New YA Fiction From Trans Writers With the Best Representation

This week’s Three to Read spotlights the representation in YA fiction created by talented trans authors. What a great way to celebrate Pride Month!

Diversity LGBTQIA+ Reads Recommendations Three To Read Young Adult
This Day Changes Everything cover by Edward Underhill, The Wicked Bargain cover by Gabe Cole Novoa, and The Spirit Bares Its Teeth cover by Andrew Joseph White in front of a gradient blue and orange sky.

In honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Bookstr has three young adult books written by trans authors that we think you should read this June. Pride Month celebrates the abundant contributions made by the LGBTQ+ community — to society, history, and cultures worldwide. This observance has its roots reaching all the way back to June 28, 1969. Now, in 2024, most major urban areas around the world commemorate Pride Month. The three books we’re recommending this week come from wonderful trans writers and feature naturally delivered diversity and LGBTQ+ representation.

HOT PICK

This Day Changes Everything by Edward Underhill

Book cover for This Day Changes Everything by Edward Underhill. There is a blueish green background with an orange hued rendering of the Empire State Building. There are two people, a girl and a boy, appearing to fall through the air while trying to reach for each other. In the top left there is text that says: Twenty-four hours. One epic love story.
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SYNOPSIS:

Abby Akerman, a bookish and optimistic girl who’s ready to come out of the closet, and Leo Brewer, the guarded and unenthused trans boy who’s soon to be outed to his family on national television, have wildly different views on whether the Universe is a magical place. But the Universe will have the last say when it throws them together on a life-changing day during an important school trip to New York City — which just so happens to be the location of Abby’s favorite romance novel.

After accidentally losing Abby’s perfect gift (a book, of course!) for her best friend, Leo agrees to go on a quest to make it up to her. Finding a trinket from every locale featured in the book takes them to Manhattan hot spots like Chinatown, Grand Central Station, and the Empire State Building. While roaming the city, these teens undergo a transformation of their expectations of the school trip and their impressions of each other — and if they’re open to it, this day could change everything for them!

WHY:

If you love watching things like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Dash & Lily, then you’re guaranteed to love this queer teen rom-com adventure. Coming-of-age escapades with a heartwarming camaraderie like this one are always fun, exciting, and emotionally satisfying at the end. And who among us doesn’t enjoy reading about a budding queer relationship between the classic hopeless-romantic type and the brooding troubled one?

BEACH READ

The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa

Book cover for The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa. Features a young latinx person with short hair, holding a ball of flame in one hand. The person is wearing simple pirate's clothes. The background shows a pirate ship at sea during a terrible thunderstorm. In the top right there is a quote by New York Ties Bestselling Author Aiden Thomas that says: "Pirates and romance, magic and demon curses, this book has it all!"
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SYNOPSIS:

Meet the star of the story: Mar León de la Rosa, a transmasculine nonbinary teen on a mission. They’re also a pirate with a secret magical ability. Once upon a time, Mar’s dad made a wicked bargain with el Diablo, promising his soul and the souls of his entire crew. Mar’s sixteenth birthday comes around, and el Diablo makes an appearance to collect his payment. Teenage magic is not up to snuff against el Diablo — nor is it strong enough to break a devil’s deal.

Mar miraculously escapes and gets scooped up by the last pirate crew left in the Caribbean. But el Diablo isn’t done with them yet. Lucky for Mar, this is when their two best allies join the cause — a Gender-fluid demonio with semi-clear motives named Dami and the hot son of the captain, Bas. With everyone’s help, will Mar have the courage to unleash their magic? And will it save them or get them all killed?

WHY:

I mean, come on! Wicked Bargain is a Caribbean seafaring fantasy about a Latinx pirate-sorcerer facing the Devil — that should be enough information to talk any bookish person into reading it. The characters in the story have great growth arcs. But more importantly, the banter and chemistry between Mar and Bas keep readers invested to the end. Not to mention a “gays and theys” magical pirate adventure is the perfect kind of book to read at the beach on a sunny weekend!

DARK HORSE

The Spirit Bares Its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White

and purple and gold themed book cover for The Spirit Bares its Teeth by Andrew Joseph White. In the center of the gold oval is a distraught person with long blonde hair, wearing a purple hued dress. The person is clutching something. All over the book cover are artist renderings of the anatomy of eyeballs.
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SYNOPSIS:

It’s 1883 and the Veil between the living and the dead has diminished in London. Those born with violet eyes are able to commune with spirits. The Royal Speaker Society selects these violet-eyed mediums to become Speaker wives, and they are then wed to a Royal Speaker, kept obedient, and carefully watched, as they are only allowed to use their abilities under the Society’s orders. This is something that Silas Bell — our sixteen-year-old trans and autistic protagonist — will do anything to avoid.

Unfortunately, when it comes time for his arranged marriage to a Royal Speaker, Silas is unable to escape it. After some time has passed, he is diagnosed with a disease — the mysterious illness called Veil Sickness that sends afflicted minds into madness — and sent away to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium, where the ghosts of missing teens plead for his help. Silas wants to expose the truth to the world — if this place doesn’t break him first.

WHY:

Yes, this historical fiction features an autistic trans protagonist. And yes, this book excels at calling attention to how forcing trans youth into conformity is harmful. It is also a stunningly gory novel with dark themes that read like your darkest bad dreams. Some scenes are quite visceral and violent! What makes The Spirit Bares Its Teeth worth adding to your reading list, however, is the amazing way Andrew Joseph White’s atmospheric and suspenseful storytelling brings this mystery to life with supernatural elements and captivating character development.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Three to Read! We hope you enjoyed this week’s choices. Check back every week for more recommendations!


While you wait for next week’s article, check out a great Three to Read on books with autism representation here.

Find these books and more on our Bookstr Three to Read bookshelf on Bookshop.org.

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