“Mack snuck a look over her shoulder at the cheerleaders just as Veronica took her place at the top of the pyramid. Time seemed to slow as Veronica swung her long, blond ponytail over her shoulder, pompoms high in the air…”
Mackenzie is used to being different from other kids—and to being bullied for not fitting into the rigid social expectations of her Catholic high school. Luckily, Mack’s best friend Lila has her back so school isn’t the total hell it could be. But it’s pretty damn close.
Until something very mysterious happens—Mack becomes a cheerleader magnet. Even she has a hard time believing it. And Lila is not too happy about her friend’s sudden popularity with the cool kids.
Is Mack being set up for an epic fail? Or is she finally headed for acceptance–and maybe even romance…
M.B. Guel is the winner of Bella’s “fan fiction to published author” contest. Queerleaders is their debut novel.
A 2021 Rainbow Book list recommendation from the American Library Association.
|Young Adult, Romance
|March 12, 2020
GCLS Goldie Awards
Queerleaders—Winner, Debut Author and Finalist, Young Adult.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"Queerleaders was technically never supposed to happen. The idea came in a desperate last-minute attempt to come up with a third idea for a full-length screenplay my professor had assigned. I had two, solid, angst-ridden ideas and hoped they were good enough that I could forgo a third. When my professor remained unimpressed by my depressing (and probably overplayed) ideas, I word-vomited out the idea that eventually became Queerleaders.
A girl is outed by the football team at her very Catholic high school and then vows revenge by stealing their girlfriends.
The screenplay I wrote was born out of a bitterness of not seeing the queer representation I longed for on screen. The all-white casts and depressing storylines felt old and played out. Where was my stupid, silly, diverse queer teen comedy with a heart of gold? It was originally written as a musical because I really wanted to write a scene with flamboyant Jesus singing to a teen struggling with her sexuality and religion. Not only that, but the world needs to see a Queer, Latinx girl singing about maybe being in love with her best friend.
Of course the script sat gathering dust on my hard drive as the years went by, but I had developed a love for the characters that I couldn’t let go. It feels only fitting that my first published novel would be about characters I’ve lived with and loved for a handful of years now.
The typical teen coming-out story tends to be sad and almost a little too realistic. Growing up and talking to my other Queer friends, I began a mental catalog of all the coming-out stories I had been lucky enough to hear. With the world changing, I began to realize that not all–coming-out stories were sad like the media had tried to make me think. Of course, there is a place for those stories as an important part of the Queer experience, but I want to write about the diverse ways people experience coming out. It was important to me to write a coming-out story that didn’t make you feel like the world was ending with each turn of the page.
With all this being said, I’m excited to finally share Queerleaders with the world. My fever dream of a diverse, ridiculous Queer teen comedy has finally come to fruition."
Smart Bitches Trashy Books
As Mack interacts with a variety of people, the reader does as well, and Queerleaders challenges us to rethink our own assumptions about cheerleaders and queer people and parents and football players, and to pay attention to their feelings and admit that everybody’s feelings are complex and important. The writing is also very clever and I found myself highlighting passages as often as I was smiling or laughing. I can’t think of a book I’ve had more fun reading in a while…
The Lesbian Review
This is a fun, easy, and entirely charming read. Guel manages to create a story that is captivating, relatable, and reminiscent of the movies in which the underdog wins. I cannot believe that this is a debut novel, it’s just so good. I cannot recommend this one enough.
R. Swier - This story dealt with a variety of topics. It was about having that fearful conversation with parents about being gay...not knowing if they will face acceptance or rejection. But it also was about strong supportive friendships and experiencing that first special kiss and first girlfriend. The author actually took the reader through a gamut of emotions from start to finish. There were some laugh out loud scenes as well as heartwarming ones. It was an extremely well written, engaging, and entertaining read.
Kate C. - This is absolutely, one-hundred percent the queer teen book I wish I had when I was a teen. Mack and Lila are so fun and hilarious and you can feel how great their friendship is from the first page. When Mack attempts to woo all the girls on the cheerleading team, the book breaks into hilarious teen antics and I loved every second of it. I highly recommend this sweet, funny book.