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All YA Fiction Coverage

Blockbuster series conclude, while series openers launch gripping new stories. Classic tales are remixed and revisited, and original stories open our eyes to new possibilities. If there’s one thing we can say with certainty about fall’s most anticipated new YA books, it’s this: We guarantee you’ll never get bored.

Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
Delacorte | August 30

As of this writing, Karen M. McManus’ debut YA mystery, One of Us Is Lying, has spent 233 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s been adapted into a television series on Peacock (season two drops on October 22!) and firmly reawakened YA readers’ love for mysteries with loads of jaw-dropping twists and reveals. Nothing More to Tell sees McManus turn to a cold-case mystery, the death of a prep-school teacher whose body is discovered in the woods by three students—all of whom are hiding something.

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Little, Brown | August 30

If a more clever mystery series than Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ Inheritance Games trilogy has hit shelves in the past five years, we’ll turn in our magnifying glasses and fake mustaches now. In addition to incredible writing chops, Barnes has a PhD from Yale and has studied psychology and cognitive science as a Fulbright Scholar at Cambridge University, and it shows on every page of these delicious novels. The Final Gambit finds series protagonist Avery facing one last puzzle before inheriting a fortune that will make her the wealthiest teenager on Earth.

Dead Flip by Sara Farizan
Algonquin | August 30

Did you inhale the fourth season of “Stranger Things” and still want more of its unique blend of horror, nostalgia and ride-or-die friendship? Then you won’t want to miss Lambda Literary Award-winning Sara Farizan’s fourth novel, Dead Flip. Farizan fast-forwards to the late 1980s to tell the story of three BFFs whose lives are changed forever when one of them disappears—then reappears, five years later in 1992, and doesn’t seem to have aged a day.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas
Feiwel & Friends | September 6

In the fall of 2020, YA author Aiden Thomas made history when his debut novel, Cemetery Boys, became the first work of fiction by a transgender author about a transgender protagonist to hit a New York Times bestseller list. Since then, Thomas’ star has only continued to rise, and this September, they’ll launch their first duology with The Sunbearer Trials. If you’ve been searching for a fantasy novel that combines a competition-based plot with Mexican mythology-inspired magic, look no further.

Self-Made Boys | Anna-Marie McLemore
Feiwel & Friends | September 6

Calling all lovers of retellings and remixes! We’re going to assume you already know about the Remixed Classics series, in which some of today’s best and brightest YA authors put their spin on English-class standards including Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. But you might not know that acclaimed YA author Anna-Marie McLemore is joining the series to tackle F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In McLemore’s vision, Nick Carraway becomes Nicolás Caraveo, a Latinx transgender boy whose cousin, Daisy Fabrega, has been passing as white among the wealthy residents of East Egg, New York. We can’t wait to see how McLemore will transform Fitzgerald’s dazzling Jazz Age tale.

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
Katherine Tegen | September 6

Tiffany D. Jackson won the 2019 Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent for her second novel, Monday’s Not Coming, and she’s been delivering on its promise ever since. If there’s one thing Jackson fans have learned, it’s that Jackson has range. Take, for example, the three books she released in 2021: Blackout, created in collaboration with five other amazing writers, was an incomparable ode to summer love in New York City; White Smoke was a terrifying haunted-house horror novel; and Santa in the City was one of the sweetest additions to the Christmas picture book canon we’ve seen in years. With The Weight of Blood, Jackson returns to the horror genre to offer an updated take on Carrie set at a Georgia high school’s first racially integrated prom.

The Epic Story of Every Living Thing by Deb Caletti
Labyrinth Road | September 13

If you wear glasses, you might recall how, in the moments after you first put them on, everything suddenly became sharper and more in focus. That’s sort of what it’s like to pick up a Deb Caletti novel. Since her debut, The Queen of Everything (which will be 20 years old this year!), Caletti has steadily been publishing some of the best and most incisive contemporary YA fiction around and garnering plenty of acclaim, too, including a Michael L. Printz Honor and a National Book Award finalist. The Epic Story of Every Living Thing follows social media-obsessed Harper, who decides to track down the man whose sperm donation her mom used to conceive her—and learns that she has more than 40 half siblings.

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
Flatiron | September 13

It’s hard to think of a bigger recent breakout success in YA fantasy than Stephanie Garber, who burst onto the scene in 2017 with her blockbuster novel, Caraval. After finishing her first trilogy, Garber showed no sign of slowing down, launching a companion series with 2021’s Once Upon a Broken Heart, another instant bestseller. Garber is now a proven expert at blending enchanting fantasy, swoonworthy romance and plots filled with intrigue and surprises, so we recommend blocking off a day or two when The Ballad of Never After releases, as we suspect reading it in one sitting will not be optional.

I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers
Wednesday | September 13

Are you still emotionally recovering from Courtney Summers’ 2018 breakout YA novel, Sadie, and its portrayal of the power of sisterhood in the face of the darkest aspects of patriarchy and misogyny? Then you may want to begin preparing now for I’m the Girl, a standalone thriller that sees Summers return to similar themes but turns the emotional turmoil up to 13. And yes, we know the emotional turmoil dial only goes to 10.

Bone Weaver by Aden Polydoros
Inkyard | September 20

Aden Polydoros’ 2021 traditional publishing debut, The City Beautiful, was one of the most rewarding surprises of last year. BookPage praised the novel, a supernatural murder mystery set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, as “a gorgeous, disturbing, visceral and mystical experience.” In Bone Weaver, Polydoros shifts settings to a fantasy world inspired by early 20th century Russia to tell the story of three teens thrown together on the tides of history. We can’t wait to see where Polydoros’ imagination will take him next.

A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo
Dutton | October 4

Until 2021, YA author Malinda Lo was best known for genre fiction, especially Ash, her groundbreaking Sapphic reimagining of “Snow White.” Then came Last Night at the Telegraph Club, which received so many awards (including the National Book Award, the Stonewall Book Award, the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and a Michael L. Printz Honor) that their circular badges almost don’t fit on the book’s cover. A deeply researched work of historical fiction, Last Night at the Telegraph Club was the work of a writer who’d been honing her craft for more than a decade. Lo returns to shelves with A Scatter of Light, a companion novel set 60 years later, during the summer in which the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage via their ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. 

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Scholastic | October 18

Netflix’s adaptation of “Heartstopper,” based on Alice Oseman’s web comic-turned-graphic novel series of the same name, received nearly universal acclaim and became a bona fide hit when it was released this spring. The feel-good series’ incredible success means that legions of new Oseman fans are eagerly awaiting the author’s next YA novel (and any “Heartstopper” Easter eggs it might contain). I Was Born for This follows Angel, a megafan of a popular new boy band, and Jimmy, the band’s leader, as their lives unexpectedly intersect.  

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard
Tor Teen | November 1

A new novel from beloved YA fantasy author Susan Dennard would be cause for celebration under any circumstances, but a new novel that will open a brand-new contemporary fantasy series that looks as unputdownable as The Luminaries? Let’s just say that we’ll be counting the days until the book’s November 1 publication date. Featuring one of the most memorable book covers of the fall, The Luminaries follows Winnie Wednesday, who is determined to restore her family’s place among the mysterious group that protects her hometown of Hemlock Falls from the monstrous creatures that dwell in the forest that surrounds the town.

Seasparrow by Kristin Cashore
Dutton | November 1

Nine years elapsed between the publication of Bitterblue, the third novel in Kristin Cashore’s bestselling Graceling Realm series, and Winterkeep, the series’ fourth book, so you’ll understand why Cashore fans’ joy might seem unusually effusive at the news that a fifth book, Seasparrow, will hit shelves after just a short 21-month wait. Of course, Cashore is a fantasy writer like no other, and we’d wait a lot longer than 21 months for a chance to return to the magical worlds and intricate stories that have become her hallmark. We don’t want to give too much away, so we’ll just say that Seasparrow picks up where Winterkeep left off and centers around a new character introduced in the previous novel. 

Whiteout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk and Nicola Yoon
Quill Tree | November 8

Last summer, six powerhouse YA authors joined forces to create Blackout, a once-in-a-lifetime literary event that followed six interconnected love stories that all unfolded during a midsummer blackout in New York City. All six authors will return for Whiteout, which shifts the setting to Atlanta and the season to winter, with an unexpected blizzard serving as the plot engine. Readers whose ideal romance involves twinkling snowflakes and steaming mugs of cocoa will want to be sure to cozy up with Whiteout this winter. Just don’t forget your mittens!

Fall’s biggest YA releases promise twists and turns, thrills and swoons.

A soldier. A runaway. A barmaid. Mererid has played many roles, but beneath them all, she has always been a water diviner, blessed with the magical ability to control water in all its forms. Prince Garanhir secretly abused her power for years, until Mer discovered his treachery and fled. Now she longs for a peaceful home of her own, but when her mentor, Renfrew, asks her to join him for one final mission, Mer can't refuse. 

The mission is simple: Break into the prince's castle to steal his gold and the source of his magic. Mer joins a crew that also includes a fighter, a scholar, a thief and a corgi. Along the way, she encounters old flames, uncovers kingdom-shattering secrets and realizes that carrying out the heist won't be nearly as straightforward as she thought.

Emily Lloyd-JonesThe Drowned Woods is based on the Welsh myth of Cantre'r Gwaelod, a sunken kingdom purported to lie beneath Cardigan Bay and sometimes called the Welsh Atlantis. Set in the same fantastical world as Lloyd-Jones' 2019 novel, The Bone Houses, The Drowned Woods introduces a large cast of new characters and stands easily on its own.

The novel has all the elements of a classic heist, including a band of experts who each have a specialized skill, a villain in a fortified stronghold and a seemingly impossible goal. Within this framework, however, Lloyd-Jones delves deeply into the psyches of each member of the crew to thoughtfully explore themes of morality and grief.

Outwardly, Mer seems fiercely independent, always prepared for every possible outcome, but she struggles with guilt over her time spent in the prince's service. She longs for freedom and meaningful connections with others, but her own self-loathing holds her back. The rest of the crew is just as well developed, and each member brings compelling personal histories, emotional demons and ulterior motives to the collective mission.

Thrilling and perceptive, The Drowned Woods blends the most-loved aspects of a heist narrative with meaningful, profound portraits of characters who satisfyingly defy archetypes and expectations alike. 

Based on a myth sometimes known as the Welsh Atlantis, The Drowned Woods blends aspects of heist narratives with thoughtful explorations of morality and grief.

Neil Kearney has never been in love. This becomes a major issue when Josh, his friend-with-benefits, confesses that he’s in love with Neil. Neil promptly rejects Josh but doesn’t understand why Josh is so upset. The two had agreed that their relationship wouldn’t go beyond simple hooking up, and now Neil is in exactly the messy situation he’d hoped to avoid: During their bougie boarding school's spring break, they're supposed to attend Neil's brother's fancy wedding together, but that's clearly a bad idea now that Josh has caught feelings. The solution? Neil’s roommate, Wyatt. Neil and Wyatt are far from friendly, but surely they can pull off a week of fake dating and convince Josh that Neil has moved on. Right? 

Over a marathon week of wedding obligations with Neil’s wealthy family, Neil and Wyatt finally forge the close, intimate friendship they never had as roommates. Wyatt sees that Neil’s brash, confident exterior conceals turmoil caused by his unsupportive, emotionally distant family— especially Neil’s grandparents, who routinely make callously transphobic comments toward him. In turn, Neil opens his eyes to Wyatt’s reality as a scholarship student whose hardworking parents can’t provide a fraction of what Neil takes for granted. 

Discover Mason Deaver’s favorite romance tropes.

The sense of ease that develops between Neil and Wyatt is unlike anything Neil ever thought possible. As their boyfriend act begins to feel real, Neil is thrown off balance. Is this what it feels like to fall in love? If so, how do you hold on to it? And scariest of all, how could Neil possibly deserve Wyatt’s love? 

In The Feeling of Falling in Love, Mason Deaver (I Wish You All the Best) delivers a satisfying romance right out of the rom-com playbook. Though there are plenty of these-two-are-obviously-in-love moments and heaps of witty banter, other details are what make this book truly exceptional: While some characters don’t treat Neil with respect, the novel always does. And when Wyatt’s own questions about gender identity arise, Neil adjusts supportively. Deaver gives characters chances to reflect on and address harm they’ve caused, but provides no abrupt or trite conclusions. The Feeling of Falling in Love is a delightfully nuanced queer rom-com that fans of contemporary YA romances will love. 

Read our Q&A with ‘The Feeling of Falling in Love’ author Mason Deaver.

Mason Deaver delivers a satisfying, nuanced queer romance right out of the rom-com playbook.

Sometimes our hearts can be so clueless. Neil Kearney finds this out the hard way when his friend-with-benefits catches feelings. Neil doesn't reciprocate, so now he's lost not only a steady hookup but also a date to his brother's wedding.

The solution? Neil ropes his obnoxiously earnest, annoyingly hardworking, aggravatingly kind boarding school roommate, Wyatt Fowler, into pretending to be boyfriends for the weeklong nuptial festivities. Sure, Neil and Wyatt can hardly stand each other (Wyatt wears Crocs, for goodness sake!), but what's the worst that can happen in a week?

Acclaimed author Mason Deaver's third YA novel, The Feeling of Falling in Love, is a rom-com romp about finding love and yourself when you least expect it.

In the novel's acknowledgments, you mention that it took years to crack this story. What turned out to be the key to unlocking it?
The book has been through so many iterations. It was originally a road trip novel in which Neil enlisted Wyatt to help him get revenge on a boy who cheated on him, and along the way, Neil and Wyatt would fall in love but deny their feelings. So, different, but not that different. Neil and Wyatt largely stayed the same since those original drafts, but I could never really figure out how to connect myself to that plot. And if I can't do that, then I can't write something; that's just how my brain is. 

Then I watched My Best Friend's Wedding at the suggestion of another writer-friend, and everything that I wasn't getting clicked in an instant: a wedding instead of a road trip, fake dating while also actually falling in love slowly over the week, family drama. 

How would you describe Neil and Wyatt when we first meet them?
Neil and Wyatt start the book in very opposite places. Neil begins the book in (what I think he'd believe is) a time of contentment. He has friends, he has his thing with Josh, he's away from his family. Wyatt really is the only thing that concerns him, simply because Wyatt is Wyatt. 

Wyatt, however, is frustrated, a fish out of water in a school full of people who make them feel unwelcome, away from their family when they'd love to be back home, doing double the work just to make sure they can maintain their place at a prestigious school they'd probably rather not be at. 

But as we move along to the wedding, Neil feels more unwelcome because of who his family is and how they treat him, and while Wyatt might not feel at home around Neil's family, they're able to handle the situation better than Neil. It's a chance for Wyatt to understand where Neil is coming from and what he's gone through, while Neil comes to understand how his actions have made Wyatt feel. 

I think that's what makes them both perfect for each other: They're missing what the other has, and they're never afraid to challenge each other. 

“It's a scary thing, asking someone to love you, and it's never just once. Love is a risk you take every single day.”

The Feeling of Falling in Love has such great tropes, including a time-constrained plot, fake dating, a wedding and an enemies-to-lovers romance. What do you love about these tropes? 
This book has some of my favorite tropes, even ones you didn't mention, like a grumpy/sunshine dynamic and a height difference. But enemies-to-lovers (or enemies-to-friends-to-lovers, rather) is an absolute favorite of mine. I love exploring just why these characters dislike each other—sometimes for valid reasons, other times for something shallow and silly—and watching as they slowly find common ground, a connection. 

What elements of the tropes did you want to preserve in this book versus what elements did you want to upend or subvert?
I wanted to subvert something you might not think of as a trope—but sometimes tropes can be a bad thing—which is the idea of a trans/cis romance. It's so common in stories about a transgender person falling in love for them to find a relationship with a cisgender person. Even my own work includes it. Wyatt's character was trying to tell me something about themselves I hadn't cracked yet. And now the book gets to be a sweet romance between two trans teens, something even more rare than the trans rom-com.  

Neil's reflection on his relationship to his body after gender-confirmation surgery is so powerful and complex. Why was it important to you to include these moments in the story?
Neil's relationship to his body is a story that mirrors mine and many other trans people's stories. There's this idea that surgery is a magical fix for trans people, or that it's this necessary party of transitioning, and that once you've gotten it, all your dysphoria vanishes—when that couldn't be further from the truth. Some trans people want surgery, and nothing can be more affirming. Others are fine with just having one surgery over the other. Some might not want surgery at all or even to undergo hormone replacement therapy. There's no one singular way to be trans, and so long as you're comfortable with where you are in your journey, nothing else has to matter. 

I very much wanted to explore how different trans experiences can be. Neil is at a place in his journey where he wanted top surgery but not bottom surgery, where he was offered the chance to cover his scars but decided they're a point of pride for him. He's very proud of his trans body, and he likes who he is, for the most part. 

“Neil and Wyatt rhyme with each other. They have what the other doesn't, both literally and metaphorically.”

I also really love that you explore how deeply class differences impact how Neil and Wyatt have been perceiving each other. How did you craft this aspect of the novel, and what do you hope readers take from it?
On the surface, it was such an easy way to make Neil unlikable. He's a spoiled rich kid with no regard for anyone but himself. He dresses in expensive brands, throws money at his problems and doesn't seem to have a care in the world. I love characters like that, the irredeemable jerks you aren't meant to like. 

But beyond the surface of Neil's character, I wanted to explore this idea that money hasn't really gotten him anywhere. He afforded the surgeries and his expensive school, but at the cost of any real connections in his life, both to his friends and to his family. 

Neil and Wyatt rhyme with each other. They have what the other doesn't, both literally and metaphorically. Neil's money would solve so many of Wyatt's issues at home, allow their parents to take a break and pay off loans or buy new clothing. But Wyatt's family have these rich connections with one another, and they're an actual family who love and care for one another. So Neil has something Wyatt wants, and Wyatt has something that Neil wants. The two of them go together in that sense.  

There are two incredibly rich scenes in this book that both involve suits. What kinds of research did you do to create these scenes? Why are these scenes so meaningful for Neil and for Wyatt, and how did you create that richness of meaning?
Just as reaffirming as surgery can be, fashion for trans people is instrumental in our ability to represent ourselves. Sure, clothing has no gender and anyone should be able to wear whatever they want, but for trans people, that euphoria of searching through the men's or women's section can mean so much as we find cuts and styles that make us feel welcome in our bodies. 

I spent way too much time researching the brands in the book, even the ones that aren't named, scoping their websites and using their catalogs to give Neil his knowledge and love of fashion. Neil loves the feeling of a suit and that euphoria it gives him to dress exactly how he feels, while Wyatt has never had access to these kinds of clothes before. Wyatt becomes uncomfortable when presented with clothes that could put groceries on his family's dinner table, whereas Neil doesn't bat an eye as he swipes his mother's credit card without even asking Wyatt how he feels. 

The novel includes a number of what I'd call near kisses—moments when it seems like Neil and Wyatt are definitely going to kiss, but don't. Be honest: Did you ever laugh an evil laugh while writing these?
Absolutely I evil laugh. I love these fake-out moments, these just misses. It adds so much to the characters, gives them so much to reflect on, these fleeting moments when something could've happened, but didn't. 

“There's still such a lack of romance stories centered on trans characters, on trans joy, trans happiness and trans characters finding love in both themselves and each other. It makes me sad that we don't have more.”

Toward the end of the novel, a few different characters offer Neil some pretty similar pieces of advice. My favorite is when Neil's cousin tells him, “Love is a risk, okay? Every single person in love takes a risk every single day of their lives.” What advice would you give someone who, like Neil, finds love absolutely terrifying?
That entire ending is a conversation with myself, I think. Being trans and wanting love are two things that always seem at odds with each other. Wanting a relationship with someone means outing myself and having that conversation, something that could potentially go very badly and end things. Or, possibly worse, they just don't understand your identity. 

It's a scary thing, asking someone to love you, and it's never just once. Love is a risk you take every single day, and it's never one of those things that gets less scary, you just learn how to deal with it on a day-to-day basis. 

That's what Neil is struggling with: letting someone in who could possibly hurt him, letting someone see the uglier side of him, working on himself to keep this relationship alive. It's the lesson he learns in the book, that love is a risk worth taking. 

I'm ending at the beginning: This book is dedicated to “every trans person who ever believed they were too complicated for a love story.” Why are stories of trans love and trans joy so important? 
I grew up never seeing stories about queer love. The first time I ever read a book where a queer character got a happy ending, got the boy and the kiss, was Becky Albertalli‘s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Steadily, year by year, we've been opening ourselves up to so many different stories by so many different kinds of writers, and it's amazing to see. 

But there's still such a lack of romance stories centered on trans characters, on trans joy, trans happiness and trans characters finding love in both themselves and each other. It makes me sad that we don't have more. But that just means that we need to foster trans writers, uplift their work and convince them that their stories are worth being told and worth being put on shelves.

Read our starred review of ‘The Feeling of Falling in Love.’

Author photo of Mason Deaver courtesy of Mason Deaver.

Acclaimed author Mason Deaver's third YA novel, The Feeling of Falling in Love, is a rom-com romp about finding love and yourself when you least expect it.

Zharie's mother began turning into a zombie five days before she died, and Zharie has been seeing the undead everywhere ever since. To avoid these apparitions, she prefers to sit alone in her room in her aunt's apartment, texting her internet friend, Mini. Returning solo to the dance studio where Zharie and her mother prepared together for West Coast Swing competitions is out of the question. And she definitely isn't interested in talking to Bo, the boy who just moved into the apartment upstairs. 

But when Bo appears to be partially zombified and then mysteriously returns to his normal self, Zharie decides that he might be the key to understanding why she's plagued by these gruesome visions. Spending time with Bo and his family and friends makes Zharie feel happy and safe, until she witnesses something that shatters her newfound sense of belonging. Finding a way forward will require as much love, courage and forgiveness as Zharie can muster.

Much like the zombies of debut author Britney S. Lewis' The Undead Truth of Us, Zharie's journey toward healing staggers, stumbles and trails broken, rotting parts in its wake. The question of whether the zombies Zharie sees are real underpins every encounter with them, and Lewis wrings every possible drop of suspense from this uncertainty as she leads readers to the novel's final revelation, which is both totally surprising and utterly satisfying. 

Lewis' novel has many strengths, including nuanced depictions of Zharie's experiences as one of the only Black dancers in the mostly white world of West Coast Swing. Zharie's dreams and visions, inspired by Dutch impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh, are filled with stunning imagery of climbing vines and blooming sunflowers.

Every generation remakes literary creatures of the night anew. Slow burning and surreal, The Undead Truth of Us more than earns the mantle of Gen Z's first great zombie novel.

This slow-burning and surreal debut novel more than earns the mantle of Gen Z’s first great zombie novel.

For many young queer people, life beyond “the now” exists only in the imagination. Imagine: a home where I'm loved. Imagine: feeling safe. Imagine: living on my own terms. Lio Min's debut YA novel, Beating Heart Baby, is a story of high school band geeks, internet friends turned IRL besties and what it's like when the life you imagined becomes a reality. 

Santiago Arboleda is overwhelmed the first time he arrives at his new high school in Los Angeles. The other students are way more outgoing than kids were at his old school, and they're relentless about not letting Santi fade into the scenery. The Sunshowers marching band is also one of the best in California, so Santi has a lot of catching up to do—a fact that Suwa, a musical prodigy and trumpet section leader, makes abundantly clear. When Santi realizes that Suwa is transgender, Suwa becomes even more antagonistic. Miscommunication, pride and swirling hormones act like magnets between the two as Santi works to prove that he deserves his place in the Sunshowers. 

Meanwhile, Santi is also dealing with the ghost of a soured internet relationship with someone he knows only as Memo. The pair connected online over anime, music and queerness, but when Santi accidentally leaked a song Memo composed and it became a viral sensation, Memo lashed out and disappeared. Clues emerge about Memo's real identity, but the search takes second chair to Santi's growing sense of a found family with the Sunshowers—and an emerging romance between Santi and Suwa. 

That's only scratching the surface of this remarkable novel, which is filled to the brim with reflections on the music industry, generational trauma, food, sex, anime and all manner of heartbreak and love. Min's exploration of coming out and owning your story as an artist is particularly exhilarating and nuanced.  

Much of the book's vernacular and aesthetic is informed by Min's background as a seasoned music journalist with experience interviewing such acts as Japanese Breakfast, Mitski (who is quoted in the book) and Christine and the Queens. Like the music of these badass queer rock ‘n' roll stars, Beating Heart Baby aches for a softer world. It's an epic tale of queer validation, filtered through the light of the California sun and Sailor Moon, and an essential read for anyone searching for a blueprint of their soul.

Music journalist Lio Min’s debut is an epic tale of high school band geeks, queer validation and what it’s like when the life you imagined becomes a reality.

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