Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 16 to 18
- Grade: 10 to 12
- Reading age: 16 to 18
From debut author Alexandra Mae Jones comes a compelling, nuanced exploration of bi identity and body image with a ghostly backdrop—perfect for fans of Nina Lacour.
Still reeling from a recent trauma, sixteen-year-old Dell is relieved when her mom suggests a stay at the family cabin. But the much-needed escape quickly turns into a disaster. The lake and woods are awash in trash left by a previous tenant. And worse, Dell’s mom has invited her boyfriend’s daughter to stay with them. Confident, irreverent Ivy presses all of Dell's buttons--somehow making Dell’s shame and self-consciousness feel even more acute. Yet Dell is drawn to Ivy in a way she doesn't fully understand. As Dell uncovers secrets in the wreckage of her family's past--secrets hinted at through troubling dreams and strange apparitions--Ivy leads her toward thrilling, if confusing, revelations about her sexuality and identity.
Set during a humid summer in the mid-2000s, The Queen of Junk Island simmers with the intensity of a teenage girl navigating the suffocating expectations of everyone around her.
About the author
ALEXANDRA MAE JONES is a queer writer based in Toronto. Her short fiction has been published in several literary magazines, and she is a freelance reporter for CTVNews.ca.
Excerpt: The Queen of Junk Island (by (author) Alexandra Mae Jones)
Ivy laughed. “God, you’re easy.”
I went very still. “What did you say?”
“That it’s easy to piss you off,” Ivy said. “Another thing your mom didn’t mention. You cannot take a joke. I wasn’t actually going to shove you in the lake, I was just getting back at you for earlier.”
She was standing at the peak of the hill, the lake bright behind her. As we stared at each other, the edges of the thing in the water seemed to stretch out her shoulders, blending with her body until she looked like another part of the landscape. She looked broad enough to be someone else entirely. I could remember Christopher standing in front of me like Ivy was now, except then, he was the one with the camera.
I was suddenly very aware of my body.
“Jones never shies away from brutally honest discussions of sexual topics that were even more taboo in the 2000s when the book is set, capturing in particular the toxicity of biphobia . . . Haunting, unusual, and real.”
Kirkus Reviews, 03/02/22
“This book is a raw, poignant exploration of female teenage sexuality and how societal expectations conflate desire with shame.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 04/22
“Jones’ characters explore nuanced, painful dynamics as they work through different types of loss, mental health issues, and questions of sexuality.”