This short story collection blew me away. Our protagonists, in true fairytale fashion (but perhaps better than I’ve ever seen it) are pushed by circumstance and historical context and prejudice and sometimes cruelty, into situations where they seem to have no choices left. It’s then that the fantastical elements of the stories come in. Through magic – sometimes ugly and grotesque magic and always with a cost – our characters retain their agency and fight back, even though they rarely win a happy ending.
This is one of my all-time favorite comfort reads. It’s so joyful, so sweet, so full of hope and so relatable in its journey from monotony to a life full of color and love. This book is adult fantasy, but it will also appeal to younger readers (the queer romance is tender and heartwarming but has no on-page sexual content) and to fantasy-hesitant readers. It’s basically our world with bonus magical “creatures,” who despite how they’re treated by society, are just people. This is a must-read and feels like a warm hug.
There's no recipe for the perfect read, but with a splash of adventure, a cup each of young queer love and gender feelings (we LOVE a trans/trans romance), and a healthy handful of found family, this book won the Big Gay Texas Bakeout of my heart.
Bloodthirsty and tender, full of power, powerlessness, and sheer determination, I could hear Wu Zetian roaring her vengeance call long after I finished this thrilling sci-fi masterpiece. For fans of The Hunger Games, anyone who wished that Pacific Rim was more queer, and anyone looking to have their idea of YA sci-fi expanded in the best way.
Middle school can be hard, especially for marginalized kids - kids of color, queer and trans kids, kids for whom being themselves means standing out in a way that's not always safe. Mark Oshiro's middle grade debut gives these kids the chance to fight back with the help of a magical room (think Harry Potter's "Room of Requirement") that brings them exactly what they need - each other.
Rivers Solomon has blown me away yet again. I usually avoid horror and mystery- I had to read Sorrowland very slowly, supplementing it with lots of middle grade books to keep me from descending into the darkness and horror the book evokes. And I adored it. Rivers Solomon's writing is grounded, clear, audacious and unabashed. Pick this book up if a monstrous Black and queer survival story with no small share of fighting back sounds intriguing. -Miriasha, Burlington/Essex
Transgender witch Wyatt fled his magical birth kingdom Asalin for the human world, where he has been living with his best friend Briar… until his ex-fiancé, and crown prince of Asalin, shows up to bring him home. Where has this feral, hurt, angry, loving, disaster of a gay trans witch been my whole life? I felt so at home within the pages of this book, and I know other trans readers will feel the same way - this is the fantasy I would have LOVED to read in high school. -Miriasha, Burlington/Essex
Set in rural Vermont, this spooky and thoughtful book follows Bug, a soon-to-be middle-schooler. How do you handle your uncle’s death when he’s still haunting your house, and when he seems to have a message for you? How can you “be you” when you don’t know what that means yet? -Miriasha, Burlington/Essex
I loved this book, especially the found family and incredibly important platonic, non-blood-related relationships that Grace has-- a whole constellation of love. I'd gladly read books about almost any of the secondary characters, too! -Miriasha, Burlington/Essex
This book led to my favorite (queer) book conversation to date. The characters are messy and mostly unlikeable! Torrey dives straight into topics in trans identity often considered taboo without worrying about placating a cis-gender audience. A quietly chaotic and fascinating character study. -Miriasha, Burlington/Essex