Tag Archives: Auriane Desombre

July 2021 Deal Announcements

Children’s Fiction

Author of I THINK I LOVE YOU Auriane Desombre‘s debut THE SISTER SPLIT, pitched as a reverse Parent Trap, in which a young girl teams up with her future step sister to create a plan full of hijinks that will stop their parents from getting married, so she doesn’t have to move away from the city and leave her best friend – a girl – she’s starting to develop feelings for behind, to Kelsey Horton at Delacorte, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2023, by Penny Moore at Aevitas Creative Management (world).

Alex Kahler writing as K.R. Alexander’s GALLOWGATE, set in a school for banishing wayward ghosts, where a haunted boy finds forbidden magic, otherworldly foes, fierce friends, and queer romance, to David Levithan at Scholastic, for publication in spring 2023, by Brent Taylor at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Adult Fiction

Hayden Stone’s AN UNEXPECTED KIND OF LOVE, pitched as Notting Hill but queer, in which an uptight bookseller stumbles headlong into a relationship with the actor whose movie is filming in his family’s struggling shop, to Heather Howland at Entangled Embrace, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2021 (world).

Booker winner for SHUGGIE BAIN Douglas Stuart’s YOUNG MUNGO, a portrayal of working-class life and a suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men born under different stars—a Protestant and a Catholic—who should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, again to Peter Blackstock at Grove/Atlantic, for publication on April 5, 2022, by Anna Stein at ICM (NA).

Author of SEVEN SUSPECTS and A KIND OF JUSTICE Renee James’s BEATNIKKI’S CAFE, in which a middle-aged transgender business woman tries to keep a low profile, but when a goon assaults her business partner, she reduces him to a bloody mess—and suddenly, she and everyone close to her are targets of a revenge-minded thug who is ruthless, clever, and unbound by any moral code, to Michael Nava at Amble, in a nice deal, for publication in March 2022, by Tina Schwartz at The Purcell Agency (world English).

Bronwyn Fischer’s THE RED FERN POEM, pitched as a queer CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS or a modern THE PRICE OF SALT, following a first-year university student and an older woman whose unexpected interest in her sparks an all-consuming and insidious love affair, exploring youthful self-consciousness, self-delusion, and self-definition, to Abby Muller at Algonquin, for publication in spring 2023, by Sam Hiyate at The Rights Factory (world, excl. Canada and UK).

Lambda Literary Award Finalist, GLAAD Media Award winner, and author of REAL QUEER AMERICA Samantha Allen’s PATRICIA WANTS TO CUDDLE, a contemporary horror comedy novel pitched as queer Grendel for the Instagram era, following a group of contestants on a reality television dating competition as they compete for love, and their lives, while on a remote island that’s home to an elusive and woefully misunderstood creature, to Sareena Kamath at Zando, at auction, by Leila Campoli at Stonesong (world English).

Author of HOW TO LIVE IN DETROIT WITHOUT BEING A JACKASS Aaron Foley’s BOYS COME FIRST, about the lives of 30-something Black gay men navigating love, life, and career in Detroit as they confront their evolving friendship and individual hiccups, including workplace micro-aggressions, bad Tinder dates, situationships and frenemies, while attempting to maintain their Blackness in America’s comeback city and the ever-changing expectations of homosexuality in structures largely architected by white gay men, to Anne Trubek at Belt, in a nice deal, for publication in May 2022 (US).

Young Adult Fiction

AJ Mason’s KLOUD 9, a queer space opera graphic novel about a lonely orphan trying to keep himself afloat with odd jobs, and an extraterrestrial star soldier who, after falling in love, are forced to go on the run and flee the solar system, joined by a motley crew, illustrated by Dominic Bustamante, to Erika Turner at IDW Publishing, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2023, by Britt Siess at Britt Siess Creative Management (world).

Author of THE CAMINO CLUB Kevin Craig’s BOOK OF DREAMS, in which a young man is given a book by a mysterious bookseller and falls into its pages, and must find an escape before he becomes a chapter in its horrific narrative; and WHERE IS ETHAN SINCLAIR, in which two young men try to solve the puzzling disappearance of a friend by studying his blog, only to unravel a mystery that sets them on a path to fight for justice for their missing friend—and hopefully bring him home safe, to Annie Harper at Duet, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022 (world). Rights: MJ Courchesne at Gryphon Publishing Consulting

Rose Szabo’s WE ALL FALL DOWN, the first book in the River City duology, about a city where magic used to thrive and four queer young people are cast as archetypal figures—the maiden, the hero, the monster, and the witch—in an age-old ritual that will revive the flow of magic, even though none of them quite fit the roles thrust upon them and in the end discover that they can only stay true to themselves, to Trisha de Guzman at Farrar, Straus Children’s, in a very nice deal, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Jennifer Azantian at Azantian Literary Agency (world English).

Author of ENTER TITLE HERE (as Rahul Kanakia) and WE ARE TOTALLY NORMAL Naomi Kanakia’s JUST HAPPY TO BE HERE, about an Indian American trans girl who transfers from her prestigious all-boys’ school to the sister school that she’s always idealized, and has to decide whether she’s content to be treated like a second-class citizen or whether to risk her place by demanding that her school live up to its own principles, to Stephanie Guerdan at Harper Teen, for publication in spring 2023, by Christopher Schelling at Selectric Artists (world).

Amanda DeWitt’s ACES WILD, in which a character pitched as a modern asexual Kaz Brekker assembles a crew of ace teens he met through fandom forums and leads them on a Las Vegas heist to prove his incarcerated mother was set up by a rival casino owner, to Ashley Hearn at Peachtree Teen, in a nice deal, for publication in fall 2022, by Cate Hart at Harvey Klinger (world).

Lambda Literary Award finalist and author of RUNNING WILD Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s NO STOPPING US NOW, pitched as Mrs. America meets A League of Their Own, where a 17-year-old girl whose chance encounter with Gloria Steinem inspires her to fight for her public school to actually follow the new Title IX law, facing a menacing coach and navigating her feelings for a fellow teammate in the process; a story about the joy of sports and the power of sisterhood based on the author’s own activism as a champion athlete in 1970s Portland, Oregon, to Kat Georges at Three Rooms Press, for publication in spring 2022 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passage, by Reiko Davis at DeFiore and Company (world).

Editor of KINDRED Michael Earp, ed.’s fully illustrated untitled YA queer fairy tales anthology, which interprets original fairy tales with a queered ideology, questioning the heteronormative culture from which these traditional stories come and how that is perpetuated when left unexamined; contributors include Amie Kaufman, Mackenzi Lee, Dean Atta, Will Kostakis, Lily Wilkinson, Sophie Gonzales, Alison Evans, Alexandra Villasante, Abdi Nazemian, Gary Lonesborough, and James Brandon, to Meg Whelan at Affirm Press, by Ben Fowler at Abner Stein, on behalf of Taryn Fagerness Agency and Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary Agency (world).

Non-Fiction

Journalist, critic, and host of Crooked Media’s podcast Keep It Ira Madison III’s PURE INNOCENT FUN, a collection of essays that explores popular culture of the 1990s and earlier through the author’s perspective and lived experience as a Black, gay TV writer and cultural critic, to Jamia Wilson at Random House, at auction, by Erin Malone at William Morris Endeavor (NA).

National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Yaddo, and Michener Center for Writers fellow Greg Marshall‘s LEG: THE STORY OF A LIMB AND THE BOY WHO GREW FROM IT, a memoir that grapples with family, disability, illness, and coming of age in two closets–as a gay man and as a man living with cerebral palsy–while exploring with trenchant humor what it means to “transform” when there are parts of yourself you cannot change, pitched in the vein of Ryan O’Connell meets David Sedaris, to Zachary Knoll at Simon & Schuster, in a pre-empt, by Hannah Brattesani at Friedrich Agency (NA).

Slate journalist June Thomas’s WHERE ARE ALL THE LESBIANS?, a cultural history, celebration, and critical look at queer women’s communities in the second half of the 20th century, to Seal Press, at auction.

Authors in Conversation: Auriane Desombre and Sonia Hartl

I’m tickled to have two utterly delightful authors on the site today: Auriane Desombre, author of debut contemporary f/f YA romance I Think I Love You (which just released yesterday with Underlined!) and Sonia Hartl, whose f/f YA vampire romance The Lost Girls releases September 14th from Page Street! They’re here together today to chat about their books, other faves, and more! Take it away, Auriane and Sonia!

SONIA: Hello! I’m Sonia Hartl, author of the upcoming f/f paranormal romance The Lost Girls (think John Tucker Must Die, with vampires, but make it gay). It will be out on September 14th with Page Street. I’m thrilled to be in conversation with one of my best friends, Auriane Desombre, whose f/f romcom I Think I Love You will be out on March 2nd with Underlined! It’s a hilarious and heart warming queer take on both Emma and Much Ado, and I love it with my whole heart. I’ve read this book a few times now and I’m so excited for the rest of the world to experience the joy of falling into an Auriane story.

(Buy I Think I Love You from the LGBTQReads Bookshop)

Auriane, I love so many scenes in I Think I Love You, what was the first one that felt fully formed in your mind before you wrote it?

AURIANE: A lot of the banter felt fully formed going into the first draft! The witty back-and-forths in Much Ado About Nothing have always been my favorite parts of the play, so I was definitely most excited about incorporating that element into my modern take. There’s also a scene between Emma and Sophia at the first film competition screening, where they let themselves get more vulnerable with each other for the first time. That scene has changed a lot since the first draft (as you know, the film competition didn’t even exist until you told me I had to add a plot during the Pitch Wars mentorship!), but the vulnerable moments in that scene have been in my head since the beginning.

John Tucker Must Die, with vampires, but make it gay” will never not be my favorite pitch for a book. I can’t wait for this one! What was your favorite part of turning that incredible premise into a first draft?

SONIA: I think my favorite part was building that bond between the girls who had all given up their mortality for this guy. Friendship is such a complex and satisfying relationship to write, especially with these girls who should’ve been enemies (according to societal expectations anyway), and I think allowing these characters to find the humanity in each other as they learn how to forgive themselves is where the heart of The Lost Girls beats strongest.

(Preorder The Lost Girls from the LGBTQReads Bookshop!)

And speaking of girls who are/should be enemies, I love how well you balanced Emma’s optimism and Sophia’s pessimism in  I Think I Love You. Which girl do you relate to more? Or does that change depending on the day?

AURIANE: I definitely relate to both of them! As a rom com writer, I obviously see myself in Emma’s love of all things romance, and I’m always rooting for a happily ever after. That said, I agree with Sophia’s view that friendships are just as important as romantic love. I’m also more of a Sophia when it comes to grand gestures and rom com finales—Emma might live for a grand gesture, but I always love the quieter, more matter-of-fact declarations the best.

The friendships in The Lost Girls are some of my favorite parts of the book, and the relationships in the main friend group are to die for (Get it? A vampire joke!). I’m also fully obsessed with the world your characters live in. What was the most challenging part of creating your own twist on vampire folklore?

SONIA: I think the most challenging part was creating something new, while also being cognizant that vampires are beloved and also come with certain expectations. I enjoyed playing with known tropes, but I took a few risks too that I wasn’t always sure would resonate with readers. Ultimately, I’m very proud of the story I told, but there were times when I wasn’t sure if what I saw in my head was translating on paper.

In I Think I Love You, you have such an incredible secondary cast! What is your favorite part about writing friend groups?

AURIANE: Yay for big friend groups! I loved fleshing out all of the characters and making sure they each had an arc of their own. Since the friend group in I Think I Love You is so big (and so messy, always in each others’ business), I had a lot of fun thinking through the different relationships the individual characters have with each other within the group, and how that affects the dynamic as a whole. This friend group in particular made that process extra fun because of all the scheming and matchmaking they get up to!

The Lost Girls has such a rich cast too, and I fell deep in love with the vampire girl squad. Which character was your favorite to write? Which do you relate to the most?

SONIA: My favorite character to write was Ida, because she’s such a grumpy cynic, but also has an incredibly soft center, and I loved peeling back her layers. As for who I relate to the most, my main character Holly and her love interest Parker are the two characters who have the most pieces of me in them. There are some things I’ll only ever be able to say through characters I create, and Holly and Parker both allowed me to drain some of the poison from old wounds.

You do enemies to lovers so well (and the grumpy/sunshine dynamic is perfection), what are your favorite romance tropes? Which one haven’t you written yet that you’d like to try?

AURIANE: Enemies-to-lovers is by far my favorite! I love the banter that fits into the beginning of the trope, and all the little moments that crack a rivalry and turn it into romance are so delicious. Aside from that, I’m always a sucker for some fake dating (which is one of the many reasons I’m obsessed with your debut, Have a Little Faith in Me!). Gooiest of brownie points to any book that combines the two!

In terms of tropes I’d like to try, the greatest tragedy of my writer life is that I have yet to work in a “there’s only one bed” scenario into any of my projects! That’s definitely a situation I’d love to play with at some point in a future manuscript.

I am obsessed with every single bit of the world in your book and your take on vampires. What is your favorite worldbuilding detail?

SONIA: I think my favorite worldbuilding detail started when I was doing some research on object memory, and how holding objects allows people to recall things in more vivid detail than sight, sound, or smell. I can’t really explain it without getting into what heirlooms are and their significance in The Lost Girls, so I’ll just say that I really enjoyed playing with the psychology behind object memory.

I love how funny and warm your book is, and the way it makes me smile every time I read it! What are some of your favorite queer romcoms?

AURIANE: I have so many! Some recent favorites include She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar, and The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth.

Speaking of favorite f/f books, The Lost Girls is so important in so many ways. What are you hoping readers will get out of this fabulous book?

SONIA: What I hope readers will get out of this book most is that regret is too heavy a burden to carry, and it’s okay to share it with other people and let it go. It’s okay to walk away from people who hurt you. It’s never too late to forgive yourself for mistakes. And you deserve to love and be loved, always, freely, and without demand.

AURIANE: That’s such a wonderful message! This book has my whole heart, and I can’t wait for it to capture readers’ hearts too. I’m counting down the days until I can hold my copy!

***

Auriane is a middle school teacher and freelance editor. She holds an MA in English Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing for Children & Young Adults. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Sammy, who is a certified bad boy. I Think I Love You is her debut novel.

Sonia Hartl is the author of The Lost Girls, Not Your #Lovestory, and Have a Little Faith in Me (Page Street), which received a starred review in BookPage and earned nominations for the Georgia Peach Book Award, YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and ALA’s Rise: A Feminist Book Project List. She’s also the author of an adult romcom, Heartbreak for Hire (Gallery). When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys playing board games with her family, attempting to keep her garden alive, or looking up craft projects she’ll never get around to completing on Pinterest. She’s a member of SCBWI and was the Managing Director for Pitch Wars 2020. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters.

New Releases: March 2021

Black Boy Out of Time by Hari Ziyad (1st)

One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them.

Heartwarming and heart-wrenching, radical and reflective, Hari Ziyad’s vital memoir is for the outcast, the unheard, the unborn, and the dead. It offers us a new way to think about survival and the necessary disruption of social norms. It looks back in tenderness as well as justified rage, forces us to address where we are now, and, born out of hope, illuminates the possibilities for the future.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Down Comes the Night by Alison Saft (2nd)

Honor your oath, destroy your country.

Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself.

When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom.

As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Infinity Reaper by Adam Silvera (2nd)

This is the sequel to Infinity Son

53018247._SY475_Emil and Brighton Rey defied the odds. They beat the Blood Casters and escaped with their lives–or so they thought. When Brighton drank the Reaper’s Blood, he believed it would make him invincible, but instead the potion is killing him.

In Emil’s race to find an antidote that will not only save his brother but also rid him of his own unwanted phoenix powers, he will have to dig deep into the very past lives he’s trying to outrun. Though he needs the help of the Spell Walkers now more than ever, their ranks are fracturing, with Maribelle’s thirst for revenge sending her down a dangerous path.

Meanwhile, Ness is being abused by Senator Iron for political gain, his rare shifting ability making him a dangerous weapon. As much as Ness longs to send Emil a signal, he knows the best way to keep Emil safe from his corrupt father is to keep him at a distance.

The battle for peace is playing out like an intricate game of chess, and as the pieces on the board move into place, Emil starts to realize that he may have been competing against the wrong enemy all along.

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

I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre (2nd)

Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance? For fans of Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat, full of laugh-out-loud humor and make-your-heart-melt moments.

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

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine (2nd)

This is the sequel to A Memory Called Empire

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options.

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass—still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire—face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity.

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever.

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

Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi (2nd)

CeCe Ross is kind of a big deal. She and her girlfriend, Silvie, are social media influencers with zillions of fans and followers, known for their cute outfits and being #relationshipgoals.

So when Silvie breaks up with her, CeCe is devastated. She’s lost her first love, and now she can’t help but wonder if she’ll lose her followers as well.

Things get even messier when CeCe meets Josh, a new boy in town who is very much Not Online. CeCe isn’t surprised to be falling for a guy; she’s always known she’s bi. And Josh is sweet and smart and has excellent taste in donuts… but he has no idea that CeCe is internet-famous. And CeCe sort of wants to keep it that way.

But when CeCe’s secrets catch up to her, she finds herself in the middle of an online storm, where she’ll have to confront the blurriness of public vs. private life, and figure out what it really means to speak her truth.

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The Home I Find with You by Skye Kilaen (3rd)

Life in rural Colorado after the second U.S. Civil War is perilous. Van and his girlfriend Hadas only recovered from the attack that killed Van’s wife because their community helped them heal. The warmth Van and Hadas share isn’t the love he lost, but it’s precious. He’s content.

Clark survived the war, but his family fractured and now his relationships are in ruins… which must be his fault, or everyone wouldn’t say so. Figuring he can’t destroy ties he doesn’t create, he relocates to start over, zero interpersonal complications welcome.

When Van and Clark meet, though, it’s nothing but complicated. Clark can’t stop wanting quiet, loyal Van no matter how the electricity between them misfires, and Van craves more than hookups from the charismatic newcomer. Hadas and others start coaxing Clark out of his emotional isolation, but when violence threatens the town, Van and Hadas must leave him behind to defend it.

To bring them safely home, Clark must decide whether Van’s love, Hadas’s friendship, and the belonging he’s found are enough to overcome his fear of once again letting down those he cares about.

Buy it: Amazon

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales (9th)

Everyone in school knows about Locker 89. If you slip a letter in outlining your relationship woes, along with a fiver, an anonymous source will email you with the best advice you’ve ever gotten.

Darcy Phillips, a quiet, sweet junior, is safe in the knowledge no one knows she’s the genius behind locker 89. Until Brougham, a senior, catches her.

The deal Brougham offers is tempting: in exchange for his silence–and a generous coach’s fee to sweeten the deal–Darcy can become Brougham’s personal dating coach to help him get his ex-girlfriend back.

And as for Darcy, well, she has a fairly good reason to want to keep her anonymity. Because she has another secret. Not too long ago, she abused locker 89 to sabotage the budding romance of her best friend, Brooke. Brooke, who Darcy’s been in love with for a year now.

Yeah. Brooke can’t find out about that. No matter what.

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Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora (9th)

Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—a Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate—created by Gathos City scientists as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, Nate was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.

But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their GEMs—a flaw in their DNA that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. When violence erupts across the Withers, Nate’s illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay—and die—with the boy he loves.

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

Learned Reactions by Jayce Ellis (9th)

This is the second book in the Higher Education companion series

Carlton Monroe is finally getting his groove back. After a year playing dad to his nephew and sending him safely off to college, it’s back to his bachelor ways. But when his teenaged niece shows up on his doorstep looking for a permanent home, his plan comes to a screeching halt. Family is everything, and in the eyes of social services, a couple makes a better adoptive family than an overworked bachelor father. A fake relationship with his closest friend is the best way to keep his family together.

If things between him and Deion are complicated, well, it only needs to last until the end of the semester.

Living with Carlton is a heartbreak waiting to happen, and once the adoption goes through, Deion’s out. He’s waited two decades for Carlton to realize they’re meant for each other, and he’s done. It’s time to make a clean break. But it’s hard to think of moving away when keeping up the act includes some very real perks like kissing, cuddling and sharing a bed.

Even the best charades must come to an end, though. As the holidays and Deion’s departure date loom, the two men must decide whether playing house is enough for them—or if there’s any chance they could be a family for real.

Buy it: Amazon | Books2Read

Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore (9th)

Carey Parker dreams of being a diva, and bringing the house down with song. They can hit every note of all the top pop and Broadway hits. But despite their talent, emotional scars from an incident with a homophobic classmate and their grandmother’s spiraling dementia make it harder and harder for Carey to find their voice.

Then Carey meets Cris, a singer/guitarist who makes Carey feel seen for the first time in their life. With the rush of a promising new romantic relationship, Carey finds the confidence to audition for the role of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, in the school musical, setting off a chain reaction of prejudice by Carey’s tormentor and others in the school. It’s up to Carey, Cris, and their friends to defend their rights–and they refuse to be silenced.

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Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans (9th)

From spoken word poet Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.

With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself—and us—home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America—and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.

Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering Black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.

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Tell Me My Name by Amy Reed (9th)

On wealthy Commodore Island, Fern is watching and waiting–for summer, for college, for her childhood best friend to decide he loves her. Then Ivy Avila lands on the island like a falling star. When Ivy shines on her, Fern feels seen. When they’re together, Fern has purpose. She glimpses the secrets Ivy hides behind her fame, her fortune, the lavish parties she throws at her great glass house, and understands that Ivy hurts in ways Fern can’t fathom. And soon, it’s clear Ivy wants someone Fern can help her get. But as the two pull closer, Fern’s cozy life on Commodore unravels: drought descends, fires burn, and a reckless night spins out of control. Everything Fern thought she understood–about her home, herself, the boy she loved, about Ivy Avila–twists and bends into something new. And Fern won’t emerge the same person she was.

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Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrianne Tooley (9th)

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first…

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Secret Gospel of Mark: A Poet’s Memoir by Spencer Reece (9th)

The Secret Gospel of Mark is a powerful dynamo of a story that delicately weaves the author’s experiences with an appreciation for seven great literary touchstones: Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, James Merrill, Mark Strand, George Herbert, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. In speaking to the beauty these poets’ works inspire in him, Reece finds the beauty of his own life’s journey, a path that runs from coming of age as a gay teenager in the 1980s, Yale, alcoholism, a long stint as a Brooks Brothers salesman, Harvard Divinity School, and leads finally to hard-won success as a poet, reconciliation with his family, and the fulfillment of finding his life’s work as an Episcopal priest. Reece’s writing approaches the truth and beauty of the writers who have influenced him; elliptical and direct, always beautifully rendered.

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Ravage the Dark by Tara Sim (9th)

This is the sequel to Scavenge the Stars

For seven long years, while she was imprisoned on a debtor’s ship, Amaya Chandra had one plan: to survive. But now, survival is not enough. She has people counting on her; counting on her for protection, for leadership, for vengeance. And after escaping Moray by the skin of her teeth, she’s determined to track down the man who betrayed her and her friends.

Cayo Mercado has lost everything: his money, his father, his reputation. Everything except his beloved sister. But he’s well on his way to losing her, too, with no way to afford the treatment for her deadly illness. In a foreign empire also being consumed by ash fever, Cayo has no choice but to join Amaya in uncovering the mystery of the counterfeit currency, the fever, and how his father was involved in their creation. But Cayo still hasn’t forgiven Amaya for her earlier deception, and their complicated feelings for each other are getting harder and harder to ignore.

Through glittering galas, dazzling trickery, and thrilling heists, Cayo and Amaya will learn that the corruption in Moray goes far deeper than they know, and in the end the only people they can trust are each other.

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Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (9th)

The Townhouse Bar, midtown, July 1992: The piano player seems to know every song ever written, the crowd belts out the lyrics to their favorites, and a man standing nearby is drinking a Scotch and water. The man strikes the piano player as forgettable.

He looks bland and inconspicuous. Not at all what you think a serial killer looks like. But that’s what he is, and tonight, he has his sights set on a gray haired man. He will not be his first victim.

Nor will he be his last.

The Last Call Killer preyed upon gay men in New York in the ‘80s and ‘90s and had all the hallmarks of the most notorious serial killers. Yet because of the sexuality of his victims, the skyhigh murder rates, and the AIDS epidemic, his murders have been almost entirely forgotten.

This gripping true-crime narrative tells the story of the Last Call Killer and the decades-long chase to find him. And at the same time, it paints a portrait of his victims and a vibrant community navigating threat and resilience.

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Luckmonkey by Alysia Constantine (9th)

By day, Luckmonkey is a struggling punk band playing in record stores and taco joints; by night, its members are anti-capitalist agitators, breaking into homes and businesses, each time stealing one possession and leaving something different in its place. Squatting in an abandoned building without electricity or heat, they scrounge a patched-together life as a raucous, mismatched family of queer, trans and first-gen social activists.

But when one of them steals a wind-up monkey toy and brings it home, things begin to deteriorate into squabbles and bad decisions, until an arrest forces the group to weigh the hard work of political resistance against their individual needs for stability and safety.

Set in the margins of Pittsburgh in the early aughts, Luckmonkey barrels into the defiant lives of social outsiders working to change the world.

Buy it: Interlude | IndieBound | Amazon | Book Depository

What a Tangled Web by Melissa Brayden (16th)

As winemaker at Tangle Valley Vineyard, Madison LeGrange relies on science and logic to make the best vintage possible. It’s also how she manages her life. But with her career in its prime, her accountant thinks it’s time she diversifies her income. Not a problem because her favorite caf, the Bacon and Biscuit, is up for sale. What she didn’t plan on was the time she’d spend with Clementine, who has her feeling anything but logical.

Clementine Monroe loves her job managing the Bacon and Biscuit Caf . In fact, after escaping a difficult past, it’s all she has. When Clementine is offered the opportunity to step out from behind the counter and buy the place, her longtime dream is about to come true. That is until it’s snatched out from under her by the very same girl she crushed on in high school. Old habits are hard to break, but Clementine has no plans to forgive Madison anytime soon.

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That Way Madness Lies ed. by Dahlia Adler (16th)

Fifteen acclaimed YA writers put their modern spin on William Shakespeare’s celebrated classics!

West Side Story. 10 Things I Hate About You. Kiss Me, Kate. Contemporary audiences have always craved reimaginings of Shakespeare’s most beloved works. Now, some of today’s best writers for teens take on the Bard in these 15 whip-smart and original retellings!

Contributors include Dahlia Adler (reimagining The Merchant of Venice), Kayla Ancrum (The Taming of the Shrew), Lily Anderson (As You Like It), Melissa Bashardoust (A Winter’s Tale), Patrice Caldwell (Hamlet), Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy (Much Ado About Nothing), Brittany Cavallaro (Sonnet 147), Joy McCullough (King Lear), Anna-Marie McLemore (Midsummer Night’s Dream), Samantha Mabry (Macbeth), Tochi Onyebuchi (Coriolanus), Mark Oshiro (Twelfth Night), Lindsay Smith (Julius Caesar), Kiersten White (Romeo and Juliet), and Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka (The Tempest).

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The Performance by Claire Thomas (16th)

One night, three women go to the theater to see a play. Wildfires are burning in the hills outside, but inside the theater it is time for the performance to take over.

Margot is a successful, flinty professor on the cusp of retirement, distracted by her fraught relationship with her adult son and her ailing husband. After a traumatic past, Ivy is is now a philanthropist with a seemingly perfect life. Summer is a young drama student, an usher at the theater, and frantically worried for her girlfriend whose parents live in the fire zone.

While the performance unfolds on stage, so does the compelling trajectory that will bring these three women together, changing them all. Deliciously intimate and yet emotionally wide-ranging, The Performance is a novel that both explores the inner lives of women as it underscores the power of art and memory to transform us.

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Bruised by Tanya Boteju (23rd)

To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died in an accident she survived, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin so she doesn’t need to deal with the ache deep in her heart.

So when chance and circumstances bring her to a roller derby bout, Daya is hooked. Yes, the rules are confusing and the sport seems to require the kind of teamwork and human interaction Daya generally avoids. But the opportunities to bruise are countless, and Daya realizes that if she’s going to keep her emotional pain at bay, she’ll need all the opportunities she can get.

The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for. Her rough-and-tumble teammates and their fans push her limits in ways she never imagined, bringing Daya to big truths about love, loss, strength, and healing.

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The Unbroken by C.L. Clark (23rd)

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.
Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.
Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy (23rd)

This work of graphic nonfiction, told in the style of an illustrated diary, begins as an affectionate reminiscence of the author’s ’90s teenage infatuation with the late actor River Phoenix but morphs into a remarkable, sprawling account of the city of Portland and state of Oregon’s dark history of white nationalism. Murphy details the relationship between white supremacist Tom Metzger (former KKK Grand Wizard and founder of the White Aryan Resistance) and the “Rose City” street kids like Ken Death that infiltrated Van Sant’s films. Murphy brilliantly weaves ’90s alternative culture, from Kurt Cobain and William Burroughs to Keanu Reeves and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with two centuries of the Pacific Northwest’s shameful history as a hotbed for white nationalism. In Murphy’s personal reflections on their evolving gender identity and heart-racing descriptions of scenes like infamous campfire kiss in My Own Private Idaho, the artist’s story becomes a moral anchor to a deeply amoral regional history and marks the incredible debut of a talented new voice to the graphic medium.

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An Ordinary Wonder by Buki Papillon (25th)

This is the book’s UK publication. It releases in the US on Sept. 7.

Oto leaves for boarding school with one plan: excel and escape his cruel home. Falling in love with his roommate was certainly not on the agenda, but fear and shame force him to hide his love and true self.

Back home, weighed down by the expectations of their wealthy and powerful family, the love of Oto’s twin sister wavers and, as their world begins to crumble around them, Oto must make drastic choices that will alter the family’s lives for ever.

Richly imagined with art, proverbs and folk tales, this moving and modern novel follows Oto through life at home and at boarding school in Nigeria, through the heartbreak of living as a boy despite their profound belief they are a girl, and through a hunger for freedom that only a new life in the United States can offer.

Buy it: The Book Depository

She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard (30th)

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot — full of adventure — and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect…one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.

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Sweethand by N.G. Peltier (30th)

After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.

When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.

Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.

Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.

When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.

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Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl by Hettie Bell (30th)

Poppy Adams doesn’t have a perfect life, and she wasn’t ready for the positive test. An unexpected baby—Poppy’s unexpected baby—won’t exactly have her family doing cartwheels. But she’s making the right choice.

Right?

Poppy’s totally got this. She just needs a little encouragement, and a knitting group is the perfect place to start. Baby blankets, booties, tiny little hats–small steps toward her new life. But she feels like she’s already dropped a stitch when she discovers the knitting group is led by the charismatic Rhiannon.

It’s not exactly a great time to meet the woman who might just be the love of her life. While the group easily shuffles around to make room for Poppy, it’s not so easy fitting her life and Rhiannon’s together. With the weeks counting down until her baby arrives, Poppy’s going to have to decide for herself what truly makes a family.

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March Book Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

2015 Golden Heart finalist and debut author Kelly Farmer‘s OUT ON THE ICE, a contemporary slow burn romance set in an all-girls hockey training center, in which the owner, a retired women’s hockey legend more confident on the ice than off falls for her new summer coach: a woman who lives life out loud and won’t slow down for fear of losing her pro-athlete identity, to Kerri Buckley at Carina Press, for publication in August 2020 (world).

Children’s/YA

Auriane Desombre‘s debut I THINK I LOVE YOU, pitched as a modern-day romcom retelling of Jane Austen’s EMMA meets MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, following the story of two girls who start as rivals in a filmmaking competition, but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another, to Kelsey Horton at Underlined, for publication in summer 2020, by Penny Moore at Aevitas Creative Management (world).

V.S. Santoni‘s IN THE CITY OF THE NIGHTMARE KING, book two in the Gay Wizard series, picking up immediately after the events of the first book, and going deeper and darker into the fantastical world that the author created, to Deanna McFadden at Wattpad, for publication in fall 2020 (world English).

Sarah Hollowell’s debut A DARK AND STARLESS FOREST, about nine magical siblings who live in a secluded house cut off from the rest of the world by a sinister forest with their enigmatic caretaker who is grooming them for a dark and mysterious purpose, to Nicole Sclama at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s, for publication in fall 2021, by Thao Le at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (world English).

Anthony Oliveira’s APOCRYPHA, pitched as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Paradise Lost, in which a teen guided by an angel and another possessed by a demon find themselves at the center of a terrible cosmic war—and their own confusing queer awakenings, to Stephanie Guerdan at Harper Teen, by Lauren Abramo at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).

Jarad Greene’s A-OKAY, a semi-autobiographical story featuring a 13-year-old with severe bouts of acne who’s battling his skin, the side effects of a potent acne prescription, and his understanding of being ace, all while trying to survive eighth grade, to Andrew Arnold at Harper Alley, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2021, by Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).

Film/TV

Comedy Women in Print Prize Winner Laura Steven‘s THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS, optioned by Lime Pictures, led by executive Louise Sutton, and scout Hannah Griffiths, by Suzie Townsend and Pouya Shahbazian at New Leaf Literary & Media.

Non-Fiction

Author and illustrator Stacey Chomiak’s STILL STACE: MY GAY CHRISTIAN COMING OF AGE STORY, an illustrated memoir about her teenage and young adult years of wrestling with her gay Christian identity, trying to become “ex-gay,” and ultimately finding peace, to Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2021, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency (world English).

*Copyright (c) Publishers Weekly PWxyz LLC. Used by permission.