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What’s New in LGBTQIA+ YA April 2019

It’s time for another roundup for new and forthcoming YA (and sometimes not YA) books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.  The titles I include in these lists have LGBTQIA+ main characters as well as secondary characters (in some cases parents), as well as anthologies that include LGBTQIA+ stories. 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 April 2019 titles. Head over to this link for the previous post (March 2019) in this series. All annotations here are via the publishers/Goodreads. I also have a 2017 master list and one for 2018. I’m working on the 2019 list. I’m happy to send you any list if you’re interested. Tweet at me or email me to request the list. I’m amanda DOT macgregor AT gmail DOT com.

Looking for more information on LGBTQIA+ books or issues? Check out the hashtag here on TLT and go visit YA Pride and LGBTQ Reads, two phenomenal resources. 

devouringThe Devouring Gray (Devouring Gray Series #1) by Christine Lynn Herman (ISBN-13: 9781368024969 Publisher: Disney Press Publication date: 04/02/2019)

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray-a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities… before the Gray devours them all.

where the heartWhere the Heart Is by Jo Knowles (ISBN-13: 9781536200034 Publisher: Candlewick Press Publication date: 04/02/2019)

If home is where the heart is, what would happen if you lost it? Compassion and humor infuse the story of a family caught in financial crisis and a girl struggling to form her own identity.

It’s the first day of summer and Rachel’s thirteenth birthday. She can’t wait to head to the lake with her best friend, Micah. But as summer unfolds, every day seems to get more complicated. Her “fun” new job taking care of the neighbors’ farm animals quickly becomes a challenge, whether she’s being pecked by chickens or having to dodge a charging pig at feeding time. At home, her parents are more worried about money than usual, and their arguments over bills intensify. Fortunately, Rachel can count on Micah to help her cope with all the stress. But Micah seems to want their relationship to go beyond friendship, and though Rachel almost wishes for that, too, she can’t force herself to feel “that way” about him. In fact, she isn’t sure she can feel that way about any boy — or what that means. With all the heart of her award-winning novel See You At Harry’s, Jo Knowles brings us the story of a girl who must discover where her heart is and what that means for her future.

princess fangirlThe Princess and the Fangirl (Once Upon a Con Series #2) by Ashley Poston (ISBN-13: 9781683690962 Publisher: Quirk Publishing Publication date: 04/02/2019)

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

handThe Hand, the Eye and the Heart by Zoë Marriott (UK book ISBN-13: 9781406383546 Publisher: Walker Books Publication date: 04/04/2019)

From beloved fantasy writer Zoë Marriott comes an epic adventure about courage and gender identity set in a fairy-tale China.

Zhilan was assigned female at birth. Despite a gift for illusions, they know they are destined to live out their life within the confines of the women’s quarter. But when civil war sets the empire aflame, Zhilan is determined save their disabled father from the battlefield. By taking his place. Surviving brutal army training as a boy – Zhi – is only the first challenge. In the glittering court of the Land of Dragons, love and betrayal are two sides of the same smile, and soon the fate of a nation rests on Zhi’s shoulders. But to win, they must decide where their heart truly belongs…

red scrollThe Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare, Wesley Chu (ISBN-13: 9781481495080 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books Publication date: 04/09/2019 Series: Eldest Curses Series #1)

From #1 New York Times bestseller Cassandra Clare and award-winner Wesley Chu comes the first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel.

All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.

Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

love and otherLove & Other Curses by Michael Thomas Ford (ISBN-13: 9780062791207 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/09/2019)

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only guy in my school who can replace a faulty kick-down switch and also create the perfect smoky eye.”

The Weyward family has been haunted by a curse for generations—if a Weyward falls in love before their seventeenth birthday, the person they love dies.

Sam doesn’t plan to fall for anyone in the weeks before his birthday. He’ll spend his time working at the Eezy-Freeze with his dad; cooking up some midsummer magic with his grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother (the Grands); and experimenting with drag with the help of the queens at the Shangri-La, the local gay club.

But when a new guy comes to town, Sam finds himself in trouble when they strike up a friendship that might be way more than that.

As Sam’s birthday approaches and he still hasn’t quite fallen in love, the curse seems to get more powerful and less specific about who it targets.

A mysterious girl Sam talks to on the phone late at night and a woman he’s only seen in a dream might have the answers he’s been looking for—but time is running out to save the people he cares about.

the greatThe Great Nijinsky: God of Dance by Lynn Curlee (ISBN-13: 9781580898003 Publisher: Charlesbridge Publication date: 04/09/2019)

Dance prodigy, sex symbol, gay pioneer, cultural icon—Vaslav Nijinsky rose to fame as the star of the Ballets Russes in Paris before mental illness stole his career and the last thirty years of his life. A tragic story of a great genius, this compelling work of narrative nonfiction chronicles a life of obsessive artistry, celebrity, and notoriety.

With one grand leap off the stage at the 1909 premiere of the Ballets Russes’s inaugural season, Nijinsky became an overnight sensation and the century’s first superstar, in the days before moving pictures brought popular culture to the masses. Perhaps the greatest dancer of the twentieth century, Nijinsky captured audiences with his sheer animal magnetism and incredible skill.

He was also half of the most famous (and openly gay) couple of the Edwardian era: his relationship with Serge Diaghilev, artistic director and architect of the Ballets Russes, pushed boundaries in a time when homosexuality and bisexuality were rarely discussed. Nijinsky’s life was tumultuous—after marrying a female groupie he hardly knew, he was kicked out of the Ballets Russes and placed under house arrest during World War I. Unable to work as he once did, his mental health deteriorated, and he spent three decades in and out of institutions.

Biographical narrative is interspersed with spotlights on the ballets the dancer popularized: classic masterworks such as Afternoon of a FaunThe Firebird, and of course, the shockingly original Rite of Spring, which caused the audience to riot at its premiere. Illustrated with elegant, intimate portraits as well as archival art and photographs.

starworldStarworld by Audrey Coulthurst, Paula Garner (ISBN-13: 9780763697563 Publisher: Candlewick Press Publication date: 04/16/2019)

In a novel in two voices, a popular teen and an artistic loner forge an unlikely bond — and create an entire universe — via texts. But how long before the real world invades Starworld?

Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?

earth to charlieEarth to Charlie by Justin Olson (ISBN-13: 9781534419520 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers Publication date: 04/16/2019)

A high school outcast spends his life hoping to be abducted by aliens in this funny, quirky novel about finding your footing in a world that sometimes feels like Mars. 

Convinced his mother has been abducted by aliens, Charlie Dickens spends his nights with an eye out for UFOs, hoping to join her. After all, she said the aliens would come back for him. Charlie will admit that he doesn’t have many reasons to stick around; he doesn’t get along well with his father, he’s constantly bullied at school and at work, and the only friend he has is his 600-pound neighbor Geoffrey, and Geoffrey’s three-legged dog, Tickles.

Then Charlie meets popular, easy-going Seth, who shows him what real friendship is all about. For once, he finds himself looking around at the life he’s built, rather than looking up. But sooner than he expected, Charlie has to make a decision: should he stay or should he go?

meaning of birdsThe Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown (ISBN-13: 9780062824448 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/16/2019)

Not to be missed by fans of Nina LaCour and Becky Albertalli, this powerful novel—from the acclaimed author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit—paints a poignant portrait of love in the past, grief in the now, and the healing power of art.

Before: Jess has always struggled with the fire inside her. But when she meets Vivi, everything changes. As they fall for each other, Vivi helps Jess deal with her anger and pain and encourages her to embrace her artistic talent. And suddenly Jess’s future is a blank canvas, filled with possibilities.

After: When Vivi unexpectedly dies, Jess’s perfect world is erased. As she spirals out of control, Jess pushes away everyone around her and throws out her plans for art school. Because art is Vivi and Vivi is gone forever. Right when Jess feels at her lowest, she makes a surprising friend who just might be able to show her a new way to channel her rage, passion, and creativity. But will Jess ever be able to forge a new path for herself without Vivi?

A beautiful exploration of first love and first loss, this novel effortlessly weaves together past and present to tell a profound story about how you can become whole again when it seems like you’ve lost the most important part of yourself.

summer of a thousandSummer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway (ISBN-13: 9780062803467 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Publication date: 04/16/2019)

A heartfelt contemporary middle grade novel about a girl who must try to save her aunt’s failing pie shop, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish, Fish in a Tree—and The Great British Baking Show.

When Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she isn’t sure what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.

Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs.

Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?

Summer of a Thousand Pies is a sweet and satisfying treat of a novel full of friendship, family, and, of course, pie.

how not to askHow Not to Ask a Boy to Prom by S. J. Goslee (ISBN-13: 9781626724013 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press Publication date: 04/23/2019)

Nolan Grant is sixteen, gay, and very, very single.

He’s never had a boyfriend, or even been kissed. It’s not like Penn Valley is exactly brimming with prospects. Nolan plans to ride out the rest of his junior year drawing narwhals, working at the greenhouse, and avoiding anything that involves an ounce of school spirit.

Unfortunately for him, his adoptive big sister has other ideas. Ideas that involve too-tight pants, a baggie full of purple glitter, and worst of all: a Junior-Senior prom ticket.

How (Not) to Ask a Boy to Prom is a modern gender-bent young adult rom com from S. J. Goslee.

you must not missYou Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno (ISBN-13: 9780316449779 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication date: 04/23/2019)

One of Us Is Lying meets Carrie in this suspenseful story of friendship, family, and revenge.

Magpie Lewis started writing in her yellow notebook the day her family self-destructed. That was the night Eryn, Magpie’s sister, skipped town and left her to fend for herself. That was the night of Brandon Phipp’s party.

Now, Magpie is called a slut whenever she walks down the hallways of her high school, her former best friend won’t speak to her, and she spends her lunch period with a group of misfits who’ve all been socially exiled like she has. And so, feeling trapped and forgotten, Magpie retreats to her notebook, dreaming up a place called Near.

Near is perfect–somewhere where her father never cheated, her mother never drank, and Magpie’s own life never derailed so suddenly. She imagines Near so completely, so fully, that she writes it into existence, right in her own backyard. It’s a place where she can have anything she wants…even revenge.

You Must Not Miss is a twisted and suspenseful tale of magic, menace, and the monsters that live inside us all.

hot dog girlHot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan (ISBN-13: 9780525516255 Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group Publication date: 04/30/2019)

A fresh and funny contemporary YA rom-com about teens working as costumed characters in a local amusement part.

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland—ever—unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love—and themselves—in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

king of foolsKing of Fools by Amanda Foody (ISBN-13: 9781335661340 Publisher: Inkyard Press Publication date: 04/30/2019 Series: The Shadow Game Series #2)

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Séance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with the estranged son of mafia donna Vianca Augustine. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by Vianca’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

backstagers 3The Backstagers Vol. 3 by James Tynion IV, Sam Johns, Rian Sygh (Illustrator), Brittney Williams (Illustrator), Caitlin Rose Boyle (Illustrator) (ISBN-13: 9781684153329 Publisher: BOOM! Box Publication date: 04/30/2019)

All the world’s a stage . . . but what happens behind the curtain is pure magic—literally!

The Backstagers are back in (stage) blacks, for a festive collection of Valentine’s Day and Halloween stories! Join Jory and the rest of the Backstagers as they wrestle with anti-Valentine crusades, totally creepy phantoms (NOT of the opera), and the everpresent magic of the backstage world in this romantically spooky third volume of the hit series.

Reuniting the Prism Award-winning team of writer James Tynion IV (Detective ComicsJustice League) and artist Rian Sygh, along with a variety of fan-favorite artists including Brittney Williams (Goldie Vance), Caitlin Rose Boyle (Jonesy), Katy Farina (Steven Universe), and more, these holiday tales will fill your heart with love, spooky spectres, and chocolate. Lots…and lots…of chocolate.

belly upBelly Up by Eva Darrows (ISBN-13: 9781335012357 Publisher: Inkyard Press Publication date: 04/30/2019)

There’s a first time for everything.

First time playing quarters.

First time spinning the bottle.

First totally hot consensual truck hookup with a superhot boy whose digits I forgot to get.

First time getting pregnant.

Surprised you with that one, didn’t I?

Surprised me, too. I’d planned to spend senior year with my bestie-slash-wifey, Devi Abrams, graduating at the top of my class and getting into an Ivy League college. Instead, Mom and I are moving in with my battle-ax of a grandmother and I’m about to start a new school and a whole new life.

Know what’s more fun than being the new girl for your senior year? Being the pregnant new girl. It isn’t awesome. There is one upside, though—a boy named Leaf Leon. He’s cute, an amazing cook and he’s flirting me up, hard-core. Too bad I’m knocked up with a stranger’s baby. I should probably mention that to him at some point.

But how?

It seems I’ve got a lot more firsts to go.

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