Rachel Lacey‘s READ BETWEEN THE LINES, pitched as an #OwnVoices sapphic retelling of You’ve Got Mail, featuring a bisexual bookstore owner and a property developing corporate executive with more than one secret, to Lauren Plude at Montlake, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (world).
Katharine Schellman‘s LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTINGALE, an #OwnVoices queer murder mystery set in 1920s New York, where a seamstress escapes drudgery at a speakeasy, but when she discovers a body behind the club, she finds herself caught between the dangers of New York’s underground and the world of the city’s wealthy and careless, where money can hide any sin and the lives of the poor are considered disposable—including her own, to Nettie Finn at Minotaur, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Whitney Ross at Irene Goodman Agency (NA).
2020 National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree and author of BESTIARY K-Ming Chang‘s RESIDENT ALIENS, a short story collection that evokes the splendor and peculiar nature of families, the grotesque and wondrous parts of the body, and the wild and poignant battles of queer love, to Nicole Counts at One World, by Julia Kardon at HG Literary.
Ally Wilkes‘s ALL THE WHITE SPACES, set in the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration, in which a trans man narrates the fate of an expedition as something unnamed and terrible picks off his shipmates one by one, against the backdrop of the pitch-black polar night, to Lara Jones at Emily Bestler Books, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Oliver Munson at A.M. Heath (NA).
Helena Greer‘s MY FIRST NOELLE, pitched as a queer and Jewish Hallmark-style holiday rom-com about a free-spirited bisexual artist who’s forced to return home when she inherits her family’s Christmas tree farm, and has an unexpected romance with the farm’s grumpy butch manager, to Amy Pierpont and Sam Brody at Forever, in a two-book deal, for publication in winter 2022, by Rebecca Podos at Rees Literary Agency (world).
Winner of the 60th Gunzo New Writer’s Award for Excellence in 2017 Li Kotomi‘s SOLO DANCE, depicting the painful coming-of-age of a gay woman in Taiwan and the salaryman’s world in Japan; an account of a person’s search for hope after trauma and depression, to Judith Uyterlinde at World Editions (Netherlands), in a nice deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in fall 2022, by Li Kangqin at New River Literary (world English).
Three-time Pushcart prize winner and Stegner fellow Lydia Conklin’s RAINBOW RAINBOW, a collection of stories exploring the complex inner lives of queer, trans, and nonbinary characters, pitched as appealing to fans of Garth Greenwell, Jenny Zhang, and Katherine Dunn, to Leigh Newman at Catapult, for publication in June 2022, by Samantha Shea at Georges Borchardt.
Center for Fiction First Novel Prize nominee Celia Laskey’s THE BRIDESMAID, exploring contemporary female friendship, platonic queer-straight dynamics, and the absurdity of the wedding industrial complex; and UNDER THE RAINBOW, her debut novel, to Cicely Aspinall at HQ, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Jennifer Helinek at Trident Media Group, on behalf of Alexa Stark.
Hazel Newlevant‘s QUEER AND HOW WE GOT HERE, in which the author blends their personal story of coming out with explorations of important moments from queer history to draw a parallel between the growth of a community and the growth of the author’s personal identity, to Andrea Colvin at Little, Brown Children’s, in an exclusive submission, for publication in early 2024, by Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary (world).
Will Taylor‘s THE LANGUAGE OF SEABIRDS, in which a 12-year-old boy confined to two weeks at a beach house with his freshly divorced father meets a local boy and his world is flipped as he struggles find some way to share the truths flooding his heart—things he’s never spoken to anyone, not even himself, to David Levithan at Scholastic, for publication in summer 2022, by Brent Taylor at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).
Detroit-based illustrator and designer Oli Franey’s MONSTER CRUSH, pitched as BEETLE AND THE HOLLOWBONES meets Teen Wolf, in which a 16-year-old closes herself off from the world after her parents split, until she meets a girl; as the two of them fight off school bullies, the girl accidentally reveals her ability to transform into a monstrous beast, and reveals the world of monsters, to Brett Israel at Dark Horse, for publication in 2023, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency (world English).
Young Adult Fiction
Epic Reads founder Margot Wood‘s FRESH, a queer coming-of-age story that follows a freshman at Emerson College as she navigates the highs and lows of her first year away from home, to Maggie Lehrman at Abrams Children’s, at auction, for publication in fall 2021, by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media (world English).
Author of THE DEAD AND THE DARK Courtney Gould’s ECHO SUNSET, following two sisters who, after their mother dies, learn about her mysterious ties to an isolated Arizona town; when they decide to investigate, nothing and no one is who they seem, including the daughter of the town’s enigmatic leader, to Jennie Conway at Wednesday Books, for publication in 2022, by Claire Friedman and Jessica Mileo at Inkwell Management (NA).
Illustrator and comic artist on Tapas The Kao’s MAGICAL BOY, in which a trans man just trying to get through high school as his true self has his life turned upside down when he discovers that he is descended from a long line of magical girls tasked with defending humanity from a dark, ancient evil; with a sassy feline sidekick and loyal group of friends by his side, he must take on his destiny, save the world, and become the first magical boy, to Michael Moccio at Scholastic, for publication in fall 2021, by Liz Parker at Verve Talent & Literary (world).
Author of the #murdertrending series and GET EVEN Gretchen McNeil‘s DIG TWO GRAVES, pitched as a YA Strangers on a Train with a queer twist in which a school pariah meets her new best friend at summer camp where they jokingly fantasize about killing each other’s bullies, until those fantasies become disturbing realities and she finds herself blackmailed into committing murder, to Kieran Viola at Disney-Hyperion, in a two-book deal, by Ginger Clark at Curtis Brown (world).
Author of ACE OF SHADES Amanda Foody and author of THE DEVOURING GRAY Christine Lynn Herman‘s ALL OF US VILLAINS, set in a blood-soaked city, where seven families compete every generation in a tournament to the death for control of high magic; one powerful, villainous family has won nearly every tournament, but this year, thanks to a salacious tell-all book, each of the other families has the means to win, to Melissa Frain at Tor Teen, with Ali Fisher editing, in a major deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2021 and 2022, by Whitney Ross at Irene Goodman Agency for Foody, and by Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary Agency for Herman (world English).
Naz Kutub‘s THE LOOPHOLE, pitched as a speculative SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA with a focus on identity, found family, and friendship, following a queer Indian Muslim boy traveling the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes, to Claire Stetzer at Bloomsbury Children’s, in a very nice deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary Agency (world).
Cayla Keenan’s RAVENSONG, the first in a contemporary fantasy duology with Northeastern Gothic vibes, in which a 17-year-old girl is one third of a war goddess triad, sworn to slay demons with her sisters and guard the gate to hell in their coastal town, yet is stuck in high school, counting down the days until her 18th birthday, when her powers fully unlock—until she meets a girl with secrets of her own who’ll force her to choose between duty and love, to Amanda Ramirez at Simon & Schuster Children’s, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2023, by Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media (NA).
Dahlia Adler ed.’s AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, a collection of classic fairy tales reimagined by authors Melissa Albert, Tracy Deonn, Hafsah Faizal, Brigid Kemmerer, Stacey Lee, Darcie Little Badger, Malinda Lo, Alex London, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Podos, Rory Power, Meredith Russo, Justin Reynolds, and Randy Ribay, to Sarah Barley at Flatiron Books, for publication in fall 2022, by Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (world).
Andrea Mosqueda’s debut JUST YOUR LOCAL BISEXUAL DISASTER, following a self-described romantic disaster, a bisexual Chicana living in the Rio Grande Valley, as she tries to figure out whom she wants to ask to be her escort at her little sister’s upcoming quinceanera: her charming ex-boyfriend twice over, her first crush and gorgeous best friend, or the mysterious new girl with the romantic baggage?, to Kat Brzozowski at Feiwel and Friends, for publication in 2022, by Lauren Macleod at The Strothman Agency (world English).
Saundra Mitchell’s OUT THERE, the future-set third and final anthology in a series that began with the historical ALL OUT and contemporary OUT NOW; its contributors include Kayla Ancrum, Kalynn Bayron, Z Brewer, Mason Deaver, Alechia Dow, ZR Ellor, Leah Johnson, Naomi Kanakia, Claire Kann, Alex London, Jim McCarthy, Abdi Nazemian, Emma K. Ohland, AJ Sass, Nita Tyndall, and two slots to be filled through an open call, to Natashya Wilson at Inkyard Press, for publication in spring 2022, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).
Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year finalist for his poetry collection TONGUES OF FIRE Sean Hewitt‘s ALL DOWN DARKNESS WIDE, an excavation of the year following his partner’s suicide attempt, a confrontation with the specters of shame, and a love letter to queer literature that illuminates a path ahead, to Caroline Sydney at Penguin Press, in a pre-empt, by Adam Eaglin at The Cheney Agency on behalf of Matthew Marland at Rogers, Coleridge & White (NA).
Cultural historian, performer, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in English at the University of Cambridge, and BBC New Generation Thinker Diarmuid Hester’s NOTHING EVER JUST DISAPPEARS: A NEW HISTORY OF QUEER CULTURE THROUGH ITS SPACES, a history of queer identity from the late 1800s to the present, following seven artists and writers whose lives and work are inextricable from a sense of place, including E.M. Forster, Josephine Baker, Claude Cahun, James Baldwin, and Derek Jarman; interweaving their stories with the author’s own experiences as a queer person, arguing for the centrality of place in the formation of identity, culture, and politics, while showing all that is lost when queer spaces are forgotten, to Maria Bedford at Allen Lane, at auction, for publication in November 2022, by Matthew Marland at Rogers, Coleridge & White (world English).
Sibling duo, journalist, and archivist Alison Nastasi and PJ Nastasi’s QUEER ICONS AND THEIR CATS, a celebration of LGBTQ+ icons past and present, and their furry feline friends, to Bridget Watson Payne at Chronicle, with Natalie Butterfield editing, for publication in May 2021 (world).
Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and Caine Prize finalist Arinze Ifeakandu‘s GOD’S CHILDREN ARE LITTLE BROKEN THINGS, a debut story collection set in Nigeria united by the theme of queer male intimacy, to Brigid Hughes at A Public Space Books, by Jin Auh and Austin Mueller at The Wylie Agency (world English).
Author of WILLA & HESPER Amy Feltman‘s ALL THE THINGS WE DON’T TALK ABOUT, a queer family drama, following a diverse cast of characters whose lives are upended by the sudden reappearance of their self-destructive mother; grappling with betrayal and addiction alongside queer love and joy, to Maddie Caldwell at Grand Central, in an exclusive submission, by Stephanie Delman at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (world English)
Center for Fiction First Novel Prize nominee Celia Laskey‘s THE BRIDESMAID, about two women, one gay and one straight, whose longstanding friendship spirals violently out of control over the course of one’s wedding weekend, exploring contemporary female friendship, platonic queer-straight dynamics, and the absurdity of the wedding industrial complex, to John Glynn at Hanover Square Press, at auction, by Alexa Stark at Trident Media Group (NA).
A BIG SHIP AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE and ALIEN: THE COLD FORGE author Alex White‘s STAR TREK: REVENANT, a new adventure set during the fourth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, about a terrible secret at the heart of the Trill Symbiosis Commission that forces Jadzia Dax to reckon further with the past lives of the Dax symbiont, particularly her immediate predecessor Curzon and the psychopathic murderer Joran, in the first treatment of Star Trek’s groundbreaking genderfluid Trill species by a nonbinary or genderqueer writer, to Ed Schlesinger at Pocket, by Connor Goldsmith at Fuse Literary (world English).
PEN/Robert W Bingham Finalist and physician-writer Chaya Bhuvaneswar‘s WHITE DANCING ELEPHANTS, debut collection of short stories of the #MeToo and survival of queer women of color, to Blackstone Audio, by Lane Zachary at Aevitas Inc.
Author of THE EARTHQUAKE ROOM Davey Davis’s X, a queer noir set in a near-future New York that follows a down-and-out sadomasochist drawn from their post-breakup desolation into the pursuit of pure pleasure after a chance encounter, to Alicia Kroell at Catapult, by Julia Kardon at HG Literary (world English).
Printz Award-winning author of WE ARE OKAY and the forthcoming WATCH OVER ME Nina LaCour’s YERBA BUENA, following two women on a star-crossed journey toward one another, across the expanse of California—from a drug-soaked town in the redwoods to an elegant Los Angeles restaurant—as one finds refuge in her family’s past and the other struggles against the dark secrets she’d rather leave behind; also, an untitled multigenerational family saga inspired by the author’s grandparents, following their journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles, and what they gained and left behind, to Caroline Bleeke at Flatiron Books, in a major deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in Winter 2022, by Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties (NA).
Anita Kelly’s debut RECIPES FOR A DELICIOUS DISASTER, a romantic comedy in which the first openly nonbinary contestant on America’s favorite cooking show becomes distracted by their beautiful, clumsy competitor, but when the couple starts exploring their chemistry, they’re tested by heat outside of the kitchen, to Junessa Viloria at Forever, in a three-book deal, by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds.
Alison Cochrun‘s debut THE CHARM OFFENSIVE, a queer rom-com about a reality dating show producer tasked with helping the show’s tech wunderkind star find his true love among 30 women, but when their off-screen chemistry overshadows what happens in front of the cameras, they may have to rewrite happily ever after, pitched in the vein of RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE and ONE TO WATCH, to Kaitlin Olson at Atria, in a nice deal, for publication in fall 2021, by Bibi Lewis at Ethan Ellenberg Agency (world).
Columbia MFA graduate Khashayar Joshua Khabushani’s‘s OUR NEW NAMES, about the powerful bonds that make and break an Iranian American family, and the journey a son must make in order to find his place in the world, from San Fernando Valley to Iran and eventually to New York, examining boyhood and brotherhood, violence and tenderness, and queer identity and belonging in America, to Parisa Ebrahimi at Hogarth, at auction, by Bill Clegg at The Clegg Agency (NA).
Children’s/Middle Grade Fiction
Katherine Locke’s WHAT ARE YOUR WORDS?, introducing and celebrating gender-inclusive pronouns as a child explores both their neighborhood and which “words” fit them and their neighbors best today, illustrated by Anne Passchier, to Regan Winter at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication in summer 2021, by Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency for the author, and by Anne Moore Armstrong at The Bright Group for the illustrator (world).
Actor, activist, and author Nico Tortorella‘s picture book OLIVETTE IS YOU, an inclusive message about celebrating different gender identities, to Emily Easton at Crown Children’s, by Sarah Passick at Park & Fine Literary and Media.
Transgender Korean American author, athlete, and activist Schuyler Bailar‘s Middle Grade debut OBIE IS MAN ENOUGH, about a transgender tween who looks to prove he’s one of the fastest boys in the pool as he contends with new teammates, bullies, and his biggest competition: himself, to Phoebe Yeh at Crown Children’s, for publication in fall 2021, by Marietta Zacker at Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency (world English).
Young Adult Fiction
Philline Harms’s debut NEVER KISS YOUR ROOMMATE, in which a girl arrives at a boarding school, and a mysterious and alluring girl is assigned to be her roommate, but as their relationship goes from cold to red hot, the roommate’s dangerous past resurfaces and tests the strength of their budding romance, to Deanna McFadden at Wattpad, for publication in spring 2021.
NYT-bestselling author of WILDER GIRLS Rory Power‘s THE WORLD ENDS HERE, a speculative thriller following ex-girlfriends raised at a remote, icy research institute, and what happens when they uncover the nightmarish discovery their families are protecting there, to Krista Marino at Delacorte, in a six-figure deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2021, by Kim Witherspoon and Jessica Mileo at Inkwell Management (NA).
Molly Horan‘s EPICALLY EARNEST, pitched as a queer contemporary wink to Oscar Wilde’s THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, in which a high school senior must decide who she wants to be and where she fits in as graduation approaches, all the while finding the time to fall in love with the girl of her dreams, to Lily Kessinger at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s, for publication in spring 2022, by Elle Thompson and Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).
Author of the forthcoming ALMOST FLYING Jake Maia Arlow’s WINTER BREAK, a contemporary rom-com about two Jewish girls falling in love reluctantly at Christmastime, a hate-to-love romance pitched as “like a Hallmark Christmas movie—if a Hallmark Christmas movie ever starred sexually frustrated lesbian Jews,” to Stephanie Guerdan at Harper Teen, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2022, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).
Eric Geron’s debut A TALE OF TWO PRINCES, about a closeted crown prince newly established in Canada and an out-and-proud Montana cowboy who meet by chance and turn out to be long-lost twin brothers, forced to navigate coming out, coronations, and high school together, to Rebecca Kuss at Inkyard Press, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Brent Taylor at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world English).
Maggie Tokuda-Hall‘s untitled sequel to THE MERMAID, THE WITCH, AND THE SEA, in which a number of characters from the first book reunite to destroy the Nipran Empire; with a siren, a dragon, and some familiar mermaids, this motley group may finally have what they need to end imperialism in their world once and for all, to Karen Lotz at Candlewick, in an exclusive submission, by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).
Peyton Thomas‘s debut BOTH SIDES NOW, featuring a trans protagonist taking his competitive high school debate circuit by storm, pitched as for fans of SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA and RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE, to Ellen Cormier at Dial, at auction, for publication in fall 2021, by Brooks Sherman at Janklow & Nesbit (US).
Tobias Madden’s ANYTHING BUT FINE, about a teenage ballet dancer who breaks his foot and begins to question everything he once took for granted, including his relationship with the dreamy, perfect-in-every-way, and seemingly straight captain of the rowing team, to Zoe Walton at Penguin Random House Australia, at auction, for publication in 2021, by Claire Friedman at Inkwell Management (Australia and New Zealand).
Faridah Abike-Iyimide‘s ACE OF SPADES, pitched as Gossip Girl meets Get Out, in which a mysterious source spreads rumors about a prestigious private school’s only two Black students, who must fight for their reputations—and for their lives, to Foyinsi Adegbonmire at Feiwel and Friends, in a major deal, in a seven-figure deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2021, by Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency, on behalf of Zoe Plant at The Bent Agency (NA).
Cartoonist Alex Combs‘s TRANS HISTORY: A GRAPHIC NOVEL, presenting an introduction to transgender identity and history in the U.S. and beyond, to Andrea Tompa at Candlewick, at auction, for publication in 2023, by Zabe Ellor at Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency (world English).
Professor of Victorian literature at Berkeley and intellectual Grace Lavery’s PLEASE MISS, a speculative memoir of gender transition and recovery from addiction, refracted through pop culture, queer theory, film, TV, literature, and (what feels like) stand-up comedy, pitched as THE ARGONAUTS caught in a hall of mirrors, with a lot more sex and humor, to Claire Potter at Seal Press, in a six-figure deal, at auction, by Alison Lewis at Zoe Pagnamenta Agency.
Podcast host, and creator of the LGBTQ+ blog TheShitneySpears David Olshanetsky’s COMING OUT ALIVE, a guide to coming out of the closet, combining personal anecdotes with how-to guides; queer history lessons you won’t get in school; and conversations with LGBTQ+ celebrities, including international pop music sensation Pabllo Vittar, activist and Broadway trailblazer Peppermint, and writer and performer Stephen Fry about their own journeys, to Sylvan Creekmore at Wednesday Books, in a good deal, for publication in June 2022, by Connor Goldsmith at Fuse Literary (world English).
Supergirl actress, transgender rights activist, and subject of the book BECOMING NICOLE Nicole Maines’s coming-of-age memoir, about learning how to be OK with not always being OK, aiming to correct some of the most insidious messaging absorbed by queer kids and all young women—from the idea that any one thing can (or should) ever really “fix” you to wondering what’s wrong with you when things don’t always feel better—by providing an intimate look at the author’s life and all the lessons she’s learned along the way, to Caitlin McKenna at Dial, in an exclusive submission, by Lauren MacLeod and Wendy Strothman at The Strothman Agency.
Writing professor and former professional dominatrix Chris Belcher’s PRETTY BABY, an examination of gender, power, violence, and intimacy, following the author’s coming-of-age as a queer woman in rural Appalachia, to adulthood in Los Angeles as a female academic and sex worker, to Carolyn Kelly at Avid Reader Press, by Jade Wong-Baxter at Massie & McQuilkin (NA).
Author of the Lambda Literary Award- and Prix JDD France Inter-winning THE FACT OF A BODY: A MURDER AND A MEMOIR Alex Marzano-Lesnevich’s BOTH AND NEITHER, a genre- and gender-bending work of memoir, history, cultural analysis, trans reimaginings, and international road trip about life beyond the binary, to Margo Shickmanter at Doubleday, at auction, by PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit.
Longtime birder and social activist Christian Cooper‘s BETTER LIVING THROUGH BIRDING, reflecting on a life lived at the intersections of race and queerness; equal parts memoir, travelogue, and call to action, exploring the lifetime of experience that prepared the author for his now-infamous encounter with racist white aggression in Central Park, on the very day that the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sent the country over the edge, spurring protests in the streets and inspiring calls for change, to Chayenne Skeete at Random House, with Mark Warren editing, at auction, by Gail Ross at Ross Yoon Agency (world).
When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.
Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.
The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.
On an Ojibwe reservation called Languille Lake, within the small town of Geshig at the hub of the rez, two men enter into a secret romance. Marion Lafournier, a midtwenties gay Ojibwe man, begins a relationship with his former classmate Shannon, a heavily closeted white man obsessed with his image as a northern Minnesotan. While Marion is far more open about his sexuality, neither is immune to the realities of the lives of gay men in small towns and closed societies.
One night, while roaming the dark streets of Geshig, Marion unknowingly brings to life a dog from beneath the elementary school playground. The mysterious revenant leads him to the grave of Kayden Kelliher, an Ojibwe basketball star who was murdered at the young age of seventeen and whose presence still lingers in the memories of the townsfolk. While investigating the fallen hero’s death, Marion discovers family connections and an old Ojibwe legend that may be the secret to unraveling the mystery he has found himself in.
Meanwhile, Marion’s mother, Hazel, must come to terms not only with her role in her son’s haunting but also with a mummified jawbone she uncovers at her grandmother’s burial site and the possible curse it has cast on the Lafournier family.
Set on a reservation in far northern Minnesota, This Town Sleeps explores the many ways history, culture, landscape, and lineage shape our lives, our understanding of the world we inhabit, and the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of it all.
An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.
When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.
In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.
But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.
For the past year, their close loss in the annual Boarding Games has haunted Interceptor Team: Zuma’s Ghost. With this year’s competition looming, they’re looking forward to some payback—until an unexpected personnel change leaves them reeling. Their best swordsman has been transferred, and a new lieutenant has been assigned in his place.
Maxine Carmichael is trying to carve a place in the world on her own—away from the pressure and influence of her powerful family. The last thing she wants is to cause trouble at her command on Jupiter Station. With her new team in turmoil, Max must overcome her self-doubt and win their trust if she’s going to succeed. Failing is not an option—and would only prove her parents right.
But Max and the team must learn to work together quickly. A routine mission to retrieve a missing ship has suddenly turned dangerous, and now their lives are on the line. Someone is targeting members of Zuma’s Ghost, a mysterious opponent willing to kill to safeguard a secret that could shake society to its core . . . a secret that could lead to their deaths and kill thousands more unless Max and her new team stop them.
Rescue those in danger, find the bad guys, win the Games. It’s all in a day’s work at the NeoG.
Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.
Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.
That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.
When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story.
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic OCD; the aftermath of being outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town; and the return of her long-absent mother, who barely seems like a parent. But all that really matters to her is ascending and finally, finally becoming a full witch-plans that are complicated when another coven, rumored to have a sordid history with black magic, arrives in town with premonitions of death. Dayna immediately finds herself at odds with the bewitchingly frustrating Meiner King, the granddaughter of their coven leader.
And then a witch turns up murdered at a local sacred site, along with the blood symbol of the Butcher of Manchester-an infamous serial killer whose trail has long gone cold. The killer’s motives are enmeshed in a complex web of witches and gods, and Dayna and Meiner soon find themselves at the center of it all. If they don’t stop the Butcher, one of them will be next.
Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.
To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.
Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.
Maddie Marrow lives for her summers at the Inn at Havenfall, hidden up in the mountains of Colorado. The inn is the only place where she gets to see the boy she loves, Brekken and it provides an escape from her real life, which consists of endless mind-numbing days at high school . . . and visits to the local prison where her mother sits on Death Row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother.
But the inn is much more than it appears. The manicured gardens, Mirror Lake, and even the building itself hold a tantalizing power, a magic meant to protect all who seek refuge and peace. Maddie’s uncle runs the inn, guardian of the gateways to the hidden worlds that converge in the tunnels, and she dreams of one day taking it over.
But this summer, everything is going wrong. Maddie almost gets run over by an alluring new staffer, Taya, her relationship with handsome Brekken becomes complicated, and then the impossible happens: a dead body is discovered, shattering the inn’s sanctity. As questions mount over who’s responsible, Maddie realizes even greater dangers face them all.
With everything she loves at stake, Maddie must confront startling truths about the secrets lurking beneath Havenfall, and within herself.
Big Burr, Kansas, is the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone, and everyone shares the same values-or keeps their opinions to themselves. But when a national nonprofit labels Big Burr “the most homophobic town in the US” and sends in a task force of queer volunteers as an experiment-they’ll live and work in the community for two years in an attempt to broaden hearts and minds-no one is truly prepared for what will ensue.
Furious at being uprooted from her life in Los Angeles and desperate to fit in at her new high school, Avery fears that it’s only a matter of time before her “gay crusader” mom outs her. Still grieving the death of her son, Linda welcomes the arrivals, who know mercifully little about her past. And for Christine, the newcomers are not only a threat to the comforting rhythms of Big Burr life, but a call to action. As tensions roil the town, cratering relationships and forcing closely guarded secrets into the light, everyone must consider what it really means to belong. Told with warmth and wit, Under the Rainbow is a poignant, hopeful articulation of our complicated humanity that reminds us we are more alike than we’d like to admit.
This is the US release; the book was previously released in the UK.
Ever since her mom died and her family moved to a new town four years ago, sixteen-year-old Vetty Lake has hidden her heart. She’d rather keep secrets than risk getting hurt–even if that means not telling anyone that she’s pretty sure she’s bisexual.
But this summer, everything could change. Vetty and her family are moving back to her old neighborhood, right across the street from her childhood best friend Pez. Next to Pez, she always felt free and fearless. Reconnecting with him could be the link she needs to get back to her old self.
Vetty quickly discovers Pez isn’t exactly the boy she once knew. He has a new group of friends, a glamorous sort-of-girlfriend named March, and a laptop full of secrets. And things get even more complicated when she feels a sudden spark with March.
As Vetty navigates her relationship with Pez and her own shifting feelings, one question looms: Does becoming the girl she longs to be mean losing the friendship that once was everything to her?
Jude’s life is upended when his mother loses her job and moves them to a little town by the sea to live with Henry Lake–an eccentric old man with rooms to rent. Henry is odd, the town is dull, and worst of all, Jude feels out of place and alone.
So when Novo turns up in the house across the street, dressed all in black and looking unbearably handsome, Jude’s summer takes an immediate turn for the better. But Novo isn’t all that he seems to be–or maybe he’s more than Jude can possibly understand. Novo is a time traveler, someone who wakes up in different places and at different points in time with utter regularity. He knows that each Now is fleeting, that each moment is only worth the energy it expends on itself, and that each experience he has will be lost to him before long.
But Jude and Novo form a bond that shifts reality for both of them. Unlike anything he’s ever experienced, Jude begins to question what forever really means–only to find out that Novo knows that forever isn’t real. And when things go horribly wrong, he and Novo are faced with an impossible question that may change both of their lives irreparably–what is worth sacrificing for love?
In a collection of essays and personal mini-comics that span eight years of her young adult life, author-illustrator Noelle Stevenson charts the highs and lows of being a creative human in the world.
Whether it’s hearing the wrong name called at her art school graduation ceremony or becoming a National Book Award finalist for her debut graphic novel, Nimona, Noelle captures the little and big moments that make up a real life, with a wit, wisdom, and vulnerability that are all her own.
Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid perfectly captures the feelings of a young sojourner in America as she explores the nuances in searching for a place to belong. Baopu is a monthly serialized comic on Autostraddle, and this book includes beloved fan favorites plus new, never-before-seen comics.
This one-of-a-kind graphic novel explores the poetics of searching for connection, belonging, and identity through the fictional life of a young, queer immigrant. Inspired by the creator’s own experiences as a queer, China-born illustrator living in the United States, Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid has an undeniable memoir quality to its recollection and thought-provoking accounts of what it’s like to navigate the complexities of seeking belonging—mentally and geographically.
Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.
And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….
Thirty-year-old Hetty Cartwright is tasked with the evacuation and safekeeping of the natural history museum’s collection of mammals. Once she and her exhibits arrive at Lockwood Manor, however, where they are to stay for the duration of the war, Hetty soon realizes that she’s taken on more than she’d bargained for.
Protecting her charges from the irascible Lord Lockwood and resentful servants is work enough, but when some of the animals go missing, and worse, Hetty begins to suspect someone – or something – is stalking her through the darkened corridors of the house.
As the disasters mount, Hetty finds herself falling under the spell of Lucy, Lord Lockwood’s beautiful but clearly haunted daughter. But why is Lucy so traumatized? Does she know something she’s not telling? And is there any truth to local rumours of ghosts and curses?
This is a sequel to The Watchmaker of Filligree Street
1888. Five years after they met in The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Thaniel Steepleton, an unassuming translator, and Keita Mori, the watchmaker who remembers the future, are traveling to Japan. Thaniel has received an unexpected posting to the British legation in Tokyo, and Mori has business that is taking him to Yokohama.
Thaniel’s brief is odd: the legation staff have been seeing ghosts, and Thaniel’s first task is to find out what’s really going on. But while staying with Mori, he starts to experience ghostly happenings himself. For reasons Mori won’t–or can’t–share, he is frightened. Then he vanishes.
Meanwhile, something strange is happening in a frozen labor camp in Northern Japan. Takiko Pepperharrow, an old friend of Mori’s, must investigate.
As the weather turns bizarrely electrical and ghosts haunt the country from Tokyo to Aokigahara forest, Thaniel grows convinced that it all has something to do with Mori’s disappearance–and that Mori may be in serious danger.
As an escort, Ruby Scott is used to waking up in the bed of a wealthy woman. What she isn’t expecting is to wake up with a ring on her finger and married to Yvonne Maxwell, one of the executives behind the Mistress Media empire, a woman as alluring as she is cold.
For ten years, Yvonne has been sitting on an inheritance she can’t touch until she’s married. An encounter with an escort in a red dress presents the perfect solution—a marriage of convenience. In exchange for playing the role of her wife for a year, Yvonne is offering Ruby a life of glamour, decadence, and more money than Ruby ever dreamed of.
Yvonne is adamant that they keep their arrangement strictly business. But as Ruby’s submissive side is awakened, Yvonne can’t resist the temptation to make Ruby hers, and Ruby is intoxicated by the commanding woman and the release Yvonne grants her.
As Ruby falls deeper into Yvonne’s seductive world of luxury and power games, both women struggle to keep their hearts from getting caught up in the passion between them. When their inner demons emerge and their fake marriage plot is threatened, Ruby and Yvonne find they have far more to lose than just the inheritance.
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.
Mackenzie is used to being different from other kids―and to being bullied for not fitting into the rigid social expectations of her Catholic High School. Luckily, Mack’s best friend Lila has her back so school isn’t the total hell it could be. But it’s pretty damn close.
Until something very mysterious happens―Mack becomes a cheerleader magnet. Even she has a hard time believing it. And Lila is not too happy about her friend’s sudden popularity with the cool kids.
Is Mack being set up for an epic fail? Or is she finally headed for acceptance–and maybe even romance…
Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.
Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.
Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.
At forty, Linus Baker lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of gifted children in government-sanctioned orphanages. When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management, he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children and their elusive but charming caretaker, Arthur, live. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
Claire has always wanted to work with superheroes, from collecting Warrior Nation cards as a kid to drafting “What to Say to a Hero” speeches in her diary. Now that she’s landed a coveted internship with the Chicago branch of Warrior Nation, Claire is ready to prove she belongs, super or not. But complicating plans is the newest WarNat hero, Girl Power (aka Joy), who happens to be egotistical and self-important . . . and pretty adorable.
Bridgette, meanwhile, wants out of WarNat. After years of dating the famous Vaporizer (aka Matt), she’s sick of playing second, or third, or five-hundredth fiddle to all the people-in-peril in the city of Chicago. Of course, once Bridgette meets Claire-who’s clearly in need of a mentor and wingman-giving up WarNat becomes slightly more complicated. It becomes a lot more complicated when Joy, Matt, and the rest of the heroes go missing, leaving only Claire and Bridgette to save the day.
The last place Angelina Moltisanti ever wants to go is home. She barely escaped life under the roof, and the thumb, of her violent but charismatic father, Jack. Yet home is exactly where she ends up after an SUV plows into her car just weeks after she graduates from college, fracturing her wrist and her hopes to start a career as an artist.
Angelina finds herself smothered in a plaster cast, in Jack’s obsessive urge to get her a giant accident settlement, in her mother Marie’s desperation to have a second chance, and in her own stifled creativity – until she meets Janet, another young artist who inspires her to push herself into making the dynamic, unsettling work that tells the story of her scars, inside and out. But excavating this damage, as relations with her father become increasingly tense, will push Angelina into making a hard choice: will she embrace her father’s all-consuming and empowering rage, or find another kind of strength?
When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving behind a history of family trauma to live in a place outside of time, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art. In this idyllic haven, Lisicky searches for love and connection and comes into his own as he finds a sense of belonging. At the same time, the center of this community is consumed by the AIDS crisis, and the very structure of town life is being rewired out of necessity: What might this utopia look like during a time of dystopia?
Later dramatizes a spectacular yet ravaged place and a unique era when more fully becoming one’s self collided with the realization that ongoingness couldn’t be taken for granted, and staying alive from moment to moment exacted absolute attention. Following the success of his acclaimed memoir, The Narrow Door, Lisicky fearlessly explores the body, queerness, love, illness, community, and belonging in this masterful, ingenious new book.
Meet Kimberly, a regular suburban housewife and mother, whose discovery later in life that she was born intersex fuelled her to become an international human rights defender and globally-recognised activist.
Charting her intersex discovery and her journey to self-acceptance, this book movingly portrays how being intersex impacted Kimberly’s personal and family life, as well as her career. From uncovering a secret that was intentionally kept from her, to coming out to her family and friends and fighting for intersex rights, her candid and empowering story helps breakdown barriers and misconceptions of intersex people and brings to light the trauma and harmful impact medical intervention continues to have on the intersex community.
Written from a non-queer perspective, and filled with much-needed, straightforward information and advice about what it means to be intersex, this is a vital and timely resource for intersex people and their families, as well as the general reader.
Taylor Garland’s good looks have earned her the admiration of everyone in her small town. She’s homecoming queen, the life of every party, and she’s on every boy’s most-wanted list.
People think Taylor is living the dream, and assume she’ll stay in town and have kids with the homecoming king–maybe even be a dental hygienist if she’s super ambitious. But Taylor is actually desperate to leave home, and she hates the smell of dentists’ offices. Also? She’s completely in love with her best friend, Susan.
Senior year is almost over, and everything seems perfect. Now Taylor just has to figure out how to throw it all away.
Lindsay Sproul’s debut is full of compelling introspection and painfully honest commentary on what it’s like to be harnessed to a destiny you never wanted.
A highly illustrated middle-grade series that celebrates new friendships, first crushes, and getting out of your comfort zone.
Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and Shelly (aka Bomb Shell) have dreamed of becoming roller derby superstars. When Austin’s city league introduces a brand-new junior league, the dynamic duo celebrates! But they’ll need to try out as a five-person team. Kenzie and Shelly have just one week to convince three other girls that roller derby is the coolest thing on wheels. But Kenzie starts to have second thoughts when Shelly starts acting like everyone’s best friend . . . Isn’t she supposed to be Kenzie’s best friend? And things get really awkward when Shelly recruits Kenzie’s neighbor (and secret crush!) for the team. With lots of humor and an authentic middle-grade voice, book one of this illustrated series follows Kenzie, Shelly, and the rest of the Derby Daredevils as they learn how to fall—and get back up again.
Early one morning on a hot day in August, millennial Congress-bro Alexander Paine Wilson (R) is planning his reelection campaign when a mysterious FedEx delivery arrives at his townhouse. Inside is a gigantic taxidermied aardvark.
What does it mean?
To find out, this outrageous, edge-of-your-seat novel hurtles between present day Washington, DC, where Wilson tries to get rid of the unsightly beast before it destroys his career, and Victorian England, where we meet the aardvark’s taxidermist and the naturalist who hunted her, and learn the secret that binds them all.
A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.
Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.
At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.
It’s Cameron Esposito and she-weighed down by Catholic guilt-immediately topples over. Butlike any scrappy protagonist with all the odds (and the Pope) stacked against them, she’s able to pick herself up.
Now she would like to tell the whole queer as hell story. Her story. Not the sidebar to a straight person’s rebirth-she doesn’t give a makeover or plan a wedding or get a couple back together. This isn’t a queer tragedy. She doesn’t die at the end of this book, having finally decided to kiss the girl. It’s the sexy, honest, bumpy, and triumphant dyke’s tale her younger, wasn’t-allowed-to-watch-Ellen self needed to read. Because there was a long time when she thought she wouldn’t make it. Not as a comic, but as a human.
Things Lulu Shapiro’s 10,000 Flash followers don’t know about her:
* That the video of her with another girl was never supposed to go public.
* That Owen definitely wasn’t supposed to break up with her because of it.
* That behind the carefully crafted selfies and scenes Lulu projects onto people’s screens, her life feels like a terrible, uncertain mess.
Then Lulu meets Cass. Cass isn’t interested in looking at Lulu’s life, only in living in it. And The Hotel–a gorgeous space with an intriguing, Old Hollywood history and a trust-fund kid to restore it–seems like the perfect, secret place for them to get to know each other. But just because Lulu has stepped out of the spotlight doesn’t mean it’ll stop following her every move.
Look is for fans of Emergency Contact, Everything, Everything, and We Are Okay. It’s a story about what you present vs. who you really are, about real intimacy and manufactured intimacy and the blurring of that line. It’s a deceptively glamorous, feminist, emotionally complex, utterly compelling, queer coming-of-age novel about falling in love and taking ownership of your own self–your whole self–in the age of social media.
It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school, not at her conservative Orange County church and certainly not at home, where her ultrareligious aunt relentlessly organizes antigay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk…until she’s matched with a real-life pen pal who changes everything.
Sharon Hawkins bonds with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others—like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom—and the kind she tells herself. But as antigay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths, what they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.
Nandan’s got a plan to make his junior year perfect. He’s going to make sure all the parties are chill, he’s going to smooth things over with his ex, and he’s going to help his friend Dave get into the popular crowd—whether Dave wants to or not. The high school social scene might be complicated, but Nandan is sure he’s cracked the code.
Then, one night after a party, Dave and Nandan hook up, which was not part of the plan—especially because Nandan has never been into guys. Still, Dave’s cool, and Nandan’s willing to give it a shot, even if that means everyone starts to see him differently.
But while Dave takes to their new relationship with ease, Nandan’s completely out of his depth. And the more his anxiety grows about what his sexuality means for himself, his friends, and his social life, the more he wonders whether he can just take it all back. But is breaking up with the only person who’s ever really gotten him worth feeling “normal” again?