Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance, Drama
Categories: M/M, hidden identity
Content Warnings (highlight to read): Deals with homophobia & includes homophobic slurs.
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Description: Simon, a high schooler in a small town, is gay, and nobody should know except for the mysterious boy with whom he exchanges anonymous emails. Except someone else does know—and that person has decided to blackmail him for his help in hooking up with one of Simon’s friends. How can Simon keep his grades up, decide how to come out to his friends and family, act in the school play, deal with high school friend drama, try to track down the boy he’s pretty sure he’s falling in love with, and negotiate the shady territory of being blackmailed into manipulating his own besties, all at the same time?
“As my datelike thing with Nico drew closer, the fears careening around in my head multiplied. What if Nico got flirty again? What if he didn’t get flirty again?”
– Willful Machines, Tim Floreen
Genre: Science fiction, YA
Categories: M/M, futuristic, robots
Content Warnings (highlight to read): Some terms & references to race that were… cause for pause. White mc calling himself ‘Kamikaze Lee,’ exoticising the love interest, etc.
Description: Equal parts romance and sci-fi thriller, Willful Machines is the story of the closeted son of the US president unraveling an elaborate plot involving robots & artificial intelligence… while also falling in love with the new boy at school. (And I think you can see where this is going, but I’m not going to outright spoil it for you).
“In the near future, scientists create what may be a new form of life: an artificial human named Charlotte. All goes well until Charlotte escapes, transfers her consciousness to the Internet, and begins terrorizing the American public.”
“Strange he hadn’t had a premonition of what this place would become to him all those months ago. But maybe not. So much of magic—of power, in general—required belief as a prerequisite.”
– The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Urban fantasy, YA
Categories: M/M, M/F, YA, multiple narrators, wizards/magicians, mythology, ghosts
Content Warnings (highlight to read): N/A
Description: A sharply-written YA series about slowly uncovering the magic underneath the mundane day-to-day world. The series follows Blue, slightly put-upon daughter of a house of psychics, and her adventures with the Raven Boys—private school boys with their own evolving mysterious pasts and destinies. Boys that could be kings, men that might be trees, magic dream worlds, ghosts, fortune-telling, high-maintenance murderers, cars, and bees?—There’s a lot there.
“For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.”
“Danny had most certainly fallen down the rabbit hole. He didn’t know if he ever wanted to return.”
– Timekeeper, Tara Sim
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Categories: M/M, alternate history
Content Warnings (highlight to read): N/A
Description: Danny is a clock mechanic, tasked with keeping the world’s clocktowers running in an alternate Victorian world. These clocktowers literally keep time: if a town’s tower is broken, time around it grows out of sync, or may even stop entirely, trapping those inside its influence in an infinite loop. When a series of bombings starts attacking clocktowers around England, Danny urgently works to solve the mystery, alongside a mysterious clock spirit that he becomes very invested in protecting.
“Above him, the stars shone frosty and remote in the clear sky. They wouldn’t dare to twinkle at him, not in the position he was in.”
– Swordspoint, Ellen Kushner
Genre: Fantasy, romantic (but not a romance)
Categories: M/M, M/F, politics & intrigue, royalty and nobility, hidden identity, swords & swordplay
Content Warnings (highlight to read): Frequent but not super graphic murder & violence. Recreational drug use. Discussions & ideation of suicide. Very morally ambiguous protagonists.
Description: A “classic melodrama of manners” where disputes are settled with sharp blades and sharper tongues. Swordspoint follows an interweaving set of characters and perspectives in a struggle for political power in the world of Riverside: Richard St Vier, an excellent swordsman but not much for conversation; Alec, his sharp-tongued lover with bad habits and worse ideas; Michael Godwin, a young lord who finds himself involved in games over his head; an elegantly powerful Duchess; and the rest of an engaging and largely morally ambiguous cast.