Our Queerest Shelves: My Weekly LGBTQ Newsletter

As you may or may not know, I now work full time at Book Riot, where I have been writing for years. It’s truly a dream come true! One of the things I do there is write Our Queerest Shelves, a weekly newsletter about queer books that just launched in June! It’s kind of a mash-up of things I’ve been doing already, but looking at all kinds of queer rep, not just sapphic books. If you’re interested in LGBTQ lit in general, consider signing up!

Every week, I round up the most interesting queer bookish links from around the internet plus the newest LGBTQ posts on Book Riot, highlight some of the week’s queer new releases, and talk about whatever queer bookish topics that come to mind. This week (the newsletter going out today!), I talked about illustrated LGBTQ primers, like the Pocket Change Collective. Last week, I discussed how all my favorite books as a kid turned out to be queer (looking at you, Baby-Sitters Club!)

I’m really enjoying writing it, so I hope you sign up to another place I talk about queer books all day! (Podcasts, videos, blogs, newsletters–I’m slowly collecting every format possible.)

Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone is 99¢ June 26 – July 2!

This is a sponsored post. See Advertise with the Lesbrary for more details.

Get Crystal’s House of Queers by Brooke Skipstone
for 99¢ June 26 – July 2!

Crystal's House of Queers cover

Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.

Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.

The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.

They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.

99¢ promo Crystal's House

My Latest Sapphic Book Riot Posts

As you may or may not know, I work for Book Riot now! I’ve been writing for them for many years, but now I’m an Associate Editor! It’s basically my dream job, and it’s left me a lot of time for writing. And of course, a lot of that time I’m writing about sapphic books. I haven’t done a great job of letting you know about those posts here, though, so I thought I’d start doing semi-regular round ups of my Book Riot writing, and here it is! I’ll be starting with my most recent posts and then working backwards.

A Pinterest pin reading If you say there are no good lesbian books, you're bad at picking books.

I’ve been writing about bi and lesbian books for more than a decade now, and in that time, there’s been a constant refrain that gets under my skin: “There’s no good lesbian books.” This is often said by readers of M/M books who refuse to read any other queer books, but bafflingly, it’s also frequently said by lesbians. This was frustrating to hear when I first began the Lesbrary, but in 2021 I’m left flabbergasted. We are living in a golden age of queer lit, especially YA, and you’re telling me you can’t find ANY good lesbian books?

If You Say There are No Good Lesbian Books, You’re Bad at Picking Books

Tree surrounded by phosphorescent mushrooms

For me, one of the best parts about picking up a queer fantasy book is the possibility of being immersed in a world that doesn’t have heteronormativity or cissexism, because you’re building a whole different world, so you don’t have to pack in all of the prejudices from ours! I know there are a lot of people looking for queer fantasy set in worlds without any prejudice towards queer people — also known as “queernormative” or “queernorm” books! So I wanted to provide a place to start.

Queernorm Worlds: 35 Fantasy Books With No Homophobia or Transphobia

A Pinterest pin reading The Past, Present, and Future of BookTube, According to BookTubers

I interviewed about a dozen BookTubers, including lots of queer BookTubers, about the platform!

For CeCe, BookTube has been a key part of her becoming the person she is today. “When I started my channel I was a closeted incoming college junior who had read two queer books. Now I’m an out and proud lesbian, I make content every day about queer books online, and I make that content about books for a living. I’ve made lasting friendships with other BookTubers, viewers, readers, publishers, authors, and so many other people who love making bookish content.

“Getting good at talking to a camera gave me more confidence to speak in person. It gave me the power to be myself, and gave me the chance to help others. I’ve had the chance to meet several people who watch my channel and I’ve had several encounters with people who have said my videos helped them realize they were queer, or even helped them to come out. The weight of that responsibility isn’t lost on me, but I can’t believe the fact that BookTube has given me the ability to have that kind of impact.

“I have always wanted to create a platform that was about love and kindness and uplifting people. And I absolutely believe that making content that fits these things has made me a happier and more open person. I’ve been able to read hundreds of queer books and explore new worlds and stories I never would have dreamed existed when I was a 15-year-old Mormon kid in Utah.”

The Past, Present, and Future of BookTube, According to BookTubers

A photo of a sign at a protest reading Step 1 of being an ally is showing up

In my dream version of this, we have an organized group of online educators (with shared resources to link to) that can be called on when needed. After all, if 4chan and subreddits can organize hateful miseducation campaigns, why can’t there be a version for good? There are talking points for the alt-right and organized ways to try to lure people into white supremacy — why do we not have clear, step-by-step guides for educating people away from falling into these rabbit holes? (And if we do, why aren’t they more well-known and circulated?)

Reading books to educate yourself as an ally is great, but it should be considered just the first stepping stone. Once you have educated yourself, the next step is to educate others. It may be satisfying to tell someone to “just google it” and be righteous in knowing more than they do — but it doesn’t do much to move the needle. That requires patience and persistence, not smug superiority.

It’s Not Enough To Educate Yourself as an Ally. You Also Have to Teach.

Pinterest pin of a collage of Sappho accessories and decor

Sappho, the original Lesbian poet! She is the namesake of not only lesbians, but sapphics in general. Truly a queer icon. While we know almost nothing about her except that she lived on Lesbos, wrote poetry, and professed love for women, her legacy has lived on for thousands of years — as she predicted: “someone in some future time will think of us.”

These days, Sappho is most well-known for her love of women. In fact, her name is synonymous with it. Wearing a shirt with Sappho on it is more likely to be seen as announcing your sexuality than appreciating an ancient Greek poet. It’s worth remembering why she rose to such levels of fame, though: her poetry resonates even now. If you aren’t already familiar, read some of Sappho’s poetry to see for yourself! Then you can move on to more lesbian poetry.

Whether you love Sappho’s poetry or just want to add some lesbian/Lesbian flair to your wardrobe and decor, these Sappho accessories will be the perfect addition. They range from art to clothing to stickers and pins, letting you bring a bit of Sappho with you everywhere you go.

Suffering Sappho! Sappho of Lesbos Decor and Accessories to Collect

More of my Book Riot posts:

These ones aren’t focused on sapphic books, but maybe you’ll find them interesting anyways.

New Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Week, June 22nd!

Here are the sapphic books out this week! I’m most excited for Sky Falling, because I loved her previous novel, The Summer We Got Free! (Here’s my review.) Last week was mostly romance, but this week is sapphic SFF’s time to shine. For more new sapphic releases, also check out 58 Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Pride Month: June 1st was the big release day this month, so most of those are already out and waiting for you to pick them!

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie (Queer Woman Fiction)

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie

When she was twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye still moves through life entirely—and unrepentantly—on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Maybe her junior high classmates weren’t wrong when they voted her “Most Likely to Be Single” instead of “Most Ride-or-Die Homie,” but at least she’s always been free to do as she pleases.

Then a twelve-year-old girl tracks Skye down during one of her brief visits to her hometown of Philadelphia and informs Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Things get even more complicated when Skye realizes that the woman she tried and failed to pick up the other day is the girl’s aunt, and now it’s awkward. All the while, her brother is trying to get in touch, her mother is being bewilderingly kind, and the West Philly pool halls and hoagie shops of her youth have been replaced by hipster cafés.

With its endearingly prickly narrator and a cast of characters willing to both challenge her and catch her when she falls, this novel is a clever, moving portrait of a woman and the relationships she thought she could live without.

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall (Bisexual Fantasy)

Star Eater cover

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy faction approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill (F/F Fantasy)

The Bone Way cover

Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own.

Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling tale inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.

Catalyst Gate (The Protectorate #3) by Megan O’Keefe (Bisexual Sci Fi)

Catalyst Gate cover

The universe is under threat and an ancient alien intelligence threatens to bring humanity down unless Major Sanda Greeve and her crew can stop it in the final book of this explosive Philip K. Dick award nominated space opera.

The code has been cracked. The secrets of the Casimir gates have been revealed. But humanity still isn’t safe. The alien intelligence known as Rainier and her clones are still out there, hell-bent on its destruction. And only Sanda can stop them.

With the universe’s most powerful ship under her command and some of the most skilled hackers, fighters, and spies on her team, it will still take everything she has to find the key to taking down an immortal enemy with seemingly limitless bodies, resources, and power.

The Papercutter by Cindy Rizzo (Queer YA Dystopia)

Papercutter cover

A deeply polarized and ungovernable United States of America has separated into two nations―the God Fearing States (GFS) and the United Progressive Regions (UPR). 

Judith Braverman, a teenager living in an Orthodox Jewish community in the GFS, is not only a talented artist accomplished in the ancient craft of papercutting, she also has the gift of seeing into peoples’ souls―and can tell instantly if someone is good or evil.

Jeffrey Schwartz has no love for religion or conformity and yearns to escape to the freedom of the UPR. When he’s accepted into an experimental pen pal program and paired with Dani Fine, an openly queer girl in the UPR, he hopes that he can finally find a way out.

As danger mounts and their alarm grows, Judith embeds a secret code in her papercuts so that she and Jeffrey can tell Dani what’s happening to Jews in the GFS without raising suspicions from the government. When the three arrange a quick, clandestine meeting, Jeffrey is finally faced with the choice to flee or to stay and resist. And Judith is reeling from a pull toward Dani that is unlike anything she has ever felt before.

Content note: the book contains one brief memory of sexual assault of a male teen by another male teen.

We Should Meet in Air: A Graphic Memoir on Reading Sylvia Plath by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg (Graphic Memoir)

We Should Meet In Air cover

Part memoir, part literary biography, the writing of Sylvia Plath teaches one young woman the power of her own feelings.

Sylvia Plath’s writing reaches across decades to teach one young woman the power of her own feelings in this part memoir, part literary biography.

Like so many thoughtful and soul-searching young women, as a teenage girl Lisa was transfixed by the writing of Sylvia Plath. In different times, in different places, and in different ways, each of them struggles because of how they presented themselves to the world. As the author explored her sexuality and discovered her identity as an LGBTQ woman, she found inspiration and solace in the poetry and prose of this famous writer.

If you like what we do here and want to see more of it, support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

Sapphic YA with Complicated Families

Sapphic YA with Complicated Families cover collage

Here’s a trope I didn’t realize I loved in a YA novel: complicated families. Whether it’s an unusual family configuration, strained parent relationships, or long-lost siblings, I love seeing queer stories that explore all the different ways biological families can look. I come from a very loving and supportive but also fairly complicated family, so this topic is close to my heart. So here are a few of my favorite YA books with complicated families!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with this one, because it was hugely popular when it came out! This is a story told in verse about two sisters: one in New York and one in the Dominican Republic. Yahaira lives in New York City with her mother and her father, and Camino only sees her father once a year, when he comes to visit the Dominican Republic–but they actually don’t know about each other until their  father dies.

This is a story about grief, but it’s also about trying to navigate those family secrets as well as finding out more about their father after he died, when they don’t have a chance to talk to him about it or understand why he kept those secrets.

This is a really beautiful story that deals with some pretty difficult subject matter. Camino, especially, is really struggling, and when her father dies, she doesn’t have that  same support and protection that she had before, and that leaves her vulnerable. One of the things I really appreciated about this book was the two main characters slowly starting to  figure out who they might be to each other. We only see the beginning of this, but it stayed with me. This is a beautiful book about the complicated forms that family can take. (Yahaira has a girlfriend, so that’s the queer content.)

You can read my full review here.

This is What it Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow

This Is What It Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow

This is one of my favorite YA books! It’s a literal getting the band back together story with an F/F romance subplot–who can resist that? This follows three teenagers in the summer after they graduated from high school. They used to be best friends and in a band together, but a lot of events transpired at the same time that broke them apart.

When a battle of the bands is announced, though, they have to figure out how to come back together to hopefully win a ten thousand dollar prize, which would be life-changing money for them. What broke up their friend group is that one of the main characters was struggling with alcoholism and was hospitalized. At that same time, Dia’s boyfriend died, and weeks later, she realizes she’s pregnant. So she decides she can’t stay in Hanna’s life as long as Hanna is really self-destructing and drinking so much, especially now that she is pregnant. They don’t talk to each other again until this summer that the story takes place.

What I really liked about this one is telling the story of Dia’s teen pregnancy and being a young mom. I come from a family of young mothers, and it is very difficult to be a young mom, but I also really appreciate stories that show how complicated it is and how you can still have this beautiful family that comes out of it. It’s a fairly small part of the plot, but it does show how Dia’s family came together to help her raise this child.

You can read my full review here.

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

This is a heart-wrenching story that is equal parts sweet romance of two girls falling in love and Grace’s difficult relationship with her mother. Eva, Grace’s love interest, has just lost her mom, and she finds comfort in conversations with Grace’s mother, Maggie. Grace feels pulled in several directions: she’s jealous that Maggie and Eva have a better relationship than Maggie and Grace, but she’s also nervous for Eva. Maggie can seem like a gregarious, generous person, but she is unreliable. Grace is the one who has to rescue her from dangerous dive bar situations. She’s the one who is pulled from house to house and Maggie moves in with short-term boyfriends.

Grace also feels like she’s at a crossroads. She dreams of being a pianist and has a crucial audition coming up that would secure her a place at a prestigious school, but she’s afraid of what would happen to her mother if she left her alone.

You can read my full review here.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

Suzette and her brother Lionel used to be very close, but then Lionel started struggling with mental health issues and Suzette was sent away to boarding school. Suzette is bisexual and their family is Black and Jewish, so we see how those intersectionalities play out in Suzette’s life, especially when she was at boarding school, where she had a bad experience and was outed outed.

The focus of this story, though, is Suzette and Lionel trying to repair their relationship. There’s this gulf between them of that missing time–how they were both struggling when they weren’t in each other’s lives–and they’re having trouble getting back to where they were before. Some of the descriptions of this book talk about the love triangle where they are both interested in the same girl, but it isn’t really about that, and it’s not some sort of competitive love triangle. It’s much more about this sibling relationship and their complicated family, where they clearly both care a lot about each other, but are having trouble talking to each other about what’s happened, what’s changed in their family, and about how they can form a new relationship with each other.

You can read my full review here.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m danforth

I couldn’t help but talk about one of my favorite books, The Miseducation of Cameron Post. This book starts with Cameron having her first kiss with a girl and at that same time, far from the ferris wheel she’s riding, her parents die in a tragic audience. When Cam finds out, those two things become connected in her mind. She is sent to live with her very conservative aunt, and she ends up being sent to a conversion camp.

This is a really difficult read in times, but it is beautifully written. I love Cam Post as a character, there’s a bunch of great funny moments, and the side characters are really strong. The complicated family is mostly Cameron trying to reconcile with her grief and with her feelings about her parents, who she never got to come out to, so she doesn’t really get closure. She feels this misplaced guilt that somehow this was a punishment for her kissing a girl, and that’s why her parents died. It’s about her learning to accept her whole self and trying to deal with her grief without punishing herself. This is my favorite YA book of all time. It’s brilliant.

You can read my full review here.

Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin

This is a beautiful historical YA novels set in the 1920s in the U.S. It’s about Garnet, who loves birds, but she can only express her interest in ornithology by cutting intricate silhouettes of birds; that’s the “ladylike” way that she can pursue her interests. Her mother really needs for her to get married to support them, because they don’t really have any other options. Meanwhile, Garnet falls for a flapper girl.

What makes this complicated, and I think what is the strength of the book, is that it discusses what we owe to each other and to our family: the difficulty and complexity of balancing your own individual needs and wants with the people who might be dependent on you. In most queer YA books, you get to come out and live your authentic self, and if your family is not supportive, you walk away from them. But for Garnet, she knows if she walks away from her mother, she has almost no way to support herself. Her mother would be fairly helpless living as an older single woman in 1920s America with no money and no backup. Silhouette of a Sparrow grapples with those really difficult questions about family and individuality.

You can read my full review here.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar

Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating cover

What I really liked about this book is that it has two main characters who are both Bengali Irish teenagers, but they’re very different from each other: they have very different families, they speak different languages, they have different religions. They are both queer, but one of them is out as bisexual to her family, who is extremely accepting, and the other character has a family where she can’t really safely come out.

I think that in modern queer YA, we don’t see many families where you just don’t come out–because it’s not a good idea or because you don’t feel safe doing it. And I think it’s important to have that representation. I especially liked that because we had these two families, we saw that it wasn’t just because they were a Bengali family, that there are Bengali families who would be very accepting and others that wouldn’t be. The comparison between those two families that made it such an interesting book to read with that lens.

Another complicated family component to this is that Ishu has spent her life being fiercely competitive with her older sister. She’s even competing to be head girl (that’s how she got into this fake dating mess) to try to one-up her sister. But they begin to have a different dynamic with some distance, and a subplot of this story is them rebuilding their relationship as something more supportive.

You can read my full review here.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

The Girls I've Been by Tess Sharpe

This is about Nora, who was raised by her con artist mother. She had to participate in a lot of cons and become different people in all of them. Obviously, that is already a very complicated family. She no longer has much contract with her mother, and she’s living with her older sister who helped her get out that dangerous situation. They are trying to leave that life behind them, but Nora ends up being caught up in a bank robbery and held hostage with her girlfriend and her ex-boyfriend.

This is an incredible thriller: it’s so fast-paced. Definitely check out the trigger warnings, though, because it is also one of the most brutal books I have read. It is incredibly effective, and for the purposes of this list, it really shows how difficult it is for Nora to have grown up with this mother, who did not provide a safe and loving environment for her, but who also helped inform so much of who she is, and Nora trying to detangle those. If you are okay with really difficult subject matter, including rape, murder, and gore, and if you want to read a thriller about misogyny, I highly recommend this one.

You can read my full review here.

Middletown by Sarah Moon

This is the book that inspired this post! It’s YA novel about two sisters who are trying to stay out of foster care while their mother is in rehab, and it It also has a gender questioning main character.

Not only do Eli and Anna have a difficult relationship with their mother–Eli always accepts their mother’s apologies after she comes home from the drunk tank, while Anna storms to her bedroom and slams the door–they also have a complicated relationship to each other. They used to be very close, but there’s been distance between them ever since Anna threw out all her soccer gear one night and started dressed in black with no explanation. Now, while their mother is in rehab, they have only each other. And if they’re going to avoid getting split up by foster care, they’ll have to be persistent. (Anna dresses up as their aunt and goes to Eli’s parent teacher conferences.)

Quickly, though, their plans fall apart, and in the scramble and impromptu road trip that results, they’ll learn their family is even more complicated than they imagined.

You can read my full review here.

This post was originally a video sponsored by Middletown! If you want to hear me talk about these books instead of reading it, I’ve included the original video.

If you like what we do here and want to see more of it, support the Lesbrary on Patreon and get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

58 Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Pride Month!

Bi & Lesbian Books Out in  June! cover collage

Would you believe that more than 50 sapphic books come out this month? It’s true! Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find out which books have queer representation, or what kind of representation they have. So here’s a big list of bi and lesbian books out this month, sorted by genre. I’ve highlighted a few of the books I’m most interested in, but click through to see the other titles’ blurbs!

As always, if you can get these through an indie bookstore, that is ideal, but if you can’t, the titles and covers are linked to my Amazon affiliate link. If you click through and buy something, I’ll get a small percentage. On to the books!

Young Adult

YA Contemporary

Ace of Spades cover

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

All you need to know is . . . I’m here to divide and conquer. Like all great tyrants do. ―Aces

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

(Lesbian main character)

The Lucky List by Rachael Lippincott

The Lucky List by Rachael Lippincott

Emily and her mom were always lucky. Every month they’d take her lucky quarter, select lucky card 505, and dominate the heatedly competitive bingo night in their small, quirky town of Huckabee. But Emily’s mom’s luck ran out three years ago when she succumbed to cancer, and nothing has felt right for Emily since.

Now, the summer before her senior year, things are getting worse. Not only has Emily wrecked things with her boyfriend Matt, who her mom adored, but her dad is selling the house she grew up in and giving her mom’s belongings away. Soon, she’ll have no connections left to Mom but that lucky quarter. And with her best friend away for the summer and her other friends taking her ex’s side, the only person she has to talk to about it is her dad’s best friend’s daughter, Blake, a girl she barely knows.

But that’s when Emily finds the list—her mom’s senior year summer bucket list—buried in a box in the back of her closet. When Blake suggests that Emily take it on as a challenge, the two set off on a journey to tick each box and help Emily face her fears before everything changes As they go further down the list, Emily finally begins to feel closer to mom again, but her bond with Blake starts to deepen, too, into something she wasn’t expecting. Suddenly Emily must face another fear: accepting the secret part of herself she never got a chance to share with the person who knew her best.

The Love Song of Ivy K. Harlowe by Hannah Moskowitz

Ivy K. Harlowe is a lot of things. She’s my best friend. She’s the center of attention.

She is, without fail, the hottest girl in the room. Anytime. Anyplace.

She has freckles and dimples and bright green eyes, and with someone else’s energy she’d be adorable. But there is nothing cute about Ivy. She is ice and hot metal and electricity.

She is the girl who every lesbian wants, but she has never been with the same person twice. She’s one-of-a-kind but also predictable, so I will always be Andie, her best friend, never Andie, her girlfriend.

Then she meets Dot, and Ivy does something even I would have never guessed―she sees Dot another day. And another. And another.

Now my world is slowly going up in smoke, and no matter what I do, the flames grow higher. She lit that match without knowing who or what it would burn.

Ivy K. Harlowe is a lot of things. But falling in love wasn’t supposed to be one of them…unless it was with me.

Love & Other Natural Disasters cover

Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura

This delightfully disastrous queer YA rom-com is a perfect read for fans of Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, and Sandhya Menon.

When Nozomi Nagai pictured the ideal summer romance, a fake one wasn’t what she had in mind.

That was before she met the perfect girl. Willow is gorgeous, glamorous, and…heartbroken? And when she enlists Nozomi to pose as her new girlfriend to make her ex jealous, Nozomi is a willing volunteer.

Because Nozomi has a master plan of her own: one to show Willow she’s better than a stand-in, and turn their fauxmance into something real. But as the lies pile up, it’s not long before Nozomi’s schemes take a turn toward disaster…and maybe a chance at love she didn’t plan for.

Stranger Things Rebel Robin cover
The Sea is Salt and So Am I cover
Indestructible Object cover
Better Together by Christine Riccio

YA Mystery & Thrillers

Trouble Girls cover

Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin

A queer YA reimagining of Thelma & Louise with the aesthetic of Riverdale.

When Trixie picks up her best friend Lux for their weekend getaway, they’re looking to forget the despair of being trapped in their dead-end rustbelt town. The girls are packing light: a supply of Diet Coke and an ‘89 Canon to help Lux frame the world in a sunnier light; half a pack of cigarettes that Trixie doesn’t really smoke, and a knife she’s hanging on to for a friend that she’s never used before.

But a single night of violence derails their trip, and the girls go from ordinary high schoolers to wanted fugitives. Trying to stay ahead of the cops and a hellscape of media attention, Trixie and Lux grapple with an unforgiving landscape, rapidly diminishing supplies, and disastrous decisions at every turn. As they are transformed by the media into the face of a #MeToo movement they didn’t ask to lead, Trixie and Lux realize that they can only rely on each other, and that the love they find together is the one thing that truly makes them free.

The Marvelous by Claire Kann

From the author of Let’s Talk About Love and If It Makes You Happy, this exuberant YA Novel follows six teens locked together in a mansion, contending for a life-changing cash prize in a competition run by a reclusive heiress.

Everyone thinks they know Jewel Van Hanen. Heiress turned actress turned social media darling who created the massively popular video-sharing app, Golden Rule.

After mysteriously disappearing for a year, Jewel makes her dramatic return with an announcement: she has chosen a few lucky Golden Rule users to spend an unforgettable weekend at her private estate. But once they arrive, Jewel ingeniously flips the script: the guests are now players in an elaborate estate-wide game. And she’s tailored every challenge and obstacle to test whether they have what it takes to win–at any cost.

Told from the perspective of three dazzling players–Nicole: the new queen of Golden Rule; Luna: Jewel’s biggest fan; and Stella: a brilliant outsider–this novel will charm its way into your heart and keep you guessing how it all ends because money isn’t the only thing at stake.

(Multiple sapphic characters)

YA Fantasy

Fire with Fire cover

Fire with Fire by Destiny Soria

Raised to be fierce dragon slayers, two sisters end up on opposite sides of the impending war when one sister forms an unlikely, magical bond with a dragon in this standalone YA contemporary fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Slayer and Sorcery of Thorns.

Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, each sister will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.

(Dani is bisexual)

Monstrous Design cover
Queen of All cover
Strange Covers cover
Girls at the Edge of the World cover

YA Sci Fi

Gearbreakers cover

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they’re fighting for a common purpose―and falling for each other.

We went past praying to deities and started to build them instead...

The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer―as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…

A War of Swallowed Stars
Papercutter cover

Children’s & Middle Grade

Middle Grade Novels

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow cover

Almost Flying by Jake Maia Arlow

In this unabashedly queer middle grade debut, a week-long amusement park road trip becomes a true roller coaster of emotion when Dalia realizes she has more-than-friend feelings for her new bestie.

Would-be amusement park aficionado Dalia only has two items on her summer bucket list: (1) finally ride a roller coaster and (2) figure out how to make a new best friend. But when her dad suddenly announces that he’s engaged, Dalia’s schemes come to a screeching halt. With Dalia’s future stepsister Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the girls to spend the last weeks of summer bonding–meaning Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months.

Luckily Dalia comes up with a new plan: If she joins Alexa on her trip and brings Rani, the new girl from her swim team, along maybe she can have the perfect summer after all. But what starts out as a week of funnel cakes and Lazy River rides goes off the rails when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. And keeping Alexa’s secret makes Dalia realize one of her own: She might have more-than-friend feelings for Rani.

Middle Grade & All Ages Comics

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor

Part historical fiction, part magical realism, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.

Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman’s daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan–reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in America.

The Girl From the Sea cover

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl.

Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore.

But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.

Children’s Nonfiction

Sharice's Big Voice cover

Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman by Sharice Davids with Nancy K. Mays, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley

This picture book autobiography tells the triumphant story of Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, and the first LGBTQ congressperson to represent Kansas.

When Sharice Davids was young, she never thought she’d be in Congress. And she never thought she’d be one of the first Native American women in Congress. During her campaign, she heard from a lot of doubters. They said she couldn’t win because of how she looked, who she loved, and where she came from. But here’s the thing: Everyone’s path looks different and everyone’s path has obstacles. And this is the remarkable story of Sharice Davids’ path to Congress.

Beautifully illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, an Ojibwe Woodland artist, this powerful autobiographical picture book teaches readers to use their big voice and that everyone deserves to be seen—and heard!

The back matter includes information about the Ho-Chunk written by former Ho-Chunk President Jon Greendeer, an artist note, and an inspiring letter to children from Sharice Davids.

(lesbian)

Adult

Fiction

With Teeth cover

With Teeth by Kristin Arnett

From the author of the New York Times–bestselling sensation Mostly Dead Things: a surprising and moving story of two mothers, one difficult son, and the limitations of marriage, parenthood, and love

If she’s being honest, Sammie Lucas is scared of her son. Working from home in the close quarters of their Florida house, she lives with one wary eye peeled on Samson, a sullen, unknowable boy who resists her every attempt to bond with him. Uncertain in her own feelings about motherhood, she tries her best—driving, cleaning, cooking, prodding him to finish projects for school—while growing increasingly resentful of Monika, her confident but absent wife. As Samson grows from feral toddler to surly teenager, Sammie’s life begins to deteriorate into a mess of unruly behavior, and her struggle to create a picture-perfect queer family unravels. When her son’s hostility finally spills over into physical aggression, Sammie must confront her role in the mess—and the possibility that it will never be clean again.

Skye Papers cover
In Our Words cover

Mystery & Thrillers

Dead Dead Girls cover

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Harlem, 1926. Young Black women like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.

Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Harlem’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends, especially her girlfriend, Rosa Maria Moreno, might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.

When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore—two other local Black girls have been murdered in the past few weeks. After an altercation with a police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or wind up in a jail cell. Louise has no choice but to investigate and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind hell-bent on taking more lives, maybe even her own….

Romance

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Satisfaction Guaranteed cover

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters

When it comes to her career, Cade Elgin has it all figured out. Only “professional talk” has become her default mode, relationships are nonexistent, and don’t even mention the word “orgasm.” All work and no play makes Cade a dull human. But when she inherits a sex toy store, Cade is caught between business and a store filled with every imaginable kind of pleasure—including her infuriatingly irresponsible and deliciously sexy new co-owner.

Selena Mathis learned the hard way that she can have too much of a good thing. Which is precisely why she’s taken an oath of celibacy and is focusing on how to make Satisfaction Guaranteed a success. She won’t mess this up. Not this time. But once again, Selena’s emotions are getting in the way and tempting her with a serious attraction to buttoned-up Cade.

But the shop isn’t exactly vibe-ing, and Cade and Selena are on the verge of losing both their income and the possibility of love. Can they find a way to work together . . . before Satisfaction Guaranteed runs out of batteries?

The Hellion’s Waltz (Feminine Pursuits #3) by Olivia Waite

It’s not a crime to steal a heart…

Sophie Roseingrave hates nothing more than a swindler. After her family lost their piano shop to a con man in London, they’re trying to start fresh in a new town. Her father is convinced Carrisford is an upright and honest place, but Sophie is not so sure. She has grave suspicions about silk-weaver Madeline Crewe, whose stunning beauty doesn’t hide the fact that she’s up to something.

All Maddie Crewe needs is one big score, one grand heist to properly fund the weavers’ union forever. She has found her mark in Mr. Giles, a greedy draper, and the entire association of weavers and tailors and clothing merchants has agreed to help her. The very last thing she needs is a small but determined piano-teacher and composer sticking her nose in other people’s business. If Sophie won’t be put off, the only thing to do is to seduce her to the cause.

Will Sophie’s scruples force her to confess the plot before Maddie gets her money? Or will Maddie lose her nerve along with her heart?

A Turn of Fate cover
Dare to Live, Dare to Love cover
Under Her Influence cover
Opposites Attract cover
Not Guilty cover
Measure of Devotion cover
Bleeding Hearts cover

Fantasy

Star Eater cover

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy faction approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

(bisexual main character)

Tangleroot Palace

The Tangleroot Palace by Marjorie Liu

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods.

Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms #1) by Tasha Suri

Exiled by her despotic brother, princess Malini spends her days dreaming of vengeance while imprisoned in the Hirana: an ancient cliffside temple that was once the revered source of the magical deathless waters but is now little more than a decaying ruin.
 
The secrets of the Hirana call to Priya. But in order to keep the truth of her past safely hidden, she works as a servant in the loathed regent’s household, biting her tongue and cleaning Malini’s chambers.
 
But when Malini witnesses Priya’s true nature, their destines become irrevocably tangled. One is a ruthless princess seeking to steal a throne. The other a powerful priestess seeking to save her family. Together, they will set an empire ablaze.

(F/F relationship)

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

(bisexual)

Scarlet Dandelions cover
Cinders of Yesterday cover
The Bone Way cover

Science Fiction & Horror

The Membranes cover
Catalyst Gate cover
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke cover

Comics and Graphic Novels

Renegade Rule by Ben Kahn, Rachel Silverstein, and Sam Beck

Prepare for competitive gaming like you’ve never seen it!

The Manhattan Mist have beaten the odds to land themselves in the national championships for Renegade Rule, one of the hottest virtual reality games in existence. But they’re in for competition fiercer than they ever imagined, and one team member’s entire future could be at stake. Four queer female friends will have to play harder than ever against self-doubt, infighting, romantic distraction, and a slew of other world-class teams if they hope to become champions.

Both hilarious and heartwarming, this new graphic novel from Ignatz-nominated writer Ben Kahn, debut author Rachel Silverstein, and artist Sam Beck is a celebration of friendship, competition, queer identity, and the insane things we do for the things and people we love.

Poison Ivy: Thorns by Kody Keplinger & Sara Kipin

There’s something unusual about Pamela Isley–the girl who hides behind her bright red hair. The girl who won’t let anyone inside to see what’s lurking behind the curtains. The girl who goes to extreme lengths to care for a few plants. Pamela Isley doesn’t trust other people, especially men. They always want something from her that she’s not willing to give.

When cute goth girl Alice Oh comes into Pamela’s life after an accident at the local park, she makes her feel like pulling back the curtains and letting the sunshine in. But there are dark secrets deep within the Isley house. Secrets Pamela’s father has warned must remain hidden. Secrets that could turn deadly and destroy the one person who ever cared about Pamela, or as her mom preferred to call her…Ivy.

Will Pamela open herself up to the possibilities of love, or will she forever be transformed by the thorny vines of revenge?

How Do We Relationship?, Vol. 3 cover

How Do We Relationship? Vol 3 by Tamifull (Manga)

Memoirs & Essays

Care of by Ivan Coyote cover

Care Of: Letters, Connections, and Cures by Ivan Coyote

Beloved storyteller Ivan Coyote returns with their most intimate and moving book yet.

Writer and performer Ivan Coyote has spent decades on the road, telling stories around the world. For years, Ivan has kept a file of the most special communications received from readers and audience members—letters, Facebook messages, emails, soggy handwritten notes tucked under the windshield wiper of their truck after a gig. Then came Spring, 2020, and, like artists everywhere, Coyote was grounded by the pandemic, all their planned events cancelled. The energy of a live audience, a performer’s lifeblood, was suddenly gone. But with this loss came an opportunity for a different kind of connection. Those letters that had long piled up could finally begin to be answered.

Care Of combines the most powerful of these letters with Ivan’s responses, creating a body of correspondence of startling intimacy, breathtaking beauty, and heartbreaking honesty and openness. Taken together, they become an affirming and joyous reflection on many of the themes central to Coyote’s celebrated work—compassion and empathy, family fragility, non-binary and Trans identity, and the unending beauty of simply being alive, a giant love letter to the idea of human connection, and the power of truly listening to each other. 

(Non-binary butch author)

We Should Meet in Air cover

We Should Meet in Air: A Graphic Memoir on Reading Sylvia Plath by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg (Graphic Memoir)

Part memoir, part literary biography, the writing of Sylvia Plath teaches one young woman the power of her own feelings.

Sylvia Plath’s writing reaches across decades to teach one young woman the power of her own feelings in this part memoir, part literary biography.

Like so many thoughtful and soul-searching young women, as a teenage girl Lisa was transfixed by the writing of Sylvia Plath. In different times, in different places, and in different ways, each of them struggles because of how they presented themselves to the world. As the author explored her sexuality and discovered her identity as an LGBTQ woman, she found inspiration and solace in the poetry and prose of this famous writer.

Nonfiction

The 2000s Made Me Gay cover

The 2000s Made Me Gay: Essays on Pop Culture by Grace Perry

Today’s gay youth have dozens of queer peer heroes, both fictional and real, but former gay teenager Grace Perry did not have that luxury. Instead, she had to search for queerness in the (largely straight) teen cultural phenomena the aughts had to offer: in Lindsay Lohan’s fall from grace, Gossip Girl, Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl,” country-era Taylor Swift, and Seth Cohen jumping on a coffee cart. And, for better or worse, these touch points shaped her adult identity. She came out on the other side like many millennials did: in her words, gay as hell.

Throw on your Von Dutch hats and join Grace on a journey back through the pop culture moments of the aughts, before the cataclysmic shift in LGBTQ representation and acceptance―a time not so long ago, which many seem to forget.

Sexuality A Graphic Guide cover

Sexuality: A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele (Graphic Nonfiction)

Sex is everywhere. It’s in the stories we love – and the stories we fear. It defines who we are and our place in society … at least we’re told it ought to.

Sex and sexuality can seem like a house of horrors, full of monsters and potential pitfalls. We often live with fear, shame and frustration when it comes to our own sexuality, and with judgement when it comes to others’. Sex advice manuals, debates over sex work and stories of sexual “dysfunction” only add to our anxiety.

With compassion, humour, erudition and a touch of the erotic, Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele shine a light through the darkness and unmask the monsters.

The Engagement cover
All The Things She Said by Daisy Jones cover

Check out more LGBTQ new releases at:

Support the Lesbrary on Patreon to get queer books in the mail throughout the year!

The Lesbrary Giant Recommendations List Has Been Updated!

Sapphic Book Recommendations

Since starting the Lesbrary, I (Danika) have read a whole of bi and lesbian books! After 10 years of reading and recommending, I know it can be intimating to know where to get started, so I keep a master list of all my recommendations–just the bi and lesbian books that I have personally read and would recommend. Most of them are linked to my Lesbrary reviews, so you can find out more about each title.

The Lesbrary Recommendations List has been updated with all the sapphic books I’ve read and loved so far this year! Check it out!

Books for Baby Gays

Books for Baby Gays graphic

I have personally identified as bi since I was about 22, and 5 years on, I’ve now started thinking about what might have been different if I’d realised that any earlier, if my personal queer revelation had arrived during uni or high school. In this alternate imagined past, are there any books that could have fast-tracked my identity discovery? Or, are there any books that I didn’t know I needed or to look for when I ended up having my epiphany? My book picks have always felt very organic to me, but at the same time I seem to lean towards queer genre fiction a lot — a preference which is definitely not universal. And with all these thoughts recently running through my head, I decided while it may be too late to sit my past self down and make her think about what she wants and needs in light of the new perspective, it is definitely not too late to do the same for others.

So. The below is a non-comprehensive list of books you might consider picking up if you’re questioning your sexual orientation, or have recently started to identify as sapphic in whichever way that is for you. I’ve aimed for happy endings and not too much tragedy or pain over the course of these stories. With the help of some friends I managed to identify a number of categories that you might wish for in such a situation. Here I have highlighted one book per category, but you can find a larger list of suggestions on my blog (though without any blurbs). Now, without further ado, read on one and all!

Coming Out Under the Age of 12:

Star-Crossed by Barbara DeeStar-Crossed by Barbara Dee (bi main character)

Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play. Gemma, the new girl at school and crush in question, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British. As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy. If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama!

Coming Out in High School:

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah JohnsonYou Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson (Black lesbian main character)

Alright yes, everybody and their mother is recommending this one, but clearly that means there’s a reason! Liz Lighty has a plan that will get her out of her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on falls through, Liz’s plans come crashing down — until she’s reminded of her school’s scholarship for prom king and queen. Despite her devastating fear of the spotlight, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington. The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She’s smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen…

Coming Out at University:

Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss coverLearning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss (fat Puerto Rican lesbian main character with anxiety, panromantic ace love interest with ADHD)

With only two semesters of law school to go, Elena Mendez’s dream of working as a family lawyer for children is finally within reach. She can’t afford distractions, but she has no idea how much her life will change the day she lends her notes to Cora McLaughlin. Over weeks in the library together, they discover that as strong as they are apart, they’re stronger together. Through snowstorms and stolen moments, through loneliness and companionship, the two learn they can weather anything as long as they have each other. College may be strict, but when it comes to love, Cora and Elena are ahead of the learning curve.

Coming Out Later in Life:

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman cover. It shows an illustration of two women kissing and a cat playing with yarn.Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman (Jewish lesbian main character)

Small-batch independent yarn dyer Clara Ziegler is eager to brainstorm new color combinations. When she sees Danielle Solomon’s paintings of Florida wildlife by chance at a neighborhood gallery, she finds her source of inspiration. Outspoken, passionate, and complicated, Danielle herself soon proves even more captivating than her artwork…

Life After the Big Come Out:

Double Exposure by Chelsea CameronDouble Exposure by Chelsea Cameron (bi trans woman main character, pan woman love interest)

Anna Corcoran’s life is hectic, but that’s how she likes it. Between her jobs at the Violet Hill Cafe, the local library, and doing publicity work for authors, she doesn’t have much time for anything else. Until Lacey Cole walks into the cafe and she feels like she’s been knocked off her axis. Lacey’s a photographer and writer and wants to do a profile on the cafe, including an interview with Anna. She’s game, but after spending a few days with Lacey, Anna is falling. Hard. The only problem is that Lacey isn’t going to be sticking around. As they get closer and closer, Anna wonders if maybe this would be the one time when Lacey would decide to stay put. With her.

Proper Escapism:

Water Witch coverWater Witch: The Deceiver’s Grave by Nene Adams (identities unknown)

It is the eighteenth century in a world filled with magic and the Caribbean are a haven for pirates; the most feared of them all is Bess O’Bedlam, known as the Water Witch. Bess’ lust for riches knows no bounds and she is on the trail of the greatest prize ever taken — and thought lost for twenty-five years. When Bess meets Marguerite de Vries, the Dutch thief does not know she is the key to a king’s ransom. The Water Witch will use any means to find the loot, including seduction, but she had not reckoned on a fiery-tempered opponent determined to protect her heart at any cost. As the women are pitted against a deadly magical curse, they must overcome many enemies in their quest for the treasure… and each other’s love.

Romance Takes a Back Seat:

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet coverThe Black Veins by Ashia Monet (no romance, queer found family, bi Black main character, British-Chinese ace trans man and Black bisexual ensemble characters)

In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip. Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop until magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family. Heartbroken but determined, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.

Classic:

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu,Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, edited by Carmen Maria Machado (lesbian main character and love interest)

Isolated in a remote mansion in a central European forest, Laura longs for companionship when a carriage accident brings another young woman into her life: the secretive and sometimes erratic Carmilla. As Carmilla’s actions become more puzzling and volatile, Laura develops bizarre symptoms, and as her health goes into decline, Laura and her father discover something monstrous. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s compelling tale of a young woman’s seduction by a female vampire predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by over a quarter century.

The History:

Sapphistries coverSapphistries: A Global History Of Love Between Women by Leila J. Rupp

From the ancient poet Sappho to tombois in contemporary Indonesia, women throughout history and around the globe have desired, loved, and had sex with other women. Sapphistries captures the multitude of ways that diverse societies have shaped female same-sex sexuality across time and place. We hear women in the sex-segregated spaces of convents and harems whispering words of love. We see women beginning to find each other on the streets of London and Amsterdam, in the aristocratic circles of Paris, in the factories of Shanghai. We find women’s desire and love for women meeting the light of day as Japanese schoolgirls fall in love, and lesbian bars and clubs spread from 1920s Berlin to 1950s Buffalo. And we encounter a world of difference in the twenty-first century, as transnational concepts and lesbian identities meet local understandings of how two women might love each other. Rupp also creatively employs fiction to imagine possibilities when there is no historical evidence.

Marieke (she / her) has a weakness for niche genres like fairy tale retellings and weird murder mysteries, especially when combined with a nice cup of tea. She also shares diverse reading resources on her blog letsreadwomen.tumblr.com

59 Bi and Lesbian Books Out This Month!

Bi and Lesbian Books Out in March cover collage

Would you believe that more than 59 sapphic books come out this month? It’s true! Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find out which books have queer representation, or what kind of representation they have. So here’s a big list of bi and lesbian books out this month, sorted by genre. I’ve highlighted a few of the books I’m most interested in, but click through to see the other titles’ blurbs!

As always, if you can get these through an indie bookstore, that is ideal, but if you can’t, the titles and covers are linked to my Amazon affiliate link. If you click through and buy something, I’ll get a small percentage. On to the books!

Young Adult

Bruised by Tanya BotejuBruised by Tanya Boteju

Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story, about a teen girl navigates first love, identity, and grief when she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby—from the acclaimed author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens.

To Daya Wijesinghe, a bruise is a mixture of comfort and control. Since her parents died in an accident she survived, bruises have become a way to keep her pain on the surface of her skin so she doesn’t need to deal with the ache deep in her heart.

So when chance and circumstances bring her to a roller derby bout, Daya is hooked. Yes, the rules are confusing and the sport seems to require the kind of teamwork and human interaction Daya generally avoids. But the opportunities to bruise are countless, and Daya realizes that if she’s going to keep her emotional pain at bay, she’ll need all the opportunities she can get.

The deeper Daya immerses herself into the world of roller derby, though, the more she realizes it’s not the simple physical pain-fest she was hoping for. Her rough-and-tumble teammates and their fans push her limits in ways she never imagined, bringing Daya to big truths about love, loss, strength, and healing.

I Think I Love You by Auriane DesombreI Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

A YA contemporary rom com about two girls who start as rivals but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another–at least they think so. A pitch perfect queer romance–and it’s a paperback original!

Arch-nemeses Emma, a die-hard romantic, and more-practical minded Sophia find themselves competing against one another for a coveted first-prize trip to a film festival in Los Angeles . . . what happens if their rivalry turns into a romance? For fans of Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat, full of laugh-out-loud humor and make-your-heart-melt moments.

Underlined is a line of totally addictive romance, thriller, and horror paperback original titles coming to you fast and furious each month. Enjoy everything you want to read the way you want to read it.

Perfect on Paper by Sophie GonzalesPerfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.

Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes―for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.

However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89―out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service―that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach―at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.

Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.

Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

Tell Me My Name by Amy ReedTell Me My Name by Amy Reed

We Were Liars meets Speak in this haunting, mesmerizing psychological thriller—a gender-flipped YA Great Gatsby—that will linger long after the final line

On wealthy Commodore Island, Fern is watching and waiting—for summer, for college, for her childhood best friend to decide he loves her. Then Ivy Avila lands on the island like a falling star. When Ivy shines on her, Fern feels seen. When they’re together, Fern has purpose. She glimpses the secrets Ivy hides behind her fame, her fortune, the lavish parties she throws at her great glass house, and understands that Ivy hurts in ways Fern can’t fathom. And soon, it’s clear Ivy wants someone Fern can help her get. But as the two pull closer, Fern’s cozy life on Commodore unravels: drought descends, fires burn, and a reckless night spins out of control. Everything Fern thought she understood—about her home, herself, the boy she loved, about Ivy Avila—twists and bends into something new. And Fern won’t emerge the same person she was.

An enthralling, mind-altering psychological thriller, Tell Me My Name is about the cost of being a girl in a world that takes so much, and the enormity of what is regained when we take it back.

Follow Your Arrow by Jessica VerdiFollow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi

CeCe Ross is kind of a big deal. She and her girlfriend, Silvie, are social media influencers with zillions of fans and followers, known for their cute outfits and being #relationshipgoals.

So when Silvie breaks up with her, CeCe is devastated. She’s lost her first love, and now she can’t help but wonder if she’ll lose her followers as well.

Things get even messier when CeCe meets Josh, a new boy in town who is very much Not Online. CeCe isn’t surprised to be falling for a guy; she’s always known she’s bi. And Josh is sweet and smart and has excellent taste in donuts… but he has no idea that CeCe is internet-famous. And CeCe sort of wants to keep it that way.

But when CeCe’s secrets catch up to her, she finds herself in the middle of an online storm, where she’ll have to confront the blurriness of public vs. private life, and figure out what it really means to speak her truth.

She's Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy HeardShe’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard (YA Thriller)

The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.

Inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray, this sexy psychological thriller explores the intersections of love, art, danger, and power.

YA Fantasy

Magic Mutant Nightmare Girl by Erin GrammarMagic Mutant Nightmare Girl by Erin Grammar

Fight like a magical girl in this paperback original contemporary fantasy in which a Harajuku fashionista battles mutants-and social anxiety-by teaming up with an elite group of outcasts. Perfect for those obsessed with the technicolor worlds of Sailor MoonThe Umbrella Academy, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Book One of the Magic Mutants Trilogy.

Holly Roads uses Harajuku fashion to distract herself from tragedy. Her magical girl aesthetic makes her feel beautiful-and it keeps the world at arm’s length. She’s an island of one, until advice from an amateur psychic expands her universe. A midnight detour ends with her vs. exploding mutants in the heart of San Francisco.

Brush with destiny? Check. Waking up with blue blood, emotions gone haywire, and terrifying strength that starts ripping her wardrobe to shreds? Totally not cute. Hunting monsters with a hot new partner and his unlikely family of mad scientists?

Way more than she bargained for.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemoreThe Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.

[Graciela is pansexual]

The Shadow War by Lindsay SmithThe Shadow War by Lindsay Smith

World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he’s better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he’s uncovered, and the monsters that live within it–before the Nazi regime can do the same. When the five meet, and begrudgingly team up, in the forests of Germany, none of them knows what their future might hold.

As they race against time, war, and enemies from both this world and another, Liam, Daniel, Rebeka, Phillip, and Simone know that all they can count on is their own determination and will to survive. With their world turned upside down, and the shadow realm looming ominously large–and threateningly close–the course of history and the very fate of humanity rest in their hands. Still, the most important question remains: Will they be able to save it?

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne TooleySweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.

Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.

Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.

When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.

Of course, love bargains are a tricky thing, and these two have a long, perilous journey ahead of them—that is, if they don’t kill each other first…

City of Spells by Alexandra Christo  On This Unworthy Scaffold by Heidi Heilig  Sea and Flame by Tallie Rose  Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft  Ravage the Dark by Tara Sim

Fiction

We Play Ourselves by Jen SilvermanWe Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman

Not too long ago, Cass was a promising young playwright in New York, hailed as “a fierce new voice” and “queer, feminist, and ready to spill the tea.” But at the height of all this attention, Cass finds herself at the center of a searing public shaming, and flees to Los Angeles to escape—and reinvent herself. There she meets her next-door neighbor Caroline, a magnetic filmmaker on the rise, as well as the pack of teenage girls who hang around her house. They are the subjects of Caroline’s next semidocumentary movie, which follows the girls’ clandestine activity: a Fight Club inspired by the violent classic.

As Cass is drawn into the film’s orbit, she is awed by Caroline’s ambition and confidence. But over time, she becomes troubled by how deeply Caroline is manipulating the teens in the name of art—especially as the consequences become increasingly disturbing. With her past proving hard to shake and her future one she’s no longer sure she wants, Cass is forced to reckon with her own ambitions and confront what she has come to believe about the steep price of success.

The Performance by Claire ThomasThe Performance by Claire Thomas

A novel about three women at turning points in their lives, and the one night that changes everything.

One night, three women go to the theater to see a play. Wildfires are burning in the hills outside, but inside the theater it is time for the performance to take over.

Margot is a successful, flinty professor on the cusp of retirement, distracted by her fraught relationship with her adult son and her ailing husband. After a traumatic past, Ivy is is now a philanthropist with a seemingly perfect life. Summer is a young drama student, an usher at the theater, and frantically worried for her girlfriend whose parents live in the fire zone.

While the performance unfolds on stage, so does the compelling trajectory that will bring these three women together, changing them all. Deliciously intimate and yet emotionally wide-ranging, The Performance is a novel that both explores the inner lives of women as it underscores the power of art and memory to transform us.

Sarahland by Sam CohenSarahland by Sam Cohen (Short Stories)

In Sarahland, Sam Cohen brilliantly and often hilariously explores the ways in which traditional stories have failed us, both demanding and thrillingly providing for its cast of Sarahs new origin stories, new ways to love the planet and those inhabiting it, and new possibilities for life itself. In one story, a Jewish college Sarah passively consents to a form-life in pursuit of an MRS degree and is swept into a culture of normalized sexual violence. Another reveals a version of Sarah finding pleasure—and a new set of problems—by playing dead for a wealthy necrophiliac. A Buffy-loving Sarah uses fan fiction to work through romantic obsession. As the collection progresses, Cohen explodes this search for self, insisting that we have more to resist and repair than our own personal narratives. Readers witness as the ever-evolving “Sarah” gets recast: as a bible-era trans woman, an aging lesbian literally growing roots, a being who transcends the earth as we know it. While Cohen presents a world that will clearly someday end, “Sarah” will continue.

In each Sarah’s refusal to adhere to a single narrative, she potentially builds a better home for us all, a place to live that demands no fixity of self, no plague of consumerism, no bodily compromise, a place called Sarahland.

The Inverts by Crystal JeansThe Inverts by Crystal Jeans (Historical Fiction)

1921: a boy, a girl, a moonlit midnight kiss. A terrible, repulsive kiss.

AIS 6: Bettina and Bart have grown up as best friends, so surely they will end up together? After all, Bettina is young, rich, headstrong…. and gay. Bart is young, rich, charismatic… and also, definitely, gay. Any doubts are dispelled by, in short order: that ghastly kiss; a torrid encounter for Bettina in the school boiler-rooms; and an eye-opening Parisian visit for Bart.

Society will never stand for it. What else can they do but enter into a ‘lavender marriage’ and carry on indulging their true natures in secret? As the ’20s and’ 30s whizz past in a haze of cigarettes, champagne and casual sex, Bart and Bettina have no idea that they are hurtling, via Hollywood and Egypt, Paris and London, towards tragedy and bloodshed…

Hidden Path by Elena Fortún, translated by Jeffrey Zamostny  Justine by Forsyth Harmon  The Tender Grave by Sheri Reynolds  Call It Horses by Jessie van Eerden  Monarch by Geonn Cannon

Romance

Knit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl by Hettie BellKnit, Purl, a Baby and a Girl by Hettie Bell

Some people can’t wait to have babies. They’re ready for it—with their perfect lives and their pregnancy glow…

Poppy Adams doesn’t have a perfect life, and she wasn’t ready for the positive test. An unexpected baby—Poppy’s unexpected baby—won’t exactly have her family doing cartwheels. But she’s making the right choice.

Right?

Poppy’s totally got this. She just needs a little encouragement, and a knitting group is the perfect place to start. Baby blankets, booties, tiny little hats—small steps toward her new life. But she feels like she’s already dropped a stitch when she discovers the knitting group is led by the charismatic Rhiannon.

It’s not exactly a great time to meet the woman who might just be the love of her life. While the group easily shuffles around to make room for Poppy, it’s not so easy fitting her life and Rhiannon’s together. With the weeks counting down until her baby arrives, Poppy’s going to have to decide for herself what truly makes a family.

What a Tangled Web by Melissa BraydenWhat a Tangled Web by Melissa Brayden

As winemaker at Tangle Valley Vineyard, Madison LeGrange relies on science and logic to make the best vintage possible. It’s also how she manages her life. But with her career in its prime, her accountant thinks it’s time she diversifies her income. Not a problem because her favorite café, the Bacon and Biscuit, is up for sale. What she didn’t plan on was the time she’d spend with Clementine, who has her feeling anything but logical.

Clementine Monroe loves her job managing the Bacon and Biscuit Café. In fact, after escaping a difficult past, it’s all she has. When Clementine is offered the opportunity to step out from behind the counter and buy the place, her longtime dream is about to come true. That is until it’s snatched out from under her by the very same girl she crushed on in high school. Old habits are hard to break, but Clementine has no plans to forgive Madison anytime soon.

Leaving’s Not the Only Way to Go by Kay Acker  Next Exit Home by Dena Blake  Love's Falling Star by B. D. Grayson  Confined Desires by Katherine McIntyre  Love's Truth by C. A. Popovich

Fantasy

The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost #1) by C.L. ClarkThe Unbroken (Magic of the Lost #1) by C.L. Clark

In an epic fantasy unlike any other, two women clash in a world full of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire.

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne. Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

The Councillor by E. J. Beaton The Princess and the Odium by Sam Ledel   Blood Moon by Catherine Lundoff  The Noble and the Nightingale by Barbara Ann Wright  He Must Go Walk the Woods So Wild by S.L. Dove Cooper

Science Fiction

Electra Rex by April C. Griffith

Electra Rex, self-appointed ‘galaxy’s greatest starship captain’ and last known human, is going to save humanity or get rich trying!

Electra Rex, the last human in known space, is broke—worse than broke, deeply in debt and out of options. After a desperate, drunken attempt to fix her faltering life, she finds herself in a deeper hole after stealing the most stylish starship she’s ever seen, but it comes with a massive lien.

She’s left with a fast ship, a nearly indestructible debt-enforcement robot named Letterman watching her every move and a lead on a lucrative job with the mysterious organization known as Bi-MARP, which is set to rebuild Earth on the two-thousand-year anniversary of its destruction.

Across two galaxies, she struggles to stay one step ahead of space pirates and creditors, all while trying to catch the eye of a beautiful, vivacious bisexual clone named Treasure, who was recently rescued from a top-secret university lab run by academic squids.

She succeeds in seducing Treasure—or perhaps it’s the other way around—while they run scams to find earthling relics like the original formula for Coca-Cola, a 1968 Volkswagen Beatle, a mostly complete Monopoly board game and a largely accurate, if not small and green, clone of an elephant. All the while, Electra has to hide the fact that Treasure is actually the most valuable item on the Bi-MARP list—a fertile human female.

When the truth of humanity’s demise and the goals of Bi-MARP are uncovered, Electra, the galaxy’s foremost transgender hero, decides that the riches and fame aren’t worth the sacrifices, and she turns on her former employer to rescue Treasure a third time, completing her search for money, what it means to be human without the rest of humanity and, most of all, love.

Dead Space by Kali WallaceDead Space by Kali Wallace

An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic space station in this tense science fiction thriller from the author of Salvation Day

Hester Marley used to have a plan for her life. But when a catastrophic attack left her injured, indebted, and stranded far from home, she was forced to take a dead-end security job with a powerful mining company in the asteroid belt. Now she spends her days investigating petty crimes to help her employer maximize its profits. She’s surprised to hear from an old friend and fellow victim of the terrorist attack that ruined her life—and that surprise quickly turns to suspicion when he claims to have discovered something shocking about their shared history and the tragedy that neither of them can leave behind.

Before Hester can learn more, her friend is violently murdered at a remote asteroid mine. Hester joins the investigation to find the truth, both about her friend’s death and the information he believed he had uncovered. But catching a killer is only the beginning of Hester’s worries, and she soon realizes that everything she learns about her friend, his fellow miners, and the outpost they call home brings her closer to revealing secrets that very powerful and very dangerous people would rather keep hidden in the depths of space.

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine  Galactic Hellcats by Marie Vibbert

Poetry

Look Alive by Luiza Flynn-GoodlettLook Alive by Luiza Flynn-Goodlett

Look Alive documents the construction of a queer femme self in the hostile territory of American late capitalism. Its speaker encounters darkness—in the form of violence perpetrated by both individuals and by societal systems of power and oppression—and yet, rejects the narratives articulated by that violence, celebrating instead softness and gentleness, and ultimately, cleaving to the natural world in all its radiant, mysterious queerness.

Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine MansBlack Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans

From spoken word poet Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.

With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself—and us—home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America—and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.

Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering Black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.

Embouchure: Poems by Emilia Phillips  Who's Your Daddy by Arisa White

Memoir & Essays

A History of Scars by Laura LeeA History of Scars: A Memoir by Laura Lee

In this stunning debut, Laura Lee weaves unforgettable and eye-opening essays on a variety of taboo topics.

In “History of Scars” and “Aluminum’s Erosions,” Laura dives head-first into heavier themes revolving around intimacy, sexuality, trauma, mental illness, and the passage of time. In “Poetry of the World,” Laura shifts and addresses the grief she feels by being geographically distant from her mother whom, after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, is relocated to a nursing home in Korea.

Through the vivid imagery of mountain climbing, cooking, studying writing, and growing up Korean American, Lee explores the legacy of trauma on a young queer child of immigrants as she reconciles the disparate pieces of existence that make her whole.

By tapping into her own personal, emotional, and psychological struggles in these powerful and relatable essays, Lee encourages all of us to not be afraid to face our own hardships and inner truths.

Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira SpectorRed Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector (Graphic Memoir)

Self-described as “an infertile, high-femme, low income, non-biological Jewish mom, dyke drama queen, and ectopic pregnancy survivor,” the author tells her story in this formally innovative graphic memoir.

Shira Spector literally paints a vivid portrait of the most eventful 10 years of her life, encompassing her tenacious struggle to get pregnant, the emotional turmoil of her father’s cancer diagnosis and eventual death, and her recollections of past relationships with her parents and her partner. Set in a kaleidoscope of Montreal and Toronto, Red Rock Baby Candy unfolds as one of the most formally inventive comics in the history of the medium. It begins in subtle, tonal shades of black ink, introduces color slowly over the next 50 pages until it explodes into a glorious full color palette. The irreverent characters begin to bloom and to live life fully, resurrecting the dead in order to map the geography among infertility, sexuality, choice, and mortality. The drawing is visceral, symbolic, and naturalistic. The visual storytelling eschews traditional comics panels in favor of a series of unique page compositions that convey both a stream of consciousness and the tactile reality of life, both the subjective impressions of the author at each moment of her life and the objective series of events that shape her narrative. It is the most formally revolutionary visual storytelling since Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing is Monsters. Full-color illustrations throughout.

Girlhood by Melissa FebosGirlhood by Melissa Febos (Essays)

A gripping set of stories about the forces that shape girls and the adults they become. A wise and brilliant guide to transforming the self and our society.

In her powerful new book, critically acclaimed author Melissa Febos examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be female and what it takes to free oneself from them.

When her body began to change at eleven years old, Febos understood immediately that her meaning to other people had changed with it. By her teens, she defined herself based on these perceptions and by the romantic relationships she threw herself into headlong. Over time, Febos increasingly questioned the stories she’d been told about herself and the habits and defenses she’d developed over years of trying to meet others’ expectations. The values she and so many other women had learned in girlhood did not prioritize their personal safety, happiness, or freedom, and she set out to reframe those values and beliefs.

Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny.

Written with Febos’ characteristic precision, lyricism, and insight, Girlhood is a philosophical treatise, an anthem for women, and a searing study of the transitions into and away from girlhood, toward a chosen self.

Small Courage by Jane Byers

Nonfiction

The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein coverThe Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter — all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.

One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions.

Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe.

Chasing After Aoi Koshiba by Hazuki Takeoka and FlyChasing After Aoi Koshiba by Hazuki Takeoka and Fly (Manga)

A yuri romance about the intense feelings of youth, and the perspective and regrets that adulthood can bring, for fans of manga like Bloom Into You and Orange. From the creator of Masamune-kun’s Revenge Hazuki Takeoka and acclaimed yuri artist Fly.

Sahoko had lots of friends in high school, so there’s no shortage of people to catch up with at her reunion. But the person she wants to see most is missing: Aoi Koshiba, her old classmate and first crush. Years ago, Aoi was the basketball team’s rising star, and caught Sahoko’s eye as an easy way to score social points. Sahoko later learned, however, that Aoi had long quit the game due to a difficult home situation. When an unexpected kiss pulled the girls closer together one day, it became clear that Aoi was in need of more than just a cynical social climber—and perhaps, Sahoko was the one.

Pediatric Collections LGBTQ+ Support and Care by the American Academy of Pediatrics  Good White Queers cover  Lives That Resist Telling by Eithne Luibhéid  Eleanor in the Village by Jan Jarboe Russell   Home Is Where You Queer Your Heart edited by Arisa White, Miah Jeffra, and Monique Mero-William

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