I hope this new book is exactly like the last one I read, said no one ever! What makes the YA literary community so special is our attention to new, diverse, and representational stories.Everyone has a beautiful story to tell, when given the chance. This Pride month is a great time to seek out new stories.
Voyage is proud to highlight 5 LGBTQ+ YA writers and their works to celebrate this (and every) month!
1). Kacen Callender’s Felix Ever After & This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story
Kacen Calleneer is an Indie Bestseller and Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Their writing repertoire is vast, with recurring themes about healing, Black self-love, queer, and transgender pride. Felix Ever After redefines YA romance as one including Black, queer, transgender, and even a love triangle! Not to be forgotten, This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story lives up to its name (how could a story about a childhood best friend becoming your crush not be epic?). If you like YA with intersectional themes and funny romance, Kacen is a perfect choice!
2). L.C. Rosen’s Camp
Summer camp, comedy, and discussions about toxic masculinity- what more could you ask for? L.C. Rosen turns his past experiences of homophobia and exclusion within your typical YA romance into a joyous expression of teen queerness. In a recent Forbes article, Rosen explained his passion for YA Queer Fiction, “I think that if it were only books where queer characters were treated just like straight people in every regard, it would be a big disservice to queer teens, who are growing up knowing the world doesn’t treat them like their straight peers”. Camp is a great way to dive into summer (and a new queer rom-com).
3). Robin Talley’s Music From Another World
New York Times-bestselling author Robin Talley focuses on LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. Music From Another World is set in 1977, where two young girls fall in love, despite hundreds of miles and antigay political campaigns trying to pull them apart. Complete with teen angst, secret Lesbian pen pals, and personal truths, Tally’s Music From Another World rings with pride! Make sure to also check Tally’s feature in All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages.
4). Jeff Garvin’s Symptoms of Being Human
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl? Garvin’s debut novel uncovers the ins, outs, and upside downs of gender fluidity. Main character Riley Cavanaugh creates an anonymous blog to share Riley’s life. Once the blog becomes viral, Riley is forced to navigate possible outing, and learns the importance of self-acceptance. As one of the first YA books written that discusses the complexities of gender fluidity, Symptoms of Being Human beautifully combines the traditional coming-of-age story with a modern, more inclusive, twist.
5). Abida Jaigirdar’s The Henna Wars
I’m sure you were wondering when an enemies-to-lovers book would make its appearance. Wait no longer! The Henna Wars surrounds Nishat and Flávia, two teen henna artists who compete for success…all while trying not to fall in love. The fight to prove who wins turns into a fight to be accepted for who they are. The Guardian put it best, “Funny and heartbreaking by turns, written with both strong conviction and lightness of touch, this is a brilliant debut: romantic, thought-provoking and entirely unique”.
This Pride month, make sure to check in with yourself and your favorite authors to see how you can foster a welcoming and diverse YA writing community.
Happy Pride and happy reading!