It’s no question that queerness in literature, especially young and new adult, has gotten more prominent over the past few years. And if you’re like me, you’re probably out searching for the next Red, White, and Royal Blue.
Over the past few years, the representation of the queer community has gotten much stronger. The fact that the characters are queer is often not the focus of the novel, rather a normalization that falls into the greater context, has given the topic much more flexibility as well as acceptance in a broader sense. While queerness is still documented and portrayed with accurate struggles, this normalizing of queer relationships in books that don’t focus on the romance itself is a huge step for the community.
What better a time than the month of love to think about the queer books we’re anticipating this year? There are many young and new adult novels coming out this year with LGBTQIA+ themes and characters, but here are a few upcoming LGBTQIA+ releases that we’ve been counting down the days for.
1. She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard
This novel, beyond a beautiful cover, is based on the classic The Picture of Dorian Gray. It follows Mick, a girl with a phobia of photographs and a neglectful single mother and Veronica, an aspiring photography student. The two meet at a party and their connection is near instant. When a photo of Mick that Veronica secretly snapped goes viral, the two find themselves in a world of chaos, danger, murder, and mystery that neither of them could have expected.
This novel goes farther than the typical queer romance to focus on something larger, a plot that puts its newly connected lovebirds into situations where they must try to decide who they believe and fight for the greater good.
She’s Too Pretty to Burn is set to release on March 30, 2021.
2. As Far as You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper
This book centers around Marty, a gay teenager who moves to England under the pretense of being accepted to a music program after being rejected by his parents in the wake of his coming out. Once in London, Marty makes new friends, gets his first boyfriend, and he finally feels like things may be going well for him. But realistically, he’s spending all his money without having a job. He’s lied about being accepted to this program, and he’s homeless. Marty is still trying to find where he belongs, fighting to discover his identity and muster up the courage to talk to his parents again.
Stamper’s novel releases in February and already has rave reviews from those with advanced reader’s copies. While Marty physically moves to another country in trying to find a place that feels like home, the novel focuses more on Marty coming to terms with feeling at home with himself.
As Far As You’ll Take Me is set to release on February 9th, 2021.
3. One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
McQuiston’s novel has by far the most hype of any queer book coming out in 2021. The sophomore to her well loved debut, it follows August, a cynical and factual twenty three year old as she moves to New York City. The regular aspects of her life are suddenly jaunted when she meets Jane on the subway, a girl quite literally displaced from time. She finds herself straying away from the dull aspects she was once leaning toward and falling head over heels for the girl from another decade.
This novel has gotten rave reviews ahead of its June release which, quite frankly, could not come any slower. Sapphic, stubbornness, and time travel? Sign us up.
One Last Stop is set to release on June 1st, 2021.
4. Honey Girl by Morgan Rodgers
This novel follows a woman named Grace who has just graduated with a doctorate. She’s hard working, disciplined—that is, until she gets drunk in Vegas and marries a woman who’s name she can’t even remember. Once she starts falling for her new wife, she starts to question why she feels more fulfilled from this stranger than the accomplishment of her PhD. Throughout the rest of the novel, she tries to unpack her life and identity as she blossoms into adulthood.
This debut was written about and by a woman of color, and the reception ahead of release has been overwhelmingly positive. Pushing this character out of her comfort zone may be exactly what we need from queer literature this year.
Honey Girl is set to release on February 23rd, 2021.
5. Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler
Lara spent her summer in the Outer Banks when she fell for Jasmine, a girl who she can’t seem to get out of her mind. Even the boy she’s crushed on forever, Chase Harding, can’t seem to get the memory of this stranger out of Lara’s brain. Things become even harder when she finally starts dating Chase and Jasmine shows up at her high school. Lara finally has the guy she wants, but why can’t she get away from the thought of this girl?
This is another queer book that’s been inspired, this one following along the lines of the musical hit “Grease.” Though it will certainly come with the cheesy moments like the original, we can’t wait to see the novel’s take on finding identity when torn between two people.
Cool for the Summer is set to release on May 11th, 2021.
This is only a taste of all the novels with LGBTQIA+ representation coming out this year. What queer novels are you looking forward to? Let us know!