To celebrate pride month, we’re featuring 2022 debut books that include queer love stories – with fantasies, contemporary YA, horror, and more!
Coming of Age Stories
THE TURNING POINTE by Vanessa L. Torres, out now from Knopf Books For Young Readers
When sixteen-year-old Rosa Dominguez pirouettes, she is poetry in pointe shoes. And as the daughter of a tyrant ballet Master, Rosa seems destined to become the star principal dancer of her studio. But Rosa would do anything for one hour in the dance studio upstairs where Prince, the Purple One himself, is in the house. After her father announces their upcoming auditions for a concert with Prince, Rosa is more determined than ever to succeed. Then Nikki--the cross-dressing, funky boy who works in the dance shop--leaps into her life. Weighed down by family expectations, Rosa is at a crossroads, desperate to escape so she can show everyone what she can do when freed of her pointe shoes. Now is her chance to break away from a life in tulle, grooving to that unmistakable Minneapolis sound reverberating through every bone in her body.
THE GRAVITY OF MISSING THINGS by Marisa Urgo, out now from Entangled
This #OwnVoices YA novel follows a bi teen who has to juggle first love and a family secret … Flight 133 disappeared over the ocean. No wreckage. No distress signal. Just gone. Suddenly, everyone on the news and social media is talking about whether the pilot intentionally crashed it—everyone but me. Because I know her. The pilot was my mom, and there's no way she would hurt anyone. No one else knows that before she left, she wrote me a note. Trust me, it said. Now it feels like someone split my world—and me—in two, and the only person who believes me is Landon. I want to trust him, to let him see who I really am, but I can't. I have my secrets, the same way Mom has hers. All I know is falling for him will only make things more complicated. Just as I start to open up, the answer to what really happened to Flight 133 could rip my world apart all over again—for good this time.
WE DESERVE MONUMENTS by Jas Hammonds, coming July 12th from Roaring Brook/Macmillan
Seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson is convinced her senior year is ruined when she's uprooted from her life from DC and forced into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between Avery’s mom and Mama Letty makes for a frosty arrival and unearths past drama they refuse to talk about. Every time Avery tries to look deeper, she’s turned away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.
While tempers flare in her avoidant family, Avery finds friendship in unexpected places: in Simone Cole, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family—whose mother’s murder remains unsolved. As the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into romance—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town begin to hint at something insidious underneath. The racist history of Bardell, Georgia is rooted in Avery’s family in ways she can’t even imagine. With Mama Letty's health dwindling every day, Avery must decide if digging for the truth is worth toppling the delicate relationships she's built in Bardell—or if some things are better left buried.
DRIZZLE, DREAMS, AND LOVESTRUCK THINGS by Maya Prasad, coming October 18 from Disney-Hyperion
The Singh sisters grew up helping their father navigate the bustle of the Songbird Inn. Nestled on dreamy and drizzly Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, the inn's always been warm and cozy and filled with interesting guests—the perfect home. But things are about to heat up now that the Songbird has been named the Most Romantic Inn in America.
Nidhi has everything planned out—until a storm brings a wayward tree crashing into her life one autumn . . . and along with it, an intriguing construction worker and a yearning for her motherland. Suddenly, she's questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Avani can't sit still. If she does, her grief for Pop, their dad's late husband, will overwhelm her. So she keeps moving as much as she can, planning an elaborate Winter Ball in Pop's memory. Until a blizzard traps her in a barn with the boy she accidentally stood up and has been actively avoiding ever since. Sirisha loves seeing the world through her camera, but her shyness prevents her from stepping out from behind the lens. Talking to girls is such a struggle! When a pretty actress comes to the Songbird with her theater troupe, spring has sprung for Sirisha—if only she can find the words.
Rani is a hopeless romantic through and through. After gently nudging her sisters to open their hearts, she is convinced it's finally her turn to find love. When two potential suitors float in on a summer breeze, Rani is swept up in grandeur to match her wildest Bollywood dreams. But which boy is the one she's meant to be with? Ultimately, the magic of the Songbird Inn leads the tight-knit Singh sisters to new passions and breathtaking kisses—and to unearth the truest versions of themselves.
Merfolk, Gods, and more
A SONG OF SILVER AND GOLD by Melissa Karibian, out now from Hansen House
Out in the open sea, it's kill or be killed. No one knows that better than Kaelyn. For the past year, Princess Kaelyn of Avalon has disguised herself as a man, Captain Kae, and led her crew into tumultuous waters to eradicate sirens on a journey fueled by revenge for the death of her brother. When they return home and experience a fatal siren attack on Avalon's harbor, Kae sets sail again to destroy the sea demons once and for all. Aqeara is a siren warrior of Meyrial, an underwater kingdom hidden from humans. When her negligence during the Avalon harbor attack causes the death of Meyrial's princess, she accepts the help of a sea witch to overturn her banishment. Aqeara is given a human body and has until the next full moon to carve out Captain Kae's heart in exchange for a spell to bring the dead princess back to life.
When Kae's and Aqeara's paths cross, they fall into a whirlwind romance, complicating their respective plans. Kae must decide whether her desire for revenge against sirens overrides her feelings for the woman she's falling for, and Aqeara must choose between resurrecting the dead princess or sparing Kae's life.
WRATH GODDESS SING by Maya Deane, out now from HarperCollins/William Morrow
The gods wanted blood. She fought for love.
Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite. When Odysseus comes to recruit the “prince” Achilles for a war against the Hittites, she prepares to die rather than fight as a man. However, her divine mother, Athena, intervenes, transforming her body into the woman’s body she always longed for, and promises her everything: glory, power, fame, victory in war, and, most importantly, a child born of her own body. Reunited with her beloved cousin, Patroklos, and his brilliant wife, the sorceress Meryapi, Achilles sets out to war with a vengeance. But the gods—a dysfunctional family of abusive immortals that have glutted on human sacrifices for centuries—have woven ancient schemes more blood-soaked and nightmarish than Achilles can imagine. At the center of it all is the cruel, immortal Helen, who sees Achilles as a worthy enemy after millennia of ennui and emptiness. In love with her newfound nemesis, Helen sets out to destroy everything and everyone Achilles cherishes, seeking a battle to the death.
An innovative spin on a familiar tale, this is the Trojan War unlike anything ever told, and an Achilles whose vulnerability is revealed by the people she chooses to fight…and chooses to trust.
THE CIRCUS INFINITE by Khan Wong, out now from Angry Robot Books
Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon. Here, everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job. When the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him, or face vivisection. With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down together. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.
DAUNTLESS by Elisa A. Bonnin, coming July 19 from Macmillan / Swoon Reads
Seri's world is defined by very clear rules. The beasts prowl the forest paths and hunt the People. Warriors kill the beasts and gain strength from the armor they make from them. And they explore the unknown world, to find new homes for the People. That was how it had always been, and how it would always be. Until the day Seri encounters Tsana.
Tsana is a stranger, someone who is – impossibly – not of the People. She comes from the unknown world, from a strange group that speaks a different language, wears metal, and, strangest of all, communicates with beasts. And Tsana's People find Seri's barbaric. Somehow, with the world at the brink of war, Seri will have to find a way to make peace.
This is a world of heroes, and that is what Seri will become.
HOW TO SUCCEED IN WITCHCRAFT by Aislinn Brophy, coming September 27 from Penguin Random House/Putnam
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. As a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s determined to win the Brockton Scholarship—her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her competition? Ana freaking Álvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.
When Mr. B asks Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive musical, she warily agrees, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But in rehearsals, Shay realizes Ana is . . . not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could be a friend—or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she becomes the target of Mr. B’s unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when her future's on the line?
THE MARBLE QUEEN by Anna Kopp, coming June 2023 from Dark Horse
Princess Amelia’s kingdom, Marion, is in shambles after months of their trade routes being ravaged by pirates, and now the only seemingly option left is for her to save it through a marriage alliance. When she gets an exorbitant offer from the royalty of Iliad—a country shrouded in mystery—Amelia accepts without question and leaves her home to begin a new life. But she lands on Iliad’s shores to find that her betrothed isn't the country’s prince, but the recently coronated Queen Salira.
Shocked, Amelia tries to make sense of her situation and her confused heart: Salira has awakened strange new feelings inside her, but something dark hides behind the Queen's sorrowful eyes. Amelia must fight the demons of her own anxiety disorder before she can tackle her wife's, all while war looms on the horizon.
Ghosts & Ghouls
MY DEAREST DARKEST by Kayla Cottingham, out now from Sourcebooks Fire
Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy... but she's also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of a river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn't let her drown. Finch doesn't know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she's felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her. Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena's suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.
One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts―beauty, power, adoration―in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.
HORROR HOTEL by Victoria Fulton and Faith McClaren, out now from PRH/Underlined
This addictive YA horror about a group of teen ghost hunters who spend the night in a haunted LA hotel is The Blair Witch Project for the TikTok generation. When the YouTube-famous Ghost Gang—Chrissy, Chase, Emma, and Kiki—visit a haunted LA hotel notorious for tragedy to secretly film after dark, they expect it to be just like their previous paranormal huntings. Spooky enough to attract subscribers—and ultimately harmless.
But when they stumble upon something unexpected in the former room of a gruesome serial killer, they quickly realize that they’re in over their heads.
Sometimes, it’s the dead who need our help—and the living we should fear.
THE STARS IN THEIR EYES by Kristy Gardner, coming October 18th from City Owl Press
The stakes were clear after the Change - survive together, or die.
Calay and Tess’s love has kept them alive four years after the aliens decimated Earth. But when Calay finds herself fighting for her life and Tess missing, she hears death knocking. She only has one choice: she must find Tess.
Reluctantly, Calay braves the new nightmares of a ravaged Pacific Northwest, alone. Thrust into the darkness, she is haunted by horrors beyond her imagination — alien executioners, a mysterious man whom she can’t quite put her finger on, the rise of a sinister cult, and a shocking family secret that challenges everything she thinks she knows.
As the lines between good and evil blur, Calay’s desperation threatens to spill what’s left of her humanity. As she's pulled deeper into the madness of a world that has become kill or be killed, Calay realizes she must deny her feral instincts and resist becoming a monster herself. That means confronting her demons as she stares down the barrel of a terrifying truth: she may actually be forever alone. Time is running out and she knows it. Her only hope is to become who she is truly meant to be and unify with the love of her life once and for all. But at what cost?