A Place for Us by Brandon J. Wolf (1st)
You never forget your first. First kiss. First love. First heartache. They all burrow their way into your subconscious, destined to reshape how you see the world forever.
Growing up in rural Oregon, Brandon Wolf grappled with the devastating loss of his supportive mother and with the embedded racism and homophobia of a community that made him feel like an unwelcome stranger. After the lack of connection and role models led him down a spiral of risky behavior, Wolf escaped to survive. In Orlando, he found what he’d been searching for: belonging―in a community that was a safe space with people he’d come to call his chosen family. They taught Wolf how to love, and be loved, unconditionally. Then, on June 12, 2016, in an exhilarating refuge where Wolf and hundreds of others had discovered a liberating new normal, they were suddenly challenged with fighting for a way out―in order to survive. Overnight, everything was ripped away by chaos, panic, and fear. But the unimaginable tragedy also gave Wolf a new power: purpose.
In this unforgettable coming-of-age memoir, Wolf shares his transformative journey from young outsider to galvanizing activist. Marshaling the compassion and strength of a community, Wolf explores how to get through the darkest times with healing, hope, and resistance. “With our backs against the wall,” he writes, “we find a way out together.”
The Beasts of Paris by Stef Penney (4th)
A diverse group of memorable characters find themselves in Paris during the build up to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Dreamer Anne is half-Haitian, possessed of incredible gifts, but with a past she tries to bury; Laurence is desperate to spread his wings, develop his talents as a photographer, and escape the restrictions of his Canadian upbringing; Ellis, an American army surgeon, has lived through the trauma of the American Civil War and will do anything to avoid further violence. We join these characters and others as they live through, and are buffeted by, momentous historical events that will change them forever.
The Franco-Prussian War ends in a devastating defeat for the French after the Siege of Paris, in which countless Parisians die of starvation and cold during a bitter winter. This terrible time is quickly followed by yet more horror: the socialist revolution of the Paris Commune that seizes the government, briefly, until it is brutally crushed by the French Army.
Against this backdrop our characters meet, struggle, grow, fight their demons, lose their hearts, find love. The reader witnesses the ebb and flow of history as the characters confront a changing world around them. And although set in the nineteenth century, the novel explores questions that are uniquely contemporary: issues of gender, sexuality, inequality, and race.
All the Yellow Suns by Malavika Kannan (11th)
Sixteen-year-old Maya Krishnan is fiercely protective of her friends, immigrant community, and single mother, but she knows better than to rock the boat in her conservative Florida suburb. Her classmate Juneau Zale is the polar opposite: she’s a wealthy white heartbreaker who won’t think twice before capsizing that boat.
When Juneau invites Maya to join the Pugilists—a secret society of artists, vandals, and mischief-makers who fight for justice at their school—Maya descends into the world of change-making and resistance. Soon, she and Juneau forge a friendship that inspires Maya to confront the challenges in her own life.
But as their relationship grows romantic, painful, and twisted, Maya begins to suspect that there’s a whole different person beneath Juneau’s painted-on facade. Now Maya must learn to speak her truth in this mysterious, mixed-up world—even if it results in heartbreak.
Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Best (11th)
As an expert thief from a minor moon, Cass knows a good mark when she sees one. The emperor’s ball is her chance to steal a fortune for herself, her ailing father, and her scrappy crew of thieves and market vendors.
Her plan is simple:
1. Hitch a ride to the planet of Ouris, the dazzling heart of the empire.
2. Sneak onto the imperial palace station to attend the emperor’s ball.
3. Steal from the rich, the royal, and the insufferable.
But on the station, things quickly go awry. When the emperor is found dead, everyone in the palace is a suspect—and someone is setting Cass up to take the fall. To clear her name, Cass must work with an unlikely ally: a gorgeous and mysterious rebel with her own reasons for being on the station. Together, they unravel a secret that could change the fate of the empire.
A Song of Salvation by Alechia Dow (11th)
Zaira Citlali is supposed to die. After all, she’s the god Indigo reborn. Indigo, whose song created the universe and unified people across galaxies to banish Ozvios, the god of destruction. Although Zaira has never been able to harness Indigo’s powers, the Ilori Emperor wants to sacrifice her in Ozvios’s honor. Unless she escapes and finds Wesley, the boy prophesized to help her defeat Ozvios and the Ilori, once and for all.
Wesley Daniels didn’t ask for this. He just wants to work as a smuggler so he can save enough money to explore the stars. Once he completes his biggest job yet—bringing wanted celebrity Rubin Rima to a strange planet called Earth—he’ll be set for life. But when his path crosses with Zaira, he soon finds himself in the middle of an intergalactic war with more responsibility than he bargained for.
Together, Zaira, Wesley, and Rubin must find their way to Earth and unlock Zaira’s powers if they’re going to have any hope of saving the universe from total destruction.
The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa (11th)
The dust may have just settled in the failed war of conquest between the Holy Vaalbaran Empire and the Ominirish Republic, but the last Emperor’s surrender means little to a lowly scribe like Enitan. All she wants is to quit her day job and expand her fledgling tea business. But when her lover is assassinated and her sibling is abducted by Imperial soldiers, Enitan abandons her idyllic plans and weaves her tea tray up through the heart of the Vaalbaran capital. There, she will learn just how far she is willing to go to exact vengeance, free her sibling, and perhaps even secure her homeland’s freedom.
The Sea Elephants by Shastri Akella (11th)
Shagun knows he will never be the kind of son his father demands. After the sudden deaths of his beloved twin sisters, Shagun flees his own guilt, his mother’s grief, and his father’s violent disapproval by enrolling at an all-boys boarding school. But he doesn’t find true belonging until he encounters a traveling theater troupe performing the Hindu myths of his childhood.
Welcomed by the other storytellers, Shagun thrives, easily embodying mortals and gods, men and women, and living on the road, where his father can’t catch him. When Shagun meets Marc, a charming photographer, he seems to have found the love he always longed for, too. But not even Marc can save him from his lingering shame, nor his father’s ever-present threat to send him to a conversion center. As Shagun’s past begins to engulf him once again, he must decide if he is strong enough to face what he fears most, and to boldly claim his own happiness.
All-Night Pharmacy by Ruth Madievsky (11th)
On the night of her high school graduation, a young woman follows her older sister Debbie to Salvation, a Los Angeles bar patronized by energy healers, aspiring actors, and all-around misfits. After the two share a bag of unidentified pills, the evening turns into a haze of sensual and risky interactions—nothing unusual for two sisters bound in an incredibly toxic relationship. Our unnamed narrator has always been under the spell of the alluring and rebellious Debbie and, despite her own hesitations, she has always said yes to nights like these. That is, until Debbie disappears.
Falling deeper into the life she cultivated with her sister, our narrator gets a job as an emergency room secretary where she steals pills to sell on the side. Cue Sasha, a Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union who arrives at the hospital claiming to be a psychic tasked with acting as the narrator’s spiritual guide. The nature of this relationship evolves and blurs, a kaleidoscope of friendship, sex, mysticism, and ambiguous power dynamics.
The Afterlife of the Party by Darcy Marks (18th)
This is the sequel to Grounded for All Eternity
When an angel comes to his home to deliver a message, Malachi immediately knows what’s going on. The seraph Cassandra who helped his squad recapture Samuel Parris’s wayward soul has finally set a date for her interdimensional mixer! With fae, angels, and hell dwellers alike on the invite list, it promises to be an event of a lifetime.
Mal can’t wait to go to the hot new fashion salon in town and have Morgan, its fabulous fae owner, help him create the perfect look. But Mal’s parents and even some of his squad mates are not quite as excited for the soiree. And when Mal overhears another fae talking to Morgan, he starts to wonder if there’s something at play other than a simple party.
But the mixer gives everyone the opportunity to get to know people from different dimensions and form new connections…what could possibly go wrong?
Firebird by Sunmi (18th)
Caroline Kim is feeling the weight of sophomore year. When she starts tutoring infamous senior Kimberly Park-Ocampo—a charismatic lesbian, friend to rich kids and punks alike—Caroline is flustered . . . but intrigued
Their friendship kindles and before they know it, the two are sneaking out for late-night drives, bonding beneath the stars over music, dreams, and a shared desire of getting away from it all.
A connection begins to smolder . . . but will feelings of guilt and the mounting pressure of life outside of these adventures extinguish their spark before it catches fire?
The King is Dead by Benjamin Dean (18th)
Heavy is the crown James has been born to wear, especially as the first Black heir to the British throne. But with his father’s recent passing, and with a new boyfriend to hide, James is woefully unprepared for the sudden shine of public scrutiny.
When his secrets come spilling forth across tabloid pages and the man he thought he loved has suddenly disappeared, James finds himself on the precipice of ruin. As every detail of his life becomes public knowledge, his sense of safety is shattered and the people he trusts the most become the likeliest suspects.
What dangers lurk behind the palace walls—and will the new king find out before it’s too late?
What a Desi Girl Wants by Sabina Khan (18th)
Mehar hasn’t been back to India since she and her mother moved away when she was only four. Hasn’t visited her father, her grandmother, her family, or the home where she grew up. Why would she? Her father made it clear that she’s not his priority when he chose not to come to the US with them.
But when her father announces his engagement to socialite Naz, Mehar reluctantly agrees to return for the wedding. Maybe she and her father can heal their broken relationship. And after all, her father is Indian royalty, and his home is a palace–the wedding is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime affair.
While her father still doesn’t make the time for her, Mehar barely cares once she meets Sufiya, her grandmother’s assistant, and one of the most grounded, thoughtful, kind people she’s ever met! Though they come from totally different worlds, their friendship slowly starts to blossom into something more . . . Mehar thinks.
Meanwhile, Mehar’s dislike for Naz and her social media influencer daughter, Aleena, deepens. She can tell that the two of them are just using her father for his money. Mehar’s starting to think that putting a stop to this wedding might be the best thing for everyone involved.
But what happens when telling her father the truth about Naz and Aleena means putting her relationship with Sufiya at risk . . .
The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley (18th)
For centuries, the citizens of Velle have waited for their New Maiden to return. The prophecy states she will appear as the third daughter of a third daughter. When the fabled child is finally born to Velle’s reigning queen all rejoice except for Elodie, the queen’s eldest child, who has lost her claim to the crown. The only way for Elodie to protect Velle is to retake the throne. To do so, she must debilitate the Third Daughter—her youngest sister, Brianne.
Desperate, Elodie purchases a sleeping potion from Sabine, who sells sadness. But the apothecary mistakenly sends the princess away with a vial of tears instead of a harmless sleeping brew. Sabine’s sadness is dangerously powerful, and Brianne slips into a slumber from which she will not wake. With the fates of their families and country hanging in the balance, Sabine and Elodie hurry to revive the Third Daughter while a slow-burning attraction between the two girls erupts in full force.
A Guide to the Dark by Miriam Metoui (18th)
Something is building, simmering just out of reach.
The room is watching. But Mira and Layla don’t know this yet. When the two best friends are stranded on their spring break college tour road trip, they find themselves at the Wildwood Motel, located in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Mira can’t shake the feeling that there is something wrong and rotten about their room. Inside, she’s haunted by nightmares of her dead brother. When she wakes up, he’s still there.
Layla doesn’t see him. Or notice anything suspicious about Room 9. The place may be a little run down, but it has a certain charm she can’t wait to capture on camera. If Layla is being honest, she’s too preoccupied with confusing feelings for Mira to see much else. But when they learn eight people died in that same room, they realize there must be a connection between the deaths and the unexplainable things that keep happening inside it. They just have to find the connection before Mira becomes the ninth.
Splintered Magic by L.L. McKinney (18th)
Can dreams come true when you’re living with a family curse?
NEW YORK CITY, 2000
Twins Trey and Tai are not like other high schoolers. Trey struggles to suppress his surging magical abilities, which continually impede his dream of making first chair cello in orchestra. A budding photographer, Tai just wants to take pictures and maybe find someone to take them with. But disturbing images keep appearing in Tai’s camera lens, reigniting the twins’ search for their mother, who mysteriously disappeared ten years earlier. As the two discover more clues, Trey and Tai also uncover strange secrets about their magical ancestors and about a cunning villain who threatens their very survival. Together, Trey and Tai must work to unearth the past and preserve the future of their family.
Set in Stone by Stela Brinzeanu (18th)
In medieval Moldova, two women from opposing backgrounds fall in love.
But this is a world where a woman’s role is defined by religion and class. To make a life together means defying their families, the law, and the Church. The closer they become, and the more they refuse the roles assigned to them, the more sacrifices they have to make. While Mira’s rebellion puts her life in the gravest danger, Elina must fight to change her legal status to “son” so she can inherit her father’s land and change their destiny.
Buy it: Amazon
Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle (18th)
Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold.
Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy.
And they’ll scare you straight to hell.
Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review by Tehlor Kay Mejia (18th)
Sammy Espinoza’s life is a raging dumpster fire. Her desperate attempt to win back her singer ex-girlfriend has landed her in hot water at work, and she has one last chance before her editor cuts her column. Luckily, Sammy has a plan to redeem herself, but it won’t be easy.
Rumor has it that Max Ryan, the former rock god, is secretly recording his first-ever solo album years after he dramatically quit performing. And it just so happens that he and Sammy have history: Right before Max got his big break, he and Sammy spent an unforgettable night together.
Exclusive access to Max’s new music would guarantee Sammy’s professional comeback and, even better, give her the opportunity to serve some long-awaited revenge for his traumatic ghosting.
But Max lives in Ridley Falls, Washington, and Sammy has history there as well: a family that never wanted her and a million unanswered questions. Going back would mean confronting it all–but what else does she have to lose?
Fat Ham by James Ijames (18th)
Winner of the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, James Ijames’ Fat Ham reinvents Shakespeare’s masterpiece in startling and hilarious ways amidst the backdrop of a family barbecue in the American South. Juicy—a young, queer, Southern man, who is grappling with questions of identity—is visited by the ghost of his father (Pap) at his mother’s wedding/family barbeque. Pap demands that Juicy avenge his recent murder. How will Juicy, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man, trying to break a cycle of trauma and toxic masculinity, avenge his father’s premature death? Fat Ham reinvents Shakespeare’s masterpiece in startling and hilarious ways amidst the backdrop of a family barbeque in the American South.
What are the Chances by Chelsea M. Cameron (21st)
Colette had zero intention of ever going back to her tiny hometown in Maine, until her friend Farrah proposes a month-long vacation—and Farrah is a hard person to say no to. All Collette needs to do is keep her head down and avoid as many people as possible. It’s all going well until she runs into her high school ex’s little sister, Quinn, who isn’t so little anymore. Even though Colette has an instant attraction to her, where would it even go? Quinn is settled in Castleton and Colette is only there for a few weeks.
Quinn can’t believe that Colette is back in town. She’d had the biggest crush on her older sister’s girlfriend back in the day and now they’re both grown, and Colette looks better than ever. She can’t believe it when Colette shows interest in her and they end up falling into bed together, but Colette insists it’s a one-time thing and will not be repeated.
Except that it happens again. And again. And again…
Buy it: Amazon
Black Sails to Sunward by Sheila Jenné (22nd)
In a world of frock coats, solar sails, and rigid class boundaries, Lucy joins the Martian Imperial Navy as a midshipman. Mars and Earth are at war, and Lucy hopes for quick promotion. But when she arrives aboard ship, she finds her childhood ex-friend, Moira, already there. Class differences got in the way of their budding romance five years ago, and both of them are nursing grudges.
Those same class differences are threatening the ship, as the enlisted spacers threaten a mutiny and Lucy is forced to support the abusive officers. When Moira becomes a pirate, taking Lucy captive, the tables are turned. Lucy now has to rely on her enemy for her life.
Her oath as an officer forbids her from helping the pirates, but it’s becoming obvious that the Martian Empire doesn’t deserve her loyalty. If she throws in her lot with the pirates, her family is doomed to poverty, but it could give her a chance to reconcile with Moira and claim the love she rejected so long ago.
Buy it: Amazon
The Showdown by Jessica Burkhart (25th)
This is the second book in the Saddlehill Academy series
Now that Abby knows which of her so-called friends is the one behind the video of her talking “trash” on Emery, she’d love to do something with that information—if only her blackmailer didn’t know Abby’s one real secret, the one she can’t risk getting out. So, Abby’s stuck. And, to make matters worse, she’s so rattled by the drama that it’s affecting her performance on Beau. Abby wants to be as great a rider as Sasha Silver, but how can she do that when she’s making rookie mistakes?
When tensions come to a head, Abby’s score at the shows isn’t the only thing in jeopardy—so is her place on the team.
Rana Joon and the One and Only Now by Shideh Etaat (25th)
Perfect Iranian girls are straight A students, always polite, and grow up to marry respectable Iranian boys. But it’s the San Fernando Valley in 1996, and Rana Joon is far from perfect—she smokes weed and loves Tupac, and she has a secret: she likes girls.
As if that weren’t enough, her best friend, Louie—the one who knew her secret and encouraged her to live in the moment—died almost a year ago, and she’s still having trouble processing her grief. To honor him, Rana enters the rap battle he dreamed of competing in, even though she’s terrified of public speaking.
But the clock is ticking. With the battle getting closer every day, she can’t decide whether to use one of Louie’s pieces or her own poetry, her family is coming apart, and she might even be falling in love. To get herself to the stage and fulfill her promise before her senior year ends, Rana will have to learn to speak her truth and live in the one and only now.
The Valkyrie’s Shadow by Tiana Warner (25th)
This is the sequel to The Valkyrie’s Daughter
Being both a valkyrie and a princess isn’t turning out quite the way Sigrid imagined. The other valkyries still treat her like a stable hand. Her relationship with Mariam is less “long-distance” and more “worlds apart.” And lately, she’s been wondering if Sleipnir, her new horse, isn’t making her a little bit…well, evil.
But Sigrid’s first official valkyrie mission sends ripples through the Nine Worlds. She’s attracted the wrath of not only the Night Elves but their sinister king, who wants nothing more than to bring darkness down on everyone. Worse yet, Loki might just be interfering with the balance of light and dark…
When war threatens the shores of Vanaheim and her friends are in danger of being exiled, Sigrid makes a deal with the new queen. She will ride Sleipnir against their enemies and use his might to defeat them, even as he pulls her closer to that line between good and evil.
What she becomes will either save everyone…or unleash disaster upon them all.
The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz (25th)
Reina is desperate.
Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. But the journey is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.
Attacked by creatures that stalk the region, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.
Eva Kesare is unwanted.
Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries her best to be perfect and to hide her oddities. But Eva is hiding a secret: magic calls to her.
Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet, it’s hard to deny power when it has always been denied to you. Eva is walking a dangerous path, one that gets stranger every day. And, in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.
In the Case of Heartbreak by Courtney Kae (July 25th)
Ben has been baking his grandma’s cinnamon rolls at the family café for years. He’s been quietly in love with Adam Reed, his musician-slash-mechanic neighbor, for just as long. But Ben’s done waiting behind the pastry case. He’s entered a make-or-break competition to show off his own recipes. He’s going to buy his overprotective family out of the business. And he’s going to ask Adam out. TONIGHT.
Except his big plans get punched down before they even half-rise. Soon Ben is dashing down the coast to his grandma’s 80th birthday party on the beach, hiding his broken heart in Maywell Bay, California. Sun, sea, and fresh breezes should blow in something new—except they don’t. They blow in Adam Reed, grinning like a pirate and stealing the show as the musical entertainment hired by Grandma for her big bash. Grandma’s signature Heartbreak Tea is the only remedy, and Grandma’s tea could take the paint off a fence.
But there’s a burn of truth along with the booze in his bottle, and Ben has a decision to make. Can he take the sweetness in front of him, and brave the bitterness that comes after? Or is a little sea salt just what this cinnamon roll needs?
Salty cinnamon rolls? Ew. Ben would never.
Thick as Thieves by M.J. Kuhn (25th)
This is the sequel to Among Thieves
Ryia Cautella, a.k.a. the Butcher of Carrowick, and her motley crew have succeeded in the ultimate heist…with the most dire possible consequences. A terrifyingly powerful tool has fallen into the hands of Callum Clem, the criminal leader of the Saints, who was already one of the most dangerous men alive. With the newfound ability to force magic-wielding Adepts to his will, he is unstoppable.
With their group scattered throughout the five kingdoms of Thamorr—and not all on the same side of the fight—things seem hopeless. But can Ryia get the gang back together for one last job? Or will chess-worthy power plays and shifting loyalties change Thamorr as they know it?
The Hunt by Kelly J. Ford (25th)
For seventeen years, a serial murderer has used the Presley, Arkansas, Annual Hunt for the Golden Egg to find prey. Or at least that’s what some people believe. Others, like the town’s devoted “Eggheads,” relish the tradition and think the deaths are just unfortunate accidents. But for Nell Holcomb, the town’s annual Hunt dredges up a particularly painful memory: her brother’s death, long believed to be “the Hunter’s” first kill.
Nell has been caring for her nephew since then, trying to keep him safe and trying to conceal the role she played in his father’s death. Most importantly, she’s been trying to avoid the Hunt―despite the clashes that erupt in town over the event and her best friend’s obsession with winning the big prize.
As Easter draws near and the town’s frenzy escalates, Nell must face her past and the Hunt as the danger once again veers close to home.