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Most Anticipated Middle Grade: July-December 2023

The Showdown by Jessica Burkhart (July 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.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Continue reading Most Anticipated Middle Grade: July-December 2023

Happy International Asexuality Day 2023!

Happy International Asexuality Day! Today we’re celebrating books with main characters all along the ace spectrum, so check out these titles and find your perfect next read! As usual, all links are affiliate and earn a percentage of income for the site, so please use them if you can!

Please note this roundup only features titles that were not previously featured [with covers] in past International Asexuality Day/Ace Week posts, so make sure to check those out too for even more recs!

Books to Read Now

A Furry Faux Paw by Jessica Kara

(Maeve is ace-questioning.)

Online, MauveCat (a cool, confident, glittering pixie cat) has friends and a whole supportive furry community that appreciates her art. At home, Maeve Stephens has to tiptoe around her hoarder mother’s mood and mess. When her life is at its hardest, Maeve can always slip into Mauve, her fursona, and be “the happy one,” the bubbliest, friendliest artist in her community—it’s even how she made her best friend, Jade.

With graduation around the corner, Maeve is ready to put her lonely school days behind her and move on with her life. And while her father hasn’t been home since the divorce, he does offer her a dream come true: an all-expenses paid trip to the regional furry convention.

Furlympia will have everything Maeve’s been missing—friends, art mentors, and other furries! So when her mother forbids her from going, Maeve decides to sneak out on her own.

Between hitching a ride with Jade, getting a makeover from a young furry she inspired, and connecting with an art idol who could help Her get into her dream school—the furcon is everything Maeve hoped for and more. A single weekend away shows Maeve how wonderful her life could be, but breaking free of the hoard means abandoning her mother, just like everyone else in their life. And Maeve isn’t sure if she can—even if it destroys her, too.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Scoreless Game by Anna Zabo and L.A. Witt

Scoreless Game (On the Board Book 2) by [Anna Zabo, L.A. Witt]At nearly thirty-one years old, Pittsburgh Griffins captain Elias Karlsson’s hockey years are numbered. Everything is changing around him, including his eleven-year friendship with Nikolai Sidorov. Elias would give anything for Nisha to be a permanent part of his life, but their once bedrock-strong bond has broken into a million pieces, and Elias doesn’t know why. More than anything, Elias wants his friend back, but if that isn’t an option, maybe it’s time for him to look outside of hockey for someone to be there with him when hockey isn’t an option anymore.

Nisha’s world is splintering apart. He’s been in love with his two best friends for years, but now one of them has someone. The other, Elias, is searching for everything Nisha wishes he could give him… but he’s looking for it in anyone but Nisha. The farther his friends slip away, the deeper the loneliness sinks in and the bleaker his empty future looks. What can he do but numb the pain in the only ways he knows how?

On the eve of the season opener, Nisha’s unexplained absence threatens the cohesion of the team and puts him and Elias on a collision course of strong wills, broken hearts, and shattered trust. In the end, they may lose the very thing that matters most to them both: each other.

Buy it: Amazon

Rising From Ash by Jax Meyer

Phoenix Murray has had enough. Enough of her incompetent boss. Enough of her addict father always asking for money. Enough of the struggle to survive. So when her aunt offers her a job as a cook at the South Pole, she jumps at it. Even when she’s asked to avoid casual sex to keep the peace in the tiny community.

Astrophysicist Ashley Bennett can’t wait for her year at the South Pole. Not only will it allow her to focus on her PhD research, it’s a key step in her plan to become a Mars colonist. Avoiding the complications of dating in a society that doesn’t understand asexuality is a bonus.

When Phoenix and Ash meet, they can’t help but push each other’s buttons. Phoenix doesn’t understand that her confident sexuality puts Ash on edge while Ash’s curt formality triggers Phoenix’s insecurities about her upbringing. But living at the bottom of the world means there’s nowhere to run, and as they find common ground, their differences aren’t nearly the hindrance they thought.

Buy it: Amazon

The Heartbreak Handshake by J.R. Hart

60168776. sy475 Paxton McKee, Clover Hill’s rideshare driver and handyman, is known by his customers as responsible, dependable, and loyal. On first dates, though, he’s known by another word: boring. His dates never seem to appreciate his in-depth knowledge of famous aviation disasters or his LEGO expertise. His book club buddy, Mrs. Sawyer, keeps trying to set him up. But after so many failed dates, Paxton’s given up on finding someone who can accept him, special interests, stims, and all.

Hand-crafter Remi Sawyer put Clover Hill in their rear-view mirror to sell at craft fairs across the country. But being a traveling artisan is harder than Remi thought. With mounting bills, they’ve ended up back home. Being in their old teenage bedroom is weird. Weirder, their mother keeps trying to set them up on dates, even after they’ve made it clear the homecoming is temporary.

To get Mrs. Sawyer off their backs, Paxton and Remi agree on a scheme: they’ll go on three dates. When it’s over, Paxton can pretend to be heartbroken, and Remi can get back on the road. They even shake on it. But awkward dates lead to the realization the two have a lot in common. Kissing is gross? Check. Spending quiet time doing projects together is enjoyable? Double check.

But Remi is still hell-bent on leaving Clover Hill again, and Paxton is dead-set on staying. Can they find a new vision that doesn’t involve Remi leaving their kindred spirit behind, or are they both destined to lose the person who might be their perfect companion?

Buy it: Amazon

Ace of Hearts by Lucy Mason

59444727. sy475 Hesper Stallides and Felix Morlan have been best friends for as long as they can remember, bonding over their troubled home lives. When a horrible sports injury derails Felix’s promising career and results in the loss of his scholarship, Hesper offers a proposition: a year-long marriage of convenience so he can get free tuition at the college where she works.

It isn’t supposed to be complicated…until they fall in love for real. When Hesper reveals that she’s asexual, Felix must reassess everything he thinks about love, and ask himself what he’s willing to sacrifice for a future with Hesper—before the past she’s spent her life running from can take her away from him forever.

Buy it: Amazon

Tell Me How it Ends by Quinton Li

(Marin is aroace.)

Tell Me How It Ends (Chaos in the Cards Book 1) by [Quinton Li]Iris Galacia’s tarot cards do more than entertain gamblers.

With the flip of her fingers she can predict the future and uncover a person’s secrets. Under the watchful eye of her mother, she is already on thin ice for pursuing a passion in the family business, but then cracks start to form, and eventually she falls through.

She is given an ultimatum: earn a thousand coins or leave the business, and the family.

Enter Marin Boudreau, a charming young person who can scale buildings and break off doorknobs, who comes for her help to rescue a witch who’s been falsely imprisoned in Excava Kingdom.

And Marin is willing to pay a high sum for her talents.

But saving a prisoner from royal hands isn’t easy, nor is leaving home for the first time in eighteen years.

Now Iris must learn to trust in herself, Marin, and this new magical world, while racing the clock before the royals decide the fate of the witch, and before any secrets catch up to her.

Buy it: Amazon

Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by Sherronda J. Brown

Refusing Compulsory Sexuality: A Black Asexual Lens on Our Sex-Obsessed Culture by [Sherronda J. Brown, Hess Love]Everything you know about sex and asexuality is (probably) wrong.

The notion that everyone wants sex–and that we all have to have it–is false. It’s intertwined with our ideas about capitalism, race, gender, and queerness. And it impacts the most marginalized among us. For asexual folks, it means that ace and A-spec identity is often defined by a queerness that’s not queer enough, seen through a lens of perceived lack: lack of pleasure, connection, joy, maturity, and even humanity.

In this exploration of what it means to be Black and asexual in America today, Sherronda J. Brown offers new perspectives on asexuality. She takes an incisive look at how anti-Blackness, white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and capitalism enact harm against asexual people, contextualizing acephobia within a racial framework in the first book of its kind. Brown advocates for the “A” in LGBTQIA+, affirming that to be asexual is to be queer–despite the gatekeeping and denial that often says otherwise.

With chapters on desire, f*ckability, utility, refusal, and possibilities, Refusing Compulsory Sexuality discusses topics of deep relevance to ace and a-spec communities. It centers the Black asexual experience–and demands visibility in a world that pathologizes and denies asexuality, denigrates queerness, and specifically sexualizes Black people.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Books to Preorder

You Don’t Have a Shot by Racquel Marie (May , 2023)

Valentina “Vale” Castillo-Green’s life revolves around soccer. Her friends, her future, and her father’s intense expectations are all wrapped up in the beautiful game. But after she incites a fight during playoffs with her long-time rival, Leticia Ortiz, everything she’s been working toward seems to disappear.

Embarrassed and desperate to be anywhere but home, Vale escapes to her beloved childhood soccer camp for a summer of relaxation and redemption…only to find out that she and the endlessly aggravating Leticia will be co-captaining a team that could play in front of college scouts. But the competition might be stiffer than expected, so unless they can get their rookie team’s act together, this second chance―and any hope of playing college soccer―will slip through Vale’s fingers. When the growing pressure, friendship friction, and her overbearing father push Vale to turn to Leticia for help, what starts off as a shaky alliance of necessity begins to blossom into something more through a shared love of soccer…and maybe each other.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See (June 6, 2023)

The cover of LOVE LETTERS FOR JOY, featuring Union Square and two white teenagers walking in opposite directions, holding a love letterLess than a year away from graduation, seventeen-year-old Joy is too busy overachieving to be worried about relationships. She’s determined to be Caldwell Prep’s first disabled valedictorian. And she only has one person to beat, her academic rival Nathaniel.

But it’s senior year and everyone seems to be obsessed with pairing up. One of her best friends may be developing feelings for her and the other uses Caldwell’s anonymous love-letter writer to snag the girl of her dreams. Joy starts to wonder if she has missed out on a quintessential high school experience. She is asexual, but that’s no reason she can’t experience first love, right?

She writes to Caldwell Cupid to help her sort out these new feelings and, over time, finds herself falling for the mysterious voice behind the letters. But falling in love might mean risking what she wants most, especially when the letter-writer turns out to be the last person she would ever expect.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Siren, The Song, and the Spy by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (September 26, 2023)

This is the companion to The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

By sinking a fleet of Imperial Warships, the Pirate Supreme and their resistance fighters have struck a massive blow against the Emperor. Now allies from across the empire are readying themselves, hoping against hope to bring about the end of the conquerors’ rule and the rebirth of the Sea. But trust and truth are hard to come by in this complex world of mermaids, spies, warriors, and aristocrats. Who will Genevieve—lavishly dressed but washed up, half-dead, on the Wariuta island shore—turn out to be? Is warrior Koa’s kindness toward her admirable, or is his sister Kaia’s sharp suspicion wiser? And back in the capital, will pirate-spy Alfie really betray the Imperials who have shown him affection, especially when a duplicitous senator reveals xe would like nothing better?

Meanwhile, the Sea is losing more and more of herself as her daughters continue to be brutally hunted, and the Empire continues to expand through profits made from their blood.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

This Dark Descent by Kalyn Josephson (September 26, 2023)

The Rusel family is famous throughout Enderlain as breeders of enchanted horses, but their prestige is no match for their rising debts. To save her family’s ranch, Mikira Rusel is left with only one option: enter the Illinir, a cutthroat, cross-country horserace known for its high death rate as much as its flashy prize money.

To have any chance of success, she’ll have to recruit Arielle Kadar, an unlicensed enchanter who creates golems in place of enchanted animals, and Damien Adair, a lord in the midst of a succession battle. Both her accomplices have reasons of their own to help Mikira – and their own blood feuds to avenge.

In a world as dangerous as this, will hidden agendas and conflicting desires butcher their chances of winning the Illinir. . . or will another rider’s dagger?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Being Ace ed. by Madeline Dyer (October 10, 2023)

Discover the infinite realms of asexual love across sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary stories

From a wheelchair user racing to save her kidnapped girlfriend and a little mermaid who loves her sisters more than suitors, to a slayer whose virgin blood keeps attracting monsters, the stories of this anthology are anything but conventional. Whether adventuring through space, outsmarting a vengeful water spirit, or surviving haunted cemeteries, no two aces are the same in these 14 unique works that highlight asexual romance, aromantic love, and identities across the asexual spectrum.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Wren Martin Ruins it All by Amanda DeWitt (November 7, 2023)

Now that Wren Martin is student council president (on a technicality, but hey, it counts) he’s going to fix Rapture High. His first order of business: abolish the school’s annual Valentine’s Day Dance, a drain on the school’s resources and general social nightmare—especially when you’re asexual.

His greatest opponent: Leo Reyes, vice president and all-around annoyingly perfect student, who has a solution to Wren’s budget problem. A sponsorship from Buddy, the anonymous “not a dating” app that’s swept the nation. The theme: 21st Century Masquerade. Suddenly, Wren’s plan for a dance-less senior year has turned into heading the biggest dance Rapture High has ever seen. He’s even secretly signed up for the app, determined to make good on his promises to improve the school, even if that means going into the belly of the beast.

When Wren accidentally starts up a conversation with one of his matches, he realizes things might be getting out of control. He never meant to like his anonymous match, and he certainly didn’t mean to develop a crush on him. Wren decided a long time ago that dating while asexual wasn’t worth the hassle. With the Valentine’s Day Dance rapidly approaching, Wren isn’t sure what will kill him first: the dance, his relationship drama, or the growing realization that Leo’s perfect life might not be so perfect after all.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

For Never & Always by Helena Greer (November 28, 2023)

(Levi is demisexual.)

Hannah Rosenstein should be happy: after a lonely childhood of traipsing all over the world, she finally has a home as the co-owner of destination inn Carrigan’s All Year. But her thoughts keep coming back to Levi “Blue” Matthews: her first love, worst heartbreak, and now, thanks to her great-aunt’s meddling will, absentee business partner.

When Levi left Carrigan’s, he had good intentions. As the queer son of the inn’s cook and groundskeeper, he never quite fit in their small town and desperately wanted to prove himself. Now that he’s a celebrity chef, he’s ready to come home and make amends. Only his return goes nothing like he planned: his family’s angry with him, his best friend is dating his nemesis, and Hannah just wants him to leave. Again.

Levi sees his chance when a VIP bride agrees to book Carrigan’s—if he’s the chef. He’ll happily cook for the wedding, and in exchange, Hannah will give him five dates to win her back. Only Hannah doesn’t trust this new Levi, and Levi’s coming to realize Hannah’s grown too. But if they find the courage to learn from the past . . . they just might discover the love of your life is worth waiting for.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Dear Wendy by Ann Zhao (April 16, 2024)

Sophie Chi is in her first year at Wellesley College (despite her parents’ wishes that she attends a “real” university) and has long accepted her aromantic and asexual identities. Despite knowing she’ll never fall in love, she enjoys learning about relationships and putting that research to use to help people. And what better way to do that than by running an Instagram account that offers advice to the students at her college, somewhere in between classes, morning runs, and extracurriculars? No one except her roommate knows that she’s behind the incredibly popular “Dear Wendy” account.

Meanwhile, Joanna “Jo” Ephron is also a first-year student at Wellesley but when they create the account “Sincerely Wanda” to show one of their roommates why she needs to dump her boyfriend, they don’t expect it to amount to anything more. After all, Jo’s account isn’t meant to be serious—not like Dear Wendy’s. But it seems more and more students appreciate her humorous answers to followers’ dilemmas, and she may end up encroaching on Wendy’s territory a little. And now the two accounts might have a rivalry of sorts? Oops. As if Jo’s not busy enough having existential crises over the fact that she’ll never truly be loved or be enough, gender, and her few friends finding The One and forgetting her!

Tensions are rising online, but Sophie and Jo start getting closer in real life, especially after they realize their shared aroace identity. As their friendship develops and they work together to start a campus organization for other a-spec students, can their growing bond survive if they learn just who’s behind the Wendy and Wanda accounts?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Books to Add to Your TBR

Fave Five: MG with Ace-Spec MCs

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Rick by Alex Gino

The One Who Loves You Most by medina

A-Okay by Jarad Greene

The Trouble with Robots by Michelle Mohrweis

Bonus: Coming in 2023, Reel Love by Nilah Magruder and Just Lizzie by Karen Wilfrid

July 2022 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

Author of THE DUKE UNDONE Joanna Lowell‘s A SHORE THING, in which a transmasculine artist falls for a renowned cis woman botanist as they compete in a shoreside bicycle race in this beach-set Victorian romance, to Kate Seaver at Berkley, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2024, by Tara Gelsomino at One Track Literary Agency (world).

Two-time Hugo Award finalist Chuck Tingle‘s CAMP DAMASCUS, in which a group of queer friends begin to realize their memories of surviving a hellish gay conversion therapy camp have been stolen from them; and a second standalone novel, BURY YOUR GAYS, to Kelly Lonesome at Nightfire, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in July 2023 and summer 2024, by DongWon Song at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency (NA).

Author of CHEF’S KISS TJ Alexander‘s SECOND CHANCES IN NEW PORT STEPHEN, in which a down-on-his-luck, early-40s trans comedian begrudgingly returns to his outlandish Floridian hometown for the first time in decades, only to run into his high school ex-boyfriend, who’s inexplicably gotten hotter with time and soon throws into question where nostalgia ends and where moving on begins, to Lara Jones at Emily Bestler Books, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in December 2023, by Larissa Melo Pienkowski at Jill Grinberg Literary Management (world).

Lambda Award-winning author of SKYE FALLING Mia McKenzie’s DORIS STEELE, a comic novel about a pious, small-town teenager who travels to Atlanta in 1960 to get an abortion and finds herself smack in the middle of the civil rights movement and the secret lives of queer Black people, ultimately discovering the transformative power of leaving your bubble, even for just one chaotic weekend, to Caitlin McKenna at Random House, by Alexa Stark at Writers House (world).

Columbia MFA alum and Lambda Literary inaugural fellow Douglas Jones’s PRIME REAL ESTATE, set in Atlanta as the 1996 Olympics loom, following two Black men confronting their roles in displacing Black residents to make way for the Opening ceremony while coming to terms with their own sexuality, to Yahdon Israel at Simon & Schuster, in a pre-empt, by Haley Heidemann at William Morris Endeavor.

Author of CITY OF A THOUSAND FEELINGS Anya Johanna DeNiro‘s OKPSYCHE, a surreal short novel from the perspective of a trans woman navigating dystopia, anxiety, and motherhood, to Kelly Link at Small Beer Press, in a nice deal, for publication in fall 2023 (world).

Andrew Wilmot’s WITHERED, in which a nonbinary student moves to a small, haunted town after reaching a low point with their mental health, to Terese Mason Pierre at ECW Press, with Jennifer Albert editing, by Kelvin Kong at K2 Literary (world).

Lambda Award-winning author of FLAMER and the Little Elliot picture books Mike Curato‘s GAYSIANS, a humorous graphic novel about an ensemble of queer Asian American friends in 2000s Seattle as they carve out space for themselves and navigate friendships, relationships, racism, and transphobia, to Betsy Gleick and Mae Zhang McCauley at Algonquin, at auction, by Brenda Bowen at The Book Group (world).

T M Payne‘s regional police procedural series set in Liverpool, following a tortured and authentic detective with a strong moral compass, who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, to Victoria Haslam at Thomas & Mercer, in a three-book deal, for publication in March 2024, October 2024, and March 2025, by Broo Doherty at DHH Literary (world English).

Fulbright scholar Mary Liza Hartong’s HOT CHICKEN, pitched as Schitt’s Creek meets Dumplin’, a Southern novel about a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt who returns to her small Tennessee hometown for her father’s funeral and picks up work at a hot chicken shack, where she falls in love with another young woman and has to find a way forward for herself, her feisty mother, and her new love, to Rachel Kahan at William Morrow, in a nice deal, for publication in winter/spring 2024, by Janna Bonikowski at The Knight Agency (world English).

Pitch Wars mentee KT Hoffman‘s THE KEYSTONE COMBINATION, pitched as Red, White & Royal Blue meets Ted Lasso, a rom-com about what happens when the first openly trans professional baseball player in history is forced to share the infield with his arch nemesis—a standoffish, super-talented, and inconveniently gorgeous player, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial Press, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Allison Hunter at Trellis Literary Management (NA).

Asha Thanki’s A THOUSAND TIMES BEFORE, a queer literary speculative novel tracing three generations of mothers and daughters—spanning from the 1947 Partition of India and Pakistan through to contemporary Brooklyn—who are connected by an ancient tapestry through which they inherit all the memories of their foremothers, to Nidhi Pugalia at Viking, at auction, by Stephanie Delman and Danya Kukafka at Trellis Literary Management (NA).

Children’s/Middle Grade Fiction

Middle school English teacher and GrubStreet Novel Incubator graduate Karen Wilfrid’s JUST LIZZIE, about an eighth grader whose study of asexual reproduction in science class leads her to understand her own asexual identity as she embarks on a journey toward self-discovery and self-advocacy, to Lily Kessinger at Clarion, at auction, for publication in fall 2023, by Lauren Scovel at Laura Gross Literary Agency (NA).

Rainie Oet’s THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, a picture book about a nonbinary child who is swept off to their surprise birthday party full of dreamlike creatures and magical, poignant moments, illustrated by Mathias Ball, to Susan Dobinick at Astra, for publication in spring 2024, by Abigail Frank at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates for the author, and by Natascha Morris at The Tobias Literary Agency for the illustrator (world).

Stonewall and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize award winning creator Harry Woodgate‘s GRANDAD’S PRIDE, a sequel to Grandad’s Camper, this time honoring the past and celebrating the future with a Pride parade, to Sue Buswell at Andersen Press, in a two-book deal, for publication in April 2023, by Alice Sutherland-Hawes at ASH Literary (world).

Young Adult Fiction

Elisa Bonnin‘s EXILES OF ELLERY WEST, a dark academia YA novel following a queer Filipino-American girl who returns as a probationary student to the acclaimed Ellery Academy of Magic, only to find her past—an accident involving dark magic that caused the death of her best friend—is far from behind her, and teams up with the other probationary classmates to prevent more deaths, even if it risks having her magic sealed away forever, to Rachel Diebel at Feiwel and Friends, for publication in spring 2024, by Natalie Lakosil and Antoinette Van Sluytman at Irene Goodman Agency (world).

Cecilia Vinesse‘s THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, following a bisexual film club nerd’s attempts to make her ex jealous by pretending to date his new girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend, who happens to be her ultra-cool next-door neighbor; as she gets deeper into the charade, she realizes why “fake dating” is such a tried-and-true movie trope—and that her heart’s in danger of being broken again, to Alyssa Miele at Quill Tree, in a good deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2023, by Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency (NA).

Literary agent Lee Paige O’Brien’s A HUNDRED VICIOUS TURNS and an untitled sequel in The Broken Tower series, following the nonbinary heir to a powerful magical bloodline with the unsettling ability to find doorways that no one else can see, who finds themself drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse at an elite magic university when a malevolent force follows them back through the passages, to Emily Daluga at Amulet, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary & Media (world English).

Laura Steven’s THE SOCIETY FOR SOULLESS GIRLS, a dark contemporary thriller with a supernatural twist pitched as a sapphic retelling of Jekyll & Hyde set at a haunted university, which follows two roommates who must solve an infamous cold case of serial murders on campus after an arcane soul-splitting ritual gone wrong prompts another death, to Hannah Hill at Delacorte, for publication in fall 2023, by Juliette Clark at Farshore (US). (Note: this book has already been released in the UK.)

Danish cartoonist Jam Aden‘s LOVE, MISHA, pitched as A Goofy Movie meets Spirited Away, about a nonbinary teen and their mother who, during a contentious road trip, take a wrong turn that lands them in the realm of the spirits, where they are surrounded by trickster spirits who aren’t so keen on human trespassers, with no obvious way out, to Samia Fakih at First Second, for publication in spring 2025, by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).

NYT-bestselling author of CEMETERY BOYS Aiden Thomas‘s CEMETERY BOYS 2, a sequel told from Julian’s point-of-view, pitched as The Sixth Sense meets Final Destination, when a monster starts creating malingo spirits in East L.A., to Holly West at Feiwel and Friends, in a good deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in fall 2024, by Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (world).

Non-Fiction

Transgender writer Stacy Jane Grover‘s TAR HOLLOW TRANS, a debut collection of personal essays that tracks the author’s attempts and ultimate failure to write themselves into a recognizable transgender, Appalachian identity, to Abby Freeland at University Press of Kentucky, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2023.

Appalachian bookseller and cofounder of Atlas Books Davis Shoulders’s QUEER COMMUNION: APPALACHIAN QUEERS & RELIGION, a collection of essays that examines how Queer individuals reimagine their relationship to spiritual communities and religious institutions, to Abby Freeland at University Press of Kentucky, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2024.

Ed Emcee Dr. Anthony Keith Jr’s HOW THE BOOGEYMAN BECAME A POET, a YA memoir-in-verse tracing the author’s journey from being a closeted-gay Black high school teenager battling against poverty, racism, White supremacy, and homophobia to becoming an openly gay first-generation college student who finds unexpected freedom in poetry; and KNUCKLEHEAD, a poetry collection which takes the form of a tender love letter from an openly gay Black man to Black men and boys everywhere, to Ben Rosenthal at Katherine Tegen Books, in a significant deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in winter 2024 and winter 2025, by Annie Hwang at Ayesha Pande Literary (NA).

Queer artist with ADHD and creator of the Instagram account @blessthemessy Jess Bird’s BLESS THE MESSY, an illustrated personal development book that speaks candidly about inclusivity, acceptance, and radical self-love, and inspires readers to reframe chaos and mess as tools for growth and change, to Veronica Alvarado at Simon Element, in a pre-empt, by Kate Woodrow at Present Perfect (world English).