List of the Week: Underrated Queer YA


June is Pride Month (yay!), and I knew I couldn’t resist recommending some awesome books. While you can easily find some recommendations on this site, and other great sites like LGBTQ Reads and Gay YA, I wanted to highlight some quieter releases that I haven’t seen floating around as much.

I choose the books on this list based on personal taste and trusted recommendations. My favourite thing about this list is that there are so many different genres, so if contemporary isn’t your thing, you can still find great reads.

Without further ado, here are some LGBT+ YAs to add to your reading list this month:

willful machines tim floreenWillful Machines by Tim Floreen
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 20 2015
In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public. Closeted son of the US President, Lee, realizes he may be Charlotte’s next target. As Lee races to save himself and learn to trust his crush, Nico, he comes to a whole new understanding of what it means to be alive and what makes life worth living.


south of sunshine dana elmendorfSouth of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf
Publisher: Aw Teen
Release Date: April 1 2016
Kaycee Jean McCoy has lived her entire life in Sunshine, Tennessee. In Sunshine, going to church is basically mandatory, and gay had better be your mood and not your sexual orientation. Kaycee may not agree with the town’s socially accepted bigotry, but she’d rather fit in even if it means letting gross Dave Bradford kiss her on occasion than make waves. That is, until the beautiful, sexy, impossibly cool Bren Dawson moves into town. Kaycee is swept up in a whirlwind of exciting new emotions and lets her guard down. One night under a fat country moon, Kaycee’s best friend catches them kissing, and Kaycee’s whole world goes to hell in a handbasket. What is she willing to risk for the sake of love? And what will she risk for acceptance?


proxy alex londonProxy by Alex London
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: June 18 2013
Proxy by Alex London follows Syd, who was born to be the Proxy to Knox, who belongs to one of the City’s wealthiest families. When Knox crashes a car, Syd is condemned to death. But neither boy is free, and together, they escape the City and end up in a cross-country chase.



the scorpion rules erin bowThe Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: September 22 2015
Greta is a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. If someone wants to rule, they must give one of their children as a hostage. Start a war and the hostage dies. Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions.


the great american whatever tim federleThe Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 29 2016
Quinn Roberts is a sixteen-year-old smart aleck and Hollywood hopeful whose only worry “used “to be writing convincing dialogue for the movies he made with his sister Annabeth. Of course, that was all before before Quinn stopped going to school, before his mom started sleeping on the sofa and before the car accident that changed everything. Enter: Geoff, Quinn’s best friend who insists it’s time that Quinn came out at least from hibernation. One haircut later, Geoff drags Quinn to his first college party, where instead of nursing his pain, he meets a guy okay, a “hot” guy and falls, hard. What follows is an upside-down week in which Quinn begins imagining his future as a screenplay that might actually have a happily-ever-after ending if, that is, he can finally step back into the starring role of his own life story.


sound alexandra duncanSound by Alexandra Duncan
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 22 2015
As a child, Ava’s adopted sister, Miyole, watched her mother take to the stars, piloting her own ship from Earth to space making deliveries. Now a teen herself, Miyole is finally living her dream as a research assistant on her very first space voyage. If she plays her cards right, she could even be given permission to conduct her own research and experiments in her own habitat lab on the flight home. But when her ship saves a rover that has been viciously attacked by looters and kidnappers, Miyole, along with a rescued rover girl named Cassia, embarks on a mission to rescue Cassia’s abducted brother.

true letters from a fictional life kenneth loganTrue Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: June 7 2016
As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–James spills the truth: he feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell.


Which story is your favorite? Sound off in the comments below!

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About Author

Shelly Z.

Shelly Z. is a reader, writer and blogger. She schedules interviews and round-ups new releases on Adventures in YA Publishing, a 101 best site for writers selected by Writer’s Digest, and is a blogger at Read.Sleep.Repeat. She rants as much as she reads. You can find her on Twitter at @shellysrambles.

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