The year started out with a spectacular rainbow confetti explosion of great queer girl representation in YA, and I’m pleased to note that now we’re about halfway through the year and more information about fall books is available. There are even more great YA books starring queer girls to look for in 2019!
It’s sometimes difficult to figure out which books have queer characters in them if character identities or love interests aren’t obvious in the publisher’s marketing. Sometimes marketing is cagey—I can only assume that’s a holdover from the days when the industry felt as though coming out and stating queer content might hurt a book’s chances in schools and libraries. But if 2019 has shown us anything, it’s that readers are hungry for these books, and while not every cover needs to have a rainbow on it, signaling to readers that a book centers queer characters and stories is actually a selling point! So go forth and BUY THESE BOOKS!
An Impossible Distance to Fall by Miriam McNamara
After her father took off with the crash of the stock market, Birdie is desperate for any sign of him. When she follows a clue to Coney Island, she falls in love with the circus she encounters, and is especially enchanted by a female daredevil pilot, June. Birdie hitches a ride with the circus to Chicago, where her father was last spotted. Along the way, she learns some hard truths about herself and the reality of a country wracked by the Depression.
Out July 2!
Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells
All Maren wants out of life is to spend her days with her girlfriend Kaia, building a life together. But when Kaia is kidnapped by a corrupt king, Maren realizes that the only way to get her back is if she steals one of the king’s dragons and uses the creature to storm the stronghold where Kaia is being kept. But doing so will embroil Maren in a long-simmering rebellion that proves much more complicated than she originally thought.
Out July 30!
The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical by Saundra Mitchell, Bob Martin, Chad Begulin, and Matthew Sklar
This novelization of the hit show is about Emma, an out lesbian who wants to dance with her girlfriend at prom before wrapping up her high school career. The only problem is that her girlfriend is Alyssa, the very closeted daughter of the PTA president who wants to cancel prom when she finds out that Emma wants to bring a girl to prom. Throw in a couple of Broadway stars who are advocating that love is love, and you have a bunch of prom mayhem in a small town!
Out September 15!
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus
Spanning two continents, this book is about two girls, one from Trinidad and one from Minnesota, who fall in love. Audre is sent from her home to live with her father in the U.S. after she is caught with her secret girlfriend. Mabel has been feeling off for months, and is uncertain about her friends and future when she meets Audre. The girls hit it off, but when the real reason Mabel has been unwell is revealed, their new relationship is put to the test.
Out September 17!
Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
This is not so much a new book as it is a new edition of a previously self-published book! It’s about Juliet, a Puerto Rican baby dyke from the Bronx who comes out to her family the evening before heading to Portland, Oregon, to intern for her favorite feminist queer writer. When coming out doesn’t go as planned, Juliet intends to pick herself up and figure out her identity in Oregon. Except, her hero doesn’t have all the answers, leaving Juliet to figure out her identity through trial and error.
Out September 17!
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
Violet and Sam are siblings who have grown up on family stories of their ancestor, who was on a ship called the Lyric when it sunk off the coast of Maine, and swam to shore and founded the town of the same name that they summer in every year. This summer, while Sam is in treatment after attempting suicide, Violet returns to Lyric and wants to find the original Lyric. She teams up with a budding local historian, Liv, and together they set out to find the shipwreck, all the while falling for each other.
Out October 1!
Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry
Raya is from a conservative town in Texas, and secretly in love with her best friend, Sarah. When the two are forcibly outed, they’re sent to a conversion camp that is supposed to teach them how to be straight. Raya has always been obsessed with myths, and imagines herself as Orpheus, returning home triumphantly after great trials. But in the face of the brutality and abuse of the camp, her goal simply becomes survival.
Out October 8!
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
In this graphic novel, Nova is a teen witch, apprenticing at her grandmother’s bookshop. When she hears rumors of a white wolf in the woods, she heads out into the night and comes upon the wolf, fighting a horse demon. The wolf is Tam, Nova’s childhood crush and a werewolf. They have tangled with forces much larger than themself, and so Tam and Nova team up to get down to the bottom of what is going on in their New England town!
Out October 15!
All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell
Something bad happened to Ava. She has the literal scars to prove it, and she doesn’t ever want to think about them. Now, she has a best friend and her tattoos and the promise of something new and wonderful with Hailey. But dark secrets in the woods threaten Ava’s happiness, and she must decide if someone else’s secrets are worth unearthing, if it’s worth facing her dark past, in order to move forward.
Out October 29!
Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan
In this sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire, lovers Lei and Wren have succeeded with their plot to kill the Demon King and have escaped, but their troubles are from over. They must unite far-flung clans and gain support for their cause, before Lei is captures and doubt and dark magic have the chance to tear her from Wren.
Out November 5!
Which books are you most excited for? Are there any we’ve missed? Give us a shout on social media!