We were inspired to share some of our favorite stories by trans authors thanks to this wonderful piece by Maya Sungold, “The Importance of Celebrating Trans Stories”. To the writers out there, we want to say: We are grateful for your stories. Your stories are needed. We witness them help and uplift readers every day. Our booksellers– and Ivy from the Teen Press Corps (he’s basically a bookseller, y’all)– share a few of their favorite MG & YA books by trans and nonbinary authors below. Happy Pride!
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
“In post-revolution Lucille, all the monsters are gone. At least they think so. Then Jam meets Pet, a monster-hunter who comes out of one of her mother’s paintings. This book asks us incredible questions about how monsters hide in normalcy, about what communal repair can look like, and how we can expand our senses/capacity for trust. Emezi’s language is stunning and they create such an incredible world wherein the ways of being are so new, yet so familiar.” – Ona
I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
“I expected I Wish You All the Best to be good. I had no idea how good. Mason Deaver, though only a debut author, has written a powerful first novel that hits every right note. Honest without being a bummer, this book proves the obvious fact that queer people are more than just their struggles. We see Ben open and flourish in art and love as well as go through trials and tribulations, both important to the story.” – Ivy (Read Ivy’s full review here)
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
“I LOVED THIS BOOK! Min, a fox creature, just wants to join her brother in the Space Cadets. But when a special inspector shows up to figure out why her brother deserted, Min knows that something is wrong and that she’s the only one who can figure it out. The worldbuilding in this was INCREDIBLE. The way Lee merges mythology and sci-fi is something I’ve never seen before–and something I want more of!” – Rachel R
Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
“Overall, actually in love couple Cori McCarthy and Amy Rose Capetta have written a perfect YA novel that’s fun, diverse, and meaningful, with plenty of magic and swords to keep it interesting. While a reincarnation of King Arthur may not seem like the most original idea, the way Amy Rose and Cori have written it is completely unique and fantastically surprising. Once & Future is neon bright and mind-blowingly cool, packed with loveable characters and enough rebelling against The Man for any reasonable teen.” – Ivy (Read Ivy’s full review here)
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
“Roses grow from wrists, and painted moons pulse with luminous power in this richly resonant novel of sexual / gender identity, culture, cruelty, and witchcraft. Sumptuous prose and simmering secrets mark this mesmerizing, memorable tale.” – Meghan
Hurricane Child by Kacen Callender
“12-year-old Caroline Murphy has a difficult life–she’s bullied for her dark skin, her mother is missing, and a dark spirit seems to be following her around her home of Water Island and St. Thomas. When a new girl, Kalinda, moves to the island from Barbados, they become fast friends and set off to find Caroline’s mother. Set in the US Virgin Islands, Hurricane Child is a wonderful story of discovery and self, especially when the world seems to be against you.” – Rachel R.
Stay Gold by Tobly McSmith
“As far as reliability goes, I was drawn more to Pony than anyone else. I could relate to his struggles with queerness, but other than that we didn’t have much in common. This proves that McSmith’s writing was on point, perfectly conveying complicated feelings about identity and expression, many of which I shared. It also proves how important Own Voices literature is (McSmith is trans), as I’ve read books with trans characters written by cis authors that have been disturbingly inaccurate… Overall, Stay Gold is a fresh and comforting read that left me smiling and satisfied. Although it rarely broached deep topics, the story had enough weight to tug on my heartstrings. A good read for queer youth and a great read for YA contemporary fans looking for a more realistic rom-com, Tobly McSmith’s debut is, like Pony, a stealthy fighter with plenty of heart.” – Ivy (Read Ivy’s full review here)