10 Books By Trans & Non-Binary Authors in Celebration of Transgender Awareness Week

10 Books by Trans Authors in Celebration of Transgender Awareness Week. Books include The Black Tides of Heaven, Cemetery Boys, and The Good Luck Girls.

I’m bringing you today’s post in celebration of transgender awareness week! There are some amazing books written by trans and non-binary authors out there, so let’s chat about them!

Transgender Awareness Week happens on the second week of November, leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a week that’s focused on bringing attention to the community, educating people, sharing experiencing, and advancing advocacy. As I always say when an awareness event is happening, it’s not enough to be aware of trans people’s existence, you need to help us fight the discrimination and violence that’s widespread.

Tomorrow (20th of November) is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s an annual event that honours the trans people who lost their lives to transphobic violence. It’s the first year in a long time I’ve not been able to go to a memorial so I figured I’d talk about it here. 350 trans people were murdered this year. 98% of them were trans women or transfeminine people, and most of them were people of colour. Black trans women are disproportionately at risk of violence. This is an increase from last year and doesn’t even account for the trans people whose identities aren’t known, or who are misgendered even in death. We don’t just need awareness, we need change.

Moving onto something a little more positive. I wanted to highlight some of my favourite books by trans and non-binary authors. Some of these I’ve read, some of them I’m just super excited for. I’ve tried to include a diverse range of authors, but somehow most of them have ended up being non-binary. I’d definitely recommend doing your own research into other authors! I’ve stuck with the books I know here, but there are lots of trans people writing lots of different genres out there! Transathon over at Twitter has an amazing list of books by trans authors releasing next year you can check out.

A small note: some non-binary people don’t identify as trans, and I’m not trying to claim that identity for them. It’s also important to note that non-binary isn’t a perfect umbrella term either, and doesn’t truly encompass all the people who might not conform to the westernised understanding of binary gender. Basically, gender’s weird and confusing and I’m not trying to assign labels to the authors mentioned in this article, just saying, hey, we should appreciate them.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Cemetery boys book cover.

Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Cemetery Boys became a piece of trans history this year; it was the first time a trans author with a trans book made it onto the New York Times Best Sellers List! Featuring an OwnVoices story about a Latinx trans man, it has a gender-affirming magic system, and although it depicts the struggles of being trans, it’s also filled with love. Add to Goodreads.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Pet book cover.

Young Adult Futuristic Urban Fantasy

Pet is here to hunt a monster.
Are you brave enough to look?

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question — How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

Pet is such a brilliant book, and the perfect one to read for trans awareness week. Our main character, Jam, is a black trans girl with selective mutism. She lives in a world where trans healthcare is easily accessible, and oppressive systems have been dismantled. That doesn’t mean everything is perfect. This is one of the most brilliant books I’ve read this year and covers a range of important topics. You’ll never protect people if you ignore what’s hurting them. Add to Goodreads.

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg

The Four Profound Weaves book cover.

Adult Fantasy

Wind: To match one’s body with one’s heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night

The Surun’ do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.

As the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

I wanted to include The Four Profound Weaves because it has a form of trans rep I rarely ever see. The two main characters in this story are elderly trans people. One of them is struggling with reconciling his gender with the strict and segregated gender roles of his culture. Having an elderly trans person who hasn’t got his identity all figured out is so important because a lot of people focus heavily on knowing who you are when you’re young. Sometimes it takes a while, and that’s okay. Add to Goodreads.

The Black Tides of Heaven by Neon Yang

The Black tides of Heaven book cover.

Adult Fantasy

Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.

A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?

I get excited whenever I think about this book. Sibling relationships? Rebellion? Magic? All of that good stuff. It also features a world where children are genderless when they’re born, and choose their gender when they’re able to. They can change how their bodies look if they want to, or not! It’s so refreshing to see worldbuilding that heavily incorporates trans people’s existence. Add to Goodreads.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon

The Deep book cover.

Adult Fantasy

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

I’ve spoken about Rivers Solomon’s other book, An Unkindness of Ghosts a lot on this blog. It’s about time I give The Deep some love. It’s another book that focuses heavily on trauma, especially intergenerational trauma. The mermaid-like people don’t have sex differences in the way that occurs in human beings. Due to this, they don’t assign gender at birth. Rivers Solomon is a black, non-binary, autistic author and their characters are always rich in diversity. Add to Goodreads.

When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

When The Moon Was Ours book cover.

Young Adult Magical Realism

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

I love this book so deeply. The way it handles trans issues is done with such gentleness it made my heart feel full. I love A-M McLemore’s writing, and this is my favourite book of theirs. They’re a bigender, Latinx, disabled author and their writing is so beautiful. They have a fantastic talent for handling sensitive topics in a way that makes you feel understood. Add to Goodreads.

Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Upright Women Wanted book cover.

Adult Western Dystopian

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

I first picked up this book because the idea of anti-fascist lesbian librarian cowboy spies is… fantastic. Set in the future, it features a heavily oppressive wild west and a stowaway. One of our librarians is a non-binary person called Cye. It discusses issues they face, such as having to be closeted inside town, our main character has to learn to switch pronouns for them depending on the situation. This is common to the trans experience, as it’s not safe everywhere, but I don’t see in books very often. Add to Goodreads.

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

All Boys Aren't Blue book cover.

Young Adult Memoir

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

All Boys Aren’t Blue is a memoir by George M. Johnson that discusses what it’s like to be a gay gender-non-conforming man. It’s not heavily focused on trans identity, but it’s such an important book for young adults who want to learn than men don’t have to act in a certain way. That you can be yourself, and sometimes that’s hard, but it’s not wrong to be different. George M. Johnson recently talked on Twitter about their non-binary identity. Add to Goodreads.

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Good Luck Girls book cover.

Young Adult Historical Western Fantasy

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

It’s another story with a western setting! The main characters are sold to ‘welcome houses’ where they face sexual exploitation. When Aster’s sister kills a man who attempts to assault her, they have to go on the run. It focuses heavily on oppression, revenge, and freedom. There’s going to be some heavy trigger warnings here; I’d make sure to check them out if you want to read this. Add to Goodreads.

Once & Future by A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy

Once & Future book cover.

Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.


When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure. 

Once & Future is written by not one, but two non-binary people! Featuring a gender-bent King Arthur retelling, this book has a lot of different representation in it. Perhaps one of the queerest books ever created, it also features the sexiness of anti-capitalism. I’ve seen people comparing the tone of this to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so if you enjoyed that check this out! Add to Goodreads.

Have you read any of these books? What’s your favourite book by a trans and/or non-binary author?

15 thoughts on “10 Books By Trans & Non-Binary Authors in Celebration of Transgender Awareness Week

  1. Ahhh I love this post! Amazing recs! I’ve had Cemetery Boys on hold for ages (hopefully it’ll come soon…), and I love When the Moon Was Ours, Once & Future, The Deep, and Pet! I’d also highly recommend Dreadnought (April Daniels) and Showers, Flowers, and Fangs (Aidan Wayne) as far as more trans reads go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cemetery Boys and When The Moon Was Ours are high on my tbr. Definitely checking out the others in this list. Great Post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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