This is a little late but who cares? Time isn’t real and you still have plenty of time to read all of these!
Every year around this time I like to talk about upcoming queer middle grade books.
Just as a quick disclaimer – I use a fairly loose definition for “Queer MG” that I wouldn’t necessarily use for YA or Adult books. When talking about middle grade, I often include books where the main character isn’t queer, but someone significant in their life is, like a best friend or sibling, or an adult like a parent or teacher.
I believe all kids should see their lives reflected in books, including those with queer families and I don’t want kids to think queer people disappear after the age of 18. Queer kids seeing queer adults as role models is super important so that’s why I include those in these posts.
Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton
Release date: February 1st, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Eleven-year-old James loves dancing, poetry and Mariah Carey. His teacher, Mr Hamilton, is getting married to his boyfriend, and it looks like James will be part of a surprise choir performance at the wedding. But James’ father seems very uncomfortable about the plan, and a lot of other things – like any mention of Mr Hamilton, and James’ dancing, and the way James talks about his new friend Joel.
Meanwhile, a different boy has been harassing James at school, calling him gay, and it’s getting worse every day. James can find relief with his wonderful Nan, but she’s been having worrying falls, and James can’t tell anyone, or she might be sent to a care home. The secrets start building up, and James is starting to lose his characteristic spark. Will he find the strength to let the truths come out?
The part where I talk: I believe this is a UK based author/book! That’s cool.
Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros
Release date: February 21st, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): The little beachside town of San Pancras is not known for anything exciting, but when Zach Darlington buys a mysterious ring at the local flea market, his quiet little hometown is turned topsy-turvy by monsters straight from Jewish folklore and a nefarious secret society focused on upholding an apocalyptic prophecy.
Zach discovers that the ring grants him strange powers, and he’s intrigued; maybe he can use the ring’s strengths to halt the slew of anti-Semitic and homophobic bullying he’s experiencing at school. But soon the ring brings unexpected visitors—Ashmedai, King of Demons, in the guise of a preteen boy named Ash, and the local chapter of the Knights of the Apocalypse, a secret society intent on completing a creepy prophecy that will bring three monsters to Earth to start the events of the end of times.
Now responsible for the ring and its consequences, will Zach and his friends, with the help of Ash, be able to stop the Apocalypse and save the world?
The part where I talk: It’s super cool that this is based on Jewish folklore!!
The House That Whispers by Lin Thompson
Cameron Battle and the Escape Trials by Jamar J. Perry (Cameron Battle #2)
Expected release date: February 28th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): After his first adventure as the Descendant, Cameron can’t sit through seventh grade classes. Especially when his mother is still trapped in Chidani and his father is still missing. But he encounters a particularly nasty bully in his new school, and it doesn’t take long for Cameron and his trusty friends Zion and Aliyah to realize that the troubles of Chidani won’t stay away for long.
With the Book to guide them, Cameron and his crew end up transported to Chidani sooner than anticipated–and the gods and goddesses they encounter don’t intend to make Cameron’s journey easy. Can he finally outwit and outlast the villainous god set on destroying their worlds?
The part where I talk: I like seeing a series with a queer main character! We don’t have a ton of those in middle grade.
The Ojja-Wojja by Magdalene Visaggio and Jenn St-Onge
The Sister Split by Auriane Desombre
Expected release date: March 14th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Autumn is looking forward to summer vacation. She and her best friend plan on going to all the best ice cream places their stomachs can handle–and in NYC, the possibilities can’t get any sweeter.
Linnea is still not over the fact that her dad has found love after her parents’ divorce. Luckily, she can take out all her feelings on the tennis courts for a winning summer.
But then Autumn and Linnea discover the news: their parents are getting married. Autumn will be moving to the suburbs to live with her soon-to-be stepdad and stepsister, which means kissing the fun summer with her best friend goodbye. For Linnea, she knows her dream of getting her parents back together is officially over.
Devastated, the two of them come up with an idea: if they can split up their parents, their lives can go back to normal. As Autumn and Linnea secretly try to sabotage everything from date nights to wedding planning, the two of them discover that having a sister is not the worst thing after all . . . but will they learn about love in a whole new way?
The part where I talk: This sounds so cute!
Camp Quiltbag by Nicole Melleby and A. J. Sass
Expected release date: March 21st, 2023
Dear Mothman by Robin Gow
Expected release date: March 21st, 2023
Calling the Moon edited by Aida Salazar and Yamile Saied Méndez
Expected release date: March 28th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): An essential, highly relatable collection of short fiction and poems around the topic of menstruation, written exclusively by authors who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color
For Angela, it came on the basketball court—while playing on the boys’ team. For Penny, it came on a school field trip to the lake (making for some cringeworthy moments of humor). And to Layla’s disappointment, it came at the start of her first fasting Ramadan, meaning that she won’t be able to fast after all. Whether it spurs silence or celebration, whether the subjects are well prepared or totally in the dark, the young people in these sixteen stories find that getting a period not only brings change to their bodies, it also brings joy, sorrow, self-discovery, and yes, sometimes even gifts.
Edited by Aida Salazar and Yamile Saied Méndez and featuring BIPOC contributors who are some of the most talented authors in middle-grade fiction today—including two-time 2021 Newbery Honoree Christina Soontornvat, Erin Entrada Kelly, Ibi Zoboi, and Saadia Faruqi—My New Gift offers coming-of-age stories and poetry ranging from funny to heartbreaking to powerful, all of them reassuring readers that they are not alone in their period journey.
The part where I talk: I mentioned this one in last year’s post, but it got pushed back to 2023 so I actually get to talk about it twice! Which is very cool.
Starting From Scratch by Jazz Taylor
Expected release date: April 4th, 2023
Jude Saves the World by Ronnie Riley
Expected release date: April 18th, 2023
The part where I talk: There also seems to be some fat rep in this which I am very excited about!
Drew Leclair Crushes the Case by Katryn Bury (Drew Leclair #2)
Expected release date: April 18th, 2023
Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson
Expected release date: May 2nd, 2023
The Dog Knight by Jeremy Whitley and Bre Indigo
Expected release date: May 1st, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Frankie knows who they are. They’re a drummer, they’re nonbinary, and they’re… the Dog Knight?
One day Frankie is a relatively normal middle schooler, with relatively normal challenges, like finding the perfect outfit to wear during their drum solo during the upcoming band concert. The next, they save a friendly golden retriever from bullies and suddenly find themselves in a giant magical doghouse, with a funny looking helmet, talking to a group of dog superheroes called the Pawtheon about a job offer.
If Frankie can prove that they possess the six dog virtues of loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, stubbornness, and smell, they will be named the Dog Knight and be given the power to fight alongside the Pawtheon and save the world from the forces of chaos.
Maybe there is more to Frankie than they thought?
Note: This is a graphic novel.
Sam Makes a Splash (The House on Sunrise Lagoon #1) by Nicole Melleby
Expected release date: May 9th, 2023
Marina in the Middle (The House on Sunrise Lagoon #2) by Nicole Melleby
Expected release date: May 9th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): If you want to get to know Marina Ali-O’Connor, you need to know three things:
One, despite her name, Marina is secretly afraid of the ocean.
Two, she wanted to be one of the Oldest Siblings, but is stuck smack dab in the middle.
Three, she’s pretty certain she’s the Extra Ali-O’Connor kid, the forgotten one.
When Boom, a budding filmmaker exactly Marina’s age, moves in across the lagoon, she decides that Marina’s quest to become someone’s favorite Ali-O’Connor would make a perfect documentary. So they get to work, coming up with ways to calm Marina’s anxiety. But when each plan goes a little bit wrong, Marina begins to wonder if she’ll ever feel like she belongs or if she’ll always be lost in the middle.
Note: Both these books come out on the same day. This is a queer parents middle grade, along the lines of the Misadventures of the Family Fletcher.
The Beautiful Something Else by Ash Van Otterloo
Expected release date: May 16th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): It’s exhausting trying to be the perfect daughter. Still, getting good grades without making any waves may be the only way to distract from the fact that Sparrow Malone’s mother is on the verge of falling apart. Which means no getting upset. No being weird. No standing out for the wrong reasons.
But when Mom’s attempts to cope spiral out of control, Sparrow is sent to live with Aunt Mags on a sprawling estate full of interesting, colorful new neighbors. And for the first time, trying to fit in doesn’t feel right anymore. Even Sparrow’s shadow has stopped following the rules.
As Shadow nudges Sparrow to try all the scary, exciting things Mom has always forbidden, Sparrow begins to realize something life-changing: They don’t feel like a girl. Or a boy. And while this discovery is exciting, now Sparrow must decide whether to tell everyone—their new family and friends, not-so-secret crush, and, most importantly, their mom—the truth, especially if it means things change forever.
Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon
Expected release date: May 30th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Life isn’t easy on twelve-year-old Mars. As if seventh grade isn’t hard enough, Mars is also grappling with the recent death of their father and a realization they never got to share with him: they’re nonbinary. But with their skates laced up and the ice under their feet, all of those struggles melt away.
When Mars’ triple toe loop draws the attention of a high school hot shot, he dares them to skate as a boy so the two can compete head-to-head. Unable to back down from a challenge, Mars accepts. But as competition draws near, the struggles of life off the rink start to complicate their performance in the rink, and Mars begins to second guess if there’s a place for them on the ice at all.
Skating on Mars is a tender examination of grief and a hopeful middle grade tale of self-discovery.
The Song of Us by Kate Fussner
The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro
Expected release date: May 2nd, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Percy Jackson fans, rejoice! Nico and Will have a book of their own!
As the son of Hades, Nico di Angelo has been through so much, from the premature deaths of his mother and sister, to being outed against his will, to losing his friend Jason during the trials of Apollo. But there is a ray of sunshine in his life–literally: his boyfriend, Will Solace, the son of Apollo. Together the two demigods can overcome any obstacle or foe. At least, that’s been the case so far . . .
Now Nico is being plagued by a voice calling out to him from Tartarus, the lowest part of the Underworld. He thinks he knows who it is: a reformed Titan named Bob whom Percy and Annabeth had to leave behind when they escaped Hades’s realm. Nico’s dreams and Rachel Dare’s latest prophecy leave little doubt in Nico’s mind that Bob is in some kind of trouble. Nico has to go on this quest, whether Mr. D and Chiron like it or not. And of course Will insists on coming with. But can a being made of light survive in the darkest part of the world? and what does the prophecy mean that Nico will have to “leave something of equal value behind?”
The part where I talk: These are so popular that y’all probably know about this one, but it’s still worth mentioning lol.
Will on the Inside by Andrew Eliopulos
Expected release date: June 6th, 2023
Code Red by Joy McCullough
Buzzing by Samuel Sattin and Rye Hickman
Gallowgate by K. R. Alexander
The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlow
Expected release date: August 1st, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old Al Schneider is too scared to talk about the two biggest things in her life:
1. Her stomach hurts all the time and she has no idea why.
2. She’s almost definitely 100% sure she likes girls.
So she holds it in…until she can’t. After nearly having an accident of the lavatorial variety in gym class, Al finds herself getting a colonoscopy and an answer–she has Crohn’s disease.
But rather than solving all her problems, Al’s diagnosis just makes everything worse. It’s scary and embarrassing. And worst of all, everyone wants her to talk about it–her overprotective mom, her best friend, and most annoyingly her gastroenterologist, who keeps trying to get her to go to a support group for kids with similar chronic illnesses. But, who wants to talk about what you do in the bathroom?
The part where I talk: Seriously, two queer middle grade books about Crohn’s within a month. What are the odds?
The Otherwoods by Justine Pucella Winans
Expected release date: September 12th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Some would call River Rydell a ‘chosen one’: born with the ability to see monsters and travel to a terrifying spirit world called The Otherwoods, they have all the makings of a hero. But River just calls themself unlucky. After all, it’s not like anyone actually believes River can see these things-or that anyone even believes monsters exist in the first place. So the way River sees it, it’s better to keep their head down and ignore anything Otherwoods related.
But The Otherwoods won’t be ignored any longer.
When River’s only friend (and crush) Avery is kidnapped and dragged into The Otherwoods by monsters, River has no choice but to confront the world they’ve seen only in their nightmares-but reality turns out be more horrifying than they could have ever imagined. With only their cat for protection and a wayward teen spirit as their guide, River must face the monsters of The Otherwoods and their own fears to save Avery and become the hero they were (unfortunately) destined to be.
Alex Wise vs. the End of the World by Terry J. Benton-Walker
Expected release date: September 26th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Alex Wise feels like his world is ending. His best friend, Loren, is leaving town for the summer, his former friend and maybe sort of crush Sky hasn’t spoken to him since he ditched Alex on first day of sixth grade, and now his mom is sending him and his annoying younger sister, Mags, on a cruise with the dad who abandoned them. And, as if things couldn’t get worse, a creepy shadow monster may or may not be stalking him.
But none of this could prepare Alex for the actual end of the world. Too bad that is exactly what’s coming, after the definitely-real Shadow Man kidnaps Mags and she is possessed by the ancient spirit of Death–one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Luckily (depending on who you ask), Alex is possessed as well by a powerful god who imbues Alex with their powers in an effort to stop the Horsemen…if he can figure out how to use them. So begins an epic battle between good and evil: Alex, Loren, a grumpy demi-god, and Alex’s fourth grade teacher vs. Death, Pestilence, Famine, War, and the waves of chaos and destruction they bring to LA and soon the rest of the globe. Just your average summer vacation.
Alex is more used to being left behind than leading the way, but now he’s the only one who can save his sister–and the world. That is, if he can unlock his new powers and and see himself as the hero he is.
The Mossheart’s Promise by Rebecca Mix
Just a Pinch of Magic by Alechia Dow
Elle Campbell Wins Their Weekend by Ben Kahn
Expected release date: October 17th, 2023
Summary (from goodreads): All Elle Campbell wants to do is meet their hero, non-binary icon Nuri Grena. Well, okay, they’d like a bit more than that — they’d like to learn how to do cat eye makeup, for queen bee Casey to stop critiquing their outfits, and for the finale of Elle’s favorite show to have been less terrible. But meeting Nuri means the most of all.
So when Elle learns that Nuri is coming to town for book signing on Saturday, Elle is thrilled. It’s the perfect chance to meet their hero! Elle’s never been happier since they came out as non-binary, but they have a lot of questions — questions only Nuri can answer.
But Elle’s dreams are dashed when an altercation with a surly substitute teacher lands Elle in Saturday detention. Elle is ready to give up until their two best friends come up with a plan to bust them out of school. A plan so outrageous, it just might work.
Yet that’s just step one. The kids also have to make their way across town with no money, no phones… and no driver’s licenses. But they refuse to give up — even if that means “borrowing” scooters from elementary school loan sharks, or winning a laser tag tournament with a cash prize.
Sir Callie and the Dragon’s Roost by Esme Symes-Smith
Identical by Bones Leopard
Lulu Sinagtala and the Tagalog Gods by Gail D. Villanueva
Reel Love by Nilah Magruder
Expected release date: Fall 2023
Summary (from Bleeding Cool because goodreads doesn’t have one yet): Carytoonist Nilah Magruder based in Western Maryland. has auctioned her upcoming graphic novel Reel Love, acquired by Polo Orozco at Random House, competing with bids from six other publishers.
Reel Love is based on the author’s own experiences embracing being asexual and this middle grade graphic novel follows 12-year-old Nilah, who goes on a summer trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains where she develops a passion for fishing, meets a boy, and learns there’s no getting away from growing up and from facing her questions about identity and love.
Five Second Violation by George M. Johnson
Lunar Boy by Jacinta Wibowo and Jessica Wibowo
Expected release date: 2023
Summary (from goodreads): Lunar Boy follows Indu, a boy from the moon who deals with culture shock, familial struggles, and first crushes when his mother marries and moves them to Earth.
Note: This will be a graphic novel and you can read more information about the authors and the book here, and check out a comic about the character here.
And that is every queer middle grade book coming out in 2023 I personally know about so far! Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments and tell me what ones you’re excited about.
Also, I am going to take a hiatus for March. I was already on semi-hiatus, but I need a little break. I will see you all in April!
Peace and cookies,