Representation of the LGBTQIA+ youth in YA (young adult) literature is still seeing a rise. However, 2020’s share of YA books tell us that the book industry is finally showing signs of diversity. This year, tales with transgender, intersex, nonbinary youth as protagonists are coming under the spotlight. Also, “queer people with colour as heroes” stories too.
We have shortlisted some of 2020’s best queer YA books that you MUST dive into. Take a look.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
In this paranormal YA debut, our protagonist Yadriel wishes to become a brujx. This is to get accepted into his Latinx traditional family for his true gender identity. In his journey, he ends up summoning the ghost of the resident bad boy of his school. Thomas told Teen Vogue, “There’s also a lot of joy we experience because of our identities, and I wanted to show the good along with the bad.”
“Writing Yadriel’s story has given me more courage to embrace my identity, and humor has helped me through some rough times. My hope is my readers will see themselves in his story and feel inspired, too — and if they have a good laugh along the way, all the better!”, they added.
This books is expected to release on September 1st.
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
It’s been two hundred years since Cinderella met her Prince Charming. The kingdom now needs teenage girls to appear for the Annual Ball, where the men of this kingdom will choose their brides. Enter Sophia – a sixteen year old who likes the idea of tying the knot with her childhood bestie Erin way better – than some random ‘man’. She eventually flees the ball and meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella. Constance is just as interested in breaking the patriarchy as Sophia.
This book is set to release on the 7th of July.
The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
“This story is charming, fascinating, and terrifying. 17-year-old Marisol and her sister are detained in the US after fleeing El Salvador under the threat of death. But the government gives Marisol a chance at a new life. If she agrees to take the grief of another into her own body through an experimental medical study, she’ll be free and she’ll keep her sister safe”, said Phil Stamper, a queer YA author about this book to Gay Star News.
“She takes this deal, and what transpires is a twisty, bizarrely believable, story about mental illness, grief, and somehow, love”, he adds.
Phil Stamper is the author of the famous novel – The Gravity Of Us.
We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia
Nandan, a high school junior comes up with a plan to push his friend into the cool gang. However, hooking up with Dave after some party was definitely not part of his master plan. These two teen boys however decide to go for it. But, Nandan finds it extremely hard with understanding his sexuality. He is also completely torn between feeling “normal” and wishing to find the one person who will understand him the most. HarperCollins calls this book a “deeply felt story about rejecting labels, seeking connection, and finding yourself.”
Camp by LC Rosen
“One of my favorite books of the year, Camp really shines”, wrote Phil about this book.
“It’s a rom-com that follows flamboyant and confident teen Randy as he tries to win over the ‘masc for masc’ guy at his camp by reinventing himself as the perfect ‘straight-acting’ guy”, he explained.
He also added that, “it’s such a bad plan, and everyone around him knows it, which is actually what makes this book so compelling. The supporting cast will keep you laughing, and Randy will have you cringing in the most relatable way.”
Where We Go From Here by Lucas Rocha, translated by Larissa Helena
It’s a novel originally written in Brazilian by author Lucas Rocha. This debut talks about the tale of three young boys in Rio de Janeiro. Ian just recently tested as HIV positive. Victor, tested negative. And Henrique, Victor’s partner, just reveals to him that he’s been HIV positive for the past three years. Although Henrique and he are at odds, Victor gets Henrique and Ian in touch with each other for support and unity.
This one is a beautiful tale of self-acceptance and friendship.
Late To The Party by Kelly Quindlen
“High school friendships are not always easy. In Late to the Party, we see this really aspirational friendship between three queer teens start to erode. Because, while Codi loves her friends, they also keep her from becoming the person she wants to be. Even if she isn’t sure who that person is just yet,” explained Phil.
“This book perfectly captures the exciting feeling of falling into a new group of friends, having them see you as a completely different person, and having to reconcile your new self with who your old friends know you as. Codi and Lydia’s love story is SUPER cute, and I wasn’t able to put this down for a minute,” added Phil.
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