In a shocking turn of events, I am already able to compile a list of another 20 books released in 2020 with LGBTQ+ characters! I didn’t expect to be able to find another bunch in such a short amount of time but authors and publishers are pulling it out of the bag for the new year. A huge thank you to @hrngrystrs over on Twitter for letting me know of a few more books to add! This list has a nice mixture of middle-grade, graphic novels, anthologies, YA and adult so something for everyone!
Martin McLean, Middle School Queen by Alyssa Zaczek
This middle-grade novel, Martin has always grown up around people who are happy expressing themselves. However, Martin is only comfortable when it comes to maths. That is until he’s introduced to the world of drag and it’s not long until he’s comfortable enough to create his alter ego, Lottie León. Despite being braver as Lottie, Martin isn’t comfortable enough to reveal his true self to his friends and family, and certainly not to his crush, Chris. Can he bring his two worlds together?
Release Date: January 7th
Blood Countess by Lana Popović
This YA novel is described as a historical fiction based on the real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula and if that didn’t sound amazing enough, it has a f/f romance. Of course I don’t know too much about this novel but I do believe it has trigger warnings for domestic abuse so please be aware of that. The story is told during 17th century Hungary and is apparently quite dark and atmospheric and I am just so excited. Make 2020 the year of queer retellings, I pray.
Release Date: January 28th
A High Five for Glenn Burke by Phil Bildner
We are being spoiled with queer MG fiction this year and this is another example. When sixth-grader Silas is tasked with choosing somebody to write a presentation on for a school project, he chooses Glenn Burke – a gay baseball player in the 1970s. As well as being a sport’s idol for Silas, researching Glenn is also a step forward in terms of him discovering his own sexuality. Although he soon shares his feelings with best friend, Zoey, he soon realises the struggle of keeping the truth from his own baseball team.
Release Date: February 25th
Docile by K.M. Szpara
With the tagline, ‘There is no consent under capitalism,’ this adult sci-fi novel is definitely on my radar. In a world where debt is passed down through generations, one man sells himself into servitude to a rich family in order to clear his family’s debt. The book also features a m/m romance and has BDSM. I’d definitely research any trigger warnings with this book but the story itself sounds interesting and it discusses the abuse of power.
Release Date: March 3rd
A Phoenix First Must Burn by Various
This anthology written by various authors explores the world of fantasy, sci-fi and magic through the experience of black people. It will feature stories by authors such as Elizabeth Acevedo, Somaiya Daud and Alaya Dawn Johnson. They have woven magical worlds that centres around black women and gender nonconforming individuals and features everything from folktales to dystopian societies. It explores what it means to be a sister, a friend and a lover. What it means to have power and true-to-life characters.
Release Date: March 10th
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
This queer contemporary fantasy is ticking a lot of boxes for me – including the found family trope and a modern day fairy tale and has even been described as the Umbrella Academy meets 1984. Forty year old, Linus leads a quiet life but that is until he is summoned to care for six children who have incredible abilities – including a child who is the literal Antichrist. He also meets their caretaker, Arthur who cares deeply for the children and the two grow closer. Overall, it’s about family being the people you choose and I am so excited.
Release Date: March 17th
Kenzie Kickstarts a Team by Kit Rosewater & Sophie Escabasse
(questioning MC, trans side character)
First in the graphic novel selection is this amazing middle-grade contemporary and first in The Derby Daredevils series. Fifth-graders and best friends, Kenzie and Shelly have always dreamed of being roller derby stars and when their city introduces a new junior league, they jump at the opportunity. However, they need to find three more people in order to make a team and it isn’t long before Shelly starts making friends other than Kenzie and even asking Kenzie’s long-term crush to join. What follows is the story of friendship, first crushes and going outside your comfort zone.
Release Date: March 24th
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
This fantasy novella is definitely one of my most anticipated of the year. It is a story about the anger of women and how they have been silenced over the years. When a young royal is sent to enter into a political marriage, she only has her servants by her side and her story is told through the eyes of her handmaiden. It explores the idea of how history has been told and centres around two fascinating women. Waiting for this one is going to kill me off.
Release Date: March 24th 2020
Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook
This YA contemporary tells the story of Fin who after kissing Jesse, greek god and member of the track team, is soon cruelly outed by Jesse’s family. Soon Fin and his family have to leave town and Fin is hoping a fresh start will work – however, he knows it won’t change his sexuality and the problems he feels its causing. When things seem to be going well with his new best friend, Poppy and her girlfriend-in-waiting and even a new crush called Rye, it all comes crumbling down when his parents find out and send him to a conversion camp. Definitely not an easy read and I’d check out any trigger warnings.
Release Date: April 20th
Verona Comics by Jennifer Dugan
(bi m/f couple)
Although I’m yet to see any reviews for this one, it has been confirmed by the author to include a bisexual MC and a lot of queer side characters and is about two teenagers who fall in love in an indie comic book store. However, both their parents are constantly at each other’s throats so the match is not a peaceful one. Their only option is keeping their relationship secret but when other problems come into play including big auditions and family issues, can Jubilee and Ridley hold it together and prove love conquers all?
Release Date: April 21st
Rick by Alex Gino
This middle-grade novel tells the story of Rick who hasn’t given his identity much of a thought even though everybody around him seems to have it figured out. However, when his dad jokes with him about ‘hot girls’ and dating, he knows he feels uncomfortable. Rick is feeling lost, that is until he discovers the Rainbow Spectrum club in his new middle school. This is where kids of every gender and sexuality come together and it’s where Rick can discover who he truly is even if it means breaking old friendships. Such an important novel for younger audiences.
Release Date: April 21st
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn
(bisexual MCs, f/f romance)
Did I hear a bi love triangle? I’m sold. Not only that, but this story is a YA fantasy set during the French Revolution with a twist on sci-fi and magic. Camille leads a band of outcasts known as Battalion des Mortes and together they can cheat death. However, their newest addition isn’t what she seems and her abilities make her the prime target of both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries. It isn’t long before the gang’s mere existence is threatened and Camille must decide between the people who loves and the future. I believe the novel alternates between two POVs of two women in love!!
Release Date: May 7th
The Names We Take by Trace Kerr
(intersex and bi MC)
Not a lot is known about this book yet other than it having a beautiful cover. However, we know it tells the story of Pip, a ‘scrappy, intersex tomboy rejected by her parents for being the female side of herself’ as she soon takes responsibility of a young girl she finds covered in ashes after the One Mile Cough kills everybody around her. Also joining forces with a dangerous girl who she soon develops feelings for, the gang must protect each other and get through the dangers the world throws at them. Pip is also bisexual and it’s ownvoices for bi rep.
Release Date: May 19th
Boys of Alabama by Genevieve Hudson
Described as a beautiful queer love story between a German immigrant and a goth boy, this novel is sure to break some hearts. When Max arrives in Alabama, it isn’t long before he ‘falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power’ much to the confusion of his German parents. It is here that he soon meets fishnet-wearing Pan and the two boys develop an all-consuming relationship and reveal their innermost secrets to each other. This novel explores masculinity, immigration and the fear of conforming.
Release Date: May 19th
Out Now: Queer We Go Again
This anthology includes a large collection of short stories featuring a wide variety of LGBTQ+ representation written by LGBTQ+ authors including an asexual character in the story by C.B. Lee! Not much is known about it other than that it includes stories by authors such as Hilary Monahan, Mark Oshiro and Kosoko Jackson and will feature characters from modern times.
Release Date: May 26th
Hideous Beauty by William Hussey
This YA thriller/contemporary follows the story of Dylan who is forced to come out after a video of him and boyfriend, Ellis surfaces on social media. However, to Dylan’s surprise, they are met with nothing but support. That is until Ellis suddenly becomes angry and withdrawn and when driving home from a dance, their car loses control and plunges into a lake. Although Dylan survives, Ellis unfortunately doesn’t and the next few months consist of Dylan trying to work out what was wrong with Ellis that night whilst battling with his grief. How much did he really know about the boy he loved?
Release Date: May 28th
If We Were Us by K.L. Walther
Before I begin, I’m not 100% sure on the representation in this book as there’s not a lot of information but I’m pretty positive there’s a mlm MC and maybe a m/m romance but I’ll update this if I find out anymore! However, we follow the story of Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael who everybody at Bexley School believe to be in love and it’s only a matter of time before they get together. However, when new boy, Luke arrives, his presence changes everything and Charlie and Luke are immediately drawn to each other despite Charlie fearing what people will think. A story of friendship, identity and of course, love in this YA contemporary.
Release Date: June 1st
I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
Although I’ve had this one on my list for a while, I can now include it in a post because it has a cover, and an amazing one at that! We follow the story of Skye Shin who dreams of joining the world of K-Pop. However, she has always been told fat girls can’t achieve this dream, especially with the fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop. However, Skye enters into a televised competition to find the next big K-Pop star and she’ll do it better than everybody else. However, what she isn’t prepared for is the fat-phobia and media onslaught it creates and even more so unprepared for fellow competitor, Henry Cho. An ownvoices novel for Korean-American bi rep!
Release Date: June 16th
Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram
Although I usually don’t put sequels in these lists because I’m scared of spoilers, I just had to include the sequel to Darius the Great Is Not Okay. So because of that I will not speak too much about the sequel other than that is includes a m/m romance. However, in the first book, we follow the story of Darius who is biracial Persian/American but has always struggled connecting with his Persian roots. So he’s nervous about his upcoming trip to Iran, especially alongside battling depression and a disapproving dad. When he gets to Iran, he meets Sohrab and the two boys form a beautiful friendship and Sohrab allows Darius to open up to his roots.
Release Date: August 25th
Ruinsong by Julia Ember
This YA fantasy is described as a ‘sapphic Phantom of the Opera retelling with music magic and girls wearing pink ballgowns and ribbons while brutally destroying their enemies.’ So there’s nothing I can really add to sell this book to you anymore. However, we follow the story of Cadence who is a powerful mage with the ability to weave magic through music and she is forced to torture the disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding. However, when she reunites with her childhood friend who is now the leader of a underground rebellion, Cadence must make the choice between freeing her country from a tyrant or following in her dark footsteps.
Release Date: November 24th
As always, if any of my information is incorrect, please let me know!
Lots of Love,