with a good YA novel, preferably an LGBTQ+ one because that’s one of my favorite genres of all time.