YA Friday: Celebrating Trans & Non-Binary Voices

The words Trans and NB Voices in rounded script on top of the white-pink-and-blue Trans Pride Flag set on top of a set of eight book covers, slightly transparent, - Gender Queer, The Ghosts We Keep, Act Cool, Meet Cute Diary, (un)Popular Vote, Bitter, Even If We Break, and Into the Real.

YA Friday is getting prepped for celebrating Trans Day of Visibility, celebrated every March 31 to raise awareness of the discrimination, violence, and other issues transgender and non-binary folks face around the world, but to also lift up and amplify the voices of transgender and non-binary folks, their stories, and their triumphs, too!

Here are a handful of recent and brand new titles written by trans and non-binary authors and featuring queer characters of all kinds. We've got a little something for everyone's tastes, too, from graphic memoir and romantic comedy, to slice-of-life and the fantastical. Happy reading and Happy Trans Day of Visibility!

Recommended Reads

Gender Queer, book cover

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Bay Area author, Maia Kobabe (who uses e/eir/em pronouns) does more than that. Eir exploration of gender and sexuality puts into words what perhaps some folks experience and never would have known before. Eir touching and beautiful graphical autobiographical journey touches on baffling at gender roles and stereotypes, confusing crushes, frustrating romantic encounters, grappling with how to come out to family, and the traumatic experience of going to the doctor's office. At the same time, Maia finds hope for the future, friends and supportive family at every turn of eir journey, and finally the words to help understand emself. For some readers, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity--what it means and how to think about it--for allies, friends and human beings all over.

Bitter, book cover

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

Seventeen-year-old Bitter has finally found a home at Eucalyptus, which is run by the enigmatic Miss Virtue. Behind the brick walls of Eucalyptus they are safe from the bullets and anxiety-inducing protests ringing through the air in the trouble-torn city of Lucille. But the walls aren’t enough when Bitter starts to engage with the community of activists and citizens whose lives are ravaged by monsters. Eventually, her righteous anger births art that threatens to consume everyone with a fire that must be quelled or embraced.

Akwaeke Emzi (who uses they/them/theirs pronouns) wrote this title as a prequel to their award-winner 2021 title, Pet, as a way to explore revolution and community, so readers who read Pet may see the seeds of what eventually grows to set the story for Pet.

Act Cool, book cover

Act Cool by Tobly McSmith

Aspiring actor August Greene just landed a coveted spot at the prestigious School of Performing Arts in New York. There’s only one problem: His conservative parents won’t accept that he’s transgender. And to stay with his aunt in the city, August must promise them he won’t transition. August is convinced he can play the part his parents want while acting cool and confident in the company of his talented new friends.

But who is August when the lights go down? And where will he turn when the roles start hitting a little too close to home?

Meet Cute Diary, book cover

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

The Ghosts We Keep, book cover

The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

Everything happens for a reason. At least that's what everyone keeps telling Liam Cooper after his older brother Ethan is killed suddenly in a hit-and-run. Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationships of his two best friends in the process. Liam finds themself spending time with Ethan's best friend, Marcus, who might just be the only person that seems to know exactly what they're going through-for better and for worse.

Lost in the Never Woods, book cover
Cemetery Boys, book cover
Felix Ever After, book cover
The Scapegracers, book cover
Into the Real, book cover
Even If We Break, book cover
Dreadnought, book cover