Our Queerest Shelves

Trans Autistic Books for Every Age

Sometimes I get frustrated by mainstream outlets only covering LGBTQIA2S+ books during Pride month, especially when it comes in the form of very generic lists. But on the bright side, there is such an abundance of queer book coverage in June! The links section is out of control! (Don’t worry, I didn’t include any of the boring, generic lists.)

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Right now, the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada are covered in smoke. This is even more dangerous for unhoused people. If you have some money to spare, consider donating to queer- and trans-friendly shelters in NYC and other areas dealing with unsafe air conditions.

Bookish Goods

a black tank top with the text Trans People Belong above a rose illustration

Trans People Belong Tank Top by angiepea

It’s summer, which means it’s time to ditch the sleeves. And it’s always a good time to let everyone around you know you love and support trans people. This is also available as a tee shirt or hoodie. $30

New Releases

the secret summer promise book cover

The Secret Summer Promise by Keah Brown (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

Andrea is determined to have the best summer ever. Last year, she spent the season in bed, recovering from a surgery for her cerebral palsy. This summer, she’s going skinny dipping, attending a Lizzo concert, hitting the amusement park, and…falling out of love with her best friend, Hailee, before her feelings ruin everything. Keah Brown is a journalist who has written for Teen Vogue, Elle, The New York Times, and more, and is the creator of #DisabledAndCute! This is her YA debut, and it promises to be a messy teen romance perfect for reading on the beach.

basil and oregano book cover

Basil and Oregano by Melissa Capriglione (F/F YA Fantasy Graphic Novel)

I can’t even stand how adorable this looks. I need it right now. It’s about two teen girls, Basil Eyres and Arabella Oregano, who meet at Porta Bella Magiculinary Academy. They immediately fall for each other and begin working together on their final project. But Arabella has a secret that will change everything when it comes out. ALSO, there is a tomato dog on the cover! Magical cooking and a sapphic love story in graphic novel form — what more could you possibly ask for?

Pedro & Daniel by Federico Erebia and Julie Kwon Levine Querido (Gay YA Contemporary)

Gay Club! by Simon James Green (Queer YA Contemporary)

love letters for joy book cover

Things I’ll Never Say by Cassandra Newbould (Bisexual YA Contemporary)

Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See (Asexual YA Contemporary)

Darkhearts by James L. Sutter (Queer YA Contemporary)

Northranger by Rey Terciero and illustrated by Bre Indigo (Queer YA Contemporary) — I read and really enjoyed this one! You can hear me talk about it on the June 6th episode of All the Books!

Saint Juniper’s Folly by Alex Crespo (Queer YA Haunted House Mystery)

the cover of A Spark in the Cinders

A Spark in the Cinders by Jenny Elder Moke (F/F YA Fantasy)

Will on the Inside by Andrew Eliopulos (Questioning Middle Grade Contemporary)

Gender Identity for Kids: A Book About Finding Yourself, Understanding Others, and Respecting Everybody! by Andy Passchier (Gender Identity Children’s Nonfiction)

For more new releases, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Last newsletter, I said I couldn’t find any fiction books with main characters who are autistic and trans. One of you lovely OQS readers emailed me to let me know about two, and then I tried some different search techniques and found a few more! I’m very glad to be wrong!

These happen to be across the age spectrum, including a picture book, a middle grade novel, YA, and an adult SFF title! This isn’t a complete list, though. The Unbalancing by R. B. Lemberg has an autistic and nonbinary main character, and I also discovered the completed Kickstarter for Changelings: An Autistic Trans Anthology, so hopefully we’ll see that soon!

the cover of My Rainbow

My Rainbow by Trinity and DeShanna Neal, illustrated by Art Twink

This is a picture book written by a trans kid and her mom! Trinity is an autistic trans girl who wants long hair, but hates the itchiness of growing it out. So she and her mom go in search for the perfect wig.

the cover of Dear Mothman

Dear Mothman by Robin Gow

This is a middle grade novel in verse about an autistic trans boy dealing with grief over the death of his best friend, the only other trans boy in school. To process his feelings, he writes to Mothman. When no one in his life believes Mothman is real, though, he goes looking for him in the woods.

the cover of The Many Half-Lived Lives of Sam Sylvester

The Many Half-Lived Lives Of Sam Sylvester by Maya MacGregor

After their own near-death experience, Sam begins collecting stories of half-lived lives: people who died before they turned 19. When they begin digging into one of these cases connected to their new home, they start receiving threats — and now Sam knows they’re on to something. (Sam is autistic and nonbinary.)

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

The HSS Matilda is a generation spaceship, but it looks a lot like the past on Earth: it’s organized like the antebellum South and just as oppressive. Aster is queer, Black, nonbinary, and autistic, which makes it difficult to survive in this space. So maybe the answer is to tear everything down.

All the Links Fit to Click

GLAAD: Book Bans Cannot Stand: Organizing to Defeat Book Bans in Your Community

Autostraddle: 81 Queer and Feminist Books Coming Your Way Summer 2023

Vulture: Elliot Page Talks Juno, Relationships, in Pageboy Memoir

Elliot Page exposes Hollywood’s homophobia in Pageboy

Giovanni’s Room is celebrating 50 years of being a safe haven

Over at the Lesbrary, I’ve been posting an article every day in June, including:

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog the Lesbrary and (sigh) Twitter. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!