Stage Dreams

  • Interest Level: Grade 8 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 7

In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor—also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk—robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.

Format Your Price
Interest Level Grade 8 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 7
Genre Fiction, Graphic Novels, Young Adult
Category Diverse Books: LGBTQIA+, Diverse Books: #OwnVoices, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diverse Books: Social Justice, Diversity
Copyright 2019
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Graphic Universe ™
Language English
Number of Pages 104
Publication Date 2019-09-03
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS YAF010110, YAF069000, YAF010140
Dewey 741.5/973
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 8 x 10
Lexile 690
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews


  • Excellence in Graphic Literature Award YA Fiction, Nominated, 2020
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Winner, 2020
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2020
  • Southwest Books of the Year, Winner, 2019


MTV News

“[A] whirlwind adventure and a blossoming romance…” —MTV News

NPR Books

Stage Dreams’ sweeping lines and dimensional shading are rich pleasures.”—Etelka Lehoczky for NPR Books

Publishers Weekly

“[D]elves into queer history and spins a witty and extravagant yarn about a dashing duo.”—starred, Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal

“This charming and poignant queer romance set against a Civil War–era backdrop will resonate with readers.”—starred, School Library Journal


“An illuminating western with a refreshingly matter-of-fact queer romance.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“An engrossing escapade with a heart-stealing queer romance.”—Kirkus Reviews

Emil Ferris

“Melanie Gillman’s beautifully crafted YA graphic adventure reveals the hitherto little-known historic diversity of the Old West.”—Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

Kate Leth

Stage Dreams is a delight. A fast-paced, charming adventure story told beautifully in colored pencil—a medium nobody knows better than Mel Gillman. Treat yourself to this book; your day/week/life will be better for it.”—Kate Leth, Spell on Wheels

Author, Illustrator: Melanie Gillman

Melanie Gillman is a cartoonist and colored pencil artist who draws positive queer and trans comics for young readers. They are the creator of the webcomic and graphic novel As the Crow Flies, published in 2017 by Iron Circus Comics. As the Crow Flies has been named a 2018 Stonewall Honor Book, won the 2018 Excellence in Graphic Literature Award for Best Middle Grade Graphic Novel, and been nominated for an Ignatz, Eisner, and Dwayne McDuffie Award. In addition to their comics work, they are also an adjunct professor in the Comics MFA Program at the California College of the Arts, where they teach classes about making comics and professional practices.