This post is sponsored in honor of the paperback release of That Way Madness Lies ed. by Dahlia Adler on March 15th, an anthology Kirkus called “A radical reimagining and avant garde interpretation of Shakespeare.”
Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez (Author), Danica Brine (Illustrator), Hank Jones (Colorist), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer) (1st)
Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right?
When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.
Follow Ari through their neighborhood as they try to find their words in this sweet, accessible introduction to gender-inclusive pronouns that is perfect for readers of all ages.
Whenever Ari’s Uncle Lior comes to visit, they ask Ari one question: “What are your words?” Some days Ari uses she/her. Other days Ari uses he/him. But on the day of the neighborhood’s big summer bash, Ari doesn’t know what words to use. On the way to the party, Ari and Lior meet lots of neighbors and learn the words each of them use to describe themselves, including pronouns like she/her, he/him, they/them, ey/em, and ze/zir. As Ari tries on different pronouns, they discover that it’s okay to not know your words right away–sometimes you have to wait for your words to find you.
Hazel Bly used to live in the perfect house with the perfect family in sunny California. But when a kayaking trip goes horribly wrong, Mum is suddenly gone forever and Hazel is left with crippling anxiety and a jagged scar on her face. After Mum’s death, Hazel, her other mother, Mama, and her little sister, Peach, needed a fresh start. So for the last two years, the Bly girls have lived all over the country, never settling anywhere for more than a few months.
When the family arrives in Rose Harbor, Maine, there’s a wildness to the small town that feels like magic. But when Mama runs into an old childhood friend—Claire—suddenly Hazel’s tight-knit world is infiltrated. To make it worse, she has a daughter Hazel’s age, Lemon, who can’t stop rambling on and on about the Rose Maid, a local 150-year-old mermaid myth.
Soon, Hazel finds herself just as obsessed with the Rose Maid as Lemon is—because what if magic were real? What if grief really could change you so much, you weren’t even yourself anymore? And what if instead you emerged from the darkness stronger than before?
For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible.
A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything.
Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again.
She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.
Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE.
But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of a life—seems refreshingly easy to solve. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help. By pushing Meabh down the stairs.
Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.
When Humaira “Hani” Khan comes out to her friends as bisexual, they immediately doubt her. Apparently, she can’t be bi if she’s only dated guys. Cornered into proving her sexuality, she tells them she’s dating someone—Ishita “Ishu” Dey, the straight A student who seems more concerned with studying than relationships.
When Hani approaches her about fake dating, she agrees on one condition–that Hani help her become more popular so she can win the school’s head girl election. It’s the perfect plan to help them achieve their goals, until Hani’s friends become jealous that she’s spending more time with Ishu. They’ll do everything they can to drive a wedge between them and ruin Ishu’s chances of becoming head girl.
Now, Hani has a decision to make: does she break off her relationship with Ishu for the sake of her friends? Or does she tell Ishu how she really feels and turn their “fake” relationship into something real?
Set on a family-run interstellar freighter called the Harland and a mysterious remote space station, E. K. Johnston’s latest is story of survival and self-determination.
Pendt Harland’s family sees her as a waste of food on their long-haul space cruiser when her genes reveal an undesirable mutation. But if she plays her cards right she might have a chance to do much more than survive. During a space-station layover, Pendt escapes and forms a lucky bond with the Brannick twins, the teenage heirs of the powerful family that owns the station. Against all odds, the trio hatches a long-shot scheme to take over the station and thwart the destinies they never wished for.
Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon, so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth.
So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape accidentally getting shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king.
Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.
Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . .
In the quiet streets of Prague all manner of otherworldly creatures lurk in the shadows. Unbeknownst to its citizens, their only hope against the tide of predators are the dauntless lamplighters – a secret elite of monster hunters whose light staves off the darkness each night. Domek Myska leads a life teeming with fraught encounters with the worst kind of evil: pijavica, bloodthirsty and soulless vampiric creatures. Despite this, Domek find solace in his moments spent in the company of his friend, the clever and beautiful Lady Ora Fischer – a widow with secrets of her own.
When Domek finds himself stalked by the spirit of the White Lady – a ghost who haunts the baroque halls of Prague castle – he stumbles across the sentient essence of a will-o’-the-wisp, a mischievous spirit known to lead lost travellers to their death, but who, once captured, are bound to serve the desires of their owners.
After discovering a conspiracy amongst the pijavica that could see them unleash terror on the daylight world, Domek finds himself in a race against those who aim to twist alchemical science for their own dangerous gain.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
After having his heart trampled on by his cheating ex, Carter Ogden is afraid love just isn’t in the cards for him. He still holds out hope in a tiny corner of his heart, but even in his wildest dreams he never thought he’d meet the Crown Prince of England, much less do a lot more with him. Yes, growing up he’d fantasized about the handsome, openly gay Prince Edgar, but who hadn’t? When they meet by chance at an event Carter’s boss is organizing, Carter’s sure he imagined all that sizzling chemistry. Or was it mutual?
This unlikely but meant-to-be romance sets off media fireworks on both sides of the Atlantic. With everyone having an opinion on their relationship and the intense pressure of being constantly in the spotlight, Carter finds ferocious obstacles to his Happily Ever After, including the tenacious disapproval of the Queen of England. Carter and Price Edgar fight for a happy ending to equal their glorious international beginning. It’s a match made on Valentine’s Day and in tabloid heaven.
Brendon Lowell loves love. It’s why he created a dating app to help people find their one true pairing and why he’s convinced “the one” is out there, even if he hasn’t met her yet. Or… has he? When his sister’s best friend turns up in Seattle unexpectedly, Brendon jumps at the chance to hang out with her. He’s crushed on Annie since they were kids, and the stars have finally aligned, putting them in the same city at the same time.
Annie booked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Seattle to spend time with friends before moving across the globe. She’s not looking for love, especially with her best friend’s brother. Annie remembers Brendon as a sweet, dorky kid. Except, the 6-foot-4 man who shows up at her door is a certified Hot Nerd and Annie… wants him? Oh yes.
Getting involved would be a terrible idea—her stay is temporary and he wants forever—but when Brendon learns Annie has given up on dating, he’s determined to prove that romance is real. Taking cues from his favorite rom-coms, Brendon plans to woo her with elaborate dates straight out of Nora Ephron’s playbook. The clock is ticking on Annie’s time in Seattle, and Brendon’s starting to realize romance isn’t just flowers and chocolate. But maybe real love doesn’t need to be as perfect as the movies… as long as you think your partner hung the moon.
This is the sequel to The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass.
After Tav’s dangerous journey to the magical City of Eyes, they realize they’re more than just a purple-haired, motorcycle-riding teenager who can see magic — they know how to use it.
Returning to the human world, the City of Ghosts, Tav’s team races to heal the wounds in the veil between worlds as Tav struggles to come to grips with who they are — and who they are becoming. Meanwhile, an army of child witches has risen up to overthrow the tyrannical world-eating Coven. With blood and magic spilled on both sides, who will survive?
Eighteen-year-old aspiring comic Joey Rossi just found out his boyfriend has been cheating on him for the past ten months. But what did he expect? Joey was born with an addiction to toxic jerks—something he inherited from his lovably messy, wisecracking, Italian-American spitfire of a mom (and best friend): 34-year-old Gia Rossi.
When Gia’s latest non-relationship goes up in flames only a day later, the pair’s Bayonne, New Jersey apartment can barely contain their rage. In a misguided attempt at revenge, Joey and Gia inadvertently commit a series of crimes and flee the state, running to the only good man either of them has ever known—Gia’s ex, Marco. As they hide out from the law at Marco’s secluded lake house, Joey and Gia must confront all the bad habits and mistakes they’ve made that have led them to this moment—and find a way to take responsibility for what they’ve done.
Danny Ip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbour Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend’s younger brother—the hottest one-night stand he ever had—to be there.
Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive—and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother.
It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed—and into his life for good.
If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy…
Arcadia by Emmanuelle Bayamack-Tam, trans. by Ruth Diver
Farah moves into Liberty House—an arcadia, a community in harmony with nature—at the tender age of six, with her family. The commune’s spiritual leader, Arcady, preaches equality, non-violence, anti-speciesism, free love, and uninhibited desire for all, regardless of gender, age, looks, or ability. On her fifteenth birthday, Farah learns she is intersex, and begins to question the confines of gender, and the hypocritical principles those within and outside the confraternity live by. What, Farah asks, is a man or a woman? What is it to be part of a community? What is the endgame for a utopia that exists alongside refugees seeking shelter by the millions and in a society moving ever farther away from nature and its protections. As Liberty House devolves into a dystopia amidst charges of sexual abuse, it starts to look a lot like the larger world, confused in its fears and selfish hedonism.
Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.
Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.
When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas. When they finally make it to Ibarania, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and Makeda must learn what it means to fight for what she desires and not what she feels bound to by duty.
Maximus Wodlin hated magic. Long before it erupted from him, killing the son of Master Gathrax and altering the course of his life forever.
Over 100 years had passed since the War of the Wood, when the northern army swept across land and killed the four ruling mages. Eradicating their ties to magic and leaving their vengeful families to rule.
But now one had returned. With Maximus’s palm branded by a mage mark, there is no escaping the crime he committed or the truth of what he is.
Instead of death at the hands of his Master’s grieving family, Maximus’s newfound power is controlled by them. Forced to become the son he killed and live as a false heir, to restore the dwindling legacy of the Gathrax Estate.
As Maximus struggles to discern allies from enemies, the Mad Queen watches from the North. Trusting is impossible when motives are invisible to him… even if they are shrouded within a handsome stranger.
Farhad Dadyburjor‘s THE OTHER MAN, an urban gay rom-com about love and longing in Mumbai, dealing with the crazy pressures of family expectations, the staunch traditions of Indian society, and how the power of love can change everything, to Chris Werner at Lake Union Publishing, in a very nice deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in fall 2021, by Priya Doraswamy at Lotus Lane Literary (world).
K.D. Edwards‘s THE HOURGLASS THRONE, the third in the tarot and Atlantis-inspired queer urban fantasy series about the heir to a lost throne who must navigate a cutthroat society with a ragtag band of allies, to Rene Sears at Pyr, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Sara Megibow at kt literary.
Hettie Bell’s LEARN TO KNIT IN NINE MONTHS OR LESS, in which an unplanned pregnancy spurs a young woman to join a knitting group, where she finds an unexpected romance in the woman who runs it and an unexpected family in her kooky fellow knitters, to Ronan Sadler at Carina Press Adores, for publication in spring 2021 (world).
Author of DEATH INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Candice Wuehle’s MONARCH, a humorous novel based on a popular 90’s-era conspiracy theory about a former child beauty queen who falls in love with a fellow pageant girl and, with the help of her riot grrrl babysitter, decides to take down the organization that secretly programmed her as an assassin, to Sarah Lyn Rogers at Soft Skull, by Kiele Raymond at Thompson Literary Agency (world).
Dea Poirier‘s AFTER YOU DIED, a supernatural thriller set in 1968 and partially based on a true story, in which a bisexual teen has no memory of why he woke up covered in his girlfriend’s blood, sentenced to five years at a sinister reform school, which, like his memory, hides violent secrets of its own, and he must find the truth to save himself and those he loves, to Chantelle Aimee Osman at Agora Books, by Jill Marsal at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (world).
Molly Greeley‘s THE HEIRESS: THE REVELATIONS OF ANNE DE BOURGH, pitched as an LGBTQ+ reimagining of the life of the PRIDE AND PREJUDICE character Anne de Bourgh, to Thorne Ryan at Hodder & Stoughton, for publication in January 2021, by Laura Williams at Greene & Heaton, on behalf of Jennifer Weltz at the Jean V. Naggar Agency.
Hudson Lin‘s J-CURVE, the first in the Jade Harbour Capital series, in which an executive on a high-stakes deal must work with the one-night-stand he’s never quite been able to forget—his best friend’s little brother, to Stephanie Doig at Carina Press Adores, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2021 (world).
JACOB’S ROOM TO CHOOSE coauthors Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman’s JACOB’S NEW WORD, the third book in the Jacob collection, where Jacob and his classmate perform a play that showcases pronoun use as well as gender fluidity and diversity, illustrated by Chris Case, to Kristine Enderle at Magination Press, for publication in June 2021, by Deborah Warren at East-West Agency for the authors (world).
Young Adult Fiction
Cindy Rizzo’s THE PAPERCUTTER, in which three Jewish teens, including a queer girl in the USD, come of age in a split USA and are unprepared for what they must confront as increased violent anti-Semitism threatens Jews in the USF, to Katherine V. Forrest at Bella Books for publication in June 2021 (world).
Author of the forthcoming THE SKY BLUES Robbie Couch’s BLAINE FOR THE WIN, in which a boy is determined to prove his worth by becoming senior class president after his boyfriend breaks up with him to pursue more “serious guys,” and sacrifices his own sense of self in the process, to Amanda Ramirez at Simon & Schuster Children’s, in a nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Moe Ferrara at BookEnds (world English).
Author-illustrator of the long-running web comics Peritale and Life of Melody Mari Costa‘s BELLE OF THE BALL, a humorous, lesbian love-triangle YA story between a wallflower, a star athlete, and a head cheerleader, set amid the trials and tribulations of high school, and the many social pressures therein, to Calista Brill at First Second, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Pete Ryan at Stimola Literary Studio (world).
Sydney Taylor Honor-winning author of THE GIRL WITH THE RED BALLOON Katherine Locke‘s THIS REBEL HEART, a fabulist novel, pitched as for fans of LOVELY WAR and CODE NAME VERITY, in which a Jewish teen finds her voice during the very real student-led 1956 Hungarian Revolution, and which explores whether failed revolutions matter—and whether you should fight for a country that doesn’t love you back, to Marisa DiNovis at Knopf Children’s, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).
Cultural critic Mathew Rodriguez‘s CARLOS ALEJOS HAS TO LOSE HIS CHICHOS, about a queer Puerto Rican teen of size as he grapples with body image, friendship, and his burgeoning sexuality in suburban New Jersey, illustrated by Charlot Kristensen, to Trisha de Guzman at Farrar, Straus Children’s, in an exclusive submission, for publication in winter 2023, by Melissa Edwards at Stonesong for the author, and by Thao Le at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency for the illustrator (world).
Former NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC anchor and producer Steve Majors‘s HIGH YELLA: A MODERN FAMILY MEMOIR, exploring the question of what defines family, from the author’s perspective as the white-appearing gay son of a large, poor Black family, and as father to two adopted Black sisters, to Beth Snead at University of Georgia Press, in a nice deal, for publication in fall 2021, by Gina Panettieri at Talcott Notch Literary Services (world English).
Librarian and author of The Cardboard Kingdom and Dead Weight: Murder at Camp Bloom Molly Muldoon’s A QUICK & EASY GUIDE TO ASEXUALITY, the next installment in the A Quick & Easy Guide series, exploring what asexuality is for those who want to learn and for Ace people to validate their experiences, illustrated by Will Hernandez, to Ari Yarwood at Limerence, with Amanda Meadows editing, for publication in spring 2021 (world).
Stonewall Award-winning author Kyle Lukoff and trans rights activist Gavin Grimm‘s IF YOU’RE A KID LIKE GAVIN, a nonfiction account of Gavin’s fight against his school administration when he was banned from using the boys’ restroom and subsequent Supreme Court case, illustrated by J Yang, to Mabel Hsu at Katherine Tegen Books, for publication in summer 2022, by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services (NA).
American Ballet Theatre principal dancer, drag queen, and pop star James Whiteside’s CENTER CENTER, a humorous memoir-in-essays about how the author discovered his sexuality, pushed creative boundaries, and subverted the classical traditions of ballet on his journey to center stage, to Gretchen Schmid at Viking, in an exclusive submission, by CAA (world English).