2022 brought with it a nice selection of queer young adult books. It was tough but I was able to narrow down my queer YA book favorites into a handy list that you can use for all your TBR list purposes.
A Million Quiet Revolutions
Robin Gow’s A Million Quiet Revolutions is the first novel in verse I’ve ever read. In this story, two trans boys discover who they are together as they fall in love. Then, they’re forced apart. How does their love story continue? Does it?
Something I loved about A Million Quiet Revolutions is how it deals with intersections of identities and how we can and can’t understand each other. Also, the boys reaching into history to find people like them (us) is so bittersweet. Content warnings
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All of Our Demise
Amanda Foody‘s and C.L. Herman‘s All of Our Demise is the sequel to All of Us Villains, which is basically The Hunger Games with magic and set in an alternate world. And also, somehow, darker? In this world, the families who send their kids to the death match are the ones who set it up.
The first book introduced this duology’s queer characters, but they don’t get together until Demise. If you’re a fantasy-dystopia fan of the slow burn, this book is for you. Content warnings
Note: Herman has allegedly participated in bullying Asian-American authors.
All That’s Left in the World
Speaking of dystopia, Erik J. Brown’s All That’s Left in the World takes place after a pandemic that’s even deadlier than the current one. There are literally almost no humans left in the world Brown creates.
So what happens when two teenage boys meet and decide to find out who, and what, else is left? All That’s Left in the World follows Andrew and Jamie on their “road trip” down the post-apocalyptic East Coast and all the horrifying (and hopeful) things they meet along the way. Content warnings
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Dead End Girls
Wendy Heard’s Dead End Girls is a trip, both literally and figuratively. This book is absurd, ridiculous, strange, and doesn’t really make sense. I still loved it, or maybe, that’s why I loved it.
I don’t know how Maude and Frankie get away with all the crimes they commit. I don’t care; they deserve it. Dead End Girls is total wish fulfillment for those who had/have crappy parents. Who hasn’t, at some point, wanted to create a new identity and walk off into the sunset? Content warnings
Nothing Burns as Bright as You
Our next item on the list of best queer young adult books of 2022 is Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk — the second novel in verse I’ve ever read! So, clearly, this is a format that works for me!
This book is more beautiful language and mood than plot. Just go with it. That’s not to say nothing happens in Nothing Burns as Bright as You. That which is burning is fire in the literal form of arson. But it’s also the bright sharpness of first love. Content warnings
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Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix
This book is The Great Gatsby but let it be gay. Anna-Marie McLemore‘s Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix confirms everything I ever thought while reading F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s classic in high school. In Self-Made Boys, McLemore takes the source material and makes its characters explicitly gay and also trans. Plus, Nick and Daisy are Latine.
These are just some of the changes, but this book uses those changes to get into relevant US American history. I’m not a huge fan of “the classics,” but I love a retelling, and Self-Made Boys is in my top 10 favorite books ever. Read my full review here. Content warnings
The Feeling of Falling in Love
On its surface, Mason Deaver‘s The Feeling of Falling in Love is a YA contemporary romance. And it is — a good one at that — but it’s more. The main character, Neil, is a jerk, but in a totally relatable, teen way. He’s not an antihero, but he is not necessarily the typical protagonist of a romance novel.
The Feeling of Falling in Love also lovingly explores gender identity and identity in general. Ahhh. It’s so great. Read my full review here. Content warnings
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The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
Our next best queer young adult book of 2022 is The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes. This novel is all about Yami’s experiences in a mainly-white, wealthy Catholic school. Yami is just trying to survive; part of that is her parents never finding out she’s gay. Then, there’s her little brother to worry about …
Though I’m not Catholic, a lesbian or Mexican-American, I did spend a year at a Catholic school. This book hit me hard in the feels. Read my full review here. Content warnings
These Fleeting Shadows
Kate Alice Marshall’s These Fleeting Shadows is described as “The Haunting of Hill House meets Knives Out.” The plot follows Helen as she tries to spend a year in her family’s ancestral home so she can inherit a boatload of money.
The problem is her creepy AF extended family also lives there. The story soon changes into montages of lost time and unspeakable horrors. What’s real? And what’s not? Read my full review here. Content warnings
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When the Angels Left the Old Country
The last entry on our list of best queer young adult books of 2022 is When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb. In this Jewish fantasy novel, an angel and a demon go to America to help emigrants from their tiny village. They pick up new friends and learn more about humanity along the way.
When the Angels Left the Old Country explores identity, mixes history and fantasy and is drenched in Jewish folklore. From syntax to the plot, this book is a true joy. This is also one of my top ten favorite books ever now. Read my full review here. Content warnings
There you have it: 10 of the best queer YA books I read that were published in 2022. Did your favorite book make it to the list? Which are you adding to your TBR? What did we miss?
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