Rejection, illness, and tragedy. We’ve read it, we’ve lived it, we know the drill. Enough already! If the dreary present is leaving you with a craving for escapism and happy endings this list is for you. The protagonists in these stories may face some obstacles along the way, but they do so with their chosen families by their side. These titles will make you sigh with the warmth of unconditional friendship and the satisfaction of an adventure come to its close. Oh, and she definitely gets the girl in the end!
Snapdragon is a unique and perfect story about a witch in the woods, girls who live in a trailer park, and the unexpected web of connections tying everyone together. It’s a book about finding your power, in more ways than one. I laughed and cried, and you will, too!
—Molly Knox Ostertag, author of The Witch Boy series
This book gave me all the emotions, and I fell in love with Hani and Ishu’s fake relationship. Adiba has the ability to portray not only romantic love, but also family and friendship love, in a remarkable story that’ll stay with me for a long time.
—Lucas Rocha, author of Where We Go From Here
This graphic novel is breathtaking. The ragtag found family space crew, the star-crossed wlw romance, the stunning artwork using the palette of the lesbian pride flag *chef's kiss.* I adored everything about On a Sunbeam and only wish I were still reading it for the first time!
—Esmé, Firestorm Collective Member
This stunning debut novel from Thomas is detailed, heart-rending, and immensely romantic. I was bawling by the end of it, but not from sadness: I just felt so incredibly happy that this queer Latinx adventure will get to be read by other kids. Cemetery Boys is necessary: for trans kids, for queer kids, for those in the Latinx community who need to see themselves on the page. Don’t miss this book.
—Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift
Mooncakes transported me to a gorgeous magical realm that I never want to leave, and introduced me to lovable characters who stuck with me long after I finished reading. This graphic novel is the joyful fantasy romance we all need right now, and it might just restore your faith in magic.
—Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan is a stand-alone portal fantasy in which the reader follows Elliot Schafer—a redheaded bisexual boy with a fantastically bad attitude and sharp tongue—through his adolescence, primarily spent in a magical land on the other side of a mostly-invisible border wall located in rural England… [A] satisfying, thoughtful, and fun read. Brennan balances politics with relationships; she handles complex ethical and moral arguments with humor and aplomb.
—Lee Mandelo, Tor.com
Tamaki explores the nuances of both romantic and platonic relationships with raw tenderness and honesty. Valero-O’Connell’s art is realistic and expressive, bringing the characters to life through dynamic grayscale illustrations featuring highlights of millennial pink… A triumphant queer coming-of-age story that will make your heart ache and soar.
If you’ve ever mentally shouted ‘NOW KISS’ at a pair of fictional male best friends, this is the book for you.
When prom night goes awry and ends in an accidental death, a group of ride or die friends - and witches - have to sort it out or face the consequences. Will they be able to revive Alexis’ deceased prom date? Will Alexis finally be able to admit to her best friend that she loves her?
—Esmé, Firestorm Collective member
A People's History of Heaven offers a portrayal of an impoverished urban community in India which acknowledges the hardships this community faces but is not written like tragedy-porn. Instead, Subramanian's focus is the ways in which the members of the community fiercely show up for one another across difference to not only survive, but to carve out joy in their ironically (or perhaps aptly) named neighborhood called "Heaven." The book also features gender variance with loving community support!
—Esmé, Firestorm Collective member
From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. Unbelievably sweet, soft, and gorgeously illustrated!