I've loved Becky Albertalli since Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, opens a new window, which was later adapted into the movie Love, Simon, opens a new window.
If you're like me, you've been impatiently waiting for her newest book, Imogen, Obviously. I didn't know how much I needed a book about figuring out your sexuality after all your friends. While there are plenty of LGBTQ+ people who have always known who they are, which is more commonly represented in media, it's so important for the people who don't understand their feelings until later to feel represented as well.
Imogen thinks of herself as the best ally ever, always supportive of her queer friends, but solidly in the heterosexual camp herself. It isn't until visiting her friend at college, and the opportunity to meet new people and see herself through new eyes, that she begins to question the story she's always told herself. The early adulthood romance vibes combined with such honest and heartfelt queer representation are everything I've been wanting to read lately.
While you wait to get your hands on it, here are some books that will tide you over and give you some of the same good feelings.
If your favorite rom-com trope is the meet-cute Reggie and Delilah's Year of Falling should jump to the top of your list. Delilah is doing her best to fight through her anxiety to sing in a punk band with her friends. Reggie is a proud Blerd (Black nerd), regularly blogging about the intersections of race and the nerdy stuff he loves, especially D&D. The two meet at a New Year's Eve party, have a beyond adorable interaction, and almost kiss, but end up losing track of each other in the crowd. Then, almost like magic, they end up meeting again on Valentine's Day, and again on St. Patricks Day. It's clear that the universe wants them to be together. It's just a question of whether either of them will be brave enough to make it happen.
After getting outed by her best friend, Yamilet transfers to the elite Catholic school her brother attends. She decides her life will be easier if she puts herself back in the closet and acts as straight as possible with her new friends. In The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School, she realizes that to fit in with such a privileged, white crowd, she will have to suppress more than just her queerness. As much as it hurts, she does her best to squash her real self down. The problem is she's starting to catch feelings for Bo, the only openly queer girl in her class. Would it be worth blowing up her life again, and risking her mom finding out that she's a lesbian, to go after something that could make her truly happy?
Veronica Clarke has big plans and none of them involve being pregnant at 17. In her state, she can't get an abortion without parental consent, which she knows they won't give, so her only option is to go hundreds of miles to a state that doesn't have such strict laws. When her ex-best friend Bailey finds out about this awful situation, she helps Veronica steal a car and the two of them set out on a multi-day road trip. As is the way with road trip stories, nothing goes to plan, they have plenty of wacky side adventures, and the two girls are finally forced to talk about why their friendship fell apart. Since Unpregnant was published in 2019, things have only gotten worse for the state of reproductive rights in America. There are plenty of excellent books about the struggle to obtain an abortion, but this one manages to make you laugh as well as cry. I highly recommend it to both teens and adults.
As You Walk on By is the teen book I've loved the most this year. Theo is hiding in an upstairs bedroom at a house party after he totally embarrassed himself with a failed prom-posal. As the night goes on, several of his classmates who are also avoiding the party end up joining him. Despite their differences and complicated pasts with each other, they find themselves opening up and sharing some of their deepest secrets. As the title implies, the set-up is very reminiscent of The Breakfast Club, but this isn't a retelling or an adaptation and you won't find yourself bogged down with references. This book manages to use classic tropes and make them into something fresh and honest. As much as I adore romance, it was refreshing to see a book that puts friendship at the center.
What else have you been reading while you wait for Imogen, Obviously?