The best books to introduce you to the world of trans masculine teens

James Sie Author Of All Kinds of Other
By James Sie

The Books I Picked & Why

Felix Ever After

By Kacen Callender

Book cover of Felix Ever After

Why this book?

This YA book is a vibrant look into the lives of queer art students living in New York City, full of heart and lived-in experience. Felix’s search for love and community is relatable but unique, and I love how Callender honestly and gracefully illustrates how fluid gender identity can be. Extra points for centering queer BIPOC characters.


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Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult

By Skylar Kergil

Book cover of Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult

Why this book?

A rollicking and touching memoir from trans vlogging pioneer, artist, and musician Skylar Kergil. Skylar writes with honesty and wit, taking us through his whole childhood, coming out, and transitioning. If you’ve ever seen any of his transition vlogs on YouTube, you know how engaging Skylar is, and his voice shines through in this book. It feels very much like he’s talking to you over a cup of coffee. 


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Act Cool

By Tobly McSmith

Book cover of Act Cool

Why this book?

Another YA book set in New York, but this time in the world of a performing arts school. August Greene, a trans boy from a conservative Pennsylvania community, not only gets accepted into a prestigious performing arts academy in the big city but gets to live his authentic life while doing so. Trouble is, his parents don’t know he’s trans. McSmith is heavily involved in the NY theatre scene, and he writes with insight and accuracy about both trans issues and trans representation in the performing arts. 


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Gender Queer: A Memoir

By Maia Kobabe

Book cover of Gender Queer: A Memoir

Why this book?

Loved this—it was intimate and thought-provoking, a true look inside another person's coming of age. If you took Skylar Kergil's Before I Had the Words and mixed it with Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, you’d have an idea of what this graphic memoir is like. It perfectly limns the mind of someone's journey of self-discovery, someone who’s non-binary and (possibly) asexual. Kobabe writes (and draws) with honesty, humor, and heart, not trying to speak for all nb/ace people, but just eir own experience as thoughtfully as possible. Texas wanted to ban this book— it’s a testament to how truthful and potent it is.


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Cemetery Boys

By Aiden Thomas

Book cover of Cemetery Boys

Why this book?

Trans representation can be found in all genres, and Cemetery Boys is proof of that. This Latinx YA fantasy book is also a love story, set in my town of Los Angeles. Thomas creates a rich mythology involving Latinx culture, ancient gods, and brujos, and folds it into a gay teenage love story involving a young trans man who wants to prove himself, and a ghost from the wrong side of the tracks. If you’re jonesing for something like Harry Potter but with centered (and unambiguous) queer characters, this would be the book for you! 


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