I meant to make this newsletter themed on queer books where pets play a major part, and then I realized that I’ve read and enjoyed two different sapphic YA books that have a dog named Waffles in them. Amazing. Also, you should know about these lesbian books about cats: Cats (and their Dykes) and The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!).
Queer books, BIPOC books, and sex education books continue to be targeted by book banners. We know these can be life-changing — even life-saving — for kids to have access to. That’s why today I’m highlighting EveryLibrary, which helps fight back against book bans. You can donate to help out, sign up as a volunteer, or join the mailing list on their homepage to stay up to date.
Check out Book Riot’s newest podcast! BookRiot.com co-founder Jeff O’Neal explores the wide bookish world. Interviews, lists, rankings, retrospectives, recommendations, and much more, featuring people who know and love books. Subscribe to First Edition on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your podcatcher of choice.
LGBT+ Cat Vinyl Sticker by KleoStudios
Because your car needs a queer pride cat vinyl sticker, obviously. $5
Unfortunately, this week’s YA and children’s new releases are disproportionately by white authors. Do better, publishers.
Court of the Undying Seasons by AdriAnne Strickland (Pansexual Demigirl YA Fantasy)
Castle Courtsheart is a school where students train to become vampires — or die in the attempt. Fin is there to get revenge for her mother, killed by vampires. But her plan quickly goes awry, and soon she has a murder mystery to solve. A queer YA book with a murder mystery + a slow burn romance + a magical vampire school setting?? Who could resist?
The Dog Knight by Jeremy Whitley, illustrated by Bre Indigo and Melissa Capriglione (Middle Grade Fantasy Graphic Novel)
DOG KNIGHT!! Frankie is a nonbinary middle schooler who saves a golden retriever from bullies and is offered a job by the Pawtheon, a group of dog superheroes. Frankie just has to demonstrate the “six dog virtues of loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, stubbornness, and smell” to become the Dog Knight. This looks like the perfect book to give to the dog-obsessed kid in your life…including your dog-obsessed inner child.
Lose You to Find Me by Erik J. Brown (M/M YA Contemporary)
Kings of B’more by R. Eric Thomas (Queer YA Contemporary) (Paperback Rerelease)
I Have Something to Tell You—For Young Adults: A Memoir by Chasten Buttigieg (Gay YA Memoir)
The Beautiful Something Else by Ash Van Otterloo Nonbinary Middle Grade Contemporary
Cinda Meets Ella by Wallace West (Queer Picture Book)
Pride and Joy: A Story About Becoming an Lgbtqia+ Ally by Frank J. Sileo and Kate Lum-Potvin (LGBTQ Children’s Nonfiction)
It’s Totally Normal!: An LGBTQIA+ Guide to Puberty, Sex, and Gender by Monica Gupta Mehta and Asha Lily Mehta (LGBTQ YA Nonfiction)
For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!
Inspired by The Dog Knight, here a couple of my favourite queer reads featuring pets! These ones are both F/F love stories.
“Né łe” by Darcie Little Badger
Forty chihuahuas and one husky are in stasis, on their way to Mars. When they wake up early, a veterinarian also in stasis on board is woken up to take care of them. Her and the pilot — both Indigenous women — fall for each other while managing a whole herd of puppies. Yes, it’s as cute as it sounds.
This was originally published in Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time edited by Hope Nicholson. The press was closed, however, after Nicholson confessed to sexual misconduct. The book seems to be back in print, but I’m not sure where the proceeds from the book are going. If you can get your hands on a used copy, though, this story is well worth reading!
My Cute Little Kitten Vol. 1 by Milk Morinaga
Milk Morinaga wrote the iconic yuri manga series Girl Friends. In this series, Rena and Yuna have been roommates since college. But Rena is secretly in love with Yuna. When Yuna adopts a stray kitten and wants them to move to a new, pet-friendly apartment together, Rena finally tells Yuna the truth about her feelings — and Rena doesn’t react in the way she expected.
I also have to give a shout out to two (!) different (!) sapphic YA books with dogs named Waffles that I wanted to pet: The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh and This is What it Feels Like by Rebecca Barrow.