Reading List

An important goal of this project is to broaden the scope of trans representation from traditional narratives to creative media. Talya Sokoll explains that “out of 35 titles published between 1998 and 2002 with LGBT content,” none were noted with a transgender character (Sokoll, 23). Thus, trans youth often have trouble being exposed to literature that represents them and their experiences. The following is a list of the top 10 trans* titles for young adults. Novels such as these provide trans youth with the literary representation they lack in a literary world dominated by cis and heteronormative narratives. By providing this list, we hope that cis and trans readers alike will feel inclined to strengthen their understanding of trans literature by exploring one of the titles listed. Each title is accompanied by a brief plot summary.  The first 10 titles on the list were originally compiled by Talya Sokoll, in her article “Representations of Trans* Youth in Young Adult Literature: A Report and a Suggestion.”

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

Regan is an average sixteen-year-old who is keeping secret the fact that her brother Liam is really a transgender girl named Luna.

Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher

When Logan meets Sage he is instantly attracted to her, but hov»/ will he react when he learns that Sage was born male?

I am J by Cris Beam

J has always known that he was a boy who happened to be born into a girl’s body by mistake. Now he just has to convince everyone else.

Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger

Just like the parrotfish that is born female but becomes male later in life, teenager Grady knows that even though he was born Angela, on the inside he is a boy. He is happy, but not everyone else is, especially his family, and he must rely on the people in his life who support him to move forward.

Being Emily by Rachel Gold

When Emily, who was born as Christopher, tells her parents about her desire to live as a woman, they send her into therapy, convinced she is ill. She is able to rely on her girlfriend and a few others in her life to help her through her family issues.

Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

Ysabel and Justin are twins who live a generally happy life. When their father reveals he is transgender and will live the rest of his life as a woman, they are upset at first, but slowly come to terms with their dad’s new identity.

Circle of Change by Laney Cairo (e-book]

This is the story of a romance between Kim, a teenager trans man, and Dash, a gay college student, who initially rejects Kim but ultimately falls in love with him.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills

Gabe, who was born Elizabeth, hosts a popular weekly radio show called “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” He is not out at school and is still living as Elizabeth, but when someone discovers his secret he must figure out how to live an honest life and still stay safe.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every day A wakes up in a new body of a different 16-year-old. Some days A is a boy, and some days A is a girl, but to deal with this uncertain reality, A has certain rules, the main one being to never make a connection with someone because it won’t last But all of this changes when A meets Rhiannon and falls in love. Now, A must track down Rhiannon everyday so A can be near her again, even if it means ruining the lives of the people A inhabits.

The End: Five Queer Kids 5ave the World by Nora Olsen

This book is the story of five queer kids who must prevent the end of the world, including one character who goes on a gender journey of their own.”


My name is Janera Burton and I am a fourth year Sociology/ Linguistics major at UCSC. I have a passion for language acquisition and the cognitive practices of language learning.

Megan Shaw is a second year studying Sociology and with a minor in Education at UC Santa Cruz. Megan S. is interested in studying the human behavior.

A native to Los Angeles, Idalia Cruz is a first generation queer Latina in her family. Currently, she is a Feminist Studies and Literature major student at UCSC.

My name is Santos De La Paz and I am a third year queer Latin@ Film and Digital Media major student at UC Santa Cruz. I am FamiliaX’s treasurer, a member of Theta Pi Sigma, the world’s first gender neutral Greek organization, and an intern for the Educational Partnership Center located at Oakes College at UCSC.

Rocio Payan is a genderqueer Chican@ majoring in feminist studies at UCSC. Rocio P. is interested in writing, literature, and practices of decolonization.

I am Vicky McDonald and I am a queer adjacent latina majoring in feminist studies and legal studies at UCSC. I volunteer with S.H.O.P. ( brief description of S.H.O.P)  and intern for Court Justice in association with the Prevention of Violence Against Women.


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