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Top 5 Most Anticipated LGBT YA Novels of 2016

Apr 08, 2016 12:13 am

It’s a really wonderful problem to have when I’m asked to give my Top 5 Most Anticipated LGBT YA Novels of 2016 and THERE ARE TOO MANY GOOD ONES TO CHOOSE FROM.
Which also means this is more like a Top 5 and bonus list . . . whatever.

My unabashedly cheesy intro into this list is that these stories have always mattered to me. Back in college, I wrote a rather soapbox-y thesis paper about the need for more characters in young adult literature who identified on the LGBTQ scale, but whose character arcs were not wholly defined by this identity. Several years later, I’m more of the opinion that all kinds of YA literature are important and needed, because the point is for teens (and anyone) to find stories that make them feel “less freakish and alone”, stories that normalize difference and diversity in the human race, and make us more tolerant of those differences.

In no particular order, these books to me serve that purpose—but are also, first and foremost, topnotch, entertaining stories.

OF FIRE AND STARS by Audrey Coulthurst

A princess with a forbidden magical gift is shipped off to a neighboring kingdom to marry a prince, but she has to choose between her duty and her heart when she falls in love with his roguish horse-training sister instead.

I’m not sure any explanation is needed after that summary, but—hot damn. Coulthurst takes a relatively typical fantasy premise and completely flips it on its head.

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo

Amanda is a transgender girl and starting at a new school—she falls for a guy and worries about opening up her heart to him.

I know I’m jumping on the bandwagon here, because this book is on every most-anticipated list of LGBT YA this year. But listen: beautiful transgender book written by a transgender author (such a combo has been seriously lacking in YA until recently), and the lovely cover model is also transgender. Win on multiple levels!

JERKBAIT by Mia Siegert

Even though they're identical, Tristan isn't close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself. Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other's lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can't escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world.

All right, so I might be a tiny bit biased, but guys, I would love this story even if I wasn’t (full disclosure) Mia’s editor. I fell in love with Tristan and Robbie’s story from the beginning; it was something I hadn’t seen before, and I felt a real connection to Robbie’s character. YOU GUYS GONNA LOVE IT.

Me after we acquired JERKBAIT:

LOOK BOTH WAYS by Alison Cherry

Brooklyn falls for Zoe during a summer away at theater camp. “Thoughtful, funny, and steeped in the wild drama of growing up, Alison Cherry’s new novel is the story of a girl hoping she’s found a place to belong . . . only to learn that neither talent nor love is as straightforward as she thinks.”

I’ve actually never read any of Alison Cherry’s books before, but this one sounds right up my alley—a tender YA all about family and relationships and the complicated mess that is life.

AS I DESCENDED by Robin Talley

A retelling of Macbeth set at a contemporary Virginia boarding school. It centers around a lesbian couple who set out to dethrone the school’s resident Mean Girl.

Lesbian/bi-sexual MACBETH?!?



Every city in the world is run by a clock tower. If one breaks, time stops. Danny, a clockwork mechanic prodigy, is assigned to a damaged clock tower in the small town of Enfield. The boy he mistakes for his apprentice is odd, but that’s to be expected when he’s the clock spirit who controls Enfield’s time. Although Danny and the spirit are drawn to each other’s loneliness, falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, no matter how cute his smiles are.

*does a jig* This book has about 10 of my most favorite things, so.


What are your favorite YA LGBT books for this year? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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