We will soon be awash in fantastic examples of new young adult literature, and a glance at forthcoming titles reveals some interesting patterns.
One very welcome trend is a greater prevalence of asexual, aromantic, transgender, bisexual, nonbinary—and/or some combination of these—characters across multiple genres. Best of all, they get to be fully rounded individuals who make friends, do battle in fantasy worlds, struggle with grief, solve mysteries, fall in love, and otherwise do all the things gay, lesbian, and straight cisgender people have been doing in books for some time. Look for The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta (Oct. 30), Phantom Wheel by Tracy Deebs (Oct. 16), and Odd One Out by Nic Stone (Oct. 9).
Unsurprisingly for anyone who has been paying attention lately, mental health struggles are also a major topic of focus, with many teen characters showing how it is possible to both grapple with mental illness and lead a full life. Destigmatizing these topics by speaking about them openly and showing how they are an important facet of one’s identity—but not the entirety of it—is a real step forward. Suggested reads include For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig (Sept. 25), Lost Soul, Be at Peace by Maggie Thrash (Oct. 9), and Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu (Oct. 23).
Also cropping up are works of historical fiction that shed light on current events. By showing readers that difficult, complex conversations around immigration, belonging, xenophobia, racism, and citizenship are not new, these books provide important historical context and point the way to compassionate solutions. Dream Country by Shannon Gibney (Sept. 11), The War Outside by Monica Hesse (Sept. 25), and All the Stars Denied by Guadalupe García McCall (Sept. 15) are must-reads in today’s political landscape. Laura Simeon is the young adult editor.