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Heart-thumping pride reads from Arsenal Pulp Press: Young Queer Love (YA adult fiction & graphic novels)

Heart-Thumping Pride Reads, Part 1: Young Queer Love

By Arsenal Pulp Date: June 22, 2024 Tags: Pride Month, reading lists, LGBTQ2S+, young adult, graphic novels

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Heart-Thumping Pride Reads

Part 1: Young Queer Love

YA fiction & graphic novels

Is there anything as simultaneously innocent and cursed as young love? From secret crushes to chaotic bisexual love triangles, Arsenal Pulp Press has a YA read that will warm—or break—your heart this pride season.


Big Feels, High Drama.

Into hurting your own feelings with epic Shakespearean tragedy–level stories of doomed love? (LOL, SAME.) Here are two iconic queer graphic novels in translation in which big feelings lead to big disaster:


Blue Is the Warmest Color

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
Jul Maroh

Vividly illustrated and beautifully told, Blue Is the Warmest Color is a brilliant, bittersweet, full-colour graphic novel about the elusive, reckless magic of love—a lesbian love story that crackles with the energy of youth, rebellion, and desire. The book was made into a controversial feature film that won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.


Adrian and the Tree of Secrets

ADRIAN AND THE TREE OF SECRETS
Hubert, illustrated by Marie Caillou

Adrian is a closeted teen who attends a Catholic high school in a small town. He reads Nietzsche, longs for muscles, and dreams of escape. When Jeremy, the coolest kid at school, takes an interest in him, Adrian falls hard and fast. And when Jeremy kisses him, Adrian is convinced he must be dreaming. What he doesn’t know is that Jeremy has a girlfriend, and she’s about to make his life a living nightmare. A poignant, beautiful graphic novel about first love, growing up, and having the courage to be true to yourself.


Not to be all Celluloid Closet about it, but could we get a happy ending?

Do you (like every gay romantic with a Netflix password) adore Heartstopper? Do you have a soft spot for wholesome and tender YA about queer characters? Looking for a read that tugs on your heartstrings and leaves you feeling lighter, maybe even hopeful?

We’ve got you with these young adult novels about teen boys whose passions lead them to new love interests:


Synchro Boy

SYNCHRO BOY
Shannon McFerran

Sixteen-year-old Bart is a top athlete on his high school swim team, but the macho, homophobic culture is bringing him down. He tries synchronized swimming and is thrilled to discover he has a natural talent and an immediate spark with a synchro girl, Erika Tenaka, who asks him to be her duet partner. But things get complicated when Bart develops a crush on Erika’s frenemy … and on a cute boy on the dive team.


In the Key of Dale

IN THE KEY OF DALE
Benjamin Lefebvre

Sixteen-year-old Dale Cardigan is a piano prodigy who is utterly invisible at school and completely misunderstood at home (his mom, stepdad, and stepbrother don't even like music!). He spends his time practising for his technical piano exams and writing long letters to his father, who died when he was a kid. When Dale accidentally befriends his attractive classmate Rusty, he starts to wonder if there could be more to his days than the Royal Conservatory, loneliness, and grief. Can Dale find the courage to open up to someone new?


Blackbird (movie tie-in edition)

BLACKBIRD
Larry Duplechan

Black teenager Johnnie Ray is at his limit for life drama: his girlfriend is pressuring him to have sex for the first time, his best friend is struggling with his abusive father, and he’s lost the lead role in his high school production of Romeo and Juliet. Just when he thinks things can’t possibly get more intense, he meets Marshall MacNeill, surely the sexiest man to walk God’s green earth, at an audition and realizes his life is about to get even more complicated.