As I write the sixth part of this series, I am already seeing even more books being released this year with LBGTQ+ characters. It just continues to blow my mind that after struggling over the years to find books with this much representation, we are now being blessed by them from all angles. It makes me feel optimistic for the future in publishing and reading and I hope when I do this again in 2021, the list is even longer! I also want to thank all the people helping me over on Twitter by linking some of these books. You are all appreciated! Of course as we are already into the second month of 2020, some of these books have already been released so make sure to check out the release date in bold!
Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt
Although the rep in this novel doesn’t come with the MC, Izzy, it does come with her dad who reveals he is trans. I think it was important to include this as it shows the family dynamics, especially in a middle-grade setting. Izzy is scared that this news will tear the family apart and she is scared of losing her dad – not to mention if her parents will stay together and what her friends at school will say. An important look into transitioning and its effects through the eyes of a young narrator.
Release Date: January 9th
Gifts of Spring by Shira Glassman
In this historical fantasy romance, we follow the love story between a ‘trans heroine and a Jewish hero’ set against a Bavarian-inspired setting. Despite being a very short novella, it packs a punch as we follow Rosamund who is on the run from a King and Queen pair who wish to conspire against each other. Teaming up with a dashing knife juggler who compliments her magical prowess may make for the perfect escape. Ready to download now!
Release Date: January 14th
The Mermaid, The Witch, and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Amongst all the people raving for this book, it took me quite a while to pinpoint the representation. However it is described as ‘queer pirate story’ and I believe it also features a f/genderfluid couple. However, this story follows an orphan turned pirate, Flora who develops a connection with an imperial daughter at sea whilst taking on the persona of Florian the man. This book is packed with diversity, action and is set in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.
Release Date: May 5th
Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
I came across this novel whilst scrolling through Twitter and even though I hadn’t heard a lot about it, I was immediately drawn to the cover. This is an ownvoices novel following Jordan Collins who is sure he does not need a man. He wants to focus on his romance book club and for his favourite author to release a new book. However, all that soon changes when Rex Bailey asks to join his book club. As the two rebuild the book club and despite their differences at the start, Jordan realises he was too quick to judge a book by its cover.
Release Date: May 5th
The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert
According to the author’s Twitter, this book features our protagonist, Millie who is bisexual (resulting in a bi love triangle), her best friend Marion is gay and performs drag, her auntie is in a lesbian relationship and only a few people are straight. Moral of the story? This book is queer as hell and I am excited for it and it takes place in the 1920’s in New Orleans! This is one of those books where I am already sold before I even know the plot and I hope you are too!
Release Date: May 12th
The Thirty Names of Night by Zeyn Joukhadar
This adult fiction novel tells the story of a closeted Syrian-American trans boy who five years after losing his mother in a suspicious fire, sheds his birth name and sets onto start a new life. Caring for his grandmother and frequently being visited by the ghost of his mother, he spends his time hiding from everybody including his estranged sister and best friend and part-time crush. The only time he feels happy is when he slips into a part of Manhattan called ‘Little Syria’ and graffitis murals on the walls. However, his life soon changes when he discovers a journal belonging to a Syrian-American who mysteriously disappeared and shows links to his mother.
Release Date: May 19th
Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green
This YA novel tells the story of Jack and Nate who find themselves thrown together when both their exes decide to start dating each other. Not only do they have to deal with the heartbreak – it doesn’t help when they’re posting about their newfound love all over social media. So it isn’t long before Jack and Nate decide to get their own back by going on an adventure and showing that they are having the much better time. However, amongst campsites and service stations, the pair find themselves bonding over their heartbreak and opening themselves up for another chance at love.
Release Date: June 4th
The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg
This fantasy is described as ‘the queer fairy tale we deserve’ and if that doesn’t make you excited, I don’t know what will. In this novella, two transgender elders must learn magic seeped into their lands and use it to defeat an evil ruler. It’s a story of self discovery, identity and belonging. There is an original and incredibly interesting magical system and the world is seeped in history. A book I definitely want to go into semi blind and just experience the magic like everybody else has.
Release Date: June 11th
Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora
The author herself messaged me about this novel and I’m so glad she did – I was immediately drawn to the synopsis and knew I had to include it in this series. We follow the story of Nate, who is known as a GEM – Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue, who was created as a cure for the fatal lung rot killing the population. These days he spends his time as a Tinker, fixing things in exchange for a place to sleep. However, when he meets Reed, a boy who makes his heart race and a gang of misfit scavengers (found family anyone?) Nate feels like he belongs for the first time in his life. This sci-fi novel is diverse and one of my most anticipated of the year!
Release Date: June 16th
Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter
Everyone and everybody knows that Bethany Rutter is the queen of writing books filled with body positivity and she is at it again. This novel follows the story of Lily Rose who despite loving her fat body, is well aware people pay more attention to her twin sister, Daisy. However, things soon change when she meets Cal, a guy from New Zealand who takes a deep interest in Lily. So she should be thinking of him right? Definitely not thinking about her life-long best friend, Cassie. With University looming, Lily must come to terms with her feelings before it’s too late.
Release Date: July 23rd
The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters
This YA contemporary follows the story of comic book geek, Wesley who is good at two things – not wanting to do his job and pining after his best friend, Nico. He doesn’t know what to do about his secret crush and he has to deal with the fact his dream job may be a distant dream when a coffee franchise wants to take over it. Wes is doing everything he can to avoid adulthood (relatable) but it isn’t long before all the stress catches up to him. Can he come to terms with his crush, deal with familial issues and save his favourite bookshop? Or is it all too much?
Release Date: August 4th
Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman
I wasn’t initially going to add this book to the list seeing as it’s already been published as an eBook, however it is not being published in a beautiful paperback this year so it totally counts ok. In case you don’t know, this novella features Nick and Charlie from both Alice’s Solitaire and Heartstopper series. It takes place after the events of Heartstopper when the boys are already a steady couple and tells the events before they leave for University.
Release Date: August 6th
Boy Queen by George Lester
In this YA novel, Robin is struggling – he is constantly being rejected from drama schools, his friends are heading off to University and he’s facing a future without the people he loves. However, when he and his friends go to a local drag club to drown their sorrows – Robin realises his life could go another way. Even with a boyfriend who won’t acknowledge him and a mother who won’t stop talking, Robin realises he was destined to hit the runway.
Release Date: August 6th
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Not only does this YA fantasy feature one of the most beautiful covers, it has also been confirmed to feature an asexual MC. In this book, there is an America very similar to the one we know – however, this America has been shaped by magic and monsters. Some of this magic is harmless and seen in day to day life but as with every good thing, there is also bad. Our MC Elatsoe has the ability passed down from her Lipan Apache family – the ability to raise the ghosts of dead animals. And when gruesome secrets are brought to light, Elatsoe will stop at nothing to protect her family.
Release Date: August 25th
Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall
In this YA contemporary, we follow the story of Corinne Parker who is sure of one thing, she is in love with Maggie Bailey – the captain of rival cross-country team. She also knows that she is not ready for people to know she is bisexual. However, when Maggie tragically dies, Corinne is struggling to come to terms with loving somebody in secret. The only person she can confide in is Maggie’s ex girlfriend, Elissa. As the two girls mourn together, it isn’t long before feelings they can’t ignore develop. Corinne must choose between keeping her secrets of being honest with herself.
Release Date: September 15th
Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass
We are being spoilt with YA contemporaries this year and the theme continues with this beauty. We meet Connor as he is struggling with his summer break – his SAT scores leave a lot to be desired and an old man he helped has died. However, nothing is as bad as coming out to his heavily religious and being shipped to a conversion therapy camp known as ‘Nightlight Ministries.’ As is expected, the place is a hell and together the kidnapped boys fight to escape and expose what a terrible place it really is. (Be sure to check out TWs for this one!)
Release Date: September 15th
Vampires Never Get Old by Various
This fantasy anthology featuring stories from some of our best-loved writers such as Zoraida Córdova, Julie Murphy and Samira Ahmed centres around our best loved supernatural creatures. I don’t know too much about either the individual stories or the specific representation, however it has been confirmed that V.E. Schwab is writing “A super gay vampire story about two girls who each have a crush, and a secret.” And I know that’s all I need to say.
Release Date: September (?)
The Ninth Life by Taylor B. Barton
The cover for this beauty recently got released so let’s take a minute to gaze at its beauty… Ok, we follow the story of Caesar who at the end of his feline life, makes a deal with the goddess, Zosma to use his ninth and final life to be with the girl he loves, Ophelia. However, complications soon ensue when he wakes in the body of teenager, Austin – not to mention meeting Cooper, Austin’s handsome roommate. The author has confirmed a queer non-binary MC and a complicated love triangle. You can also find a CW list on the book’s Goodreads page!
Release Date: September 15th
Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing by Briana McDonald
This middle-grade ownvoices novel tells the story of amateur sleuth Pepper who has always loved to solve mysteries. And when her great-aunt dies under mysterious circumstances, Pepper can try to solve her greatest mystery yet. Not only that, but she is also coming to terms with her more-than-friendly feelings towards girls – another mystery she needs to solve. It is pitched as a queer Nancy Drew story so count me in.
Release Date: September 29th
They Never Learn by Layne Fargo
The only thriller in this list but one I am very excited for. Described as a psychological thriller about two women, including a ‘female serial killer/English professor who hunts terrible men,’ and both POV characters are bisexual with bisexual love interests! Scarlett Clark, our resident professor/serial killer has perhaps bitten off more than she can chew when she plans to target her sexist boss next. Meanwhile, German student Carly is just trying to survive a freshman year but that is until her thirst for revenge strikes. TWs for sexual assault.
Release Date: October 13th
Which ones are you most excited for?
Let me know in the comments!
Lots of Love,