21 exciting new YA book releases arriving in the summer of 2021

Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon. Image courtesy Simon & Schuster
Of Princes and Promises by Sandhya Menon. Image courtesy Simon & Schuster /
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The Passing Playbook book cover
The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons. Image courtesy Penguin Random House /

The Passing Playbook – Isaac Fitzsimmons

Described as Love, Simon meets Friday Night Lights, this feel-good LGBTQ+ romance about a trans teen torn between standing up for his rights and staying stealth is a particularly timely and relevant story hitting shelves this summer.

It follows the story of Spencer, a Black biracial teen who gets a fresh start at a new school after transitioning. He joins the boys’ soccer team, makes new friends, and might even be falling for his religious teammate Justice. But no one at Spencer’s new school knows he’s trans. And after a dispute with the “F” on his birth certificate, Spencer will have to decide if he wants to risk it all by coming out to everyone.

A hopeful story that aims to encourage empathy through joy and understanding of the trans experience rather than exploiting the pain and suffering of trans people, The Passing Playbook belongs on your reading lists this year.

The official synopsis describes the book as follows.

"Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans – he’s passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the ‘F’ on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone – including the guy he’s falling for."

The Passing Playbook is available on June 1.