New books for young adults put a queer spin on rom-coms, thrillers, speculative fiction, and more.

Another First Chance

Robbie Couch. Simon & Schuster, May. Ages 12–up

If I See You Again Tomorrow author Couch returns with another speculative novel, this one about 18-year-old River, whose best friend, Dylan, died in a car accident a year earlier. After high school graduation, River defaces a texting and driving PSA billboard that depicts Dylan and is blackmailed into participating in a research study for teens who are “struggling socially.” Per PW’s review, “Distinct characters with strong presences, steady pacing, and a meaty mystery combine to deliver a rewarding experience.”


A Bánh Mì for Two

Trinity Nguyen. Holt, Aug. Ages 14–up

Set in Sài Gòn, Nguyen’s debut follows Lan, a local teen who helps her widowed mother run a bánh mì stall, and Vivi, a Vietnamese American studying abroad during her freshman year of college. Vivi has two main goals: discover why her parents seem haunted by their homeland, and sample all the street food she’s read about on her favorite blog—the blog Lan used to write with her father. As the girls help each other and explore the city, they fall in love.

Compound Fracture

Andrew Joseph White. Peachtree Teen, Sept. Ages 14–up

The latest thriller from Stonewall Book Award Honoree White centers on Miles, a 16-year-old autistic, socialist West Virginian who has just come out as trans to his parents. At a party he sneaks out to that night, he gets drawn into a long-running feud between his family—rural poor with roots in mining—and the county’s corrupt law enforcement. After surviving an attempted murder, Miles joins the local queer anarchist community to fight for a better world.

The Deep Dark

Molly Knox Ostertag. Graphix, June. Ages 14–up

In this graphic novel, Ignatz and Prism award winner Ostertag “delivers an expansive triumph—her best yet—to examine issues of grief, identity, intergenerational trauma, and reconnection,” according to PW’s starred review. Mags is a high school senior with serious responsibilities—caring for her ill abuela, working at a local diner, and hiding a family secret that literally has teeth. When an old friend, Nessa, returns to their SoCal hometown, the two fall into a romance. But Nessa also brings back memories of their shared past, including a boy’s death and its connection with Mags’s secret.


The Loudest Silence

Sydney Langford. Holiday House, July. Ages 14–up

Langford debuts with a platonic love story involving two disabled queer teens. Just months after Casey experiences sudden, permanent, and profound hearing loss, her family moves cross-country from Portland, Ore., to Miami. As she navigates potentially losing her dream of becoming a professional singer, she tries to hide her disability. Then she meets soccer captain Hayden, who has generalized anxiety disorder and struggles with his family’s expectation that he continue his sports career when he really wants to quit and try to make it on Broadway. Like Casey, Langford identifies as queer and Deaf–hard of hearing.


Anne Camlin, illus. by Isadora Zeferino. Little, Brown Ink, Sept. Ages 14–up

This graphic novel remix of Jane Austen’s Emma is set in modern-day high school in Queens, N.Y. Camlin’s matchmaker is Evan Horowitz, a 17-year-old gay social media influencer who loves doing makeup and orchestrating romances. Transfer student Natalia is his latest project, but his plans for her lead to drama that spins out of Evan’s control. Zeferino, who provided the cover art for the Brazilian editions of books such as Red, White & Royal Blue, illustrates.

Prince of the Palisades

Julian Winters, Viking, Aug. Ages 12–up

PW gave starred reviews to Winters’s two most recent novels, Right Where I Left You and As You Walk on By), lauding their diverse and joyful representations of queer romance. In his latest, Prince Jadon of fictional Îles de la Rêverie is sent to California to clean up his image after a breakup goes viral. He’s supposed to avoid entanglements but finds himself falling for a pink-haired American boy at his private high school.


Alex Crespo. HarperTeen, May. Ages 13–up

Crespo’s sophomore effort, after the paranormal romance Saint Juniper’s Folly, tells the story of Joaquin, an out-and-proud 17-year-old whose father and sister are throwing him a coming-out party. Drama ensues when Joaquin lies that his childhood crush, Felix, will be his chambelán for the party. The two pretend to be boyfriends to keep up appearances for Joaquin’s family, only for real feelings to develop.

Time and Time Again

Chatham Greenfield. Bloomsbury, July. Ages 13–up

As Greenfield’s debut begins, Phoebe, a queer Jewish teen with IBS, has been stuck in a time loop for a month, repeatedly reliving the same Tuesday. Then her childhood crush Jess, who is nonbinary and uses a cane, enters the loop. The teens begin to take advantage of their situation, embarking on road trips and going to concerts consequence-free. Phoebe falls hard for Jess, and contemplates how they can have a future when they’re stuck in the present.

Wide Awake Now

David Levithan. Knopf, Apr. Ages 12–up

Three-time Lambda Literary Award winner Levithan revisits his 2006 novel Wide Awake, set in a then-speculative 2024 in which Duncan, a white Jewish teen, and his boyfriend Jimmy, who is multiracial, protest after a governor meddles in the election process, denying a gay Jewish candidate the presidency. The update takes place in our current reality, with the 2024 election as the backdrop.

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Correction: The Another First Chance item has been updated to more accurately reflect the review.