Pretty Queer in Pink: LGBTQ+ YA Books with Pink Covers

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Kelly is a former librarian and a long-time blogger at STACKED. She’s the editor/author of (DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY: 33 VOICES START THE CONVERSATION ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH and the editor/author of HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD. Her next book, BODY TALK, will publish in Fall 2020. Follow her on Instagram @heykellyjensen.

Hey, Queerest Shelves Readers!

Danika is out this week, so I’m here subbing for them. In no way do I do this newsletter justice the way Danika does, but I’m going to try. My usual reads fall in the literary fiction, YA, horror, and comics realms, and your roundup of book talk this week will cover the second one.

Before getting into that, though, I wanted to share a fun queer shirt for those who love the library or might work in the library.

Image of a white person with blonde hair wearing a yellow shirt. The shirt has a book cart on it covered in rainbows and books with rainbow colored spines. It says Image of a white person with blonde hair wearing a yellow shirt. The shirt has a book cart on it covered in rainbows and books with rainbow colored spines. It says

Do you roll with Pride? Then wear it on your heart. This shirt is available in a ton of colors—yellow and the dark pink are my favorites—and they’re available up to 4XL. Prices begin at $20.

I started putting this newsletter together by looking at what books I’ve talked about over in the What’s Up in YA? Newsletter. I thought about pulling together the new queer YA releases I’ve highlighted, but then I remembered a really fun roundup I did almost exactly one year ago and wanted to revisit it here this week.

Let’s take a peep at a ton of queer YA books featuring a perfectly queer cover color: pink. These would look gorgeous shelved together or put on display.

another dimension of us book coveranother dimension of us book cover

Another Dimension of Us by Mike Albo

Described as The Breakfast Club meets Stranger Things, this book is told on more than one time line and travels more than one dimension.

In 1986, at the height of the AIDS crisis which filled the country with homophobia (more blatantly so), Tommy knows he’s falling in love with his best friend Renaldo. He knows he can’t share this. But one night Renaldo is hit by lightning and is no longer the person he once was.

It’s now 2044 and Pris Devree wakes up from a nightmare involving a boy named Tommy and a house in her neighborhood that has earned the reputation of “Murder House.” Pris needs to understand, so she goes to the house and stumbles upon a self-help book.

But it’s not what you might think. It’s a guide to trans dimensional travel, and now Pris and Tommy are working together to save Renaldo from a demon.

beating heart baby book coverbeating heart baby book cover

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min

When Santi accidentally leaked Memo’s song and it became an overnight hit, Memo — Santi’s best friend and romantic interest whom he only knows from the internet — disappears. Santi’s heart is broken.

Three years and a new high school later, it’s possible Santi has found Memo, but in a way he never anticipated nor dreamed.

This one’s for fans of enemies-to-lovers stories and features a significant trans character.

Belle of the Ball Graphic Novel CoverBelle of the Ball Graphic Novel Cover

Belle of the Ball by Mari Costa

Belle Hawkins is a wallflower and also the person who prefers to be beneath the mascot costume to keep herself at a distance. But it’s senior year and it’s now or never. She decides to remove the head of her costume and proclaim her long-time crush on head cheerleader Regina Moreno.

Problem? Regina has a girlfriend named Chloe Kitagawa.

Chloe is not doing great in English class, though, and Hawkins thinks this is her opportunity: offer to tutor Chloe in order to get closer to Regina. It seems to be going okay, until the moment that Hawkins and Chloe realize they know each other from their youth, when they were both very different people.

There is love here, but…it might be surprising where it happens.

dear medusa book coverdear medusa book cover

Dear Medusa by Olivia A. Cole

Alicia is 16, and she’s subject to nonstop judgment from her classmates. It comes because she has sex, so she’s, of course, seen as easy. A slut. Every other name you can imagine for a girl like her.

Except: Alicia was sexually abused by a teacher. She’s a survivor. And of course, it’s a popular teacher who did that to her.

As Alicia begins to drop out of everything that brings her joy, she finds a series of letters from someone else at school. Someone who claims they’ve been a victim, too. Now, she wants to get to the truth of that story and her own.

This verse novel is one for readers who are itching for a compelling and powerful story of redemption, race, power, and maybe even love.

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

Bradley is an all-around good guy. He’s a football player, has his OCD pretty well managed, and he excels in school. Well, minus the class he shares with his former best friend Celine.

Celine is conspiracy theory obsessed. She’s a content creator and has built a following over things like aliens and UFOs and more. Problem is, despite how popular she is online, she’s not cool in real life. Even Bradley abandoned her for the cool kids when he could.

So when Celine signs up for a survival course, she’s surprised to see Bradley has, too. They’re forced to work together and as they join forces in order to win a big prize, they might discover they still have a lot in common…and maybe even start to feel some sparks.

This one is for readers looking for more bisexual representation.

if i see you again tomorrow book coverif i see you again tomorrow book cover

If I See You Again Tomorrow by Robbie Couch

Love a timeloop story, a la Groundhog Day? You know I do if you’ve been here a minute. Couch delivers that with a mental health focus in his latest.

Clark keeps waking up and reliving the same Monday. This has happened 309 times…but on day 310, suddenly, there is a new boy in his math class. Things are different.

Given this change, Clark decides he’s going to follow Beau on an adventure through their city of Chicago. If he’s not going to have a different day tomorrow, why wouldn’t he try?

What Clark does not account for is starting to fall for the new guy.

This is a book that follows Clark and his experiences of loneliness and what happens when that’s (temporarily?) interrupted.

imogen obviously book coverimogen obviously book cover

Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

This is easily one of my favorite YA books this year and is one that captures the experience of never feeling queer enough and feeling as though the gatekeepers to queerness are holding people back from expressing who they truly are.

Imogen is the token straight friend among so many queer people. Or is she? When she spends the weekend with her best friend at her future college, Imogene is exposed to a world of queer joy she’s never experienced before, and this includes meeting a girl she might — possibly, maybe — start to catch feelings for. But she’s always been straight. She can’t possibly NOT be.

This is a story of the complexities of identity and what happens when gatekeepers decide who can and cannot identify as a part of a particular community. Imogen is a bit naive but is lovable for it, and love interest Tessa is a wonderfully, fully-fleshed character who helps Imogene realize that the ways she’s been taught to think about queerness are, perhaps, quite limiting. Fun, funny, and heartening.

the secret summer promise book coverthe secret summer promise book cover

The Secret Summer Promise by Keah Brown

Brown’s memoir The Pretty One is a must-read, and it’s one that will resonate with many YA readers. I’m super thrilled she’s bringing her skills to the YA fiction table with this debut.

Andrea spent most of last summer laid up following surgeries for her cerebral palsy. This year will be different. She’s got a list of things to do, and she’s eager to have the kinds of friends who are as game as her.

The problem is her best friend Hailee. Andrea has had a crush on her, and she knows if Hailee knew that, things would change. So Andrea’s bucket list not only includes fun items like a Lizzo concert and paintball and thrifting. It also includes finding a way to fall out of love with Hailee.

Brown lives with and writes widely about cerebral palsy.

Then Everything Happens at Once coverThen Everything Happens at Once cover

Then Everything Happens at Once by M-E Girard

Baylee has always had a crush on her BFF Freddie, but since she’s not his type, she’s 1. not made a move on him and 2. not bothered wasting energy on making something happen.

She begins to fall for Alex, a funny barista whom Baylee meets online and has instant chemistry with. She’s perfect!

So when Freddie DOES start to engage Baylee in a way that’s clearly more than friends, she’s suddenly unsure what to do. That a virus has just shut down the world is not helping the situation.

we got the beat book coverwe got the beat book cover

We Got The Beat by Jenna Miller

Jordan has worked hard and is prepared to be the first junior editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper. She’s set her sights on this goal since being humiliated by Mackenzie, her best friend turned enemy, freshman year.

But Jordan doesn’t get the role. Instead, she’s assigned the role of covering volleyball for the paper. And who but Mackenzie is the volleyball team captain?

You can probably guess where this one is going…

I wanted to share one more really fun queer find. This one has nothing to do with books except that sometimes you read books in your jammies.

The owner of this small online pajama shop is in a cat Facebook group I’m in—is that the most old-person sentence in history?—and shared that she just put a new item up for sale. I got finger burn with how fast I ordered a set of these sweet pjs for my daughter. I grabbed myself a sticker, too.

Image of kid size pajamas with ice cream scoops that are cat faces. Those scoops are rainbow flag colors. Image of kid size pajamas with ice cream scoops that are cat faces. Those scoops are rainbow flag colors.

It’s…PURR-IDE ICE CREAM. They’re super soft bamboo cotton to boot. They do make these pajamas in grown-up size pants if you don’t have a little one, too.

Want to share your favorite pink queer YA book? Or maybe you’ve got a non-YA queer book that’s pink and you love? Tell us about it in the comments!

The comments section is moderated according to our community guidelines. Please check them out so we can maintain a safe and supportive community of readers!

Thanks for hanging out. Erica has you covered for new releases early next week and then Danika will be back in action.

–Kelly Jensen, currently reading Adventures of Mary Jane by Hope Jahren

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