10 LGBTQ+ Young Adult Books for Your 2020 and 2021 TBRs

NetGalley members have a gift for keeping one eye on the present and the other on the future, which often results in excitement for both recently published books and ones that may be as far as a year away. On this list you’ll find LGBTQ+ young adult books that hit shelves both this year and next, to ensure your present and future TBRs are packed with greatness. These 10 books are just a small sampling of the great work available by authors from the LGBTQ+ community, and we encourage readers to seek out their work throughout each year!

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After is one of the most talked about YA books of 2020, and for good reason. Felix Love is Black, queer, and transgender. He’s proud of who he is and knows that he’s worthy of the love that he seeks, but that doesn’t make it any easier to put himself out there and risk getting hurt. So he focuses his attention on earning a full scholarship to Brown, until an anonymous student at the summer arts program he’s attending starts sending him hateful messages. Felix has a plan to uncover who this bully is, and along the way finds strength and love in himself.

Check, Please!: Sticks & Scones by Ngozi Ukazu

Ngozi Ukazu’s series about a Beyoncé-loving, pie-baking hockey player is the sort of comfort read we all need and deserve in 2020. This second volume picks up with Bitty’s junior year of college and follows him as he attempts to navigate his course load, his high-spirited team, and his secret relationship with Jack, who is now miles away and playing on a professional team. This series is a personal favorite of mine, and I highly recommend checking out both volumes if you’re looking for a book as filling and warm as fresh apple pie.

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

Two heroines swap lives in this YA fantasy. Emilie des Marais is a noble who longs to use her skills as a physician, a job forbidden to women of her social standing. Meanwhile, Annette Boucher dreams of one day being trained in magic, knowing her family could never afford the expensive education. When the two cross paths, Emilie convinces Annette to switch places. But their plan takes a dangerous turn when war with a neighboring kingdom breaks out.

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

This duology opener transports readers to a galaxy where a dying emperor declares a competition will be held to be his successor. Alyssa Farshot is next in the ruling line, and though she never wanted the responsibility, she’s shocked to learn that her uncle is calling for a crownchase instead of simply naming her as his heir. All of the prime families in the empire must select a champion to hunt for the royal seal, with the winner securing the throne. Alyssa is tasked with representing her family, and finds herself hoping to survive a deadly race for a crown she never wanted to win.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

The Magic Fish is another favorite of mine. There is something truly magical to be found in this stunning graphic novel. Trung Le Nguyen weaves together three plotlines to tell the story of an immigrant family coming together. The first follows Tiến, who is struggling to tell his Vietnamese parents that he’s gay. The second shares the fairytale that Tiến and his mother are reading together. The third looks to Tiến’s mom and explores her journey from Vietnam to America. With gorgeous art and heartfelt storytelling, this tale of belonging and finding yourself is not to be missed.

Here are five books to look forward to reading next year!

As Far as You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper

Phil Stamper’s debut The Gravity of Us blew me away, and his sophomore novel is high on my must-read list for 2021. As Far as You’ll Take Me follows a gay teen looking for a place that feels like home. Marty leaves behind his religious family in Kentucky and arrives in London, England with the hopes of making a living as a professional oboist. But as the initial excitement of a fresh start fades, he realizes he has to reckon with the people he left behind if he ever wants to discover the person he’ll grow to be.

In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland

The first three words of this book’s official synopsis are “A pansexual bloodmage” and honestly that’s all it took to hook me, but in case you need more: This fantasy takes readers to Thanopolis, a land where undead spirits are paired with those who possess magic. The spirits are meant to guard the magic wielders, but they can also control them. Rovan tried to hide her gifts, but an accident reveals her powers and sets her on a journey that leads to a rebellion and the potential destruction of Thanopolis.

Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson

Andre Cobb could’ve never imagined just how much his liver transplant would change his life. The operation went successfully, but he soon learns from Blake, the brother of his donor, that his new organ has a big side effect: It comes with the ability to time travel. Andre begins jumping between the present and 1969, and soon finds himself torn between his feelings for Blake and the ones he’s developing for Michael, who lives in the past. Too bad we can’t time travel to February 2021 to get our hands on this book right now!

Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

Dahlia Adler’s latest has me longing for the summer. The school year is shaping up nicely for Lara, who has an amazing group of friends, a job she enjoys, and the guy of her dreams. Lara’s had heart eyes for Chase since freshman year—and most days still can’t believe he’s noticed her—so why is she still thinking about Jasmine, the girl she spent the summer with? This story of a bi girl discovering who she is and who holds her heart sounds like the perfect summer 2021 read. Plus the cover is too cool—where can I get those shades?

Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan

Readers have been eagerly awaiting the final installment in Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Paper and Fire series, and next year they’ll be able to see how Lei and Wren’s journey ends. The two first met at the Hidden Palace, where they were concubines to the Demon King. Together they escaped and helped to spark a rebellion, but now they’ve been torn apart. Lei finds herself back at the Hidden Palace, unsure of what has happened to Wren. The only thing that is certain is how hard she’ll fight to get back to the one she loves.

Looking for more upcoming books for your TBR? 

Check out this list of 21 highly-anticipated releases coming out next year!

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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