june reading: lesbian YA

Everything Leads to You - Nina Lacour
Emi has been entrusted with her brother's LA apartment for the summer as a graduation gift with one condition: that something great takes place there while he's gone. She may be a talented young production designer, already beginning to thrive in the competitive film industry but she still feels like an average teen, floundering when it comes to romance.  But when Emi and her friend Charlotte discover a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi finds herself chasing down the loose ends of a movie icon's hidden life. The search leads her to uncover a decades-old secret and the potential for something truly epic: love.
South of Sunshine - Dana Elmendorf
Kaycee Jean McCoy has lived her entire life in Sunshine, Tennessee. Sweet tea flows through her veins and "yes ma'am" is ingrained in her DNA. In Sunshine, going to church is basically mandatory and gay had better be your mood and not your sexual orientation. Kaycee may not agree with the town's socially accepted bigotry but she'd rather fit in than make waves. That is, until the beautiful, sexy, impossibly cool Bren Dawson moves into town. Kaycee is swept up in a whirlwind of exciting new emotions and lets her guard down. One night under a fat country moon, Kaycee's best friend catches them kissing and Kaycee's whole world goes to hell in a handbasket. What is she willing to risk for the sake of love? And what will she risk for acceptance?

The Space Between - Michelle L. Teichman
Everything's great for Harper Isabelle, the most popular girl in Grade Nine. Great that is, until she meets Sarah Jamieson and can't stop thinking about the reclusive artist. Sarah isn't used to people looking her way, especially popular girls like Harper. Scared, religious and unsure of herself, when Sarah begins to realise that her feelings for Harper go beyond friendship, she is afraid to take the plunge and tell Harper how she feels.  Emotions build between them until they both reach their breaking points; forcing them to make a choice about coming to terms with who they are and what they can, and cannot, live without.

Bleeding Earth - Kaitlin Ward
Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news. All over the world, blood appeared out of the ground, even through concrete, even in water. Then the earth started growing hair and bones. Lea wants to ignore the blood. She wants to spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public, if only Aracely wasn't so afraid of her father. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and Aracely whatever way she can

Skylarks - Karen Gregory
'Keep your head down and don't borrow trouble' is the motto Joni lives her life by, and so far it's seen her family through some tough times.  It's not as if she has the power to change anything important anyway. Like Dad's bad back, or the threat of losing their house.  So when pretty, privileged Annabel breezes into her life, Joni is sure they're going to clash; the daughter of the richest family in town must have it easy.  But sometimes you find a matching spirit where you least expect it. Sometimes love can defy difference. And sometimes life asks you to be bigger and braver..

The House You Pass On The Way - Jaqueline Woodson
Staggerlee is used to being alone. As the granddaughter of celebrities and the daughter of an interracial couple in an all-black town, she has become adept at isolating herself from curious neighbors. But then her cousin, Trout, comes to visit. Trout is exactly like Staggerlee wishes she could be: outspoken, sure of herself, beautiful. Finally, Staggerlee has a friend, someone she can share her deepest, most private thoughts with. Someone who will teach her how to be the strong girl she longs to be. But is Trout really the girl Staggerlee thinks she is?

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the best burger in Los Angeles) - Amy Spalding
Seventeen, fashion-obsessed and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people's lives. While her sister and friends have plunged headfirst into the dating world, Abby's been happy to focus on her plus-sized fashion blog. When she lands a great internship at her favourite boutique she's thrilled to take the first time towards her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern Jordi Perez. Hard. Just as Abby starts to feel like she's no longer the sidekick in her own life, Jordi's photography puts her in the spotloght but instead of feeling like a star, Abby only feels betrayed. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her?

Annie on my Mind - Nancy Garden
When Liza Winthrop first lays eyes on Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there's something special between them.  Soon their close friendship develops into a deep and intimate romance.  Neither could have imagined that falling in love could be so wonderful but as Annie and Liza's newfound sexuality sparks conflict in both their families and their schools, they discover it will take more than love for their relationship to succeed.

Because of Her - K. E Payne
For seventeen-year-old Tabby Morton, life sucks. Big time. Forced to move to London thanks to her father's new job, she has to leave her friends, her school and, most importantly, her girlfriend Amy, far behind. To make matters worse Tabby's parents enroll her in the exclusive Queen Victoria Independent School for Girls, hoping that it will finally make a lady of her. Tabby has other ideas. Loathing her new school, she fights against everything and everyone, but when the beautiful and beguiling Eden Palmer catches her eye, Tabby begins to wonder if life there might not be so bad after all. 

Blackout - Kit Mallory
For 16-year-old Skyler, fear is a way of life. For three years, since the Wall split the UK in two, her survival as an illegal Northern refugee in the South has been a perilous balancing act between staying in the shadows and clinging to her reputation as the South's best hacker. Fellow refugee Mackenzie is a ghost from her past she'd rather ignore. But when their paths collide unexpectedly, Skyler sees an opportunity to exact revenge on the brutal regime that destroyed her home and family - even if it means she goes down with them. Forced, with extreme reluctance, on the run together, Skyler and Mackenzie, along with enigmatic contract killer Angel, must find a way to outrun not only the Board and the South's most sadistic crime lord, but their own personal demons. If they can manage to not end up murdering each other in the process, that'll be a bonus. But more is at stake than any of them realise. And Skyler, who has long believed she has nothing left to lose, is about to discover just how wrong she is.

Starting From Here - Lisa Jenn Bigelow
Sixteen-year-old Colby Bingham's heart has been broken too many times. Her mother has been dead for almost two years, her truck driver father is always away, her almost girlfriend just dumped her for a guy, and now she's failing chemistry. When a stray dog lands literally at her feet, bleeding and broken on a busy road, it seems like the Universe has it in for Colby. But the incident also knocks a chink in the walls she's built around her heart. Against her better judgment, she decides to care for the dog. But new connections mean new opportunities for heartbreak. Terrified of another loss, Colby bolts at the first sign of trouble, managing to alienate her best friend, her father, the cute girl pursing her, and even her dog's vet, who's taken Colby under her wing. Colby can't start over, but can she learn how to move on?

Her Name in the Sky - Kelly Quindlen
Hannah wants to spend her senior year of high school going to football games and Mardi Gras parties with her tight-knit group of friends. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a girl - especially her best friend Baker. Hannah knows she should like Wally, the kind, earnest boy who asks her to prom. She should cheer on her friend Clay when he asks Baker to be his girlfriend. She should follow the rules of her conservative Louisiana community - the rules that have been ingrained in her since birth. But Hannah longs to be with Baker, who challenges Hannah to be the best version of herself. And Baker might want to be with Hannah too - if both girls can embrace that world-shaking yet wondrous possibility.

Sweethearts - Gemma Gilmore
When seventeen-year-old Ingrid Harper realises she may not have the talent to pursue a scholarship for the most prestigious art school in Australia she turns to pink hair dye as a distraction. Her new hair captures the attention of a fellow art student, Kat, who introduces Ingrid to the LGBTQ+ clubbing scene, and although Ingrid enjoys partying with her new friend, she becomes caught up in confusion about her sexuality. Her fear is overwhelming - she can't think about anything else. But as  her best friend faces the realities of being pregnant at seventeen, Ingrid is shown the true definition of of courage. Motivated she comes out - she likes girls. Only girls. Now she just has to work out what that means for the other areas of her life.

Juliet Takes A Breath - Gabby Rivera
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon, She just came out to her family and isn't sure if her mom will ever talk to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that's going to help her figure out this whole 'Puerto Rican lesbian' thing. She's interning with the author of her favourite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women's bodies and other gay-sounding stuff. Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe and, most importantly, herself.

Just Juliet - Charlotte Reagan
Juliet represents the world less travelled but will Lena take it? Lena is 17, her best friend's a cheerleader, her boyfriend's a football player, and as far as everyone's concerned, her life is sorted. But that's before she meets the new girl. Juliet is confident, drop-dead gorgeous and a lesbian. Slowly Lena realises that her interest goes beyond just friendship and she sets off an a path of self-discovery on which the loyalty of those closest to her will be tested.

The Gracekeepers - Kirsty Logan
North lives on a circus boat with her beloved bear, keeping a secret that could capsize her life. Callanish lives alone in the middle of the ocean, tending the graves of those who die at sea. As penance for a terrible mistake, she has become a gracekeeper. A chance meeting between the two draws them magnetically to one another - and to the promise of a new life. But the waters are treacherous, and the tide is against them.

Fire on Ice - Jea Hawkins
Madison Brinkley has been raised a competitor. She lives a regimented and privileged life and is currently facing her last chance at Olympic Gold. But life isn't what it seems; living up to the expectations of her mother has become impossible, overshadowing Madison's dreams of taking gold.  Everyone can see she's lost the will to compete but only one person is willing to tell her the truth. Zoe Claretto is feisty newcomer and a fan favourite. She knows it won't be easy to win a medal but she's there for the love of figure skating. And, as it turns out, for the love of Madison. With skating, medals and coaches looming in the background their relationship moves from rivals to friends, friends to lovers and things start to heat up on the ice, for both of them.

Ash - Malinda Lo
In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love. Entrancing, empowering, and romantic, Ash is about the connection between life and love, and solitude and death, where transformation can come from even the deepest grief.

My Year Zero - Rachel Gold
Lauren thinks she has a pretty good life—so why is it that she feels crazy most of the time? She figures it’s nothing she can’t fix by getting her first girlfriend and doing better at school. But how is she ever going to find a girlfriend in Duluth, Minnesota? When she meets a group of kids who are telling a science fiction story online and gets invited down to the Twin Cities, she gets more attention than she ever expected, from two very different girls: charming Sierra and troublesome Blake. Blake helps Lauren understand that she’s not the crazy one in her life. But Blake's attention—and insights into life and living with bipolar disorder—threaten to destroy everything Lauren has created for herself, including her relationship with Sierra.

Marian - Ella Lyons
When Marian Banner moves to the glittering city of Nottingham with her father, Sir Erik the Fortunate, her entire life changes. She is no longer allowed to run about the countryside in trousers and braids, climbing fences and shooting turkeys, but is thrust into a life of dresses and jewels and dancing lessons, none of which Marian is particularly pleased about. Her dark mood changes when she meets a tiny whip of a girl called Robin Hood. Robin is fierce and brave, and wants more than anything to become a knight, regardless of her gender. Together they explore the city, becoming fast friends along the way. As time passes, their friendship into something bigger and scarier and far more wonderful. But then Marian’s father is killed in service to the king and she catches the king’s eye. Can Robin save her once more? Or will Marian discover how to save herself?

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