10 2020 YA LGBTQIA+ Debuts to Read Before the End of the Year
It's time to look back upon a selection of the wonderful YA LGBTQIA+ debuts 2020 has had to offer.
With the end of 2020 just over a month away, it’s time to look back upon a selection of the wonderful YA LGBTQIA+ debuts this year has had to offer. These ten books, from YA Fantasy to Contemporary, cover a range of identities across the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, and can be enjoyed by all regardless of age. So without further ado, here are ten 2020 YA LGBTQIA+ debuts you must absolutely check out if you haven’t already!
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
To prove to his family that he is a real brujo, Yadriel is determined to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin. Instead, he accidently summons the ghost of the resident school bad boy, Julian Diaz, who refuses to go into the afterlife until the mystery of his death is solved.
Why should you read it? This YA debut is well-loved by the book community, and features a wonderful trans protagonist and an M/M relationship.
You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
Liz has a plan to get out of her small midwestern town: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, and become a doctor. But when her financial aid falls through, Liz turns to her school scholarship – awarded to the prom king and queen – to make her ambitions a reality.
Why should you read it? This YA Contemporary debut is let by a determined Black LGBTQIA+ heroine, and features a Black love interest as well as an F/F romance.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
When Nishat’s childhood friend Flavia returns, Nishat falls in love with her almost instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses and both Nishat and Flavia choose henna, they become rivals.
Why should you read it? Led by a Muslim lesbian heroine and featuring a F/F relationship, The Henna Wars examines topics such as racism, homophobia and cultural appropriation all in an incredibly thoughtful (but also soft and fun) read.
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth
Saoirse doesn’t believe in love. But when she meets Ruby at a house party and finds herself charmed, Saoirse agrees to a summer of fun with the mutual agreement that the romance will end come autumn. Except . . . Saoirse wasn’t counting on actually falling in love, for real.
Why should you read it? Funny but with unexpected depth, this YA rom-com includes all the traditional ‘love montage’ events from the movies. Plus a lesbian MC, a plus-sized love interest and a F/F romance.
The Fascinators by Andrew Eliopulos
Living in a small town where magic is frowned upon, Sam relies on his best friends James and Delia to see him through to graduation. But in senior year, cracks start to show: Sam may be in love with James; Delia is frustrated with their amateur magic club; and James may have become mixed up with some sketchy magickers.
Why should you read it? Focusing on queer identity, friendship, growing up and falling apart, The Fascinators features a gay main character and an LGBTQIA+ supporting cast.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Elatsoe lives in a world just like our own – except this world has been dramatically shaped by magic. When her cousin is murdered, Elatsoe must rely on her wits, skills and friends to find the truth in a town that seems determined to keep secrets.
Why should you read it? This YA speculative debut features an asexual Lipan Apache protagonist, is written by a Lipan Apache author, and features stunning illustrations by Rovina Cai.
I’ll Be The One by Lyla Lee
When Skye earns a place in a competition looking for the next K-Pop star, she’s determined to challenge the fatphobic beauty standards of the industry. But she doesn’t count on the sudden media fame, the scrutiny, or the sparks that fly with fellow model-turned-competitor, Henry Cho.
Why should you read it? A YA novel that features a body-positive and bisexual heroine, I’ll Be The One is an addictive and uplifting standalone novel.
Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran
When teenage queen Lia inherits a bankrupt kingdom, she brings a new spymaster into the fold: Xania, a girl wishing to avenge her murdered father. Surrounded by hidden enemies and deadly plots on all sides, the two must work closely together to survive.
Why should you read it? This YA Fantasy is from an Irish author, and features lots of court politics as well as a lesbian heroine, a F/F romance, and a demisexual lesbian love interest.
The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert
New Orleans, 1929. Millie is running the Cloak & Dagger, a speakeasy in the French Quarter, whilst her aunt is away. But when a young socialite is found dead and the clues implicate Millie’s friend Marion as the murderer, Millie must investigate to prove Marion’s innocence.
Why should you read it? It’s a historical murder mystery led by a bisexual heroine and featuring an inclusive LGBTQIA+ cast, set against the lush backdrop of New Orleans.
The Mermaid, the Witch & the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
When Lady Evelyn Hasegawa is engaged to a man she’s never met, she is sent off to sea aboard the ship Dove to meet him. But aboard this ship she meets Florian, a girl pretending to be a boy in order to earn the respect of the crew. And the Dove is not the ship it seems . . .
Why should you read it? This YA Fantasy doesn’t have just a beautiful cover – it has beautiful worldbuilding too! It also features an F/F relationship, and there are mermaids.