As 2019 draws to a close, I thought I’d round up the best books in queer YA and NA fiction I’ve read over the past twelve months. I’ve discovered some fantastic novels this year, spanning multiple genres and featuring characters across the LGBT+ spectrum, but these are my top five in the order I reviewed them. I’m always on the lookout for something new to read, so if you’d like to share your own favourites in the comments, I’d love to hear them!
- I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman – Possibly my favourite discovery of 2019. What I loved most about this novel was how it encompasses so much diversity, reflecting the world we live in. There are characters from different races and religions, class and background, as well as those who fall at various points along the LGBT+ spectrum. Yet, this is handled with a subtlety that’s truly refreshing.
- On Chocorua by Robin Reardon – A new release from this author is always something to look forward to, and this latest gem didn’t disappoint. This is the first book in her Trailblazer series, a trilogy that follows gay college student, Nathan, as he scales peaks of increasing difficulty and negotiates life’s obstacles. It’s a powerful coming-of-age story that handles some sensitive subjects with compassion and authenticity, and left me eagerly anticipating the sequel.
- Spy Stuff by Matthew J. Metzger – What a treat this book turned out to be! It follows transgender teenager Anton as he starts at a new school, anxious to begin living openly as his true gender. We get to share his journey, experiencing his dreams and fears, his triumphs and setbacks, as he forms friendships, indulges his passion for football, and dares to hope love might be more than a distant fantasy.
- The Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee – This book has all the elements I’ve come to expect from Mackenzi Lee—adventure, a richly diverse cast of characters and some laugh-out-loud humour—interwoven with a touch of magic. More than this, though, it’s a story about three incredible young women struggling to find their place in a world ruled over and dictated by men.
- All the Better Part of Me by Molly Ringle – I have a massive soft spot for friends-to-lovers romances, and this one ranks among my favourites. Essentially, this is a story about coming out, growing up, and finding the courage to stand up for the things you want in life. It has all the evocative writing and authenticity I so admire in Molly Ringle’s work, not to mention bucket loads of warmth and just the right amount of humour.