Joy, to the World by Kai Shappley and Lisa Bunker
Joy, a twelve-year-old trans girl, just moved to Texas with her mother and older brother. Her family has accepted Joy as the girl she is early in her transition, with little fuss, leaving Joy to explore her love of sports, competition, teamwork, school spirit, and worship.
But when she is told she’s off the cheerleading team, Joy wants to fight for her right to cheer. As her battle with the school board picks up momentum, Joy attracts support from kids all around the country . . . she even gets the attention of her hero, trans activist Kai Shappley.
Inspired by Kai’s own life, Joy, to the World is a timely story of living life to the fullest, celebrating and centering trans joy, courage, and resilience.
The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Deya Muniz
Lady Camembert wants to live life on her own terms, without marriage. Well, without marrying a man, that is. But the law of the land is that women cannot inherit. So when her father passes away, she does the only thing she can: She disguises herself as a man and moves to the capital city of the Kingdom of Fromage to start over as Count Camembert.
But it’s hard to keep a low profile when the beautiful Princess Brie, with her fierce activism and great sense of fashion, catches her attention. Camembert can’t resist getting to know the princess, but as the two grow closer, will she able to keep her secret?
A romantic comedy about mistaken identity, true love, and lots of grilled cheese.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come by Jen St. Jude
Avery Byrne has secrets. She’s queer; she’s in love with her best friend, Cass; and she’s suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to live: an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.
Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.
If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is a celebration of queer love, a gripping speculative narrative, and an urgent, conversation-starting book about depression, mental health, and shame.
This is the Way the World Ends by Jen Wilde
As an autistic scholarship student at the prestigious Webber Academy in New York City, Waverly is used to masking to fit in—in more ways than one. While her classmates are the children of the one percent, Waverly is getting by on tutoring gigs and the generosity of the school’s charming and enigmatic dean. So when her tutoring student and resident “it girl” asks Waverly to attend the school’s annual fundraising Masquerade disguised as her, Waverly jumps at the chance—especially once she finds out that Ash, the dean’s daughter and her secret ex-girlfriend, will be there.
The Masquerade is everything Waverly dreamed of, complete with extravagant gowns, wealthy parents writing checks, and flowing champagne. Most importantly, there’s Ash. All Waverly wants to do is shed her mask and be with her, but the evening takes a sinister turn when Waverly stumbles into a secret meeting between the dean and the school’s top donors—and witnesses a brutal murder. This gala is harboring far more malevolent plots than just opening parents’ pocketbooks. Before she can escape or contact the authorities, a mysterious global blackout puts the entire party on lockdown. Waverly’s fairy tale has turned into a nightmare, and she, Ash, and her friends must navigate through a dizzying maze of freight elevators, secret passageways, and back rooms if they’re going to survive the night.
And even if they manage to escape the Masquerade, with technology wiped out all over the planet, what kind of world will they find waiting for them beyond the doors?
They Hate Each Other by Amanda Woody
There are plenty of words Jonah Collins could use to describe Dylan Ramírez. “Arrogant,” “spoiled,” and “golden boy” to name a few. Likewise, Dylan thinks he has Jonah accurately labeled as an attention-seeking asshat who never shuts his filthy mouth. Their friends are convinced Jonah’s and Dylan’s disdain for one another is just thinly veiled lust—a rumor that surges like wildfire when the two wake up in one bed after homecoming. Mutually horrified, Dylan and Jonah agree to use the faux pas to their advantage by fake dating. If they can stay convincing long enough to end their “relationship” in a massive staged fight, they can prove their incompatibility to their friends once and for all. But the more time they spend together, the more their plan begins to fall apart—and the closer they come to seeing each other clearly for the first time.
You Don’t Have a Shot by Racquel Marie
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.
Only This Beautiful Moment by Abdi Nazemian
2019. Moud is an out gay teen living in Los Angeles with his distant father, Saeed. When Moud gets the news that his grandfather in Iran is dying, he accompanies his dad to Tehran, where the revelation of family secrets will force Moud into a new understanding of his history, his culture, and himself.
1978. Saeed is an engineering student with a promising future ahead of him in Tehran. But when his parents discover his involvement in the country’s burgeoning revolution, they send him to safety in America, a country Saeed despises. And even worse—he’s forced to live with the American grandmother he never knew existed.
1939. Bobby, the son of a calculating Hollywood stage mother, lands a coveted MGM studio contract. But the fairy-tale world of glamour he’s thrust into has a dark side.
Set against the backdrop of Tehran and Los Angeles, this tale of intergenerational trauma and love is an ode to the fragile bonds of family, the hidden secrets of history, and all the beautiful moments that make us who we are today.
Breakup, Makeup by Stacey Anthony
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.
The Rules of Us by Jennifer Nissley
Jillian and Henry are the kind of couple who do everything together. They take the same classes, have the same hobbies, and applied for the same super-competitive scholarship so they can go to the same dream college. They even come out as gay to each other on the same night, after junior prom, prompting a sudden breakup that threatens their intertwined identities and carefully designed future. Jillian knows the only way to keep everything on track is to approach their breakup with the same precision and planning as their scholarship application. They will still be “Jillian and Henry”—even if they’re broken up.
Except they hadn’t planned on Henry meeting the boy of his dreams or Jillian obsessing over a cool girl at school. Jillian is desperate to hold on to her best friend when so much else is changing. But as she and Henry explore what—and who—they really want, it becomes harder to hold on to the careful definitions she has always lived her life by. Stuck somewhere between who she was with Henry and who she might be on her own, Jillian has to face what she can’t control and let go of the rules holding her back.
Graveyard of Lost Children by Katrina Monroe (May 9th)
At four months old, Olivia Dahl was almost murdered. Driven by haunting visions, her mother became obsessed with the idea that Olivia was a changeling, and that the only way to get her real baby back was to make a trade with the “dead women” living at the bottom of the well. Now Olivia is ready to give birth to a daughter of her own…and for the first time, she hears the women whispering.
Everyone tells Olivia she should be happy. She should be glowing, but the birth of her daughter only fills Olivia with dread. As Olivia’s body starts giving out, slowly deteriorating as the baby eats and eats and eats, she begins to fear that the baby isn’t her daughter at all and, despite her best efforts, history is repeating itself.
Soon images of a black-haired woman plague Olivia’s nightmares, drawing her back to the well that almost claimed her life―tying mother and daughter together in a desperate cycle of fear and violence that must be broken if Olivia has any hope of saving her child…or herself.
Bang Bang Bodhisattva by Aubrey Wood
Someone wants trans girl hacker-for-hire Kiera Umehara in prison or dead—but for what? Failing to fix their smart toilet?
It’s 2032 and we live in the worst cyberpunk future. Kiera is gigging her ass off to keep the lights on, but her polycule’s social score is so dismal they’re about to lose their crib. That’s why she’s out here chasing cheaters with Angel Herrera, a luddite P.I. who thinks this is The Big Sleep. Then the latest job cuts too deep—hired to locate Herrera’s ex-best friend (who’s also Kiera’s pro bono attorney), they find him murdered instead. Their only lead: a stick of Nag Champa incense dropped at the scene.
Next thing Kiera knows, her new crush turns up missing—sans a hand (the real one, not the cybernetic), and there’s the familiar stink of sandalwood across the apartment. Two crimes, two sticks of incense, Kiera framed for both. She told Herrera to lose her number, but now the old man might be her only way out of this bullshit…
Boyslut by Zachary Zane
As a boy, Zachary Zane sensed that all was not right when images of his therapist naked popped into his head. Without an explanation as to why, a deep sense of shame pervaded these thoughts. Though his therapist assured him a little imagination was nothing to be ashamed of, over the years, society told him otherwise.
Boyslut is a series of personal and tantalizing essays that articulate how our society still shames people for the sex that they have and the sexualities that they inhabit. Through the lens of his bisexuality and much self-described sluttiness, Zane breaks down exactly how this sexual shame negatively impacts the sex and relationships in our lives, and through personal experience, shares how we can unlearn the harmful, entrenched messages that society imparts to us.
From stories of drug-fueled threesomes and risqué Grindr hookups to insights on dealing with rejection and living with his boyfriend and his wife, Boyslut is reassuring and often painfully funny—but is most potently a testimony that we can all learn to live healthier lives unburdened by stigma.
GATSBY by Jeremy Holt (text) and Felipe Cunha (illustration)
When middle-class Singaporean student Lu Zhao is invited to spend a summer on Long Island with his rich cousin, Tommy, before attending Columbia University in the fall, his assimilation into the opulent American lifestyle straps him into a collision course fueled by designer drugs, sex, deceit, and murder. Set in present-day Long Island, Gatsby reimagines F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel as an LGBTQ-tinged, multicultural thriller for the Internet age.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
The Problem with Perfect by Philip William Stover (11th)
When style is everything, will Ethan learn that true beauty is on the inside?
Chase Myles can throw together a swinging dinner party or redecorate an entire townhouse with jaw-dropping elegance. Followers scroll his Insta and see effortless workouts, exotic travel, and an adoring boyfriend. The world believes Chase is a style icon. The world is mistaken.
Ethan Wells is actually the one who knows what to wear, what to eat and how to do it but he’s happy staying behind the scenes producing their hit LGBTQ show Myles of Style. When Chase walks off set just before the Pride live TV show that will make or break Ethan’s career, Ethan thinks it’s just another tantrum… until Chase’s Instagram shows him partying hard in Abu Dhabi.
Out of options, Ethan drives up to rural New York to convince Chase’s estranged twin, Beau, to pass him off as Chase for a week, but Ethan finds a hairy, rugged mountain man who couldn’t be more different from his social butterfly, influencer brother.
Can Ethan transform Beau into the star of the show and fool his bosses and Chase’s followers? And when Beau turns out to be kind, romantic and everything that Chase is not, does he really want Chase back, anyway?
Buy it: Amazon