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What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA January and February 2016

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters. Right now my list of 2016 titles stands at 86 with known pub dates and many more with unknown, as of now, dates. I’m sure it will grow as the year goes on. Need more suggestions to add to your list? Check out Dahlia Adler’s QUILTBAG Compendium, Gay YA, and this Storify, from Gay YA’s book club Twitter chat in December, of favorite 2015 titles and anticipated 2016 titles.  The titles I’m including here have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents). Know of a title I missed in this list? Or know of a forthcoming title that should be on my radar for an upcoming list? Leave a comment or tweet me @CiteSomething. This list covers January 2016 and February 2016 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (October, November, and December 2015 titles) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers.

 

January 2016

stakesRaise the Stakes by Megan Atwood (ISBN-13: 9781467781039, Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group, Publication date: 01/01/2016)

Colin’s trans sister needs money for gender reassignment surgery. So Colin agrees to enter a mysterious contest run by “the Benefactor.” But soon his goal shifts from winning the $10 million prize to unmasking the Benefactor.

 

 

 

 

this is whereThis is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (ISBN-13: 9781492622468, Publisher: Sourcebooks, Publication date:01/05/2016)

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told from four perspectives over the span of 54 harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

(See previous posts about this book here and here)

 

this songThis Song Is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin (ISBN-13: 9781492602903 ,Publisher: Sourcebooks, Publication date: 01/05/2016)

Ramona fell for Sam the moment she met him. It was like she had known him forever. He’s one of the few constants in her life, and their friendship is just too important to risk for a kiss. Though she really wants to kiss him…

Sam loves Ramona, but he would never expect her to feel the same way-she’s too quirky and cool for someone like him. Still, they complement each other perfectly, both as best friends and as a band.

Then they meet Tom. Tom makes music too, and he’s the band’s missing piece. The three quickly become inseparable. Except Ramona’s falling in love with Tom. But she hasn’t fallen out of love with Sam either. How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?

(SEE REVIEW HERE)

 

colorsColors by Russell J. Sanders (ISBN: 978-1-63476-543-5, Publisher: Harmony Ink, Publication date: 01/14/2016)

With a beautiful girlfriend, a scholarship to a prestigious musical theater school, and talent to spare, life is good for high school senior Neil Darrien. He’s on his way to stardom, but then newcomer Zane Jeffrey secures a place in the school show choir, rousing Neil’s envy. Neil soon sees there’s more to Zane than a talented performer, though—he’s funny and charming, and the two boys become friends.

Neil’s girlfriend Melissa doesn’t like Neil spending so much time with Zane, and she draws Neil into her church. There, Neil is faced with a choice between righting a wrong and risking revealing a secret that could cost him everything he’s worked so hard to achieve.

As Neil’s relationship with Melissa deteriorates, Neil starts to see Zane in a different light—one that has him thinking of Zane as more than just a friend.

 

 

we are the antsWe Are The Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (ISBN-13: 9781481449632, Publisher: Simon Pulse, Publication date: 01/19/2016)

From the “author to watch” (Kirkus Reviews) of The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley comes a brand-new novel about a teenage boy who must decide whether or not the world is worth saving.

Henry Denton has spent years being periodically abducted by aliens. Then the aliens give him an ultimatum: The world will end in 144 days, and all Henry has to do to stop it is push a big red button.

Only he isn’t sure he wants to.

After all, life hasn’t been great for Henry. His mom is a struggling waitress held together by a thin layer of cigarette smoke. His brother is a jobless dropout who just knocked someone up. His grandmother is slowly losing herself to Alzheimer’s. And Henry is still dealing with the grief of his boyfriend’s suicide last year.

Wiping the slate clean sounds like a pretty good choice to him.

But Henry is a scientist first, and facing the question thoroughly and logically, he begins to look for pros and cons: in the bully who is his perpetual one-night stand, in the best friend who betrayed him, in the brilliant and mysterious boy who walked into the wrong class. Weighing the pain and the joy that surrounds him, Henry is left with the ultimate choice: push the button and save the planet and everyone on it…or let the world—and his pain—be destroyed forever.

(SEE REVIEW HERE)

 

burnBurn by Elissa Sussman (ISBN-13: 9780062274595, Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Publication date: 01/19/2016)

Burn is the thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray. This engaging and imaginative continuation of the original fairy tale begun in Stray will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of the musicals Wicked and Into the Woods.

After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away. Booklist said of Stray, “Sussman delightfully mixes dystopian tension with retold fairy tales, and the result is something wholly original.” Includes a map.

(SEE REVIEW HERE)

 

raisingThe Raising (The Torch Keeper, #3) by Steven dos Santos (ASIN: B018EL5CI6, Publisher: Curtis Brown Unlimited, Publication date: 01/20/2016)

Three Pasts. Two Fates. One Choice.

Once a humble orphan existing in the shadows of the brutal Establishment, Lucian “Lucky” Spark has evolved from lone vigilante to “The Torch Keeper,” a fiery symbol of the valiant resistance. Lucky now leads the heroic fight to restore justice and liberty to the downtrodden survivors of a world devastated by geological catastrophe and tyranny.

But as the Torch Brigade prepares to launch a final, desperate gambit against the ruthless forces controlled by his former companion, the mysterious Cassius Thorn, Lucky struggles with the secret of his own true identity. Is he the spark of hope destined to unite a nation and finally end this destructive crusade? Or is he truly the dark catalyst of the past, intent on reducing the remnants of humanity to smoldering embers?

With the fates of his brainwashed brother, Cole, and genetically transformed love, Digory Tycho, caught in the crossfire of epic war, Lucky’s final choice may have apocalyptic consequences for an entire world.

 

like i knowLike I Know Jack by MC Lee (ISBN: 978-1-63476-808-5, Publisher: Harmony Ink, Publication date: 01/21/2016)

When Jack finds himself assigned to a new case with Anna Baxter, the agent who made life difficult on his previous mission, he is glad to find Leo McCormack will also be joining them.

They are tasked with getting close to high school student Connor White in order to infiltrate a drug ring being run by his friend, Gregor Slovik. Connor is gay, and Jack is conflicted about just how close to get to his target. With Leo’s help, Jack tries to navigate the pitfalls of their assignment. When Agent Baxter attempts to manipulate the mission to achieve the outcome she wants, Jack is forced to make a risky decision.

 

 

shallowShallow Graves by Kali Wallace (ISBN-13: 9780062366207, Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Publication date: 01/26/2016)

For fans of Holly Black and Nova Ren Suma, a gripping, hauntingly atmospheric novel about murder, revenge, and a world where monsters—human and otherwise—lurk at the fringes.

When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight, and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.

Tense, complex, and wholly engaging, Shallow Graves is a stunning first novel from Kali Wallace.

 

any other girlAny Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips (ISBN-13: 9781617738821, Publisher: Kensington, Publication date: 01/26/2016)

After a disastrous, reputation-destroying party at the end of junior year, Kat Henley has a new plan. When it comes to boys–especially other people’s boys:

Don’t touch.
Don’t smile.
Don’t charm.

In the past, drawing attention to herself helped distract people from what really makes Kat different–having two gay parents. But it’s also cost her friendships. Kat can’t afford to lose any more of those, especially not her cousin, Harper. They’re spending one last summer together at the lake, where they run into an intriguing newcomer named Emmett Reese. After years of trying to prove she’s just like everybody else, Kat has found someone who wants her because she’s not. A boy who could be everything she wants too–if Harper hadn’t liked him first. . .

 

are youAre You LGBTQ? by Jeanne Nagle (ISBN-13: 9780766071391, Publisher: Enslow Publishing, Publication date: 01/28/2016)

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer or Questioning. Each of these terms has an individual meaning and community around them. Through interviews with professionals as well as those in the LGBTQ community, readers can learn not only the definition of each of these words, but also what it means on a greater scale. Perfect for research or personal use, this text will provide teens with answers to many of their questions about sexuality and create a dialogue through which they can learn to accept each other and themselves.

 

 

 

sunThe Sun Dragon by Annabelle Jay (ISBN: 978-1-63476-341-7, Publisher: Harmony Ink, Publication date: 01/28/2016)

Dragons once roamed the skies, as common as our modern-day airplanes but much more beautiful in their gliding, soaring thermal choreography. Until King Roland and his gold-greedy men defeated them.

Years later King Roland reveals that not only did he let the dragons live, but he turned them into humans so that they could enter the population and breed him an army. Allanah, a sophomore in high school, saves her know-it-all friend Victoria from exactly this fate with magical powers she never knew she had. Allanah’s first high school crush, Jason, reveals that he’s been sent by a secret society of wizards to bring Allanah and Victoria to the Council to have their magical abilities tested by The Egg. Everyone, including Allanah, is shocked by what she produces: the world’s first light dragon.

Allanah must save her best friend and all of the rest of the dragons from Roland’s evil plan, but when she meets the beautiful Dena, a member of the native forest-dwelling Igreefee camp, she must wrestle between her feelings for her new wizard crush, Cormac, and her attraction to Dena.

 

February 2016

taggedTagged Out by Joyce Grant (ISBN: 9781459410756, Publisher: Lorimer, Publication date: 02/01/2016)

The inner-city Toronto Blues baseball team is having a lousy year. Shortstop Nash and the Blues can’t seem to win. They especially hate losing to their archrivals, the rich kids of the Parkhill Pirates. When all-star player Jock joins the team, it looks like the Blues might be able to turn the season around. The only problem? When the Pirates find out that Jock is gay, they ambush Nash and Jock, and Nash has to decide if he wants to stand by his teammate.

 

 

 

symptomsSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (ISBN-13: 9780062382863, Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers, Publication date: 02/02/2016)

A sharply honest and moving debut perfect for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Ask the Passengers.

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

From debut author Jeff Garvin comes a powerful and uplifting portrait of a modern teen struggling with high school, relationships, and what it means to be a person.

(SEE REVIEW HERE)

 

spiritSpirit Level by Sarah N. Harvey (ISBN-13: 9781459808164, Publisher: Orca Book Publishers, Publication date: 02/02/2016)

Harriet (known as Harry) is a donor-conceived child who has never wanted to reach out to her half-siblings or donor—until now. Feeling adrift after a breakup with her long-time boyfriend, Harry tracks down her half-siblings, two of whom are in Seattle, where Harriet lives. The first girl she meets is fifteen–year-old Lucy, an effervescent half-Japanese dancer. Then she meets Meredith, a troubled girl who is always accompanied by her best friend, Alex. Harry and Alex are attracted to each other, much to Meredith’s chagrin, and when it becomes clear that Meredith is an accomplished liar, Harry makes it her business to figure out what Meredith is up to. In the course of her investigation, she discovers a lot about Meredith, but the biggest shock is not about Meredith—it’s about Alex, who was born female. So now Harry must deal with not only her growing attraction to Alex, but also Meredith’s hostility. As decisions are made around whether to contact their donor, the three donor sisters negotiate their relationship and Harry tries to figure out what she really wants.

 

 

abyssThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (ISBN-13: 9780738746913, Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., Publication date: 02/08/2016)

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup and teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. Santa Elena has no idea what she’s in for.

 

 

bleeding earthBleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward (ISBN-13: 9780986448485, Publisher: Adaptive Studios, Publication date: 02/09/2016)

Between Mother Nature and human nature, disasters are inevitable.

Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood oozed out of the ground, even through the concrete, even in the water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones.

Lea wishes she could ignore the blood. She wishes she could spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn’t so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and her girlfriend however she can.

 

radioRadio Silence by Alice Oseman (ISBN: 9780007559244, Publisher: HarperCollins, Publication date: 02/25/2016) UK BOOK

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

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