Rainbow Book List

The 2021 Rainbow Book List

Posted by: Rainbow Project on: February 10, 2021

The Rainbow Book List, now in its 14th year, is an annual annotated bibliography consisting of quality LGBTQIA+ literature intended for readers from birth to age 18. This resource guide is meant to assist librarians, educators, parents, and others to ensure that everyone from babies and children to tweens and teens have access to selecting quality books with significant content regarding inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and all that extends throughout the Rainbow spectrum.

The 2021 Rainbow Book List compiles some of the best LGBTQIA+ titles published in the USA and Canada between July 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. This year’s committee evaluated close to 600 eligible titles and selected a total of 129 titles. 

We’re delighted to see so many remarkable offerings in the expanding landscape of LGBTQIA+ literature for youth. The range of these contributions ensures that more young readers can see themselves reflected in the pages of a book. This year’s offerings give us everything from precious board books, touching picture books, astonishing true stories and biographies of remarkable people. We provide you with titles that incorporate the wide and varied lives of young people, non-fiction titles that challenge the status quo, and fiction that will break your heart and mend it together again. 

As a result of the sheer number of eligible titles and those ultimately chosen, for the first time in its history the committee separated these exceptional selections by age and created two Top 10 Titles lists. The Rainbow Book List Committee is ecstatic to provide theseTop 10 lists: one intended for preschool through middle grade; the other intended for teen readers. An asterisk (*) indicates that title has been selected for one of the two Top 10 lists.

The Rainbow Book List is brought to you by the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association. Members of the 2021 Rainbow Book List are: Jenna Ingham (chair), East Brunswick Public Library (NJ); Angharad Daly, Pima County Public Library (AZ); Alex Falck, Chicago Public Library (IL); Shanna Hollich, John Stewart Memorial Library at Wilson College (PA); Amanda Melilli, UNLV Teacher Development & Resources Library (NV); Roz Posley, (DC); Simone Pyle, The Newton School (VT); Laura Russell, College of the Mainland Library (TX); Kristi Sadowski, Southington Public Library & Museum (CT); Caitlin Young, New Orleans Public Library (LA); Ashley Vassar Balay, Licking County Library (OH); and Kel Rowan (administrative assistant), Ocean County Library (NJ).

2021 Rainbow Book List Top 10 Titles for Young Readers
2021 Rainbow Book List Top 10 Titles for Teen Readers

Board Books

Joosten, Michael and Wednesday Holmes (Illustrator). Pride 1 2 3. 2020. 22p. Simon & Schuster: Little Simon, $7.99 (9781534464995). Ages 1 to 5. Board book/Counting and Numbers. Bright primary colors and diverse figures illustrate this rhyming, counting board book about a Pride parade.

Little Feminist. We Are Little Feminists: Families. 2020. 14p. Little Feminist, $8.00 (9781734182422). Ages 0 to 5. Board book. This board book showcases pictures of real-life families of all different genders, ethnicities, and identities. Includes simple accompanying text that helps build vocabulary and highlight the importance of family connection.

Picture Book Nonfiction

*Burgess, Matthew and Josh Cochran (Illustrator). Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring. 2020. 64p. Enchanted Lion Books/Ingram, $18.95 (9781592702671). Ages 6 to 14. Biography. This colorful picture-book biography traces the life and art of Keith Haring.

*Mercurio, Peter and Leo Espinosa (Illustrator). Our Subway Baby. 2020. 40p. Penguin Random House, $17.99 (9780525427544). Ages 4 to 8. Adoption Non-fiction. Loving illustrations help tell the story of how an infant abandoned in a NYC subway station was adopted by the man who found him and his partner.

Robillard, Evie and Rachel Katstaller (Illustrator). Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. 2020. 48p,  Kids Can Press, $17.99 (9781525300561). Ages 6 to 9. Biography. Soft illustrations, quotes from Stein’s works, and free-verse poetry sketch the outlines of Stein and Toklas’ (but mostly Stein’s) lives together in Paris.

Robinson, Lisa and Lauren Simkin Berke (Illustrator). Were I Not a Girl: The Inspiring and True Story of Dr. James Barry. 2020. 40p. Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (9781984849052). Ages 4-8. Biography. A picture book biography of Dr. James Barry, who was assigned female at birth but lived as a man from age 18 until his death. Straightforward and sensitive, Were I Not a Girl acknowledges both the difficulty of discussing historical gender-nonconforming figures in modern terms, and the importance of knowing they existed.

Sanders, Rob and Nabi Ali (Illustrator). The Fighting Infantryman: The Story of Albert D.J. Cashier, Transgender Civil War Soldier. 2020. 48p. little bee books, $18.99 (9781499809367). Ages 6 to 9. Biography. This picture book biography, published in partnership with GLAAD, details the life of Albert D.J. Cashier, a transgender Union Soldier.

Picture Book Fiction

Brannen, Sarah S. and Lucia Soto (Illustrator). Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. 2020. 32p. little bee books, $17.99 (9781499810080) Ages 3-6. Realistic Fiction. A young girl is worried that her uncle’s impending marriage means she’ll lose him, but she learns that instead, she’ll be gaining another wonderful uncle!

Kirsch, Vincent X. From Archie to Zack. 2020. 40p. Abrams/Abrams BFYR, $17.99 (9781419743672). Ages 4-8. Realistic Fiction. Archie writes letters to his friend, Zack, telling him that he loves him. Not ready to share his words with Zack, Archie instead hides his notes in various spots around the neighborhood. Will Archie and Zack ever be able to tell each other how they feel? This sweet picture book captures the deep feelings two children can have for each other.

Kirst, Seamus and Devon Holzwarth (Illustrator). Papa, Daddy, and Riley. 2020. 32p. Magination Press, $14.99 (9781433832390). Ages 4-8. Realistic Fiction. When a classmate asks Riley which of her dads is her real dad, she worries that she will have to choose between her Papa and her Daddy. She instead learns that all it takes to make a family is love. Diverse characters and family representations round out this lovingly written picture book.

Lukoff, Kyle and Luciano Lozano (Illustrator). Call Me Max. 2019. 32p. Reycraft Books, $17.95 (9781478868620). Ages 7-9. Realistic Fiction. Max, a young trans boy, transitions at school and comes out to his parents while explaining gender identity to the audience and exploring the difference between gender-nonconformity and transness.

Lyons, Maddox, Jessica Verdi and Dana Simpson (Illustrator). I’m Not a Girl. 2020. 40p. Macmillan: Roaring Brook Press, $18.99 (9780374310684). Ages 3-6. Realistic Fiction. After trying for months to assert his identity as a boy, Hannah finally learns the word “transgender” and comes out to his parents, who support him and help him socially transition.

Manushkin, Fran and Kate Alizadeh (Illustrator). Plenty of Hugs. 2020. 32p. Dial, $17.99 (9780525554011) Ages 2-5. Realistic Fiction. Two moms reassure their baby that the world is wide, wonderful, and plentiful.

*Neal, DeShanna, Trinity Neal, and Art Twink (Illustrator). My Rainbow. 2020. 32p. Kokila, $17.99 (9781984814609). Ages 4-8. Realistic Fiction. Autistic trans girl Trinity wants to have long hair, but growing it out is too itchy! None of the wigs in the store are quite right, so Mom makes Trinity a special rainbow wig.

*Pitman, Gayle E. and Violet Tobacco (Illustrator). My Maddy. 2020. 32p. Magination Press, $14.99 (9781433830440). Ages 4-8. Realistic Fiction. My Maddy is a heartwarming story about a young girl and her parent. Readers learn that not all parents are boys or girls; some parents are just themselves. In this young girl’s case, that parent is her Maddy, a loving, caring parent who lives outside the gender binary.

Royce, Ellie and Hannah Chambers (Illustrator). Auntie Uncle: Drag Queen Hero. 2020. 32p. powerHouse Books, $17.99 (9781576879351). Ages 3-7. Realistic Fiction. Told from the perspective of their adoring nephew, this is the story of a courageous drag queen who saves the day and brings two communities together.

Juvenile Nonfiction

Grinapol, Corinne. Who Was Harvey Milk?.  2020. 112p. Penguin/Penguin Workshop, $15.99 (9781524792794). Ages 8-12. Biography. This biography of gay pioneer Harvey Milk is short and punchy, packing in ample information about Milk’s childhood and young adulthood as well as the historical context in which he lived. Charcoal illustrations complement the straightforward text and bring Milk to vivacious life.

*Simon, Rachel E. and Noah Grigni (Illustrator). The Every Body Book: LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families. 2020. 96p.Jessica Kingsley Publishers, $19.95 (9781787751736). Ages 8 to 12. Nonfiction/Health. Filled with self-affirming information, The Every Body Book uses inclusive language, illustrations, and facts to cover a number of important topics for young people including consent, relationships, gender, sex, puberty, and hormones.

Juvenile Fiction

Bosch, Pseudonymous and Shane Pangburn (Illustrator). Unbelievable Oliver and Sawed-in-Half Dads. 2020. 208p. Penguin Young Readers, $16.99 (9780525552352). Ages 7 to 9. Mystery. In this sequel that also stands alone, Oliver performs his magic act at a wedding rehearsal and one of the grooms goes missing.

Cassidy, Sara and Charlene Chua (Illustrator). Genius Jolene. 2020. 112p. Orca Books, $7.95 (9781459825291). Ages 6 to 8. Beginning Chapter Book. Eight-year-old Jolene goes on her annual trip in her dad’s 18-wheeler, the first one since her parents divorced and her dad came out as gay.

Hernandez, Carlos. Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe. 2020. 432p. Rick Riordan Presents,  $16.99 (9781368022835). Ages 8 to 12. Science Fiction. Sal has type 1 diabetes, the ability to travel between universes, a best friend named Gabi, and an inventor papi. When Evil Gabi appears from another universe, she claims that Papi’s latest creation will end in disaster. Can Sal and Gabi thwart Evil Gabi, save the universe from Papi, AND pull off the greatest parents’ night their arts-magnet school has ever seen?

Klas, Benjamin and Fian Arroyo (Illustrator). Second Dad Summer. 2020. 224p. Lerner/One Elm Books,  $16.99 (9781947159242). Ages 8 to 12. Realistic Fiction. While living with his dad one summer, Jeremiah has to deal with Michael–his dad’s boyfriend–and the grumpy old man who lives in their building. In getting to know them, Jeremiah learns a little bit about the history of Pride and grows comfortable with Michael’s flamboyancy.

Rivera, Lilliam and Elle Power (Illustrator). Goldie Vance: The Hotel Whodunit. 2020. 264p. Brown Books for Young Readers, $14.99 (9780316456647). Ages 8 to 12. Mystery. Inspired by the comic series, Goldie tries solving the mystery of the missing diamond cap from a film set in this middle-grade novel.

Rosewater, Kit and Sophie Escabasse. Derby Daredevils #1: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team. 2020. 176p. Abrams/Abrams BFYR, $14.99 (9781419740794). Ages 8 to 12. Sports Fiction/Roller Derby. This middle-grades novel follows Kenzie as she forms a junior roller derby team, makes new friends, and deals with her first crush.

Middle Grade Nonfiction

Harris, Duchess. LGBTQ Discrimination in America. 2019. 112p. Abdo, $25.95 (9781532119057). Ages 8 to 12. Information. This slim nonfiction volume gives a quick overview of the laws, opinions, and social norms that have lead to discrimination of people in the LGBTQ+ community. Includes a glossary, source notes, links to further reading, and an index.

Harris, Duchess. LGBTQ Service in the Armed Forces. 2019. 112p. Abdo, $25.95 (9781532119071). Ages 8 to 12. Information. Follows the progress and the setbacks of LGBTQ+ servicemembers throughout history, up to the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Harris, Duchess. LGBTQ Social Movements in America. 2019. 112p. Abdo, $25.95 (9781532119088). Ages 8 to 12. Information. This nonfiction primer introduces teen readers to the history of queer activism in the U.S.

Houtman, Jacqueline and Walter Naegle, Michael G. Long. Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington. 2019.160p. City Lights Books, $13.95  (9780872867659). Ages 12 and up. Biography. Troublemaker for Justice recounts the life and activism of Bayard Rustin, who was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement and taught the principles of nonviolent resistance to many people, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Because he was gay, though, he was deliberately kept out of prominent leadership roles and was not given credit for his contributions. This book was co-written by Rustin’s longtime partner, Walter Naegle, and places particular emphasis on the formative role that Quakerism played in Rustin’s life.

Stevenson, Robin. 2020. 168p. Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle. Orca, $24.95 (9781459821248). Ages 9-12. Nonfiction. A necessary primer that celebrates LGBTQ+ victories over the past 50 years, this expanded edition of the 2016 publication focuses more deeply on activism and the need to continue fighting for equality. Updates also include new Proud Moments and Queer Facts, a section on being an ally, and profiles of activists, families, and others in the LGBTQ+ community from around the world.

Middle Grade Fiction

Bean, Lexie. The Ship We Built. 2020. 288p. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (9780525554837). Ages 10 to 14. Epistolary. Fifth-grader Rowan doesn’t have anyone he can talk to–about losing his friends, about being a boy, about his dad coming to his room at night–so instead he writes letters and ties them to balloons, hoping they’ll float away to be found by someone who will listen. Gradually, he becomes close friends with a girl named Sophie, and their friendship grows strong enough to sustain them both through difficult times.

Bildner, Phil. High Five for Glenn Burke. 2020. 278p. Macmillan/Farrar Straus & Giroux. BFYR, $16.99 (9780374312732). Ages 10 to 13. Sports Fiction/Baseball. Sixth-grader Silas is a great baseball player, but he’s worried about what will happen if anyone finds out that he’s gay. He knows all about Glenn Burke–the inventor of the high five and first openly gay baseball player–and how his career was ruined by homophobia. After coming out to his best friend and his coach, Silas panics and fumbles–can he rescue his friendship and get back in the game?

*Callender, Kacen. King and the Dragonflies. 2020. 259p. Scholastic, $17.99. (9781338129335). Ages 8 to 12. Realistic Fiction. King’s family–especially his father–have strong opinions about what it means to be a Black man, and they don’t allow for being gay. But King admires his friend Sandy for escaping an abusive home and living his truth no matter what. If King comes out, too, can his father learn to change?

Connor, Leslie. Home for Goddesses and Dogs. 2020. 385p. HarperCollins/Tegen, $16.99 (9780062796783). Ages 10 and up. Realistic Fiction. Lydia is mature beyond her 13 years; from the time her father left when she was 6, she lived alone with her mother and her failing heart–just days ago, Lydia held her mother as she died. Now she’s living in rural Chelmsford, NY, with her two aunts, an old man, and a couple dogs. Lydia’s never been a dog person, but as she bonds with a troublesome new rescue, she finds it easier to trust in the love of her new family.

Nuanez, J.M.M. Birdie and Me. 2020. 256p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson, $16.99 (9780399186776). Ages 10 and up. Realistic Fiction. Jack and her younger brother, Birdie, lost their mother in a car accident and are removed from their Uncle Carl’s house after missing too much school. Now they have to adjust to Uncle Patrick, who keeps his distance and won’t let Birdie wear the feminine clothing he likes. Accustomed to a parental role, Jack tries to take charge of the situation and protect Uncle Carl from his poor decision-making, but she needs the flawed adults surrounding her to step up and take the burden off her shoulders.

Ryon, Loriel. Into the Tall, Tall Grass.  2020. 336p. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry, $17.99 (9781534449671). Ages 10 and up. Magical Realism. Loriel Ryon’s debut novel, Into the Tall, Tall Grass, follows the journey of pre-teen Yolanda, who is seeking understanding around grief, love, and growth. Wela, Yolanda’s grandmother is in her final days, but not if Yolanda can help it. Wela could be saved, if Yolanda can get her across the family land in time. It’s during this journey that Yolanda learns the truth about her family, their magic, and the friends who help her along the way.

*Sass, A.J. Ana on the Edge. 2020. 384p. Hachette/Little Brown BFYR,  $16.99 (9780316458610). Ages 8 to 12. Sports Fiction/Figure Skating. Ana is a champion figure-skater. She hates her new princess-themed program, but how can she tell her mother that, when it cost so much money? And why does it bother her so much, anyway? When she finds the word ‘nonbinary,’ she realizes why the program doesn’t fit, but she still has a lot of work to do repairing relationships that have suffered in the meantime.

Stead, Rebecca. The List of Things that Will Not Change. 2020. 224p. Wendy Lamb Books, $16.99 (9781101938096). Ages 8 to 12. Realistic Fiction. When Bea’s dad tells her that he and his boyfriend, Jesse, are getting married and that she will be getting a new sibling, Bea is thrilled, but she soon realizes that people and relationships aren’t as straightforward as she would like them to be.

Tamaki, Mariko. Lumberjanes: Ghost Cabin. 2019. 256p. Abrams/Amulet, $14.99 (9781419733611). Ages 8 to 12. Adventure. The Lumberjanes are having a bad day! In an attempt to cheer up Molly, Mal suggests they tackle the Case of the Missing Socks, little suspecting that it will lead to a cabin occupied by the ghosts of former Lumberjanes and–of course!–a quest for an ancient, mystical object.

Young Adult Nonfiction

Eli, Adam and Ashley Lukashevsky (Illustrator). New Queer Conscience. 2020. 64p.  Penguin/Penguin Workshop, $8.99 (9780593093689). Ages 12 and up. Manifesto. In this installment of the popular Pocket Change Collective series, activist Adam Eli explores how aspects of his Jewish faith, namely kindness and support, can be used to bring together the queer community into a stronger and more responsible “global conciousness.”

Finke, Leigh. Queerfully and Wonderfully Made: A Guide for LGBTQ+ Christian Teens. 2020. 260p. Beaming Books, $16.99 (9781506465241). Ages 12 to 18. Inspirational. This affirming nonfiction book sets out to answer the questions that many young LGBTQ+ Christians may have about how their identity intersects with their religion. It features information from LGBTQ+ professionals and testimonies from young adult queer Christians.

*Johnson, George M. All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto. 2020. 320p. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (9780374312718). Ages 14 to 18. Memoir. “Memoir-manifesto” is a well-chosen label for this book, which relates stories from the author’s childhood and young adulthood and contextualizes them within a queer Black experience. Although the author’s family is loving and supportive, pervasive heteronormativity, queerphobia, and anti-Black racism threaten his mental, emotional, and physical safety.

Mckenna, Miles. Out!: How to be Your Authentic Self. 2020. 224p. Abrams/Amulet, $19.99 (9781419739941). Ages 13 and up. Self-Help. YouTube star and activist Miles McKenna draws from his own experiences publicly documenting his transition to create an inclusive guide to finding validation, inspiration, and support for LGBTQ+ teens exploring their own identities.

Vaid-Menon, Alok and Ashley Lukashevsky. Beyond the Gender Binary. 2020. 64p. Penguin/Penguin Workshop, $8.99 (9780593094655). Ages 12 and up. Autobiography. For those ready to move beyond blog posts but who aren’t ready to invest the time in an in-depth read, this book is essentially a long-form essay arguing that the gender binary is harmful and unnecessary. The first half explains what the gender binary is and how it functions in society, using the author’s experiences to demonstrate their points. In the second half, Vaid-Menon addresses common arguments against gender-nonconformity and the recognition of nonbinary genders.

Young Adult Fiction

Acevedo, Elizabeth. Clap When You Land. 2020. 432p. Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins, $18.99 (9780062882769). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. Camino and Yahaira are living separate lives in the Dominican Republic and New York City, respectively, when they each lose their father to a plane crash. The accident exposed a secret: their fathers were the same man, living a double life in DR and NYC. What does that mean for their memories of him, and for the future of their family?

Allen-Agostini, Lisa. Home Home. 2020. 153p. Delacorte, $17.99 (9781984893581). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. As if life wasn’t hard already, consider moving to Canada from Trinidad. It wasn’t her idea; her mother thought it would be best, given her condition. She’s currently living with her aunt, whom she barely remembers, but at least she’s nice. The thing is, how can she be expected to change or grow when everything in Canada is so cold? This place is the entire opposite of where she has been and it might be what she needs, but right now she’s not sure if she believes that. 

Atta, Dean. The Black Flamingo. 2020. 416p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (9780062990297). Ages 14 and up. Verse novel. A novel-in-verse based on the author’s experience growing up Black, mixed, and gay in London, from his childhood through his first drag performance as the Black Flamingo.

Bartlett, Claire Eliza. Winter Duke. 2020. 432p. Hachette/Little Brown BFYR, $17.99 (9780316417341). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. When Ekata’s entire family falls under a sleeping curse during the pageant that was supposed to help her older brother choose a bride, the would-be-scholar finds herself unexpectedly thrust into the role of Duke and woefully underprepared. Worse still, a disgusting suitor intent on seizing her kingdom’s power is breathing down her neck. In an impulsive and desperate effort to avoid this suitor’s intentions, she marries one of her brother’s potential brides. She soon finds herself juggling a sudden marriage to a fascinating stranger, a persistent suitor who would see her marriage fail, and an investigation into the cause of the curse on her family and the way to break it.  

Bashardoust, Melissa. Girl, Serpent, Thorn. 2020. 336p. Macmillan/Flatiron, $18.99 (9781250196149). Ages 12 and up. Fantasy. Cursed before she was even born, Soraya must live her life secluded from society. On a quest for the cure that would free her, and save her kingdom, she must choose who to trust, and who to betray—and decide if she is the monster she has always feared she would become. Inspired by fairy tales, and Persian myths and traditions, Soraya’s story reminds readers that monsters and heroes aren’t always as they appear. 

Briant, Amy. The Book of Kell. 2020. 301p. Bella Books, $18.95 (9781642471045). Ages 13 and up. Survival/Post-apocalypse. In a post-apocalyptic world, three teens must find a way to survive enemy drones, domestic terrorists, crazed loners, and a barren wilderness after an accident leaves them alone with few resources.

Callender, Kacen. Felix Ever After. 2020. 368p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray, $18.99 (9780062820259). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. During a summer art program, someone puts up pre-transition photos of Felix, along with his deadname. As he works to uncover the culprit, Felix makes new friends and loses others. But the biggest mysteries are inside him: why is he still having Gender Feels, what do they mean, and will he ever fall in love?

Capetta, Amy Rose and Cori McCarthy. Sword in the Stars. 2020. 368p. Hachette/Jimmy Patterson,  $18.99 (9780316449298). Ages 13 and up. Fantasy. The sequel to Once and Future finds Ari and her friends back in the Middle Ages, navigating the intricacies of King Arthur’s world as they search for the Grail that will help them defeat the evil Mercer corporation. The twists and turns in this duology’s finale will keep readers enthralled to the very end.

Chupeco, Rin. The Never Tilting World. 2020. 512p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $10.99  (9780062821881). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. Generations of twin goddesses ruled Aeon together until catastrophe split the world in two, locking one half in eternal night and the other in eternal day. Now, two young goddesses raised on opposite sides of the divide each embark on a perilous journey in the hope of healing their world.

Clarke, Hannah Abigail. The Scapegracers. 2020. 400p. Workman/Erewhon Books, $17.95    (9781645660002). Ages 14 and up. Contemporary Fantasy. An outcast teenage lesbian forms a coven with the popular girls at school, and together they cast curses and try to elude witch hunters.

*Cornwell, Betsy. Circus Rose. 2020. 288p. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Clarion Books, $17.99 (9781328639509). Ages 12 and up. Fantasy.  Ivory and Rosie are twins and half-sisters, born to a bearded woman who refused to choose between her lovers, and raised in their mother’s circus. After a long foreign tour, they come home to find themselves under attack by religious zealots. As tragedy follows tragedy, will Ivory be able to save her circus family?

Coulthurst, Audrey. Of Ice and Shadows. 2020. 464p. HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, $17.99 (9780062841223). Ages 13 and up. Fantasy. Mare and Denna are two princesses in love, but while Mare is tasked by her brother-king with forging a political alliance, Denna wants training to control her volatile fire magic. The Dragon Queen offers to train Denna, but the more Denna gets to know her, the less she trusts her.

Dow, Alechia. The Sound of Stars. 2020. 432p. HarperCollins/Inkyard, $18.99 (9781335911551). Ages 13 and up. Science Fiction. Two years after earth was invaded by the Ilori, Ellie Baker lives in one of the largest remaining human settlements and runs an illegal library. M0Rr1S is an Ilori who appreciates emotions and music, two things forbidden to them. Together, Ellie and M0Rr1S run from the Ilori authorities, heading from New York to California, where they may be able to stop the Ilori’s plans and free humanity.

Dugan, Jennifer. Verona Comics. 2020. 336p. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers/Penguin Publishing Group, $17.99 (9780525516286). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction/Romance. In this modern spin on Romeo and Juliet, Ridley and Jubilee meet at a convention prom and fall for each other despite the bitter feud between Jubilee’s indie-comics-shop-owning moms and Ridley’s dad, the ruthless head of a comics empire. With both of them feeling the pressure of keeping their relationship secret, and Ridley struggling with intense depression and anxiety, the pair are forced to ask themselves: what if love can’t conquer all?

Eliopulos, Andrew. The Fascinators. 2020. 320p. Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins, $18.99 (9780062888044 ). Ages 13 and up. Contemporary Fantasy. Three teens in a small town begin to grow apart as their senior year starts. As Sam begins to explore his feelings for James, Delia gets frustrated with their amateur magic club, and they all begin to get mixed up with some sketchy new magickers who might ruin everything.

*Gailey, Sarah. When We Were Magic. 2020. 352p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9781534432871). Ages 14 and up. Contemporary Fantasy. This firecracker of a novel follows a group of friends who attempt to correct the accidental murder of a classmate. When We Were Magic combines magic, friendship, and awkward moments to create a captivating story. Each character brings their own uniqueness to the strong group of friends, but despite their differences, their loyalty remains. Author Sarah Gailey has written another page turning novel, with the quirky strange content to boot. 

Gonzales, Sophie. Only Mostly Devastated. 2020. 288p. Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Wednesday, $17.99    (9781250315892). Ages 13-18. Romance. In this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease, Will and Ollie’s dreamy summer fling ends in uncertainty–just in time for Ollie to move across the country and start attending the same high school as Will. Will’s not out to his family and friends, but still has feelings for Ollie, who must decide whether or not to trust Will with his heart again.

Guel, M. B. Queerleaders. 2020. 135p. Bella Books, $14.95 (9781642471151). Ages 12 to 18. Humor/Romance. After being publicly outed as a lesbian at her Catholic high school, Mackenzie decides to date every cheerleader on the squad.

Henry, Katie. Let’s Call It a Doomsday. 2020. 386p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99 (9780062698902). Ages 13 and up. Ellis has severe anxiety that she deals with by prepping for the apocalypse–her extreme risk-aversion might be frustrating and inconvenient to her family now, but she’ll make it up by saving them all when disaster strikes! She also finds comfort in her Mormon faith. After being aggressively befriended by Hannah, Ellis’ worldview starts to expand and she begins to take small risks she never would have considered, but just as she’s starting to recognize her disordered thinking, it seems like the end of the world may actually be upon them.

Ireland, Justina. The Deathless Divide. 2020. 560p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (9780062570635). Ages 14 and up. Historical Fantasy. In this sequel to Dread Nation, Jane McKeene’s adventures continue as she attempts to make it to California to find her mother. When she stops at a supposedly safe village, she begins to suspect that something is amiss. Allied with Katharine Deveraux, will the two girls manage to stay alive long enough to accomplish their goals in a world where the dead don’t stay dead?

Jaigirdar, Adiba. The Henna Wars. 2020. 400p. Macmillan/Page Street Kids, $17.99 (9781624149689). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. When Bengali-Irish teen Nishat comes out to her Muslim parents, she is met with an insistence that she can chose to be straight.  Feeling rejected at home and at school for being one of the few students of color, Nishat is determined to win a school business competition by promoting her family heritage through henna, but her love interest turns nemesis when she decides to open a henna business as well. 

*Johnson, Leah. You Should See Me in a Crown. 2020. 336p. Scholastic, $17.99 (9781338503296). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction. In this affectionate rom-com, Liz Lighty finds herself an unlikely candidate for prom queen at her affluent suburban school. Shy, awkward, Black, and low-income, Liz has never felt like she belonged, and she can’t wait to leave for her dream college. But when her scholarship falls through, it seems her last resort is to win prom queen, and the scholarship money that comes with it. Liz’s plan is complicated when new girl Mack decides to run for prom queen also…and ends up running away with Liz’s heart.

Khorram, Adib. Darius the Great Deserves Better. 2020. 352p. Penguin/Dial Books, $17.99 (9780593108239). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction. Darius is 16 and confused. Not about his sexuality (gay) or identity (fractional Iranian, tea lover, and soccer player) but about why he still wants to be friends with Chip even though Chip goes along with Trent’s bullying, why he wants to have sex with his boyfriend in theory but not when they’re actually together, and why his dream job doesn’t feel so dreamy.

Klune, T.J. The Extraordinaries. 2020. 394p. Tor Teen/Macmillan, $18.99 (9781250203656). Ages 13-18. Humor/Fantasy. In a world where masked superheroes, called Extraordinaries, fight the forces of evil, Nick Bell feels anything but extraordinary. Struggling with the aftermath of his mother’s death, his loving father’s dangerous work as a police officer, his ADHD, and his increasingly complicated feelings for his best friend Seth, Nick decides to become an Extraordinary himself. In the (sometimes hilarious) process, Nick learns that heroes—and villains—aren’t always as they appear, and that you don’t need to be an Extraordinary to be exceptional.

Lambert, Kristin. Boy in the Red Dress. 2020. 368p. Penguin/Viking BFYR, $18.99 (9780593113684). Ages 12 and up. Historical Fiction. When a murder happens at the Cloak and Dagger and fingers begin to point to Marion, the club’s star performer (and titular boy in the red dress), his best friend Millie sets out to solve the mystery on her own. Set in the speakeasies of Prohibition-era New Orleans, this is a classic whodunit with a queer twist.

*Lee, Lyla. I’ll Be the One. 2020. 323p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegan, $17.99 (9780062936929). Ages 13 and up. Realistic Fiction. Skye Shin dreams of becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and a reality TV competition may just be her chance. To win, she’ll have to deal with fatphobic beauty standards, fierce competition, and intense media scrutiny–as well as unexpected attraction to one of her competitors.

*Little Badger, Darcie  and Rovina Cai (Illustrator). Elatsoe. 2020. 368p. Levine Querido, $18.99 (9781646140053). Ages 12 and up. Mystery. In this OwnVoices novel, Elatsoe is on a mission to discover who killed her beloved cousin, and why. If not for her cousin, then she is doing this for her people, the Indigenous Lipan Apache tribe. Elatsoe has the ability to raise ghosts from the dead, a tradition that has been passed down through generations. On this journey it will take vulnerability, wit, and the legends of her people for Elatsoe to understand all that is hidden in the small town of Willowbee. 

Levithan, David. 19 Love Songs. 2020. 310p. Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House, $17.99 (9781984848635). Ages 14 and up. Anthology. In these nineteen short stories, Levithan creates a literary mix-tape of old favorites, new tunes, and personal recollections. In prose and verse that is by turns snappy, sharp, and poignant, he revisits characters from his previous novels, and introduces us to new ones, including Levithan’s own in personal reflections and recollections. Each story is a celebration of love, all kinds of love, and of the moments when we stop to listen and see one another. 

London, Alex. Red Skies Falling. 2019. 480p. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, $18.99 (9780374306847). Ages 12-18. Fantasy. In the second book of Alex London’s Skybound Saga, twins Brysen and Kylee face growing turmoil as they prepare to defend their home against an invading army. While Kylee struggles to master her abilities and avoid becoming a political pawn, Brysen discovers new abilities of his own and navigates his growing feelings for an intriguing boy.

Lukens, F.T. Monster of the Week. 2020. 304p. Interlude/Duet, $17.99 (9781945053825). Ages 12 and up. Paranormal Fantasy. Bridger just wants to relax and have fun with his best friend, Astrid, and his new boyfriend, Leo. But first he has to finish a research paper in order to graduate, then a journalist comes around digging into the mythological creatures that Bridger is supposed to help keep secret, and to top it all off, his absentee dad suddenly reappears! 

Marshall, Kate Alice. Rules for Vanishing. 2019. 402p. Penguin/Viking, $18.99 (9781984837011). Ages 12 and up. Paranormal Fantasy. Nobody knows why Sara’s older sister, Becca, disappeared, but Sara is convinced that she went in search of a ghost road that’s part of local lore. A year later, Sara and a group of her and Becca’s friends go into the woods at midnight and find the ghost road. They choose to follow it in hopes of rescuing Becca, but none of them could have imagined the horrors that will meet them along the way.

McAdam, Tash. Blood Sport. 2020. 128p. Orca Books, $9.95 (9781459824362). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction. Trans boy Jason is stuck in a group home; he was supposed to live with his sister, but she died. The cops say it’s an overdose, but Jason knows his sister would never have done drugs, not after their mom OD’d. His investigation leads him to a boxing ring where he finds unexpected community and healing… but also the man who may have killed his sister.

McGuire, C.M. Ironspark. 2020. 324p. Macmillan/Swoon Reads, $18.99 (9781250245267). Ages 13 to 18. Contemporary Fantasy. After her mother is abducted by a group of Fae, Bryn studies all she can about them. She soon learns that she has entered a battle that she can’t fight on her own. Despite the help of a water witch and two classmates, she starts down a road which could prove dangerous. 

McLemore, Anna-Marie. Dark and Deepest Red. 2020. 320p. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (9781250162748). Ages 13 to 18. Historical Fantasy. In 1518, Strasbourg is consumed by a plague that causes the afflicted to dance incessantly, even until death. Lala fears that she and her aunt will be blamed–they are Romani, and gadje are always blaming the Romani for their misfortune. Contemporarily, Rosella wears the red shoes that her family is famous for and is similarly stricken with involuntary dancing. Emil–Rosella’s friend and a descendant of Lala–is determined to discover the connection between Rosella’s plight and the events of 500 years ago.

McSmith, Tobly. Stay Gold. 2020. 368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $18.99 (9780062943170). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. Pony doesn’t want anyone at his new school to know that he’s trans, even if it means keeping his mouth shut when his new guy friends make transphobic jokes. Cheerleader Georgia is so invested in projecting the perfect image that she’s not sure who she is. When the two of them become friends, they help each other find the courage to be themselves.

Mejia, Tehlor Kay. We Unleash the Merciless Storm. 2020. 400p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegan, $17.99 (9780062691347). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. The sequel to We Set the Dark on Fire, this book continues the story of Carmen Santos as she returns to La Voz headquarters and reckons with the exposure of her undercover identity. When she learns that her true love might be the target of the next assassination plot, will she break with La Voz in order to save her?

*Mejia, Tehlor Kay and Anna-Marie McLemore. Miss Meteor. 2020. 400p. HarperCollins, $17.99 (9780062869913). Ages 14 and up. Magical Realism. Lita is a star – literally. After falling to earth several years ago, she’s now living life as a teenage girl. When the annual Miss Meteor pageant rolls around, Lita decides to enter – but will her ex-best friend Chicky be willing to help her? Will the pageant help her forget about the past and imagine a new future? Lita learns that winning isn’t about being perfect, it’s about showing your true self to the world – even the parts that no one else understands.

Mitchell, Saundra (editor). Out Now: Queer We Go Again. 2020. 416p. Harlequin/Inkyard Press, $18.99 (9781335018267). Ages 13 and up. Short Story Anthology. This collection features short stories from queer YA authors. These modern day stories highlight a wide range of identities, many of them intersectional. 

*Onyebuchi, Tochi. War Girls. 2019. 464p. Razorbill, $18.99 (9780451481672). Ages 12 and up. Science Fiction/Afro-Futurism. In a not-so-distant future, climate change and nuclear disasters have made much of the earth unlivable. In the midst of war in Nigeria, two sisters, Onyii and Ify, are torn apart and face two very different futures. As their lives progress through years of untold violence and political unrest, battles with deadly mechs and cyborg soldiers outfitted with artificial limbs and organs, they are brought together again and again and must come to terms with how the war has impacted their lives.

Pool, Katy Rose. There Will Come a Darkness. 2019. 496p. MacMillan/Henry Holt, $19.99  (9781250211750). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. Before the Seven Prophets disappeared, they left behind a final, secret, prophecy. This prophecy promised the rise of a new prophet whose actions could either save or destroy the world. Five individuals find their fates intertwined as they try to avoid the prophesied “Age of Darkness.” Little do they know, steps taken to avoid a fate may be the very actions that lead to it. 

Popovic, Lana. Blood Countess. 2020. 304p. Abrams, $17.99 (9781419738869). Ages 14 and up. Historical Fiction/Horror. Anna lives in terror of her abusive father until she’s unexpectedly called upon to serve the Lady Elizabeth Bathory. Although the other servants tell horror stories of their Lady’s violent rages, Anna finds her charming, and the two of them are drawn together. But as they grow closer, Elizabeth starts to reveal her dark side, darker than anything Anna could have imagined. Can Anna find a way to escape and end Elizabeth’s reign of terror?

Power, Rory. Wilder Girls. 2019. 368p. Random House/Delacorte, $18.99 (9780525645580). Ages 14 and up. Science Fiction. The Raxter School for Girls has been under a strict quarantine for more than a year, and even those who haven’t been killed by the mysterious Tox are barely surviving. Hetty suspects that the last remaining teacher is working against them, and then her best friend disappears, so Hetty convinces her friend/crush Reese to join her on a dangerous expedition beyond the school gates in search of answers.

Quindlen, Kelly. Late to the Party. 2020. 304p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press, $17.99  (9781250209139). Ages 12 to 18. Realistic Fiction. Codi and her friends are not part of the “cool kids,” but when her friends convince her to crash a party, she discovers an unexpected friendship with cool kid Ricky, who takes Codi under his wing and helps her discover and grow into who she really is. But why is Codi hiding these new feelings from her old friends? Will they accept her as she is?

Roehrig, Caleb. The Fell of Dark. 2020. 384p. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $18.99 (9781250155849). Ages 13 to 18. Paranormal. August Pfeiffer has pretty normal concerns for a boy in high school. He’s struggling in math and just wants to meet a cute boy who likes him back. He also has a few less-than-normal concerns–like the fact that his town attracts vampires and one of those (extremely hot) vampires has just told him that, despite being human, he’s the vessel for an ancient and evil power that wants to take over the world.

*Rosen, L.C. Camp. 2020. 384p. Hachette/Little Brown BFYR, $17.99 (9780316537759). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. For Randy, going away to Camp Outland is a breath of fresh air, a time to be exactly who Randy can’t always be at school. But this year will be different. This year, Randy won’t be the flamboyant theater kid, this year Randy will be exactly the type of bro Hudson would want to date. Changing a thing or too will be necessary for Randy to succeed, even if that means leaving some friends behind. 

Rutkoski, Marie. The Midnight Lie. 2020. 368p. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR, $18.99 (9780374306380). Ages 14 to 18. Fantasy. Nirrim is a Half-Kith. Her people are confined to live in a ward, where they can be punished for enjoying the pleasures of life, such as a sweet pastry or finely made furniture. Though she lives carefully to avoid paying tithes, she is willing to risk everything to help her fellow Half-Kith escape the conditions in which they live. When she meets Sid, a traveler who is unfamiliar with her way of life, she finds herself questioning everything she has been taught and no longer satisfied with the life she has been told she deserves.

Sarif, Shamim. The Athena Protocol. 2019. 304p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062849601). Ages 14 and up. Mystery/Thriller. After killing a war criminal against orders, teenage secret agent Jessie is fired from the feminist private military organization her mother helped found. Worried about her mother’s safety on their next mission, Jessie goes rogue. Her investigation leads her to the beautiful–and seemingly innocent–daughter of a slave trader.

Shippen, Lauren. Infinite Noise. 2020. 333p. Macmillan/Tor, $17.99 (9781250297518). Ages 13 to 18. Speculative Fiction. Caleb is an empath who can feel other peoples’ emotions. Constantly bombarded by them, he struggles to know which feelings are his own. Meanwhile, Caleb’s classmate Adam is struggling with depression and loneliness; his sense of isolation ends up becoming a haven for Caleb, and the two gradually become friends, then boyfriends. But when Adam tells his parents Caleb’s secret, everything goes sideways.

Silver, Avi and Haley Rose Szereszewski (Illustrator). Two Dark Moons. 2019. 252p. Molewhale Press, $13.99. (9781775242727). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. When Sohmeng falls from her mountain home into the wild jungle below, she’s rescued by a feral young outcast named Hei. As they get to know each other, their relationship becomes romantic, and they realize that a shared enemy threatens both of their worlds.

Silvera, Adam. Infinity Son. 2020. 355p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $18.99 (9780062457820). Ages 14 and up. Contemporary Fantasy. Brothers Emil and Brighton idolize the Spell Walkers, a vigilante group who were born with super-powers and help protect the world from those who would misuse their powers. The worst of these dangerous people are the Specters, a group who obtain supernatural powers by consuming the essence of magical creatures rather than being born with powers themselves. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Emil manifests a power that only a specter should be able to have—phoenix fire–and this power may just drive the brothers apart.

Smyth, Ciara. The Falling in Love Montage. 2020. 368p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062957115). Ages 13 and up. Romance. Saoirse isn’t interested in romance, love, or happily ever after. However, when Ruby suggests they enact every rom-com cliche, she goes along–after all, Ruby is only in town for the summer, so what could be the harm in a little fun? But when their summer fling promises to be something more, Saoirse has to decide if love is worth the risk of losing.

Spalding, Amy. We Used to Be Friends. 2020. 368p. Abrams/Amulet, $17.99 (9781419738661). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. James and Kat were best friends looking forward to spending their senior year of high school together, but like friends sometimes do, they find themselves growing apart. Kat has started dating her first girlfriend and James’ parents are going through a divorce that she’s not ready to talk about. This book, told in two different timelines, tackles the important question of how to grow up when you and your friend are growing in different directions. 

Stamper, Phil. The Gravity of Us. 2020. 320p. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (9781547600144). Ages 13 and up. Romance. Cal relocates to Houston from Brooklyn after his dad is selected for the upcoming NASA mission to Mars and falls head over heels for fellow “Astrokid” Leon.

Sterling, Isabel. This Coven Won’t Break. 2020. 321p. Penguin/Razorbill, $17.99 (9780451480354). Ages 12 and up. Contemporary Fantasy. Hannah Walsh’s senior year isn’t turning out the way she had hoped. Instead of focusing on school and having fun with her new girlfriend, Hannah finds herself embroiled in a battle to save magic itself. After escaping from The Hunters, a group with the power to strip a witch of their magic, her fellow witches believe her to be the best person to defeat The Hunters. Unfortunately, Hannah is hiding a secret–her run in with The Hunters left her magic damaged–and the people she cares about most are in danger.

Talley, Robin. Music from Another World. 2020. 384p. Harlequin/Inkyard Press, $18.99  (9781335146779). Ages 13 and up. Historical Fiction. Two girls strike up an unlikely friendship in 1970s America. Tammy and Sharon go to different religious schools in different parts of California, but they get paired up as pen pals for a school assignment. What starts as summer writing homework turns into a friendship that explores identity and belonging against a backdrop of gay civil rights in San Francisco.

*Thomas, Aiden. Cemetery Boys. 2020. 352p. Macmillan/Swoon Reads, $17.99 (9781250250469). Ages 13 and up. Paranormal/Romance. Yadriel accidentally summons the wrong ghost in an attempt to prove himself a real brujo to his family who struggle to accept his gender identity. Though he thinks he is summoning the ghost of his cousin, he actually summons the ghost of Julian Diaz, and finds himself with not one, but two, mysterious deaths to investigate. 

Tokuda-Hall, Maggie. The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. 2020. 368p. Candlewick, $18.99 (9781536204315). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. Florian, sometimes known as Flora, is a pirate who does whatever it takes to survive while Evelyn is the daughter of an Imperial noble family who is sold off to a husband she has never met. When the two meet on the Dove, a slaver ship disguised as a sailing vessel for nobles, they are sent on a violent and magical journey in hope of finding love and freedom.

Tsai, Addie. Dear Twin. 2019. 200p. Metonymy Press, $18.95 (9781999058807). Ages 14 and up. Realistic Fiction. Poppy wants to go to college, but ever since her twin sister, Lola, mysteriously disappeared, their father has been depressed and is forcing Poppy to stick around. She begins to work through her feelings about her life and her identity in a series of diary entries while also writing a series of eighteen letters to Lola, one for each year of their lives, in an attempt to convince her to come home.

van Whye, Kevin. Date Me, Bryson Keller! 2020. 336p. Random House, $17.99 (9780593126035). Ages 14 and up. Romance. Bryson Keller agrees to a dare. He will date a different person each week, for one week, if they are the first person to ask him out on Monday. Though the entire school knows about the dare, they don’t know that a boy, Kai, is going to beat all the hopeful ladies to the question. Will this unexpected “relationship” really only last five days?

Varela, Nina. Crier’s War. 2019. 448p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062823946). Ages 14 and up. Fantasy. This debut novel takes place after the Automae, who were originally designed to serve royal humans, stage a rebellion and take power. Ayla, a human servant, has one goal: kill The Sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier, and take revenge for the death of her family. Despite her intentions, Ayla soon discovers that Lady Crier may be more sympathetic to her situation than she expected and she just might be falling in love with her.

Yee, F.C. Avatar, the Last Airbender: Rise of Kyoshi. 2019. 448p. Amulet Books, $18.99 (9781419735042). Ages 13 and up. Fantasy. After discovering a traitor in her household, Kyoshi must join forces with a group of outlaws who live on the fringes of society in her quest to find true allies and right longstanding wrongs. Avatar Kyoshi is well known to fans of the Avatar: The Last Airbender television series, but this novel delves more deeply into her past by detailing her discovery of her Avatar status and subsequent rise to power.  

Graphic Nonfiction

Maison, Corey, Zuiker Anthony (Illustrator) and Ahmara Smith (Illustrator). Identity : A Story of Transitioning. 2020. 81p. Zuiker Press, $12.99 (9781947378247). Ages 11 and up. Memoir. In an eye-catching and accessible graphic novel format, Corey Maison tells the story of her life, from being assigned male at birth, to working through her gender dysphoria, to becoming a complex and confident 16-year-old trans girl.

Graphic Fiction

Curato, Mike. Flamer. 2020. 368p. Macmillan: Henry Holt BYR, $25.99 (9781627796415). Ages 14 to 18. Realistic Fiction. A powerful graphic novel about friendship, self-esteem, and sexuality seen through the eyes of Aiden who is away at camp before his first year of High School. 

Gros, Kathleen. Jo: An Adaptation of Little Women (Sort Of). 2020. 263p HarperCollins, $22.99 (9780062875976). Ages 8 to 12. Realistic Fiction. This graphic novel adaptation of Little Women introduces us to Jo, an eighth grader who has just joined her school’s newspaper. Her family is adjusting to having their father overseas and their mother working long hours as a nurse. When her next door neighbor and friend, Laurie, confesses that he has feelings for her, Jo isn’t certain what to do. She doesn’t reciprocate Laurie’s feelings, but she might have a crush on her new friend Freddie, who has been supporting her dreams of becoming a serious journalist. 

Layne, Aliz. Beetle & the Hollowbones. 2020. 256p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $21.99 (9781534441538). Ages 8 to 12. Fantasy. Beetle, a 12-year old goblin witch, wishes she could be someone else—someone like her former best friend, Kat, who is pretty, popular, and a sorcerer who gets to do “big” magic. Instead, she is taught goblin magic by her Gran, the Town Witch, and hangs with Ghost Blob, an entity who is tethered by some mysterious magic to the local mall and cannot leave. But when Kat returns to town with her Aunt Hollowbone, the two girls must work together to foil a nefarious scheme that will destroy the mall—and Ghost Blob!

*Leyh, Kat. Snapdragon. 2020. 240p. Macmillan/First Second, $12.99 (9781250171115). Ages 10 to 14. Fantasy. Snap gets to know the town witch and discovers that she may in fact have real magic and a secret connection to Snap’s family’s past. 

*Nguyen, Trung Le. Magic Fish. 2020. 256p. Random House/Graphic, $23.99 (9780593125298). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction/Fantasy. A young Vietnamese-American boy literally can’t find the words to tell his parents that he’s gay, but cross-cultural fairytales help bridge the language barrier in this beautifully-illustrated graphic novel.

Oseman, Alice. Heartstopper, Volume 1. 2020. 288p. Scholastic/Graphix, $24.99 (9781338617443). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction. Openly gay Charlie befriends rugby-player Nick, and he soon falls into what he thinks is doomed to be an unrequited crush. 

Oseman, Alice. Heartstopper, Volume 2. 2020. 320p. Scholastic/Graphix, $24.99 (978133861749). Ages 12 and up. Realistic Fiction. Nick questions his sexuality as he and Charlie grow closer in this second volume of this story about friendship, love, and mental illness.

Ries, Ariel Slamet. Witchy. 2019. 252p. Oni Press, $14.99 (9781549304811). Ages 13 and up. Fantasy. In a world where the length of your hair determines the strength of your magic, but hair too long makes you an enemy of the kingdom, Nyneve has spent her life hiding hers and makes a life-altering decision when conscription rolls around.

Sanchez, Alex and Julie Maroh (Illustrator). You Brought Me the Ocean. 2020. 208p. DC Comics/Random House, $16.99 (9781401290818). Ages 14 and up. Superhero Comics. Contemporary Fantasy. This volume from DC Comics presents a new origin story for Aqualad. Jake Hyde hasn’t been in water since his father drowned, but even though he lives in the New Mexico desert, he finds himself inexplicably yearning for the ocean. When he meets Kenny Liu, the swim team captain, he falls in love and must come to terms with coming out. But when Kenny convinces him to start swimming again, he discovers strange blue markings on his skin that glow when they come into contact with water, and he must come to terms with another new aspect of his identity as well.

*Smith, Niki. The Deep & Dark Blue. 2020. 256p. Hachette/Little Brown BFYR, $24.99 (9780316485982). Ages 8 to 12. Fantasy. A pair of twins flee after a political coup that puts their lives at risk. They decide to disguise themselves as Hanna and Grayce, two girls living in the Communion of the Blue, an order of weaving women who spin magic like wool. What one twin doesn’t know is that, for the other, being Grayce isn’t a disguise. This is a beautiful story about self-discovery, acceptance, and affirmation.

Sturges, Lilah and polterink (illustrator). Lumberjanes: The Shape of Friendship. 2019. 144p. Boom! Studios, $14.99 (9781684154517). Ages 9 to 12. Contemporary Fantasy. In this graphic novel set in the Lumberjanes world, Jo, Mal, Molly, April, and Ruby have to contend with a mischievous group of Pookas trying to make the camp their own. After discovering the Pookas’ hiding place, and mistaking them for harmless friends, the Pookas steal their identities and enter the human world. Will the Lumberjanes be able to take back their identities by helping each other remember who they are?

Usdin, Carly and Noah Hayes (Illustrator). The Avant-Guards, volume 2. 2020. 112p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684155682). Ages 13-18. Sports Fiction/Basketball.  In this second collected volume of the Avant-Guards (issues #5-#8), the newly formed basketball team must learn that a team sticks together even when they aren’t winning every game–both on and off the court.

Usdin, Carly and Nina Vakueva (Illustrator). Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O!. 2020. 112p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684154951). Ages 13 and up. Realistic Fiction. The gang from Vinyl Destination (music store by day, fight club at night) is back for another music saving adventure, but this time they must win a battle of the bands competition in order to stop a dastardly Y2K plan intent on destroying the growing world of digital music.

Ukazu, Ngozi. Check, Please! #2: Sticks and Scones. 2020. 352p. Macmillan/First Second, $23.99 (9781250179494). Ages 14 to 18. Sports Fiction/Hockey. Realistic Fiction. Bittle and his teammates are back with more hockey and baked-goods hijinks! Now in his junior year at Samwell University, Bittle has to adjust to a new crop of teammates, friends leaving college, and his secret relationship with Jack, former teammate turned professional hockey player.

Vieceli, Emma and Claudia Leonardi (Illustrator), Andrea Izzo (Illustrator). Life Is Strange, Volume 2: Waves. 2019. 112p. Titan Comics, $16.99 (9781787730885). Ages 13 and up. Science Fiction. In this comic series based on the popular video game, Max Caulfield must leave her girlfriend Chloe behind as she enters an unfamiliar alternate timeline where Rachel is still alive and dating Chloe, and Max must struggle to find her place.

Vieceli, Emma and Claudia Leonardi (Illustrator). Life Is Strange, Volume. 3: Strings. 2020. 112p. Titan Comics, $16.99 (9781787732070). Ages 13 and up. Science Fiction. The adventures of Max, Chloe, and Rachel continue as Tristan and his own time-traveling powers turn their world upside down. How far will Max go to recover what she has lost?

Manga

Hagino, Makoto. Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, volume 1. 2019. 192p. Viz, $9.99 (9781974710430). Ages 14 and up. Romance. Volume 1 of this manga series introduces Konatsu Amano, a new girl in a small seaside town in Japan. Finding herself in a new town and a new school is tough, but then she meets Koyuki, an older girl who is the sole member of the Aquarium Club. Konatsu finds it hard to open up to new people and make friends, but she thinks Koyuki might be worth getting to know better.

Hagino, Makoto. Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, volume 2. 2020. 192p. Viz, $9.99 (9781974710591). Ages 14 and up. Romance. Konatsu takes a chance and decides to join the Aquarium Club with Koyuki. It’s just the two of them, but they have a successful open house event, and that shared experience deepens their bond.

Hagino, Makoto. Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, volume 3. 2020. 168p. Viz, $9.99 (9781974710607). Ages 14 and up. Romance. Konatsu and Koyuki are starting to become friends, but they each are still very lonely in their own ways. At the town’s summer festival, Konatsu asks Koyuki why she spoke to her on the day they first met, and Koyuki’s awkward reply puts their tentative new friendship in jeopardy.

Hagino, Makoto. Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, volume 4. 2020. 168p. Viz, $9.99 (9781974715442). Ages 14 and up. Romance. Konatsu and Koyuki prepare for another Aquarium Club open house, but Koyuki comes down with a sudden fever and can’t participate. When Konatsu visits her sick friend, they start to realize how important they are to one another.

Hagino, Makoto. Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow, volume 5. 2020. 168p. Viz, $9.99 (9781974715497). Ages 14 and up. Romance. The shark show at the Aquarium Club’s open house is a great success, and Koyuki is thrilled! But she gets embarrassed at her sudden burst of emotion and runs away. Luckily, Konatsu accepts her just the way she is, and as the girls begin to spend more time together, their bond grows deeper.

Kamatani, Yuhki. Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, volume 2. 2019. 180p. Seven Seas, $12.99 (9781642750614). Ages 13 and up. Realistic Fiction.

______. Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare volume 3. 2019. 180p. Seven Seas, $12.99 (9781642750621). Ages 13 and up. Realistic Fiction.

_______. Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare volume 4. 2019. 180p. Seven Seas, $12.99 (9781642750638). Ages 13 and up. Realistic Fiction. When Tasuku Kaname is outed at his school, he contemplates suicide; however, before he can act on these thoughts, he discovers a drop-in center for members of the local LGBTQ+ community. This series is the story of his journey towards accepting his own identity with the help of supportive and kind people who understand what he is going through.

The 2020 Rainbow Book List

Posted by: Kathleen Breitenbach on: February 5, 2020

The Rainbow Book List Committee is proud to announce the 2020 Rainbow Book List. The List is a curated bibliography highlighting books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, aimed at children and youth from birth to age 18. This list is intended to aid youth and those working with youth in selecting high-quality books published in the United States of America between July 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019.

 

As a committee, we evaluated over 550 books and selected 92 titles. Starred titles indicate the Rainbow Book List’s Top Ten choices, which are the books that the committee considers to be of exceptional merit.

 

This year, our committee has noticed an abundance of genre fiction, as well as books whose plots do not revolve around anxiety concerning a queer character’s identity. Micro trends that we’ve noticed this year have been books about birds or with birds in the title, and books about queer witches. We’ve also seen an increase in books with non-binary, asexual-spectrum, and bisexual characters.

 

Now, without further ado, we present to you the 2020 Rainbow Book List!

Picture Book Non-Fiction

 

Little Bee Books, ed. Our Rainbow. 2019. 20p. Little Bee Books. $8.99 (9781499809343). Ages 2-5. 

Through page spreads by different illustrators, Our Rainbow explores the traditional meanings assigned to each of the colors on the rainbow pride flag.

 

Meltzer, Brad, and Christopher Eliopoulos. I am Billie Jean King. 2019. 40p. Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers, $15.99. Ages 5-8. (9780735228740). 

The engaging story of tennis star Billy Jean King and her work, both on and off the court, to become a sports icon and women’s rights activist – as well as King’s realization that she is gay. Includes timeline and photographs. 

 

Pierets, Fleur, and Fatinha Ramos. Love Around the World. 2019. 40p. Six Foot Press. $18.95 (9781644420058). Ages 4-8. 

Fleur and her wife Julian are on an adventure to get married in every country that legally allows same-sex marriage. The couple learns about a variety of wedding traditions that they incorporate in each place they wed.

 

*Sanders, Rob, and Jamey Christoph. Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. 2019. 40p. Random House Children’s Books. $17.99 (9781524719524). Ages 5-9. 

The historic Stonewall Inn narrates its own history as well as the subsequent 1969 uprising. Includes a short essay about the Stonewall Inn, photographs, interview with activist Martin Boyce, glossary, and a bibliography. 

 

Stevenson, Robin. Pride Colors. 2019. 28p. Orca, $9.95 (9781459820708). Ages 0-4. 

“A bright red heart, a little star. I love you just the way you are.” This gentle book alternates pages that focuses on each color of the rainbow with touching, affirming messages for any parent or caregiver to share with their child.  

 

Thorn, Theresa and Noah Grigni. It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity. 2019. 40p. Macmillan/Henry Holt and Company. $17.99 (9781250302953). Ages 3-6. 

Colorful illustrations and simple language explain the basics of gender identity and cis, trans, and nonbinary genders. An affirming and uncomplicated introduction to gender concepts for all children from an own voices nonbinary author.

 

Picture Book Fiction

 

Gale, Heather, and Mika Song. Ho’onani : Hula Warrior. 2019. 40p. Penguin/Tundra Books, $17.99 (9780735264496). Ages 4-7. 

Based on a true story, this book follows Ho’onani as she takes on a traditional boys-only role in a hula performance at school. Ho’onani asserts herself as existing in the middle between genders.

 

Haack, Daniel, Isabel Galupa, and Becca Human. Maiden and Princess. 2019. 40p. Little Bee Books. $17.99 (9781499807769). Ages 4-8. 

A warrior maiden begrudgingly attends the matchmaker ball at the request of her friend, the Prince. She does end up finding true love — with his sister, the Princess.

 

Hoffman, Sarah, Ian Hoffman, and Chris Case. Jacob’s Room to Choose. 2019. 32p. American Psychological Association/Magination Press, $17.99 (9781433830730). Ages 6-9. 

Jacob (of Jacob’s New Dress) encounters hostility when using the school bathroom. In response, their teacher helps the students see that people do not always conform to strict gender presentations. Together as a class, they create improved signs for the bathrooms.

 

*Lukoff, Kyle and Kaylani Juanita. When Aidan Became a Brother. 2019. 32p. Lee & Low Books. $18.95 (9781620148372). Ages 4-8. 

This heartwarming picture book from an own voices trans author and an own voices illustrator of color explores what it’s like for Aidan when his parents expect a new baby. He wants to ensure everything will be just right for his younger sibling. Aidan knows that sometimes grown-ups can make mistakes, like when his parents thought he was a girl when he was born. As Aidan prepares for his role as big brother, he realizes that mistakes can be fixed with open communication.

 

Phi, Bao and Basia Tran. My Footprints. 2019. 32p. Capstone, $19.99 (9781684460007). Ages 5-9. 

Thuy is bullied at school because she has two mothers, and because of her heritage. This picture book from an own voices Vietnamese author shows how Thuy draws strength from her culture when she imagines her snowy footprints are those of wild animals. 

 

*Smith, Heather and Brooke Kerrigan. A Plan for Pops. 2019. 32p. Orca Book Publishers. $19.95 (9781459816145). Ages 3-6. 

Saturdays are special for Lou and Lou’s grandparents, Grandad and Pop. When Pop loses the ability to walk, he doesn’t want to leave his room, but Lou comes up with a plan to help! 

 

Juvenile Non-Fiction

 

Branfman, Jonathan and Julie Benbassat. You Be You! The Kid’s Guide to Gender, Sexuality, and Family. 2019. 80p. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. $18.95 (9781787750104). Ages 5-10. 

This simple book guides readers through the rainbow of gender and attraction spectrums, and breaks down common ideas about marriage, having kids, and even romance itself.

 

Medina, Nico and Jake Murray. What Was Stonewall? 2019. 112p. Penguin, $5.99 (9781524786007). Grades 3-6. 

Beginning with the 1969 Stonewall Riots, this book provides a broad overview of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, from the early days of bohemian Greenwich Village, to the dedication of the Stonewall National Monument in 2016. Plenty of photographs and illustrations make this accessible for middle grade readers interested in LGBTQ+ history. 

 

Middle Grade Non-Fiction

 

Pitman, Gayle E and Fred Sargeant. The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets. 2019. 224p. Abrams/Abrams Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9781419737206). Grades 5-9. 

Pitman takes a uniquely archival approach to her subject, examining objects that provide insight into the Stonewall Riots, their social context, LGBT history, and the gay rights movement. Includes a timeline, notes, bibliography, and index. 

 

Middle Grade Fiction

 

Bigelow, Lisa Jenn. Hazel’s Theory of Evolution. 2019. 336p. HarperCollins, $16.99 (9780062791177). Grades 3-7. 

Realistic Fiction.

Hazel would rather get lost in the pages of an encyclopedia than deal with the mounting changes in her life: starting over at a new school in her last year of middle school; worrying about her mom’s pregnancy following two miscarriages; and questioning romantic attraction as other girls focus on boys.

 

Blake, Ashley Herring. The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James. 2019.375p. Hachette/Little, Brown and Company, $16.99 (9780316515535). Ages 4-8. 

Realistic Fiction.

After finally getting a heart transplant, Sunny’s summer plan is to “do awesome amazing things she could never do before.” On her quest to find a new best friend and kiss a boy, she wonders if she really wants to kiss a boy at all. 

 

Bunker, Lisa. Zenobia July. 2019. 313p. Penguin/Viking Books for Young Readers,  $17.99 (9780451479402). Grades 5+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Zenobia has a whole lot of new in her life: a new school, new friends, a new place to live with her lesbian aunts, and a new opportunity to finally live as a girl. When someone posts hateful Islamaphobic and transphobic memes on the school website, Zenobia knows her coding skills from her old life could help her catch the culprit, and suddenly she has new decisions to make: who can she trust? And is catching the hacker worth the attention and risk?

 

Diloway, Margaret. Summer of a Thousand Pies. 2019. 384p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (9780062803467). Grades 3-6. 

Realistic Fiction.

After her mother’s death, Cady’s father spirals into substance abuse which lands him in jail. Cady experiences neglect, food insecurity, homelessness, and the foster care system before she’s sent to live with two aunts she has never met. Resistant at first, Cady soon discovers a passion for baking. But the perfect pie crust isn’t the solution for everything; she must also deal with her trauma — and the realization that her parents were more flawed than she knew. Back matter contains recipes, including one for a gluten-free pie crust.

 

Holt, K. A. Redwood and Ponytail. 2019. 418p. Chronicle Books, $18.99 (9781452172880). Grades 5-8. 

Realistic Fiction/Verse Novel.

At first, Kate and Tam dismiss each other as “just a cheerleader” and “just a jock.” But as they spend more time together, they challenge the ways others have defined them and begin to define and accept themselves.

 

Pancholy, Maulik. The Best at It. 2019. 336p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (9780062866417). Grades 5-7. 

Realistic Fiction. 

Rahul, a 7th grade Indian-American boy growing up in a small town, deals with anxiety, bullies, racial prejudice, and being different by following his grandfather’s advice – find something to be the best at. As Rahul figures out who he is, his best friend Chelsea and his family are there to cheer him on, and he hopes that just maybe his crush Justin will start to notice him. 

 

Salazar, Aida. The Moon Within. 2019. 240p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99 (9781338283372). Grades 3-6. 

Realistic Fiction/Verse Novel.

Celi is unhappy about her impending menstruation and even more unhappy that her mom wants to celebrate it in a reclaimed indigenous ceremony. What’s more, her best friend is coming out as nonbinary and the boy she likes is being a jerk about it. Can Celi find the strength to both be true to herself and loyal to her friend? 

 

Young Adult Non-Fiction

 

Baumann, Jason, ed. Love and Resistance. 2019. 224p. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. $24.95 (9781324002062). Grades 10+. 

Drawn from The New York Public Library Archives, this collection of photographs by Kay Lahusen and Diana Davies documents LGBTQ+ activists and activism in the 1960s and 70s. Photographs are organized into four sections: Visibility, Love, Pride, and Protest, and each section is contextualized in a brief introduction; individual photographs are also described and contextualized. 

 

Bausum, Ann. Viral: the Fight Against AIDS in America. 2019. 176p. Penguin/Viking Books for Young Readers, $22.99. (9780425287200). Grades 9+. 

Bausum explores the AIDS crisis in America from the beginning to the present day in an easy to follow narrative that is compelling and fast-paced. Including information about ACT Up, presidential administrations’ funding of research and personal tales that include first hand sources, this is an engaging and well-researched book on HIV and AIDS. Includes a timeline, source notes and bibliography. 

 

Gonzales, Kathryn and Rayne, Karen, Ph.d.. Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You. 2019. 304p. American Psychological Association/Magination Press, $16.99 (9781433829833). Grades 10+. 

This inclusive guide for teens who are transgender, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming, or genderfluid is written by trans authors and addresses topics such as mental and physical health, reproduction, transitioning, relationships, sex, and life as a trans person. The inclusion of multiple perspectives from actual trans people, and understandable and relatable language, not to mention backmatter of links to other resources makes this a valuable resource for trans+ teens, young adults, and the people who love them.

 

*Hutchinson, Shaun David. Brave Face. 2019. 368p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $18.99. (9781534431515). Grades 10+. 

Memoir.

Author Shaun David Hutchinson explores growing up, discovering his sexual identity and facing life-threatening depression in his memoir of his teen and young adult years. Hutchinson survives a suicide attempt and embarks on a journey of recovery and self-acceptance in this honest and, at times, humorous memoir.

 

Young Adult Fiction

 

Berquist, Emma. Missing, Presumed Dead. 2019. 369p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (9780062642813). Grades 8+. 

Supernatural Thriller.

With a single touch, Lexi has the power to see the moment of how and when someone will die. This, combined with her ability to see ghosts, often leaves her stumbling for the comfort of a psychiatric ward for a respite. One night, Lexi literally bumps into Jane, a girl who will be murdered hours later. Jane’s ghost desperately needs Lexi’s help to catch the murderer before they strike again.

 

Boteju, Tanya. Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens. 2019. 384p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $18.99 (9781534430655). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Insecure, self-conscious Nima wants her life to be less boring. She starts with a drag show where she befriends Diedre, a trans drag queen, and Winnow, a young drag king. But can Nima pursue her new friendships without losing her old ones? And what’s going on with her mom, who’s suddenly gotten back in touch after walking out more than a year ago with no explanation?

 

Bowman, Akemi Dawn. Summer Bird Blue. 2018. 369p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $18.99 (9781481487757). Grades 7+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Rumi’s world falls apart when her sister dies suddenly. To make things worse, her mother ships her off to live with an aunt in Hawaii. She struggles to navigate her grief and sense of abandonment with the help of her new neighbors, a teenage surfer and a taciturn 80-year-old.

 

Cameron, Sophie. Last Bus to Everland. 2019. 336p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press, $17.88 (9781250149930). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.

Brody feels alone in his small apartment he shares with his stressed mom, agoraphobic dad, genius older brother, and theatrical younger sister. So when his cat runs off and leads him to meet a handsome, costumed stranger, he’ll take whatever escape he can get. The door to Everland only opens at 11:21 on Thursdays, but will he choose to stay or go when the doors start closing for good?

 

Capetta, Amy Rose. The Brilliant Death. 2018. 352p. Penguin/Viking Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780451478443). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.

Teo is a strega who has just turned one of her father’s enemies into a music box when a stray cloud materializes into a person on the mountain. After her father is poisoned and the heads of the other Five Families murdered, Teo and Cielo use their strega powers to confront the person responsible in Vinalia’s capital.

 

Capetta, Amy Rose. The Lost Coast. 2019. 352p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9781536200966). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.

Danny is drawn to the wild California Redwood Coast by a coven of queer teen witches called The Grays. The Grays are convinced that Danny is the only one who can save their leader, Imogen, who has disappeared–and who also may be a victim or the cause of some deadly magic that has settled there.  

 

Clare, Cassandra and Chu, Wesley.The Red Scrolls of Magic. 2019. 368p. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books, $24.99 (9781481495080). Grades 8+. 

Fantasy.

Part of the Shadowhunters universe and the first book in The Eldest Curses series, The Red Scrolls of Magic features High Warlock Magnus Bane and his new boyfriend, Alec Lightwood. Readers don’t need to have read previous books in this universe to enjoy the wild ride as Bane, Lightwood and a cast of diverse characters tear through Europe on a quest to stop a demon-worshipping cult so they can go back to enjoying their vacation together. 

 

Drake, Julia. The Last True Poets of the Sea. 2019. 400p. Disney/Hyperion, $17.99 (9781368048088). Grades 8+. 

Realistic fiction.

Violet’s hard-partying ways escalate the same time her brother, Sam, attempts to take his life, so her parents send her to stay with her uncle in a small Maine town where she and Sam used to spend summers. There, she immerses herself in the mission to locate the shipwreck in which her ancestor was the sole survivor. She is joined by a group of local teens, led by the enigmatic Liv. As Violet untangles the threads of her family’s past, she finds herself falling for Liv.

 

*Emezi, Akwaeke. Pet. 2019. 203p. Random House Children’s Books/Make Me A World, $17.99 (9780525647072). Grades 7+. 

Speculative Fiction.

In Jam and Redemption’s hometown of Lucille, there are no monsters anymore — or so they’ve always been taught. But when a creature emerges from Jam’s mother’s painting and claims it’s here to hunt a monster, Jam and Redemption must reconsider what they thought they knew, and answer the question: how do you hunt monsters if no one will admit they even exist

 

Fowley-Doyle, Moïra. All the Bad Apples. 2019. 314p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Books, $17.99 (9780525552741). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction.

The women in the Rys family have always been labeled as “bad apples.” When Deena Rys receives impossible letters from the older sister who jumped off a cliff, she and her friends set off on a journey across Ireland. Together they trace the path of the Rys women’s history and the curse that’s always followed them. Deena struggles to find a way to heal her family and give voice to the horrific abuse her ancestors endured.

 

Goslee, S. J. How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom. 2019. 240p. Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press, $17.99 (9781626724013). Grades 9+. 

Realistic fiction.

Nolan is perfectly fine opting out of social engagements to stay home and draw narwhals, but his big sister has other plans. She pushes Nolan into asking his secret crush, Si O’Mara, to the prom. His prom-posal goes horribly wrong when Bern accepts the invitation instead. Nolan and Bern start fake-dating and soon lines begin to blur of what is real between them.

 

Grant, Mira. Alien: Echo. 2019. 304p. Macmillan/Imprint, $18.99 (9781250306296). Grades 10+. 

Science fiction/Horror.

Olivia and her chronically-ill twin sister, Viola, live on the planet Zagreus with their xenobiologist parents. When Olivia hosts a party for her sort-of girlfriend, Kora, and a few classmates, deadly xenomorphs invade the planet – which also leads to the exposure a shocking family secret. Olivia, Viola, and Kora must figure out a way to escape these terrifying aliens as well as adapt to how their lives have been completely turned upside down.  

 

Griffin, Sarah Maria. Other Words for Smoke. 2019. 352p. Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (9780062408914). Ages 9+. 

Horror.

Twins Mae and Rossa’s lives are changed when they stay with their aunt whose house is full of secrets, mystery, and maybe even demons. This horror tale is both about a family and their secrets as well as the history of Ireland’s mistreatment of women.

 

Hawkins, Rachel. Her Royal Highness. 2018. 274p. Penguin/G. P. Putnam’s Sons, $17.99 (9781524738266). Ages 7+. 

Romance. 

When Millie Quint arrives at Gregorstoun, one of Scotland’s most exclusive boarding schools, everything seems perfect – except for her roommate, Flora, who just happens to be the princess of Scotland. At first they can’t stand one another, but soon Millie finds herself falling for the princess. Millie doubts her chances of a happily-ever-after because, after all, real life isn’t a fairytale. 

 

Hutchinson, Shaun David. The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried. 2019. 297p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $18.99 (9781481498579). Grades 9+. 

Speculative fiction.

July may be dead, but that doesn’t stop her from waking up in Dino’s family’s funeral home.  Being thrown into this bizarre reality, the former best friends revisit the past as they navigate the surreal circumstances of the present.

 

Johnson, Lana Wood. Technically, You Started It. 2019. 374p. Scholastic/Scholastic Press, $18.99 (9781338335460). Grades 7+. 

Realistic Fiction. 

Haley’s classmate randomly sends her a text, and she thinks she knows who sent it. The text is from Martin Nathaniel Munroe II – but there happen to be two students in Haley’s class with this exact same name! Told entirely in text messages between Martin and Haley, this novel explores a case of mistaken identity as they build an unexpected friendship. But Haley needs to figure out which Martin is really sending the texts before their budding relationship turns into an epic disaster.

 

Johnston, E.K. The Afterward. 2019. 352p. Penguin/Dutton Books, $17.99 (9780735231894). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.

A year after the epic quest that brought Apprentice Knight Kalanthe and thief Olsa together, the two are torn apart by Kalanthe’s need to find a husband who can pay off her knight school loans. 

 

Keplinger, Kody. That’s Not What Happened. 2018. 336p. Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338186529). Grades 8+. 

Realistic fiction.

Three years after a mass school shooting, Lee and the other survivors are still trying to come to terms with what happened that day. While Lee has to decide if she should tell the truth about the details surrounding her best friend’s death, she also has to deal with what comes after high school, prom, and how to explain to her friends that she is asexual. 

 

*Khan, Sabina. The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali. 2019. 336p. Scholastic, $17.99 (9781338227017). Grades 9+. 

Realistic fiction.

Rukhsana, a Bangladeshi-American teenager, must balance her life between conservative Muslim parents and her friends who don’t understand her family and culture. Rukhsana knows her family will not approve of her love life – she’s secretly dating a girl. Her parents discover the relationship and send her to relatives in Bangladesh to marry a nice, young Bengali man. Rukhsana finds unlikely allies as she carves out her own path to live the way she chooses.

 

Kisner, Adrienne. The Confusion of Laurel Graham. 2019. 288p. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, $17.99 (9781250146045). Grades 9+. 

Realistic fiction.

Laurel wants to become a famous birder and nature photographer. When her grandmother is hospitalized after an accident while tracking a mysterious bird call, Laurel knows she must find and document this bird. Not only will she finish what her grandmother started, but Laurel is certain it will ensure her a winning entry into the junior nature photographer contest. But standing in her way is the girl she suspects sabotaged her earlier photos – and Laurel just might be falling for her.

 

*Konigsberg, Bill. The Music of What Happens. 2019. 342p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99 (9781338215502). Ages 9+. 

Realistic fiction.

A chance encounter leads Max to help Jordan run a quirky food truck, which may be the only thing standing between Jordan and his severely depressed mother from becoming homeless.  Max is hiding his own trauma, while Jordan is struggling with the responsibility of taking care of his mother and the resentment his feels towards his two best friends. Opposites attract as they struggle to face their demons.  

 

Lawson, Rich. Annex. 2018. 368p. Hachette/Orbit, $15.99 (9780316416542). Grades 8+.

Science fiction.

Aliens have invaded Earth, turning adult humans into mindless drones and young people into hosts for their Parasites. A small group of kids, led by the charismatic Wyatt, have escaped the aliens and scrape by on their own. Violet, a white trans girl, and Bo, a Nigerien-American boy, discover Wyatt isn’t the savior that he seems to be, but they’ll have to work with him anyway if they’re going to save the world.

 

Legrand, Claire. Sawkill Girls. 2019. 464p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99 (9780062696601). Grades 9+. 

Horror.

People have been disappearing for decades on the island of Sawkill Rock, but lately those disappearances have been getting more frequent. As the horror comes closer and closer, Val, Marion, and Zoey must work together to find a way to thwart the evil that preys on their home.

 

London, Alex. Black Wings Beating. 2018. 432p. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780374306823). Grades 8+. 

Fantasy.

In a world that revolves around birding and falconry, fraternal twins Brysen and Kylee are often at odds. He’s determined to be a great falconer but lacks skill, while Kylee is gifted but antagonistic towards the craft. Still, the siblings rely on each other to survive. When Brysen has to capture the elusive and lethal Ghost Eagle in order to save his boyfriend’s life, Kylee accompanies him, despite her own misgivings.

 

McCarthy, Cori and Capetta, Amy Rose. Once & Future. 2019. 368p. Hachette/Little, Brown/Jimmy Patterson, $18.99 (9780316449274). Grades 9+. 

Science Fiction/Fantasy.

In this sci-fi reimagining of Arthurian legend, Ari Helix draws together a band of fighters, including a now-teenaged Merlin, and her friends to fight a tyrannical, intergalactic corporation that has been exploiting the residents of some planets and destroying others. To make matters worse, Morgana, Merlin’s nemesis, is determined to free the soul of the original Arthur, locked inside of Ari. 

 

McLemore, Anna-Marie. Blanca & Roja. 2018. 384p. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (9781250162717). Grades 8+. 

Magical Realism/Fairy Tale Adaptation.

For generations, there have always been two daughters in the del Cisne family, and destiny dictates that shortly after the younger sister’s 15th birthday, one sister will turn into a swan and the other will remain human. When two local missing children reappear in the woods near the sisters’ home, Blanca and Roja’s bond is tested. They find themselves confronting their ideas about family, love, and identity while waiting expectantly to discover their fate.

 

*Mejia, Tehlor Kay. We Set the Dark on Fire. 2019. 364p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books, $17.99 (9780062691316). Grades 9+. 

Speculative Fiction. 

Daniela Vargas is the Medio School for Girls’ top student, and upon her graduation, she’s guaranteed a life of comfort and luxury as she’s picked to be one of two wives to the city’s most promising young bachelor. As Primera, she’s been through years of rigid training, but nothing prepares her for the decisions she’ll have to make after her marriage — especially not when she’s asked to spy for the resistance, or when she finds herself falling for someone forbidden.

 

Mitchell, Saundra. All the Things We Do in the Dark. 2019. 304p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062852595). Grades 8+. 

Thriller.

Something happened when Ava was nine; the scar on her face is proof of that much. After spending years trying to build a life and stuff trauma down, she trips over a dead body in the woods while walking back from getting a tattoo. Is this death and her trauma connected in any way other than in Ava’s mind? And what about Haley, the cute girl Ava’s falling for, who just happens to be the daughter of the first in a string of police office she talked to all those years ago? Contains resources for sexual abuse and assault survivors.

 

Mitchell, Saundra. The Prom: A Novel Based on the Hit Broadway Musical. 2019. 240p. Penguin/Viking Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9781984837523). Grades 8+. 

Realistic Fiction/Romance.

The only thing Emma wants is to dance with her girlfriend Alyssa at prom, but the PTA in her small town is determined not to let them “ruin” prom for the rest of the students. Enter two slightly washed-up Broadway stars with their own agenda, pushing Emma and Alyssa to fight for what they want.

 

Montgomery, Candace. By Any Means Necessary. 2019. 320p. Page Street Publishing Co., $17.99 (9781624147999). Grades 10+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Torrence “Torrey” McKenzie is ready to make a fresh start as a freshman in college. But no sooner does he leave then he finds out that the family apiary is about to be seized by the city and there’s not enough money to pay the back taxes to save it. Torrey struggles with the decision to go back and save the apiary from developers or stay in school and make a new life for himself.

 

Muir, Tamsyn. Gideon the Ninth. 2019. 444p. Tor/Tom Doherty Associates/Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC, $25.99 (9781250313195). Grades 10+. 

Science Fiction. 

When the Emperor summons the heirs of each of the solar system’s Houses to a necromantic trial of wits and skill, Harrowhark Nonagesimus forces Gideon to accompany her as her cavalier. If Harrowhark succeeds, she’ll become immortal — but without Gideon’s sword, she’ll fail, and the Ninth House will die with her. Then dead bodies start turning up. Can Gideon and Harrow stay alive long enough to solve the Emperor’s puzzle?

 

Nazemian, Abdi. Like a Love Story. 2019. 432p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062839367). Grades 10+. 

Historical Fiction.

Set in 1989 NYC against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, the story of three teens intertwine: Reza, a recent Iranian immigrant battling his attraction to other men; Art, an out-and-proud activist and photographer; and Judy, a plus-size fashion designer and Art’s best friend, whose uncle is dying of AIDS. In an attempt to avoid the truth about himself, Reza starts dating Judy. Soon she falls in love with him, but he’s fallen in love with Art. Can Reza untangle this web without losing his friends?

 

Petras, Junaunda. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them. 2019. 320p. Penguin/Dutton Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780525555483). Grades 9+. 

Realistic fiction.

When Audre’s mother catches her with the pastor’s daughter, she’s shipped off from her home in Trinidad to live with her father in Minneapolis. There, she meets and falls for Mabel, who is questioning not only her own romantic feelings, but also why she’s been feeling ill all summer.

 

Philips, L. Sometime After Midnight. 2018. 385p. Penguin/Viking Books for Young Readers, $18.99 (9780425291634). Grades 10+. 

Romance/Fairy Tale Adaptation.

Aspiring musicians Cameron and Nate meet and immediately click, but Nate runs away when he learns that Cameron is heir to the record-label that destroyed his dad’s life. The only evidence of their meeting is the photo of Nate’s sharpie-covered Chuck Taylors, which Cam’s sister posts online to help Prince Charming track down his Cinderfella. 

 

Poston, Ashley. The Princess and the Fangirl. 2019. 316p. Quirk Books, $18.99 (9781683690962). Grades 10+. 

Fairy Tale Adaptation.

While Imogen wants to save a character in a movie franchise, the actress who plays the character, Jessica, would like to leave. When they meet at a fan convention, they are mistaken for each other. After the super-secret script to the Starfield sequel leaks, suddenly all fingers are pointed at Jessica. Jessica and Imogen agree to switch places to discover the culprit.

 

Roehrig, Caleb. Death Prefers Blondes. 2019. 448 p. Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, 17.99 (9781250155825). Grades 10+. 

Thriller/Suspense.

Wealthy socialite Margo Manning and her found family of struggling but exuberant young men pull off elaborate heists while in their drag queen personas. When Margo’s father’s death spurs her to take on a risky job, her friends must decide how far they are willing to stick by her side in this fun, sexy thriller. 

 

Rowell, Rainbow. Wayward Son. 2019. 356p. Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Wednesday Books, $19.99 (9781250146076). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy/Paranormal Romance.

Simon, Penny, and Baz triumphed over the villain in Carry On, but the happy ending hasn’t turned out like they expected. Without his powers, Simon is a couch potato with wings, and the hope of a real relationship between Simon and Baz has gone nowhere. When an opportunity arises to ride to the rescue, the three embark on a road trip across the American West.  

 

Russo, Meredith. Birthday. 2019. 278p. Macmillan/St. Martin’s/Flatiron, $18.99 (9781250129833). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Eric and Morgan’s families were thrust together the day they were born when they were all snowed-in at the hospital thanks to a freak, out-of-season September blizzard that hit their Tennessee community. Over the course of six birthdays, their lives unfold in complex and beautiful ways.

 

Ryan, Tom. Keep This to Yourself. 2019. 309p. Albert Whitman, $17.99 (9780807541517). Grades 9+. 

Mystery/Thriller.

A year ago, Mac’s best friend Connor was the final victim of a serial killer who tore through their tiny town. As the school year ends, Mac finds a note from Connor asking to meet – a note left in a comic book from the night he died. Mac teams up with friends to solve the mystery of who killed four people, and why the murders suddenly stopped after Connor’s death.

 

Schrieve, Hal. Out of Salem. 2019. 448p. Seven Stories Press, $19.95 (9781609809010). Grades 8+. 

Paranormal Fiction.

Z is nonbinary and recently lost their family in the car crash that turned Z into a zombie. Now, Z is under suspicion from their uncle, their classmates, and society in general. They’re soon befriended by Aysel, a werewolf of Turkish descent, and Tommy, a boy who’s bullied for his alleged fey ancestry. When werewolves are blamed for the death of a local man, anti-monster sentiment rises, including in local law enforcement, which puts all three teens at risk.

 

Shrum, Brianna R. Kissing Ezra Holtz (and Other Things I Did for Science). 2019. 277p. Sky Horse/Sky Pony Press, $16.99 (9781510749405). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction/Romance.

Of course Amalia’s AP Psychology teacher pairs her up for a group project with the guy from her synagogue she’s been avoiding her whole life. For their project, she and Ezra decide to bring back a study that suggests it can make any two people fall in love. As they refine their experiment on others, it might actually be working on them.

 

Silverman, Laura. You Asked for Perfect. 2019. 267p. Sourcebooks/Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 (9781492658276). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Ariel is stressed out trying to make sure everything about his high school years is perfect so that he can get into the best college. But after failing a calculus quiz, he asks Amir to tutor him. Math may not be Ariel’s thing, but Amir might just be perfect for him.

 

Smedley, Zack. Deposing Nathan. 2019. 393p. Page Street Publishing Co., $17.99 (9781624147357). Grades 10+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Nate is a devout Catholic who lives under the thumb of his overly-strict aunt and never breaks the rules, until he meets Cam, who is whip-smart, irreverent, and rebellious. Despite their differences, the two quickly become friends and then, maybe, something more. But when Cam comes out as bi and expects Nate to do the same, he’s met instead with violent biphobia and homophobia. Through flashbacks and deposition testimony, Nate tells the story of how Cam met him, quickly became his closest friend, and ended up stabbing him in the stomach.

 

Solomon, Rachel Lynn. Our Year of Maybe. 384p. Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse, $18.99 (9781481497763). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Sophie and Peter have been best friends forever, even after Sophie turned down Peter’s romantic advance in middle school. Now they’re in high school and Sophie’s the one in love with him, but after she donates a kidney to Peter, they find themselves growing further apart rather than closer. Will Peter’s reinvigorated life mean the death of their friendship?

 

Sterling, Isabel. These Witches Don’t Burn. 2019. 320p. Penguin Books/Razorbill, $17.99 (9780451480323). Grades 8+. 

Fantasy/Supernatural Romance.

Hannah and her family are descended from a line of Elemental Witches. Her life consists of avoiding her ex and selling souvenirs to Salem tourists. When a blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school bonfire, Hannah is convinced it’s the work of a Blood Witch. While trying to smoke out the culprit, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute girl who’s new to town. But she learns it’s so hard to date when trying to stop a string of deadly attacks.

 

Thomas, Leah. Wild and Crooked. 2019. 438p. Bloomsbury/Bloomsbury YA, $18.99 (9781547600021). Grades 9+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Whether because of her infamous family history, their low-class status, or her sexuality, Kaylyn is used to others picking on her. When she attends a new high school, she uses a fake name to avoid notoriety and pretends to be a nice Southern Belle. She is surprised to find herself among the popular students. But she also befriends one of the least popular – Gus Peake who’s known as “the disabled kid” because of his cerebral palsy. When Kaylyn’s family history comes to light, their small town explodes in anger.

 

Vale, Lillie. Small Town Hearts. 2019. 324p. Macmillan/Swoon Reads, $17.99 (9781250192356). Grades 9+. 

Realistic fiction/Romance.

It’s the summer after high school, and Babe’s job as a barista in a beach town keeps her busy after breaking up with her best friends, when cute tourist Levi walks through her door. She never falls for summer boys, but he might be just what she needs to distract her from memories and the reappearance of her ex-girlfriend.

 

Villasante, Alexandra. The Grief Keeper. 2019. 320p. Penguin/G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780525514022). Grades 9+. 

Science Fiction/Romance.

Marisol flees El Salvador with her younger sister Gabi, but they get caught crossing into the United States. When she’s told her asylum request has been denied, her only hope of staying and keeping her sister safe comes from a pilot program of a new technology that funnels the grief, trauma, and pain of wealthy patrons to poor immigrants with no other choices. Her new life is nothing like the American TV shows Marisol loves so much, but in living so closely with Rey, who lost her brother during a concert, it may not only be her grief Marisol feels.

 

Wells, Rebecca Kim. Shatter the Sky. 2019. 294p. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (9781534437906). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.
When Kaia is abducted by the empire, Maren sets off on a quest to steal a dragon, rescue her girlfriend, and save her way of life.

 

Wexler, Django. Ship of Smoke and Steel. 2019. Tor Teen/Macmillan Publishing Group, $17.99 (9780765397249). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.

Eighteen-year-old Isoka is a ward boss in a port city, using her combat magical skills to survive on the streets and providing for her sister’s more comfortable existence. Captured and threatened with the life of her sister, she agrees to use her skills to attempt to steal a legendary ghost ship. To accomplish her mission, Isoka will become a part of the brutal crew, battling creatures while navigating her unexpected feelings for a fellow fighter as well as a princess with her own dark power.

 

Winters, Julian. How to Be Remy Cameron. 2019. Interlude/Duet, $17.99 (9781945053801). Grades 9+. Realistic Fiction.

Remy Cameron is black, adopted, and gay… but who is he? When he’s assigned to answer that question in a school essay, Remy is stymied. How can he know who he is when he doesn’t know where he came from? And why should he be expected to have an answer at age 17, anyway? Fortunately, a birth relative connects with him on Facebook who may offer some answers. As the mystery of his identity unfurls, Remy is also working to move past a bad relationship and open up to a cute new boy in town named Ian.

 

Zappia, Francesca. Now Entering Addamsville. 2019. 357p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow Books, $17.99 (9780062935274). Grades 9+. 

Supernatural Mystery.

Addamsville is no stranger to ghosts, and unlike most people who live there, Zora knows they’re real because she can see them. Supernatural forces in Addamsville start causing fires that get people killed, and Zora is framed for their crimes. She’ll need to track down the true culprit. In a small town obsessed with ghosts but unaware of the actual existence of spectres among them, will anyone believe the truth?

 

Graphic Non-Fiction

 

Kobabe, Maia. Gender Queer: A Memoir. 2019. 239p. Oni/Lion Forge, $17.99 (9781549304002). Grades 10+. 

Maia’s memoir documents eir life and journey of self-discovery, from cringey crushes, to gay fanfic and coming out as both nonbinary and asexual.

 

Graphic Novel Fiction

 

Gillman, Melanie. Stage Dreams. 2019. 104p. Lerner/Graphic Universe, $29.32 (9781512440003). Grades 6-9. 

Historical Fiction.

In New Mexico Territory, a Latina bandit known as the “Ghost Hawk” holds up a stagecoach and takes hostage a trans woman, Grace, who offers to help her sneak into a party where several Confederate railroad barons will be meeting. As they prepare to infiltrate high society, the women start to develop feelings for each other, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

 

Graley, Sarah. Kim Reaper, Volume 2: Vampire Island. 2019. 99p. Oni Press, $14.99 (9781620106372). Grade 9+. 

Paranormal Fantasy.

Kim works overtime for her grumpy grim reaper boss and doesn’t have enough time to spend with her girlfriend, Becka. She ends up going on a group date to Vampire Island with her girlfriend and Becka’s roommate who Kim despises. Things quickly get out of hand when the vampires realize there are humans at the party. 

 

O’Neill, Katie. The Tea Dragon Festival. 2019. 134p. Oni Press, Inc., $21.99 (9781620106556). Grades 4-8. 

Fantasy.

In this prequel to The Tea Dragon Society, Rinn stumbles across a real dragon! Aedhan was assigned to guard Rinn’s village, but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. Rinn investigates the mystery of Aedhan’s enchanted sleep, as well as helping Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he lost. 

 

Pascat, C.S. Fence, Volume 1. 2018. 112p. BOOM! Box, $9.99 (9781684151929). 

Pascat, C.S. Fence, Volume 2. 2019. 112p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684152971). 

Pascat, C.S. Fence, Volume 3. 2019. 112p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684153343). 

Grades 7+. 

Sports Fiction.

Nicholas must prove his worth as an illegitimate son of a fencing champion, so he gains acceptance at a prestigious boarding school whose fencing team has a reputation for excellence, but before he can make a name for himself, he must find a way to make it onto the fencing team and compete against the heavy favorite, Seiji – who is also his half-brother.

 

Steele, Hammish. DeadEndia: The Broken Halo: Book 2. 2019. 237p. Nobrow Press, $16.95 (9781910620625). Grades 9+. 

Paranormal Fantasy.

Dead End is a hotel in a theme park, as well as a portal to hell. Norma is dealing with unwanted ghosts while trying to keep the hotel running, Barney is secretly (and literally) wrestling demons, and neither of them are sure if they are even still friends. All the while, a war is brewing across the thirteen planes and Dead End is somehow right in the center of everything. 

 

Sturges, Lilah. Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass. 2018. 144p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684152520). Grades 9+. 

Fantasy.

In this prequel to the Lumberjanes graphic novel series, the Janes set out to earn their orienteering badge–only their compass seems to possess some mystical qualities. At the same time, Molly and Mal are each orienting themselves in their new relationship, while concerned about its effect on their group of friends. 

 

Tamaki, Mariko. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. 2019. 304p. Macmillan/Holtzbrinck/Roaring Brook Press/First Second, $17.99 (9781626722590). Grades 8+. 

Realistic Fiction.

Freddy is addicted to her popular, attractive girlfriend–the titular Laura Dean–even though Laura has broken up with her twice. Laura disrespects Freddy’s time, friends, and heart. Things come to a head when Freddy’s best friend is in crisis on the same day as Laura’s birthday party.

 

Templer, Hannah. Cosmoknights. 2019. 211p. Idea and Design Works/IDW Publishing/Top Shelf Productions, $19.99 (9781603094542). Grades 10+. 

Science Fiction.

When a charismatic pair of off-world gladiators show up on Pan’s doorstep, she just wants to get them patched up and on their way. But their talk intrigues her, and soon she follows them off the galactic grid, learning the secrets of her world — and discovering the chance to burn it all down. 

 

Usdin, Carly. The Avant-Guards, Volume 1. 2019. 112p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684153671). Grades 9+. 

Sports Fiction.

Charlie transfers to art school in the hopes of getting a new start. When the spirited Olivia tries to recruit her to the school’s (admittedly terrible) basketball team, Charlie is hesitant–she used to be a basketball star, but left it all behind. When she does finally decide to join the team, she and the other players find themselves learning to trust and support one another. 

 

*Walden, Tillie. On a Sunbeam. 2018. 535p. Macmillan/Holtzbrinck/Roaring Brook Press/First Second, $21.99 (9781250178138). Grades 8+. 

Science fiction.

A romantic space adventure that spans the halls of the boarding school where Mia and Grace fell in love, to the ancient structures on distant planets in the far reaches of the galaxy. Separated under mysterious circumstances, Mia is determined to reunite with Grace – and she will brave anything to find her again.

 

*Walker, Suzanne and Xu, Wendy. Mooncakes. 2019. 256p. Oni/Lion Forge, $14.99 (9781549303043). Grades 8+. 

Fantasy.

Nova is a young witch who wears a hearing aid and lives with her two grandmothers. Tam is a nonbinary werewolf on the run from their stepdad. The two, who were childhood friends, reconnect and soon romance is in the air.

 

The 2019 Rainbow Book List

Posted by: peshling on: January 28, 2019

The Rainbow Book List Committee is proud to announce the 2019 Rainbow Book List. The List is a curated bibliography highlighting books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, aimed at children and youth from birth to age 18. This List is intended to aid youth and those working with youth in selecting high-quality books published between July 2017 and December 2018.

As a committee, we evaluated over 400 books and selected 107 titles from over two dozen different publishers. Starred titles indicate the Rainbow Book List’s Top Ten choices, which are books that the committee considers to be of exceptional merit.

The committee members were overwhelmed by the explosion of content in all age groups. Realistic fiction dominated this year, as well as #ownvoices titles.

Now, without further ado, we present to you the 2019 Rainbow Book List!

Rainbow List 2019

Picture Books

Anderson, Airlie. Neither. 2018. 40p. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (9780316547697). Grades Pre-K to 2.
In the Land of This and That, where does Neither belong? Neither finds acceptance in The Land of All.

Bundo, Marlon and Twiss, Jill. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. 2018. 40p. Chronicle Books, $18.99 (9781452173801). Grades K and up.
Marlon Bundo is Bunny of the United States, living a comfy life in the White House. In this political satire for all ages, Marlon and newfound love Wesley work together with their animal friends to vote out The Stink Bug.

Cumming, Alan and Grant Shaffer. The Adventures of Honey & Leon. 2017. 48p. Random House Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780399557972). Grades Pre-K to 3.
Dogs Honey and Leon have a great life in New York—except that they are left behind when their dads travel. They secretly follow them on their next trip.

Finch, Michelle and Phoenix. Phoenix Goes to School. 2018. 40p. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, $15.95 (9781785928215). Grades K to 3.
Phoenix is a little worried about her first day of school; what if the other kids call her a boy or don’t understand her? Phoenix braves her first day and discovers a warm, accepting environment in the classroom.

Genhart, Michael. Love is Love. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky/Little Pickle Press, $18.99 (9781939775139). Grades Pre-K to 3.
A young narrator with two dads is teased for wearing a t-shirt with a rainbow heart. Colorful illustrations highlight a diverse community, affirming the power of love.

* Haack, Daniel and Lewis, Stevie. Prince & Knight. 2018. 40p. little bee books, $17.99 (9781499805529). Grades Pre-K to 3.
The Prince and the Knight meet when they have to defeat a terrifying dragon, and their friendship blossoms into love.

Jenkins, Steve and Derek Walter. The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig. 2018. 40p. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780316554763). Grades Pre-K to 3.
Based on a true story, Esther is just a tiny piglet when her dads adopt her, but she turns out to be less of a mini pig and more of a huge pig. As she grows (and grows and grows), Esther shows her family how easy it is to fall in love.

Love, Jessica. Julián is a Mermaid. 2018. 40p. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763690458). Grades Pre-K to 3.
This lushly-illustrated picture book tells the story of Julián who, with the help of his abuela, dresses up and joins the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

Martínez, Ernesto J, Maya C. Gonzalez, and Feliciano J. G. Martínez. Cuando Amamos Cantamos/When We Love Someone We Sing to Them. 2018. 39p. Reflection Press, $19.95 (9781945289149).  Grades K and up.
Andrea asks his father to help him sing a love song for another boy. His father suggests that they create a new song that they can perform together.  

Pitman, Gayle E. A Church for All. 2018. 32p. Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99 (978080751179). Grades Pre-K to 3.
Inspired by a real San Francisco church, this story describes a welcoming, inclusive congregation using short rhymes and colorful, diverse illustrations.

* Pitman, Gayle E. Sewing the Rainbow. 2018. 32p. Magination Press, $16.95. (9781433829024). Grades Pre-K to 3.
Growing up, Gilbert Baker loved sewing and design. He left Kansas for the bright colors of San Francisco to pursue his dreams and went on to create an enduring symbol of the LGBTQIAP+ community.

Sanders, Rob. Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag. 2018. 48p. Random House Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780399555312). Grades 1-3.
As an elected official, Harvey Milk worked with his community in San Francisco to create a symbol for gay rights and continued fighting for equality until his assassination.

Scotto, Thomas. Jerome By Heart. 2018. 32p. Enchanted Lion Books, $16.95 (9781592702503) Grades Pre-K to 3.
Raphael enjoys his friendship with Jerome: they hold hands, share snacks, and do everything together. Not everyone understands their relationship, but Raphael doesn’t mind because he knows how he feels about Jerome.

Middle Grade Fiction

Bigelow, Lisa Jenn. Drum Roll, Please. 2018. 320p. Harper Collins. $16.99 (9780062791146). Grades 5 to 8.
Melly hopes that a week at music camp with her best friend Olivia will distract her from the sudden announcement of her parents’ divorce. Although disappointed when they’re not placed in the same band, they each discover unexpected feelings for their bandmates.

Herring Blake, Ashley. Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World. 2018. 320p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (9780316515467). Grades 5 to 8.
Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed by a tornado, leaving her to navigate a crush on a new friend during the turmoil that her family is thrown into as they try to put their lives back together.

* Callender, Kacen. Hurricane Child. 2018. 224p. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (9781338129304). Grades 5 to 8.
Caroline is alone: her mother has disappeared and her only friend is a spirit that no one else can see. Then she falls for new student Kalinda, who helps her track down her mother in the middle of a hurricane.

Donne, Elena Delle. Elle of the Ball. 2018. 160p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. $16.99 (9781534412316). Grades 5 to 8.
Elle loves basketball but she doesn’t love the mandatory school dance coming up. She would rather dance with new girl Amanda than with the boys in her class.

Federle, Tim. Nate Expectations. 2018. 256p. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9781481404139). Grades 6 and up.
When Nate’s Broadway show closes, he is forced to go back to his boring hometown for freshman year. But drama follows Nate wherever he goes, in the form of class projects, musical theater, and a cute boy.

Jantha, A.W. Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel. Freeform, $12.99 (9781368020039). Grades 7 and up.
Poppy and her friends, including her crush Isabella, have just reawakened the Sanderson Sisters. (This book begins with a novelization of the original 1993 film.)

Wittlinger, Ellen. Saturdays with Hitchcock. 2018. 262p. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (9781580897754). Grades 5 to 8.
Maisie (or “Hitchcock,” as she’s known to her Uncle Walt) and her best friend Cyrus love seeing old movies on Saturdays. But when new boy Gary starts joining their outings, things change.

Young Adult Nonfiction

Bongiovanni, Archie and Tristan Jimerson. A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns. 2018. 64p. Limerence, $7.99 (9781620104996). Grades 6 and up.
This comic by real-life friends Archie and Tristan offers readers a practical guide about how, when, and why to use gender neutral pronouns.

Johnson, Maureen, ed. How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation. 2018. 224p. Wednesday Books, $18.99 (9781250168368). Grades 9 and up.
This personal, creative, and deeply hopeful book features words of wisdom and guidance from writers and artists like Alex Gino, Malinda Lo, Jacqueline Woodson, and many more.

MacCarald, Clara. Beating Bullying at Home and in Your Community. 2018. 64p. Rosen Young Adult, $34.45 (9781508174240). Grades 7 and up.
A straightforward guide that describes the types of bullying LGBTQIAP+ kids face as well as realistic responses.

Nicholson, Hope (ed). The Secret Loves of Geeks. 2018. 136p. Dark Horse Comics, $14.99 (9781506704739) Grades 9 and up.
A collection of essays, some illustrated and some not, about love–romantic, fandom, or both.

Young Adult Fiction

Albertalli, Becky. Leah on the Offbeat. 2018. 368p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062643803). Grades 9 and up.
Leah Burke must navigate first love, her college search, and the unexpected implosion of her once-unshakable friend group. She’s also bisexual but she can’t find the right way to come out to her friends.

Albertalli, Becky and Adam Silvera. What If It’s Us. 2018. 448p. HarperTeen, $18.99 (9780062795250). Grades 9 and up.
Arthur wants to find a relationship and Ben wants to get over his ex.  After a serendipitous meeting they discover the reality of romance together.

Armentrout, Jennifer L. et al. Meet Cute. 2018. 320p. HMH Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (978-1328604286). Grades 7 and up.
A fun short story collection featuring a variety of romantic relationships.

Berube, Amelinda. The Dark Beneath the Ice. 2018. 336p. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (9781492657071). Grades 9 and up.
Marianne begins to experience scary paranormal phenomena as her parents are undergoing a divorce. After an attempted exorcism with her new friend Rhiannon, Marianne is not sure that she and the people she loves will survive this haunting.

* Blake, Ashley Herring. Girl Made of Stars. 2018. 304p. HMH Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (978-1328778239). Grades 9 and up.
Mara is dealing with a difficult breakup with her ex-girlfriend when her twin brother is accused of rape by one of her best friends. She struggles with her own past trauma and pressure to maintain the status quo.

Booth, Molly. Nothing Happened. 2018. 336p. Disney Hyperion, $17.99 (9781484753026). Grades 9 and up.
In this retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing, camp counselors Bee and Ben snark and flirt while shy Hana and Claudia battle their own insecurities to try to get together.

Brennan, Sarah Rees. In Other Lands. 2017. 432p. Big Mouth House, $19.95 (978-1618731203). Grades 9 and up.
Elliot is recruited to a magical school in a magical land, and works to upend the system’s violent ways while navigating relationships with the classmates and creatures of this new place.

Callender, Kacen. This is Kind of an Epic Love Story. 2018. 304p. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062820228). Grades 10 and up.
Nathan and his ex-girlfriend have remained good friends even after their break-up. Their social group is complicated when Nate’s childhood friend (and secret crush) moves back to town.

Cameron, Sophie. Out of the Blue. 2018. 272p. Roaring Brook Press, $17.99 (9781250149916). Grades 7 and up.
Mysterious beings are falling from the sky to their deaths.  When Jaya finds one alive, she enlists new friends to help her keep the being safe.

Capetta, Amy Rose. Echo After Echo. 2017. 432p. Candlewick, $17.99 (9780763691646). Grades 9 and up.
Zara moves to New York City, where she has the opportunity to play the role she’s always coveted. Unfortunately, not everyone is as excited about the production, as cast members begin to die under mysterious circumstances.

Carter, Brooke. Learning Seventeen. 2018. 134p. Orca, $9.95 (9781459815537). Grades 8 and up.
Jane rebels against the rules of religious reform school, where she is encouraged to suppress her sexuality. Ultimately, she finds love, acceptance, and family reconciliation.

Cherry, Alison, Lindsay Ribar, and Michelle Schusterman. The Pros of Cons. 2018. 341p. Point/Scholastic, $18.99 (9781338151725). Grades 7 and up.
Worlds collide when Phoebe’s school band competition, Vanessa’s fandom con, and the taxidermy convention Callie is attending with her father are all at the same hotel and convention center.

Cohn, Rachel and David Levithan. Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah. 2018. 224p. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9780399553844). Grades 7 and up.
Twins Sam and Ilsa throw an intimate dinner party and each invite three guests—but the other does not know who has been invited.

Cotugno, Katie. Top Ten. 2017. 368p. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062418302). Grades 9 and up.
On graduation night, best friends Ryan and Gabby look back on the top ten memories of their high school friendships, fights, and romantic attractions.

Coulthurst, Audrey. Inkmistress. 2018. 400p. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (978-0062433282). Grades 9 and up.
Asra’s power to change fate by writing in her blood sets off a chain of events that puts her in direct opposition to her love, Ina.

Farizan, Sara. Here to Stay. 2018. 272p. Algonquin Young Readers, $17.95 (9781616207007). Grades 9 and up.
After Iranian-Jordanian Bijan makes a game-winning basket, his new-found fame leads to unwanted attention. When an anonymous picture of him photoshopped to look like a terrorist goes viral, Bijan must figure out how to stand up for what is right—for himself and his friends.

Foody, Amanda. Ace of Shades. 2018. 416p. Harlequin Teen, $19.99 (978-1335692290). Grades 9 and up.
Enne searches for her mother in New Reynes, the “City of Sin,” using only a name her mother mentioned in her last letter: Levi, a young, charismatic street lord and con artist.

Forman, Gayle. I Have Lost My Way. 2018. 272p. Viking Books For Young Readers, $18.99 (9780425290774). Grades 9 and up.
Freya, Harun, and Nathaniel have all suffered significant loss. Their lives intersect in New York City one fateful day, and they work together to heal.

Gardner, Whitney. Chaotic Good. 2018. 256p. Knopf Books For Young Readers, $17.99 (9781524720803). Grades 7 and up.
Cameron uses her cosplay talents and her twin brother’s wardrobe to pass as a boy so she isn’t mocked by the employees at her local comic book shop. When her new alter ego is invited to join their D&D group, she is asked out by Why, who is gay.

Gilbert, Kelly Loy. Picture Us in the Light. 2018. 368p. Disney Hyperion, $17.99 (9781484726020). Grades 9 and up.
Danny expresses himself through his art. But his art won’t make it clear to him why his friend completed suicide, what his parents are hiding, and what’s going on with his best friend Harry.

Gonsalves, Florence. Love and Other Carnivorous Plants. 2018. 352p. Little Brown, $17.99 (978-0316436724). Grades 9 and up.
Danny and her best friend Sara have their lives all planned out. But those plans are derailed when Danny gets into Harvard for pre-med and secretly enters rehab for an eating disorder, where she discovers an attraction to a fellow patient.

Howard, Greg. Social Intercourse. 2018. 309p. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (9781481497817). Grades 10 and up.
Beckett, an out and proud high schooler desperate to lose his virginity, and Jaxon, a popular jock with a cute girlfriend, discover their parents are dating and complicate things by falling for each other.

Hutchinson, Shaun David. The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza. 2018. 448p. Simon Pulse. $17.99 (9781481498548). Grades 9 and up.
Elena’s mother was a virgin when she was conceived. Now, as a teenager, Elena has healing powers, but every time she uses them other people disappear, and inanimate objects speak to her.

Ius, Dawn. Lizzie. 2018. 336p. Simon Pulse. $17.99 (9781481490764). Grades 7 and up.
In this imaginative modern retelling of Lizzie Borden’s story, Lizzie is shy, never been kissed, and controlled by her parents. When she meets Bridget, the family’s new maid, she quickly falls in love.

Jones, Adam Garnet. Fire Song. 2018. 232p. Annick Press, $18.95 (9781554519781). Grades 9 and up.
Shane’s life on the Anishinaabe reserve isn’t easy. After the recent suicide of his sister, he finds solace in his secret relationship with David.

* Kann, Claire. Let’s Talk About Love. 2018. 288p. Swoon Reads, $16.99 (9781250136121). Grades 9 and up.
Alice is asexual and biromantic, which is something she’s been dumped for in the past. She was not expecting to fall head over heels for Takumi, a fellow library employee.

Karcz, Lauren. The Gallery of Unfinished Girls. 2017. $17.99, HarperTeen (9780062467775). Grades 9 and up.
Mercedes Moreno hasn’t been able to paint in a year, her abuela is in a coma, and she has an unrequited crush on her best friend, Victoria. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she visits the Red Mangrove Estate: a magical space where art can be created but can never leave.

* Khorram, Adib. Darius the Great is Not Okay. 2018. 310p. Dial Books, $17.99 (9780525552963). Grades 7 and up.
Darius struggles with bullies, depression, and his weight. When he goes to Iran for the first time, Darius makes connections to his Persian heritage and forges a friendship with neighbor Sohrab.

Kisner, Adrienne. Dear Rachel Maddow. 2018. 263p. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (9781250146021). Grades 7 and up.
School doesn’t come naturally to Brynn Harper. After her brother’s drug-related death, she stops trying. Stuck in remedial courses and considering dropping out to escape an abusive household, Brynn discovers a spark of passion in an unlikely place: school politics.

Lawson, Richard. All We Can Do Is Wait. 2018. 288p. Razorbill, $17.99 (9780448494111). Grades 7 and up.
After a bridge collapses, teens bond in a hospital waiting area while dreading the fates of their loved ones.

Lee, C.B. Not Your Villain. 2017. 320p. Interlude Press, $16.99 (9781945053252). Grades 7 and up.
Bells is levelling up to superhero—if the bigger heroes don’t stand in his way, in this sequel to Not Your Sidekick.

Lee, Mackenzi. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. 2018. 450p. Katherine Tegen Books, $18.99 (9780062795328). Grades 7 and up.
Felicity Montague wants to become a doctor, but the men of 18th century Edinburgh and London won’t have her. She decides to appeal to her medical hero, but to do so she must reconcile with her childhood best friend, leading to adventures and intrigue across Europe.

Leno, Katrina. Summer of Salt. 2018. 256p. HarperTeen, $17.99 (9780062493620). Grades 6 and up.
The women in Georgina’s family have all inherited a special ability and she worries she has been passed over by the magic as she approaches her eighteenth birthday. Before she leaves her island home for college, a mystical tragedy about the death of a rare bird rips apart the town and her relationship with her twin sister. CW: rape.

Lo, Malinda. A Line in the Dark. 2017. 288p. Speak, $17.99 (9780735227439).  Grades 9 and up.
Jess has unrequited feelings for her best friend Angie, and struggles with jealousy when Angie starts up a relationship with rich girl Margot. Secrets and violence are hiding under the surface of all their lives.

Lukens, F.T. The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic. 2018. 304p. Interlude Press, $16.99 (9781945053245). Grades 9 and up.
Bridger needs to pay for college, but the unusual job he finds on Craigslist has him dealing with cranky unicorns, mermaids, and other mysterious creatures. On top of everything else, he must navigate the tricky process of coming out.

Lundin, Britta. Ship It. 2018. 384p. Freeform, $17.99 (9781368003131). Grades 9 and up.
Claire writes slash fiction based on her favorite TV show, Demon Heart, and she’s convinced that her ship should go canon. But when she confronts the show’s actors and producers at a convention, Claire risks losing everything she cares about, including her new romance with fellow fan, Tess.

Marsh, Sarah Glenn. Reign of the Fallen. 2018. 384p. Razorbill, $17.99 (9780448494395). Grades 7 and up.
Karthia is ruled by untouchable dead royals, and Odessa, a necromancer, must traverse the land of the dead and uncover the truth when a series of attacks reveal that whole kingdom is in jeopardy.

McLemore, Anna-Marie. Wild Beauty. 2017. 352p. Feiwel & Friends, $17.99 (9781250124555). Grades 7 and up.
The Nomeolvides women have lived in La Pradera for generations growing lush magical gardens, but their family is cursed – destined to lose anyone they love too deeply. When Estrella and her cousins realize they are all in love with the same girl, they make offerings to the land in an attempt to save her. The land responds with the appearance of a boy with no memories, whose past holds the key to generations of secrets and lies.

McNamara, Miriam. The Unbinding of Mary Reade. 2018. 280p. Sky Pony Press,  $16.99 (9781510727052). Grades 9 and up.
Mary Reade dresses as a man to sneak into a life of piracy but is stunned when she meets Anne Bonny, a pirate who is not afraid to hide her gender. Mary deals with her gender dysphoria, strong feelings for Anne, and sexual identity as she tries to survive.

Mele, Dana. People Like Us. 2018. 384p. Putnam, $17.99 (9781524741709). Grades 9 and up.
Running from a secret past, Kay has remade her life at posh Bates Academy. But when a student’s body is found in a nearby lake, Kay’s tragic past and ruthless methods make her a prime suspect in a murder – and the target of blackmail threatening to expose her past.

Miller, Linsey. Mask of Shadows. 2017. 352p. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (9781492647492). Grades 9 and up.
Seeking revenge on the nobles responsible for the destruction of their people, genderfluid pickpocket Sal decides to audition for a position on the Queen’s Left Hand, Her Majesty’s royal assassins. The competition is fierce, and the body count is high.

Mitchell, Saundra. All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages. 2018. 241p. Harlequin Teen, $18.99 (9781335470454). Grades 7 and up.
Seventeen short historical fiction stories about queer experiences across many time periods and cultures.

Ness, Patrick. Release. 2017. 288p. Harper Teen, $17.99 (9780062403193). Grades 9 and up.
Adam Thorn is having the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown with his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, disturbing visions, and maybe even hope.

* Ngan, Natasha. Girls of Paper and Fire. 2018. 400p. JIMMY Patterson Books,  $18.99 (9780316561365) Grades 9 and up.
In a fantasy world where there are humans, demons, and human-demons, Lei is forcibly taken to become a concubine to the demon king. She must survive violence and rape with her fellow courtesans, who learn to reclaim themselves and fight for their freedom.

Nijkamp, Marieke. Before I Let Go. 2018. 368p. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (9781492642282) Grades 9 and up.
Back in her small, strange hometown in Alaska, Corey is determined to find out what really happened to her best friend. But the whole town is pushing her away, which only makes her more determined to seek the truth.

Oshiro, Mark. Anger is a Gift. 2018. 464p. Tor Teen, $17.99 (9781250167026). Grades 9 and up.
When Moss was a child, his father was shot by the Oakland police. Now, as racial tensions are building in his high school, Moss falls for Javier. When Moss decides he wants to take a stand, he risks losing everything.

Patterson, Kaitlyn Sage. The Diminished. 2018. 454p. Harlequin Teen, $18.99 (9781335016416). Grades 7 and up.
In a world where babies are born in pairs, Bo is a singleborn, destined for the throne while Vi is “diminished,” her twin having died when they were very young. As their lives intersect, they will discover secrets that will change them both.

Poston, Ashley.  Heart of Iron. 2018. 480p. Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062652850). Grades 9 and up.
Ana and her found family of thieves make a living doing whatever jobs they can get when Ana’s best friend D09 needs her help. In a desperate bid to save him, she meets a rich, spoiled Ironblood, and together they track down a ship that may have all the answers they need.

Redgate, Riley. Final Draft. 2018. 262p. Amulet, $17.99 (9781419728723). Grades 9 and up.
Laila loves writing sci-fi stories, but a demanding new creative writing teacher pushes her to work harder and do more. Caught between confusing crushes, a headstrong best friend, and demands of school and family, Laila struggles to figure it all out.

Roehrig, Caleb. White Rabbit. 2018. 336p. Feiwel and Friends, $17.99 (9781250085658). Grades 7 and up.
To save his sister, Rufus has to solve a murder, fast. Unfortunately, his ex-boyfriend decides to come along for the ride, and that’s only the first surprise.

* Rosen, L.C. Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts). 2018. 342p. Little, Brown, $17.99 (9780316480536). Grades 10 and up.
Jack is an unabashedly out, sex-positive high school junior living large in New York. When he reluctantly agrees to write a sex advice column for a friend’s blog, he also starts receiving “love letters” that become increasingly threatening in tone.

Rubin, Julia Lynn. Burro Hills. 2018. 244p. Diversion Books, $13.99 (9781635761948). Grades 9 and up.
Jack can no longer hide his sexuality when Connor comes to town. But is Connor a bad boy leading him astray or the guy of his dreams?

Shaw, Liane. Caterpillars Can’t Swim. 2018. 246p. Second Story Press, $13.95 (9781772600537). Grades 9 and up.
Ryan, a high school swimmer who uses a wheelchair, rescues Jack from drowning and the two become unlikely friends. Their friendship allows Jack to finally admit he’s gay and make strides toward self-acceptance despite the judgments of his community.

Sim, Tara. Chainbreaker. 2018. 488p. Sky Pony Press, $18.99 (9781510706194). Grades 9 and up.
In a reimagined world where time’s passing is dependent on the spirits that inhabit clock towers, mechanic Danny is sent to India to investigate a city whose tower was destroyed but time never stopped.

Spalding, Amy. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles). 2018. 284p. Sky Pony Press, $16.99 (9780316515467). Grades 8 and up.
Body-positive Abby lands the internship of her dreams with a fashion boutique only to find out she has to share it with classmate Jordi Perez. She has to deal with her growing feelings for Jordi while also competing with her for a coveted paid position.

Spotswood, Jessica. The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls. 2018. 368p. Sourcebooks Fire, $10.99 (9781492622192) Grades 6 and up.
The Garrett girls have one last summer together in their small town. Oldest sister Des feels left behind, Bea may be changing her mind about her long-time boyfriend, Kat wants her ex back, and Vi has a thing for the girl next door.

* Stone, Nic. Odd One Out. 2018. 320p. Crown Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (9781101939536). Grades 9 to 12.
Coop has feelings for his lifelong bestie Jupiter, but knows nothing will ever happen between them because she is a lesbian. When Rae moves to town and joins their tight twosome, all their feelings collide in this messy, realistic story about falling in love, new romance, and friendship.

Surmelis, Angelo. The Dangerous Art of Blending In. 2018. 315p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (9780062659002). Grades 9 and up.
Evan returns from summer camp to discover his best friend Henry has become impossibly attractive. As his feelings for Henry grow more intense, Evan’s mother becomes more abusive, and he must find the courage to speak up.

Talley, Robin. Pulp. 2018. 416p. Harlequin Teen, $18.99 (9781335012906). Grades 9 and up.
In the present day, Abby is a high school senior dealing with lingering romantic feelings for her best friend/ex-girlfriend. In 1955, Janet must hide her relationship with her best friend Marie even though she knows there is nothing wrong with their love. Both Abby and Janet find solace in the lesbian pulp novels they read.

Trifonia, Melibia Obono. Translated by Lawrence Schimel. La Bastarda. 2018. 120p. The Feminist Press at CUNY, $15.95 (9781936932238). Grades 7 to 12.
Okomo has always been an outsider due to her mother’s death and her father’s rejection. When she starts spending time with village outcasts, she can no longer hide or deny who she is.

Watts, Julia. Quiver. 2018. 300p. Three Rooms Press, $15.95 (9781941110669). Grades 7 to 9.
Libby and Zo come from two very different worlds. Zo is a queer, genderfluid teen from Knoxville and Libby is the eldest of six siblings, living off the grid with her devout Quiverfull family. When Zo’s family move next door to Libby, the two slowly become friends, neither expecting how much the friendship will change their lives.

Wilde, Jen. The Brightsiders. 2018. 304p. Swoon Reads, $16.99. (9781250189714). Grades 9 and up.
Emmy King is a teenage rock star and lives like one, until a night out with her bandmates and her girlfriend ends with a car crash documented by the paparazzi. As she recovers from her public humiliation, she comes out as bisexual in front of her fans at a concert and she starts to have feelings for her genderfluid bandmate, Alfie.

Woodfolk, Ashley. The Beauty That Remains. 2018. 336p. Delacorte Press, $17.99, (9781524715878). Grades 9 and up.
Unexpected catastrophic loss brings together Autumn, Shay, and Logan: Autumn has lost her best friend, Shay has lost her twin sister, and Logan has lost his ex-boyfriend. Told in alternating perspectives, these three unite through a shared love of music.

Graphic Novels

Black, Holly, et al. Lumberjanes: Bonus Tracks. 2018. 128p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684152162). Grades 5 and up.
In this collection of one-shots and specials, the camp friends Lumberjanes embark on stand-alone adventures with magical creatures.

Chii. The Bride was a Boy. 2018. 158p. Seven Seas, $13.99 (9781626928886). Grades 7 and up.
This memoir shares Chii’s process of transition while focusing on her relationship and wedding in Japan.

DiMartino, Michael Dante & Irene Koh. Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One. 2017. 80p. Dark Horse Books, $9.99 (978150670015). Grades 4 to 8.
This comic based on the popular television show kicks off with Korra and Asami building their life together in a very changed world.

Ellis, Grace and Shae Beagle. Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew. 2018. 120p. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534304772). Grades 7 and up.
Werewolf barista Julie must team up with her new girlfriend Selena (also a werewolf) and clairvoyant friend Cass to save their bubbly centaur friend, Chet, from the effects of a terrible spell.

Franklin, Tee and Jenn St-Onge. Bingo Love. 2018. 88p. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534307506). Grades 9 and up.
In the 1960s South, teenagers Hazel and Mari meet and fall in love, but they are ultimately forced to part ways. Decades later, they meet again as grandmothers and rekindle their romance.

Grace, Sina & Vitti, Alessandro. Iceman, Vol. 1: Thawing Out. 2018. 136p. Marvel, $10.87 (9781302908799). Grades 9 and up.
Long-time X-Men member Bobby Drake, also known as Iceman, has always been quick to crack a joke–until a teen version of himself is brought to the future and comes out as gay. Now he has to deal with his sexuality, his family, and his exes.

Grace, Sina & Vitti, Alessandro. Iceman, Vol. 2: Absolute Zero. 2018. 112p. Marvel, $12.18 (9781302908805) Grades 9 and up.
Bobby Drake, aka Iceman, must contend with Wolverine’s son, a new love interest, his old team, and his parents discovering his time-displaced self.

Graley, Sarah. Kim Reaper Vol. 1: Grim Beginnings. $14.99, 112p. Oni Press, 2018. (9781620104552). Grades 9 and up.
When Becka finally works up the courage to ask out her university classmate, Kim, she has no idea that Kim has a part-time job helping the Grim Reaper.

Kaye, Julia. Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition. 2018. 160p. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99 (9781449489625). Grades 9 and up.
Artist Julia Kaye chronicles her transition with charming, light-hearted, three-panel comic strips, originally published as a web series.

Larson, Hope, Jackie Ball and Noah Hayes. Goldie Vance Vol 3. 2017. 112p. BOOM! Box, $10.19 (9781684150533). Grades 6 and up.
Goldie’s detective skills are put to the test when she is forced to team up with her rival Sugar Maple to figure out who is sabotaging cars in the big race.

Larson, Hope, Jackie Ball and Elle Power. Goldie Vance Vol 4. 2018. 112p. BOOM! Box, $9.32 (9781684151400). Grades 7 and up.
Mysteries abound leading up to the St. Pascal Rockin’ the Beach Music Festival, but Goldie Vance is on the case.

Rivera, Gabby & Joe Quinones. America, Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez. 2017. 136p. Marvel, $17.99 (9781302908812). Grades 7 and up.
America Chavez, Young Avenger and leader of the Ultimates, heads off to Sotomayor University, but in the midst of intimidatingly huge class projects, there are Nazis to punch, entitled cyborgs to deprogram, and creepy fan cults to disband.

Rivera, Gabby & Joe Quinones. America, Vol 2: Fast and Fuertona. 2018. 136p. Marvel, $12.23 (9781302908829). Grades 7 and up.
America explores her family history and faces off against a new villain in her continuing adventures.

Rowell, Rainbow & Kris Anka. Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home. 2018. 136p. Marvel, $12.23 (9781302908522). Grades 7 and up.
The author of Fangirl puts her spin on the new classic Marvel team of teens who discovered their parents were supervillains. Now a few years older, the team has split apart. But when one of their members is back from the dead, maybe it’s time for everyone to come back together.

Rowell, Rainbow & Kris Anka. Runaways, Vol. 2: Best Friends Forever. 2018. 136p. Marvel, $17.99 (9781302911973). Grades 7 and up.
Karolina’s girlfriend comes to visit, and everyone must adjust to life as a team again.

Sell, Chad et al,. Cardboard Kingdom. 2018. 288p. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $9.20 (9781524719388). Grades 4 and up.
Neighborhood kids use their imaginations and a bounty of cardboard to have the most exciting, heroic summer ever.

* Steele, Hamish. ​DeadEndia​: The Watcher’s Test. 2018. 240p. Nobrow, $14.95 (9781910620472). Grade 7 and up.
Barney’s folks kicked him out of the house when he came out as transgender. He lands a custodial job at Pollywood, a haunted amusement park named after a famous movie star, where he and his friends deal with demon possession, zombie cowboys, time travelers, and first love.

Tagame, Gengoroh. My Brother’s Husband, Vol. 2. 2018. 351p. Pantheon, $25.95 (9781101871539). Grades 7 and up.
Yaichi, a divorced Japanese father, must face the inherent prejudices of modern Japanese culture and his own feelings when Mike, the Canadian husband of Yaichi’s dead brother, comes to stay with Yaichi and his daughter for an extended visit.

Usdin, Carly and Vakueva, Nina. Heavy Vinyl. 2018. 112p. BOOM! Box, $14.99 (9781684151417). Grades 7 and up.
The new girl at Heavy Vinyl Records, Chris, doesn’t know that the manager and other employees double as a crime-battling, patriarchy-busting female fight club. When the lead singer of Chris’s favorite band goes missing, the group brings her in to help solve the mystery – and maybe even get the girl. Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the new comic book series.

Wang, Jen. ​​The Prince and the Dressmaker. 2018. 288p. First Second, $16.99 (9781626723634). Grades 7 and up.
Prince Sebastian hires talented dressmaker Frances to make gowns for the fabulously fashionable Lady Crystallia, his nighttime alter ego. While Frances loves designing dresses for Sebastian, she isn’t sure how long she can keep his secret.

October titles under consideration

Posted by: tsokoll0f on: November 1, 2018

The following 58 titles were under consideration by the Rainbow List Committee during the month of October:

America, vol 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera

America, vol 2: Fast and Fuertona by Gabby Rivera

La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibia Obono

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Burro Hills by Julia Lynn Rubin

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Dark Beneath the Ice by Amelinda Bérubé

DeadEndia: The Watcher’s Test (Book 1) by Hamish Steele

Dead Weight by Terry Blas & Molly Muldoon

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Goldie Vance vol. 3 by Hope Larson

Goldie Vance vol. 4 by Hope Larson

The Handsome Girl and Beautiful Boy by B.T. Gottfried

Heart Foreger by Rin Chupeco

Heavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin

Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel by A.W. Jantha

I Felt a Funeral in My Brain by Will Walton

Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

Jack of Hearts and Other Parts by L.C. Rosen

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel

The Ladies Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles

A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Love & Other Carnivorous Plants by Florence Gonsalves

Luisa – Now and Then by Carole Maurel and Mariko Tamaki

Lumberjanes Bonus Tracks by Holly Black

Mariam Sharma Hits the Road by Sheba Karim

Modern HERstory: Stories of women and nonbinary people writing history by Blair Imani

My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer

Nate Expectations by Blair Imani

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy

People Like Us by Dana Mele

Pride Guide: A guide to Sexual and Social Health for LGBTQ Youth by Jo Langford

Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar and Michelle Schusterman

Prom to Remember by Sandy Hall

Pulp by Robin Talley

Quiver by Julia Watts

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

The Rules and Regulations of Mediating Myths and Magic by F.T. Lukens

Runaways Vol. 1 Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell

Runaways Vol 2 Best Friends Forever by Rainbow Rowell

Secret Loves of Geeks ed. by Hope Hicholson

Starless by Jacqueline Carey

Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse

SuperMoon by H.A. Swain

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston

They She He Me: Free To Be by Maya + Matthew

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Trans Teen Survival Guide by Fox and Owl Fisher

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

When Lights Left us by Leah Thomas

Currently Reading – October Edition

Posted by: tsokoll0f on: October 11, 2018

Talya here! I am a middle and high school librarian right outside of Boston.  I’m so excited to be on Rainbow List this year and to share a few of the books I’ve been reading recently.

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow.  I don’t know about everyone else but I am a huge fan of anything related to summer camp.  I love love love novels that take summer camp, especially when they have a queer romance.  Drum Roll, Please tells the sweet, powerful story of of Melly, a shy girl who truly comes alive behind the drums.  When she heads off to rock camp with her best friend Olivia she is nervous about what’s to come, not to mention devastated over the news that her parents are getting a divorce.  But once at camp she begins to discover things about herself, her strengths, her talents and her ability to rock that surprise and shake her to her core.

Pulp by Robin Talley.  Many of us have heard about the Red Scare and McCarthyism, a shameful time in United State history. But few people know about the Lavender Scare, which occured at the same time and was the eradication of gay and lesbian employees from the U.S. government. While this was going on, pulp novels, cheap paperbacks that told salacious tales of love, romance and sex (among other topics) were increasingly popular.  All of this sets the stage for the dual narratives in Pulp. Janet is an 18 year old girl living in D.C. in 1955 and hiding a secret romance with her best friend Marie.  She knows that she is not doing anything wrong and that her love is normal, even if the rest of the world can’t see that.  But she must decide how far she is willing to go to live her truth and love who she loves.  In alternating chapters we also meet Abby, a high school senior in D.C. in 2018.  Abby is dealing with a lot.  Her parents marriage is crumbling, her young brother is acting out, and she and her best friend/girlfriend have split up.  Abby decides to research lesbian pulp novels from the 1950s, where she is introduced to a whole new world of forbidden romance and unrequited love.  Abby and Janet’s stories are mostly separate but intertwine towards the end of the book in a sweet and unexpected way.

September titles under consideration

Posted by: peshling on: October 3, 2018

The following twelve titles were under consideration by the Rainbow List Committee during the month of September:

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell

All We Can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson

Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan

The Bride was a Boy by Chii

Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

Chainbreaker by Tara Sim

Feeder by Patrick Weekes

Fresh Ink, edited by Lamar Giles

Full-Court Press by Elena Delle Donne

Iceman, vol. 1: Thawing Out by Sina Grace and Alessandro Vitti

Iceman, vol. 2: Absolute Zero by Sina Grace and Kevin Wada

Currently reading – September Edition

Posted by: peshling on: September 22, 2018

With autumn fast approaching, upstate New York is finally cooling off – quite the relief after a hot and muggy summer where about all I could do was lay in front of the fan and sweat. I’m Lynne Rhys; I’m an academic librarian and a proud member of the Rainbow List selection committee. Now that I’m not sweating all over the books, here’s what I’m reading:

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic by F.T. Lukens: Lukens, author of the Broken Moon series of books, has a knack for authentic voice; in this case, it’s the voice of Bridger Whitt, a high schooler determined to pay for college.When he answers a Craigslist ad for an “assistant,” he winds up climbing up the side of a strange old house trying not to look down – and that’s just to apply for the job. This book has comedy and action from the first page, and you’ll find yourself laughing as Bridger enters a world of pixies, werewolves, a hostile unicorn and even Bigfoot. Can he help stabilize the magical realm and, at the same time, learn to accept his emerging bisexuality? You’ll have to read this young adult novel to find out.

My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer: Caspar “Caz” Cadman is good at baseball. I mean, he’s really good. So after his family moves to Seattle, he can’t wait to join the local team. In his last town, though, when he came out as transgender he was harassed and ostracized. Will things be better here?  This is a terrific book about gender identity for middle graders. An easy read packed with themes of family, acceptance, friendship, and baseball.

Dead Endia: The Watcher’s Test by Hamish Steele: If you like funny, quirky, queer graphic novels that abound with demons, ghosts, talking dogs, and wizards, I think you’ll enjoy Dead Endia. The story is set in Pollywood, a theme park dedicated to the movies of a famous actress. In the middle of the park is Dead End, a haunted house that also serves as a portal into the underworld. One of Dead Endia’s main characters is Barney, a young transgender man who has been rejected by his parents. Barney battles the bad guys while Steele uses a light touch to integrate diverse characters and confront themes like homelessness. A fun and colorful read for ages 12 and up.

Visit this blog for updates on books we’re considering for next year’s Rainbow List. In the meantime, enjoy the colors of fall wherever you are. And read!

Currently Reading – August edition

Posted by: kmwashburn1 on: September 4, 2018

Hello Rainbow List Fans! My name is Kevin (pronouns, He, Him, His, Himself) and I’m a school librarian in North Carolina. My area of interest is primary picture books and children’s novels.  In this post, I would like to share with you some of the picture books that have recently been nominated that I’ve been fortunate to read.

Phoenix Goes to School by Michelle and Phoenix Finch, illustrated by Sharon Davey.  Described as “A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children”, which beautifully illustrates the feelings and emotions that can be found in a child whose gender identity doesn’t match their body.  Using the experience of attending school for the first time, Phoenix is afraid to wear a dress to school.  With the support of her family, Phoenix arrives at school and is able to overcome her fears.   With wonderful illustrations that bring the characters to life, this book is an excellent resource for teaching children that everyone has something beautiful and unique in them.

Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis.  “Once upon a time” as the story begins, provides the classic setting for this wonderful narrative based upon a fairytale theme.  With his parents concerned that he should find a bride, the prince feels that none of the young ladies that he meets have that “something special in a partner by my side.”  Then appears a vicious dragon that threatens to destroy the kingdom.  The prince rushes to defend the land and fortunately was not alone for also arrived just in time was a knight on horseback.  Through a struggle that saves both the prince and knight, the dragon was caught but not without a fight.  Luckily, the knight also caught the prince and saved the day.  Needless to say, the rest of the story illustrates how perfect the prince and knight were for each other and ends with a happy ever after.

Want to Play Trucks by Ann Stott and illustrated by Bob Graham is a story about two boys who are playground friends.  Though what they enjoy as toys are very different (Jack likes trucks, Alex likes dolls), the friends enjoy their time together.  The story builds on a series of play activities that require the boys to compromise.  The unique component of this story is that gender role and gender stereotypes are abandoned.  An excellent representation that what makes each person different and special can also be the bridge to what everyone has in common.  Inviting and warm illustrations make this book one that children will want to read again and again.

Visit the Rainbow List Blog regularly to see what other books are under consideration for next year!

 

August Titles Under Consideration

Posted by: kmwashburn1 on: September 3, 2018

The following 10 titles are under consideration by the Rainbow List Committee for the month of August:

Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson
Being Fishkill by Ruth Leher
Dear Rachel Maddow by Adrienne Kisner
Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Elle of the Ball by Elena Delle Donne
Love is Love by Michael Genhart
Phoenix Goes to School by Michelle Finch
Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Titles under Consideration as of August 6

Posted by: Gregory on: August 6, 2018

Hello, Rainbow Readers!

Since our last update on July 1, we have seven new titles under consideration:

 

Between the Blade and the Heart  by Amanda Hocking

A Possibility of Whales  by Karen Rivers

Anger is a Gift  by Mark Oshiro

Ship of the Dead  by Rick Riordan

Social Intercourse  by Greg Howard

A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson

Caterpillars Can’t Swim  by Liane Shaw

 

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