Alison Evans’ top five LGBTQIA+ young adult novels

Alison Evans is one of six authors shortlisted for the 2019 Readings Young Adult Book Prize for their queer zombie apocalypse novel, Highway Bodies. In this guest post, they share their top five favourite queer young adult novels.


The Orphancorp trilogy by Marlee Jane Ward

Mirii Mahoney grew up in an industrial orphanage – an orphancorp. The first book in the series, Welcome to Orphancorp, takes place during the last week of Mirii’s stay. Mirii has to survive – that’s what she knows how to do best. The next two books in the series (Psynode and Prisoncorp) explore the greater world of a dystopian, hyper-capitalist future Sydney, and are filled with a lot of love, queerness, brutality, and hope.


Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin

What can I say about Finding Nevo! This book changed my life. I’m so utterly glad it exists. Nevo writes gently and with warmth as they take us through their transitions, between different genders and sexualities. It’s a very intimate, honest book. The overall message for me was that it’s okay to explore these things and it’s okay to change your mind.


Night Swimming by Steph Bowe

Kirby is only one of two teens in her small, rural town. Her best friend Clancy can’t wait to get out and go to the big city. Kirby doesn’t want to leave – so many people have left. Then Iris moves to town and Kirby develops a crush. I love Night Swimming for many reasons, but above all, I love how there is no queer angst; it’s really just a cute romance story between two girls. Also Kirby has a pet goat!


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Marin has more or less run away from home to college when our story starts. She doesn’t tell anyone why she left. She’s staying in her emptied-out dorm while a snowstorm whips up outside. Her best friend Mabel comes to see her and they both try to piece together what has happened, between them, and in Marin’s personal life. This novel is quiet, contemplative, and burrows deep under your skin.


Songs That Sound Like Blood by Jared Thomas

Roxy moves from a small town in South Australia to the city to study music. She moves into her first sharehouse with some other students – she has to find a part-time job, and still excel at uni. She then meets Ana, a local music journalist, and they strike up a relationship. This is another quiet kind of novel where the pace is slow and steady.

Alison Evans is the award-winning author of the YA books Ida, winner of the 2017 People’s Choice at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and Highway Bodies. Alison is also the co-editor of Concrete Queers, with Katherine Back, a zine they started in 2015 that features work by queer and questioning creators.

Read more about Highway Bodies and the Readings Young Adult Book Prize 2019 shortlist here.

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Highway Bodies

Highway Bodies

Alison Evans

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