December is a slow publishing time, but there are still some gems out this month you shouldn’t miss! It’s not always easy to find out which new releases 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.
This month includes a thoughtful literary fiction book about growing up as a queer Muslim girl in 80s Queens, a queer YA heist story on the Titanic, a bunch of new yuri manga titles, a nonbinary essay collection that stole my top spot for favorite books I’ve read this year, and some just-in-time F/F Christmas romances. On to the books!
Fiction and SFF
Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion by Bushra Rehman (Sapphic Literary Fiction)
For readers of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous and My Brilliant Friend, Bushra Rehman’s Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is an unforgettable story about female friendship and queer love
Razia Mirza grows up amid the wild grape vines and backyard sunflowers of Corona, Queens, with her best friend, Saima, by her side. When a family rift drives the girls apart, Razia’s heart is broken. She finds solace in Taslima, a new girl in her close-knit Pakistani-American community. They embark on a series of small rebellions: listening to scandalous music, wearing miniskirts, and cutting school to explore the city.
When Razia is accepted to Stuyvesant, a prestigious high school in Manhattan, the gulf between the person she is and the daughter her parents want her to be, widens. At Stuyvesant, Razia meets Angela and is attracted to her in a way that blossoms into a new understanding. When their relationship is discovered by an Aunty in the community, Razia must choose between her family and her own future.
Punctuated by both joy and loss, full of ’80s music and beloved novels, Roses, in the Mouth of a Lion is a new classic: a fiercely compassionate coming-of-age story of a girl struggling to reconcile her heritage and faith with her desire to be true to herself.
- The Ivory Tomb (Rooks and Ruin #3) by Melissa Caruso (F/F Fantasy)
Picture-Perfect Christmas by Charlotte Greene (F/F Holiday Romance)
When Nicole Steele left the small mountain town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, she thought she’d never look back. Almost twenty years later, all she wants is to move home. She’s delighted to be hired to take photographs for Glenwood’s new tourism campaign. Instead of her usual week-long visit, she gets to spend the entire holiday season in town. But there’s a hitch: Quinn Zelinski.
Quinn’s working on the tourism project, too, and she and Nicole have a history: high school rivalry, teenage longing, and one memorable kiss. Then Nicole left for college, Quinn stayed, and except for a few fleeting glimpses, they haven’t seen or spoken to each other since.
Nicole and Quinn can’t avoid each other forever, and the magic of the Christmas season might rekindle the romance between them if they don’t let old hurts and rivalry ruin a picture-perfect reunion.
- Camp Lost and Found by Georgia Beers (F/F Romance)
- Reindeer Games by Finley Chuva (F/F Holiday Romance Novella)
- I Saw Mommy Kissing the Nanny by Shannon O’Connor (F/F Holiday Romance)
- Only This Summer by Radclyffe (F/F Romance)
- Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 7 edited by Sinclair Sexsmith (Lesbian Erotica Short Stories)
Young Adult and Children’s Books
A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar (YA Historical Thriller)
Josefa is an unapologetic and charismatic thief, who loves the thrill of the chase. She has her eye on her biggest mark yet—the RMS Titanic, the most luxurious ship in the world. But she isn’t interested in stealing from wealthy first-class passengers onboard. No, she’s out for the ultimate prize: the Rubiyat, a one of a kind book encrusted with gems that’s worth millions.
Josefa can’t score it alone, so she enlists a team of girls with unique talents: Hinnah, a daring acrobat and contortionist; Violet, an actress and expert dissembler; and Emilie, an artist who can replicate any drawing by hand.
They couldn’t be more different and yet they have one very important thing in common: their lives depend on breaking into the vault and capturing the Rubiyat. But careless mistakes, old grudges, and new romance threaten to jeopardize everything they’ve worked for and put them in incredible danger when tragedy strikes.
While the odds of pulling off the heist are slim, the odds of survival are even slimmer…
- This Cursed Crown (These Feathered Flames #2) by by Alexandra Overy (Sapphic YA Fantasy)
- Together: A First Conversation About Love by Megan Madison & Jessica Rall (LGBTQ Picture Book)
Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga
Run Away With Me, Girl Vol. 1 by Battan (Yuri Manga)
A dramatic, funny, and painful romance manga between two women about how, sometimes, you need to run away in order to find where you truly belong. Perfect for fans of coming-out yuri like How Do We Relationship? and masters of adult drama like Akiko Higashimura (Princess Jellyfish) and Takako Shimura (Even Though We’re Adults).
You know that one person you just can’t forget? Not the one that got away, but the one you had, until suddenly you didn’t?
Maki’s first love was her high school classmate, a girl named Midori. But Midori broke up with Maki at graduation, saying they were now “too old to be fooling around dating girls.” Ten years later, Maki still can’t get Midori off her mind, and when the two women reconnect after a chance encounter, Maki realizes that, while her feelings haven’t changed, Midori has long moved on—in fact, she’s engaged. Yet the more Maki hears Midori talk about her soon-to-be-husband, the more red flags she notices. And Midori has another secret, one she hasn’t yet shared with Maki. Will it be the last blow to Maki’s hopes that their romance might be rekindled? Or will it be the push that sets them on a new path—one they’ll travel together?
My Cute Little Kitten, Vol. 1 by Milk Morinaga (Yuri Manga)
A budding romance between female roommates is spurred on by the rescue of a rambunctious kitten in this yuri/Girls’ Love romcom. By the beloved creator of Girl Friends!
Rena has had a crush on her roommate Yuna since college, but Yuna has never noticed. One night, Yuna brings home a tiny kitten, even though their apartment doesn’t allow pets! Rena decides it would be better to let Yuna find her own place. But when Yuna says she wants to stay with Rena forever, Rena’s feelings are forced to the surface. Can Rena make Yuna understand what being together forever really means?
- The Legend of Korra: Patterns in Time by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Heather Campbell, Jayd Ait-Kaci, and Killian Ng (Sapphic Graphic Novel)
- The Two of Them Are Pretty Much Like This, Vol. 2 by Takashi Ikeda (Yuri Manga)
- Citrus Plus, Vol. 4 by Saburouta (Yuri Manga)
- Whisper Me a Love Song, Vol. 6 by Eku Takeshima (Yuri Manga)
- The Summer You Were There, Vol. 2 by Yuama (Yuri Manga)
- Hello, Melancholic! Vol. 3 by Yayoi Ohsawa (Yuri Manga)
- Adachi and Shimamura (Light Novel) Vol. 10 by by Hitoma Iruma, illustrated by Non (Yuri Light Novel)
How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures by Sabrina Imbler (Queer Nonbinary Essay Collection)
A TIME Must-Read Book of the Year • A PEOPLE Best New Book • A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2022 • An Indie Next Pick • One of Winter’s Most Eagerly Anticipated Books: VANITY FAIR, VULTURE
A queer, mixed race writer working in a largely white, male field, science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler has always been drawn to the mystery of life in the sea, and particularly to creatures living in hostile or remote environments. Each essay in their debut collection profiles one such creature, including:
- the mother octopus who starves herself while watching over her eggs,
- the Chinese sturgeon whose migration route has been decimated by pollution and dams,
- the bizarre, predatory Bobbitt worm (named after Lorena),
- the common goldfish that flourishes in the wild,
- and more.
Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches is a shimmering, otherworldly debut that attunes us to new visions of our world and its miracles.
This may be my favorite book I’ve read all year! Check out my review for my thoughts.
- Young Bloomsbury: The Generation That Redefined Love, Freedom, and Self-Expression in 1920s England by Nino Strachey (Queer History)
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A previous version of this post included Home for the Holidays by Erin Zak, but that book will not be published until next year.