Fave Five: Queer “Summer” YA Reads, Part I

This post is strictly queer YAs with summer in the title. Part II will contain other summer books.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Out of Character by Jenna Miller

Today on the site I’m delighted to be revealing the cover for Out of Character by Jenna Miller, a debut f/f YA romance releasing February 7, 2023 from Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins! Here’s the story:

If you asked seventeen-year-old Cass Williams to describe herself, she’d happily tell you she’s fat, queer, and obsessed with the Tide Wars books. What she won’t tell you—or anyone in her life—is that she’s part of an online Tide Wars roleplay community. Sure, it’s nerdy as hell, but when she’s behind the screen writing scenes as Captain Aresha, she doesn’t have to think about her mother who walked out or how unexpectedly stressful it is dating resident cool girl Taylor Cooper.

But secretly retreating to her online life is starting to catch up with Cass. For one, no one in her real life knows her secret roleplay addiction is the reason her grades have taken a big hit. Also? Cass has started catching feelings for Rowan Davies, her internet bestie…and Taylor might be catching on.

As Cass’s lies continue to build, so does her anxiety. Roleplaying used to be the one place she could escape to, but this double life and offline-online love triangle have only made things worse. Cass must decide what to do—be honest and risk losing her safe space or keep it a secret and put everything else on the line.

And here’s the cover, designed by David DeWitt with art by Nicole Rifkin!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Jenna Miller (she/her) writes young adult books about fat, queer, nerdy girls who deserve to be seen and have their voices heard. When she’s not obsessing over words, she can be found making charcuterie boards, befriending people online, cross stitching, or adventuring in the Minneapolis area. Out of Character is her debut novel. Visit her at jennamillerwrites.com to find out more.

New Releases: June 21, 2022

The Loophole by Naz Kutub

56226875. sy475 Syyed is pining for his ex, who left home to—save the world? He doesn’t know much more, except to wish he’d gone along when Farouk asked. But Sy is shy and timid, from a controlling Indian Muslim family, and wants most to make a life and home with people he loves. Then he meets Reggie, an heiress—is she magical or just rich?—who, in exchange for his kindness, offers to grant Sy three wishes, the first of which is a million dollars, naturally!

But soon reality bites hard: His father realizes Sy is gay and kicks him out. Homeless and alone, he’s off with Reggie and his last two wishes, chasing Farouk to lands he never dreamed to visit to find his missing love for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life. And he’ll find out, maybe, that there is a loophole to everything, including wishes.

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Epically Earnest by Molly Horan

58311977Jane Grady’s claim to fame is that she was one first viral internet sensations, dubbed #bagbaby—discovered as a one-year-old in an oversized Gucci bag by her adopted father in a Poughkeepsie train station. Now in her senior year of high school, Jane is questioning whether she wants to look for her bio family due to a loving, but deeply misguided push from her best friend Algie, while also navigating an all-consuming crush on his cousin, the beautiful, way-out-of-her-league Gwen Fairfax.

And while Janey’s never thought of herself as the earnest type, she needs to be honest with her parents, Algie, Gwen, but mostly herself if she wants to make her life truly epic. With a wink toward Oscar Wilde’s beloved play, Epically Earnest explores the complexity of identity, the many forms family can take, and the importance of being . . . yourself.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron

This is the sequel to This Poison Heart.

55818283. sy475 Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. If she is to locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage. Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Bolstered by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?

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Vera Kelly: Lost and Found by Rosalie Knecht

This is the third and final installment in the Vera Kelly series.

59580651It’s April 1971 and Vera and Max are living together in Vera’s house in Brooklyn. They’ve been together three years and have settled into a loving routine. Vera has just turned thirty and is taking stock of her life when Max receives a letter from her younger sister, imploring her to come out to California, as the family is falling apart. Her parents are divorcing. Her father is already engaged to a much younger woman and seems to have fallen under the sway of an occultist charlatan named St. James. Max, who hasn’t seen her family since they threw her out at 21, agrees to go and asks Vera to come with her for moral support.

Upon arriving, Vera is shocked by the size and extravagance of the Comstock estate—the huge, manicured landscape; the ostentatious, ornate buildings; and garages full of fancy cars all show a privileged upbringing Max had only ever hinted at. And it doesn’t take long for tensions to boil over when Max threatens to alert her mother—and her mother’s lawyers—to St. James and her father’s plans—many of the plans using family money. The next morning, when Vera wakes up, Max is gone without a trace.

In Vera Kelly Lost and Found, Rosalie Knecht gives Vera her highest-stakes case yet, as Vera quickly puts her private detective skills to good use and tracks a trail of breadcrumbs across southern California to find her missing girlfriend. She travels first to a film set in Santa Ynez and, ultimately, to a most unlikely destination where Vera has to decide how much she is willing to commit to save the woman she loves.

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The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi

In the first book of a visionary African- and Arabian-inspired fantasy trilogy, three women band together against a cruel empire that divides people by blood.

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But dust always rises in a storm.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution.

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair by June Gervais

59575962Introvert Gina Mulley is determined to become a tattoo artist, and to find somewhere she belongs in her conventional Long Island town. But this is 1985, when tattooing is still a gritty, male-dominated fringe culture, and Gina’s funky flash is not exactly mainstream tattoo fare. The good news is that her older brother Dominic owns a tattoo shop, and he reluctantly agrees to train her.

Gina has a year to prove herself, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious psychic and his striking assistant, Anna, arrive on the scene. With Anna’s help, Gina recognizes that the only way she has a shot at becoming a professional tattoo artist is to embrace her quirkiness both in her art and her life.

The tattoo shop is rocked by a crisis just as Gina finds herself falling in love with Anna. Dominic gives Gina an ultimatum, and she’s faced with an impossible choice: Is the romance and newfound independence she’s found worth sacrificing her dreams? Or can she find a way to have it all?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love by Carlos Allende

A freezer box with the title COFFEE SHOPPING MURDER LOVE a novel by Carlos Allende in yellow and pink text coming out of it on top of a teal backgroundLast November, I found a dead body inside the freezer that my roommate keeps inside the garage. My first thought was to call the police, but Jignesh hadn’t paid his share of the rent just yet. It wasn’t due until the thirtieth, and you know how difficult it is to find people who pay on time. Jignesh always does. Also, he had season tickets for the LA Opera, and well . . . Madame Butterfly. Tosca. The Flying Dutchman . . . at the Dorothy Chandler . . . you cannot say no to that, can you? Well, it’s been a few good months now—Madame Butterfly was just superb, thank you. However, last Friday, I found a second body inside that stupid freezer in the garage. This time I’m evicting Jignesh. My house isn’t a mortuary . . . alas, I need to come up with some money first. You’ll understand, therefore, that I desperately need to sell this novel. Just enough copies to help me survive until I find a job . . . what could I do that doesn’t demand too much effort? We have a real treasure here, anyhow. Some chapters are almost but not quite pornographic. You could safely lend this to nana afterward!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Non-Fiction

The Awesome Autistic Guide for Trans Teens by Yenn Purkis and Sam Rose

59908992Calling all awesome autistic trans teens! Yenn Purkis and Sam Rose want you to live your best authentic life – and this handy book will show you how!

With helpful explanations, tips and activities, plus examples of famous trans and gender divergent people on the autism spectrum, this user-friendly guide will help you to navigate the world as an awesome autistic trans teen.

Covering a huge range of topics including coming out, masking, different gender identities, changing your name, common issues trans and gender divergent people face and ways to help overcome them, building a sense of pride and much, much more, it will empower you to value yourself and thrive exactly as you are.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Young Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

This post is sponsored by me and Home Field Advantage, available now in hardcover and ebook from Wednesday books and audio (narrated by Natalie Naudus and Lori Prince) by OrangeSky Audio!


Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | Book Depository

***

The Comedienne’s Guide to Pride by Hayli Thomson (July 19th)

58724672Taylor Parker has always been a funny girl―but when she is accepted as a finalist for a diverse writers’ internship at Saturday Night Live, it turns her life upside down. If she wants a shot at winning in a little more than a month, Taylor will have to come out about both of her secrets: She wants to be a comedian . . . and she’s a lesbian.

With a mom who gave up a career in comedy to raise her, and a comedian dad who left for a younger woman, working in comedy is a sore subject in Taylor’s house. To keep her secret under wraps, she sneaks out to do improv and hides her sketches under the bed, and to distract from her anxiety about the competition, Taylor frequents Salem’s Museum of Witchcraft to pine for Abigail Williams from the back row.

It’s at the Museum of Witchcraft where Taylor falls deeper in love with the girl who plays Abigail Williams―Charlotte Grey, an out and proud lesbian at Nathaniel Hawthorne High. Charlotte radiates so much confidence in her acting and queerness that Taylor can’t resist her. So when Charlotte reaches out for help on a school project, Taylor readily agrees. As they spend more time together, Taylor sees what living her truth and pursuing her dreams could bring her, but Charlotte can’t understand why someone as funny as Taylor wouldn’t go all out to make the most of her opportunities. To live up to her own comedy dreams and become the person she wants to be, Taylor will have to find the confidence to tell everyone exactly who she is and what she wants.

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Continue reading Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Young Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

Fave Five: Sapphic Fairytale Reimaginings, Part I

These are all reimaginings of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, or a combination of the two.

Briar Girls by Rebecca Kim Wells (YA)

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust (YA)

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (YA)

A Spindle Splintered and A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

Malice by Heather Walter

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Bride Hunt of Elk Mountain by Lumen Reese

Today on the site we’re revealing the cover of The Bride Hunt of Elk Mountain by Lumen Reese, a work of adult f/f speculative fiction publishing September 30, 2022! Here’s the story:

Every five years the girls of Elk Mountain wake up in the woods, where the simple farm boys they grew up with become predators and hunt them for brides.

Dan Lightman returns to the mountain to help the Marlow sisters. Lizzie is twenty, deaf since childhood and worried that she could end up married to a man who won’t learn to communicate with her, that she won’t have a voice in her own home. Beck is seventeen, exchanging secret letters with a girl from the other side of the mountain, and she’ll kill or die before she’ll marry anyone else. Nellie is only fourteen, and all she wants is a few more years, to grow up on her own terms.

All three girls live in the shadow of their beautiful eldest sister, Julia. Five years ago -at the last Bride Hunt- she refused the man who caught her, and she was killed for it. The barbaric ritual is a sacred rite of passage to a fringe sect of Catholicism in post-apocalyptic, small-town Appalachia. Dan is one of the hunt’s only critics. He was once too afraid to fight for the girl he loved, but now he’s back with a hired cutthroat and a plan to save the remaining Marlow sisters from their gruesome fate…

And here’s the haunting cover by Justin Frederick!

But wait! Wanna see the entire gorgeous wrap? Of course you do!

Add it on Goodreads now!

Lumen Reese is a bisexual author of (usually queer) speculative fiction from West Michigan. Her books include ‘Trial of the Lovebird Butcher’, ‘Monster Midwife’ and for young adult audiences ‘Claire Got Herself in Trouble’.

Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

This Way Out by Tufayel Ahmed (July 1st)

Amar can’t wait to tell everyone his wonderful news: he’s found The One, and he’s getting married. But it turns out announcing his engagement on a group chat might not have been the best way to let his strict Muslim Bangladeshi family know that his happy-ever-after partner is a man―and a white man at that.

Amar expected a reaction from his four siblings, but his bombshell sends shockwaves throughout the community and begins to fracture their family unit, already fragile from the death of their mother. Suddenly Amar is questioning everything he once believed in: his faith, his culture, his family, his mother’s love―and even his relationship with Joshua. Amar was sure he knew what love meant, but was he just plain wrong?

He’s never thought of his relationship with Joshua as a love story―they just fit together, like two halves of a whole. But if they can reconcile their differences with Amar’s culture, could there be hope for his relationship with his family too? And could this whole disaster turn into a love story after all?

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Continue reading Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

New Releases: June 14, 2022

Young Adult

Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey

51591630Two teen vigilantes set off on an action-packed investigation to expose corruption and deliver justice in Valiant Ladies, Melissa Grey’s YA historical fiction novel inspired by real seventeenth century Latinx teenagers known as the Valiant Ladies of Potosí.

By day Eustaquia “Kiki” de Sonza and Ana Lezama de Urinza are proper young seventeeth century ladies. But when night falls, they trade in their silks and lace for swords and muskets, venturing out into the vibrant, bustling, crime-ridden streets of Potosí, in the Spanish Empire’s Viceroyalty of Peru. They pass their time fighting, gambling, and falling desperately in love with one another.

Then, on the night Kiki’s engagement to the Viceroy’s son is announced, her older brother―heir to her family’s fortune―is murdered. The girls immediately embark on a whirlwind investigation that takes them from the lowliest brothels of Potosí to the highest echelons of the Spanish aristocracy.

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Not Good For Maidens by Tori Bovalino

58724694Salem’s Lot meets The Darkest Part of the Forest in this horror-fantasy retelling of Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market.”

Lou never believed in superstitions or magic–until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.

The market is a place Lou has only read about–twisted streets, offerings of sweet fruits and incredible jewels. Everything–from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves–is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in.

Determined to save Neela, Lou learns songs and spells and tricks that will help her navigate this dangerous world and slip past a goblin’s defenses–but she only has three days to find Neela before the market disappears and her aunt becomes one of them forever.

If she isn’t careful, the market might just end up claiming her too.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Adult

Body Grammar by Jules Ohman (June 14th)

To her own dismay, Lou is a natural model: tall, thin, captivatingly androgynous, and with a striking look. Out of nowhere, every agent in the Portland area wants to represent her. But Lou doesn’t care for fashion, nor does she wish to be seen. Fresh out of high school, Lou’s plan is to spend the summer taking photographs and hoping to catch the attention of Ivy, her close friend and secret crush.

But when an afternoon hiking trip ends in a tragic accident, Lou finds herself lost, ridden with guilt, and unsure how to connect with her friends. Determined to find a purpose, Lou steps into the dizzying world of modeling auditions, commercial shoots, shockingly expensive haute couture, and runways in New York, Paris, and Milan. It’s a whirlwind of learning how to walk, how to command her body and its movements, and how to manage her newfound fame. But in the dazzling flash of the camera and the thrill of seeing her face giant-size on billboards, Lou begins to worry that she’s losing her identity-as a person, as an artist, and as a young woman still in love with the girl she left behind.

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Island Time by Georgia Clark

59365737The Kellys are messy, loud, loving Australians. The Lees are sophisticated, aloof, buttoned-up Americans. They have nothing in common…except for the fact that their daughters are married. When a nearby volcano erupts during their short vacation to a remote tropical island off the coast of Queensland, the two families find themselves stranded together for six weeks.

With only two island employees making up the rest of their party, everyone is forced to question what—or who—they really want. Island Time is a sumptuous summer read that dives deep into queer romance, family secrets, ambition, parenthood, and a bird-chasing bromance. This sexy, sun-soaked paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest will show you it’s never too late to change your destiny.

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Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller

58841706In Nebula Award-winning author Sam J. Miller’s devastating debut short-fiction collection, featuring an introduction by Amal El-Mohtar, queer infatuation, inevitable heartbreak, and brutal revenge seamlessly intertwine. Whether innocent, guilty, or not even human, the boys, beasts, and men roaming through Miller’s gorgeously crafted worlds can destroy readers, yet leave them wanting more.

Despite his ability to control the ambient digital cloud, a foster teen falls for a clever con-man. Luring bullies to a quarry, a boy takes clearly enumerated revenge through unnatural powers of suggestion. In the aftermath of a shapeshifting alien invasion, a survivor fears that he brought something out of the Arctic to infect the rest of the world. A rebellious group of queer artists create a new identity that transcends even the anonymity of death.

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And There He Kept Her by Joshua Moehling

When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he’s been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he’ll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.

Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff’s deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.

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Reclaiming Love by Amanda Radley

61088245. sy475 Sarah Campbell told one tiny white lie.

The tech giant she works for moves her to a small Scottish island for six months to work on a classified project. She can’t tell anyone why she’s leaving and lying to placate her judgemental and inquisitive mother is the only choice. The lie? That Sarah has fallen in love, she couldn’t be happier, and she’s moving in with her perfect girlfriend. She can pretend her dream woman exists for six months, right?

Sarah’s a tech genius and she’s better at firewalls than real walls. She arrives at the run-down cottage assigned by her employer and quickly discovers she needs help.

Pippa Kent is a semi-retired structural engineer who’s done with love. She fills all her free time running a handywoman service on the island. When Sarah calls Pippa out for the most basic repairs, Pippa can’t help but wonder―often out loud―how anyone can be so inept at home maintenance.

Everything is going so well until Sarah’s mother suddenly decides to visit and meet her daughter’s wonderful new partner. With little option, Sara

Buy it: Amazon

Jackie & Me by Louis Bayard

58328431In the spring of 1951, debutante Jacqueline Bouvier, working as the Inquiring Photographer for the Washington Times-Herald, meets Jack Kennedy, a charming Congressman from a notorious and powerful family, at a party in Washington, DC. Young, rebellious, eager to break free from her mother, Jackie is drawn to the elusive young politician, and soon she and Jack are bantering over secret dinner dates and short work phone calls. Jack, busy with House duties during the week and Senate campaigning on the weekend (as well as his other now-well-known extracurricular activities) convinces his best friend and fixer, Lem Billings, to court Jackie on his behalf. Only gradually does Jackie begin to realize that she is being groomed to be the perfect political wife, whether Jack is interested in settling down or not.

Taking place mostly during the spring and summer before Jack and Jackie’s wedding, and narrated by an older Lem as he looks back at his own relationship with the Kennedys and his role in this complicated marriage, Jackie & Me is a searching story about a young woman of a certain class with narrow options, two people who loved each other, and two people who realized too late that they devoted their lives to Jack at their own expense.

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Heckin’ Lewd: Trans and Nonbinary Erotica ed. by Mx. Nillin Lore

If you’ve been searching for smutty, fearless, gender diverse erotica written by affirming own-voices folks who get it, then this is the book you’ve been looking for Packed with explicit erotic stories from trans and nonbinary gender diverse writers, Heckin’ Lewd celebrates sexual nonconformity, queerness, nontraditional relationship structures, and unrestrained lust, pleasure, and kink.

 

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A Song of Silver and Gold by Melissa Karibian (15th)

A Song of Silver And Gold by [Melissa Karibian]Out in the open sea, it’s kill or be killed. No one knows that better than Kaelyn. For the past year, Princess Kaelyn of Avalon has disguised herself as a man, Captain Kae, and led her crew into tumultuous waters to eradicate sirens on a journey fueled by revenge for the death of her brother. When they return home and experience a fatal siren attack on Avalon’s harbor, Kae sets sail again to destroy the sea demons once and for all.

Aqeara is a siren warrior of Meyrial, an underwater kingdom hidden from humans. When her negligence during the Avalon harbor attack causes the death of Meyrial’s princess, she accepts the help of a sea witch to overturn her banishment. Aqeara is given a human body and has until the next full moon to carve out Captain Kae’s heart in exchange for a spell to bring the dead princess back to life.

When Kae’s and Aqeara’s paths cross, they fall into a whirlwind romance, complicating their respective plans. Kae must decide whether her desire for revenge against sirens overrides her feelings for the woman she’s falling for, and Aqeara must choose between resurrecting the dead princess or sparing Kae’s life.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Exclusive Cover Reveal: Self Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore

Being a massive fangirl of both this author and this series, I am so thrilled to be revealing the cover today for Self Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore, a trans reimagining of The Great Gatsby publishing September 6, 2022 in Feiwel & Friends’s Remixed Classics series! Check it out:

Stonewall Honor recipient and two-time National Book Award Longlist selectee Anna-Marie McLemore weaves an intoxicating tale of glamor and heartache in Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix, part of the Remixed Classics series.

New York City, 1922. Nicolás Caraveo, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Wisconsin, has no interest in the city’s glamor. Going to New York is all about establishing himself as a young professional, which could set up his future—and his life as a man—and benefit his family.

Nick rents a small house in West Egg from his 18-year-old cousin, Daisy Fabrega, who lives in fashionable East Egg near her wealthy fiancé, Tom—and Nick is shocked to find that his cousin now goes by Daisy Fay, has erased all signs of her Latine heritage, and now passes seamlessly as white.

Nick’s neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious young man named Jay Gatsby, whose castle-like mansion is the stage for parties so extravagant that they both dazzle and terrify Nick. At one of these parties, Nick learns that the spectacle is all meant to impress a girl from Jay’s past—Daisy. And he learns something else: Jay is also transgender.

As Nick is pulled deeper into the glittery culture of decadence, he spends more time with Jay, aiming to help his new friend reconnect with his lost love. But Nick’s feelings grow more complicated when he finds himself falling hard for Jay’s openness, idealism, and unfounded faith in the American Dream.

And here’s the absolutely stunning cover, illustrated by Elliott Berggren and designed by Veronica Mang!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Anna-Marie McLemore (they/them) grew up hearing la llorona in the Santa Ana winds, and now writes books as queer, Latine, and nonbinary as they are. They are the author of The Weight of Feathers, a 2016 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist; Stonewall Honor Book When the Moon Was Ours, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; Wild Beauty; Blanca & Roja, one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time; Dark and Deepest Red; The Mirror Season, which was also longlisted for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature; Lakelore; and the forthcoming Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix (September 6, 2022). Find them online at annamariemclemore.com and on Twitter at @LaAnnaMarie.

Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Middle Grade Fiction: July-December 2022

The Language of Seabirds by Will Taylor (July 19th)

Jeremy is not excited about the prospect of spending the summer with his dad and his uncle in a seaside cabin in Oregon. It’s the first summer after his parents’ divorce, and he hasn’t exactly been seeking alone time with his dad. He doesn’t have a choice, though, so he goes… and on his first day takes a walk on the beach and finds himself intrigued by a boy his age running by. Eventually, he and Runner Boy (Evan) meet — and what starts out as friendship blooms into something neither boy is expecting… and also something both boys have been secretly hoping for.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Devouring Wolf by Natalie C. Parker (August 2nd)

59856872. sy475 Little wolf, little wolf, here I come.

They say that the Devouring Wolf isn’t real, just an old legend, a giant creature who consumes the magic inside young werewolves. The elders tell the tale to scare young pups into obedience. It’s a spooky campfire story for fledging wolves. Or is it?

It’s the eve of the first full moon of summer, and twelve-year-old Riley Callahan is ready. This is the year she will finally turn into a wolf. She has to–no one transforms after twelve.

Nothing can ruin her mood: not her little brother Milo’s teasing, not mama N’s smothering, and not even her other mom C’s absence from their pack’s ceremony. But then the unthinkable happens–something that violates every rule of wolf magic: Riley doesn’t shift.

Along with the four other kids who somehow didn’t transform, Riley is left with questions that even the pack leaders don’t have answers to. And to make matters far worse, it appears something was awoken in the woods that same night. A creature with an insatiable hunger . . . has the Devouring Wolf been awakened?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

City of Speed by Alex London (August 2nd)

This is the second book in the Battle Dragons series.

In the city of Drakopolis, dragons and humans have co-existed for centuries. Dragons burn the city’s garbage, taxi its busy citizens from place to place, and even compete in vicious underground battles for ganglike kins.

But the dragons also compete in legal sports, like the spectacular aerial races that draw in cheering crowds by the tens of thousands.

Abel is at just such a race when he witnesses the unthinkable. A long-shot competitor pulls off an impossible win — then flies into a destructive rage! Someone in the city is experimenting on dragons: hacking their DNA, rebuilding their bodies, and breaking their minds. Who could be driving the dragons berserk?

Abel must find out who’s behind the experiments and put a stop to them, and to do so he’ll infiltrate the kins’ underground street races on a long-shot dragon of his own. But with his sister working for a kin, his brother serving the city’s secret police, and a bully at school racing for Abel’s worst enemies, will Abel find any safety past the finish line?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Moonflower by Kacen Callender (September 6th)

58713803. sy475 Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living.

But when the realm is threatened, it’s up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause.

From this novel’s very first utterance, author Kacen Callender puts us behind Moon’s eyes so that we, too, are engulfed by Moon’s troubling exploration through mental illness.

Moon’s mom is trying her best, but is clueless about what to do to reach the ugly roiling of her child’s inner struggles. At the same time, though, there are those who see Moon for who they are – Blue, the Keeper, the Magician, Wolf. These creature-guides help Moon find a way out of darkness. The ethereal aspects of the story are brilliantly blended with real-world glimmers of light. Slowly, Moon grows toward hope and wholeness, showing all children that each and every one of us has a tree growing inside. That our souls emerge when we discover, and fully accept, ourselves.

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The Trouble with Robots by Michelle Mohrweis (September 6th)

Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Evelyn’s constant need for perfection has blown some fuses among her robotics teammates, and she’s worried nobody’s taking the upcoming competition seriously. Allie is new to school, and she’s had a history of short-circuiting on teachers and other kids.

So when Allie is assigned to the robotics team as a last resort, all Evelyn can see is just another wrench in the works! But as Allie confronts a past stricken with grief and learns to open up, the gears click into place as she discovers that Evelyn’s teammates have a lot to offer—if only Evelyn allowed them to participate in a role that plays to their strengths.

Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption?

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You Only Live Once, David Bravo by Mark Oshiro (September 20th)

Middle school is the worst, especially for David Bravo. He doesn’t have a single class with his best (and only) friend, Antoine. He has to give a presentation about his heritage, but he’s not sure how—or even if—he wants to explain to his new classmates that he’s adopted. And after he freezes up at his first cross-country race, causing an accident that leaves Antoine with a busted ankle, he’s 100 percent sure he’s cursed.

David wishes he could do it all over. He doesn’t expect his wish to summon a pushy, annoying talking dog who claims to be his new timeline guide. According to Fea, somewhere in his past, David made a choice that put his life on the wrong track. And she can take him back to fix it.

David knows exactly what he wants to undo: the accident that hurt Antoine. But when his first try (and the second, and the third) is a total disaster, he and Fea are left scrambling through timeline after timeline, trying to figure out what she’s really here to fix—a quest that may lead them to answers in the most unexpected places.

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Nikhil Out Loud by Maulik Pancholy (October 11th)

60141378. sy475 Thirteen-year-old Nikhil Shah is the beloved voice actor for Raj Reddy on the hit animated series Raj Reddy in Outer Space. But being a star on TV doesn’t mean you have everything figured out behind the scenes. . .

When his mom temporarily moves them to the small town in Ohio where she grew up to take care of Nikhil’s sick grandfather, Nikhil feels as out of orbit as his character.

Nikhil’s fame lands him the lead in the school musical, but he’s terrified that everyone will realize he’s a fraud once they find out he has stage fright. And when a group of conservative parents start to protest, making it clear they’re not happy with an openly gay TV star being in the starring role, Nikhil feels like his life would be easier if only he could be Raj Reddy full-time.

Then Nikhil wakes up one morning and hears a crack in his voice, which means his job playing Raj will have to come to an end. Life on earth is way more complicated than life on television. And some mysteries—like new friendships or a sick grandparent or finding the courage to speak out about what’s right—don’t wrap up neatly between commercial breaks.

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Where the Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman (October 11th)

59406554Eliot is grieving Babung, her paternal grandmother who just passed away, and she feels like she’s the only one. She’s less than excited to move to her new house, which smells like lemons and deception, and is searching for a sign, any sign, that ghosts are real. Because if ghosts are real, it means she can find a way back to Babung.

When Eliot chases the promise of paranormal activity to the presumably haunted Honeyfield Hall, she finds her proof of spirits. But these ghosts are losing their memory, stuck between this world and the next, waiting to cross over. With the help of Hazel, the granddaughter of Honeyfield’s owner (and Eliot’s new crush), she attempts to uncover the mystery behind Honeyfield Hall and the ghosts residing within.

And as Eliot fits the pieces together, she may just be able to help the spirits remember their pasts, and hold on to her grandmother’s memory.

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Hazel Hill is Gonna Win This One by Maggie Horne (October 18th)

In this funny, feminist, and queer middle grade debut, seventh-grader Hazel Hill is too busy for friends. No, really. She needs to focus on winning the school-wide speech competition over her nemesis, the popular and smart Ella Quinn, after last year’s embarrassing Hyperbole/Hyperbowl mishap that cost her first place. But when Hazel discovers Ella is being harassed by golden boy Tyler Harris, she has to choose between winning and doing the right thing. No one would believe that a nice boy like Tyler would harass and intimidate a nice girl like Ella, but Hazel knows the truth—and she’s determined to prove it.

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Anne: An Adaptation of Anne of Green Gables by Kathleen Gros (October 25th)

In this modern graphic novel retelling of Anne of Green Gables from graphic novelist Kathleen Gros, foster kid Anne Shirley finally lands in a loving home and befriends a girl who she may have more-than-friends feelings for.

Anne Shirley has been in foster care her whole life. So when the Cuthberts take her in, she hopes it’s for good. They seem to be hitting it off, but how will they react to the trouble that Anne can sometimes find herself in . . . like accidentally dyeing her hair green or taking a dangerous dare that leaves her in a cast?

Then Anne meets Diana Barry, a girl who lives in her apartment building, the Avon-Lea. The two become fast friends, as Anne finds she can share anything with Diana. As time goes on, though, Anne starts to develop more-than-friends feelings for Diana.

A new foster home, a new school, and a first-time crush—it’s a lot all at once. But if anyone can handle life’s twists and turns, it’s the irrepressible Anne Shirley.

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Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston by Esme Symes-Smith (November 8th)

60323939. sy475 My name is Callie, and I’m not a girl. I am here as Papa’s squire, and I want to train as a knight.

In a world where girls learn magic and boys train as knights, twelve-year-old nonbinary Callie doesn’t fit in anywhere. And you know what? That’s just fine. Callie has always known exactly what they want to be, and they’re not about to let a silly thing like gender rules stand in their way.

When their ex-hero dad is summoned back to the royal capital of Helston to train a hopeless crown prince as war looms, Callie lunges at the opportunity to finally prove themself worthy to Helston’s great and powerful.

Except the intolerant great and powerful look at Callie and only see girl.

Trapped in Helston’s rigid hierarchy, Callie discovers they aren’t alone–there’s Elowen, the chancellor’s brilliant daughter, whose unparalleled power is being stifled; Edwyn, Elowen’s twin brother, locked in a desperate fight to win his father’s approval; and Willow, the crown prince who was never meant to be king.

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Queering up your shelf, one rec at a time!