In The Music of What Happens, Max and Jordan encounter some of the most difficult struggles a teenager can face, but readers know these characters will be okay. With great effect, readers stand witness to these characters’ comforting ability to cultivate the skills they need to persevere.
The Music of What Happens
by Bill Konigsberg
Fallenberg richly renders Israel, with all of its sights and smells, illustrating the erotic appeal of both land and men. He offers a case for readers to run away to the Mediterranean coast as well as a warning that our demons never really leave us.
The Parting Gift
by Evan Fallenberg
Poetry might be the best way to explore such a unique place, full of contradictions that make sense only through a poet’s lens, but Yang does provide illustrations (by artist Rackstraw Downes) and photographs that further illuminate Marfa. This book aims to bring readers into a specific place, and Yang uses every tool available to him in order to accomplish this.
by Jeffrey Yang
Through her thoughtfully constructed characters, Berger explores a variety of complex perspectives on Jewish racial identity, as well as the conflicts on the Israel-Palestine border and the nature of self-empowerment. For Berger’s characters, there are neither neat solutions nor endings.
by Tamara Faith Berger
The novel challenges readers to re-examine both truth and history. Confessions of the Fox pushes back against the biases inherent in a singular point of view. The truth can be a chaotic affair, but by the end of Sheppard’s tale, readers will wonder what other historical figures have been missed in the aim to create neat narratives.
Confessions of the Fox
by Jordy Rosenberg
Morgan’s humor and insight into the cyber world of gay life make this a must read. When the lights go down on the party and the hook-up leaves the apartment, readers are left with the quiet and empty aftermath of Sodom and Gomorrah. Morgan’s characterization leans just over the line of parody, looking at the stark loneliness of the morning after.
by North Morgan
Love War Stories
by Ivelisse Rodriguez
Rodriguez’s stories are about more than romantic love and conflict. Her tales of mother-daughter relationships, female friendships and cultural conflicts demonstrate the ways that love can bring forth our best and worst selves.
Whether readers pick up Many Love because they want to explore polyamory for themselves or just want to learn more, Johnson’s story offers insight for everyone as we all explore what it means to be in relation to one another.
Many Love: A Memoir of Polyamory and Finding Love(s)
by Sophie Lucido Johnson
Ultimately, Severance proves to be a sharp critique of American society overtaken by, yet inextricably linked to, late capitalism. Although the story is set in a dystopian world, Severance is certainly about America today.
by Ling Ma
Algeria is Beautiful Like America is an insightful graphic novel about a woman’s exploration of her legacy. The book holds space for both criticisms of the Algerian War and Burton’s grandparents mourning of a lost home, and the story is ultimately hopeful for the future of both the Black Foot who have returned to France and the country of Algeria.
Algeria Is Beautiful Like America
by Olivia Burton
An American Princess
By Annejet van der Zijl
Annejet van der Zijl, heralded as the queen of literary non-fiction in the Netherlands for writing about the lives of the country’s aristocracy and public, makes her English-language debut with a biography of socialite and princess, Allene Tew. In An American Princess, van der Zijl turns her attention west to explore an American woman with a complex and untold past.
~Culture Trip, June 2018
Finding Mezcal: Journey to the Liquid Soul of Mexico
By Ron Cooper
The close relationships he has built over years of discovering the purest mezcals create the heart of Finding Mezcal. His eye focuses on the human stories and connections behind “the liquid soul of Mexico.” Part travelog, part cookbook, part photography collection, this book is what Cooper describes as a “road movie.”
~Culture Trip, June 2018
by Trifonia Melibea Obono
La Bastarda is the first book written by a woman from Equatorial Guinea to be translated into English. That alone is a noteworthy accomplishment for Trifonia Melibea Obono, but it pales in comparison to the work itself. At its heart La Bastarda is a coming-of-age story, exploring the tensions between one’s natural inclinations, cultural influences, and the choices that shape one’s journey.
~Culture Trip, May 2018
The Birth of Korean CooL
By Euny Hong
Hong’s smart, inherently personal analysis and deep cultural insight make The Birth of Korean Cool a fascinating read. As Korean culture continues to shift and evolve, Hong has captured a moment in South Korean history, providing outsiders with both a deeply historical and an intimate understanding of the path taken by this super-powered nation.
~Culture Trip, May 2018
Vanilla, Hunter, and their friends struggle to understand their place in the “gay community” and they grapple with the pressures of “what it means to be gay.” They desire intimacy, but they don’t always know what form that intimacy should take. It is refreshing to see these ideas explored in a gay novel; but especially one for young readers.
By Billy Merrell
Both Openly Straight and Honestly Ben portray a complicated relationship to LGBT identity that feels reflective of younger generations and the new world we are facing. They offer hope and realism in the same breathe. Both titles are perfect compliments for each other in tackling the messiness of what it is to be a teenager dealing with more than just pimples.
by Bill Konigsberg
History is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera
Many may point to History is All You Left Me as an exploration of grief. And it is to a certain extent. This book explores the rocky terrain of coping with loss and the different ways of handling death. As each character grieves, they approach the process in their own way. Some turn inward, others out. The struggle to communicate grief drives much of the story.
Queer: A Graphic History
by Meg-John Barker and Julia Scheele
Queer: A Graphic History sets out to be a guide; to sum up the history of queer theory and activism. With text and graphics, this book breaks down the evolution of queer politics. From early sexology to post-queer critiques of homonormativity, Queer is an illustrated roadmap of the mutating and expanding theories that serve under the banner of “queer theory.”
Not Your Sidekick
by C. B. Lee
With Not Your Sidekick, C.B. Lee introduces readers to a world a few hundred years from now, but life hasn’t changed too much. Kids are afraid of disappointing their parents. Friends are blind to each other’s crushes. Younger siblings struggle to fill the footprints left by their older siblings. Oh, but some people have super powers.
Princess Princess Ever After is a warm-hearted graphic novel centered on the adventures of two strong-willed princesses. Playful in tone, this colorfully illustrated story was originally published as an online comic. The story begins when Princess Amira rescues another Princess, Princess Sadie, from an archetypal tower. Through the arc of the story, both characters learn to recognize their self-worth, their different strengths, and to appreciate each other.
Princess Princess Ever After
by Katie O’Neill
The best LGBT young adult fiction by LGBT writers often reads as love letters to the teens they once were and this book is no exception. Linn writes to remind all of us to be ourselves, that storytelling and myth can be launchpads to creating real change, and to always remember the heroic power we have inside ourselves.
Draw the Line
by Laurent Linn
As the story developed over five years’ time, E.K. Weaver’s art became more subtle and careful throughout the course of the novel. At no point does Weaver ever underestimate the significance of a glance or the twitch of a finger, the zoom on TJ’s lips as he blows cigarette smoke or the way his gaze lingers on Amal. The tone becomes subtly erotic in otherwise banal scenes of two strangers in a small car.
~Lambda Literary Review, April 2016
The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
by E.K. Weaver
Sorese masterfully immerses the reader in the story from the first moment. Incredibly human stories exist in a world full of robots and fantastic beasts. It is cinematic in its scope; blasting through battles and sharing the intimacy of crying alone in the rain. The story is heartbreaking, but heartbreaking in the “how great is humanity” kind of way; the kind of heartbreak that leaves you in love with the world.
by Jeremy Sorese
Schmatz’s prose speaks in a dialect unique to the story, just off enough to keep the reader from ever feeling like they are on solid ground. Much like the story, the truth Kivali feels seems impossible to reflect in the world she is living in. The prose swings into cerebral poetry and then back into more grounded speech. The text is full of the distinct dialect of the world, which is can be hard to pick up on at first. This style does make the action difficult to follow at times, but one of the goals of the book is to play with the idea of confusion.