Our Queerest Shelves

Messy Sapphic New Adult, Queer Horror YA, and a Bisexual Non-Superhero

Hi friends! Since I wrote you last, I have gotten my second shot, and other than a day of blahs, it went well! I’m so excited to start seeing friends and book shopping again soon — once my two weeks are up, of course. I edited a video for the bookstore I used to work for and got a big store credit in exchange, so I am ready to stock up!

Queer Book Ramblings

I think I’m finally done with 3 star queer books.

When I first started the Lesbrary, I was reading every sapphic book I could get my hands on. Any ebook I was sent for review, I read. Any lesbian book gathering dust on a library shelf, I consumed. Whether it was 80s F/F romance, a tragic lesbian novel from the 20s, or the latest queer YA, I was there for it.

After a while, though, I realized that the world of queer literature was a lot bigger than I had been led to imagine. There was more out there than I could possibly ever read. I didn’t have to settle for poorly-edited books or premises I wasn’t interested in. I quickly relinquished reading books that in the past I would have finished and rated 1 or 2 stars. I also began to better understand my own taste in books, including sapphic ones. I got better at picking out books, and I managed to cut out the books I disliked almost entirely from my reading.

And that’s where I’ve been for many years. Meanwhile, the queer book world continued to grow, offering up possibilities I’d never thought were possible: intersectional identities, a multitude of genres and subgenres, even flawed and multi-dimensional characters that didn’t have to be role models! It was true 10 years ago that there were more great queer books out there than I could read in a lifetime, but now that’s grown exponentially.

Recently, I was reading an F/F romance — I’ll spare the name — and it was fine. There were flaws, but there were also elements that I liked. It wasn’t bad, so I figured it was worth reading and reviewing. The problem is that reading that short romance took me about 3 weeks. Generally, I read 1-2 books a week. “My reading slump continues,” I thought. But when I finally finished that book, I picked up Fresh by Margot Wood, and I flew through it. It’s a book starring a messy, flawed, endearing bisexual main character stumbling her way through her first year of university, and I loved it. I read it in 2 days.

That’s when I had to face it: I’m not in a reading slump. I just read slowly when I’m not interested in the book. It’s not enough for a book to be not bad. I don’t have to settle for that in queer lit. There are so many amazing LGBTQ books out there, and I’m wasting time on one that’s not clicking for me.

From now on, I’ve decided, if a book feels like it’s probably going to be a 3 star read a chapter or two in, I’m abandoning it. We’re living in an era of abundance for queer books: it’s time to stop acting like there’s scarcity! I plan to DNF a lot more books so I can find the ones I truly love. I can’t wait to see what I discover!

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton cover

Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton (Trans Fiction)

Gala is a young trans woman obsessed with the 1960s California band The Get Happies, and especially with their lead singer, B—. Gala writes B— letters, trying to puzzle out why The Get Happies stopped making music and never released their album Summer Fun. This a non-linear epistolary exploration of a friendship between two trans women who came out at very different times and the ways they’ve found to survive in a world that is often hostile to them. It explores creativity, fandom, and trans identity. 

Cover of The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters (F/F YA Fantasy/Horror)

When Natasha’s sister is the latest girl to go missing in the woods, she turns to Della, who’s rumored to be a witch. Della is willing to help — but she’s secretly convinced that the monster taking girls is her own mother, transformed by magic gone wrong. This is supposed to be “lush and chilling,” about two girls fighting back against a violent world. This is from the author of Ghost Wood Song, and it’s being compared to Wilder Girls and Bone Gap.

I Am Not Starfire cover

I am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki and Yoshi Yoshitani (F/F YA Graphic Novel)

Teenage Mandy is nothing like her sparkly superhero mom, Starfire. Mandy dies her hair black and avoids people whenever possible — except her best friend, Lincoln, and the girl she has a crush on, Claire (not that she’d admit to that!) She hasn’t even told her mom that she walked out the SATs and plans to run off to France instead of going to college. When Starfire is in danger, though, Mandy has to decide whether to keep running or stand and fight. This is a new YA graphic novel from Mariko Tamaki, New York Times bestselling author of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me. It’s an AU graphic novel that is sure to bring some new teenage fans in, just like Tamaki’s earlier title, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. Check out the trailer for it on YouTube! Also, it has gotten hit with a ton of misogynistic and homophobic 1 star reviews on Goodreads before its publication date, so feel free to show it some love!

I am Not Starfire trailer thumbnail

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me on at the Lesbrary and on Twitter @Lesbrary. You can also hear me on All the Books on the first Tuesday of the month, and I post weekly New Releases videos on the Book Riot Youtube channel. You can bet I sneak in as many queer titles as I can.

Happy reading!