February is LGBT History Month in the UK and to celebrate, we have pulled together a list of upcoming titles, publishing in the next six months, with LGBTQ+ characters and themes; books that explore gender, sexuality and what it means to be a young LGBQT+ person in the UK and worldwide. From a story about a dystopic universe where angels fall from the sky, to a picture book about a boy who wants to be a mermaid, there are film tie-ins, paperback releases and exciting new titles to look forward to!
Last month saw the release of LOVE, SIMON, the official film tie-in version of the enormously popular Becky Albertalli book SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. The film is set to release in the UK in April.
Love, Simon: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda Official Film Tie-In by Becky Albertalli, published by PRH
Straight people should have to come out too. And the more awkward it is, the better.
Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal . . . It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.
And next month, there is the extremely intriguing OUT OF THE BLUE to look forward to…
Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron, published by Macmillan
When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. For most people it doesn’t. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.
Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive.
Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, Sophie Cameron’s Out of the Blue tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.
There are some wonderful YA books being made into films this year and April sees the re-release of another widely acclaimed book about gender and sexuality, as well as a brand new offering from the CARVE THE MARK universe…
Carve the Mark 2: The Fates Divide, published by HarperCollins
In the second book of the Carve the Mark duology, globally bestselling Divergent author Veronica Roth reveals how Cyra and Akos fulfill their fates. The Fates Divide is a richly imagined tale of hope and resilience told in four stunning perspectives.
The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth are ruled by their fates, spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates, once determined, are inescapable.
Akos is in love with Cyra, in spite of his fate: he will die in service to Cyra’s family. And when Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek – a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead – reclaims the Shotet throne, Akos believes his end is closer than ever.
As Lazmet ignites a barbaric war, Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost. For Cyra, that could mean taking the life of the man who may – or may not – be her father. For Akos, it could mean giving his own. In a stunning twist, the two will discover how fate defines their lives in ways most unexpected.
Every Day (Film Tie-in Edition) by David Levithan, published by Egmont
Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There’s never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that’s fine – until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with – every day . . . A stunningly original novel that will make you view the world from a different perspective. The film-tie in book of Every Day is due to be released in April 2018.
You can also read Rhiannon’s side of the story in Another Day. Levithan’s powerful novel explores the complexities of first love, attraction and gender identity in a way that will captivate the reader. Someday, the third instalment will publish this September and will start right where Every Day left off, continuing the story of A and Rhiannon.
EVERY DAY was on the Guardian’s top 10 books about gender identity here.
If you missed out on the newest book by Patrick Ness last year, you do not want to miss the paperback release in May. Plus there is a new book from the very talented Alice Oseman.
For Angel Rahimi life is about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything she loves – her friend Juliet, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band with his mates is all he ever dreamed of doing.
But dreams don’t always turn out the way you think and when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together, they find out how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
A funny, wise, and heartbreakingly true coming of age novel. I Was Born for This is a stunning reflection of modern teenage life, and the power of believing in something – especially yourself.
Release by Patrick Ness, published by Walker
A startling and tender novel about how to let yourself love and set yourself free by Patrick Ness, the twice Carnegie Medal-winning author of A Monster Calls. Today will change Adam Thorn’s life. Between his religious family, unpleasant boss and his ex-boyfriend, the bindings of his world are coming undone. And way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake. Is there time for Adam to find his release?
There are lots of books out in June – summer romance offerings, NOAH COULD NEVER, THE SUMMER OF US, MY HEART GOES BANG and BOY MEETS HAMSTER, as well as an exciting picture book about gender, and the latest books by Carlie Sorosiak, the author of IF BIRDS FLY BACK, and Cathy Cassidy.
Noah Could Never by Simon James Green published by by Scholastic
The hilarious sequel to Noah Can’t Even, coming in June 2018.
Noah and Harry have gone from best friends to official boyfriends, but is Noah ready to go all the way? It’s no help that a group of cosmopolitan French exchange students have descended on Little Fobbing – including attractive Pierre Victoire, who seems to have his eye on Harry! Meanwhile, Noah’s paired up with a girl … who, most outrageously, is not even French. But that’s not all: the police are monitoring Noah, and he can’t tell if it’s because his dad and secret half-brother, Eric, have made off with his gran’s fake diamonds; because his PE teacher is receiving mysterious cash infusions from Russia; or because drag queen Bambi Sugapops is hiding out at Noah’s house in the midst of a knock-down, bare-knuckled drag feud. Will Noah ever catch a break?
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, published by Walker
Mesmerizing and full of heart, this is a picture book about self-confidence and love, and a radiant celebration of individuality.
While riding the subway home with his Nana one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train carriage. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he’s seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies and making his own fabulous mermaid costume. But what will Nana think about the mess he makes – and even more importantly – what will she think about how Julián sees himself?
Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak, published by Macmillan
In the summer we all fell in love
By the winter we had fallen apart
For Quinn and her sister, Fern, and brother, Reed, summer means working as counselors at their family’s summer camp: months of bonfires, bunks, and friendships made and broken. But last summer was different. Last summer they all fell in love with the same boy – Dylan, their best friend since forever, suddenly seen through new eyes.
Six months later and everything has changed. The summer camp is empty and covered in snow, and Quinn, Fern and Reed aren’t speaking to each other anymore. Something happened that summer that tore them apart, and their memories won’t let them forgive.
Wild Blue Wonder is the gorgeous, achingly beautiful novel from Carlie Sorosiak, author of If Birds Fly Back.
The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse, published by Hachette Children’s
Five friends. Ten days. The most beautiful cities Europe has to offer. And a love story – or two… The perfect read for fans of Jennifer E Smith and Sara Barnard.
Aubrey and Rae have been planning their trip around Europe practically from the moment they became BFFs in primary school. And, now, it ought to be the perfect way to spend their last summer together before university.
But things are more complicated at eighteen than they were at ten. There’s Jonah, Aubrey’s seemingly perfect boyfriend, and his best friend Gabe, the boy Aubrey may have accidentally kissed. And there’s Clara, the friend Rae is crushing on, hard, even though there’s no hope because Clara is definitely into guys, not girls.
Five friends. Ten days. Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Florence, Barcelona. And a messy, complicated, can-this-really-be happening love story, or two … because how could there not be?
Boy Meets Hamster by Birdie Milano, published by Macmillan
Fourteen-year-old Dylan Kershaw’s idea of a dream holiday includes at least three things: beaches to bask on, cosmopolitan culture, and a chance for romance (or at least his first kiss) with another boy. Unluckily for Dylan, his mum’s treating the family to the least dreamy holiday ever: a £9.50 break at Starcross Sands, Cornwall’s Crummiest Caravan Park.
But Starcross Sands might not be so bad after all, especially if Dylan can win the heart of Jayden-Lee, the gorgeous boy in the caravan next-door. There’s only one thing standing in true love’s way: the park’s massive hamster mascot, Nibbles, who seems to have it in for both Dylan and his romantic chances. Dylan’s best friend, Kayla, claims that appearances can be deceptive: so is Jayden-Lee just as lovely beneath the surface, and what could be lurking under Nibbles’ furry face?
Boy Meets Hamster is the laugh-out-loud funny debut novel from Birdie Milano.
Sami’s Silver Lining is the must-have second book in the brilliant Lost and Found series from Cathy Cassidy, bestselling author of the Chocolate Box Girls.
Forced to leave Syria to seek safety with his Aunt and Uncle in England, refugee Sami has been readjusting to a new life in the UK whilst still struggling to come to terms with the trauma of his journey.
With the long summer holidays stretching before them, Sami has the chance to focus his attentions on the Lost & Found band, and especially on friends who are overcoming difficulties of their own. Marley has bravely told his friends that he is gay and Sami is trying to find the courage to explore his feelings for Lexie, the girl of his dreams…
Can Sami overcome the pain of his past and build a new life for himself in Millford, or is his heart destined to remain frozen for good?
Gemma, Lou, Issey, Liane and Paige are determined to make the most of this second year at uni. They want to have fun, but they want to focus on work. There’s no time for relationships. Except with each other. And even that’s not guaranteed. Gemma and Lou have always been close, but there’s tension between Issey and Liane, and none of them even know s Paige all that well.
But when Gemma finds a magazine article with a list of men they should date before they’re 21 (someone w ho’s been on telly? Check; someone who’s got tattoos? Check;) they vow to complete the list before finishing university and set about it with a lot more enthusiasm than they do their studies … but will any of them end up with a full house? And w hen a secret from their first year comes out, it looks as if some of them might not be completing university, never mind the list …
My Heart Goes Bang is about lectures, essays, hangovers, and flatmates; it’s about found families, finding yourself, and falling in love with people you never expected to fall in love with.
Finally in July, there’s a non-fiction book to look forward to – the first by Mae Martin, comedian and host of BBC Radio 4 show Mae Martin’s Guide to 21st Century Sexuality.
Can Everyone Please Calm Down? by Mae Martin, published by Hachette Children’s
Are you gay? Are you male? Are you straight? Are you female? These aren’t necessarily questions with yes/no answers. Gender and sexuality aren’t black and white, binary concepts – they can be fluid, and are often on a spectrum: 40% of people under 25 don’t identify as gay or straight. Society hasn’t necessarily caught up with this, though, as comedian Mae Martin notes in this hilarious look at sexuality, dating and gender in the 21st century. She notes, partly in humour, partly in frustration, that it’s 2017, and we are still labelling people by who they sleep with.
Expanding on themes raised in her BBC Radio 4 show Mae Martin’s Guide to 21st Century Sexuality, she aims to break down barriers and start conversations. With a blend of personal anecdotes and clever social observations, Mae gently pokes fun at stereotypes, pigeon-holing and intolerance in this truly millennial book.
Here’s hoping that the second half of 2018 has even more fantastic books to offer. You can find out more about LGBT History month on their website here.