Our Queerest Shelves

Which Books Belong in the Queer YA Canon?

Another day, another book ban. Did you hear the one about the author who was told not to read the book It’s Okay To Be a Unicorn! because a parent complained there was a rainbow on it? I’ll admit, after years of covering this, my eyes are starting to glaze over when I see a new, more ridiculous book ban or educational gag order. After all the work queer people and people of color have done over the years to move the needle just an inch forward, it’s depressing to see this massive backslide. But apathy is just what they want for us, so it’s time to dig deep and keep fighting for inclusive education and access to diverse books. We can’t let these right-wing “parent rights” groups take away all the progress that’s been made.

And while I’m on the topic, might I recommend donating to EveryLibrary? They’ve been fighting for libraries and against censorship throughout this tidal wave of book bans, and they’re building networks of support across the country to keep the fight going and prevent future censorship. For more information, check out the post for the matching campaign we did for them in 2021.

Bookish Goods

Libraries Are for Everyone pin by GoodGoodCat

Libraries are for everyone!

This pin is wearable art but has a practical purpose too: multiple librarians have said that their patrons saw them wearing the pin and started good, big conversations because they felt welcome and safe.

New Releases

The Donut Trap by Juliet Tieu

After graduating college and having no job prospects, Jasmine returns home to work in her family’s donut shop. When a rent increase threatens the future of her family business, she turns to Alex, her old college crush, for help. Sparks fly and there seems to be hope of a future romance until a disastrous dinner date shatters preconceptions and puts both sets of parents against the match. Will Julie be able to pull it all together to save her family business and the hope of a future with Alex?

Cover of The Singles Table

The Singles Table by Sara Desai

After a terrible break-up, Zara makes a new rule to only be the matchmaker and not the matched. One wedding, she is sat at the same table as Jay, and they strike up a bargain; if he introduces her to his celebrity clients, she will find him his perfect match. However, as the spend the wedding season together, they begin to wonder if they’re avoiding the happily ever after staring them in the face.

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Which Books Belong in the Queer YA Canon?

Another day, another book ban. Did you hear the one about the author who was told not to read the book It’s Okay To Be a Unicorn! because a parent complained there was a rainbow on it? I’ll admit, after years of covering this, my eyes are starting to glaze over when I see a new, more ridiculous book ban or educational gag order. After all the work queer people and people of color have done over the years to move the needle just an inch forward, it’s depressing to see this massive backslide. But apathy is just what they want for us, so it’s time to dig deep and keep fighting for inclusive education and access to diverse books. We can’t let these right-wing “parent rights” groups take away all the progress that’s been made.

And while I’m on the topic, might I recommend donating to EveryLibrary? They’ve been fighting for libraries and against censorship throughout this tidal wave of book bans, and they’re building networks of support across the country to keep the fight going and prevent future censorship. For more information, check out the post for the matching campaign we did for them in 2021.

The Unique Relationship Between Queer Media and Spoilers

Something happened in the finale to Killing Eve. You know what’s funny? I would bet a majority of you reading this already know what it is, even if you have never watched an episode, just from that sentence. (If you don’t and you don’t want to know, maybe skip this part of the newsletter, because it will be implied. I won’t discuss it directly, though.)

Queer media has a special relationship to spoilers. For a brief moment on the queer bookternet, there was a debate about whether mentioning a character’s orientation or gender identity in a review counted as a spoiler. Pretty quickly, it was summarily declared that no, that’s not a spoiler. Even if the character doesn’t come out until 3/4 of the way through the book, you’re still within your rights to talk about it as a queer book and name the specific representation included. As a queer bookish community, we have rejected the idea of queer identity as plot twist.

(Spoilers for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The 100 ahead!)

Before I started watching Buffy proper (I had seen episodes here and there as a kid, but I didn’t sit down to watch it from beginning to end until college), I knew Tara died. I couldn’t tell you where I learned it, but it was an event that permeated the sapphic consciousness. Similarly, I knew almost the moment Lexa was killed on The 100 — in a depressingly parallel way to Tara — despite not watching the show and not seeking the information out.

I was glad for these spoilers. While most media outlets would see a backlash to spoiling a TV show in the title of an article, those responses were rare in these cases. That’s because many queer people only want to pick up a book or start a TV show with queer characters if they know those characters are okay in the end.

When Lexa died, Autostraddle put together a list of the hundreds of dead sapphic characters on TV from 1976 to the present. They determined that bi women and lesbian characters were exponentially more likely to be killed off than straight characters.

This phenomena (dubbed “Bury Your Gays”) isn’t isolated to TV. In the days of lesbian pulp fiction (mostly the 1950s-60s), there were hundreds of books about lesbians — but to get past the censors, they had to have an unhappy ending, so it didn’t seem like the books were condoning homosexuality. Some popular strategies were killing a character off, having a character magically become straight again, institutionalizing one, etc, etc.

This is the foundation from which we consume queer media. Although it’s improved a lot in recent years, most of us are still all full up on stories that imply that being queer leads to a tragic end. For queer people just coming out or who live in a hostile environment, queer media is usually a way to escape, and getting hit with the death of a character you relate to when you were looking for something affirming and comforting can be devastating.

This is why spoilers take on a different meaning when it comes to queer media. Most people who write about queer media online have a sense of responsibility to their readers, an obligation to warn them about media that may be harmful. This overrides any concerns about spoiling a TV show or book.

When I watched Buffy, I was braced for Tara’s death. (I was not prepared for her to temporarily lose her connection to reality, a deep fear of my own, so that sent me into a tailspin.) I’m grateful that it was spoiled for me, because as I empathized with this character and saw my queer identity reflected in her, I also some defenses put up. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to see her happiness snuffed out by a stray bullet if I hadn’t seen it coming.

So, if you ever wonder why a queer review site or blog spoils a major character’s death, that’s why. We rely on each other to alert us to stories that could reopen old wounds. It may be that you don’t need those kinds of warnings, but as long as some of us do, I’ll always be on that side of the spoiler line when in comes to tragic queer media.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

All the Links Fit to Click

Book Riot Censorship Posts

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

The Romantic Agenda Book Cover

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (Asexual Romance)

You might remember Claire Kann for her asexual YA romance Let’s Talk About Love or one of her other queer YA books, but this is her first foray until adult romance! The Romantic Agenda also has an asexual main character, Joy. Joy is in love with her best friend, Malcolm, but he’s interested in Summer. In order to get his attention, she starts fake dating Fox, Summer’s ex, while they’re all on a summer vacation together. But maybe Fox is what she’s been looking for this whole time…

cover of different kinds of fruit by kyle lukoff

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff (Non-binary Love Interest, Trans Parent Middle Grade Contemporary)

When Annabelle meets the new kid at school, Bailey, she’s immediately smitten with them. What she isn’t expecting is for her dad to say that him and Bailey have something in common: they’re both trans. Soon, Annabelle realizes her community isn’t accepting as she thought — and she’s determined to make it somewhere that her dad and her new friend (and crush) can feel like they belong. Along the way, she realizes that strict categories like boy and girl or fruit and vegetable aren’t as meaningful as they first appeared.

the cover of You Know, Sex

You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other Things by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth (Queer- and Trans-Inclusive Middle Grade Nonfiction)

This is the third in a series of LGBTQ-inclusive sex ed and puberty books for kids, starting with What Makes a Baby and Sex Is a Funny Word. This volume is aimed at ages 10 and up, and it covers changing bodies, consent, pornography, trauma, boundaries, and everything else young adults are curious about when it comes to sex and puberty. Both the text and illustrations are inclusive of all bodies, including trans and intersex people, disabled people, and people of color. It’s sex ed from a social justice lens. Get it before it’s banned! (lolsob)

Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, translated by Anton Hur (Sapphic Fiction)

Boy Overboard by Miski Harris (M/M Romance)

the cover of Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin

No Rings Attached by Rachel Lacey (F/F Romance)

The Language of Roses by Heather Rose Jones (Queer Beauty and the Beast Retelling)

Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez, Danica Brine, Hank Jones, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Gay M/M Graphic Novel)

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch (Gay YA Contemporary)

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee (Trans M/M YA Contemporary) (Paperback Rerelease)

the cover of Love That Story

Boys of The Beast by Monica Zepeda (Gay YA Contemporary)

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson, narrated by Kevin R. Free (M/M YA Dystopia) (Audiobook Rerelease)

The Young Activist’s Dictionary of Social Justice by duopress labs and Ryse Tottingham, illustrated by Andy Passchier (Children’s Nonfiction)

Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life
by Jonathan Van Ness (Non-Binary Memoir)

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Tune Into the National Book Ban Busters Read-In Tonight!

Happy Spring! The last few days here have had some of the worst rain and wind I’ve ever seen in my life. It was blowing completely sideways and was coming down in buckets. I took the dogs out during what I thought was a lull and then got caught in a (mild) hail downpour. Hopefully we’ll start seeing better outdoor reading weather soon.

Book Riot’s matching campaign to UNICEF’s relief efforts in Ukraine ended yesterday, but you can still donate to help UNICEF provide health care, safe water, emergency supplies, and more in Ukraine.

How To Have a Queer Readathon

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is coming up at the end of the month, which is one of my favorite days of the year. I just went back in my blog to try to remember when I started doing it, and I found out that this month will be my tenth year celebrating it! I believe I’ve done it every year in that time.

Over the years, I have honed my strategy, and now I have it down to a science. I’ve written several posts on the topic: How to Last Through a 24 Hour Readathon, 12 Things That Happen When You Read for 24 Hours Straight, Beginner Mistakes To Avoid During a 24 Hour Readathon, and even essential readathon snacks. Surprisingly, I’ve found snack choices to be about as important as book choices for a successful readathon.

That’s all well and good for general advice, but what about if you want to specifically have a queer readathon? There are two components here: company and book choices.

I used to be a solo readathoner, but now I have a bookish roommate, and we readathon together. It’s a very cozy feeling to be reading with a friend (or partner) for hours on end, occasionally checking in about your process. Last year, we invited another friend, including having her stay the night so we could get started at 5 am. (Not mandatory, but that’s how seriously we take it.) It was such a success that we have a standing readathon date twice a year. I highly recommend gathering some queer bookish friends together if you want to have a queer readathon. You can swap books throughout the day and have a condensed book club!

Then there’s the TBR. Some people keep a strict one, while others pick their reads as they go. I like to gave a stack to choose from, including lots of quick reads: LGBTQ middle grade books, sapphic graphic novels, queer novellas, etc. Then, I pick from that the day of depending on my mood.

Here are just a few of the books on my readathon TBR right now (all queer books, all quick reads):

And so many more! The readathon will be April 30th: check out Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon for more information, and I hope to see you there! What will you be reading?

All the Links Fit to Click

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

This week has one of the biggest new releases days of the year! I went back and forth over which books to feature, because there are so many great options. I talk about a few of these more in depth on the April 5th All the Books podcast episode.

nothing burns as bright as you book cover

Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

We begin at the end: with the two unnamed main characters walking away from each other after they set fire to a dumpster behind their school. Then we go back to see how they got there: their protective friendship that turned into a not-quite-romance and toxic codependency. This is a novel in verse, and it promises to be a fast-paced read with a very intense relationship.

the cover of Rabbit Chase

Rabbit Chase by Elizabeth LaPensée and K.C. Oster (Non-binary Middle Grade Graphic Novel)

This is non-binary middle grade graphic novel Alice in Wonderland retelling! Aimée is a a non-binary Anishinaabe middle-schooler who finds themselves pulled into a world populated by Anishinaabe figures and has to fight the land-grabbing Queen of Hearts and team up with Trickster to get back home.

the cover of Fine by Rhea Ewing

Fine: A Comic About Gender by Rhea Ewing (Graphic Nonfiction)

This is graphic nonfiction that’s part memoir, part documentary. Over the course of a decade, Rhea interviewed people from across the country, most of them trans, about their relationship to gender. The book is divided into themes, and each theme includes moments from Rhea’s life, excerpts from interviews on that theme, and finally Rhea’s own thoughts about it.

Little Foxes Took Up Matches by Katya Kazbek (Queer, Gender-Questioning Fiction)

the cover of She Gets the Girl

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (M/M Fiction)

Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li (Thriller, Sapphic POV)

Reputation by Lex Croucher (F/F Historical Romance)

The Bladed Faith (The Vagrant Gods #1) by David Dalglish (F/F Fantasy)

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick (F/F YA Romance)

the cover of Burning Butch by R/B Mertz; illustration of Joan of Arc on a matchbook cover

Burning My Roti: Breaking Barriers as a Queer Indian Woman by Sharan Dhaliwal (Memoir)

Burning Butch by R/B Mertz (Genderqueer Memoir)

Content Warning: Everything by Akwaeke Emezi (Non-binary Poetry)

Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong (Queer Poetry)

Beast at Every Threshold by Natalie Wee (Queer Poetry)

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Read These Trans Books for Transgender Day of Visibility

Happy Transgender Day of Visibility! Definitely take this opportunity to pick up some trans books (especially if you can buy from trans authors), but I also invite you to think about what else we can do as a bookish community to fight transphobia. Pay attention to your local politics, because many states are trying to pass transphobic legislation right now (and some already have). Show up, make some noise, call your local representative to defend trans rights.

There’s also been a lot of trans books targeted recently, especially in school libraries. Check out Book Riot’s Anti-Censorship Tool Kit to learn about how to fight censorship and book challenges in your community and on a larger scale.

Some of My Favorite Trans Books

It’s Transgender Day of Visibility, which is a day for celebrating trans people as well as raising awareness for the discrimination that trans people face. It’s been around since 2009, and it was created because at the time, the only widely recognized day dedicated to trans people was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which doesn’t celebrate living trans people.

In the past decade or so, there’s definitely been an increase in trans authors being published, but while sapphic and M/M books have seen a sharp rise in numbers, we’re still only seeing a gradual increase of trans and non-binary books hitting the shelves.

I’ve included some links later in the newsletter to other Book Riot articles for trans book recommendations, but I wanted to shout out a few of my personal favorites today. These are all ones that I’ve read and loved, but of course I have many more jostling for position on my TBR!

the cover of Nevada

Nevada by Imogen Binnie

This was originally published in 2013, but I am so happy to say that’s being rereleased in June! This book blew my mind when I first read it, because so many of the queer books I was reading back then were Good Queer Representation: they were very careful to have queer characters who were practically flawless. Then came Nevada, the first trans lesbian book I’d ever read, and it had a relatable complete mess of a main character. When Maria’s girlfriend breaks up with her, she steals her car and goes on an impromptu road trip, bumping into James, who reminds Maria of her pre-transition self. It’s funny, sometimes dark, and memorable from the very first lines.

A Dream of a Woman cover

A Dream of a Woman by Casey Plett

One of the prized books in my collection is Plett’s “Lizzy and Annie,” a short story illustrated by Annie Mok and bound zine-style. The story, which is about two trans women in love in New York, is a personal favorite. I loved her newest short story collection just as much. The collection centers trans women and deals with transmisogyny, but it’s also just about the complexities and messiness of relationships (of all kinds). It begins with a gut punch of a story that left me staring at the wall for a while afterwards in order to process it. The collection has a melancholic tone, but also moments of hope and connection. (A Dream of a Woman also has several sapphic stories.)

Light from Uncommon Stars book cover

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

This may be the best book I have no idea how to recommend. It’s about a woman who made a deal with the devil to become an expert violinist, and also about a refugee from an alien planet who runs a donut shop. And they fall in love. It’s also a coming of age story about a trans aspiring violinist who may well sacrifice her own soul just to find a place to call home. It’s part sci fi, part fantasy, part literary fiction. It’s hopeful and life-affirming, but it also has some of the most brutal scenes of abuse, transphobia, and racism I’ve read before. This is an event of a reading experience that I was itching to reread as soon as I finished it.

The Heartbreak Bakery book cover

The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

I love all of the books I’ve read by Capetta, and this is no exception. It’s a YA magical baking romance between an agender main character and a genderfluid love interest, which is just as good as it sounds. When Syd’s girlfriend breaks up with Syd, that pain gets funneled into brownies. Unfortunately, everyone who bought those brownies at the bakery ends up breaking up with their partner. So now Syd and the genderfluid bakery delivery person, Harley, are on a mission to track down everyone who ate a breakup brownie and fix Syd’s mistake. But along the way, fixing these breakups seems to be bringing Harley and Syd closer together…

Meet Cute Diary Book Cover

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

This is a cute fake dating romance with a trans main character and a non-binary side character experimenting with pronouns (who I think steals the show). Noah writes Meet Cute Diary, a blog collecting happy trans meet cutes — except he secretly writes them all himself. When this gets exposed to the merciless audience of the internet, he decides to bring one of his meet cutes to life to prove they’re real, and Drew, the handsome stranger he bumped into, is game. My favorite thing about this story is that Noah is flawed and makes mistakes over the course of the book. I love a multidimensional main character, especially queer characters.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

And there you have it! Some fun, light reads, and some ones that brought me to tears. Remember to check out the links below for more trans book recs from other Book Riot writers!

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

the cover of Wild and Wicked Things

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (Lesbian Fantasy)

Annie Mason has arrived at Crow Island to settle her late father’s estate and to reconnect with an old friend, but she soon stumbles into a world of witchcraft, secrets, and danger. This is supposed to have The Great Gatsby vibes, but sapphic and on an island… needless to say, this is at the top of my to read list.

Cover of Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson; image of young Black man surrounded by a white circle

Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson (M/M YA Dystopia)

Jamal is an aspiring journalist who travelled to Baltimore to document the protests against police brutality in the wake of a Black man being murdered by police. But before the protests can even get properly started, the city enacts a security feature called “the dome,” and no one can get in or out. He and some new friends will have to find a way to escape — and to expose the corruption within the police department.

the cover of Conversations with People Who Hate Me by Dylan Marron

Conversations with People Who Hate Me by Dylan Marron (Nonfiction)

You might recognize the title of this book from Marron’s podcast, where he connects people who have feuded online. Can you imagine talking to the person who wrote terrible things about you online? It sounds like a nightmare, but in this book, Marron discusses what he’s learned from talking to people who hate him. It comes recommended by Glennon Doyle, Jason Sudeikis, Franchesca Ramsey, and many more.

The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin by Kip Wilson (F/F Historical Fiction)

Going Public by Hudson Lin (M/M Romance)

so this is ever after book cover

Monarch by Candice Wuehle (Queer Thriller)

All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes (Trans Horror)

Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden (M/M YA Contemporary)

Live, Laugh, Kidnap by Gabby Noone (Sapphic YA Contemporary)

So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens (M/M YA Fantasy)

My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham (Sapphic YA Horror)

The Secret Sunshine Project by Benjamin Dean (Two Dads Middle Grade) (UK Release)

cover of mama and mommy and me in the middle by nina lacour

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour and Kaylani Juanita (Two Moms Picture Book)

let the dead in by Saida Agostini (Queer Poetry)

Ten Steps to Nanette: A Memoir Situation by Hannah Gadsby (Lesbian Memoir)

Body Becoming: A Path to Our Liberation by Robyn Henderson-Espinoza (Non-binary Memoir)

Poetic Operations: Trans of Color Art in Digital Media by Micha Cárdenas (Trans Nonfiction)

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

What Counts a Queer Book?

I finally got art to put up in my office. And by office, I mean one side of my bedroom. I’ve always been a bare walls kind of gal, and what do you know, it makes a big difference seeing some art there! I bought a Tea Dragon Society print, which is an adorable queer graphic novel series, and it makes me happy to see it every day.

Today, I want to highlight some charities that are helping LGBTQ people in Ukraine, including one I’ve mentioned before: Rainbow Railroad. For more places to help, check out this article from Queerty.

What Counts a Queer Book?

The funny thing about being on queer booktok as someone who’s been on the queer book internet for more than a decade is that you can see the same arguments recycle over and over. Where I lived through them on Tumblr, today’s young queer readers are rehashing them on TikTok. (And yes, I started a TikTok. I couldn’t resist.)

In a recent example of this, there was an ongoing argument about what counts as a sapphic book, and specifically about recommendations being rejected for not being sapphic enough, because they didn’t have an F/F romance. Sapphic is a term that’s only recently increased in popularity, and I saw it happening on Tumblr. It was used to be more bi-inclusive, and it refers to anyone who doesn’t identity as a man and is attracted to people who don’t identify as men. (So, all lesbians and bi or pan women, but also non-binary people who identify under that umbrella.)

Any book with a sapphic main character is, by definition, sapphic. Even if they just mention it in passing. Even if there’s no romance, or the romance is with a guy.

What many of these people were looking for was an F/F romance, which is a romance between two women. Simple enough. But for some reason, this term seems to have been lost in the newest iteration of the queer book internet, which means “sapphic book” is being used to signify a bunch of very specific, conflicting things by different people.

Even if we’re all seeking out more queer books to read, that doesn’t mean we’re looking for the same thing. Some people are looking for books that affirm their experiences and reflect their own identity, while some are looking to expand their horizons and read from other queer perspectives. Some people are looking for books where being queer is the focus and is explored in depth, while others want books where it’s not a big deal (for example, queernormative fantasy books).

There’s no need to fight over which kind of queer book is better: there’s room for all of them. We need books that grapple with prejudice/oppression and hopeful stories we can escape with. We need books with queer couples as well as book with queer single people, including those who have no desire to be in a relationship. Turning on each other isn’t helpful.

So what counts as a queer book? It’s a book with a queer main character (or, in the case of nonfiction, one that’s focused on queer people). That’s it. You may be looking for something more specific, but that doesn’t invalidate other queer books. There’s room for stories that speak to each one of us.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find many LGBTQ new releases by authors of color this week. Especially if you leave off the manga titles, this week’s list over-represents white authors. I am once again asking publishing to do better.

Cover of The City of Dusk by Tara Sim

The City of Dusk (The Dark Gods #1) by Tara Sim (Queer Fantasy)

This is a truly epic fantasy about a city abandoned by its four gods. The gods’ heirs try to save it, but it means turning their backs on the gods. There are seven point of view characters, complex world-building, and several queer main characters. Laynie Rose, one of my favorite booktokers, has been singing the praises of this for months, so I can’t wait to dive in.

the cover of Ellen Outside the Lines

Ellen Outside the Lines by A.J. Sass (Sapphic Middle Grade Contemporary)

This is a middle grade novel with a queer, Jewish, autistic main character on a school trip to Barcelona. During a school project that throws her together with some different classmates to go on a scavenger hunt to learn Spanish culture, she makes new friends and lets go of some old habits. There’s also a nonbinary side character/love interest.

My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi (Queer Fiction)

The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela (Queer Guy Fiction)

the cover of The Town of Babylon

Shake Things Up by Skye Kilaen (Polyamorous M/F/F Romance)

A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow (Trans YA Novel in Verse)

Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram (Gay YA Contemporary)

Catch These Hands! Vol. 1 by murata (Yuri Manga)

Dekoboko Bittersweet Days, Vol. 2 by Atsuko Yusen (M/M Manga)

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

The 2022 Lambda Literary Awards Finalists

It has come to my attention recently that maybe, just maybe I’m a little long-winded in these, so I’m going to try to have a slightly smaller selection of links to click and new releases to peruse from now on: just the ones I’m most excited about!

Today, I wanted to highlight the Forcibly Displaced People Network. They help LGBTIQ+ people around the world who are fleeing danger, including in Ukraine right now. You can find out more at their donation page.

Riot Recommendation

Now that my Read Harder: Queer Edition mini series is over, I’d like to start doing good old fashioned queer book recommendations in this spot! So here’s a recent favorite of mine.

the cover of Delilah Green Doesn't Care

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake

Ashley Herring Blake’s sapphic YA books, How to Make a Wish and Girl Made of Stars, were both 5 star reads for me and instant favorites. I’ve heard only great things about her middle grade novels, and I look forward to reading them soon. So when I heard that she had an adult F/F romance coming out this year, I was eager to see if it could live up to my love for her YA titles.

I haven’t read a ton of romance novels, but the Brown Sisters series by Talia Hibbert has taught me that I can adore them — even with straight main characters! While their styles are different, Blake’s and Hibbert’s romances scratched the same itch for me. They both have multifaceted main characters surrounded by three dimensional supporting characters who feel like their lives continue when they walk off the page.

While this is a love story between Claire and Delilah, filled with tension and banter and great chemistry, it’s just as much about Delilah’s fractured and complicated relationship with her stepsister, Astrid. When Delilah’s father died when she was a kid, she felt like an unwelcome intrusion in her perfect stepsister’s and controlling stepmother’s lives. Once Delilah left for New York, they stopped having even their usual adversarial relationship, until Astrid hires Delilah as her wedding photographer, and she reluctantly returns to her hometown.

This was a book that kept me up reading, which is rare for me! It’s compulsively readable and has two main characters I fell in love with. I can’t wait to read the sequel! (The title of which is kind of a spoiler for Delilah Green, so avoid it if you can until you finish this one.)

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

the cover of Vagabonds!

Vagabonds! by Eloghosa Osunde (Queer Fiction)

Buckle in for an experimental and surprising read in Vagabonds! It follows a cast of queer characters in Lagos, each with their own story. It blends together realism and myth, and soon connections begin to emerge between the narratives, taking this from a short story collection to an unconventional novel.

It was reviewed at the New York Times, and Eloghosa Osunde was interviewed about it at Elle and Them.

the cover of Right Where I Left You

Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters (M/M YA Contemporary)

I still haven’t recovered from this cover. It’s such a celebration of queer Black joy, which has only recently been featured in mainstream publishing. This is a “geeky best friends-to lovers romance” that has been one of the most anticipated queer releases of the year.

Secret Identity by Alex Segura (Queer Historical Mystery)

Exclusive by Melissa Brayden (F/F Romance)

Her Duchess to Desire by Jane Walsh (F/F Historical Romance)

the cover of My Wandering Warrior Existence

We Are Little Feminists: Families by Archaa Shrivastav (LGBTQ Board Book)

My Wandering Warrior Existence by Nagata Kabi (Lesbian Manga Memoir)

Cane Fire by Shani Mootoo (Queer Poetry)

Prelude by Brynne Rebele-Henry (Lesbian Poetry)

Queer Fire: Liberation and Abolition edited by Marquis Bey and Jesse A. Goldberg (Queer Nonfiction)

Outrageous!: The Story of Section 28 and Britain’s Battle for LGBT Education by Paul Baker (Queer Nonfiction)

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Chinese and Mexican Non Binary Magic and Happily Ever Afters

OQS Readers! I’m Erica, another associate editor at Book Riot, and I’m filling in for Danika this week. I’m going to keep it short and cute with y’all and just share a little bookish tea, a few new releases, and some things you should check out at Book Riot.

Before we get into newsletter things, though, I’d like to highlight another queer-focused non profit in Ukraine called Insight. Before the current crisis, the organization served everyone under the LGBTQI umbrella, helping them get mental health care, legal help, and find doctors. Now, they’re focused on getting people much needed shelter, food, and other basic things. If you’re interested in helping, check out their insta, specifically the donation link.

All the Links Fit to Click

Chapter one of Eleutheria by Allegra Hyde, recommended by Lydia Conklin (also mentioned below in New Releases)

Eight Mystery Books With Bi+ Main Characters

On Lesbian Mommy Culture, Or: Why I Want Julianne Moore To Step On Me

Casey McQuiston on LGBTQ rom-com books and iI Kissed Shara Wheeler’

Texas students push back against book bans for censoring LGBTQ, racial justice issues

Queer HistFic Set In Paris

6 LGBTQ books politicans and parents have tried to ban this year

Students Protest Book Bans Over Content on LGBTQ Issues, Race

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

10 Queer Dark Academia Novels to Obsess Over

Texas Republicans Ask Schools to Pledge Not To Buy from Vendors That Sell GENDER QUEER

24 Must-Read LGBTQ Books Out in March

New Releases This Week

Cover of Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore

Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore (Trans, Nonbinary YA Magical Realism)

There are stories of a world beneath the lake made of air and water. The only ones to have seen it, though, are Bastián, who has their anxieties stored there in the form of living Mexican folk art statues, and Lore, who once went to the lake seeking refuge. Now, the underwater world is starting to come to the surface, threatening to bring all of Lore’s and Bastián’s secrets along with it. They have to work together to make sure that doesn’t happen.

And They Lived . . . by Steven Salvatore

And They Lived . . . by Steven Salvatore (Gender Questioning YA Contemporary)

Chase loves everything Disney and has started his first year of college to study animation. Naturally, he dreams of a Happily Ever After, but doesn’t quite think he’s good enough to have it. When he meets poet Jack, he’s still trying to figure out his gender identity and recovering from an eating disorder, but Jack seems to be one of the few people that really gets him. Together, they embark on a journey of self discovery, sex positivity, and healing. So basically, feelings!

cover of The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories edited by by Yu Chen and  Regina Kanyu Wang

The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, Edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang (LGBTQ Inclusive SF/F Anthology)

Feast your eyes upon these 17 stories written, edited, and translated to English for the first time by a team of nonbinary and female creators.

Hungry? Journey to the end of the universe and eat at a restaurant where you pay your tab with a story in “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe: Tai-Chi Mashed Taro” by Anna Wu, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan. Or, watch as stars are reared by young people on their own road to self discovery in “The Stars We Raised,” by Xiu Xinyu, translated by Judy Yi Zhou. Then there’s the titular tale by Wang Nuonuo and translated by Rebecca F. Kuang (author of The Poppy War) that tells of how a young woman and her companion learn of love and myth as they travel to sway the world’s oceans, bringing about spring.

The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (Asexual Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

One for All by Lillie Lainoff

Eleutheria by Allegra Hyde (Sapphic Contemporary)

Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel (Two Spirit Historical Fiction)

All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown (M/M YA Dystopian)

The Best Liars in Riverview by Lin Thompson (Queer Middle Grade)

One for All by Lillie Lainoff (LGBTQ YA Historical)

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao (F/F YA Graphic Novel)

A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft (Queer Author YA Historical Fantasy)

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

Annnd, that’s all, folx! Like I said, cute and short. If you’d like to keep in touch, you can follow me on Twitter @erica_eze_, check out In Reading Color (a newsletter that covers literature by and about people of color), In the Club (a newsletter to keep your book club well read and fed), or the Hey YA podcast I cohost with Tirzah Price.

Until next we meet, happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Read Harder: LGBTQ Edition is Ready for You to Tackle!

It’s always interesting to see mini trends when putting together the queer new releases every week, and apparently this Tuesday was queer picture book day! I’m also happy to say that my goal of queering the Read Harder challenge is complete. If you decide to tackle it, please let me know how it goes!

Today, I want to highlight some charities that are helping LGBTQ people in Ukraine, including one I’ve mentioned before: Rainbow Railroad. For more places to help, check out this article from Queerty.

Read Harder: LGBTQ Edition

For the past few weeks, I’ve been giving recommendations to make the Read Harder challenge even queerer, and I’m happy to announce that I’ve reached the final three challenges! You can now do the Read Harder challenge entirely with queer books, if you so choose! You can check out previous editions of Our Queerest Shelves for the earlier challenges, but I’ll also be gathering them all into a post soon.

22) Read a history about a period you know little about.

There are so many different options to choose from here, especially because queer history is so suppressed that the average reader doesn’t know about almost any of it! I left off the books about the Stonewall riots and the AIDS epidemic, since those are the most known periods of queer history, but they’re still well worth reading. I also tried to stick to books about a particular period of history, instead of a general overview.

the cover of Tinderbox

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation by Robert W. Fieseler

One lesser known event in queer American history is the 1973 fire that burned down the Up Stairs Lounge in New Orleans. It was set by an arsonist, killing dozens of people, and it devastated the local gay community. The mourning survivors reeled in the aftermath, when families decided not to claim bodies, and Catholic churches refused burials. This further pain was the driving force behind a wave of activism that demanded gay liberation and basic rights.

More LGBTQ history books:

23) Read a book by a disabled author.

the cover of Bodymap

Bodymap by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

There are lots of great nonfiction books and memoirs that focus on disability that are by disabled authors, but that isn’t the only option for this prompt. You can also read any book by disabled author, including fiction and poetry. Bodymap is my favorite poetry collection, with cutting and insightful poems that address sexuality, gender, race, and disability in a readable and memorable style.

More queer books by disabled authors:

24) Pick a challenge from any of the previous years’ challenges to repeat!

There are so many options for previous challenges that are already queer or can easily be adapted to be queer. I’ve selected one queer challenge from each year of the Read Harder challenge, but there are lots more to choose from.

  • 2021: Read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist [Or why not both!]
  • 2020: Read a debut novel by a queer author
  • 2019: Read a comic by an LGBTQIA creator
  • 2018: Read a mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
  • 2017: Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel
  • 2016: Read a book by a trans author
  • 2015: Read a book by or about someone LGBTQ [a gimme!]

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

the cover of The One True Me and You

The One True Me and You by Remi K. England (Gender/Pronoun Questioning Romance)

Kaylee is at GreatCon not just to celebrate all things nerdy, but also to try using they/them pronouns and cosplaying masculine characters. Also… maybe to kiss a girl? Teagan is at the same hotel, but she’s there to win a pageant competition and get a scholarship — even if she’d rather be at GreatCon. When they run into each other, sparks fly, and Kay might get to kiss a girl after all.

the cover of Every Variable of Us

Every Variable of Us by Charles A. Bush (Bisexual YA Contemporary)

When Alexis is injured in a gang shooting, her dreams of pro basketball go out with the window, and with them, her ticket out of her impoverished neighborhood. When she meets new girl Aamani, though, she begins to find a way to see her worth outside of being an athlete. But then she realizes that she might be falling for Aamani, and that starts a whole different reconsideration of her identity.

the cover of Drew Leclair Gets a Clue

Drew Leclair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury (Queer Middle Grade)

It’s only fitting that a modern take on Harriet the Spy would be queer! Drew is trying to track down a cyberbully who is revealing her classmates’ secrets before they expose her own: that her mother ran away to Hawaii with the guidance counsellor. She’ll stop at nothing to find the perpetrator, even if it means putting her friendships at risk.

Cakewalk by Douglas Bell (Queer, Trans Side Characters Fiction)

At Certain Points We Touch by Lauren John Joseph (Trans/Queer Fiction)

Wherever Is Your Heart by Anita Kelly (F/F Romance)

the cover of Wherever Is Your Heart

Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth edited by Isabela Oliveira & Jed Sabin (Speculative Fiction Anthology)

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy (Sapphic Fantasy) (Paperback Rerelease)

Ready When You Are by Gary Lonesborough (M/M YA Contemporary)

Loveless by Alice Oseman (Asexual and Aromantic Girl YA Contemporary)

This is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi (Sapphic YA Contemporary) (Paperback Rerelease)

Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix by Aminah Mae Safi (Sapphic Historical YA)

The Last Firefox by Lee Newbery (Two Dads Middle Grade) (UK Release)

All Moms by Sarah Kate Ellis, Kristen Ellis-Henderson, and Max Rambaldi (LGBTQ-inclusive Picture Book)

the cover of My Moms Love Me

My Moms Love Me by Anna Membrino and Joy Hwang Ruiz (Two Moms Picture Book)

Just. Like. You. by Meredith Steiner and Avneet Sandhu (Gender Nonconforming-Inclusive Picture Book)

Firsts and Lasts: The Changing Seasons by Leda Schubert and Clover Robin (Two Moms Picture Book)

My Own Way: Celebrating Gender Freedom for Kids by Joana Estrela and translated by Jay Hulme (Trans Author Nonfiction Picture Book)

Yuri is My Job! Vol. 8 by Miman (Yuri Manga)

the cover of Another Appalachia

A White Rose in Bloom, Vol. 2 by by Asumiko Nakamura (Yuri Manga)

Chasing After Aoi Koshiba, Vol. 3 by Hazuki Takeoka (Yuri Manga)

Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place by Neema Avashia (Queer Memoir)

This Time for Me: A Memoir by Alexandra Billings (Trans Woman Memoir)

I Was Better Last Night: A Memoir by Harvey Fierstein (Gay Memoir)

The Sex Lives of African Women: Self-Discovery, Freedom, and Healing by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (LBTQ-inclusive Nonfiction)

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

People Want To Ban My Book for Only Gay Reasons. Nobody Ever Mentions the Cannibalism.

I never intend this newsletter to be pushing 2k words, but here we are. There’s just so much happening in the world of queer books. And while we’re currently seeing a backlash in the form of censorship, it’s worth acknowledging the progress we’ve made, too. I hope that censorship corner shrinks soon, but either way, there’s no reversing how much more read and celebrated queer books have become in just the last handful of years.

Let’s make the world better. Here’s somewhere to start: LGBT Books to Prisoners is a “trans-affirming, racial justice-focused, prison abolitionist project” that gets LGBTQ books into the hands of incarcerated LGBTQ people in the U.S. You can donate money or books, or you can buy books off their wishlists at Amazon or Room of One’s Own.

Read Harder Challenge: LGBTQ Edition

We’re nearing the end! This is my mini series where I endeavor to make the Read Harder Challenge even queerer. Next week will finish off all the challenges! Some were a little harder than others to come up with queer options (looking at you, political thrillers), but most had lots to choose from. Let’s get into this week’s challenges!

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

18) Read a “Best _ Writing of the year” book for a topic and year of your choice.

I have to admit, I thought this challenge might get me, but I was able to find 6 year-specific all-queer anthologies! Let me know if you’re aware of any more, especially ones that are ongoing.

While these almost all include stories by authors of color, most of the editors are white (though the 1997 Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year is edited by Jewelle Gómez, and that sounds amazing).

the cover of the Heiresses of Russ 2014 anthology, showing a woman in a spacesuit holding a phaser floating above a planet and being shot at

Heiresses of Russ: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction (2011-2016)

Did I pick this partly because of the cover? Of course. But this series is also edited by a legend in lesbian sci fi, Melissa Scott, known best for Trouble and Her Friends. There are also stories from well-known authors like Zen Cho (2011), Ellen Kushner (2011), Amal El-Mohtar (2012), Nalo Hopkinson (2012), Jewelle Gomez (2013), Malinda Lo (2013), Ken Liu (2015), Darcie Little Badger (2015), Seanan McGuire (2015), and more. PLUS: they’re all only $1 each as ebooks!

More LGBTQ best ___ of the year anthologies:

19) Read a horror novel by a BIPOC author.

The Gilda Stories cover

The Gilda Stories by Jewelle L. Gómez

I went back and forth a little bit about whether to include this title, because I don’t really think of it as horror — but vampires get a free pass into the horror genre, I think. This is a classic not just of lesbian literature, but of literature in general. It follows Gilda as an enslaved woman in 1850s Louisiana through her becoming a vampire and centuries of her undead life — ending in 2050! It’s a set of interrelated short stories, all in different time periods and settings. It explores racism and homophobia throughout time, and it’s a gorgeous, thought-provoking read.

More queer horror by BIPOC authors:

20) Read an award-winning book from the year you were born.

I can’t give a rec for each year you were all born, but I can give you some awards to check out!

Of course, the easy answer is Lambda Literary. It’s been going since 1988, and they have an previous winners page that allows you to search by year and category! So as a 1990s baby, I might read New, Improved Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Humor) or Her by Cherry Muhanji (Lesbian Debut Fiction).

Another option is the Stonewall Book Awards, which have been given out by the American Library Association since 1971. The very first award was given to Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller, which is a favorite of mine! A recent award-winner was Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis — which, if you read out loud to your 2020 baby, totally counts.

The Triangle Awards also began in 1988. Unfortunately, you have to click through each individual award to see previous winners: there isn’t a list of all of them in one place.

The Golden Crown Literary Awards would only be an option for young teens: it started in 2005.

If you were born before 1971, this will be a tricky challenge, unfortunately. Queer books have only started getting public recognition in the last few decades. One option may be picking another significant date (your graduation year, wedding anniversary, etc) instead.

21) Read a queer retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, folklore, or myth.

An already queer challenge! There are so many fantastic queer retellings out there — especially of fairy tales — that I had trouble narrowing it down, but here are just a handful.

the cover of The Magic Fish

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen (“The Little Mermaid”)

This is a Book Riot favorite, and it won the 2021 Harvey Award for Book of the Year. It also appeared on the best books of the year lists in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and more. It’s a YA graphic novel about a Vietnamese American teen trying to come out to his mom. There’s also a legendary tweet from the author: “People wanna ban my book for only gay reasons, nobody ever ever mentions the cannibalism 😔”

More queer retellings:

For even more, check out 10 Great Queer Retellings of Classics and 30 Must-Read Queer Fairy Tale Retellings.

Censorship Corner

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Some of the most anticipated and exciting 2022 releases are all out this week! It’s so exciting!

Cover of Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman

Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman (Queer and Trans Fiction)

Elsie’s wife was a semi-famous television writers, so Elsie decides to donate her papers after her death. There, she meets the archivist, Sol, and they soon begin falling for each other. On top of the usual complications of falling in love while living with grief, there are also the added hurdle of Sol living with vampirism. This is a surreal, multi-layered story that’s part office love story, part vampire novel, part exploration of transphobia. It comes highly recommended by the authors of Confessions of the Fox and Several People are Typing, so that gives you some sense of the tone!

cover of I'm So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson (M/M Romance)

One of the most anticipated queer releases of 2022, this is an M/M fake dating second chance romance! When Hudson’s ex Kian asks him to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, he reluctantly agrees — he even goes along as a plus one to a family wedding, since it will also give him an opportunity to network with some big names in media. Unsurprisingly, though, this fake relationship is beginning to feel like less and less of an act…

the cover of manhunt

Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin (Trans Horror)

This is another one that has had me counting down the days until the release date! While there have been plenty of post-apocalyptic stories that are gender-based, they usually either ignore trans people or only include a passing mention. Manhunt is about a sickness that affects people with high testosterone and follows a group of trans men and women who will do anything it takes to survive — which unfortunately means harvesting organs.

Son of Sin by Omar Sakr (Bisexual Literary Fiction)

The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Sapphic Mystery)

cover of The Verifiers by Jane Pek

Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (Bisexual and Lesbian Romance)

The Last Laugh by Eva Muñoz (F/F Romance)

Scorpica (The Five Queendoms #1) by G.R. Macallister (Sapphic Fantasy)

Inheritors of Power (The Broken Trust #3) by Juliette Wade (Asexual Sci Fi)

Sisters of the Forsaken Stars (Our Lady of Endless Worlds #2) by Lina Rather (Sapphic Sci Fi)

Little Mushroom: Judgment Day by Shisi, translated by Xiao (M/M Sci Fi)

the cover of Delilah Green Doesn’t Care

Tripping Arcadia by Kit Mayquist (Bisexual F/F Gothic)

Extasia by Claire Legrand (Sapphic YA Horror)

Big Wig written by Jonathan Hillman and Illustrated by Levi Hastings (Gender Nonconforming Picture Book)

Destiny, NY, Vol 1: Who I Used To Be by Pat Shand, Manuel Preitano, Elisa Romboli (Sapphic Graphic Novel)

Alice In Leatherland by Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli (Sapphic Erotic Graphic Novel)

semelparous, Vol. 2 by Jun Ogino (Yuri Manga)

cover image for Tripping Arcadia

Monologue Woven For You, Vol. 1 by Syu Yasaka (Yuri Manga)

I’m in Love with the Villainess (Light Novel) Vol. 4 by Inori and Hanagata (Yuri Light Novel)

Next Time There’s a Pandemic (CLC Kreisel Lecture Series) by Vivek Shraya (Trans Memoir)

In Sensorium: Notes for My People by Tanaïs (Queer Memoir)

Queer Data by Kevin Guyan (Queer Nonfiction)

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton (Trans Nonfiction) (Audiobook Rerelease)

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!


Our Queerest Shelves

Under the Gaydar Reads

I regret to inform you that this is another newsletter with a Censorship Corner links section, and that’s excluding the vast majority of the LGBTQ book censorship stories I come across. (Follow Kelly’s weekly Censorship News Roundup if you want to see more.) It’s not all bad news, though: you’ll see that an unexpected group came to the rescue in one case…

But that leads in perfectly to the charity I want to highlight this week, which is PFLAG’s Read With Love program, which is attempting to get more diverse books into libraries. You can find out more at their website, including ways to donate.

Read Harder Challenge: LGBTQ Edition

This is the mini series where I make the Read Harder Challenge even queerer. You can check out previous editions of the newsletter for the earlier challenges. We’re getting near the end now!

14) Read a book whose movie or TV adaptation you’ve seen (but haven’t read the book).

There’s lots of options for this one! It was difficult to narrow it down, so I left off Carol aka The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith for being too obvious.

The Handmaiden movie poster

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters / The Handmaiden by Park Chan-Wook (movie)

Fingersmith is the best book I’ve ever read, and it’s actually been adapted twice: one by the BBC, and one reimagining by Park Chan-Wook. This adaptation moves the setting from Victorian England to Japan-occupied Korea. It’s gotten some criticism for supposedly having a “male gaze,” especially in the sex scenes, but I personally disagree. What I love about this adaptation is that it sparks a really interesting conversation with the book. They not only have different settings, but also different endings. I think it really adds something to an already amazing story.

More queer books that have been adapted:

15) Read a new-to-you literary magazine (print or digital).

I have to admit that any literary magazine would be new to me, because I haven’t read any before! Poking around online, though, it looks like there are quite a few interesting queer-centric lit mags to choose from. Here are some that looked the most intriguing!

the December 2021 cover of Anathema

Anathema: Spec From the Margins

Anathema is an online speculative fiction (including SFF, horror, fabulism, and more) literary magazine that publishes three times a year. The stories are all by queer POC/Indigenous/Aboriginal creators. The covers alone are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to dive into some of these stories.

More queer literary magazines:

16) Read a book recommended by a friend with different reading tastes.

This is a task that I can’t really give recommendations for, because it’s unique to you! Hopefully you have a friend who is well-read in queer lit and can give you some recommendations. I’ve found that having a focus on sapphic stories has introduced me to all kinds of genres and formats, because I’m much more likely to try it out if I know there’s a queer main character.

Use this task to try out a genre that’s unfamiliar to you. Maybe you can read a mystery novel with a queer main character for the first time — did you know this was one of the first genres to include queer characters? Or dip a toe into the world of manga with a yuri, BL, or queer manga title.

If you don’t have well-read queer friends away from the keyboard, online friends definitely count. (We’re friends now if you’ve read this far. No take backs.) Ask on social media for queer book recs and pick one that you wouldn’t have read otherwise. I’d love to hear how it goes!

17) Read a memoir written by someone who is trans or nonbinary.

An already queer task! That makes this one a breeze. There are so many great trans or nonbinary memoirs to choose from, but here are just a few highlights.

book cover all boys aren't blue by george m. johnson

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Two of the books I’m recommending for this category, this one and Gender Queer, have been among the most challenged in the last year of increased censorship. Read them yourself to see the beautiful, important stories that young people are being denied. These essays explore Johnson’s childhood, along with advice to young people (especially Black queer and trans people) about surviving and growing in a world that can be hostile to them. Reading All Boys Aren’t Blue will make it obvious that this book is being willfully misinterpreted, because Johnson is so generous in their explanations of the ideas they’re exploring here.

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

Censorship Corner

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

the cover of The Boy with a Bird in His Chest

The Boy With a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund (Queer Fiction)

This is a queer coming of age allegory about a boy who is hidden away from the world because (as you might have guessed) he has a bird in his chest. When a disaster endangers his life, he is sent to live with relatives, and a whole new world opens up to him. It’s a story about hiding the tender, beautiful parts of ourselves, and what happens when we let people in.

the cover of The Chandler Legacies

The Chandler Legacies by Abdi Nazemian (Gay YA Contemporary)

This is a boarding school story following five main characters, including Ramin, a transfer student who came here because it’s not safe to be gay in Iran — only to be harassed by his classmates in what was supposed to be a refuge. The five of them all get into The Circle, an elite writing group, and they begin to open up to each other, including by discussing the abuses that go unaddressed in this prestigious school.

Parallel Hells by Leon Craig (Queer Short Stories) (UK Release)

Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih (Gay Fiction)

Let's Get Back to the Party cover

Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You by Ariel Delgado Dixon (Lesbian Thriller)

My Secret Valentine by Julie Cannon, Erin Dutton and Anne Shade (F/F Romance Anthology)

The Magic Between by Stephanie Hoyt (Bisexual M/M Romance)

Her Heart’s Desire by Anne Shade (F/F Romance)

Escorted by Renee Roman (F/F Erotica)

Enchanted Autumn by Ursula Klein (F/F Fantasy Romance)

Watching Over Her by Ronica Black (F/F Romantic Thriller)

the cover of bitter by akwaeki emezi

Errant by L. K. Fleet (F/F Bisexual/Lesbian Fantasy)

The Thousand Eyes (The Serpent Gates #2) by A. K. Larkwood (Sapphic Fantasy)

Bruised by Tanya Boteju (Sapphic YA Contemporary) (Paperback Rerelease)

Silver-Lined Secrets by Aleksander Petit (Asexual Gay YA Adventure)

Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi (Queer YA Speculative Fiction)

The Alpha’s Son by Penny Jessup (M/M YA Werewolf Fantasy)

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson (M/M YA Sci Fi) (Paperback Rerelease)

Woodsqueer cover

Spin With Me by Ami Polonsky (Non-binary Middle Grade Contemporary) (Paperback Rerelease)

I’m Looking for Serious Love! by Shoko Rakuta (M/M Manga)

Kase-san and Yamada Vol. 2 by Hiromi Takashima (Yuri Manga)

Adachi and Shimamura (Light Novel) Vol. 8 by Hitoma Iruma and Non (Yuri Light Novel)

Heaven Official’s Blessing: Tian Guan Ci Fu Vol. 2 by by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, translated by ZeldaCW (M/M Light Novel)

Woodsqueer: Crafting a Sustainable Rural Life by Gretchen Legler (Nonfiction)

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my bi and lesbian book blog, the Lesbrary, as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books or you can read my Book Riot posts.

Happy reading!