10 for Spring: Young Adult

This look at spring titles is the Young Adult companion to our previous post about children’s books already on shelves. Here we collect the books for teens that have really caught our attention as they’ve been released over the past few months!

#1. Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk

Publisher Marketing: From New York Times bestselling author Ashley Woodfolk, Nothing Burns as Bright as You is an impassioned stand-alone tale of queer love, grief, and the complexity of female friendship.

Our thoughts: This is an emotional powerhouse of a book about an intense relationship between two queer Black girls. Moving verse and evocative structure hit home the big, messy feelings of passionate love falling apart. Definitely one to pay attention to.

#2. The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson

Publisher Marketing: A fascinating historical novel about Hilde, an orphan who experiences Berlin on the cusp of World War II as she discovers her own voice and sexuality, ultimately finding a family when she gets a job at a gay cabaret, by award-winning author Kip Wilson.

Our Thoughts: It’s sapphic! It’s historical fiction! It’s a verse novel! It’s set in a queer cabaret! Check, check, check, and check. Also, with three starred reviews under its belt, this is a book to watch out for.

#3. A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow

Publisher Marketing: Robin Gow’s A Million Quiet Revolutions is a modern love story, told in verse, about two teenaged trans boys who name themselves after two Revolutionary War soldiers. A lyrical, aching young adult romance perfect for fans of The Poet X, Darius the Great is Not Okay, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe.

Our Thoughts: Those comp titles add a lot of hype but, from what we’re reading, this book delivers as an emotional, long-distance romance. Quiet books don’t always make the cut but this combination of trans love and queer history promises innovation and tugged heartstrings. We’re here for it.

#4. Loveless by Alice Oseman

Publisher Marketing: From the marvelous author of Heartstopper comes an exceptional YA novel about discovering that it’s okay if you don’t have sexual or romantic feelings for anyone…since there are plenty of other ways to find love and connection.

Our Thoughts: We predict that the intense popularity of Oseman’s Heartstopper and the still limited aro-ace representation in YA will land Loveless firmly on the committee’s radar. The ace-spec readers on our team have REALLY mixed feelings about this one, though. The focus on aphobia may be painful for some readers and powerful for others. 

#5. The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

Publisher Marketing: A sharply funny and moving debut novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school, while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self. Perfect for fans of Erika L. Sánchez, Leah Johnson, and Gabby Rivera.

Our Thoughts: Our interest is piqued for this one! Big draws are the focus on sibling relationships and found family, alongside the romance, and the promise that it will be as hilarious as it is heartfelt.

#6. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

Publisher Marketing: From the New York Times best-selling author of One Last Stop and Red, White & Royal Blue comes a debut YA romantic comedy about chasing down what you want, only to find what you need…

Our Thoughts: Already a crossover hit, McQuiston has a level of popularity that makes their YA debut a title that will obviously be on the Real Committee’s radar! 

#7. Flip the Script by Lyla Lee

Publisher Marketing: In this simmering, joyous novel, I’ll Be the One author Lyla Lee delivers a tender romance set between two brave teens who decide that when the script isn’t working, it’s time to rewrite it themselves.

Our Thoughts: We loved Lee’s under-rated K-Pop bi romcom I’ll Be the One, so we can’t wait for her K-drama sapphic sophomore YA! People love to hate on love triangles, but we trust Lee to deliver a twist on the trope with humor and care.

#8. Cafe con Lychee by Emery Lee

Publisher Marketing: From the author of Meet Cute Diary comes a delectable rom-com that’s brimming with zest and a sprinkle of sweetness. A must-read for fans of Casey McQuiston and Julian Winters.

Our Thoughts: An enemies-to-lovers foodie romcom with achillean PoC leads? Yes please!  

#9. And They Lived… by Steven Salvatore

Publisher Marketing: From the author of Can’t Take That Away comes a sex-positive, fairytale-inspired YA novel that celebrates first love and self-acceptance, perfect for fans of What If It’s Us.

Our Thoughts: The swoonworthy cover art (by Andi Porretta) and promising premise is a great hook. But, in this time of increased book challenges and attempts at abstinence-only sex ed, the tackling of sex and consent makes this a title to look into.

#10. Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti

Publisher Marketing: An epic sci-fi graphic novel romance between two non-binary characters as they find one another through time, distance, and war. An amazing story that explores the complexity of human nature and what brings us together.

Our Thoughts: A hopepunk graphic novel with a queer-normative world? Check. Characters with a truly diverse array of gender presentations, skin colors, and body shapes and sizes? Check, check, and check. We love to see it!

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