Young adult books with non-binary and trans characters

It is fantastic that non-binary and trans characters are becoming more prominent in books for young adults. To celebrate Pride Month, below are some recommended reads that include both.


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Bruised by Tanya Boteju

This is a vibrant coming-of-age story about a teen girl navigating first love, identity, and grief as she immerses herself in the colourful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby. There is a beautiful tapestry of characters, both young and old, and many identify as non-binary and queer, without explicit emphasis on labels overall.

To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin. The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for.

Suitable for readers aged 13 and up.


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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Love has never been in love - and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalisation too many - Black, queer and transgender - to ever get his own happily-ever-after.

When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages - after publicly posting Felix’s deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned - Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn’t count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle…

Suitable for ages 14 and up.


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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo.

With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death.

Paperback due late June


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Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

Ever since the witch cursed Babs, she turns invisible sometimes. She has her mum and her dog, but teachers and classmates barely notice her. Then, one day, Iris can see her. And Iris likes what they see. Babs is made of fire.

Iris grew from a seed in the ground. They have friends, but not human ones. Not until they meet Babs. There’s a new boy at school, a boy who’s like them. Soon the three of them are hanging out and trying spellwork together. Something is happening in the magical realm, and despite being warned to stay away, the three friends have to figure out how to deal with it.

Suitable for ages 12 and up.


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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda’s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Suitable for readers aged 13 and up.


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Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin

Nevo was not born in the wrong body. Nevo just wants everyone to catch up with all that Nevo is.

Personal, political and passionate, Finding Nevo is an autobiography about gender and everything that comes with it.

Nevo is a prominent Melbourne performer, author and transgender activist.

Suitable for ages 12 and up.


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All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue

Maeve Chambers doesn’t have much going for her. But when she finds a pack of dusty tarot cards at school, and begins to give scarily accurate readings to the girls in her class, she realizes she’s found her gift at last.

Until, two days after she convinces her ex-best friend to have a reading, Lily disappears. Can Maeve, her new friend Fiona and Lily’s gender-fluid brother Roe (who Maeve is attracted to) find her? And will their special talents be enough to bring Lily back?

The coven return in the spellbinding sequel, The Gifts that Bind Us

Suitable for ages 12 and up.


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At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

This is the story of a group of teens that the world has forgotten when a plague takes over. Grace, Logan and Emerson have all ended up at the Hope Juvenile Treatment Centre for different reasons. Emerson was thrown out of their religious family home for coming out as trans; Logan, who is deaf and uses sign language, along with her twin sister Leah, set fire to a squat and accidentally killed someone; Grace has been in and out of foster homes her entire life.

When the guards walk off the job without any warning at their detention centre, the teens imprisoned within must figure out what is happening and what to do.

Suitable for readers aged 12 and up.

Bruised

Bruised

Tanya Boteju

$19.99Buy now

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