Today on the site, we’re revealing the cover of Rien Gray’s F/NBi romantic suspense, Double Exposure, which releases September 4th! Here’s the story:
Love always shows your true face.
Jillian Rhodes lies to everyone she meets. As one of the world’s best art thieves, a life of infiltration and con artistry has left her flying solo, which is exactly the way she likes it. When Jillian is hired to steal a collection of photos belonging to the late—and deeply controversial—Russell Key from the Art Institute of Chicago, everything should be business as usual.
Except she has two problems: first, fellow master thief Sloane Caffrey also has their eye on the photos. Second, Sloane is her smoking hot ex.
Three years have passed since a messy breakup, but Jillian and Sloane have been getting vengeance on each other ever since. When the Key theft becomes their latest competition, love and loathing ride a fine, shaking line.
Trying to destroy each other should be simple. But confronting past mistakes is hard, especially when the entire job is starting to look like a setup to put Jillian and Sloane behind bars…
And here’s the cover, designed by the author themself!
Rien is a queer, nonbinary author of sapphic romance, erotica, and horror. They love writing steamy scenes, consent-informed kink, and hot criminal love interests who revel in the above. When not writing, Rien spends their time at the gym, making even more coffee, or angling for yet another platinum trophy in a video game.
This month we’re spotlighting Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly, a fantastic recent historical about a Jewish genderqueer bookbinder in NYC with artistic passions, a complicated relationship with the partner she loves, and a mystery that helps her get to the heart of her feelings. It’s thoughtful and nuanced and full of gender exploration we rarely get to see in realistic fiction starring characters whose teenage years are behind them, and you can pick it up as of February 7th!
It’s 2003, and artist Dawn Levit is stuck. A bookbinder who works in conservation at the Met, she spends her free time scouting the city’s street art, hoping something might spark inspiration. Instead, everything looks like a dead end. And art isn’t the only thing that feels wrong: wherever she turns, her gender identity clashes with the rest of her life. Her relationship, once anchored by shared queerness, is falling apart as her boyfriend Lukas increasingly seems to be attracted to Dawn only when she’s at her most masculine. Meanwhile at work, Dawn has to present as female, even on the days when that isn’t true. Either way, her difference feels like a liability.
Then, one day at work, Dawn finds something hidden behind the endpaper of an old book: the torn-off cover of a ‘50s lesbian pulp novel, Turn Her About. On the front is a campy illustration of a woman looking into a handheld mirror and seeing a man’s face. And on the back is a love letter.
Dawn latches onto the coincidence, becoming obsessed with tracking down the note’s author. Her fixation only increases when her best friend Jae is injured in a hate crime, for which Dawn feels responsible. As Dawn searches for the letter’s author, she is also looking for herself. She tries to understand how to live in a world that doesn’t see her as she truly is, how to get unstuck in her gender, and how to rediscover her art, and she can’t shake the feeling that the note’s author might be able to help guide her to the answers.
Today on the site, I’m delighted to reveal the cover for Stacey Anthony’s Breakup, Makeup, a m/nb YA romance releasing May 9, 2023 from Running Press Kids! Here’s the story:
Lovers turned cosplay rivals go head-to-head for a chance at their dream school . . . a maybe a second chance at love.
Eli Peterson is a self-taught, up-and-coming makeup artist in the cosplay scene who is barely making ends meet. While they might be slaying it with their breathtaking looks, they’re also trying to save enough money for top surgery and convince their parents that their artistic dream is worthwhile. During a convention, Eli hears about Makeup Wars, a competition that could change everything . . .
The grand prize? A scholarship to Beyond, the best SFX school on the West Coast. The problem? Going head-to-head with the most talented up-and-coming makeup artists in the scene—including rival influencer Zachary Miller, their ex-boyfriend. Eli will have to juggle their makeup brushes, their rekindled feelings for Zach, and their self-doubt in order to win everything they’ve ever wanted: a chance to chase their dream and a second chance at love.
And here’s the cover, illustrated by Ricardo Bessa!
(Alt text: Two makeup influencers standing side-by-side in front of a countertop crowded with an assortment of makeup, cosplay materials, and costuming.)
Stacey Anthony (they/them) is a non-binary tabletop gamer, amateur cosplayer, big time reader, excitable introvert, and a devoted pet parent. They collect patches from national parks, complain their way through yoga poses, and love to write happily ever afters. https://staceyanthony.carrd.co
Always a delight to get to reveal a great queer Middle Grade cover, and today’s is none other than Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon, a nonbinary contemporary MG releasing from Feiwel & Friends on May 30, 2023! Here’s the story:
Life isn’t easy on twelve-year-old Mars. As if seventh grade isn’t hard enough, Mars is also grappling with the recent death of their father and a realization they never got to share with him: they’re nonbinary. But with their skates laced up and the ice under their feet, all of those struggles melt away. When Mars’ triple toe loop draws the attention of a high school hot shot, he dares them to skate as a boy so the two can compete head-to-head. Unable to back down from a challenge, Mars accepts. But as the competition draws near, the struggles of life off the rink start to complicate their performance in the rink, and Mars begins to second guess if there’s a place for them on the ice at all.
Alt text: The title “Skating on Mars” fills the top half of the image; a young figure skater with short hair, black clothing, and white skates poses with a lightning bolt across their chest; in the ice below the skater’s feet there is a rainbow and the reflection of the skates is black; at the bottom, there is the name “Caroline Huntoon”
Caroline Huntoon is an author and educator. They write middle grade fiction across genres. Caroline lives with their feisty child, Winifred, in Ypsilanti, MI. Skating on Mars is their debut novel and will be published on May 30, 2023 by Feiwel and Friends. Find out more about Caroline and their work at CarolineHuntoon.com.
Jonny Garza Villa’s Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun is one of my all-time favorite gay YA romances, so I’m extra thrilled to be revealing the cover of their gorgeous new book on the site today! Ander and Santi Were Here is about a a nonbinary Mexican-American teen muralist who falls in love with an undocumented Mexican waiter at their family’s taqueria, and it releases April 11, 2023 from Wednesday Books! Here’s the official blurb:
Finding home. Falling in love. Fighting to belong.
The Santos Vista neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, is all Ander Lopez has ever known. The smell of pan dulce. The mixture of Spanish and English filling the streets. And, especially their job at their family’s taquería. It’s the place that has inspired Ander as a muralist, and, as they get ready to leave for art school, it’s all of these things that give them hesitancy. That give them the thought, are they ready to leave it all behind?
To keep Ander from becoming complacent during their gap year, their family “fires” them so they can transition from restaurant life to focusing on their murals and prepare for college. That is, until they meet Santiago Garcia, the hot new waiter. Falling for each other becomes as natural as breathing. Through Santi’s eyes, Ander starts to understand who they are and want to be as an artist, and Ander becomes Santi’s first steps toward making Santos Vista and the United States feel like home.
Until ICE agents come for Santi, and Ander realizes how fragile that sense of home is. How love can only hold on so long when the whole world is against them. And when, eventually, the world starts to win.
And here’s the stunning cover, designed by Kerri Resnick and illustrated by Max Reed!
Jonny Garza Villa (they/them) is an author of contemporary young adult literature with characters and settings inspired by their own Tejane, Chicane, and queer identities. Whatever the storyline, Jonny ultimately hopes Latines, and, more specifically, queer Mexican American young people will feel seen in their writing. Their debut YA novel Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun was a Pura Belpré Honor Book and a Kirkus Best YA Fiction of 2021 selection. When not writing, Jonny enjoys reading, playing Dungeons and Dragons, visiting taquerías, listening to Selena, and caring for their many cacti children. They live in San Antonio.
I must confess that other than YA anthologies, I’m not much of a short story person, but I was really intrigued by Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin and decided to pick it up, figuring I’d read a couple of stories. Of course, I ended up devouring it and all its beautifully messy stories about gender and sexuality, falling in love with it, and blogging about it for Buzzfeed, and now I’m passing that love along to you in the hopes you’ll pick it up too (it releases May 31st from Catapult), whether or not you think you’re a short story reader!
In this delightful debut collection of prize-winning stories, queer, gender-nonconforming, and trans characters struggle to find love and forgiveness, despite their sometimes comic, sometimes tragic mistakes.
In one story, a young lesbian tries to have a baby with her lover using an unprofessional sperm donor and a high-powered, rainbow-colored cocktail. In another, a fifth-grader explores gender identity by dressing as an ox—instead of a matriarch—for a class Oregon Trail reenactment. Meanwhile a nonbinary person on the eve of top surgery dangerously experiments with an open relationship during the height of the COVID crisis.
With insight and compassion, debut author Lydia Conklin takes their readers to a meeting of a queer feminist book club and to a convention for trans teenagers, revealing both the dark and lovable sides of their characters. The stories in RainbowRainbow will make you laugh and wince, sometimes at the same time.
Today on the site we’re revealing the extremely cute cover of Jude Saves the World by Ronnie Riley, a nonbinary middle grade contemporary with lots of varied queer rep that releases from Scholastic on April 18, 2023! Here’s the story:
Jude Winters might be in over their head. Maybe. But they’ll never admit it.
They befriend the ex-popular girl, Stevie Morgan, create an all-ages safe space at their local library with their best friend, Dallas Knight, and come out as nonbinary to their grandparents.
When the club becomes an overnight success, friendships crumble, and their grandparents act like they’re stuck in the Stone Age, Jude fights to keep their world from tearing itself apart. But a twelve-year-old can only handle so much.
And here’s the cover, designed by Maeve Norton with art by Ricardo Bessa!
Ronnie Riley (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary, neurodivergent, disabled author living with their partner in Ontario, Canada. They love tea, chocolate, and a cat (or six) nearby while they are writing or reading.
“Under the Gaydar” features books you might not realize have queer content but do! And definitely belong on your radar.
This edition is dedication to YA with trans and/or nonbinary main characters, with the aim of helping readers find books that explore gender identity and can more safely be read in unsafe spaces. Please note that most of these have some potentially triggering content, including transphobia and abuse, so I do encourage reading reviews, if that’s helpful to you. (And please do read the notes below as well.)
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore – This absolutely lovely m/f romance steeped in magical realism includes trans boy Sam as one half of the couple.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi – This was a Backlist Book of the Month on the site in 2021, so you can read a lot more about it here. For the sake of this post, I’ll just mention that the protagonist is a trans girl and that’s not in the copy.
I Was Born for Thisby Alice Oseman – Note: this is only under the gaydar with the British copy; the copy on the version coming out in the US in October 2022 does state that Jimmy is trans. You can get the UK version via Book Depository, Waterstones, or Blackwell’s.
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall – Note: This blurb can be read as Sapphic, so do read it carefully and consider your environment, but there’s no visible nod to the fact that the main character is either genderfluid or bigender.
Even if We Break by Marieke Nijkamp – In this gaming-themed thriller, there are five POVs, one of which belongs to a trans boy and another of which belongs to a nonbinary kid. The copy is 100% thriller-centric with no descriptions of the POVs to be found. (You can also find hidden nonbinary rep in one of the three POVs of Nijkamp’s newest YA thriller,At the End of Everything.)
For a books with gender questioning as a non-central element, check out This is How We Fly by Anna Meriano. (This is also true of And They Lived… by Steven Salvatore, though obviously that book is not under the gaydar. Feels like I should mention it, though, in case this is a thing someone is looking for where it’s not mentioned on the cover.)
Non-queer-specific anthologies are also great resources for hidden trans and/or nonbinary rep. You can find trans stories in: