I don’t see very many LGBT+ stories written by black, indigenous, or POC very often. In the future, I would love to see more queer books written by BIPOC, specifically by LGBT+ authors. Not every author highlights their identities for various reasons but that still doesn’t change the fact that not very many queer ownvoices written by BIPOC are published. Own experiences are going to be the best written because they have those little nuances you don’t get from outside those experiences. This post is to center BIPOC stories centering and uplifting that insection of queerness within their own cultures. I hope in the future I can find more LGBT+ stories written by queer BIPOC because this group is seriously lacking in publishing.
I’ve listed 2020 releases by BIPOC authors as a helpful guide:
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron (release date: July 7)
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore (release date: Jan 14)
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.
Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (release date: May 12)
When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.
Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas (release date: June 9)
Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his 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 up 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.
You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson (release date: June 2)
Liz Lighty has always believed she’s too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it’s okay — Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their world-famous orchestra, and become a doctor.
But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down . . . until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. There’s nothing Liz wants to do less than endure a gauntlet of social media trolls, catty competitors, and humiliating public events, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.
The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender (release date: May 12)
Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages—after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned—Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi–love triangle….
But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself.
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo (release date: March 24)
A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.
Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim (release date: Jan 7)
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger (release date: August 25 )
Elatsoe is a ghostly YA set in a contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant peoples. When Elatsoe’s beloved older cousin dies under mysterious circumstances, Elatsoe must track down his murderer in a town none too willing to give up its dark secrets. The book will be illustrated by Rovina Cai, illustrator of And the Ocean Was Our Sky.
Until You Came Back by Jay Coles (release date: winter)
Little, Brown has acquired Until You Came Back, a contemporary YA novel by Jay Coles. The book is about a teen whose world is turned upside down when he develops feelings for a new recruit on his basketball team at the same time that the mother who abandoned him eight years earlier returns home. Publication is planned for winter 2020.
Meteor by Taylor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore (release date: September 22)
Claudia Gabel at HarperCollins has bought Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia, in which two friends, one made of stardust and one fighting to save her family’s diner, take on their small town’s 50th annual pageant and talent competition in the hopes that they can change their town’s destiny, and their own.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (release date: TBA)
Set in 1950s San Francisco, the YA novel is a story of love and duty that explores the complicated overlap between the city’s Chinese-American and LGBTQ communities. Publication is forthcoming.
How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi (release date: September 22)
The story of a gay, Muslim, Iranian-American teenager named Amir, How It All Blew Up opens with Amir declaring that he is not a terrorist, but is gay, as he, his immigrant parents, and his younger sister are separated and then interrogated by U.S. Customs officers upon their arrival at JFK Airport from a trip abroad to Rome.
The Mermaid, The Witch, and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (release date: May 5)
A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a rich, riveting fantasy set in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.
Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian.
Soon the unlikely pair set in motion a wild escape that will free a captured mermaid (coveted for her blood, which causes men to have visions and lose memories) and involve the mysterious Pirate Supreme, an opportunistic witch, and the all-encompassing Sea itself. Deftly entwining swashbuckling action and Asian folklore in a land dominated by an imperial class, Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s inventive debut novel conjures a diverse cast of characters seeking mastery over their fates while searching for answers to big questions about identity, equality, and love.
Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (release date: TBA)
Bone Shard Daughter is set in an empire of many islands, where bone shard magic fuels monstrous constructs that enforce law and order. Yet the emperor’s rule is failing and whispers of revolution carry from island to island. Lin is the emperor’s daughter and heir, and only she can save the empire and its people. But to do so, she must master the art of bone shard magic – and unlock the secrets of her own forgotten past.