I’ve got such an exciting post for y’all today! A group of bloggers (including me!) decided to come together to post lists of books by trans and non-binary authors for pride month. This post has ten books on, but I’ll be linking everyone else down below and combined together our posts have over 100 books! Make sure you check out everyone else’s posts and I hope you find some books you’re excited for.
Adult Contemporary Fantasy Horror
Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.
But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.
To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.
This is one of my favourite books of the year. Rivers Solomon is such a fantastic writer and I’d recommend any of their books. One of the things I loved about this one was how Vern raised her children as children rather than a specific gender. She doesn’t assign anything to them at birth, and it was so refreshing to read about. Make sure you check out trigger warnings for this book though because it’s pretty heavy!
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.
This book turned Anna-Marie McLemore into one of my favourite authors. It’s such a beautiful, lyrical, vibrant read filled with magic. There are two trans characters in this book but it focuses heavily on Sam. His journey was difficult and intense and it filled me with so many emotions.
Adult Sci-Fi Western
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 never thought I’d be into western books before I read this! It was so much fun. Set in a future, sci-fi society where things mirror the wild west Upright Women Wanted is one of the most unique books you could pick up. The main character’s love interest in non-binary, and there are some great conversations about pronoun usage changing dependent on safety.
Dragons. Art. Revolution.
Gyen Jebi isn’t a fighter or a subversive. They just want to paint.
One day they’re jobless and desperate; the next, Jebi finds themself recruited by the Ministry of Armor to paint the mystical sigils that animate the occupying government’s automaton soldiers.
But when Jebi discovers the depths of the Razanei government’s horrifying crimes—and the awful source of the magical pigments they use—they find they can no longer stay out of politics.
What they can do is steal Arazi, the ministry’s mighty dragon automaton, and find a way to fight…
Phoenix Extravagant is such an interesting books, and if you love animal companions you need to pick this one up! Jebi is a non-binary character, and this was the first fantasy I read with a non-binary MC! They’re handled so well and even within their relationship there’s never any mention of sex characteristics which I loved.
Young Adult Sci-Fi
Outsmart Your Enemies. Outrun the Galaxy.
Tina never worries about being ‘ordinary’—she doesn’t have to, since she’s known practically forever that she’s not just Tina Mains, average teenager and beloved daughter. She’s also the keeper of an interplanetary rescue beacon, and one day soon, it’s going to activate, and then her dreams of saving all the worlds and adventuring among the stars will finally be possible. Tina’s legacy, after all, is intergalactic—she is the hidden clone of a famed alien hero, left on Earth disguised as a human to give the universe another chance to defeat a terrible evil.
But when the beacon activates, it turns out that Tina’s destiny isn’t quite what she expected. Things are far more dangerous than she ever assumed. Luckily, Tina is surrounded by a crew she can trust, and her best friend Rachael, and she is still determined to save all the worlds. But first she’ll have to save herself.
This book was so much fun and if you love shows like Star Wars and Doctor Who you’d love the vibes here. It’s such a fast-paced, fight-fascists, found family book. There are a bunch of trans characters here, as well as the normalisation of asking for what pronouns people use.
Young Adult Gothic Horror
Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.
Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.
Exquisitely terrifying, beautiful, and strange, this fierce gothic fantasy will sink its teeth into you and never let go.
What Big Teeth is young adult gothic horror! What an exciting genre! This book reads like the Adams Family but somehow more deranged; it’s definitely got those uncomfortable elements that gothic horror is known for but if that’s your vibe you need to read this. There aren’t any major trans characters in this book but it’s fantastically queer.
Holly is a young transgender vampire in an underground society that values patience as their principle virtue. But as Holly watches his community become more isolated and reluctant to act in the face of danger, he begins to question if it might be better to leave.
THE MELLIFICATION begins with Holly’s request for a new name, a sacred rite of passage in his colony. Holly’s request is denied, and he is told by both his spiritual leader Hierophant Marlowe, and his lover Cain, that he must be more patient. But just outside the tranquil gates of Green Hill Cemetery— where these vampires make their home in elaborate hidden catacombs—hostile forces seek to wipe all vampires off the face of the Earth. Holly’s new goal is to escape this claustrophobic colony before it is too late.
I loved supporting self-published authors and The Mellification is one of my favourites! This follows Holly a transgender vampire who is struggling in a vampire society that believes wanting change means you’re not ready for it. This is another book I’d describe as gothic horror; it has some amazing twists on traditional vampires and I loved the level of detail in the society.
Young Adult Contemporary
Vaseline on the teeth makes a smile shine. It’s a cheap stunt, but Mark Adams knows it’s optics that can win or ruin an election.
Everything Mark learned about politics, he learned from his father, the congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son. To protect his father’s image, Mark promises to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark decides to risk the low profile he assured his father and insert himself as a political challenger.
One big problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and he has few friends; plus, the ones he does have aren’t exactly with the in-crowd. Still, thanks to countless seasons of Scandal and The West Wing, these nerds know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover. Soon Mark feels emboldened to get in front of and engage with voters—and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and a bully front-runner who stands in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.
I know I don’t often include contemporary books in my lists but I read this one recently and loved it. Mark is a trans man and he has a very complicated relationship with his dad who needs his family to be perfect. Mark’s allowed to be a man as long as he doesn’t tell anyone he’s trans, but when he decides to run for class president it could all come out. What I loved the most about this book is there is no forced outing scene which is one of my least favourite tropes.
Adult Paranormal Romance
Angela likes Chloe. Chloe likes Angela. It should be simple enough – there’s just the small matter of Angela’s aversion to sunlight. And crosses. And mirrors . . .
In 1998, Angela was a smart, gothy astronomy student - until her then-girlfriend accidentally turned her into a vampire. A year later, she divides her time between her post-graduate degree (working on it in a dark, basement room, and only at night) and controlling her need for human blood.
Then she meets lonely but wryly humorous slush-pile reader Chloe, who’s battling demons of her own. Chloe’s anxiety and depression can make it hard for her to leave the house, while memories of her ex haunt her at night.
As sparks fly and romance blooms, Angela and Chloe struggle to hide their difficulties from each other – but sometimes the only way out is to let someone else in.
I was always a massive paranormal romance fan as a teenager, but the genre really lacks on the representation! That’s why I was so excited for this book! I mean, it’s got a vampire x witch sapphic couple! How amazing is that.
Young Adult Fantasy
Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.
Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.
Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.
It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.
And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself
This book isn’t out yet but I am super excited for it! It’s got witchcraft, it’s got dark academia vibes, it’s sapphic! What more could anyone want, give me it now!