The Lesbrary’s Favorite Sapphic Books of 2023

Every year, Danika and the other Lesbrary reviewers talk about our favorite sapphic books we read this year, whether they were published in 2023 or not. This time, there are so many reviewers at the Lesbrary that we needed to split this into two posts. The next one will round up Danika’s top ten-ish sapphic books of the year, and this one is the top sapphic book from nine of the other Lesbrary reviewers.

These picks range from brand-new 2023 releases to a 1950s novel, and they include genres from fantasy and sci-fi to memoir to graphic novels, romance, and more. There’s something here for everyone!

Without further ado, here are the Lesbrary reviewers’ favorite sapphic books they read this year!

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

the cover of The Chosen and the Beautiful

My favorite sapphic read of 2023 was The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. This made me appreciate The Great Gatsby more, as I never really liked the original. But coming from Jordan’s perspective, it really fleshed the side characters out more and left Jay Gatsby on the sidelines.

The added magical elements gave it another dimension that melded well with the setting, including the racial tensions happening between Asians and Asian Americans in the country.

Check out my full review for more of my thoughts.


Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H.

the cover of Hijab Butch Blues

Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H. is a coming-of-age memoir that connects stories from the Quran to the author’s own experiences, from discovering her sexuality and gender, to navigating crushes and dating, to moving to the U.S. and struggling to find community as a queer hijabi Muslim. With honest reflection, the author discusses such issues as having white Americans invalidate her queerness for, among other things, choosing not to come out to her parents, as well as the string of straight women she crushed on in order to feel safe from the murky waters of the next steps. In each case, her faith provides strength and solace.

This memoir is something special. Despite the audiobook not being narrated by the author, listening to it felt as personal as if it were. The book’s depiction of survival in the face of alienation particularly resonated with me, especially with all the ways the author finds to both connect with and stay guarded from themself and others. The book is beautifully written and deeply contemplative, with the stories from the Quran providing a compelling framework for each essay. I’m sure many readers will find meaning in this bold tale of reclamation.

Content warnings: suicidal ideation; bigotry including islamophobia, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny; and discussions of domestic abuse. —Emory Rose

If You’ll Have Me by Eunnie

the cover of If You'll Have Me

Everyone who knows me knows I love, love, love graphic novels. Every sapphic I’ve spoken to this summer knows that I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS BOOK. It is the perfect blend of fluffy, sweet, funny, heartfelt, sincere, aching-but-not-torturous. The main characters are delightfully charming but still fully realized, multidimensional and struggling with their own conflicts and baggage.

I’ve already reviewed it here, but it’s basically a peak low-stakes slice-of-life fluff and healing relationship dynamics. It’s not a manhwa/manga, though there is a undeniable stylistic influence. But it is SO GOOD and should be right up there with Heartstopper and Bloom and Lumberjanes and all those other coming-of-age graphic novels, even if this one is set in college and deals with slightly older characters than those. —Anna N.

I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane

the cover of I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

I Keep My Exoskeletons To Myself is a fascinating look at an autocratic society that relies on shame and guilt as a form of punishment. The story is told in the second person, with Kris (our protagonist) speaking to her baby and offering some small bits of background as the story progresses. It is very character-driven as we see Kris’s world form and change around her child, even as she questions the injustices of the world she was born into. For a book that deals with some incredibly hard themes, I Keep My Exoskeletons To My Self is surprisingly accessible and simple. I would recommend this book for fans of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Julia Armfield’s Our Wives Under the Sea.  —Chloe

Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashley Herring Blake

the cover of Iris Kelly Doesn't Date

As a massive fan of the Bright Falls series, picking my favorite book of the year was pretty easy. Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date has all the same emotional weight, charm, and humor of the previous entries in the series. The chemistry between Iris and Stevie is palpable, with plenty of tantalizing lead-up to their eventual realization that their “fake relationship” was something more. The way Ashley Herring Blake plays with common tropes in romance was also fantastic. Lastly, what really sets the book apart from so many other was how love and affection were represented as sometimes as just being there for your partner and putting in the work when they need you. It’s a definite must-read for any fan of contemporary sapphic romance. —Jamie

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

Price of Salt cover

This book is the epitome of sapphic yearning. I’m so glad to have finally read a sapphic classic with a happy ending. It was the healing I desperately needed. What I loved most about the book is how openly and intimately we delve into the character’s thoughts and feelings. The movie adaptation, starring Cate Blanchett, was brilliant and breathed new life into the characters! It was refreshing! Rarely do I love both the book and the movie adaptation and this was one of those remarkable exceptions!

I loved how Highsmith crafted each scene: it was profoundly contemplative and emotionally charged. A masterpiece! —SK

The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher

The Raven and the Reindeer cover

This felt like such a wonderful year of sapphic reads that it’s hard to pick just one, but I think that I’ll have to go with The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher. Maybe it’s cheating because technically I read it years ago and it’s one of the first sapphic books I read, but this was the first year that I revisited it to see if it held up. It absolutely did! It’s a reimagining of Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” and is the perfect wintry read. The story follows Gerta, determined to find her friend Kay stolen away by the Snow Queen, but she quickly learns that perhaps this isn’t as simple of a story as she thought. It has bandits and witches and magical flying otters, and yet amidst all of this, Gerta feels so real as a girl finally coming into her own. I’ll read anything by T. Kingfisher, but a sapphic retelling with a snarky raven named Mousebones will always rise to the top for me. —Katherine

Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh

the cover of Some Desperate Glory

My favorite sapphic book of 2023 was Some Desperate Glory by Emily Tesh.  Tesh wove an incredible queer space opera with complex worldbuilding, a space cult, and aliens. Then she gave her main character Kyr one of the best redemption arcs I’ve encountered since Zuko in Avatar: the Last Airbender. I’ve rarely experienced such a complete turnaround in going from finding a character insufferable to rooting for them completely, and I want everyone to enjoy this expert character work with me.

The field of hit science fiction has been joyfully crowded the past couple of years between The Locked Tomb and Murderbot, but if you’re in between books of those two worthy series, I would pencil Some Desperate Glory into your schedule. I couldn’t put it down once I got started. —Maggie

Those Who Wait by Haley Cass

the cover of Those Who Wait by Haley Cass

My favorite sapphic romance that I read this year is Those Who Wait (2020) by Haley Cass. Hopeless Sutton Spencer meets the much more confident Charlotte Thompson after Sutton’s friend signs her up for a dating app. Sounds good, but what’s the twist? Sutton is a congressman’s daughter, and Charlotte is trying to get that congressman’s endorsement as she attempts to become one of the youngest people ever to be elected to Congress. Oh, and Charlotte is also the granddaughter of a former president. If you miss The West Wing but could live without the Sorkin gaze, then read Those Who Wait immediately. Here’s hoping a studio or streamer picks this novel up and gives it the Bridgerton treatment in 2024. —Liv

All The Pretty Girls Read Sapphic Stories: More Readalikes for Reneé Rapp’s Snow Angel

the album cover of Snow Angel

If you have Reneé Rapp’s album Snow Angel playing on repeat, these are the sapphic books you need to read! Pick up the one that matches your favorite song, or get the whole stack if it’s too hard to pick. You can get a copy of any of these titles from your local bookstore or library, or you can get a copy through Bookshop. Click here for Part One! 

“Pretty Girls”

the cover of Girls Like Girls

In the p.m., all the pretty girls/They have a couple drinks, all the pretty girls/So now, they wanna kiss all the pretty girls/They got to have a taste of a pretty girl

Pretty Girls is a song for people who keep falling for “straight” girls, and a celebration of those exploring their sexuality, even if it feels frustratingly drawn out to the other person. In the same vein, Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko, inspired by the sapphic anthem of the early aughts, follows the story of Coley and Sonya, two teenage girls in rural Oregon who each find themselves falling for the other girl. This lyrical debut novel fills out the gaps in the plot to Kiyoko’s music video, but balances the overall sweetness of the summertime romance with an exploration of grief and what it means to be out in today’s society. I think Pretty Girls would fit in beautifully during the summer romance montages that Girls Like Girls lays out.

“Tummy Hurts”

the cover of she is a haunting

Now my tummy hurts, he’s in love with her/But for what it’s worth, they’d make beautiful babies/And raise ’em up to be a couple of/Fucking monsters, like their mother and their father

In Tummy Hurts, Rapp explores a past relationship through an analysis of heartbreak, grief, and bittersweet predictions of the continuing cycle of unhealthy relationships. This song contradicts and supports the exploration through using a childlike imagery of an upset stomach and the consequences of an unhealthy romance. If you are looking for a book that explores being haunted by a past relationship or dysfunctional relationships, I would recommend reading She is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran. In this horror young adult novel, Jade is visiting her estranged father and her only goal is to end the five-week visit with the college money he has promised her—but only if she can seem straight, Vietnamese, and American enough. However, Jade can’t ignore the effects of colonization on the house or a ghost bride’s warnings to not eat anything. She is a Haunting explores the concept of places being haunted by dysfunctional family dynamics, just as “Tummy Hurts” explores the haunting of a romantic relationship.

“I Wish”

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers cover

I wish I could still see the world through those eyes/Could still see the colors, but they’re not as clear or as bright/Oh, the older we get, the colors they change/Yeah, hair turns to gray, but the blue’s here to stay/So I wish, I wish

“I Wish” is the Pisces moon of Snow Angel, with Rapp singing about how she wished she didn’t know about death as a concept. This sweet ballad mourns the loss of an important figure and the resultant loss of innocence in the world around her. Similarly, Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers explores themes of existential dread, fear of not living up to people’s expectations, and a loss of innocence once you grow up. Twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes to Vegas to celebrate getting her PhD in astronomy, but accidentally ends up getting drunkenly married to a strange woman from New York. This triggers a rush of questions about herself, including why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled in her life, and Grace flees home to move in with her unfamiliar wife. Honey Girl is a story about self-growth, finding queer community, and taking a journey towards better mental health, and it honestly made me cry as much as I Wish did the first time I listened to it.


the cover of Even Though I Knew the End

Don’t cry, don’t cry, Willow/I’ll cry, Willow/Willow/I’ll cry for you

Willow is another sad ballad, in which Renee talks to her younger self (metaphorically) under a willow tree, and tries to reassure them that everything will be alright. This concept of wanting to take away someone’s pain, regardless of your own, made me think of one of my favorite novellas, Even Though I Knew the End by C. L. Polk. Elena Brandt is the hardboiled detective of mystery noire past, with her private eye set up in a magical 1930’s Chicago, and a lady love waiting in the wings for her. However, Elena’s days are numbered and she decides to spend the last of them with said lady love, Edith. Just as she is about to leave the city, a potential client offers her $1,000 to find the White City Vampire, Chicago’s most notorious serial killer. To sweeten the pot, the client offers something more precious—the chance to grow old with Edith. As Elena dives into the affairs of Chicago’s divine monsters to secure a future with the love of her life, she learns that nothing is as she thought it was. If you want a read that will capture your mind and heart for an afternoon, then grab a copy of C. L. Polk’s Even Though I Knew the End. 


Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann cover

But tomorrow I turn twenty-three/And it feels like everyone hates me/So, how old do you have to be/To live so young and careless?/My wish is that I cared less/At twenty-three

Finally, 23 explores the emotional turmoil and questioning that can come with turning twenty-three years old. Rapp’s lingering lyrics ask why she doesn’t feel like she has been succeeding in life, especially when compared to society’s expectations and assumptions about her career. By the end of the song, Rapp expresses the hope that she can grow into herself as a person and learn to love herself more by her next birthday. In the same vein, Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kahn is about a nineteen Black year old college student named Alice, whose summer was going to be perfect until her girlfriend broke up with her for being asexual. Alice had planned on remaining single as to never experience being rejected for her sexuality again, but then she meets Takumi, and Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood. A huge theme in Alice’s story is that of figuring out what you want to do and/or be as opposed to what your family and friends (or society) expects from you, whether it is about your sexuality or career choices. I think Alice would be wistfully listening to 23 right before the climatic third act, as she contemplates what to do.

Chloe (they/he) is a public librarian in Baltimore, who identifies as Indigenous, autistic, and panromantic demisexual. They enjoy reading queer literature for any age group, as well as fantasy, contemporary, and romance. In their spare time, they act in local community theaters, play D&D, and are halfway through their MLiS program. You can find them on Goodreads, Twitter, or Instagram.

What is the Point of Art?: Reflections On FlameCon

Last Christmas, a close friend turned to me and plaintively, frustratedly asked “What is the point of art?”

Our table had been discussing the increasing reports about creative exploitation and unfair compensation in film and television. The cloudy night had cast a gloomy mood over us despite the holiday cheer, our low spirits punctuated by our shared inability to come up with a convincing answer. I left dinner discontent, her words spinning in my mind sans resolution.

But a little over half a year later, I found one at FlameCon. Amidst the brilliant colors, cosplays and ebullient chatter occasionally interrupted by the loud enthusiasm of people finally meeting a favorite creator or one whose work really got them in their hyper-specific sweet spot for sapphic selkie girls or messy, morally ambiguous alien anthropologists, I saw how the shared language of fandom, of queer art theory, of the internet-enabled intersection between the two, was all bringing people together.

a photo of Alyssa Wong wearing a rainbow mask and holding up Doctor Aphra comics

Alyssa Wong, current writer for my most favorite Star Wars thing ever: the Doctor Aphra comics. This is for all of you who think a museum heist in outer space sounds like a fun date night idea. It is also for any sapphic who envied Han Solo’s swagger and was also totally convinced they’d have treated Leia way better than him…. even though your dating history strongly suggests otherwise.

Even as the United States sees massive rollbacks to basic LGBTQ+ rights and literary freedom, queer stories are more in demand than ever—I walk through the YA section of my local library regularly, filled with the bittersweet delight of seeing an ever-growing number of explicitly sapphic books on the shelves. We didn’t even have Pride Month displays when I was a kid, and I only stumbled upon Malinda Lo’s Ash after a straight crush told me it was “weird”. But now, there are organized movements vocally, visually defending the right to read graphic novels like Fun Home, Moonstruck, Gender Queer, and This One Summer. I couldn’t even say the word gay until I started college, let alone imagine going to a fan convention that celebrates both the biggest out names on the Big 2 roster and the smallest self-published zine creators with abundantly gay abandon.

“FlameCon is so beautiful, because this is something we didn’t have in the small press, self-publishing world 10 years ago. And it was always fun because, like finding those other creators walking around, you form that community in ‘meatspace’. And then they become the people that are recommending stuff and you’re reading their stuff. They’re helping you find other stuff. Because I know you’ve all said titles that I’ve never heard of, you know? That sort of thing is really cool when you’re going through a conversation.”

~ Greg Lockard (he/him

With its volunteer-run programming and many, many self-published book and zine sellers, FlameCon offers attendees a little oasis of creator-controlled and riotously boundless self-expression. It’s a chance for people to network, take note of rising talent, and celebrate the stories that mean the most to them. Usually by completely transforming them. Alternate New Yorks, Superbat kisses, and bloodstained femgaze fighters are just a taste of what’s on display. There was also, as always, a spectacular array of anime merch that eluded my not insignificant knowledge of the genre.

I was pleased to note, however, that recent internet trends had sparked new fervor for the Trigun franchise. Merilly fanfiction has long been my safe harbor, the sort of tender, deeply felt sapphic relationship that doesn’t have the heightened emotional fraughtness of Harlivy or the raw-nerve traumatic underpinnings of Korrasami, Bubbline, Hollstein, or most other favorites. It warms my heart to watch others find such harbors for themselves, and then populate them with all manner of original works—like the grounded and sweet “Girls Like You” webcomic, or the unhinged goldmine that is SuperCorp fanfiction. Seriously, the ingenuity and independence of queer creators never ceases to surprise.

“…capitalism is not on our side. Capitalism is only interested in passing, advertising, marketing and so on to the widest market segment available. So we can’t even run a paid ad to tell you our stuff exists. Because we can’t advertise it, because the best we can do is maybe target like RuPaul’s Drag Race or a piece of media that is so large that Facebook thinks it’s worth targeting. So you are much better served by following creators.”

~ Chris Ceary (she/her

Don’t hesitate to follow people whose current project is not your thing, because their next project may be. Writers especially do all kinds of weird, weird things.”

~ S.W. Sondheimer (she/her

Which brings me to the point of it all. Art is our oldest and deepest form of communication, of connection. Whether that takes the form of riotous cheering after a speaker drops a deep-cut reference, or the audience’s knowing smiles when every panelist mentions a history of fanfic or fanart, there is a sense of community to be found through sharing stories. In finding the words to describe our experiences—finally being able to articulate who we are and knowing how we got here—we learn to understand others. Maybe not as well as ourselves, but there is something beautiful about the way art can offer us reflections that ring truer than anything we see in the backlit silhouettes on department store windows.

To paraphrase what Maia Kobabe said in the excellent short documentary “No Straight Lines”, sometimes we don’t recognize ourselves in photographs, in silver-lined mirrors whose reflections don’t offer much in the way of silver linings. But in art, we can draw/write/portray ourselves however we want. However we feel, need, believe, desire, live, and wish. And that can open up possibilities we couldn’t perceive before we took a pen in hand.

Art teaches us that we are not alone, and that shared passions can lie in unexpected people. Watching the milling crowds trading artwork and recommendations, I couldn’t help but smile. Because all those little communications open windows into others’ lives, offering languages both visual and textual for sharing and validating our experiences, and for making meaning of them. Those conversations show that people care, for better or worse, what others have to say about the world we live in. That they are still looking for stories to share, to adapt, to define the future they are building for themselves and others.

“If I am writing about a culture different than my own, I have multiple people from that background read my work, and I’m really sad that we use this term ‘sensitivity readers’. What I call it is fact checking. You know, if I put in a tractor mechanic, I want a tractor mechanic to read this and make sure it looks right.”

~ Jennifer Camper (she/her

On another panel, Charlie Jane Anders and other spec fic writers recommended Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward’s Writing the Other for all those aspiring writers wondering how to write diversity into their characters. Meanwhile, Camper continued with recommendations to at least start by reading works by people from the communities or identities you wish to represent, in order to see how they choose to represent themselves—and why.

a photo of Jennifer Camper wearing a black mask and holding up the book I am Not a Terrorist: And Other Stories
a photo of Jennifer Camper's table of zines, sticker sheets, and books

Jennifer Camper and some of her contributions to queer comics history. This woman is an icon. Find a copy of “No Straight Lines” at your local (university?) library for a glimpse at the truly rich history of this slowly growing slice of self-expression.

Speaking of how people choose to represent themselves, I planned to write something poignant and touching about the panel on queer vampires, but I was so swept away by the energy and cheering and pure delight of being immersed in all my favorite aspects of my favorite niche interests (queer history, monstrousness in art, lesbian vampires, B-movie metaphors, etc.) that I came out of it with a sense of complete restorative well being…and that’s it. It’s amazing how wonderful those moments of total acceptance feel after a lifetime of self-censorship, how powerful, affirming and centering it is to experience such enthusiastic communal understanding. 

“I like working with Claudia Aguierre because…she’s a queer, lesbian, Mexican woman. And so I can write stuff in there that’s queer and Mexican...Like, there is a shorthand that I think comes with working with other queer people and it sometimes feels a little more like freedom. You’re like, “Okay, I don’t have to explain.””

~ Terry Blas (he/him

“I always bring all the different little pride stickers and lay them out. And then I get these kids who walk up and like, that’s awesome. These feral teens, it’s like “I see you, I was you, I get it” and I think that’s the key thing. We talk about things like gaydar—we do have a way of finding each other out in the world, which I think is really cool.”

~ David R. Slayton (he/him

This year, I bought a Vashwood print for someone close to me, who abruptly came out over the phone when I casually mentioned that I couldn’t talk because I was at “a gay comic-con”. 

This little anecdote is a testament to how even the most innocuous complaints about Ino and Hinata being a better endgame, or jokes about cosplaying “all the black-haired bisexuals” may come across as cringy to some, but show others that you are someone they can turn to. Someone they can trust. Someone who will hike up and down an artist’s alley to find them a slash print that is not gay enough to freak out their parents, but soft enough to offer hope for a loving future.

Symbols are powerful things, and as Barthes’ would likely agree, our modern mythmakers aren’t Homer, Ovid or Aesop (though their narrative structures and values continue to hold outsize influence). Our modern Hesiods include people like Stephanie Brown, Marjorie Liu, Kieron Gillen, and Natasha Alterici, whose art was one of the promotional prints for “Sharp Wit & The Company of Woman”. I love her art, and Heathen was an excellent interpretation of Norse mythology and regional history.

a photo of Stephanie Brown wearing a green mask holding the Nubia book

Stephanie Brown, writer for the Nubia series. I really appreciated the care Brown gave the characters’ backstories, as well as all the amazing artists who worked on the interiors. The cover gallery is gorgeous, too. It definitely benefits from a certain familiarity with DC comics lore, but it is a solid starting point for someone looking to dip their toes into the vast ocean of superhero comics.

While these creators may not be quite as canonized as the bust inspirations that came before, their contributions to queer imaginings are powerful refusals to soften edges, to keep room for complexity, fallibility and the driving forces of desire that echo through the most resonant legends. Their characters, in all their other-landishness, play with and subvert the abstraction of archetype to reveal far more boundary-blurring realities that hew closer to what it means to be human in an ever-changing and often destabilizing world. There are quiet reckonings on these pages, as world-shakers and mountain-movers make way for smaller-scale consequences that weigh no less heavy on their makers’ shoulders, or private pleasures that refuse to be generic or prescriptive, that insist on specificity and subjectivity for the characters even as their creators’ wink at the inspirations.

“…we get to problematize them and get to make them weirder and more interesting, but also simply more authentic sounding…I find if I’m writing a script for a comic where I know the artist is also queer, I don’t have to do as much work whereas if the artist is straight I’d have to be like ‘Male, handsome. Woman, don’t put the camera up her ass.’”

~ Anthony Oliveira (he/him

“I think things have really changed. And I hope they keep changing. And I hope that the more queer stories that we have out there, the more doors are open…now that we have more queer people writing queer characters…we don’t all have to be packaged a certain way to be respectable, to be commodified. So yeah, we’re just writing people, and people are messy and weird and delightful and awful, and it’s great.”

~ Alyssa Wong (they/them)

“Art requires truth” is one of the last lines from Mari Walker’s taut, disquieting 2021 character study See You Then. While I wasn’t able to attend the last panel on Intimacy in Comics, it was the line that came to mind while I was waiting for the train back home. In this era of microcurated realities and fandom mentalities that have spilled beyond con floors and discussion boards into arenas of greater effect, connection and the truth it demands of us take on new significance and meaning. Art takes on that meaning, that significance, that urgency. It becomes that hand reaching out through the obfuscation, opacity, fear and loathing; a reminder that there is so much more out in the world, and in history, than any of us can ever begin to experience. Can ever dream of imagining.

So make art, make love and tell the stories only you can.

a tweet from Yoshi Yoshitani that says, "To anyone who thinks 'oh I can't create this, it's already been done before :(' 

I have read approximately 50 'I was reincarnated as the villainess in an Otome game' stories and I am still looking for more. I will never tire of this.

So just make what you love"

NOTE: All the quotes are from published authors, artists, and editors. Check out their work!

10 Sapphic YA Horror Books to Read In October

With fall finally here, you might be looking for some spooky books to read in October and to get you in the perfect eerie mood. Featuring ghosts, aliens, demons, and zombies, these books are a great way to get in touch with your sinister side and prepare yourself for the best night of the year: Halloween!

Before we get into it, it’s important to remember that, as readers, we owe it to ourselves to respect our boundaries and know our limits. This is especially true with horror books, as they can address some heavy topics and depict different levels of gore and bloodshed. Young adult novels are a good way to ease into the genre, but that doesn’t mean that they are free of any type of violence or pain. Make sure to read the content warnings and don’t hesitate to draw the line in the sand if necessary.

That being said, turn off your lights, burn a candle, play some ominous music, and curl up under your blankets. Here are 10 spooky sapphic YA horror novels to check out!

the cover of Night of the Living Queers

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror Delight edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown

In this YA horror anthology, authors explore a night when anything is possible under the blue moon: Halloween. Featuring queer characters of colour written by queer authors of color, this collection puts some fresh spins on classic horror tropes and tales. The stories are told through the lens of different BIPOC teens, including many sapphic main characters, as they experience the night that changes their lives forever.

This is perfect for people who are still discovering horror and looking to figure out which subgenres they find most entertaining, which messages speak most personally to them, and which themes they’d like to explore further. The anthology touches on a whole plethora of topics such as grief, guilt, race, gender identity, and complex family dynamics, and it features a wide array of subgenres including paranormal horror, monster horror, body horror, and horror comedy.

Content warnings: body horror, gore, blood, suicidal ideation, animal cruelty, death, child death, death of a parent, homophobia, transphobia, violence, racism, grief, blood, bullying, abandonment, mentions of substance abuse, alcohol addiction and drug overdose.

the cover of Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Set in the Alien universe, Alien: Echo follows Olivia and her twin sister, Viola, as their family settles on a new colony world, where their xenobiologist parents expand their research into obscure alien biology. One day, an alien threat unlike any other is seen and, suddenly, their world is ripped apart. Their colony collapses into chaos, and Olivia has to use the knowledge she’s picked up over the years following her parents around the universe to escape the monster and protect her sister, all while grappling with the discovery of a shocking family secret.

This is the perfect novel for sci-fi fanatics, as it really delves into the science at the core of the story, in a way that is suspiciously believable.

Content warnings: body horror, blood, violence, gore, death, child death, death of a parent, animal death, xenophobia, grief, bullying, discrimination, severe injury.

the cover of This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham

This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham

In this horror comedy, four best friends venture out into the desert for one last music festival before graduation. The twist? They’re zombies. A few years prior, an unknown pathogen was released onto the world, causing certain people to undergo the Hollowing: a transformation that made them intolerant to normal food and unable to gain sustenance from anything other than human flesh. While humanity slowly returned to normal after scientists were able to create a synthetic version of human meat that would satisfy the hunger of these “ghouls”, one of the girls goes feral at the festival and accidentally kills another attendee. The group suspects that someone is drugging them to turn them feral, but can they figure out who it is before they all lose themselves too?

A horror comedy is a great way to get into a spooky mood while still being able to sleep at night. With an all-queer cast, including a bisexual main character, a trans and bisexual love interest, and lesbian and bisexual side characters, this is perfect for people who are looking to sink their teeth into mess and chaos.

Content warnings [as listed by the author]: alcohol consumption by minors, anxiety disorders, blood and gore depiction, body horror, cannibalism, captivity and confinement, dead bodies and body parts, deadnaming, death of a grandparent, death of a sibling, drugging, drug use, fire, grief and loss depiction, gun violence, intrusive thoughts, murder, needles and syringes, nightmares, parental neglect, pandemic, scars, sexism, suicidal ideation, transphobia.

the cover of Burn Down, Rise Up

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

This is the story of Raquel, a young sapphic Afro-Latina from the Bronx whose mother has recently come down with a mysterious illness that the doctors can’t explain. At the same time, multiple Black kids have been disappearing from the city without a trace, and the police are doing very little to investigate, not particularly concerned about these children’s whereabouts. One day, Raquel’s crush, Charlize, asks for her help to find her recently missing cousin, and the girls end up following an urban legend called the Echo Game, which leads them down to a sinister, unknown, underground part of the city.

This debut novel is a deep dive into the racist policies of the Bronx in the 1970s and 1980s, including the redlining, the slumlords, and the gentrification. It is the epitome of “disgusting” and will keep you on edge from start to finish.

Content warnings: gore, violence, death, racism, gun use, police brutality, discussion of cannibalism, fire injuries/burns, missing family members, sick family members, homophobia.

the cover of We Don’t Swim Here by Vincent Tirado

We Don’t Swim Here by Vincent Tirado

In their second novel, We Don’t Swim Here, Tirado tells the story of two Afro-Latina cousins, Bronwyn and Anais. Anais lives in Hillwoods, a small, secluded town to which Bronwyn is forced to move, as her family wants to be near her grandmother in her final moments. However, Bronwyn struggles with the move, as the people in Hillwoods are predominantly white, particularly weird, and eerily standoffish. Her cousin also warns her about some unspoken rule that exists within the town which bans anyone from swimming—a big issue for Bronwyn who was a competitive swimmer back home. The story follows her as she tries to navigate this unsettling community, as well as Anais who tries to keep her cousin in the dark as much as possible and protect her from the town’s sinister past.

If you love sapphic final girls who feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, or characters who try to fight back against the idea that they do not belong or are not allowed to belong in certain spaces, you will love this novel.

Content warnings: body horror, blood, murder, grief, death, child death, racism, hate crime, gun violence, kidnapping, medical content.

the cover of Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls is the story of very different girls who live in a small community on the island of Sawkill Rock. As beautiful as the town may seem, behind the campfires and blue waves crashing against the shore, there lies a dark secret. For decades, girls have been disappearing inexplicably, allegedly taken away by an inhuman spirit. But what happens when the awkward, plain new girl, Marion, unwillingly joins forces with Zoey and Val to fight this legendary evil and save the girls in their community, including themselves?

Featuring a cast of sapphic and asexual main characters, this book is perfect for people who are all about dismantling decades-long, misogynistic traditions and who like a weird, genre-bending twist to their stories. 

Content warnings: gore, violence, blood, murder, aphobia/acephobia, loss of a loved one, grief, child abuse, cults, fire, pedophilia, sexual assault, animal death.

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould cover

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Courtney Gould’s debut novel, The Dead and the Dark, is set in smalltown Snakebite, Oregon, where everything seems to be going wrong. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and the community seems hellbent on blaming it all on Logan’s two dads—hosts of a popular ghost hunting TV show—after they’ve decided to return to town. Although Logan has never lived in Snakebite before, she agrees to help Ashley, whose boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, in her investigation into the town’s deepest secrets. As they uncover the truth about the people in their community, they also start to uncover the truth about themselves and their growing feelings for one another.

Great for readers who are looking for some romance in the horror stories they pick up, this book will put you in the perfect eerie mood, while also reminding you of the power of family and love.

Content warnings [as listed by the author]: homophobia, child death, murder, claustrophobia, drowning, slurs.

the cover of Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould

Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould

In this second novel by Courtney Gould, we follow Beck, a young lesbian who has been struggling since her mother’s death, desperate for things to return to the simpler, happier days of her childhood. Wanting to understand more about her mother, a brilliant but troubled investigative reporter, Beck travels to Backravel, the town that was the center of her mother’s journalistic work for years. Followed by her younger sister, Riley, Beck soon realizes that there is something off about the small, secluded town. Although everyone’s memory seems to be filled with holes and missing information, the people seem eerily at ease with the otherwise inexplicable happenings of their community. With the help of the daughter of the town’s enigmatic leader, Avery, Beck must uncover the secrets of Backravel before her or her sister get hurt… or before she loses herself completely.

Touching on the struggle of death and grief, this novel packs an emotional punch, while keeping its readers guessing from the first page until the very last.

Content warnings [as listed by the author]: death of a parent, death of a loved one, emotional abuse, gaslighting, emetophobia/vomiting.

As I Descended by Robin Talley cover

As I Descended by Robin Talley

In this modern, dark academia retelling of Macbeth, Maria and Lily are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them. The only thing that stands in their way towards a perfect future together is the golden child of their school, Delilah. Maria needs to win the Cawdor Kingsley Prize, as the scholarship money would allow her to attend Stanford and keep her relationship with Lily alive. The problem is that Delilah is seen as the presumptive winner of the award. What she doesn’t know is that Maria and Lily are ready to do anything to make their dreams come true, including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on their school campus.

This book is filled with ghosts, Shakespearian tragedy, and queer teenagers quickly delving into chaos. Featuring a disabled lesbian and her sapphic girlfriend as the main characters, this story will have you questioning the limits to which people will go for love and victory.

Content warnings: blood, gore, death, violence, self harm, suicide, murder, ableism, homophobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, forced outing, forced drug usage, panic attacks, psychosis, racism, slavery, grief, child death, emotional abuse, religious bigotry, bullying, car accident, fire.

the cover of Damned If You Do

Damned If You Do by Alex Brown

Heavily inspired by Filipino folklore, this horror comedy features Cordelia, a high school stage manager who spends her days focusing on the school play, trying to keep up with her grades, and desperately pining over her best friend, Veronica. One day, the demon to which she sold her soul seven years ago comes back to see her under the guise of her new school guidance counselor and requires that she pay back the deed. The two must work together to defeat a different, more powerful demon who looks to harm her hometown and all those in it.

This book features the perfect amount of entertaining high school drama and fiendishly clever demons, all while it explores the type of trauma that some children face at the hands of a parent and the ever-lasting impact that it has on them and those closest to them.

Content warnings: child abuse, murder, violence, gore, blood, body horror, depictions of verbal abuse, mentions of physical abuse, loss of a parent.

Looking for even more sapphic horror books? Check out the Lesbrary’s horror tag for many more sapphic horror recommendations! You can also browse just the YA horror reviews. Happy Halloween reading!

Enter to Win 1 of 10 Free Copies of FIT FOR THE GODS!

the cover of Fit for the Gods

To celebrate the release of Fit for the Gods, co-editor Jenn Northington is giving away ten copies.

There are so many retellings of Greco-Roman mythology out there—and now there are 15 more! For all the other fans who cannot get enough and are always hoping to see new takes and new identities on the page, and new authors playing fast and loose with one of the most well-known mythologies in the world, Fit For the Gods: Greek Mythology Reimagined is an anthology of gender-bent, queered, race-bent, and inclusive retellings. 

Co-edited by Jenn Northington and S. Zainab Williams, who grew up on these stories and are always ready for more, the anthology includes short fiction from across genres by authors including Zeyn Joukhadar, Sarah Gailey, Mia P. Manansala, and Alyssa Cole. Want a non-binary Odysseus in space, or a lesbian Aeneas of Kumeyaay descent? How about a trans Tiresias in Italy, or a Blind pansexual, polyamorous Aphrodite? All these and more await you! 

Northington will choose ten winners from her list of TinyLetter subscribers on September 21st using a random number generator.

Subscribe by midnight EST on September 20th to be eligible. Are you already subscribed? Perfect! You’re automatically entered into the drawing. Subscribers receive emails when she remembers to send one, which is currently less than five times per year.

Subscribe here to enter to win one of ten copies of Fit for the Gods!

This is a sponsored post. For more information, check out the Lesbrary’s advertisement options.

5 of the Best Webcomics for Sapphic Swifties

For all my fellow sapphic Swifties, this has been a roller coaster of a time. The U.S. leg of the Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour is ending, but we did get an announcement of 1989 Taylor’s Version releasing later this year. Even with the news, the ending feels like an end of a…well, era. Many of us went to the tour, spent countless hours watching videos on Tiktok, and recounted the various tour drama with our friends. It was a unifying Swiftie moment in time. I have the collection of friendship bracelets to prove it. If you, like me, are having an Eras Tour hangover, this list may provide you with a balm for those feelings. Perhaps at least, it may provide you with a little drama to tide you over until 1989 is released again.

Here are 5 sapphic webcomics you can read for free on the Webtoons app if you are missing the Taylor Swift Era’s Tour:

Nevermore art with the text Deadly mind, beautiful heart.

1 – Nevermore by Kate Flynn and Kit Trace

If you are in your Folklore era where you are finding yourself feeling moody and broody, connecting to soft lyrical phrases, and staring out rainy windows, then you are ready to read the sapphic story of Nevermore. Nevermore is an Edger Allen Poe-inspired tale of two women that wake up on a beach with no memories of who they are, forced to survive in a land of monsters. They discover an academy full of secrets, while discovering that there may be something a lot like love between them as. It is dark academia mystery—and, of course, an absolutely enthralling sapphic romance. Put the Folklore album on loop during a rainy day and settle in for this gorgeous read.

the cover of Office Talk Vol 1

2 – Office Talk by Alondraw Comics

If you are in your Fearless era, you are probably listening to sweet love songs in the summer. You may be walking through gentle rain storms or running your hand along wheat fields in a white dress. Almost definitely you are pining. The perfect read for a good pining story is Office Talk. In this lovely slice of life comic, Selma and Lin are two women who work in different departments at a large corporation who have crushes on each other. That is obvious to everyone but them. The story follows both women as they mutually pine and struggle with the relatable sapphic experience of not knowing how to act on those feelings. It is a gentle comic with a lot of heart and some fun meddling coworkers. If you want a slow burn with low angst and high adorable qualities, Office Talk is the comic for you.

a banner for Winter Before Spring showing two women about to kiss with the text "Will the new transfer be her friend... or something more?"

3 – Winter Before Spring by Moonbun00

If you are in your Speak Now era, you are getting the last word, always prepared for revenge, and not letting yourself be pushed around. You are not the person to be messed with, and you will let other people know it. The perfect sapphic tale for you is Winter Before Spring. In this story, Hana struggles with intense bullying at school that is making her life hell. That all begins to change when she meets a girl in school who starts to stand up for her… a girl who might become more to her than just a very pretty friend. Winter Before Spring is a hard read, but a lovely one. Note the trigger warnings provided throughout the comic as the author is good at providing them, but the strongest ones are for intense physical and psychological bullying, especially early on in the story. However, if you are able to read the story, it is worthwhile for the lovely way it tells the tale of a girl learning to find her own Speak Now voice through the power of sapphic love.

the cover of Eldritch Darling

4 – Eldritch Darling by Mishacak3s

If you are in your Reputation era, you are ready to slay. You are prepared to fight your enemies, and you don’t care what other people think of you. You are powerful. Yet inside there is a sweet core for those who you let past your strong walls. The perfect story for you is Eldritch Darling, the story of a women-loving-women power eldritch monster who just wants to love her girlfriend—and also possible destroy anything that might prevent that love. It is an adorable slice of life comic, with cute pink-infused art about a cosmic horror. It is a delightful story that is so much fun and worth it for those who want something to make your leather-wearing Reputation hearts melt.

the icon for Isabella

5 – Isadora by RoseEstelle

If you are in your Lover era, you are ready to put on your pink dresses and talk about forever. You still have a lot of anxiety about whether things can last, but you hope they do. The story of two girls growing up from childhood friends to lovers with help will be a soothing balm for your soul that might ask the question, “who would stay?” Isa and Dora are both fully realized characters, and their love story is one for the ages. You are going to want it in your life.

Ultimately, we are likely to travel through each of these eras at some point in our lives—many times most likely. Which means we will all need many stories to carry us through. Luckily, more sapphic stories are being added to the world every day, which means the amount of stories of women loving women we have for each era of our lives continues to grow. I know I count myself lucky to be going through my own life transitions during a period where that is true, and I hope you do as well.

Chris Ceary (she/they) is a psychology professor by day and a reviewer of all things queer media by night. They host the podcast Thirsty on Toon, which covers queer indie and small press media, as well as the podcasts Gotham Outsiders and Talking Comics. Chris can be found screaming about their latest reads across various social media sites linked at

SPONSORED POST: The Buy-In by Hakeela Buford

It was a love story…

that WASN’T supposed to be a love story.

The Buy-In, an interactive romantic comedy novel

What do authors and culinary arts grads meeting in late summer have in common?

What do past-life marketers/copywriters and actors have in common besides just selling a story?This is a sponsored post from I Heart Lesfic. For more information, check out the Lesbrary’s advertisement options.

What do unhealthy obsessions with Lipton Brisk iced tea and mysteries set over a DeBarge album really have in common with a mastered bowl of curry while listening to some Coi Leray?

Maybe a whole lot.

Maybe a whole not.

Or maybe, one has to stop thinking and actually test out the vibe, no matter how unfamiliar or unimagined, to know for sure…

Especially when everyone’s talking about you (two).

After returning home from a book signing for her latest release, Arielle “Elle” Smith (@ElWordSmith) walks in on a surprise that is unfortunately not really such a surprise and makes a vow right then and there that selling stories is all she’ll be focusing on for the foreseeable future.

That is until, just a matter of weeks later, the Las Vegas-based, now relationship-jaded, Black lesbian rising author receives a business proposition from the mysterious LA-based actress/aspiring restaurateur Jae’cy Carter (@J_Carter)

and then some.

In this serious yet funny yet suspenseful (sometimes even a bit steamy) “learning to love again” story, two Black women, two Millennials are just trying to write their next big book so as to never return to the corporate world again (introverted yet unintentionally charming Arielle), open their dream café to prove it to themselves (collected yet passionate Jae’cy), and do everything else BUT fall in love. But the heart wants what the heart wants, no matter how much one tries to fight it. No matter the differences—beyond one being lesbian and the other (?)…, beyond one loving R&B while the other prefers rap, beyond the surface.

Speaking of music…

✓ You’re as obsessed as Elle is with all things ’90s and 2000s R&B

✓ You like a slow-paced romance mixed in with some shouting aloud at the characters in frustration

✓ You like a good friends to lovers trope

Sounds good?


Pre-Orders (ebook only) Available Now

On Sale (ebook and print) July 28th

This is a sponsored post. For more information, check out the Lesbrary’s advertisement options.

The Lesbrary Is Looking for More Reviewers!

Graphic reading "The Lesbrary is looking for more reviewers!"

Do you love reading sapphic books? Feel like talking about them at least once a month? Want to be buried in an insurmountable pile of free sapphic ebooks? Join the Lesbrary!

I am looking for more reviewers at the Lesbrary! You just have to commit to one review a month of any sapphic book and in return you get forwarded all of the sapphic ebooks sent to us for possible review. You also get access to the Lesbrary Edelweiss and Netgalley accounts, where you can request not-yet-released queer titles.

I’m looking particularly for more reviewers of color, disabled reviewers, and trans reviewers, but anyone who regularly reads sapphic books is welcome!

If you’re interested in joining the Lesbrary, send me an email at danikaellis at gmail with an example of a book review you’ve written. (It doesn’t have to have been published/posted anywhere before.) We’d love to have you on board!

23 New Sapphic Books Out July 2023!

a collage of the covers listed with the text Sapphic Books Out in July

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 and included the publisher’s description of those, 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!



the cover of All-Night Pharmacy
the cover of Women of the Post
the cover of The Hunt


the cover of Of Love and Libraries
the cover of What are the Chances

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror

the cover of The Sun and the Void

The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz (F/F Fantasy)

Two women embark on a unforgettable quest that draws them into a world of dark gods and ancient magic in this sweeping fantasy debut inspired by the history and folklore of colonial South America. 

Reina is desperate.

Stuck on the edges of society, Reina’s only hope lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never met. But the journey to her is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.

Attacked by creatures that stalk the mountains, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.
Eva Kesaré is unwanted.

Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries to be the perfect daughter, but Eva is hiding a secret: Magic calls to her. 

Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet it’s hard to ignore power when it has always been denied you. Eva is walking a dangerous path. And in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.

the cover of Camp Damascus

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle (Horror) 

From beloved internet icon Chuck Tingle, Camp Damascus is a searing and earnest horror debut about the demons the queer community faces in America, the price of keeping secrets, and finding the courage to burn it all down.

Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold.

Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed “most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy.

And they’ll scare you straight to hell.

the cover of The Valkyrie’s Shadow
the cover of Little Nothing by Dee Holloway
the cover of The Splinter in the Sky
the cover of Black Sails to Sunward
the cover of Cruel Angels Past Sundown

Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

the cover of Love and Gravity

Love and Gravity: A Graphic Novel (Always Human, #2) by Ari North (Sci-Fi Graphic Novel)

Sunati and Austen are back in the final volume of their inspirational love story. Sunati and Austen’s relationship is growing stronger by the day in this near-future, soft sci-fi graphic novel.

Austen is working hard to overcome the limitations of Egan’s Syndrome, a very rare condition that rejects body modifications, which is making school difficult. But while Austen is forced to confront her plans for the future, Sunati receives a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity… on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus!

Will Austen find her way? And will Sunati leave Austen when she needs her most to follow her own dreams of space exploration? The wonderful ending to this story celebrates the complexity and beauty of what makes us human.

Young Adult and Middle Grade

YA Contemporary

Rana Joon and the One and Only Now by Shideh Etaat (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

Perfect Iranian girls are straight A students, always polite, and grow up to marry respectable Iranian boys. But it’s the San Fernando Valley in 1996, and Rana Joon is far from perfect—she smokes weed and loves Tupac, and she has a secret: she likes girls.

As if that weren’t enough, her best friend, Louie—the one who knew her secret and encouraged her to live in the moment—died almost a year ago, and she’s still having trouble processing her grief. To honor him, Rana enters the rap battle he dreamed of competing in, even though she’s terrified of public speaking.

But the clock is ticking. With the battle getting closer every day, she can’t decide whether to use one of Louie’s pieces or her own poetry, her family is coming apart, and she might even be falling in love. To get herself to the stage and fulfill her promise before her senior year ends, Rana will have to learn to speak her truth and live in the one and only now.

All the Yellow Suns cover

All the Yellow Suns by Malavika Kannan (F/F YA Contemporary)

A coming-of-age story about a queer Indian American girl exploring activism and identity through art, perfect for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
Sixteen-year-old Maya Krishnan is fiercely protective of her friends, immigrant community, and single mother, but she knows better than to rock the boat in her conservative Florida suburb. Her classmate Juneau Zale is the polar opposite: she’s a wealthy white heartbreaker who won’t think twice before capsizing that boat.
When Juneau invites Maya to join the Pugilists—a secret society of artists, vandals, and mischief-makers who fight for justice at their school—Maya descends into the world of change-making and resistance. Soon, she and Juneau forge a friendship that inspires Maya to confront the challenges in her own life.
But as their relationship grows romantic, painful, and twisted, Maya begins to suspect that there’s a whole different person beneath Juneau’s painted-on facade. Now Maya must learn to speak her truth in this mysterious, mixed-up world—even if it results in heartbreak

the cover of What a Desi Girl Wants
the cover of Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review
the cover of The Showdown

YA Mystery/Thrillers

the cover of Stars, Hide Your Fires

Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Mary Best (Sapphic YA Sci-Fi Mystery)

As an expert thief from a minor moon, Cass knows a good mark when she sees one. The emperor’s ball is her chance to steal a fortune for herself, her ailing father, and her scrappy crew of thieves and market vendors.

Her plan is simple:
1. Hitch a ride to the planet of Ouris, the dazzling heart of the empire.
2. Sneak onto the imperial palace station to attend the emperor’s ball.
3. Steal from the rich, the royal, and the insufferable.

But on the station, things quickly go awry. When the emperor is found dead, everyone in the palace is a suspect—and someone is setting Cass up to take the fall. To clear her name, Cass must work with an unlikely ally: a gorgeous and mysterious rebel with her own reasons for being on the station. Together, they unravel a secret that could change the fate of the empire.

YA Horror

the cover of A Guide to the Dark

A Guide to the Dark by Meriam Metoui (Sapphic YA Horror)

Something is building, simmering just out of reach.

The room is watching. But Mira and Layla don’t know this yet. When the two best friends are stranded on their spring break college tour road trip, they find themselves at the Wildwood Motel, located in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Mira can’t shake the feeling that there is something wrong and rotten about their room. Inside, she’s haunted by nightmares of her dead brother. When she wakes up, he’s still there.

Layla doesn’t see him. Or notice anything suspicious about Room 9. The place may be a little run down, but it has a certain charm she can’t wait to capture on camera. If Layla is being honest, she’s too preoccupied with confusing feelings for Mira to see much else. But when they learn eight people died in that same room, they realize there must be a connection between the deaths and the unexplainable things that keep happening inside it. They just have to find the connection before Mira becomes the ninth.

This tender thriller includes over thirty interior black and white photos by the author!

YA Fantasy

the cover of The Third Daughter

The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley (Lesbian and Bisexual YA Fantasy)

For centuries, the citizens of Velle have waited for their New Maiden to return. The prophecy states she will appear as the third daughter of a third daughter. When the fabled child is finally born to Velle’s reigning queen all rejoice except for Elodie, the queen’s eldest child, who has lost her claim to the crown. The only way for Elodie to protect Velle is to retake the throne. To do so, she must debilitate the Third Daughter—her youngest sister, Brianne.

Desperate, Elodie purchases a sleeping potion from Sabine, who sells sadness. But the apothecary mistakenly sends the princess away with a vial of tears instead of a harmless sleeping brew. Sabine’s sadness is dangerously powerful, and Brianne slips into a slumber from which she will not wake. With the fates of their families and country hanging in the balance, Sabine and Elodie hurry to revive the Third Daughter while a slow-burning attraction between the two girls erupts in full force.

YA Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

the cover of Firebird

Firebird by Sunmi (Queer YA Graphic Novel)

Caroline Kim is feeling the weight of sophomore year. When she starts tutoring infamous senior Kimberly Park-Ocampo—a charismatic lesbian, friend to rich kids and punks alike—Caroline is flustered… but intrigued

Their friendship kindles and before they know it, the two are sneaking out for late-night drives, bonding beneath the stars over music, dreams, and a shared desire of getting away from it all.

A connection begins to smolder… but will feelings of guilt and the mounting pressure of life outside of these adventures extinguish their spark before it catches fire?


the cover of Us

Us by Sara Soler and Joamette Gil, translated by Silvia Perea Labayen (Trans Sapphic Graphic Memoir)

What happens when the life you thought you had does a 180º turn? Everything, and yet…nothing.

Us is Sara and Diana’s love story, as well as the story of Diana’s gender transition. Full of humor, heartache, and the everyday triumphs and struggles of identity, this graphic memoir speaks to changing conceptions of the world as well as the self, at the same time revealing that some things don’t really have to change.

Check out more LGBTQ new releases by signing up for Our Queerest Shelves, my LGBTQ book newsletter at Book Riot!

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

Wrapping Up 30 Days of Pride at the Lesbrary!

Happy last day of Pride month! This June, I decided to put up an article every day at the Lesbrary. Some were reposts, some were brand new, and some were updated versions of earlier lists. Partly, I did it to try to promote the Lesbrary’s Patreon: its numbers have dropped recently, and I wanted to do a big push to try to promote it. In this post, I wanted to wrap up the experience.

I’ll be honest: I knew this would be a lot of work, but it was more work than I anticipated. Even the reposts needed to be reformatted, which took more time than I expected. Also, my day job is as an Associate Editor at Book Riot, and there’s a lot of overlap in the kind of work I do there and here. Ending my work day and doing more book blogging is hard to convince myself to do—it’s a dream job, and I love the Lesbrary too, but too much of the same thing can get tiring.

And I’ll be even more honest: for the amount of work that went into this 30 days of content, it didn’t have much of an impact. I gained five Patrons in June, still well short of where I was even in January. I don’t expect everyone to support the Lesbrary on Patreon, of course! But maintaining the Patreon is its own process, including writing and mailing postcards and packaging up books, so I was hoping to boost those numbers to make it worth that time.

I don’t mean to be completely negative! I appreciated the chance to write articles and lists for the site, which I haven’t done in a while. I’m particularly proud of 10 of the Best Sapphic Mermaid Books because it’s a format I want to keep doing: pulling reviews into a list on a theme. I also liked doing the The Best Sapphic Books of 2023 (So Far) and The 10 Most Highly Anticipated Sapphic Books Out in the Rest of 2023. But my favourite post is probably yesterday’s weird list: Alien Donut Shops, Cybernetic Tea Rooms, and More Sapphic SFF for Foodies!

I’m glad I did this, because I’ve been wondering if posting like this in June would drive people to the Lesbrary or just be drowned out by other Pride content, and it looks like it’s closer to the latter—though a few posts did very well! I was glad to see this list of F/F Romances by Black Authors get lots of attention on Twitter; I hope it translated into more readers for those books!

Next time, I think I’ll treat June as more of a rest month for the Lesbrary, and if I want to do a big content push, I’ll save it for another time. Still, I hope you enjoyed these posts, and we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled content tomorrow!

a graphic of a mermaid tail with the text The Best Sapphic Mermaid Books

Day 1: I’ve Read 500+ Sapphic Books. Here are My Favorites.

Day 2: 10 of the Best Sapphic Mermaid Books

Day 3: Books for When Life is Draining You Dry and You’d Rather a Lesbian Vampire Were Doing It Instead

Day 4: 10 Mind-Blowing Bi and Lesbian Books

Day 5: 38 New Sapphic Books Out in June 2023!

Day 6: New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out June 6, 2023

Day 7: Sapphic Young Adult Books with Complicated Families

a collage of Black sapphic romance book covers with the text Reading Black Joy: 27 F/F Romances by Black Authors

Day 8: Reading Black Joy: 27 F/F Romances by Black Authors

Day 9: The 9 Books of Sappho and Other Queer Lit Lost in the Fire

Day 10: 8 of the Best Sapphic Shakespeare Retellings

Day 11: Get Queer Book Recs in Your Inbox Twice a Week with Our Queerest Shelves!

Day 12: Lesbrary Links: Defeating Book Bans, Queer-Owned Bookstores, Sapphic Hidden Gems, and More!

Day 13: 12 of the Best New Sapphic Books Out June 13, 2023

Day 14: 58 Must-Read Sapphic Books by Trans and Nonbinary Authors

Day 15: Bringing the Lesbian Vampire Home: Carmen Maria Machado’s Reclamation of CARMILLA

Day 16: Do Queer Books Still Need a Happy Ending?

Day 17: Queer Book Blogs You Need to Read

Day 18: 12 Sapphic Roller Derby Books for When You Miss the Track

a collage of the covers listed with the text The Best Sapphic Books of 2023 (So Far)

Day 19: The Best Sapphic Books of 2023 (So Far)

Day 20: New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out June 20, 2023!

Day 21: Messy Sapphics, F/F Friends to Lovers Romances, Book Celebrating Queer Bars, and More Lesbrary Links

Day 22: The 10 Most Highly Anticipated Sapphic Books Out in the Rest of 2023

Day 23: Lesbian Poetry: Because it Didn’t End with Sappho

Day 24: 9 Essential Books for Baby Gays

Day 25: Sapphic eBooks On Sale Today for Under $5!

Day 26: The Sapphic Fantastic: Bi and Lesbian Fantasy Books

Day 27: New Sapphic Releases: Bi and Lesbian Books Out June 27, 2023!

Day 28: 42 of My Favorite Sapphic Graphic Novels and Comics

Day 29: Alien Donut Shops, Cybernetic Tea Rooms, and More Sapphic SFF for Foodies!

Day 30: Wrapping Up 30 Days of Pride at the Lesbrary! (this one!)

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