Ashley’s Most-Anticipated Queer YA Books of 2015

Happy 2015, Lesbrary readers! Malinda Lo recently discovered that 2014 was a groundbreaking year for LGBT YA in the publishing world, and the list below is just a small glimpse into the greatness that is to come this year. Here are some of the books I’m most looking forward to reading (and perhaps reviewing!) in 2015:

flywheelThe Flywheel by Erin Gough (February): My first thought upon reading the description of The Flywheel was that it sounds like a lesbian Sarah Dessen book, a prospect which really speaks to my younger self. At age seventeen, Delilah has been left with the task of running the family business (a café called The Flywheel) after her father takes off overseas.  After her crush on a straight girl ends in embarrassment at school, Delilah decides she cannot reveal how she feels about Rosa, the beautiful girl who dances at a tapas bar across from the café. Delilah’s best friend, Charlie, is the only one who knows her true feelings for Rosa, but he becomes distracted by the prospect of dating an older woman, leading to some seriously complicated business.nototherwisespecified

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz (March): Etta, a bisexual African-American girl from small-town Nebraska, is sick of conforming to labels that don’t quite fit her. In her eating disorder rehab group, Etta meets Bianca and suddenly feels like she belongs – despite the fact that the girls are seemingly very different. (Bianca is white, straight, and Christian.) Etta starts to think that maybe this is where she fits in after all, but her serious concerns about Bianca’s health and recovery lead her to question whether Bianca can be her savior after all.

NoneoftheAboveNone of the Above by IW Gregorio (April): Let me just start by saying that IW Gregorio is one of my new idols. Her website bio describes her as “Mother. Surgeon. YA Author.” and, as if that wasn’t awesome enough, she is also a founding member of We Need Diverse Books. At the beginning of the novel, everything seems to be falling into place for Kristin. She has a full scholarship to college, a boyfriend that she loves, and the glory of being homecoming queen. When she decides she is ready to have sex, Kristin discovers that something is not right – and she soon learns that she is intersex. When her secret is leaked to the entire school, Kristin has to learn to come to terms with her identity. Gregorio describes the book as “Middlesex meets Mean Girls” – making me even more eager to get my hands on a copy.

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul (October): As someone who was very pre-occupied with the “where is the line between friends and more-than-friends” question in my early lesbian days, I am very intrigued to see what happens in this book. Categorized as a contemporary psychological thriller, the novel revolves around two girls, Mattie and Jolene. Mattie decides to take back the life that Jolene stole from her (including her previous boyfriend and friends), but that draws her into an obsessive relationship with Jolene that lies somewhere between friendship and love.

What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (November): Robin Talley’s second novel follows a Gretchen, a lesbian girl and Toni, a genderqueer person, as they try to stay in a relationship while juggling the transition to college and Toni’s changing gender identity. Last year, when I read Rainbow Rowell’s novel Fangirl, I remember thinking that it was unique for a novel categorized as YA to document the shift from high school to college. I am excited to read Talley’s take on the transition, especially after reading great reviews of her first novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves.

What LGBT YA novels are you most looking forward to reading in 2015? And while you’re pre-ordering all of the titles above, why not tell We Need Diverse Books that you’re resolving to read queer YA this year?


Danika’s 2014 End of Year Book Survey

I got these questions from Perpetual Page Turner. I’m also going to do a slightly different end of year book survey on my youtube channel, so look out for that soon. Oh, and I’ll be doing a post about my top books of 2014 on my channel and an all-lesbian one at the Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event on the 13th. So this reading year will be thoroughly recapped!

Number Of Books You Read: 123

Number of Re-Reads: 4, I think.

Genre You Read The Most From: Young Adult/Teen.

Best In Books

Lo_Adaptation_HC_600x9001. Best book you read in 2014?

The Adaptation and Inheritance duology by Malinda Lo.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

Probably The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which is funny, because I did love it, but it was such a painful reading experience and I wasn’t expecting that. It was very good, but I was expecting to enjoy the reading experience more than I did.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014? 

Just Girls by Rachel Gold. I wasn’t blown away by Being Emily, but Just Girls ended up being one of my favourite books of the year.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did) in 2014?

Adaptation by Malinda Lo. I work in the kids’ section of a bookstore, and I’ve been pushing that one on anyone I can. I must be personally responsible for about a dozen copies of that book selling by now.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014?wheniwasstraight

Honest answer, though repetitive: Adaptation, Inheritance, Inheritance.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

Not a lesbian author, but I’ll include it because she does have one lesbian protagonist, Tamora Pierce. I’ve read 26 of her books this year.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I enjoyed When I Was Straight by Julie Marie Wade, particularly the first half.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Honestly? Adaptation.

 zombiesvsunicorns9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year?

There’s not really any that I’m planning to re-read quite that soon.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

I’m partial to Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Holly Black (one lesbian short story included), which has that zombie illustration printed on the entire cover of the book, with the black part as the dust cover.

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

Many of Tamora Pierce’s characters, but only one is a lesbian: [spoiler]       Daja.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Not a lesbian book, but I loved the tone of The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, especially as an audio book. I’m going to go with The Story of Ruth and Eliza by Kristen Stone. Honourable mention to Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley, which has a very effective motif (the lies we tell ourselves, of course) throughout.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2014?payingguests

Most thought-provoking was definitely House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, but that’s not a lesbian book. Lizzy & Annie by Casey Plett, which inspired a rant about realism.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Tamora Pierce books! I’ve heard how amazing they are for years, but only got around to it in 2014.

15. Favorite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?

“They embraced, their two hearts thudding like fists on the opposite sides of a bolted door.” The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: Lizzy & Annie by Casey Plett. Longest: House of Leaves. Longest lesbian book read: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.

17. Book that shocked you the most

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. That story did not go where I was expecting.

lizzyandannie18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Flo and Nan in Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters (a reread).

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year

The four main characters of the Circle of Magic series.

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously

Would you believe… Adaptation by Malinda Lo? I liked Ash and Huntress, but not nearly as much as I loved these ones.

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure

House of Leaves. All the Tamora Pierce books.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014? willoftheempress

 Daja    from the Circle of Magic series.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

24. Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

All the Tamora Pierce books, though I do find Emelan and Tortall almost interchangeable except the magic elements.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read?

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, my favourite book of all time, which I reread for the first time this year and loved it just as much. It’s a delight.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?

Briar’s Book by Tamora Pierce. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which like I said in my review, was like having my heart slowly torn out while reading it.

heroworship27. Hidden gem of the year?

Hero Worship by Rebekah Matthews, another painful but incredibly realistic read about the desperate, stifled desire for love and attention.

28. Book that crushed your soul?

Both The Paying Guests and Hero Worship.

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?

Lizzy & Annie by Casey Plett.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

Polymorph by Scott Westerfeld, which had such a promising premise and beginning, and then failed to follow through on the queer foundations of the story, which was disappointing.

Bloggish/Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?   justgirls

Probably We Need Diverse Books.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

I don’t usually actually reread reviews after writing them, because I get really self-conscious. I do think that my review of Just Girls was thorough, though, and I liked that I was able to incorporate links and references to recent events in.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?  

I haven’t had a lot of non-review posts, other than the link round ups, which is something I want to work on in 2015 (hence this survey!), but I do always enjoy doing readathon posts.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?  

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?  

Probably getting to meet Malinda Lo at Leakycon!

wellofloneliness7. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My review of The Well of Loneliness that I wrote in 2010, for some reason?

8. Post you wished got a little more love?  

I’d love to see the Link Round Ups get commented on.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

We Need Diverse Books!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I aimed to read 100 books this year, which I exceeded, and I also wanted to read 1 book by all the authors whose work I was at all interested in that was attending Leakycon, which I also did. Oh, and I wanted to keep up with Mark’s Tamora Pierce reviews, which I have been doing.

Looking Forward

1. One book you didn’t get to in 2014 but will be your number 1 priority in 2015?TheColorPurple

A book I’ve been meaning to read for ages that will be the first book I pick in 2015 is The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2015 (non-debut)?,3. 2015 debut you are most anticipating?    4. Series ending/a sequel you are most anticipating in 2015?, 6. A 2015 release you’ve already read & recommend to everyone

I don’t usually read a lot of new releases, so there’s nothing I’m anticipating for 2015, except maybe the next Veronica Mars book, which is not lesbian and I won’t actually be reading it in 2015 because I’m reading all authors of color this year.

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2015?  

I have a couple.On is to read all authors of color in 2015, and I also want to post more original content at the Lesbrary that isn’t just reviews and links–more discussions.

And that’s the whole survey! Thank you for reading! What were your best, worst, and most surprising books you read in 2014? Are you planning anything in particular in your reading life for 2015?