Can you even believe this list has 68 (!!) upcoming 2019 queer YA books? WOW. No matter what kind of LGBT YA you’re into, there is something on this list for you. Share which books you’re most excited about in the comments!
Slayer, by Kiersten White (January 8)
In this canon Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel that takes place after the end of the TV series and some of the comics, Nina grew up at the Watcher’s Council. When she finds out she’s also a Slayer, she discovers she’s not just the most recent “chosen one” — she’s the last Slayer who will ever exist.
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, edited by Ibi Zoboi (January 8)
This anthology exploring a diversity of Black teen experiences collects work by YA writers you’ll recognize as well as new faces, with plenty of queer content. Look for Kissing Sarah Smart by Justina Ireland and Out of the Silence by Kekla Magoon in particular for queer girls.
Song of the Dead, by Sarah Glenn Marsh (January 22)
The sequel to the acclaimed fantasy novel Reign of the Fallen, Song of the Dead heroine Odessa has to fight the blurry line between the living and the dead. She’ll also get the chance to explore beyond the borders of her kingdom Karthia for the first time on land and sea. Featuring #ownvoices bi representation and necromancy!
Castle on the River Vistula, by Michelle Tea (January 22)
The third book in Michelle Tea’s Chelsea trilogy, Castle on the River Vistula takes Sophie to an ancient castle in Poland, where she lands right in the middle of an ancient battle. Even with her magical abilities and training, can a scrappy teen from Chelsea, Massachusetts really save the world?
The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me, by Olivia Hinebaugh (January 22)
Straight-A student and rule follower 17-year-old Lacey is not who you’d expect to start running a forbidden sex education clinic out of her high school bathroom. But that’s exactly what she does when she sees what a negative effect the abstinence-only education in her school is having. Featuring ace/aro representation!
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, by Sabina Khan (January 29)
Rukhsana is a 17-year-old Bengali-American lesbian who has a great girlfriend, lifelong friends, and an ambitious plan for her future at CalTech. But living in between — not being out to her conservative Muslim parents and her white friends and girlfriend not getting why she doesn’t just “come out already” — catches up with her when she gets accidentally outed.
Practically Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira (January 29)
High school senior Grace is an utterly practical person who has the perfect life all planned out: lifelong love with Leia, her amazing girlfriend, and acceptance to a first-rate college guaranteeing a secure well-paid job. The only problem is… life tends to get in the way of perfect plans.
The Cerulean, by Amy Ewing (January 29)
This first book in a planned duology, The Cerulean is set in a sapphic utopia city. But Sera has always felt like she didn’t fit in, despite her strong bonds with her three moms and BFF. When fate — which was supposed to kill her — lands her in a strange world unbelievably still alive, can she summon the magic inside her to get back home?
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo (February 5)
This graphic novel adaptation of Little Women tells the story of the four March sisters as a blended, biracial family in New York City. Combining 21st century sensibilities with the timeless themes from the original, the story follows the girls through serious and not-so-serious troubles. Also, at least one of them is reimagined as gay!
What Makes You Beautiful, by Bridget Liang (February 5)
This #ownvoices trans Asian story is about a teen struggling through the muddy waters of gender and sexual identity. Moving to an arts high school with a wide variety of LGBTQ kids helps. Trying on gay and trans identities and enlisting the help of an older trans Chinese mentor, Veronica eventually realizes she’s a transgender girl.
Crown of Feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto (February 12)
The first book in a new epic fantasy series, Crown of Feathers features girls disguising themselves as boys and legendary heroes who rode phoenixes in battle days of yore. Veronyka is a war orphan who signs up to train to become a Phoenix Rider like in the stories of her childhood. Just when she feels like she’s finally fitting in — despite the cross-dressing — her controlling, deceitful sister shows up.
Immoral Code, by Lillian Clark (February 19)
This hacker heist story features a bunch of queer teens (including one who identifies as aro and ace). One of their crew’s student loan application for MIT is denied when it’s discovered her estranged father is a billionaire. What’s the group of computer whizzes going to do? Hack into his bank account, of course.
The Afterward, by E.K. Johnston (February 19)
A not-so-reformed thief and an apprentice knight team up after being involved in saving the world — so involved that both girls are now famous. But peace and quiet isn’t something either of them are used to. And the “golden age” that was promised post-world-saving hasn’t arrived yet. Also, they fall in love.
We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia (February 26)
Daniela is the top student at the Medio School for Girls, where privileged teen girls are trained to fulfill patriarchal roles. But Daniela has a secret: her papers were forged by her parents to allow her to rise above her station. When she’s asked to join a resistance group and work as a spy, she is torn between taking advantage of the privilege her parents worked so hard to get for her and the opportunity to fight for equality and forbidden aka gay love.
The Last 8, by Laura Pohl (March 1)
A post-apocalyptic thriller, The Last 8 is about eight teens who are the sole survivors of an alien attack. Clover, a bisexual aromantic pilot, isn’t so sure she should have even teamed up with these other teens, none of whom seem interested in fighting back like she is. When she finds a hidden spaceship, it makes her unable to trust anyone or believe anything she’s heard.
Out of Salem, by Hal Schrieve (March 5)
Genderqueer 14-year-old witch Z wakes up post-car crash as a zombie. Rejected by old friends and family, Z connects with an elderly witch Mrs. Dunnigan and Aysel, a werewolf. As things get even more hostile towards monsters in Salem, thanks to a suspected werewolf attack, Z has not only to fix their decomposing body but fend off humans who think they and Aysel shouldn’t exist.
Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution, by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo (March 5)
In this sequel to the groundbreaking fat queer representation in Fat Angie, Angie’s life is rough: her girlfriend moved away, her good friend is avoiding her, and her bully continues to torment her. But when Angie receives a letter from her soldier sister who died in Iraq detailing places she wanted to visit when she returned from war, Angie and a long-lost friend go on an empowering road trip across Ohio.
Proud, edited by Juno Dawson (March 7)
This anthology on the theme of pride (duh) features fiction, poetry, and art. Well-known names (you can’t really get any more prolific as a gay YA author than David Levithan) as well as emerging YA authors are included.
All the Invisible Things, by Orlagh Collins (March 7)
17-year-old Vetty is moving back to London and she can’t wait to reconnect with her childhood boy best friend, Pez. She’s worried though. For one, she’s hiding her bisexuality. And second, everyone says their friendship can never be the same because boys and girls can’t really be just friends.
Kiss Number 8, by Colleen A.F. Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw (March 12)
The first seven kisses of Amanda’s 16 years of life have all been unremarkable at best … but nothing compares to the terrible kiss number eight and the horribleness that followed. As Amanda tries to navigate the aftermath of the kiss, she also deals with falling for her BFF and a family secret that her parents are hiding from her. A coming-of-age graphic novel!
Other Words for Smoke, by Sarah Maria Griffin (March 12)
This spooky, dark atmospheric story is about twins, Mae and Rossa, and a haunted house. They’re sent to live one summer with their aunt Rita and her teen ward Bevan, where there’s a mysterious power hidden in the walls. Three years later when the twins’ parents’ marriage is failing, they are sent again to the house, where they find the strangeness hasn’t left — and is coming to bring them what they both want and fear.
The Weight of the Stars, by K. Ancrum (March 19)
Ryann dreams of space. But the butch girl who lives on the wrong side of town in a trailer is never going to achieve that goal. When she meets fellow misfit Alexandria, Ryann learns that Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way mission to the edge of the solar system. As they spend time together trying to catch nightly radio signals from Alexandria’s mom, their slow-burn romance inches along.
Never-Contented Things, by Sarah Porter (March 19)
In this dark fantasy, Josh and Ksenia are codependent foster siblings. When they’re captured by the prince and his fae courtiers, neither of them realizes the price of the fairies’ gifts, or how much it will cost to escape. Look for nonbinary and bisexual representation!
Small Town Hearts, by Lillie Vale (March 19)
A fluffy, summer read, Small Town Hearts is about Babe’s first post-high school graduation summer. An ill-advised kiss, an ex-girlfriend coming back to town, and cute tourist boy hanging out in her coffee shop all make for a not uninteresting summer.
Once & Future, by Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta (March 26)
In this gender-flipped sci fi myth retelling, Ari, aka the reincarnation of King Arthur, is an illegal immigrant being chased by a mega corporation. Now that she’s pulled a magic sword from its resting place on Earth, she and cranky wizard Merlin are about to start a revolution to bring peace and justice to all humankind. No big deal.
The Princess and the Fangirl, by Ashley Poston (April 2)
A modern version of the Prince and the Pauper, The Princess and the Fangirl tackles fandom and romance. Imogen is the fangirl, desperate to save her favorite character from her favorite franchise from being killed off. Jessica is the actress who plays the character, and she’s determined to leave the intense scrutiny of fandom behind. Too bad they look eerily alike and have been mistaken for each other at this year’s ExcelsiCon.
The Hand, the Eye and the Heart, by Zoë Marriott (April 4)
In this historical fantasy, nonbinary Zhilan has a gift for illusions, but is resigned to life in stuffy women’s quarters. But when civil war breaks out, Zhilan has the chance to escape and save their father from death on the battlefield… by taking his place.
Starworld, by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner (April 16)
Loner Sam and popular girl Zoe don’t have much in common except wanting to escape reality. After serendipitously exchanging phone numbers, they end up creating “Starworld,” a private fantasy universe where they can be themselves and go on adventures. But when Sam ends up crushing on Zoe, can their safe space survive?
The Meaning of Birds, by Jaye Robin Brown (April 16)
In sophomore year, Jess met and fell in love with Vivi, who helped her deal with her anger issues and blossom as an artist. But when Vivi passes away in twelfth grade, Jess’s once hopeful future is shattered. Dropping her art and losing herself in a work-study program, Jess starts to let her dreams die until a surprising new friend shows her how she might heal.
You Must Not Miss, by Katrina Leno (April 23)
Anti-heroine and social outcast Magpie started writing in her yellow notebook the night her family fell apart. It was also the night of Brandon’s party, after which she is known as the school slut. With the words in her notebook, Magpie dreams up a place called “Near.” In Near, Magpie’s life hasn’t been destroyed and she can have whatever she wants… even revenge.
Hot Dog Girl, by Jennifer Dugan (April 30)
Lou just landed a summer job at an awesome theme park; unfortunately, she’s playing the part of a giant hot dog. Also unfortunate is the fact that her crush already has a girlfriend and her BFF Seeley mysteriously wants nothing to do with Lou’s attempts to set her up with the perfect girl. Have you been looking for a great queer teen girl rom com? This is it!
Belly Up, by Eva Darrows (April 30)
A fairly light entry in the teen pregnancy YA sub-genre, Belly Up features 16-year-old Serendipity. Serendipity wasn’t planning to get drunk and accidentally pregnant her last night before moving to a new town, but it’s what happened. Now she’s not only the new girl at school, but the new pregnant girl. Look out for bisexual, biracial, fat, and ace representation!
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, by Tanya Boteju (May 7)
Nima is awkward, in love with her straight BFF, and dealing with her mom taking off when she’s unexpectedly introduced to the local drag scene. Soon she’s immersed in the culture. This queer brown girl has got a lot to learn about love, gender, magical kings and queens, and herself.
Tinfoil Crowns, by Erin Jones (May 7)
17-year-old bisexual Fit is Internet famous for her zany videos where she’s always wearing some kind of elaborate tinfoil accessory. But she wants to be really famous. When her mom comes back into her life after having tried to kill 3-year-old Fit in post-partum psychosis, Fit wants nothing to do with her. But is faking a relationship with her mother on-screen to way to big fame?
Her Royal Highness, by Rachel Hawkins (May 7)
The second book in Hawkins’s Royals series, Her Royal Highness follows Millie as she flees her Texas high school (and her ex-best friend / sort of girlfriend) to boarding school in Scotland. Her new roommate Flora is a princess: literally and figuratively. Despite initially hating Flora, soon Millie finds herself in another confusing best friend / maybe girlfriend situation. But true love, especially with a real princess, is a fairy tale, right?
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero O’Connell (May 7)
Popular, charming Laura Dean was Frederica’s dream girl; the problem is, Laura’s actually kind of a terrible girlfriend. After being dumped yet again, Freddy is sent by a friend to a psychic who gives her a “cryptic” message: “break up with her.” But when Freddy doesn’t take the advice and her and Laura’s toxic relationship spirals out of control, Freddy wonders if she might be the problem. A graphic novel!
Everything Grows, by Aimee Herman (May 7)
Set in the 90s, this coming-of-age novel deals with gender and sexual identity, suicide, and mental health. 15-year-old Eleanor is reeling after the suicide of her bully James; an English assignment to write a letter to someone who will never read it seems the perfect opportunity for Eleanor to process her feelings. With each letter, she learns more about herself as she tries to make sense of James’s death.
How it Feels to Float, by Helena Fox (May 7)
Biz floats through life: she’s got her support network of family and friends, plus Grace who she’s recently been kissing. She also has her dad, who is a constant comfort and tells her about what she was like when she was a kid. But when her dad suddenly disappears, Biz can’t tell anyone. Because her dad died when she was six.
Carmilla, by Kim Turrisi (May 7)
This book is an adaptation of the much-loved lesbian vampire web series of the same name, in case you hadn’t already guessed that. College freshman Laura investigates missing girls on campus while dealing with her “sarcastic nocturnal” roommate Carmilla. Does Carmilla know more than she’s telling Laura?
The Lost Coast, by Amy Rose Capetta (May 14)
Six queer witches — the “Grays” — are doing spells in the California Redwood forest. When Danny arrives in their town, having been called by one of their spells, she has no idea why she’s there. She soon learns that she has the ability to bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays. Imogen wandered into the forest last summer and never emerged.
In the Silences, by Rachel Gold (May 21)
Kaz and Aisha have been best friends for years; Kaz is hoping to work up the nerve to ask Aisha out soon. Aisha helped Kaz feel comfortable in her skin and her gender expression. Kaz, who’s white, wants to do the same for her friend when Aisha, who’s Black, is dealing with racism and police brutality.
Going Off-Script, by Jen Wilde (May 21)
Bex is thrilled to land an internship at her favorite TV show, even though all she’s really doing is picking up coffee. Plucking up her courage, she gives her draft script to the head writer and he uses it — but passes it off as his own work and straightwashes her proudly lesbian character! Now it’s time for Bex and her crush to get even.
Missing, Presumed Dead, by Emma Berquist (May 21)
Lexi can tell how and when someone will die simply by touching them. The latest death is different though: Jane is not going quietly to the afterlife. Instead, her ghost is sticking close to Lexi, determined to find her murderer. Lexi loves beautiful ghost Jane. She’ll do anything to keep her around — and to make up for the fact that she couldn’t save her.
The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel, by Monique Bonneau (May 21)
Lu(cy) and Eve used to be best friends. Their estrangement is broken in senior year when they unexpectedly meet in the school bathroom and Lu helps Eve cope with a pregnancy scare. Soon the two girls are closer than ever and their chemistry is undeniable. Is this what reconnecting with a former best friend is like, or is what they feel something else?
These Witches Don’t Burn, by Isabel Sterling (May 28)
Hannah’s an Elemental witch whose worst problems used to be avoiding her fellow witch and ex-girlfriend Veronica and making sure she didn’t use magic in front of non-witches. A horrifying blood ritual at the end-of-school bonfire indicating powerful dark magic changes all that. Now Hannah is after the evil Blood Witch, a chase that forces her to work with Veronica but also a cute new ballerina.
The Wise and the Wicked, by Rebecca Podos (May 28)
All the women in Ruby’s family have a vision of their own death when they come of age. Ruby is no different. But when her great aunt’s death doesn’t match her vision, suddenly there is a new world of hope and possibility before Ruby. Can she too change her fate? Ruby and her cousin discover that if it is possible, it won’t be without a cost.
Not Your Backup, by C.B. Lee (June 1)
In the third book of Lee’s Sidekick Squad series, Emma has left high school in her senior year in order to lead the Resistance movement against the corrupt League of Heroes. Although she’s the only one on the team without superpowers, Emma knows her place is at the front of the battle. Once that’s over, she can get back to school.
If It Makes You Happy, by Claire Kann (June 4)
Winnie is a recent high school grad with fall college plans; she works at her granny’s diner, which she hopes to inherit after she saves it from going out of business. She’s also a queer Black fat girl in a committed queerplatonic relationship. Oh, and she’s falling in (romantic) love with someone else for the first time.
All Eyes on Us, by Kit Frick (June 4)
An anonymous texter targets two different teen girls in this thriller. Amanda is committed to her golden boy boyfriend Carter. Rosalie is committed to her fake relationship with the same Carter; she needs it to hide her real relationship with her girlfriend from her Christian fundamentalist parents. When the texter tries to get the girls to take Carter down, they instead band together to take control of their own destinies and find out who their stalker is.
Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas (June 4)
Kalyn and Gus are extremely unlikely pals, given that their families are enemies. To be more specific: Kalyn’s dad is in jail for killing Gus’s dad. But somehow this fierce lesbian and warm hearted pansexual guy becomes friends and begin to search for the truth about what happened so many years ago.
The Confusion of Laurel Graham, by Adrienne Kisner (June 4)
17-year-old Laurel is an obsessive and ambitious birder and nature photographer. She and her grandmother hear a mysterious bird call one day, but her gran dies before they can identify it. Soon figuring out what bird the call came from seems like the only thing Laurel can do in the face of gran’s death and the conservatory land where she goes birding being slated for development. Plus: slow-burn girl-on-girl romance!
An Impossible Distance to Fall, by Miriam McNamara (June 4)
It’s 1930 and the Great Depression has hit Birdie’s life hard: her dad’s bank failed and now he’s gone missing while flying his plane. After spotting his plane on a circus leaflet, she impulsively joins. There she ends up on a wild goose chase for her dad — and falling in love with a pilot named June.
Tell Me How You Really Feel, by Aminah Mae Safi (June 11)
In this enemies-to-lovers romance, Rachel is an aspiring director finalizing the cast for her senior thesis film and Sana is an overachieving cheerleader, straight A student, and the perfect lead for Rachel’s film. Sana asked out Rachel years ago — her first time asking out a girl — but Rachel was convinced it was a cruel joke. Hence, being enemies; but the lovers part is coming soon.
A Queer History of the United States for Young People, by Michael Bronski (June 11)
Bronski’s revised LGBTQ history of the US has been adapted for the YA audience. Using source materials like letters, art, and poetry, Bronski covers a large time period. From Puritan New England to the 21st century, the book highlights key figures such as Sylvia Rivera and Bayard Rustin as well as events like the Stonewall uprising.
The Grief Keeper, by Alexandra Villasante (June 11)
17-year-old Marisol is an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who has been caught at the border with her younger sister. Desperate to gain asylum, Marisol jumps at the opportunity to participate in an experimental study as a “grief keeper,” someone who take another person’s grief into her own body to save a life. She never knew one of the risks would also be falling in love with a girl.
Something Like Gravity, by Amber Smith (June 18)
Chris and Maia are new neighbors and their first few encounters haven’t exactly endeared them to one another. The car accident that first brought them together was only the start. Despite their intentions to stay away from one another, they keep crossing paths. But is love really on the table when Chris has recently come out as trans and is recovering from an assault while Maia is grieving the loss of her sister?
All of Us with Wings, by Michelle Ruiz Keil (June 18)
This post-punk fairy tale set in a queernormative San Francisco features Xochi, a 17-year-old bisexual Latinx governess. She looks after tween genius Pallas while trying to ignore her attraction to Pallas’s dad and the grief she’s still experiencing after her grandmother’s death. Her past and present collide when she and Pallas inadvertently conjure “the Waterbabies” with their riot grrrl ritual.
Wilder Girls, by Rory Power (July 9)
In this queer feminist horror/mystery/thriller, Hetty has been quarantined in her island school for a year and a half. The “tox” first killed the teachers, then began to infect and turn strange the students’ bodies and finally made the woods surrounding the school lethally dangerous. When the girl she loves goes missing, though, Hetty is ready to break quarantine and brave the woods to save her.
Shatter the Sky, by Rebecca Kim Wells (July 30)
All Maren wanted was a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia. Then Kaia is kidnapped by the Aurati agents of the emperor. Maren’s plan to save her involves stealing one of the emperor’s dragons and taking the Aurati by storm. But this means apprenticing to a dragon trainer and uncovering a whole host of secrets she never could have imagined. Will she be able to save Kaia in time? Is the task bigger than that now?
Of Ice and Shadows, by Audrey Coulthurst (August 13)
The sequel to Of Fire and Stars, this high fantasy follows girlfriends Denna and Mare as they journey to Zumorda, the only kingdom where Denna can get the training for her forbidden magical abilities. Mare is working as an ambassador, mostly as cover. An attack not long after they arrive forces them into dangerous proximity with the suspicious queen. Can they save their kingdom and protect their love at the same time?
Stage Dreams, by Melanie Gillman (September 3)
This queer western adventure graphic novel follows Flor and Grace — a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway — as they work together to stop a Confederate plot. They meet when Flor, aka Ghost Hawk, robs the stagecoach Grace has used to escape her oppressive home. Instead of becoming enemies, they conspire to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents.
Red Skies Falling, by Alex London (September 3)
In this sequel to the dark fantasy Black Wings Beating, twin siblings Kylee and Brysen (both of whom are queer) have been separated. Kylee is in the Sky Castle, honing the abilities at falconry she never wanted; Brysen is in their hometown village preparing it to be a first defense in the coming war. When they meet again, it’s on the battlefield … on opposite sides.
The Truth Is, by NoNieqa Ramos (September 3)
15-year-old Verdad is a questioning Puerto Rican teen trying to process the recent death of her best friend, her father’s remarriage, and her mom’s impossibly high expectations. An encounter with trans guy Danny leads to a burgeoning relationship, but also her mom’s disapproval and her own soul searching for an identity. Plus, it turns out that although Danny’s comfortable with his gender identity, he’s got other secrets to hide.
The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, by Junauda Petrus (September 17)
Two Black girls, one from Trinidad and one from Minneapolis, fall in love when they meet. Audre has arrived in the States after being caught with her secret girlfriend in her home country. Mabel is determined to take care of this new girl she’s fallen for as she adjusts to life in a new place. But when Mabel gets some scary health test results back, it looks like it might be Audre taking care of her.
His Hideous Heart, edited by Dahlia Adler (September 24)
This anthology of Edgar Allen Poe retellings is edited by queer YA author Dahlia Adler. Thirteen YA authors reimagine classics such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Purloined Letter,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and more. A good chunk of the stories, including the one by Adler, have queer narrators.
Freeing Finch, by Ginny Rorby (October 1)
Finch can’t help but feel like she doesn’t fit in with the family she lives with, her stepfather and his new wife he married after her mom died. She definitely hasn’t come out to them as trans. A friendship with her neighbor Maddy, who rescues stray animals, brings a special dog into her life. While training the rescue dog and earning its trust, Finch realizes she has some of the same lessons to learn as her new pet.
Tarnished Are the Stars, by Rosiee Thor (October 15)
This steampunk novel has lesbian and ace representation. Anna, aka the Technician, works in black market medical technology like the illegal clockwork heart that beats in her chest. Nathaniel, the Commissioner’s son, sets out to catch the Technician in a desperate attempt to earn his dad’s respect. Enter Eliza, an assassin driven to learn the Commissioner’s secrets. Can the three teens possibly work together?
Beyond the Black Door, by A.M. Strickland (October 29)
Kamai is a soulwalker who can enter other people’s souls while they sleep. But no matter what soul she is visiting, Kamai always sees a black door; her mother tells her to never, ever open the door. Of course, one day, she does. It leads to a mystery that Kamai must solve before more souls than only her own are in danger. Featuring a character coming out as ace!
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