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    28 New LGBTQ+ Young Adult Novels That'll Add Sunshine To Your Summer

    Grab an iced coffee, kick up your flip-flops, and give yourself the perfect rainbow-filled summer with these great reads!

    1. Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

    Scholastic Press / Via byleahjohnson.com, Reece T. Williams / Via byleahjohnson.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: The Farmland Festival means something very different to Olivia and Toni, which makes sense, since the two are total opposites: Olivia is bubbly and constantly looking for love, while Toni's heart is practically wrapped in a barbed-wire fence. But when the two meet, the sparks fly quicker than Toni can even comprehend, made trickier by the fact that Olivia promised her BFF this trip wasn't going to be about hooking up with anyone new. Still, the chemistry is undeniable, especially since both girls have heavy things weighing on their minds they'd rather not thing about. Johnson cements herself as a force in queer YA romance with this delightful sophomore that makes for the perfect summer read.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    2. It Ends in Fire by Andrew Shvarts

    Jimmy Patterson, andrewshvarts.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: Alka's entire life has been building up to getting revenge for the murder of her parents and the kidnapping that brought her to be raised among Wizard rebels. And now that she's found a way to get into the prestigious Blackwater Academy, the first step is complete. At Blackwater, viciousness and power run deep, but Alka knows she can run with the best of them, even if she wasn't born with the same silver spoon in her mouth. (And her prickly attitude certainly doesn't stop our heroine from finding romance...twice.) Whether she can achieve her goals without scorching the earth beneath her feet and turning into someone she doesn't even recognize is another story. Pick this one up for magic school, Sapphic romance, vengeful adventure, and a fearless bisexual heroine.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    3. What We Devour by Linsey Miller

    Sourcebooks Fire, linseymiller.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: Miller always delivers on queer fantasy, and her newest once again gives us quality ace rep in Lorena, an incredibly powerful girl who keeps her abilities a secret and plans to live a typical quiet life married to her best friend, Julian. Then the crown prince comes to arrest Julian's father, and immediately sniffs out Lorena's secret, forcing her to serve him in exchange for granting her planned future father-in-law a fair trial. But the service he requires is far more dangerous than Lorena anticipated, and the secrets she learns as they attempt to keep their world safe chill her to the bone and force her to embrace the complicated duality of the power she never intended to use.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    4. Summer in the City of Roses by Michelle Ruiz Keil

    Soho Teen, michelleruizkeil.com

    Release Date: July 6

    What it's about: This sophomore novel mashes up Grimm fairytale and Greek myth to bring the story of siblings Iph and Orr who are torn apart when their father sends the latter to boot camp to toughen him up, without so much as a heads-up for his older sister. Now Iph is pissed and determined to track Orr down with the help of "queer Robin Hood" George. But Orr's found his own happy place among an all-girl punk band who've taken him in, and it turns out that this might be the perfect summer for the siblings to spend apart and find themselves.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    5. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, goodreads.com

    Release Date: July 13

    What it's about: Being gay and one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep isn't the only thing that makes Jake Livingston stand out; being able to see dead people is a pretty big deal too. Still, he's mostly been able to sidestep the ghosts, until he meets Sawyer, a school shooter with unfinished business. Now all the rules are changing, the body count is rising, and Jake himself is in as deep danger as everyone else. Maybe even more so. If that cover doesn't utterly steal all of your breath, the depiction of racial and sexual trauma in this debut horror novel just might.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    6. The Mythic Koda Rose by Jennifer Nissley

    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, goodreads.com

    Release Date: July 13

    What it's about: Koda's dad may have been a famous musician, but that doesn't mean she knows much about him. Moving to New York City does get her closer to his spirit, though, and taking advantage of being in his old haunt to look into his past makes for an excellent coping mechanism when she doesn't know how else to handle being in love with her best friend.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    7. The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters

    Harperteen, ericawaters.com

    Release Date: July 20

    What it's about: The author of the eerily melodious Ghost Wood Song goes full-on horror with this tale of two girls who are brought together when one's sister is kidnapped. Natasha doesn't know who took Rochelle, but her fiery desperation to track her down brings her to local witch Della for help. And Della does have a plan, because she's pretty sure she knows who did it: her own monstrous mother.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    8. Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin

    Disney-Hyperion, Jenny GG Photography

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: Lundin's sophomore novel beautifully intertwines explorations of gender expression and internalized misogyny with a romantic and sporty romp in this story of a butch lesbian athlete who makes waves when she joins the football team. When Mara gets into a fight on the court and is suspended from basketball, the only way to earn her spot back is to prove she can thrive in team sports. And since she isn't like the softer volleyball girls, Mara opts to throw down and join her brother and her best friend on the football field. What starts as initial wariness at her participation spirals out of control when four other girls jump into the fray and demand their own shot at the team, and soon Mara can't do enough to prove they've got nothing to do with her. But when the very people she's trying to distance herself from become the only people in her corner, Mara's torn between reconciling who she wants to be with who accepts her just as she is.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    9. A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

    Delacorte Press / Via penguinrandomhouse.com, victorialeewrites.com

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: It's been a year since Felicity's been back at the Dalloway School, mourning the death of her girlfriend, but things are just as haunted by rumors of witchcraft and mystery as she left them. Not that she's interested in any of that anymore; the story of the Dalloway Five can remain urban legend for all she cares. At least until compelling new girl and noted teen novelist Ellis Haley transfers to school, and Felicity gets caught up in helping her research for her next book. Now she has no choice but to confront the dangerous darkness, even if it threatens to destroy her.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    10. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

    Wednesday Books / Via us.macmillan.com, gouldbooks.com

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: Spooky atmosphere seeps out of every pore of this slow burn ghost story about a girl named Logan who moves to the town of Snakebite with her ghost-hunting dads, only to find her family at the center of a mystery involving encroaching darkness and a missing boy. When Logan teams up with Ashley, girlfriend of the missing Tristan, to figure out what's going on, a sweet romance blossoms amidst the terrifying hell of their town, keeping them grounded as they try to hold back the Dark.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    11. Fresh by Margot Wood

    ABRAMS, margotwood.com

    Release Date: Aug. 3

    What it's about: This Emma-inspired debut follows bisexual college freshman Elliot through her (mis-)adventures as she gets her first taste of freedom. Elliot is determined to have incredible sex, party as much as she can, and otherwise enjoy everything life has to offer someone who's experiencing new independence. For a girl who doesn't care all that much about going to class, she's getting a whole lot of lessons, for better or for worse.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    12. Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms by Crystal Frasier, Val Wise, and Oscar O. Jupiter

    Oni Press, pathfinderwiki.com

    Release Date: Aug. 10

    What it's about: Annie and BeeBee used to be friends once upon a time, and when each joins the cheerleading squad (Annie to beef up her college applications and social networks, and BeeBee to make good on her promise to essentially be the perfect well-rounded high school girl so they'll keep standing behind her transition), they find there's still something positive there between them. As they go through the shared, tricky experience of being queerleaders, it turns out that friendship isn't the only thing blossoming between them.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    13. Sink or Swim by Tash McAdam

    Orca Book Publishers, tashmcadam.com

    Release date: Aug. 17

    What it's about: Blood Sport author McAdam is back with another trans boy–starring YA thriller, this one a survival story about a socially awkward teen named Bass who deeply regrets skipping school with his more adventurous girlfriend when they get trapped and marooned in a storm. To make matters worse, Rosie gets injured, leaving Bass alone to find the strength to rescue them both.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    14. Both Sides Now by Peyton Thomas

    Dial Books, Courtesy of Penguin Random House

    Release Date: Aug. 24

    What it's about: Finch has serious aspirations. Like, become the first trans congressman kind of aspirations. And he knows that taking home the prize at the National Speech and Debate Tournament would be a nice next step in getting there. Just a few problems. One: He maybe has a little crush on his debate partner, who happens to be a guy (a first for Finch) who already has a boyfriend. And two, which is a little bit bigger of an issue: The topic being debated? Trans rights, aka Finch's humanity.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    15. Edie in Between by Laura Sibson

    Viking Books for Young Readers, laurasibson.com

    Release Date: Aug. 24

    What it's about: Edie misses and loves her mother, but that doesn't mean she wants her ghost lingering a year after her death, even if communing with their dead is part of the family legacy. When she stumbles upon her mother's journal, it sends her on a scavenger hunt to recover items from her mother's past and live through their memories. It's Edie's hope that when she finishes, she'll come to terms with her grief and be able to put her loss behind her. But her journey takes her places she never expected...for instance, to the girl who works at the occult shop.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    16. The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros

    Inkyard Press, adenpolydoros.com

    Release Date: Sept. 7

    What it's about: This chilling historical thriller set at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 sees Romanian Jewish immigrant Alter dreaming of bringing his mother and sisters to join him, only to find his American dream shattered when his roommate is murdered, the latest in a line of Jewish male victims. Even if Alter had no vested interest in finding the killer, he has no choice; he's been possessed by Yakov's dybbuk, and the spirit won't leave him until the case is solved. Together with the dangerous boy from the past who has his heart, Alter must find answers before he's the next victim...if his possession doesn't destroy him first.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    17. A Clash of Steel by C.B. Lee

    Feiwel & Friends / Via us.macmillan.com, Caroline Tran / Via cb-lee.com

    Release Date: Sept. 7

    What it's about: Treasure Island gets a fresh historical update in this remix by Sidekick Squad author Lee, set among pirates in the South China Sea. When Xiang's heirloom necklace is stolen by a girl named Anh, only to return when Anh needs help figuring out the map it held inside, she discovers that there was more to the deceased father who gave her that necklace than she ever knew. He was a member of the dastardly Dragon Fleet, a thing of legend that now becomes very real for the two girls determined to hunt down the treasure it's rumored to have left behind. But no treasure hunt is without its dangers, especially at sea.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    18. Act Cool by Tobly McSmith

    Quill Tree Books, Allison Michael Orenstein / Via harpercollins.com

    Release Date: Sept. 7

    What it's about: When August Greene manages to land a dream spot at the School of Performing Arts in NYC, he's thrilled, and he's even got a plan worked out to live with his aunt while he attends. But with his parents refusing to acknowledge that he's transgender or to allow him to transition while he's there, August's life is about to become an extremely tenuous balancing act.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    19. The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

    Penguin Random House, sarahglennmarsh.com

    Release Date: Sept. 7

    What it's about: Dare may not be a believer in ghosts, but she plays one for her new paranormal investigative podcast. It's that very podcast that brings her to the estate where a teen girl drowned and is now said to haunt the grounds, a murder mystery Dare would love to solve. (Especially since the new estate owner's daughter happens to be quite charming.) But when Dare keeps bumping into clues that suggest she should be investigating ghosts after all, she'll have to keep her mind open to the possibility that her skepticism was unfounded, or risk finding out the hard way.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    20. The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski

    Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) / Via us.macmillan.com, Tobias Everke / Via marierutkoski.com

    Release Date: Sept. 14

    What it's about: Capping off the duology that began with last year's excellent The Midnight Lie, this sequel returns us to a heartless Nirrim, who's brutally changing the landscape of her city and people. Meanwhile, Sid is back in Herran, now a committed royal tasked with crushing the threat from the heartless queen across the sea she has no idea is her former love. Whether there's any hope for them remains to be seen, but this is a "man plans, god laughs" world, and there's no avoiding the fact of war on the horizon.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    21. A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell

    Houghton Mifflin / Via bookshop.org, sarahhollowell.com

    Release Date: Sept. 14

    What it's about: Derry's world consists of the house in which she and her eight siblings live with their guardian, and the woods around them that promise untold dangers. Staying isolated is supposed to keep them and their magic safe, but when Derry's sister Jane disappears, and Derry's certain she disappeared into the forest they determined they'd never enter again, Derry starts to contemplate going after her. And when another sibling disappears and it becomes clear there's more to their caretaker than meets the eyes, Derry knows what must be done, even if it means stepping into the treacherous unknown.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    22. The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

    Page Street Kids, soniahartl.com

    Release Date: Sept. 14

    What it's about: The biggest mistake Holly ever made was letting Elton turn her into a vampire, especially when their lives turned out to be a whole lot more eternal than their relationship. Now she's stuck doing the same teen girl things she was doing back in 1987, without any of the perks of becoming a grown-up on the horizon. And she isn't the only girl Elton's done this to either; he was turning his girlfriends well before she was even born. Together with his other two vampire exes, Holly plans to end Elton for good — before he can do this to any other girls...especially because he's clearly got eyes on his next victim, and she just might be the girl of Holly's dreams.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    23. Two Winters by Lauren Emily Whalen

    Bold Strokes Books, goodreads.com

    Release Date: Sept. 14

    What it's about: This contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale centers on two bi girls: closeted Paulina of 1997, and out-and-proud Perdita in 2014. Between them lies the story of Paulina's pregnant best friend, a secret, a romance, and an adoption whose details it seems like Perdita will never learn. Curious to know her own origins, she enlists improv performer Fenton to help her uncover the truth. But she may not be ready to learn why she was never meant to find it.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    24. Things We Couldn't Say by Jay Coles

    Scholastic, goodreads.com

    Release Date: Sept. 21

    What it's about: Gio's never been able to shake the pain of his mother having left him and his family when he was 9, but that doesn't mean he knows how to handle it now that she's returned and wants back in his life. And it doesn't help that he's already having trouble navigating a confusing and potential new romance with a guy on the basketball team. Love is a confusing thing when the person who's supposed to give you the most unconditionally messes with your heart, but Gio's determined to find happiness, as soon as he can figure out what that looks like.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    25. Sidelined by Kara Bietz

    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, karabietzauthor.com

    Release Date: Sept. 21

    What it's about: Julian and Elijah used to be best friends, until Elijah stole from the coach and Julian turned him in. Three years later, Elijah's back at school, and suddenly Julian's single-minded focus on football isn't quite as targeted. Before their fight, the two of them had seemed on their way to something less platonic, but now, neither knows where they really stand or what the future holds.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    26. To Break a Covenant by Alison Ames

    Page Street Kids, goodreads.com

    Release Date: Sept. 21

    What it's about: Best friends (and maybe future girlfriends?) Clem and Nina are used to haunted life in Mill Basin; it's been like that ever since the mine exploded. But when two new girls join their friend circle, and New Basin residents suddenly start hearing voices and walking in their sleep, Clem and Nina know something has changed. Something sinister. Something no visiting ghost hunter can figure out. And for the first time, they're going to take it upon themselves to enter the mine and answer what no one else can.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    27. The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider

    Viking Books for Young Readers, robynschneider.com

    Release Date: Sept. 21

    What it's about: Taking on Camelot is one of fiction's most fun trends right now, which paves the way perfectly for Schneider's sharp-voiced 16th-century fantasy take starring a bi girl named Emry who dreams of following in her father Merlin's magical footsteps. When their father disappears and her twin brother is summoned to serve as Prince Arthur's wizard in his stead, the more talented Emry disguises herself to take his place until he's ready. Unfortunately, the combination of getting the magical training she's always craved and spending time with the ridiculously hot prince makes it awfully hard to give up the job. But when she falls in danger of being discovered, Emry has to make a choice: run to safety, or stay where she is and accept the consequences, deadly as they may be?

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    28. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

    Penguin Teen, xiranjayzhao.com

    Release Date: Sept. 21

    What it's about: This polyam sci-fi debut stars 18-year-old Zetian, a fearsome pilot bent on avenging her sister's death by teaming up with the copilot who killed her. In a society that sacrifices the girls on these robot-piloting teams in a war against mecha aliens, no one expects Zetian to use the psychic link between her and her male copilot to kill him. Now, she's been dubbed an "Iron Widow," a rare girl who's able to turn the tables on these missions, and it's landed her with Li Shimin, the most daunting and controversial pilot in Huaxia. But Zetian refuses to cower, and she's going to get to the bottom of why misogyny powers the system, and how to stop it.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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