Cover Reveal (+Excerpt): Perfect Ten by L. Philips !

This whole thing is so freaking cute I am not even gonna talk about it because I can’t do it a fraction of the justice the cover/blurb/excerpt can, so without further ado, here’s a little more info on gay YA Perfect Ten by L. Philips, coming June 6, 2017!

Who is Sam Raines’s Perfect Ten?

It’s been two years since Sam broke up with the only other eligible gay guy in his high school, so to say he’s been going through a romantic drought is the understatement of the decade. But when Meg, his ex-Catholic-turned-Wiccan best friend, suggests performing a love spell, Sam is just desperate enough to try. He crafts a list of ten traits he wants in a boyfriend and burns it in a cemetery at midnight on Friday the 13th.

Enter three seemingly perfect guys, all in pursuit of Sam. There’s Gus, the suave French exchange student; Jamie, the sweet and shy artist; and Travis, the guitar-playing tattooed enigma. Even Sam’s ex-boyfriend Landon might want another chance.

But does a Perfect Ten even exist? Find out in this delectable coming-of-age romcom with just a touch of magic.

And now…the afreakingdorable cover!

Perfect_Ten_ CVR

But wait, there’s more! Excerpt FTW!

“Come on, Sam,” Meg prods. “What’s so bad about Michael?”

“You mean besides the smoking and the horrible cliché of losing your virginity in a hotel?”

“I’ve already owned up to the cliché, Samson . . .”

“You just caught him texting another girl a few weeks ago.”

She pouts prettily. “He explained that. It was nothing.”

“And the time before?” She opens her mouth to protest, but I go on before she can. “I’m just saying, why would you want to with him?”

She unlinks her arm from mine and gives me a shove that has a little more force than I expect. “I don’t know. Why did you want to with Landon?”

At the mention of my ex-boyfriend–slash–other best friend, I feel myself tense. “I was in love with Landon.”

“And I love Michael.”

“But Landon and I were different.”

She crosses her arms over her chest and kicks hard at an innocent pebble in her path. “Oh yes, and you and Landon were the exception to every rule. Michael and I couldn’t possibly be that perfect. No one can live up to the Sam and Landon standard of epic and tragic romance.”

“That’s not what I’m saying. And we weren’t that tragic.”

“Darling, you two were practically Brontë characters. You broke his heart and now here you are, two years later, and you haven’t even had a crush on someone since, have you, Sam?” I don’t answer, and there’s a tense pause between us before she adds, “Exactly two years, actually.”

“You know, I could have gone through the whole day without thinking of it, but thanks for that reminder,” I say acidly.

“I’m sorry,” she says, and I know she means it. “He brought it up to me at lunch. He’s the one who remembered. Not me.”

I don’t know how any of us could have forgotten it, least of all me. October tenth, two years ago, I ended my relationship with Landon. He didn’t speak to me for almost six months. Meg didn’t speak to me for three days, the longest we’d gone without talking since I accidentally decapitated one of her Barbies when we were seven. Hell, I wouldn’t have spoken to myself if I could have gotten away with it. I absolutely loathed Samson Raines for a long time afterward. But now Landon is my friend again. We worked everything out. He and I are fine. All three of us are fine.

Fine, fine, fine.

“I wish he didn’t remember,” I say, and Meg shifts our arms so she can squeeze my hand. I sigh. “Bygones. Anyway, we were talking about you and Michael, and not my love life, which is totally unfair to bring up by the way, because I don’t exactly have any options, do I?”

“There’s always Archie,” she says, smirking. Archie Meyers is the only other gay boy besides Landon and me at Athens High, but he’s not even a blip on my radar. It’s not that I’m shallow, but there is absolutely nothing attractive about Archie. Between the buck teeth, the acne, and the IQ that must top out in the double digits, I would have to be drunk out of my mind to even consider it. Even then it would be a stretch.

But then her smirk droops thoughtfully. “No. Wait. I heard the other day that Archie’s dating some guy he met at a Dungeons and Dragons meeting over the summer . . .”

I turn my head slowly to Meg. “Seriously? Even Archie Meyers has a boyfriend?”

Meg makes a clicking sound with her tongue. “There’s a whole big world of boys out there, Sam. Someone perfect for everyone, I think, even the D and D playing sort with buck teeth.”

“Then I’m sure there’s someone out there for you who isn’t a total douche like Michael.”

***

L. Philips went to Ohio University for a degree in Music Education, decided that job was entirely too noisy, and became a librarian instead. When she’s not working, she enjoys belting show tunes when she thinks no one is listening and watching the same episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine over and over (or at least that’s what she tells her toddler son). She lives in Ohio.

***

Love this cover and excerpt as much as I do? You can add Perfect Ten on Goodreads now, and, even better, preorder it at B&N and Amazon!

New Releases: September 20, 2016

As you can proooobably tell, I know LGBTQIAP+ YA better than anything else, so I’m still catching up to the rest, but I do know today’s got some cool-sounding releases in other categories, so check out this variety of new releases out today!

Overexposed by Megan Erickson

28490317Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he’d planned to do with his sister.

His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs…

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

The Yelp: A Heartbreak in Reviews by Chase Compton

28695559
When Chase Compton met the love of his life at a dirty dive bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, he had no idea how far from comfort the relationship would take him. Their story played out at every chic restaurant, café, and bar in downtown New York City. Ravenous hunger, it seemed, was their mutual attraction to one another—until suddenly the appetite was spoiled, and Chase was left to pick up the pieces of a romance gone wrong.

Left high, dry, and starving for affection (and cheeseburgers), Chase turned to an unlikely audience in a moment of desperation: Yelp.com. Detailed in the Yelp reviews is the story of how to survive a broken heart. Every meal and cocktail shared is a reminder of times spent with the ever elusive “Him.” In recounting the bites devoured and the drunken fits of passion that propelled the relationship, the author chronicles his whirlwind relationship with the man of his dreams, revisiting the key places where the couple ate, drank, and fell in and out of love in the West Village and beyond.

The Yelp is a memoir of personal transformation and self-realization, or more simply—a memoir of food and love, played out on a map of modern Manhattan’s culinary scene. The book includes the original twenty-eight Yelp reviews, with interwoven narrative chapters that provide context, insight, and delight to Chase’s story.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey

28371999Twelve-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 teammates, to Josh, and to his new crush, Madeline. 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.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

And, coming tomorrow:

Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver

26020617Celosia Brennan was supposed to be a hero. After a spectacular failure that cost her people their freedom, she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance at redemption. Together with a gifted team of rebels, she not only sets her sights on freedom, but defeating her personal demons along the way.

Now branded a failure, Celosia desperately volunteers for the next mission: taking down the corrupt Council with a team of her fellow elementally gifted mages. Leading the Ember Operative gives Celosia her last hope at redemption. They seek to overthrow the Council once and for all, this time bringing the fight to Valeria, the largest city under the Council’s iron grip. But Celosia’s new teammates don’t trust her—except for Ianthe, a powerful Ice Elementalist who happens to believe in second chances.

With Council spies, uncontrolled magic, and the distraction of unexpected love, Celosia will have to win the trust of her teammates and push her abilities to the breaking point to complete the Ember Operative. Except if she falters this time, there won’t be any Elementalists left to stop the Council from taking over not just her country, but their entire world.

Buy it: Torquere * B&N

LGBTQIAP+ YAs Available in Audio

In the last two Shopper’s Delight posts, the accessibility focus was on finances. Today’s post is on a different form of accessibility – those who require (or even simply prefer) audiobooks. To that end, here are a whole bunch of LGBTQIAP+ YA books available in audio! (Please note that Adult books have their own Gay & Lesbian category, which is why I’m not doing a post on that here. YA does not.)

Male Protags

  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (CD * Audible)
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (Audible)
  • Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (CD * Audible)
  • Drag Teen by Jeffery Self (Audible)
  • Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (CD * Audible)
  • One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva (CD * Audible)
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (CD * Audible)
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (CD * Audible)
  • Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (CD * Audible)
  • Boy meets Boy by David Levithan (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (CD * Audible)
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White (CD * Audible)
  • Proxy by Alex London (Audible)
  • Hero by Perry Moore (MP3 CD * Audible)

Female Protags

  • This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • Ash by Malinda Lo (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (CD * Audible)
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Audible)
  • Unbecoming by Jenny Downham (Audible)
  • None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (Audible)
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters (Audible)
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (CD * Audible)
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden (CD * Audible)
  • Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan (CD * Audible)
  • Ask the Passengers by A.S. King (Audible)
  • Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block (MP3 CD * Audible)
  • The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (CD * Audible)
  • Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters (CD * Audible)
  • Empress of the World by Sara Ryan (Audible)
  • Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton (Audible)

Male and Female Protags

  • You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour (CD * Audible)
  • As I Descended by Robin Talley (CD * Audible)

Non-Binary Protags

Contemp F/F Romances Under Five Bucks

If you shop for f/f Romance a decent amount, you’ve probably noticed that it tends to be waaaay pricier than m/m or m/f, so, in yet another round of helping you queer up your shelves (or your Kindle) on a budget, here are ten f/f Romances (NA and up; you can find YA here) that are all under five bucks (with thanks to Vanessa North for the help and the inspiration!):

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The Belle vs. the BDOC by Amy Jo Cousins ($2.99)

Roller Girl by Vanessa North ($3.99)

The Final Rose by Eliza Lentzki ($3.99)

Out on Good Behavior by Dahlia Adler ($3.99)

The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer ($3.99)

Something True by Karelia Stetz-Waters ($3.99)

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon ($4.99)

The Butch and the Beautiful by Kris Ripper ($4.99)

Such a Pretty Face by Gabrielle Goldsby ($4.99)

Top to Bottom by Delphine Dryden ($4.99)

Fast Five: YA Sci-Fi/Spec-Fic with Queer Male Protags

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Proxy by Alex London

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen

(Bonus: Coming October 25, 2016: Boy Robot by Simon Curtis)

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Release Day Interview with Radical author E.M. Kokie!

I’m psyched to have E.M. Kokie on the blog today, in honor of her brand-new YA, Radical, about a lesbian pro-gun survivalist named Bex who falls for a girl with a strongly differing ideology from the one that’s defined her life. It’s such a different book for the YA canon, and one of so few with a butch lesbian MC, I knew I had to pick her brain about it.

First, a little more about the book:

Radical Cover MediumDetermined 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.

And here’s info on the special deal if you order a signed copy from indie bookstore A Room of One’s Own today!

Pre-order Twitter Graphic

And now, the interview:

Right off the bat, let’s discuss the fact that Radical is tackling some tough topics at a tough time. What thoughts have come to mind about releasing a book with a very pro-gun lesbian MC just a few months after the shooting at Pulse?

I knew, even when I was writing the early drafts of Radical, that writing about a pro-gun lesbian was going to be a double whammy. In later drafts, I found myself calling Radical the book with “something for everyone to hate”—some might really struggle with the parts about the guns (or the mere mention of guns might turn them off), some readers might not be comfortable with the lesbianism, and some might be uncomfortable with the sex. But this was the book I needed to write. I needed to better understand our gun culture, the pervasive fear and anger feeding movements like the survivalist and private militia movements, and I wondered about the girls and women within these subcultures. But in early drafts and in the first years working on the manuscript, I couldn’t have foreseen just how hard it would be to talk about a book about guns and queers in the months before publication.

And not just because of Pulse, but also because of the steady and horrific string of shootings we’ve seen in recent years. Every one has hit me hard, and every one is part of why I wrote this book.  But in the months after Pulse, it seemed impossible to talk about any of this. I ached for every lost life, every shattered dream, every face and name and their families. And I didn’t want to talk about guns—or Radical.

In the last few months I’ve re-read bits of Radical and reminded myself why I wrote it.  I’ve never been a gun owner. I’d never touched a gun before the research for Radical. Writing Radical didn’t change my mind about gun ownership for myself, and probably not for those in my home. And I still have complicated thoughts about gun ownership in general. But it helped me understand a little better what I had thought of as “gun culture” in this country, and gave me some insights into the factors driving movements like the survivalist and private militia movements. And I think I was also working through some issues about why we laud as feminist and empowering stories about a girl saving the world, but don’t often embrace stories about a girl saving herself—especially when we don’t like where she comes from or some of her choices—even when the latter often takes more bravery.

Radical doesn’t offer any quick and easy answers. Not about family. Not about survival. Definitely not about guns. And I get why it makes some readers uncomfortable. My hope is that it stimulates questions, and conversations, and an attempt to get beyond the “them” and “us” so many big issues seem to devolve into.

Probably the thing that’s most startling about Radical is how familiarly Dystopian the feel is, but then it’s in fact a Contemporary. How intentional was that? Or do you think it’s just inevitable with the subject matter?

It was not at all intentional. In fact, when I shared the first bits and pieces of early drafts at conferences and with writer friends, I was surprised by how many people thought it was a dystopian novel, or not even our world at all.  I worked hard to anchor the first chapters in our here and now reality.

But it does feel sometimes like we’re living in the early chapters of a dystopian story, doesn’t it? Or maybe not a dystopia, because there was no utopia preceding it, but the things we think of as the hallmarks of a dystopia—oppression, targeting of immigrants and minorities and women, chilling of a vigorous and objective media, wealth inequality, ever-present fears of external threats, scary politics and scapegoating, and an uptick in violence and weapons stockpiling.

Radical has a seriously well-researched feel. What kind of work went into its creation?

I’m an attorney, so research is my first instinct whenever something piques my interest or puzzles me, or when I want to better understand something or someone.  The first glimpse of the idea for Radical began with a newspaper story that led to several years of research into survivalist training and organizations, preppers, and the private militia movement. I first needed to understand the differences between these movements and the common threads, politics, and influences.  Then, as I knew nothing about guns, I needed to do significant research into firearms handling, gun laws, and related legal issues. I also did some reading and engaged in conversations about gender and sexual identity. I did a lot of the early gun research online, but when it came to the guns, I needed to viscerally experience them. I needed to feel the heft, weight, kick, how it felt to aim and fire, and the smells and almost taste of the tang in the air right after a shot.  How it felt to take them apart, clean them, and what it might be like to be responsible for your own firearms.  So, I had to shoot a gun for the first time, multiple guns, in fact.  I was lucky enough to connect with some experienced gun owners, and so I was able to experience shooting their firearms in an outdoor setting, much as Bex and her brother would shoot in their woods.  Then I connected with an expert in firearms training and handling who offered insights and advice while I was writing and revising Radical. Candlewick later hired him to do a content review of the manuscript, which was fantastic.

What’s a particularly conscious choice you made in Bex’s representation?

It took three drafts to work out Bex’s gender identity. Everything about it was deliberate, but also sort of organic at the same time. In the earliest draft I thought Bex might be transgender, or maybe genderqueer. But as I worked through the early drafts, I started to wonder how Bex would identify and if she was a butch lesbian. I tried really hard to separate my understanding of identity and identity politics from Bex’s far less studied understanding.  And to ultimately understand Bex, I needed to work out how Bex actually felt about her body and how she experienced the world in that body. It was a deliberate choice to walk those lines between butch lesbian, genderqueer, and transgender in the early drafts, trying to figure out who Bex is. Ultimately, I chose to write her as a butch lesbian because it’s what felt most natural for her character, and for me, but also because it spoke to me to write this butch girl, clear in her love of other girls, clear in her identity as a girl, but also embracing her expression of that feminine as not the girly version her mother attempted to instill. She knows who she is and how she feels most herself. I love that about her.  I get why some describe her as masculine, but that, to me, implies she is rejecting her female identity. I don’t see her as rejecting the feminine, so much as expectations of femininity. And, of course, she knows she looks good in cargo shorts.

What’s the first queer representation you saw in any medium that really stuck with you, for better or for worse?

At some point in my early teens I read both The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher. I can’t remember which I read first, but it’s my memory of reading The Shell Seekers that has most viscerally stuck with me. I can barely remember the sprawling plot, but I remember how the cover felt and I can remember exactly where I was when I realized the older women who lived down the way in the book were lovers. They were lesbians. And the other characters called them lesbians, on the page. But they were…old. Like, old-old (to my young teen sensibility). And lovers. And other characters knew it. And still talked to them and liked them. And people like my mom and women in her book group read this book. And they liked it.  I was giddy and thrilled and shocked and filled with glee to find comfortable lesbians in this book-group-type-book.  I was probably fifteen years or more from fully coming out, but it was the first moment I realized there were happy, old lesbians, and maybe I could be one of them someday. (And I have to say, my recollection was that the lesbianism wasn’t a large part of the plot or even really mentioned in the book. But when I went looking for it to confirm my memory, it’s discussed even more than I remembered. One character even references The Well of Loneliness, which went over my head at the time I read the book. Maybe if I had gone looking for that, it would have moved my coming out up by quite a few years).

What’s something you’ve seen in LGBTQIAP+ lit that’s really stuck with you, for better or for worse?

The lack of sexual experiences between queer characters, especially girls. We’ve seen queer romantic storylines for a while, but they seem to fade to black even more often than heterosexual teen romances in young adult lit. Sometimes in queer YA lit it even feels like a cut to black with only the merest reference to something physical happening beyond kissing. And looking at heterosexual sexuality in YA isn’t really a substitute for exploring queer sexual experience, in part because of the gender dynamics such experiences often involve and in part because of what acts are often classified as “sex” and what acts are discounted or ignored. I find it problematic that there isn’t more exploration of the significance and value of a wider an array of sexual experiences.

While working on Radical, I went looking for YA novels with lesbian relationships specifically to see what was already out there. I was surprised to find very few with any kind of specific sexual experiences or any sensory detail. It left me feeling a little like I was treading unexplored territory when I first started working on those scenes in Radical. And prompted some soul searching and blogging of my own. [http://emkokie.com/attractive_nuisance/2013/05/09/in-our-own-words/]  I was frustrated that I didn’t even feel like I had go-to language for my characters to use in thinking about and discussing their bodies.  It was really important for me that Bex and Lucy’s physical relationship feel organic and natural to them, but that it also explored consent and language and a more female-centric exploration of sexuality.  I’m happy to see that since those early drafts of Radical there seem to be more explorations of the physical side of romance in LGBTQIAP+ YA novels, but I think we still have a lot of unexplored territory. To be clear, I’m not saying there aren’t novels and characters in which a fade to black isn’t appropriate or that every queer YA should include sexual exploration or even romance. But I would like to see more parity for LGBTQIAP+ teen characters, and overall a better exploration of positive depictions of female and queer sexuality.

What are your favorite LGBTQIAP+ reads?

These questions haunt me. Tomorrow, or next week, or three days after this interview posts, I will inevitably think of one or more books I can’t believe I didn’t think to include. But some of my favorites are: George by Alex Gino, Ash & Huntress by Malinda Lo, Sister Mischief by Laura Goode, If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan, Freak Show by James St. James, Empress of the World by Sara Ryan, Aristotle and Dante by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger,  Ask the Passengers by A. S. King, Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash, 37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order) by Kekla Magoon, and After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson. They’re not all perfect, flawless books, and some of the queer characters or storylines are secondary to the primary plot, but these are some of the ones that really stick with me for a variety of reasons.

What would you still love to see in LGBTQIAP+ lit?

Queer girls of all kinds, shapes, colors, cultures, class, and identities. More happy queer girls. More exploring queer girls.  More genderqueer and genderfluid characters. More truly questioning characters, maybe who are even still questioning at the end of the book, or at least obviously and proudly still evolving. I’d like to see more stories where the focus isn’t on the teen confirming their identity for all time, but on exploring who they are and who they are becoming.  And more exploration of what it’s like to be queer outside of upper-middle-class suburbia.

What’s up next for you?

Radical took a lot out of me. The research, the writing, and even ramping up to promotion with everything going on in the world. So, I’ve been working on several projects, but not really sure quite yet which will reach manuscript, or book form, next.  ;)

*****

3013aAbout E.M. Kokie

I have always loved the way a good book could sweep me away, but I was a lazy student and never thought I could actually be a writer. So in between the usual tortures of high school, I made up stories, but kept them in my head. Now I share my stories—specifically, novels about teens on the cusp of life-changing moments, exploring issues of identity and self-determination. My debut novel Personal Effects was published on September 11, 2012 by Candlewick Press. I am represented by Chris Richman of Upstart Crow Literary. I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my partner.

New Releases: September 6, 2016

Today is a huuuuge day in LGBTQ YA releases, so get your wallets and library cards ready and check out what’s now out in the world! (And congrats to all the authors!)

As I Descended by Robin Talley

28218948Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing 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 is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

28217802All 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.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee

29904219Welcome 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.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

27969081Nothing 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…

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Books of Wonder

It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt

24755394A 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.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

And yesterday marked the release of yet another YA and an m/m Romance!

Assassins: Discord by Erica Cameron

29618746Kindra’s moral compass has never pointed north, but that’s what happens when you’re raised as an assassin and a thief. At sixteen, she’s fantastic with a blade, an expert at slipping through the world unnoticed, and trapped in a life she didn’t chose. But nothing in her training prepares her for what happens when her father misses a target.

In the week-long aftermath, Kindra breaks rank for the first time in her life. She steals documents, starts questioning who their client is and why the target needs to die, botches a second hit on her father’s target, and is nearly killed. And that’s before she’s kidnapped by a green-eyed stranger connected to a part of her childhood she’d almost forgotten.

Kindra has to decide who to trust and which side of the battle to fight for. She has to do it fast and she has to be right, because the wrong choice will kill her just when she’s finally found something worth living for.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Riptide

Shatterproof by Xen Sanders

30306399Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.

All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.

When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.

Buy it: Amazon * B&N * Riptide

Fave Five: Adult Romances with Trans Male MCs

A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde (Contemporary m/m)

What it Looks Like by Matthew J. Metzger (Contemporary m/m)

Bad Boy by Elliot Wake (Contemporary m/f)

The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz (Contemporary m/m)

A Matter of Disagreement by E.E. Ottoman (Steampunk m/m)

Bonus: The Queer and the Restless by Kris Ripper, coming October 31, 2016

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Ten Gay YAs Under Seven Bucks

Obviously one of the toughest things with regard to LGBTQIAP+ YA is accessibility, which manifests in a whole bunch of different ways. It’s tough to afford, it’s tough to find, it’s tough sometimes to know what’s queer, it’s tough to buy or borrow the stuff that is queer when you aren’t in a safe environment… it’s a lot.

To help with the “What is queer?” part, especially books you can safely buy/borrow without anyone being the wiser, make sure you check out the Under the Gaydar feature.

To help find some stuff that’s more affordable than your average $10+ book, check out the below (all links go to Amazon Affiliates link):

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(Please note that half these titles link to paperbacks, not ebooks)

Superior by Jessica Lack ($1.99)

Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford ($1.99)

The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren by Cody Wagner

How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis ($3.99)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ($4.51)

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsburg ($5.99)

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan ($6.45)

Hero by Perry Moore ($6.48)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera ($6.70)

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson ($6.70)

Queering up your shelf, one rec at a time!