Any time of the year is a good time for a queer booksbut Pride Month is an especially significant time to support queer authors and literature.
In June, we celebrate LGBTQ lives and honor the brave hearts of the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. Luckily for bookworms, a ton of great LGBTQ books have already been published this year, with plenty more still to come.
These 10 recently released works are celebrations, excavations and contemplations of queerness and include captivating novels, charming YA, a thought-provoking essay collection, winning rom-coms, a daring memoir and even a trans reimagining of Homer’s “Iliad.”
‘I Kissed Shara Wheeler’
By Casey McQuiston (Wednesday Books, fiction)
the USA TODAY bestselling author of “Red, White & Royal Blue” and “One Last Stop” delivers a YA novel with a swoon-worthy romance readers have come to expect from their first two triumphant works, according to a ★★★★ (out of four) review for USA TODAY. Chloe Green’s senior year gets rocked when her nemesis, prom queen and would-be valedictorian opponent Shara Wheeler, kisses her and then flees their small Alabama town. When Chloe learns she isn’t the only one Shara kissed, she must work with the others to solve a series of clues left behind to bring the town sweetheart back.
‘Miss Memory Lane’
By Colton Haynes (Atria, nonfiction)
The “Arrow” and “Teen Wolf” actor pulls back the curtain on his life, from his childhood in small-town Kansas to Hollywood stardom, and writes about an overcoming addiction, coming to terms with his sexuality and struggling for redemption. “I think a lot of queer people can identify with this growing up, not feeling like you’re getting the love that you really need,” he tells USA TODAY. “In my situation, I grew up in a super small town and just was different than everybody else. I started using my body to get the attention that I thought was love.”
‘Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality’
By Eliot Schrefer, illustrated by Jules Zuckerberg (Katherine Tegen Books, nonfiction)
Two-time National Book Award finalist (and USA TODAY book critic) Schrefer returns with a well-researched, YA-friendly exploration of same-sex behaviors in the animal world and what they can teach us about queerness. Kirkus Reviews calls it “A thoughtful, thought-provoking, and incredibly fun study of queerness across the animal kingdom.”
‘Girls Can Kiss Now’
By Jill Gutowitz (Atria, nonfiction)
In her collection of essays, Gutowitz explores cultural shifts in pop culture, social media and the mainstreaming of lesbian culture with a sharp wit. She shines a light on part of the female experience she is intimate with and has not been seen represented enough: how pop culture and the toxic media landscape of the 2000s shaped girls’ perceptions. “I think it kind of manifested in people like Perez Hilton, and men taking their anger out on young women in really outright malicious ways,” says Gutowitz in an interview.
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‘Just by Looking at Him’
By Ryan O’Connell (Atria, fiction)
From the star of Peacock’s “Queer as Folk” and the Netflix series “Special” comes a dark, witty, sexy novel about a gay TV writer with cerebral palsy, his fight against addiction and his search for acceptance. Publishers Weekly calls it a “hysterical debut novel” and says it “reads like a zippy, traffic-dodging trip up the 101 on a blinding afternoon.”
By Susie Dumond (Dial Press Trade, fiction)
Semi-closeted queer baker Amy is fired from her job at a Christian bakery in mid-2010s Oklahoma when her boss discovers she’s a lesbian. But she’s got another unlikely gig to fall back on: bridesmaid for hire. She’s also got a potential romance of her own in the making when she meets new-to-town engineer Charley. Can this people-pleasing lover of all things romance continue to support an institution that doesn’t include her? “Dumond uses the inner and interpersonal conflicts of her de ella heroine to meaningfully prod queer rights issues in her funny and moving debut rom-com,” says Publishers Weekly.
By Nghi Vo (Tordotcom, fiction)
From the author of “The Chosen and the Beautiful,” a queer spin on “The Great Gatsby,” comes the story of Luli Wei, a Chinese American actress in the golden age of Hollywood. She gets her break from her playing monsters, and through these roles she learns to outmaneuver men who seek to control her. “Vo’s hypnotic prose blends metaphor with magic so seamlessly that reality itself becomes slippery. Her dazzling voice, evocative scene setting, and ambitious protagonist make this a knockout,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
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‘Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster’
By Andrea Mosqueda (Feiwel & Friends, fiction)
In this debut YA featuring Chicanx characters in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, bisexual teen Maggie Gonzalez is sent into a tailspin when she’s tasked with finding a date for her little sister’s quickly approaching quinceañera. Maggie’s search for the perfect escort blurs the lines between friendship and romances, and forces Maggie to confront her feelings for friends old and new including her de ella first crush de ella and best friend Amanda, ex-boyfriend Matthew and new girl Dani.
‘Wrath Goddess Sing’
By Maya Deane (William Morrow, fiction)
For fans of reimagined Greek myths like Madeline Miller’s “The Song of Achilles” comes a trans retelling of Homer’s “Iliad.” In Deane’s telling, demigod Achilles is transgender, and when Odysseus tries to recruit her for battle to fight as a man, her mother de ella Athena intervenes, giving her the woman’s body he’d always longed for. “Add in massive battle scenes, meddling gods, and all the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, and the result brings the familiar story to fresh, vivid, and unforgettable new life,” says a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
‘Fire Island: A Century in the Life of an American Paradise’
By Jack Parlett (Hanover Square Press, nonfiction)
Scholar and poet Parlett thought a critical love letter to Fire Island, the thin strip of beach off New York’s Long Island Coast and popular gay destination (and the subject of Joel Kim Booster’s new Hulu film). He digs into the island’s history, cultural significance and contradictions to tell the story of an evolving queer space, drawing on such figures as James Baldwin, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde and Frank O’Hara. Kirkus Reviews calls it “An illuminating, well-written history of a unique place.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism