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15 LGBTQ YA Audiobooks to Listen to in the Second Half of 2020

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Sarah Nicolas

Staff Writer

Sarah Nicolas is a recovering mechanical engineer, library event planner, and author who lives in Orlando with a 60-lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. Sarah writes YA novels as Sarah Nicolas and romance under the name Aria Kane. When not writing, they can be found playing volleyball or drinking wine. Find them on Twitter @sarah_nicolas.

Though I published my “15 LGBTQ YA Audioboks to Listen to in the First Half of 2020” list just six months ago, so much has changed in that time. What hasn’t changed is that 2020 is still an amazing year for queer young adult audiobooks. The good news is I have even more time to listen to them, with all the time I’m spending alone! So here are 15 more queer YA audiobooks releasing from July to December of 2020 (plus some bonus sequels).

Faith: Taking Flight by Julie Murphy

This is a prose origin story of Valiant Comics’s queer, plus-sized superhero. Faith is excited when her favorite TV show relocates to her town, but is the star’s interest in her a distraction from the disappearances that have started to plague the town? You may recognize narrator Joy Nash from her 2007 viral video “A Fat Rant” or her appearances on shows like The Fosters and Twin Peaks.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Margot has always lived alone with her manipulative, toxic mother, so when she finds clues pointing to the family she’s always wanted, she sets off to the strange town of Phalene and discovers twisted family secrets. Narrator Lauren Ezzo’s quiet, emotional style is a perfect fit for this book.

Book cover of Ghost Wood Song

Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

An atmospheric Southern Gothic about a girl named Shady Grove who inherited her dead father’s ability to summon ghosts with his fiddle. When her brother is accused of murder, she stops resisting the fiddle’s dark call in order to clear his name. This is the first of three books narrated by Jesse Vilinsky on this list.

I Kissed Alice

I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

I’ll admit I’m a sucker for stories about IRL enemies falling for each other behind secret online identities. Rhodes and Iliana are in fierce competition for a scholarship at their arts school, but are unknowingly collaborating on a webcomic via a fanfic site—and they’re starting to fall for each other. This one has dual narrators in Lori Prince and Jesse Vilinsky, which I think is vital for books with dual POVs of the same gender.

Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner

Honestly this perfect title is all the description I need. After Raina loses everything she based her life on and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes Millie out, they join forces to start an all-girl rival Mock Trial team determined to take down toxic masculinity. Narrator Khristine Hvam has performed over 300 audiobooks, including a brilliant reading of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

Releasing: August 18

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

A trans boy attempts to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin to prove himself to his traditional Latinx family. Instead, he accidentally summons the ghost of his school’s bad boy, who is determined to find out what happened to him. This appears to be narrator Avi Roque’s first audiobook.

Releasing: September 1

Who I Was with Her by Nita Tyndall

When Corinne’s secret girlfriend of a year dies, she’s left mourning a relationship no one in her life knew about. This book sounds guaranteed to make us cry, dealing with themes of loss, coming out, and living an honest life, even when it hurts. Prolific narrator Jesse Vilinsky is sure to deliver a heart-wrenching performance on this one.

Releasing: September 15

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

Xochitl has the ability to deliver troubled townspeople’s stories to the desert, absolving them of their guilt. But when she keeps a story, she takes a magical, dangerous journey across the desert with the daughter of her town’s cruel conqueror. Frankie Corzo, narrator of Mexican Gothic and many others, promises to deliver a delightful listening experience.

Releasing: September 15

Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

A thriller about a great cast of queer kids not only breaking out of the conversion therapy camp they’ve been sent to, but exposing it and tearing it down in the process. I’ve never listened to anything narrated by Daniel Henning, though he has done a lot in nonfiction and romance, so I look forward to discovering a new narrator!

Releasing: September 15

How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi

The publisher pitches this as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda goes to Italy, but it also features an interview with a U.S. Customs officer as a narrative frame, so I expect it to be a little bit more serious. Eighteen-year-old Amir runs away to Rome after coming out to his family gets messy. Award-winning narrator Vikas Adam reads this one, so your ears are in for a treat.

Releasing: September 22

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

A girl expected to be named heir to the galactic empire finds herself on an adventurous race through space, competing to win the crown she never wanted. Every review I’ve read has called this book “fun,” which is honestly something we could all use right now. Narrator Reba Buhr is new to me, but not new to narration.

Releasing: September 29

The Shadow War by Lindsay Smith

An alternate history set during WWII where five queer teens with axes to grind wield dark forces from an alternate dimension to save humanity from the Nazis. No word yet on the narrators for this book, but I would love to hear a different actor for each main character.

Releasing: October 13

This Is All Your Fault

This is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi

Three very different young women find out that the cool indie bookstore they love working at is going to close. Over the course of 24 hours, Rinn, Daniella, and Imogen work together to save the store. No narrators announced on this one yet!

Releasing: October 13

My Heart Underwater by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

When Corazon’s mother catches her kissing one of the female teachers at her Catholic school, she’s sent to live with her half brother in the Philippines, where she’ll finally learn how to trust her heart. No narrator announced for this one yet, but I would love to see a Filipina actress for this one!

Releasing: October 20

The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

May I interest you in a sapphic drama club romcom between a very serious stage manager and a sweet up-and-coming actress who can’t act on their feelings because of a curse that threatens to destroy their production of Les Mis? This one sounds delightful and I can’t wait to see who they cast as the narrator(s).

Releasing: December 1

In putting this list together, I wanted to focus on standalones and first-in-series books, but I also have five sequels I would be remiss not to include. If you haven’t read any of the earlier books in the series listed below, I recommend you get caught up!

  • Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram, narrated by Michael Levi Harris, releasing August 25
  • Gold Wings Rising by Alex London, narrated by Brittany Pressley & Michael Crouch, releasing September 1
  • Iron Heart by Nina Varela, narrated by Kim Mai Guest, releasing September 8
  • Storm the Earth by Rebecca Kim Wells, narrated by Catherine Ho, releasing October 13
  • The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco, narrated by Amy Landon, Karissa Vacker, Emily Rankin, Anthony Rey Perez, & Emily Woo Zeller, releasing November 10