The Best Young Adult Books To Read After ‘Heartstopper’

If your heart skips a beat for high school novels and sweet queer romances, then you might already have a crush on Netflix’s new hit series, Heart stroke. Based on the graphic novel series written and drawn by Alice Oseman (who was also the screenwriter for the TV adaptation), Heart stroke is a romantic coming-of-age drama that revolves around two boys in the UK who drown out an unlikely friendship. Nick is a kind-hearted rugby player with the personality of a golden retriever, while Charlie is a shy, loving underclass who battles bullies and a broken heart. Obviously, they are made for each other.

The eight-episode series has won critical acclaim for its heartwarming romance and endearing portrayal of characters from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum. It may be a while before the show returns with its highly anticipated second season, but thankfully there’s a world of literary fiction to turn to if you’re craving more YA stories of gay kids finding love. love and friendship.

If you’re looking for more stories about cute teenagers who fall in love while playing sports, look no further than this charming graphic novel. While Charlie and Nick fell in love on the rugby pitch (and everywhere else), Annie and Bebe’s sports romance revolves around a cheerleading team – a team that lonely lesbian Annie prefers to avoid. at all costs. When threatened by the prospect of an incomplete college application (great grades, poor grades for socializing), Annie reluctantly joins her school’s team, led by her best friend, Bebe. Bebe doesn’t really have it easy either. Bebe is an openly trans girl and A+ student under too much pressure from her overprotective parents. Her world only becomes more complicated when Annie enters this part of her life. As they work together on the team, Annie and Bebe push each other to become braver, kinder versions of themselves, while falling in love along the way.

In their graphic memoir, British illustrator Rebecca Burgess recounts how they discovered asexuality. At the beginning of the book, Burgess is a young student with a passion for cartoons and a love of platonic hugs between friends. They are overwhelmed by the difficulty of navigating romantic relationships and struggle with the media’s limited, sex-obsessed messages about what constitutes a “normal” person. When they start to learn more about asexuality, they realize that there are more people than they thought sharing their experience. Throughout their journey from sailing school to the professional world, Burgess provides new insight into a still underrepresented identity, as well as their experiences with anxiety and OCD.

A few things to know about Remy Cameron: first, he loves his father’s homemade French toast; two, he’s the big brother to a rambunctious 7-year-old little sister he adores; and three, he is one of the only openly gay black kids in his school. Sounds like a lot, right? In the midst of a multi-layered identity crisis (how easily do you define yourself as a transracial queer adoptee in the span of a college admissions essay?), Remy finds himself falling in love with a cute skateboarder named Ian while processing new information about his biological family – including meeting the half-sister he didn’t know he had. As Heart stroke‘s Charlie Spring, Remy wants true love and has some pretty awesome friends in his corner, but he gets frustrated with other people who try to stick certain labels on him. Written by Julian Winters, the same person who brought you Run with the Lions and The summer of everything, How to be Remy Cameron is an ode to children who do not fit into the easy categories.

Getting old a bit of high school drama, I hear the sunspot is a college romance between two boys, Kohei and Taichi. Taichi is an unlucky college student who needs a part-time job to provide for his next meal. Kohei is a handsome but emotionally distant law student looking for a note taker due to his hearing disability. Soon they strike a deal where Taichi takes notes in exchange for Kohei’s homemade treats, though neither of them expects the type of connection that will develop next. I hear the sunspot is not only a heartwarming romance, but it also touches on the intersection of queer and HOH/Deaf identities.

When Ben reveals to their parents that they are not binary, their whole world is turned upside down. After being kicked out of the house, Ben moves in with their older sister, Hannah, a surprising ally who provides Ben with the refuge they need. Now in a new school for their senior year of high school, Ben lays low while trying to deal with his anxiety…until they meet Nathan Allan, a handsome boy who takes Ben under his wing. Exploring some of the more serious elements of coming out and mental health, some readers may want to review the trigger warnings before beginning this book.

High school student Frederica “Freddy” Riley continues to find herself in a recurring situation (although most of the time stopped) relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Laura Dean, a gorgeous girl with a less than gorgeous personality. Despite his friends constantly telling him that Laura is bad news, Freddy continues to find himself drawn into the atmosphere of the other girl, a girl who belittles Freddy and cheats on him. For those of us who struggled with Ben Hope from Heart stroke, Laura Dean keep breaking up with me is another reminder that not all young loves are sweet and pure.

Nova Huang knows magic. Having been surrounded by them all her life and helping run her grandmother’s magical libraries (filled with numerous spell books), she’s no stranger to the supernatural. So when she reunites with her old friend, Tam Lang (who uses the pronouns them/them), she is not surprised when she finds out that Tam is a werewolf. As they reconnect and fall in love, they also have to deal with the evil magicians chasing Tam who threaten to tear them apart. Featuring two Asian American protagonists, one of whom is also hard of hearing, moon cakes is a wonderfully illustrated story about discovering love magic with a fantastic twist.

It would be remiss not to mention at least one other Alice Oseman title (but not directly Heart stroke related, this book takes place in the same universe!). Head girl Frances has a reputation for being an academic overachiever and is working to get into one of the best schools in the UK. But what most people don’t know is that she’s completely in love with a podcast called city ​​of the universe, created by none other than his lowly classmate, Aled. A platonic love story between two strange souls, Radio silence is a literary balm for anyone who has ever felt lonely in a crowd and for those who find solace in creation.

Irene and Scottie, cheerleader and basketball player, high school rivals, and soon to be “fake” girlfriends? After coming to an impasse with the beautiful, if somewhat arrogant, Irene Abraham, Scottie Zajac finds himself indebted to Irene. Scottie is forced to bond with the cheerleader when she has to carpool with Irene to school, and the two find themselves fighting like cats and dogs. Things only get complicated when Scottie goes on a fake date with Irene in order to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend. A hilarity of queer-girl romance, She drives Me Crazy meets the sapphic itch for lesbian sports drama.

A black flamingo is a beautiful bird known for its unusual plumage in a monochrome sea of ​​pink bodies. Michael, a mixed-race queer boy, can understand. Half Jamaican and half Greek Cypriot and London-born Michael struggles to find where he fits in, whether it’s with the black kids at his school or the predominantly white queer spaces he finds. The book traces Michael’s journey growing up as a young child facing the restrictive nature of gender norms in his college days, finding creative freedom through poetic expression and flirting. A magnificent novel written in verse by Dean Atta, The black flamingo uses its lyricism to capture the experience of learning self-love and acceptance.

When her financial aid plans fall through, Liz Lighty must scramble to find a new way to pay for her education. And what better scheme than winning the title of prom queen, which includes generous funds for a scholarship? Facing fierce classmates in the competition for the crown, teenage black queer Liz battles microaggressions and some pretty egregious pettiness. Fortunately, there seems to be a new girl named Mack who is as charming as she is sweet. The problem is that they are both competing for the same thing. From the author of sunrise in the sun, You should see me in a crown is a refreshingly honest story about prom drama.

Colin L. Johnson