Take Her Down

By Lauren Emily Whalen

In this queer YA retelling of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, stakes at Augustus Magnet School are cutthroat, scheming is creative, and loyalty is ever-changing.

Overnight, Bronwyn St. James goes from junior class queen to daughter of an imprisoned felon, and she lands in the care of her aunt and younger cousin Cass, a competitive cheerleader who Bronwyn barely knows. Life gets worse when her ex-best friend, the always-cool Jude Cuthbert, ostracizes Bronwyn from the queer social elite for dating a boy, Porter Kendrick.

Bronwyn and Jude are both running for student body president, and that means war. But after Bronwyn, Porter, and Cass share a video of Jude in a compromising position, Jude suddenly goes missing. No one has seen her for weeks and it might be all Bronwyn’s fault. Will Jude ever be found? Or will Bronwyn finally have to reckon with what she’s won—and what she’s lost?

Content Advisory: Depictions of sexual assault.

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Boy at the Window

By Lauren Melissa Ellzey

Children / Families
Coming Out
MulticulturalĀ 
People of Color
California

It all began with trying to fly. After jumping off the roof of his house in the middle of the night, Daniel Kim wakes up far from Neverland, his reprieve from the real world. Thrust into a mental health hospital and then into a brand-new high school, he struggles to hold on to reality while haunted by both his very-present past and his never-present parents. But when he joins Cranbrook Preparatory’s cross-country team, he starts to feel like he’s walking on his own two feet once again. He meets Jiwon Yoon—another cross-country runner, who may be the first person to join Daniel in his Neverland daydreams. Or maybe Jiwon is the one who will finally break Daniel free.

Content warning: Emotional trauma, attempted suicide, mental illness.

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Three Left Turns to Nowhere

By J. Marshall Freeman and Others

Three strangers heading to a convention in Toronto are stranded in rural Ontario, where a small town with a subtle kind of magic leads each to discover what he’s been searching for.

Ed Sinclair and his friends get stuck in Hopewell after their car breaks down. It’s snark at first sight when he meets local mechanic Lyn, but while they’re getting under each other’s skin, the town might show them a way into one another's hearts.

Rome Epstein is out and proud and clueless about love. He’s hosting a giant scavenger hunt at the convention, but ends up in Hopewell. When the town starts leaving him clues for its own scavenger hunt, he discovers a boy who could be the prize he’s been searching for.

Fielding Roy has a gift for seeing the past. His trip to reunite with friends hits an unexpected stop in Hopewell, but a long-lost love letter and two local boys give him a chance to do more than watch the past. This time, Fielding might be able to fix the present.

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#shedeservedit

By Greg Herren

Virgins/First Love
Psychological Thriller
Sports
Coming Out

Liberty Center High School’s football team has a long history of success, and the dying small town has nothing else to cling to. But when Lance, the star quarterback, is found dead, Alex Wheeler becomes the prime suspect in his best friend’s murder. Alex thought he knew Lance’s secrets—but Lance was keeping his sexuality private and someone else found out. How well did Alex really know Lance, and what else did he keep hidden?

To prove his innocence and figure out what really happened to Lance that last night, Alex starts connecting the dots and finds that everything leads back to the recent suicide of a cheerleader who may have been sexually assaulted at a team party. Did online bullying and photos of her from the party drive her to suicide? Or was she murdered?

Alex and his girlfriend, India, soon find their own lives are in danger as they get closer and closer to the horrifying truth about how far Liberty Center will go to protect their own.

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The Infinite Summer

By Morgan Lee Miller

Vacation
Virgins/First Love
Small Town Romances
Food

Remi Brenner will one day see the world. Literally. She’s one summer away from starting her degree in aerospace at MIT, but then her dad cuts off her college tuition until they repair their estranged relationship. Remi has no choice but to spend her summer with him and her annoyingly famous stepmom in resort town Gaslight Shores, South Carolina.

Harper Hebert wishes her life didn’t revolve around her family’s restaurant, a staple in Gaslight Shores for more than four decades. When a new restaurant is opened by a famous chef and business begins to decline, Harper’s dreams of ever making it on her own are threatened.

The more Remi and Harper’s friendship blossoms into something deeper, the more Remi becomes tangled in the intense restaurant rivalry between her stepmom and the Heberts. She knows she has to tell Harper, but the truth could scare away the only person who can capture her summer and her heart.

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Bury Me in Shadows

By Greg Herren

People of Color
Ghosts
Children / Families
College Life
New OrleansĀ 

After landing in the hospital after a bad breakup and an ensuing drug-and-alcohol binge, college student Jake Chapman is given two options: rehab, or spend the summer at his dying grandmother’s decaying home in rural Alabama. The choice is obvious. 

His grandmother’s land has been in Jake’s family since the early nineteenth century; the ruins of the old plantation house are a short walk through the woods behind her home. An archaeological team is excavating the ruins, looking for evidence to prove an old family legend—and there’s a meth lab just over the ridge. 

Once Jake is there, he begins having strange experiences—flashes of memory, inexplicable emotions—that he can’t explain, and he keeps seeing something strange out in the woods. As he explores his family history, he uncovers some dark secrets someone—or something—is willing to kill to keep hidden.

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Two Winters

By Lauren Emily Whalen

The winter of 1997 is a tragedy waiting to happen. Small-town life isn't easy for seventeen-year-old bisexual and closeted Paulina, especially when her best friend Mia becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to tell the baby's father, Paulina's other best friend, Tesla. Meanwhile, Paulina's secret relationship with volleyball star Ani is about to go public. One fateful night, everything changes forever.

In the winter of 2014, Perdita, bi and proud in Chicago, is weeks away from turning seventeen. She loves her two moms, but why won’t they talk about her adoption? When Perdita meets improv performer Fenton, she discovers both a kindred soul and a willing accomplice in her search for the truth. Will Perdita find what she's looking for? 

Two Winters is a contemporary YA retelling of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale about birth, death, Catholic school, improv comedy, and the healing nature of time.

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I Am Chris

By R Kent

When your life falls apart, couldn’t you just be someone else? Especially if that someone else was you all along anyway? 

Seventeen-year-old Chrissy Taylor is orphaned to a stepmama who squandered their sizable inheritance on drinking and drugging. Now, with their ranch lost, they squat in a run-down, rented trailer on the outskirts of small-town-podunkville where Chrissy cares for her nine-year-old half sister, Luce. But landing on the wrong side of the tracks puts them on the radar of the local sheriff and social services.

There’s one saving grace to losing everything and moving away. Nobody knows her. Chris can now live who he truly is.

As Chris Taylor, he knows he’ll have to cowboy up to make enough money to keep his stepmama out of jail and his half sister out of foster care. There’s only one way a kid growing up in the shadow of a world champion bull rider can earn that kind of cash. But Chris never expected to chase a championship title of his own, even with a lifetime of training on bulls.

 

ADVANCE PRAISE for I Am Chris: "Kent has taken elements of Western, coming-of-age, and romance novels and combined them to create a touching yet exciting tale of a young man finding his way in the world...A gripping teen Western with a transgender protagonist." —Kirkus Reviews

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The Dubious Gift of Dragon Blood

By J. Marshall Freeman

Virgins/First Love
Enemies to Lovers Romance
Coming Out
Children / Families
Big City
MulticulturalĀ 
Other Worlds
People of Color
Friends & Community

High schooler Crispin Haugen already has so many identities to sort through—Asian, Scandinavian, not to mention gay. Then a messenger from another world arrives to tell him he also carries the blood of dragons in his veins.

Transported to the Realm of Fire, where dragons and humans live in harmony, Crispin falls for Davix, a brooding, nerdy scholar. But dark mysteries threaten the peace of Crispin’s new world. Without warning, dragons from the Realm of Air unleash a bloody war.

With everything he cares about on the line, Crispin must find the courage to fight...for justice and for love.

The writing of this book was supported by the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto.

 

Advance praise for THE DUBIOUS GIFT OF DRAGON BLOOD:
"Freeman does a great job of building an unfamiliar environment without overwhelming the reader with superfluous details....VERDICT From swoon-worthy romances to epic dragon fights, this has a little bit of everything for readers to enjoy." —School Library Journal
 
"Sixteen-year-old Crispin Haugen is chosen to be the Dragon Groom who will
mate with the Dragon Queen in order to maintain the Five...Further complicating matters is the growing attraction between Crispin and the Prime Magistrate’s handsome and devout pupil Davix. The recurring emphasis on personal agency and consent is a pleasant surprise, especially as it is applied to both intimate relationships and the chosen-one trope." —Kirkus Reviews
 
"In J. Marshall Freeman’s fantasy novel, Crispin wants to leave the shadow of his sophomore year, when he was outed and lost his first boyfriend, behind him. He takes comfort in starting his junior year as part of the popular clique, even if their ringleader treats him as a filler....Most concerned with a boy who has always felt out of place, The Dubious Gift of Dragon Blood is a young adult fantasy that’s primed for a sequel." —Foreword Reviews
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Jellicle Girl

By Stevie Mikayne

One dark summer night, Beth and Jackie go out to the canoe dock.

Two years later, Beth is still carrying the weight of the secrets they shared, and the truth about what happened to Jackie.

At seventeen, she’s living alone in her father’s apartment, popping sedatives to squash the nightmares, and trudging to therapy with the indomitable Dr. Sullivan so that she can get into the bridge program that will let her start her life over. But the harder Beth tries to outrun her past—including her fraught family relationships—the more entrenched in memories she becomes.

As her life starts to spin out of control and Dr. Sullivan begins to succumb to her own demons, Beth is in danger of losing herself in the black waters of her own mind.

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All the Worlds Between Us

By Morgan Lee Miller

Enemies to Lovers Romance
Second Chance at Love
Friends to Lovers Romance
Virgins/First Love
Sports

Seventeen-year-old Quinn Hughes needs to be in top shape if she wants to medal at the swimming World Championships in ten months. This means no easy distractions, no matter how pretty they are.

She’s still piecing her confidence back together after not qualifying for the Olympics, her relationship with her twin brother is getting worse the more he hangs out with the popular kids, and then Kennedy Reed suddenly squeezes herself back into Quinn’s life. The girl who was her best friend. The girl who gave Quinn her first kiss. The girl who hasn’t spoken to her since.

Soon, Quinn finds herself juggling her new girlfriend, training for the biggest competition of her life, and discovering she’s not the only Hughes twin with a crush on Kennedy Reed. All these distractions are getting to her, and if she wants that medal she needs to find a way to stop drowning on dry land.

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What Happens When

By Samantha Boyette

Coming Out
Small Town Romances
Friends & Community

For Molly Kennan, senior year is already an epic disaster. It feels like the whole school knows she made out with Lily at that party, and now she’s accidentally outed herself as a lesbian. Her ex-best friend is trying to ruin her life, and school generally sucks. All she wants is to drown her sorrows in sweet potato fries, but she finds herself tongue-tied by the diner’s new waitress, Zia. 

Zia is way out of Molly’s league. Older, beautiful, and definitely way more sophisticated. It’s probably just wishful thinking, but Molly can’t help wondering if maybe Zia is flirting with her. Despite Zia’s always-there boyfriend, Molly falls hard for her, and Zia says she feels the same way. So then why doesn’t Zia break up with her boyfriend, and why does she keep so many secrets? 

Then there’s Lily, who she can’t seem to stop accidentally kissing. When your head and your heart are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

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Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks

By 'Nathan Burgoine

Asexual/Aromantic
Disability
Magic
Time Travel
Non-Binary Gender

Being the kid abducted by crazy old Ms. Easton when he was four permanently set Cole’s status to freak. At seventeen, his exit plan is simple: make it through the last few weeks of high school with his grades up and his head down.

When he pushes through the front door of the school and finds himself eighty kilometers away holding the door of a museum he was just thinking about, Cole faces facts: he’s either crazier than old Ms. Easton, or he just teleported.

Now every door is an accident waiting to happen—especially when Cole thinks about Malik, who, it turns out, has a glass door on his shower. When he starts seeing the same creepy people over his shoulder, no matter how far he’s gone, crushes become the least of his worries. They want him to stop, and they'll go to any length to make it happen.

Cole is running out of luck, excuses, and places to hide.

Time for a new exit plan.

 

PRAISE for Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks:

"Burgoine (Of Echoes Born, 2018, etc.) has created a gay teen protagonist who is a bit goofy at times but who is comfortable in his own skin....Overall, a feel-good, contemporary read with strong LGBTQIAP rep and an unusual fantasy subplot." —Kirkus Reviews

"Burgoine uses science fiction elements to explore homosexuality, pansexuality, bisexuality, and gender nonconforming identity....Burgoine's immersive writing excels in the details, from the precise sensations Cole experiences at the onset of a teleport to the overwhelming intensity of his feelings for his friend Malik....VERDICT A definite purchase for any library collection." School Library Journal

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Rocks and Stars

By Sam Ledel

Friends & Community
College Life
Coming Out

For Kyle Lindsay, life is simple. She comes from the ideal suburban family—two hardworking parents, a geeky younger brother, and a supportive best friend. But everything changes when Kyle starts having those kind of thoughts about her soccer teammate.

Things don’t get any easier when college starts and she heads off to play for a Division I squad. Figuring out how to pass her classes is one thing. Figuring out herself and the other girls on her team, a whole other ball game.

Kyle’s struggle to own who she is and what she really wants may end up landing her on the bench and without the woman of her dreams.

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The Girl Who Wasn't Dead

By Samantha Boyette

Amnesia
Reunion Romance
Small Town Romances

Prom was supposed to be the biggest night of senior year, but for Jenny Lewis it was the night she almost died. The night someone drugged her, loaded her in a car, and dumped her body in the river. 

The next morning, her soaked prom dress was found on the riverbank. Her body was never found. People whispered that she’d killed herself or gotten drunk and stupid. People moved on, went to college, and stopped thinking about her. Months later, her ex-girlfriend and three other classmates received a text from an unknown number accusing them of her murder and claiming to have proof. 

The text? It came from Jenny, not dead and ready to figure out who tried to kill her. There’s going to be an impromptu reunion and no one is leaving until the would-be murderer steps forward.

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18 Months

By Samantha Boyette

Small Town Romances
Psychological Thriller
Amateur Sleuths

Alissa Reeves came out for Hannah Desarno. Hannah is smart, beautiful, and has just gone missing. Worse, she isn’t Alissa’s first girlfriend to disappear. Eighteen months ago, Alissa was caught kissing bad girl Lana Meyers. Too scared to admit her feelings for Lana, Alissa let her friends blame Lana. Weeks later when Lana disappeared, no one in their small town thought much of it until months later when her body was found.

With Hannah gone, Alissa finds herself following clues that will help her discover what happened to both girls, and the truth will change everything.

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Gravity

By Juliann Rich

A shot at Olympic gold in ski jumping. It’s a dream that has been the exclusive property of male athletes. Until now.

For seventeen-year-old Ellie Engebretsen, the 2011 decision to include women’s ski jumping in the Olympics is a game changer. She’d love to bring home the gold for her father, a former Olympic competitor whose dreams were blown along with his knees on an ill-timed landing. But can she defy the pull of gravity that draws her to Kate Moreau, her biggest competition and the girl of her dreams? 

How can Ellie soar through the air when all she feels like doing is falling hard?

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Before

By KE Payne

When the confident, determined Alex Brody joins the successful band Be4, sparks fly between her and her bandmates, none more so than with Tally Mullins. But as their success continues and Tally learns more about Alex, her dislike turns to admiration. Soon Tally finds out that there’s far more to Alex than she first thought.

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