Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
[Yahira is a lesbian]
The Summer of Impossibilities by Rachael Allen
Four girls. One summer. And a pact to do the impossible.
Skyler, Ellie, Scarlett, and Amelia Grace are forced to spend the summer at the lake house where their moms became best friends.
One can’t wait.
One would rather gnaw off her own arm than hang out with a bunch of strangers just so their moms can drink too much wine and sing Journey at two o’clock in the morning.
Two are sisters.
Three are currently feuding with their mothers.
One is hiding how bad her joint pain has gotten.
All of them are hiding something.
One falls in love with a boy she thought she despised.
One almost sets her crush on fire with a flaming marshmallow.
One has a crush that could change everything.
None of them are the same at the end of the summer.
[Amelia is a lesbian]
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar
Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is, and it only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life. Flávia is beautiful and charismatic, and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat decide to showcase their talent as henna artists. In a fight to prove who is the best, their lives become more tangled―but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush, especially since Flávia seems to like her back.
As the competition heats up, Nishat has a decision to make: stay in the closet for her family, or put aside her differences with Flávia and give their relationship a chance.
Night Owls and Summer Skies by Rebecca Sullivan
You have to step off the trail to find your path . . .
When her mother unceremoniously dumps her at Camp Mapplewood for the summer, Emma Lane’s hopes of repairing their fractured relationship are gone with the wind. Now she’s stuck in the wilderness facing her worst fears. Trees? Terrifying. Spiders? Even worse. And don’t even get Emma started on how she feels about camp activities. But Emma’s got a plan, and she will do anything in her power to get kicked out of camp, from sleeping in to playing practical jokes on her fellow campers. Yet when Emma draws the attention of her illusive and attractive camp counselor Vivian Black, she has to come to terms with the fact that how her summer starts isn’t necessarily how it might end. Will Vivian be the key to unlocking Emma’s fears once and for all?
Out Now: Queer We Go Again! edited by Saundra Mitchell (YA Anthology)
A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom…aliens run from the government…a president’s daughter comes into her own…a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer… a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops… skateboards and VW vans…Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!
This essential and beautifully written modern-day collection features an intersectional and inclusive slate of authors and stories.
The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert (YA Historical Mystery)
New Year’s Eve, 1929.
Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. The new year is just around the corner, and all of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but even wealthy partiers’ diamond earrings can’t outshine the real star of the night: the boy in the red dress. Marion is the club’s star performer and his fans are legion–if mostly underground.
When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion starts asking questions, Millie wonders if she’s just another fan. But then her body is found crumpled in the courtyard, dead from an apparent fall off the club’s balcony, and all signs point to Marion as the murderer. Millie knows he’s innocent, but local detectives aren’t so easily convinced.
As she chases clues that lead to cemeteries and dead ends, Millie’s attention is divided between the wry and beautiful Olive, a waitress at the Cloak & Dagger, and Bennie, the charming bootlegger who’s offered to help her solve the case. The clock is ticking for the fugitive Marion, but the truth of who the killer is might be closer than Millie thinks.
[Millie is bisexual]
The Names We Take by Trace Kerr (YA Post-Apocalypse)
Never leave someone behind: it’s a promise easier made than kept, especially when seventeen-year-old Pip takes the headstrong twelve-year-old Iris under her protection in the wake of an earth-shattering plague.
After an unspeakable tragedy, the duo must negotiate the complexities of their own identities amid the nearly unrecognizable remains of Spokane, Washington. When they’re captured by a violent gang, Pip and Iris meet Fly, a stubborn and courageous older girl. When their captors exchange them for supplies at Thistle Hill Orchard, an idyllic farm turned commune, it seems that the girls’ luck has finally changed for the better. But the proselytizing of Veronica, Thistle Hill’s leader, and the looming presence of her right-hand man, Granville―who is more snake than cowboy―make the trio’s circumstances more perilous.
As Pip, Iris, and Fly weigh the precariousness of their lives at Thistle Hill against the uncertainty of life on the outside, they simultaneously grapple with the secrets that make their situation all the more tenuous. Pip’s vow to never leave someone behind may have made survival more difficult for her, but this promise could also be the key to finding meaning in the ashes of what came before.
[Pip is bisexual and intersex]
House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess (YA Fantasy)
Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? Three Dark Crowns meets The Breakfast Club with DRAGONS.
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year these five outcasts will answer the call:
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.
[Vespir is a lesbian]
Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn (YA Fantasy)
The first in a dazzling, commercial, historical adventure series set in the extravagant and deadly world of the French Revolution. A whirlwind of action, science and magic reveals, with a diverse cast of fearless heroines, a band of rebels like no other.
Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?
In a fast and furious story full of the glamour and excesses, intrigue and deception of these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.
[Camille is bisexual and Ada is a lesbian]
This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling (These Witches Won’t Burn #2) (YA Fantasy)
Hannah Walsh just wants to finish high school. It’s her senior year, so she should be focusing on classes, hanging out with her best friend, and flirting with her new girlfriend, Morgan. But it turns out surviving a murderous Witch Hunter doesn’t exactly qualify as a summer vacation, and now the rest of the Hunters seem more intent on destroying her magic than ever.
When Hannah learns the Hunters have gone nationwide, armed with a serum capable of taking out entire covens at once, she’s desperate to help. Now, with witches across the country losing the most important thing they have–their power–Hannah could be their best shot at finally defeating the Hunters. After all, she’s one of the only witches to escape a Hunter with her magic intact.
Or so everyone believes. Because as good as she is at faking it, doing even the smallest bit of magic leaves her in agony. The only person who can bring her comfort, who can make her power flourish, is Morgan. But Morgan’s magic is on the line, too, and if Hannah can’t figure out how to save her–and the rest of the Witches–she’ll lose everything she’s ever known. And as the Hunters get dangerously close to their final target, will all the Witches in Salem be enough to stop an enemy determined to destroy magic for good?
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (YA Fantasy)
In a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic, a desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial lady find a connection on the high seas.
The pirate Florian, born Flora, has always done whatever it takes to survive—including sailing under false flag on the Dove as a marauder, thief, and worse. Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, a highborn Imperial daughter, is on board as well—accompanied by her own casket. But Evelyn’s one-way voyage to an arranged marriage in the Floating Islands is interrupted when the captain and crew show their true colors and enslave their wealthy passengers.
Both Florian and Evelyn have lived their lives by the rules, and whims, of others. But when they fall in love, they decide to take fate into their own hands—no matter the cost.
Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s sweeping fantasy debut, full of stolen memories, illicit mermaid’s blood, double agents, and haunting mythical creatures conjures an extraordinary cast of characters and the unforgettable story of a couple striving to stay together in the face of myriad forces wishing to control their identities and destinies.
The Tree and the Vine by Dola de Jong, translated by Kristen Gehrman
When Bea meets Erica at the home of a mutual friend, this chance encounter sets the stage for the story of two women torn between desire and taboo in the years leading up to the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. Erica, a reckless young journalist, pursues passionate but abusive affairs with different women. Bea, a reserved secretary, grows increasingly obsessed with Erica, yet denial and shame keep her from recognizing her attraction. Only Bea’s discovery that Erica is half-Jewish and a member of the Dutch resistance—and thus in danger—brings her closer to accepting her own feelings.
First published in 1955 in the Netherlands, Dola de Jong’s The Tree and the Vine was a groundbreaking work in its time for its frank and sensitive depiction of the love between two women, now available in a new translation.
We Had No Rules by Corinne Manning
A young teenager stays a step ahead of her parents’ sexuality-based restrictions by running away and learns a very different set of rules. A woman grieves the loss of a sister, a “gay divorce,” and the pain of unacknowledged abuse with the help of a lone wallaby on a farm in Washington State. A professor of women’s and gender studies revels in academic and sexual power but risks losing custody of the family dog.
In Corinne Manning’s stunning debut story collection, a cast of queer characters explore the choice of assimilation over rebellion. In this historical moment that’s hyperaware of and desperate to define even the slowest of continental shifts, when commitment succumbs to the logic of capitalism and nobody knows what to call each other or themselves—Gay? Lesbian? Queer? Partners? Dad?—who are we? And if we don’t know who we are, what exactly can we offer each other?
Spanning the years 1992 to 2019, and moving from New York to North Carolina to Seattle, the eleven first-person stories in We Had No Rules feature characters who feel the promise of a radically reimagined world but face complicity instead.
All My Mother’s Lovers by Ilana Masad
Intimacy has always eluded twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause—despite being brought up by married parents, models of domestic bliss—until, that is, Lucia came into her life. But when Maggie’s mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and, along with Iris’s will, five sealed envelopes, each addressed to a mysterious man she’s never heard of.
In an effort to run from her own grief and discover the truth about Iris—who made no secret of her discomfort with her daughter’s sexuality—Maggie embarks on a road trip, determined to hand-deliver the letters and find out what these men meant to her mother. Maggie quickly discovers Iris’s second, hidden life, which shatters everything Maggie thought she knew about her parents’ perfect relationship. What is she supposed to tell her father and brother? And how can she deal with her own relationship when her whole world is in freefall?
When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she’d been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence?
Astrid’s youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid’s thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.
In All Adults Here, Emma Straub’s unique alchemy of wisdom, humor, and insight come together in a deeply satisfying story about adult siblings, aging parents, high school boyfriends, middle school mean girls, the lifelong effects of birth order, and all the other things that follow us into adulthood, whether we like them to or not.
[Astrid is in a relationship with another woman]
Exile Music by Jennifer Steil (Historical Fiction)
As a young girl growing up in Vienna in the 1930s, Orly has an idyllic childhood filled with music. Her father plays the viola in the Philharmonic, her mother is a well-regarded opera singer, her beloved and charismatic older brother holds the neighborhood in his thrall, and most of her eccentric and wonderful extended family live nearby. Only vaguely aware of Hitler’s rise or how her Jewish heritage will define her family’s identity, Orly spends her days immersed in play with her best friend and upstairs neighbor, Anneliese. Together they dream up vivid and elaborate worlds, where they can escape the growing tensions around them.
But in 1938, Orly’s peaceful life is shattered when the Germans arrive. Her older brother flees Vienna first, and soon Orly, her father, and her mother procure refugee visas for La Paz, a city high up in the Bolivian Andes. Even as the number of Jewish refugees in the small community grows, her family is haunted by the music that can no longer be their livelihood, and by the family and friends they left behind. While Orly and her father find their footing in the mountains, Orly’s mother grows even more distant, harboring a secret that could put their family at risk again. Years pass, the war ends, and Orly must decide: Is the love and adventure she has found in La Paz what defines home, or is the pull of her past in Europe–and the piece of her heart she left with Anneliese–too strong to ignore?
Swimmers in Winter by Faye Guenther (Short Stories)
Sharp and stylistic, the trifecta of diptychs that is Swimmers in Winter swirls between real and imagined pasts and futures to delve into our present cultural moment: conflicts between queer people and the police; the impact of homophobia, bullying, and PTSD; the dynamics of women’s friendships; life for queer women in Toronto during WWII and after; the intersections between class identities and queer identities; experiences of economic precarity and precarious living conditions; the work of being an artist; dystopian worlds; and the impact of gentrification on public space. These are soul-searching, plot-driven character studies equally influenced by James Baldwin, Christopher Isherwood, and Elena Ferrante.
Amora: Stories by Natalia Borges Polesso, translated by Julia Sanches (Short Stories)
Amora dares explore the way women love each other—the atrophy and healing of the female spirit in response to sexual desire and identity. These thirty-three short stories and poems, crafted with a deliberate delicacy, each capture the candid, private moments of women in love.
Together, these stories and the women who inhabit them reveal an illuminating portrait of the sacred female romance, with all its nuances, complexities, burdens, and triumphs revealed. Violence, sickness, chaos, tenderness, beauty, and freedom adorn these pages in a mosaic of unforgettable moments, including a lesbian granddaughter discovering unexpected commonalities with her grandmother, a teenager’s tryst with her friend after disenchanting sex with a boy, and an old couple’s dreamy Sunday-morning ritual.
Romance & Comics:
Check out Women and Words for many, many more lesbian romance new releases!
Waiting for You by Elle Spencer (Romance)
Have you ever met someone and felt like you’ve known them in a thousand different lifetimes?
Lindsay Hall was a high school senior when she and her friend Patty discovered peach schnapps, listened to a past-life hypnosis CD, and got an up-close look at who she once was. And who she used to love. The knowledge of her past life has always haunted Lindsay. As her ex is happy to point out, it’s gotten in the way of her relationships too. Even her teenage daughter has politely suggested that she “get the eff over it.” Except she didn’t say eff.
Ren Christopher just wants a quick break before she starts a new job in Paris. She’s just extracted herself from a not-brief-enough, drama-filled relationship. A few weeks relaxing and hanging with her old college friend Deb is just what the doctor ordered. No pressure, no expectations, and absolutely no drama.
Everything is perfect until Lindsay faints at the sight of Ren.
Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner (Romance)
Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.
As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.
With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?
Isola, Vol 2 by Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl & Msassyk (Comics)
In the second collection of BRENDEN FLETCHER and KARL KERSCHL’s Eisner-nominated series, Queen Olwyn and Captain Rook find themselves far off course, without supplies or any hope of breaking the evil spell trapping Olwyn in the form of a magical blue tiger. The companions will face grave new threats and uncover long-held secrets in their quest to find Isola, the land of the dead, where they hope to return the Queen of Maar to human form before war breaks out
The Rose of Versailles, Vol 2 Riyoko Ikeda (Manga)
Oscar François de Jarjeyes, female commander of the royal guard, is at the center of events as Marie Antoinette’s involvement in the scandalous Affair of the Diamond Necklace and her passion for Count Fersen of Sweden cause chaos at the court of Versailles. This deluxe hardcover volume contains chapters 23-44 of Riyoko Ikeda’s historical fiction masterwork.
[originally published in the 70s, this is one of the early yuri manga]
The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers by Mark Gevisser
More than five years in the making, Mark Gevisser’s The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers is a globetrotting exploration of how the human rights frontier around sexual orientation and gender identity has come to divide―and describe―the world in an entirely new way over the first two decades of the twenty-first century. No social movement has brought change so quickly and with such dramatically mixed results. While same-sex marriage and gender transition is celebrated in some parts of the world, laws are being strengthened to criminalize homosexuality and gender nonconformity in others. A new Pink Line, Gevisser argues, has been drawn across the world, and he takes readers to its frontiers.
In between sharp analytical chapters about culture wars, folklore, gender ideology, and geopolitics, Gevisser provides sensitive and sometimes startling profiles of the queer folk he’s encountered on the Pink Line’s frontiers across nine countries. They include a trans Malawian refugee granted asylum in South Africa and a gay Ugandan refugee stuck in Nairobi; a lesbian couple who started a gay café in Cairo after the Arab Spring, a trans woman fighting for custody of her child in Moscow, and a community of kothis―“women’s hearts in men’s bodies”―who run a temple in an Indian fishing village.
Eye-opening, moving, and crafted with expert research, compelling narrative, and unprecedented scope, The Pink Line is a monumental―and vital―journey through the border posts of the world’s new LGBTQ+ frontiers.
The Book of Queer Prophets edited by Ruth Hunt
The book of Queer Prophets contains modern-day epistles from some of our most important thinkers, writers and activists: Jeanette Winterson tackles religious dogma, Amrou Al-Kadhi writes about trying to make it as a Muslim drag queen in London, John Bell writes about his decision to come out later in life, Tamsin Omond remembers getting married in the middle of a protest and Kate Bottley explains her journey to becoming an LGBT ally.
It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage by Arlan Hamilton, with Rachel L. Nelson
From a black, gay woman who broke into the boys’ club of Silicon Valley comes an empowering guide to finding your voice, working your way into any room you want to be in, and achieving your own dreams.
In 2015, Arlan Hamilton was on food stamps and sleeping on the floor of the San Francisco airport, with nothing but an old laptop and a dream of breaking into the venture capital business. She couldn’t understand why people starting companies all looked the same (white and male), and she wanted the chance to invest in the ideas and people who didn’t conform to this image of how a founder is supposed to look. Hamilton had no contacts or network in Silicon Valley, no background in finance—not even a college degree. What she did have was fierce determination and the will to succeed.
As much as we wish it weren’t so, we still live in a world where being underrepresented often means being underestimated. But as someone who makes her living investing in high-potential founders who also happen to be female, LGBTQ, or people of color, Hamilton understands that being undervalued simply means that a big upside exists. Because even if you have to work twice as hard to get to the starting line, she says, once you are on a level playing field, you will sprint ahead.
The Little Book of Pride by Lewis Laney
Celebrate the LGTBQ community with this small but perfectly formed guide to Pride.
What began as a protest for gay rights following the Stonewall riots of 1969 in New York has grown to become a global celebration of LGBTQ culture. In the 50-odd years since the original protest, and what is now widely accepted to be the first Pride march – Christopher Street Liberation Day, 1970 – Pride events are now attended by millions each year, celebrating how far we’ve come, recognising where we have to go and highlighting important causes in the queer community.
The Little Book of Pride is a concise look at everything you need to know about Pride, revealing the history, the key people involved, the best Pride events around the world, inspirational quotes from famous queers, Pride facts and a fun Pride survival guide.
Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ People Who Made History by Sarah Prager, illustrated by Sarah Papworth
Rainbow Revolutionaries brings to life the vibrant histories of fifty pioneering LGBTQ+ people from around the world. Through Sarah Prager’s (Queer, There, and Everywhere) short, engaging bios, and Sarah Papworth’s bold, dynamic art, readers can delve into the lives of Wen of Han, a Chinese emperor who loved his boyfriend as much as his people, Martine Rothblatt, a trans woman who’s helping engineer the robots of tomorrow, and so many more!
This book is a celebration of the many ways these heroes have made a difference and will inspire young readers to make a difference, too. Featuring an introduction, map, timeline, and glossary, this must-have biography collection is the perfect read during Pride month and all year round.
Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community by Jesse Szewczyk (Nonfiction)
Tasty has always been the place to turn for good eats. Now, it’s also the place to turn for a community. Here, stories of love, pride, and acceptance—and the important role that food can play in that journey—accompany the innovative yet totally doable recipes you know to expect from Tasty.
Compiled by food writer Jesse Szewczyk and contributed by 75 cooks and celebrities from across the queer community such as Ted Allen, Anita Lo, and Rick Martinez, these recipes are not only delicious, but also meaningful. These folks bring you the dishes they love most, from Taco Potatoes with Spicy Ground Turkey to Everything Bagel Beignets, and from Beer-Steamed Crabs with Spicy Vinegar Dipping Sauce and Corn Salad to Fudgy Miso Brownies.
Check out more LGBTQ new releases at:
- LGBTQ Reads New Releases: May 2020
- Women and Words: New Releases & Coming Up
- Lambda Literary: May’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books
- Reads Rainbow Book Releases: May 2020