Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

The Importance of Queer Fanfiction

Last weekend, I went to a barbecue with family I hadn’t seen in years. It was surreal to have a get together that felt so normal. It’s only recently in Canada that vaccines were widely available, so I’m still shocked at the possibility of actually seeing people. It’s nice, even if socializing that much left me exhausted — I’m not used to it anymore!

As I’ll explain soon, I’ve been forsaking books in favor of fanfiction lately. It can be very habit-forming! Hopefully my obsession will wane enough to get back into books soon.

Today, I wanted to highlight the charity Human Dignity Trust. They use litigation to support the rights of LGBTQ people around the globe, challenging unjust laws. You can find out more about them on their website, and you can donate here.


The Importance of Queer Fanfiction

I’ve recently gotten more into fanfiction; my obsession with Ted Lasso was bound to lead me there eventually. It’s gotten me thinking about my relationship with fanfic in general, and why I think it’s so important to many queer people.

While fanfiction is almost as old as literature itself, the phenomenon we call “shipping” has been queer from the start. Kirk/Spock was not just the original “slash” ship, but the original ship. It was followed by many other M/M fandom favorites — and no wonder. There were far more complex male characters on screen than female one, and besides, fanfic was the only outlet for M/M ships. They certainly weren’t going to become canon. Fanfiction allowed queer readers (and plenty of other readers) to explore a relationship that they knew wouldn’t appear on screen — and explore they did…

When I was a teenager, I read fanfiction from a franchise that will remain nameless — suffice to say that I’m angry that this queer memory has been tainted by the transphobic author. Fanfic turned into roleplaying: a sort of collaborative fanfiction writing, where two or more people play a character in a scene. I started, would you believe it, on Neopets chat boards. Of course it was an M/M ship, because that was the most popular pairing not just of that fandom, but of all fandoms at the time.

Neopets, however, was not so open to our PG-rated M/M roleplays, often deleting them (and leaving up more explicit M/F roleplays). A few of us migrated over to a new board, called Rebels Against Homophobic Neopia. (I remind you that I was about 14 at the time, and this was obviously very cool.) With no moderators, we were free to explore these stories however we pleased.

There, I met Real Life Queer People. People who not only shipped gay couples, but related to them. I began to contemplate by own sexuality — but nah, I was definitely straight. I invited my best friend to the board, also a fan of the franchise. We began roleplay flirting as our characters. I… was not straight after all. We started dating IRL.

I know lots of people, especially Millenials, who discovered their sexual orientation through fanfiction. It was a way to explore and experiment safely. It made being queer feel more normal: we knew and loved these characters already. If they could be queer and it was okay (in this fictional version of a fictional story), maybe it could be okay for us, too.

Even today, with far more mainstream queer representation (in books, movies, and TV shows), many queer young people flock to fanfiction to find representation. It’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, whether it’s a pairing, a mood, or a certain trope. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s no barriers to making your own.

So here’s to queer fanfiction, from Spock/Kirk to Xena/Gabrielle (which basically jump-started the lesbian romance genre) to the K-pop ships dominating today. Long may it reign.

All the Links Fit to Click

Publishing announcement for Cafe Con Lychee with an illustration of the two main characters sharing a milkshake

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Note: This week’s new releases is overwhelmingly white. Do better, publishing.

The Origins of Iris cover

The Origins of Iris by Beth Lewis (Sapphic Thriller)

Iris ran from her abusive wife, escaping to the Catskills, which were a childhood place of comfort. She intends to find herself there, and she does… literally. Other Iris is beautiful, happy, and seems like an all around better version of herself. She made different choices. But what is she hiding, and can Iris survive in an isolated cabin with this mysterious doppelgänger?

This is an atmospheric, thought-provoking book that promises to be Wild meets Sliding Doors

Lost On Planet Earth cover

Lost on Planet Earth by Magdalene Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre (F/F Sci Fi Graphic Novel)

Basil Miranda knows exactly what’s next for her. She’s on the brink of graduation, and once she passes one more test, she’ll be on one of the best ships in the fleet, working beside her best friend. There’s only one problem: she forgot to ever ask herself if this is what she wants. When she runs from this path, she finds herself colliding with a revolution.

This is from the author of Kim & Kim and Eternity Girl, joined by the artist from Kim & Kim. It’s a bittersweet graphic novel with a philosophical bent — and Star Trek references!

Growing Up Trans cover

Growing Up Trans: In Our Own Words edited by Lindsay Herriot and Kate Fry (Trans YA Nonfiction)

Imagine my surprise, as I added this book to the list, to realize I know one of the editors! Kate Fry and I used to work at the same bookstore together. She and Lindsay Herriot co-founded the Trans Tipping Point project in 2017, a trans youth writing workshop.

This is a collection of writings (stories, essays, art and poetry) by trans youth, ages 11-18, exploring different aspects of the trans experience. It also includes tips on how to be a good trans ally.

After the Dragons by Cynthia Zhang (Gay, M/M Fantasy)

Foxhunt by Rem Wigmore (Bisexual Solarpunk)

The Left Hand of Dog by Si Clarke (Aro/Ace Agender Science Fiction)

Sink or Swim by Tash McAdam (Trans Guy YA Contemporary)

Scapegracers cover

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke (Lesbian YA Fantasy) (Paperback rerelease)

Being You: A First Conversation about Gender by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, and Anne/Andy Passchier (Gender Board Book)

Missed Connections by Brian Francis (Gay Memoir)

All In by Billie Jean King (Lesbian Autobiography)

Center Center: A Funny, Sexy, Sad Almost-Memoir of a Boy in Ballet by James Whiteside (Gay Memoir)


That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at my sapphic book blog the Lesbrary as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. 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!

Danika

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

Uplifting Trans YA, Joyful Queer Women Books… and Your Rage Reads of the Day

I’m officially fully vaxxed! It happened! I’m so excited to get to see friends and family a little bit more. I’m not a very social person, but a year and a half of limiting contact is really starting to get to me, especially now that I’m working from home. I’m ready to see some people!

I spent Sunday helping out at my old bookstore’s charity book drive, and it was so much fun working with used books again. Now I just want to sneak in once a month or so, snooping around the warehouse and seeing what just came in. I suppose I could browse the store like a normal person, but it’s not the same.

This week, I wanted to highlight the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which defends Black trans rights and is currently giving out $500 COVID-19 Recovery Fund payments to Black trans people in need. You can out more about them here and you can donate here.


Have You Read Sarah Waters Yet?

It has come to my attention that there are queer books fans who have not yet heard the good word about Sarah Waters. Sarah Waters has been my favourite author since I first read Tipping the Velvet as a teenager, and I’ve never looked back. Recently, Jesse from Bowties & Books made a reading vlog for Tipping the Velvet (which is a fun watch!), and when they said they hadn’t heard about this book before, I had to clutch my pearls.

When I was starting BookTube, there were hardly any BookTubers talking about queer books, and the ones that were talked about a handful of titles. It was impossible to be a queer book nerd online in 2010 and not know about Sarah Waters. Now, though, there are so many queer books coming out all the time that I realized some of these classics of LGBTQ lit are no longer getting the love they deserve.

So here’s why you should read Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith.

Tipping the Velvet cover

Tipping the Velvet

This is my favourite book of all time. No caveats. The author describes it as a “lesbo Victorian romp.” It follows Nan, an oyster girl from a small town who immediately falls for male impersonator Kitty when she sees her perform. Nan immediately picks up and follows her, turning the show into a double act. It’s no simple romance, though, and the story goes in some expected and steamy directions.

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but Sarah Waters is a master storyteller, so it doesn’t matter. This is a fun and sexy book with a surprise socialism subplot, but it has a place in my heart for its love story/stories. I don’t want to spoil anything, but when I read this as a teenager, I had a very distinct view of what love and passion looked like. This story helped me to let go of that and celebrate the many beautiful, strange, bittersweet, gentle ways to be in love.

Fingersmith cover

Fingersmith

I can’t recommend just one of hers, because while Tipping the Velvet is my favourite book of all time, I think Fingersmith is the best book I’ve ever read. It follow Sue, a “fingersmith” (pickpocket) who teams up with Gentleman to con a wealthy young woman, Maude, out of her inheritance. All Sue has to do is pose as her maid, convince her to marry Gentleman, and then he’ll have her committed and Sue will get a cut of the money. There’s just one complication: Sue has fallen in love with Maude.

I don’t want to give you any expectation spoilers going in, so I’ll just say that this is expertly plotted and really surprised me. I recommend watching the adaptation The Handmaiden by Park Chan-wook afterwards, which transposes the story to Korea under Japanese colonial rule. Some people say that it’s voyeuristic or demonstrates the male gaze, but I completely disagree and preferred it over the BBC adaptation. Putting the book and The Handmaiden in conversation is fascinating.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

The Ophelia Girls cover

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey (Lesbian Fiction)

From the author of The Animals of Lockwood Manor (a sapphic historical fiction/gothic novel), this is an atmospheric, haunting story with a lesbian main character that alternates between two summers and two teenage girls — mother and daughter — and explores the “perils and power of being a young woman.” It’s a challenging read that combines beautiful writing and creeping unease. Content warnings for grooming and an adult-minor relationship.

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms cover

Cheer Up: Love and Pompoms written by Crystal Frasier and illustrated by Val Wise (Trans F/F YA Graphic Novel)

This is a highly anticipated adorable YA graphic novel with a F/F romance that challenges gender norms and examines the difficulties of being an out trans girl in high school. It follows two girls on a high school cheerleader squad — one trans, one cis and an out lesbian — as they mend their friendship…and discover new feelings for reach other. I’ve been hearing buzz about this for so long that I can’t believe it’s only out now! This is a much-needed addition to the fairly small category of uplighting trans YA.

Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity cover

Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity by Darrel McLeod (Two-Spirit Memoir) (Paperback rerelease)

In the follow-up to Mamaskatch, McLeod shows how this childhood led to his life as a young man advocating for Indigenous people in Canada. He’s been a school principal, UN representative, jazz musician, chief treaty negotiator, and now celebrated author. It also follows his journey to embracing both his Cree identity and his queer identity.

The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye (M/M Shakespeare Retelling)

Busy Ain’t the Half of It by Frederick Smith and Chaz Lamar Cruz (M/M Fiction)

Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck by Joe Okwonko (Gay Short Stories)

The Marriage Masquerade by Toni Logan (F/F Romance)

An Unexpected Kind of Love by Hayden Stone (M/M Romance)

Calumet by Ali Vali (F/F Romance)

​​Her Countess to Cherish by Jane Walsh (Bigender Historical Romance)

The Sisters of Reckoning (The Good Luck Girls #2) by Charlotte Nicole Davis (Sapphic YA Fantasy)

Work for a Million: The Graphic Novel by Amanda Deiber, Eve Zaremba, and Selena Goulding (Lesbian Mystery Graphic Novel)


That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at the Lesbrary as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. 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!

Danika

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

Let’s Show Queer Bookstores Some Love

This weekend, I got to spend some time with my family and — most importantly — pet everyone’s dogs. My mom recently got a puppy in addition to her older dog, and he is the cutest. My sister also adopted a dog in the last year, so between the three of us, we have 5 dogs that all got to play together. Please enjoy this picture of Finn (my mom’s puppy) after she freed him from getting himself trapped in the bed’s box spring.

A cocker spaniel and Australian Shepherd mix puppy rolling around on the floor with a goofy grin

I also wanted to start doing something in this intro paragraph other than ramble, so I’ve decided to start talk about a different LGBTQ charity every week. (Shout out to Alex at the Swords & Spaceships newsletter for the inspiration.)

This week, I wanted to highlight The Okra Project, which is a collective that provides meals and resources to Black trans people. They’ve done a ton of great work providing support, including free therapy, during the pandemic. You can learn more about them or donate here.


Queer Bookish Resources

Speaking of highlighting queer resources, I wanted to let you know about a handy site, in case you weren’t already aware of it: The Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy Database. It’s run by Sarah, an asexual lesbian SFF reader and book cover designer famous for her tumblr slideshows of queer book recs.

The title image of Sarah's Sci-fi and Fantasy Books by Trans and Non-Binary Authors! slideshow
One of Sarah’s tumblr slideshows of book recs

The Queer SFF Database is a curated collection of sci-fi and fantasy books with queer main characters, tagged so that you can search for exactly what you’re looking for. Mix and match the queer identity (trans, bisexual, aromantic, etc), relationship (F/F, M/F, NB/NB, etc), intersecting identity (Jewish, fat, Black, over 40, etc), page length, year published, genre (cyberpunk, portal fantasy, space opera, etc), and miscellaneous tags (no queer characters die, polyamory, no sexual content, etc) you’re looking for, and it will generate the books that match ALL of the criteria.

You can also leave as many blank as you’d like, so if you’re just looking for any queer space opera book, you’d just click space opera and leave the identities section blank. Likewise, if you’re looking for any nonbinary SFF book, you can leave the genre section blank.

Click on the cover and you’ll get the description, what kind of representation the book has, content warnings, and links to reviews from own voices reviewers of at least one of the identities of the main character.

Sarah has also included a ton of links to other queer book reviewers in the sidebar, including book bloggers, Goodreads reviewers, and a few BookTubers. If you’re a fan of queer SFF books, you can’t get much better of a resource than the Queer SFF Database! I used it a ton while researching my post on fantasy novels set in worlds without homophobia or transphobia.

All the Links Fit to Click

Book Riot LGBTQ Posts

New Releases This Week

cover of Radiant Fugitives: A Novel by Nawaaz Ahmed

Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed (Lesbian Fiction)

Seema has made a successful career for herself working as a consultant for Kamala Harris’s attorney general campaign in San Francisco, but she’s still hurting from when her father exiled her from the family because she came out as a lesbian. Now, she has to rely on her religious sister and sickly mother when she finds herself single and pregnant. Told from the point of view of Seema’s unborn son, this follows three generations of a Muslim-Indian family, each a flawed and three dimensional character.

Afterparties cover

Afterparties: Stories by Anthony Veasna So (LGBTQ Short Stories)

A Roxane Gay book club pick, this collection focuses on Cambodian American life as well as queer and immigrant communities. These stories mix together absurdity and tenderness, and they come with rave reviews from Brit Bennet, Bryan Washington, George Saunders, and more.

Fresh by Margot Wood cover

Fresh by Margot Wood (Bisexual New Adult)

This book singlehandedly pulled me out of a reading slump. It’s very loosely inspired by Emma — if Emma was a bisexual girl with ADHD who went to an artsy college but is mainly interested in getting laid. It’s from a first person point of view, and it sure sounds like a college freshman telling you a story, complete with weird asides in footnotes. This is a much-needed addition to the all-too-small category of queer new adult that will leave older and wiser readers shaking our heads fondly at the rollercoaster of college relationships.

A Lesson in Vengeance cover

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee (Lesbian YA Fantasy)

One of the most anticipated queer books of the year, this is a sapphic dark academia title set at a boarding school haunted by its rumored history of witchcraft. There’s also own voices representation of depression. This an atmospheric read with a writer main character (always a plus for dark academia) that I can’t wait to curl up with on a crisp Fall evening.

cover of the dead and the dark by courtney gould

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (Lesbian YA Thriller)

Logan has spent her life on the road, as her dads scouted locations for their ghost-hunting show, ParaTroopers. But now she’s stuck in her dads’ hometown of Snakebite, they’re keeping secrets from her, and teens keep going missing or turning up dead. An out lesbian in a deeply homophobic small town, Logan finds an unlikely partnership in Ashley: they both want to find out the truth about what’s happening. Ashley, in order to find her boyfriend alive, and Logan, in order to clear her dads’ names. This is an atmospheric, creepy read that I loved, and I highly recommend the audiobook version!

Burly Tales edited by Steve Berman (M/M Short Stories)

All Are Welcome by Liz Parker (Sapphic Fiction)

The Perfume Thief by Timothy Schaffert (Queer Women Historical Fiction)

I Kissed a Girl by Jennet Alexander (F/F Romance)

Fake It by Lily Seabrooke (Trans main character, F/F Romance)

The Desert Prince (Nightfall Saga #1) by Peter V. Brett (Intersex Fantasy)

Like Other Girls cover

Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud (F/F YA Fantasy) — Paperback release

Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin (Lesbian YA)

The Wild Ones by Nafiza Azad (Lesbian YA Fantasy)

Julie and the Phantoms: Whatever Happens (Julie and the Phantoms #1) by Candace Buford (Gay Middle Grade)

Black Boy Joy by Kwame Mbalia (LGBTQ-inclusive Middle Grade Short Stories)

Oh, What a Lovely Century by Roderic Fenwick Owen (Gay Memoir)

The Fixed Stars by Molly Wizenberg (Queer Memoir) — Paperback release


That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at the Lesbrary as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. 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!

Danika

Categories
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!

Danika

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

Queer Pulp Fiction, LGBTQ BookTok, and Your Rage Reads of the Week

Ridiculous pulp cover of Satan Was a Lesbian

Hello readers! I hope you’re doing well. I just dropped off a whole stack of lesbian pulp postcards at the post office yesterday that are flinging their way across the continent right now, and I feel that I should tell you that you can do this. You can take a ridiculous, campy queer pulp cover, throw into a Canva postcard template, and get them to mail you a stack of them. (Or you can print them yourself, of course.) Then you can send all your friend postcards that will make your mail carrier do a double take. You’re welcome.


Queer Bookish Musings of the Week

Here’s a question: Why is Amazon so bad at recommending lesbian books? Last month, I wrote a post called If You Think There are No Good Lesbian Books, You’re Bad at Picking Books. In it, I talk about how ridiculous the idea is that there are no good lesbian books. The only way I can understand it is if you only discover books through Amazon.

if you Google “lesbian books,” you’ll get a helpful bar of titles. They’re all classics of lesbian literature. Nothing too innovative, but it’s a good place to start: Annie On My Mind, Fingersmith, Zami: these are all great reads. Scroll down and you’ll see lots of lists: some of them are better than others, but they’re pretty solid, overall. The bottom has another helpful bar of 2021 lesbian books, including Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Honey Girl, and Perfect On Paper (which is very much about being bisexual and not a lesbian, but there we are).

Search Goodreads lists for “lesbian books” and you’ll find a selection from Autostraddle with some great sapphic reads. Even YouTube will offer up quality recommendations, many from sapphic BookTubers.

Search Amazon for lesbian books, though, and none of those titles appear. In fact, you’ll get a lot of books that are by no definition “lesbian:” The Song of Achilles, a transphobic nonfiction title, and a journalism book, to name a few. M/M books regularly outrank sapphic books, though the top kindle results for both “lesbian fiction” and “lesbian romance” have bisexual women main characters. Other keywords will dredge up truly cringeworthy erotica titles that, interestingly enough, bear a striking resemblance to those 1950s pulp covers I was talking about.

It is possible to find lesbian books on Amazon, but it sure isn’t easy. Anyone wading through those selections would think there isn’t a lot of good quality lesbian literature out there. While I would like to lay the blame for the myth of lesbian books as low quality at Amazon’s feet, I do have to advise more generally: don’t use Amazon for book recommendations. Use book blogs, Google — even Goodreads or, Sappho forbid, twitter. But don’t let Amazon pick your queer TBR. (Stay tuned for another reason why in the links below!)

All the Links Fit to Click

Buckle up, because we’ve got some rough news stories to get through.

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

I guess publishers pushed all their queer books in June, because I only have two books for you this week! Luckily, they both look great.

Cover of She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan (Non-Binary Fantasy)

This is being pitched as Mulan meets The Song of Achilles. It’s a feminist historical epic fantasy that grapples with the concept of destiny. It also has two genderqueer main characters! It’s about a set of siblings in an impoverished village who are given very different destinies: the son, greatness; the daughter, nothingness. When her brother dies, though, Zhu takes on his identity to secure a new future for herself. Be prepared for a brutal war story, but one that focuses on resilience and the main character’s defiance of the role she’s been placed in.

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor cover

The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin (F/F YA Graphic Novel)

This is a YA graphic novel about a teenger pulled into another universe that looks suspiciously similar to the gothic romances she loves reading! She must save it from evil to be able to get home, or else both their worlds will be in danger. It’s a satirical take on gothic romance tropes that includes queer and disability representation (one of the characters uses forearm crutches).


That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me on Twitter and on my book blog, the 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!

Danika

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

Beyond the Straight Gaze

Hello friends! Here in Canada, we’ve been a little slower on the vaccine rollout than the U.S., but I just booked my second shot! So exciting! I have big plans for two weeks after — by which I mean I’m going to browse the bookstore so hard. I’m also considering getting my hair dyed the bisexual flag. (I haven’t had a haircut since the pandemic started.) I hope that you are keeping healthy and safe out there! Let’s get into the books!


Lately, I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am that I didn’t grow up with the wealth of queer representation there is now in books and TV. I know that sounds wild, so let me contextualize. I am lucky enough to have grown up in a very accepting community — probably one of the most queer-friendly places I could have come out in the world during the aughts.

With all of the privilege I had access to, representation for queer people was still pretty limited. I watched Buffy for the lesbian representation — that’s how bad it was. (Spoiler alert: I do not recommend this now.) There were some queer books, of course. Great authors, like Sarah Waters and Jeanette Winterson. A few YA novels. Not a lot of diversity, whether in terms of intersectionality or genre, but I was grateful for what existed. I started a bi and lesbian book blog to try to draw more attention to these titles and help others find them.

So, as someone who has centered their life around queer books, why would I be glad there weren’t as many options when I was young?

Well, let me tell you about the time I played Gone Home with my partner. I hadn’t read a lot about it. I just knew it was queer and well-respected. I had the vague inkling it was tragic, but I decided to go for it anyway — despite not playing video games much. Vague spoilers for the game Gone Home: I got to the end of that game and cried. For quite a while. I was so prepared for tragedy — the story letting these two teenage girls have a relationship without suffering subverted the expectations ingrained in me most of my life, and I had an immediate response of relief, gratitude, and joy. I had a similar reaction to a cartoon that will go unnamed that made the queer subtext 100% text in its final episodes, something I couldn’t have dreamed of as a kid.

To me, it’s a joy every time queer lit goes somewhere it hasn’t gone before. I know how far it’s come, and I’m constantly surprised at what is possible now. I am proud of the young queer people growing up now who are demanding better representation because they weren’t raised on crumbs. They have entitlement of the best possible kind, because of course they are entitled to have their stories — our stories — told.

On a personal level, though, I’m glad that I got to see this transformation, and that each milestone is so joyful to me. Perhaps it’s masochistic, to be happy that my bar for good queer rep is low enough that I am constantly delighted by what clears it, but here we are. I’m even more grateful, though, that the generations following me aren’t this way. It’s that energy that’s helping to push YA especially forward, never settling for “better than before.” I’m so excited to see what comes next.

All the Links Fit to Click

Thumbnail of trailer for Ahead of the Curve documentary
Watch the trailer on YouTube!

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Cover for A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers (Non-Binary Sci-fi)

It’s been centuries since the robots left. They wandered into the wilderness, leaving behind their tools, never to be seen again — except that one just showed up, asking a tea monk what humans need. The robot can’t leave without an answer to that question, but the monk and robot quickly find this isn’t an easy task. This is a new novella series from the author of the Wayfarers books! (Don’t fear: I’m not counting the robot as non-binary rep! The monk is non-binary/agender.)

the taking of jake livingston cover

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (M/M YA Horror)

Jake Livingston has it hard enough being one of the only Black students St. Clair Prep, dealing with racist teachers. Things seem to be looking up when another Black student, the handsome Allister, arrives — and there’s even the glimmer of romance in the future. There’s just one thing that always gets in the way: Jake sees dead people living their last moments on a loop. While that’s never easy, school shooter Sawyer Doon is a ghost like no other, and his haunting has serious consequences for Jake. (Make sure to look up content warnings before getting into this one, because this social thriller deals with dark subjects and has some skin-crawling horror scenes.)

The Rebellious Tide by Eddy Boudel Tan (M/M Fiction)

The Calyx Charm by May Peterson (Trans Woman Fantasy)

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green (Bisexual F/F Science Fiction) (Paperback rerelease)

The Mythic Koda Rose by Jennifer Nissley (Sapphic Contemporary YA)

Being You: A First Conversation about Gender by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli, illustrated by Anne/Andy Passchier (Children’s Nonfiction)


That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me 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!

Danika

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

Gay Teens in Trucks, Sam and Frodo are Queer, and New LGBTQ Books OUT This Week

Alas, Pride month has come and gone! The queer bookish content online sure dried up fast between the last day of June and the first week of July. Luckily, what remains is top notch, so I still have some great links to share with you today.

Liberty and I talk about three of the queer books out this week (Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead, Rise to the Sun, and The Very Nice Box) on the All the Books Book Riot podcast, so make sure to check that out!


I don’t have a good segue into the books I’m highlighting today except to say that these all have summer vibes. There’s something about the image of being a teenager, driving to the edge of town, and laying in the cab of your truck looking up at the stars. It’s a perfect expression of the limited freedom of being a teenager, especially a queer teen, where having a car can make it the only small piece of the world that’s just yours.

Of course, I never owned a car as a teen, never mind a truck, but somehow it still feels nostalgic to me. So here are the three queer teens and their trucks books I’ve read and loved. Let me know if I missed any!

Aristotle and Dante in a truck fan art
Ari and Dante stargazing in the bed of a truck. Fan art by Meruz, accessed via Tumblr.
Aristotle and Dante cover

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Let’s start with the obvious. I mean, the iconic red truck is right there on the cover. As the cover crowded with award stickers indicates, this is a beautiful and unforgettable book–and the sequel is coming out soon! It’s about the unlikely friendship between Ari and Dante and how it evolves over the years, and it’s also about everything Ari is hiding from the world.

While I love this book, I think it’s often recommended without the proper context, so do be prepared going in for violently homophobic and transphobic scenes.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post movie cover

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth

I’m not usually one to choose a movie cover, but I couldn’t resist using the version with them sitting in a truck bed. There’s a kind of book end effect here: the image on the cover is one of the last scenes of the movie, while the book begins with Cam kissing her best friend in the bed of Coley’s truck. It’s a symbol of freedom for these queer teens, but it’s also just a tiny oasis against an often homophobic world. This is my favorite YA book of all time, and it has a similar mix of melancholy and hope as Aristotle and Dante. Content warning for conversion camp.

Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow cover

Starting From Here by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

I can’t believe I didn’t realize until adding the covers to this newsletter that all of these titles have the trucks prominently displayed on them. I am clueless. Lisa Jenn Bigelow’s Starting From Here broke my heart and put it back together again, and it’s another one of my favourite queer YA books. Oddly enough, it’s also about heartbreak and hope–but this one has a dog, so that’s an immediate plus. I deeply want fan art of Ari & Dante, Cam, and Colby all laying in truck beds looking at the stars together. Someone artsy get on that, please.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

cover of everyone in this room will someday be dead by emily austin

Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily R. Austin (Lesbian Fiction)

Gilda is a “twenty-something, atheist, animal-loving lesbian” overwhelmed with anxiety and depression. She goes to a church for free counseling, but they mistake her for a job applicant, and she’s too embarrassed to correct them. Now she’s a church receptionist, and she soon finds herself pretending to be Grace–the late receptionist–over email, because she doesn’t want to be the one who has to break the news that she died. Then the police start investigating Grace’s death, and Gilda “may have to finally reveal the truth of her mortifying existence.” This is a funny and touching comedy of errors.

Rise to the Sun cover

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson (F/F YA Contemporary)

This is the newest book from the author of You Should See Me In a Crown, and it’s another Black sapphic YA novel that should appeal to fans of her previous book–but I read this first, and I loved it! In some ways, it’s a perfect summer read: it takes place at a music festival and has a swoon-worthy romance–but it also tackles gun violence, grief, and sexual harassment. It’s about Olivia, a hopeless romantic fresh off the worst of a string of disastrous breakups, who’s running from the thought of having to face a judiciary hearing of her ex. She does this by convincing her best friend to go to a music festival with her–and this time, she promises, it will be just them: no romances. There, she bumps into Toni, who’s dreading starting university and mourning her father, who died from gun violence. They fall for each other, but it’s not long before things between them and their friends become very complicated.

The Very Nice Box by Yves Gleichman and Laura Blackett (Bisexual/Queer Fiction)

Summer in the City of Roses by Michelle Ruiz Keil (Queer YA Historical Fantasy)

Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell (M/M YA Fantasy)

It Ends in Fire by Andrew Shvarts (Bisexual YA Fantasy)

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

3 Illustrated LGBTQ Primers, 56 Queer-Owned Bookstores, and 100 Trans Book Recs

Stay cool out there, friends. Right now my entire city is sold out of air conditioners and fans, and we’re going through record-breaking heat. We’re muddling through with a dog pool (the kiddie pools were also sold out!) spraying ourselves and the dogs down with water every 5 minutes (to my dogs’ displeasure). I hope wherever you are, you’re keeping safe.

If you’re looking for some queer reads to distract you, hopefully you find some in today’s newsletter! This week had the 5th Tuesday of the month, which always means a smaller stable of books going out, but there are some great ones (including our sponsor!).


As we exit Pride month, I got to thinking about the baby gays out there and the people just beginning their journey to figuring out what the ever-expanding LGBTQIPAA2S+ initialism means. It can be intimidating to start educating yourself when there’s so much to learn, so here are a few accessible ways to get started.

Beyond the Gender Binary pocket change collective cover

Beyond the Gender Binary (Pocket Change Collective) by Alok Vaid-Menon

I love the Pocket Change Collective for tackling big subjects in tiny, accessible packaging. These really are small enough to fit into your back pocket, but give enough depth to not be simplistic. Pair this one with Continuum for two different perspectives of non-binary genders and gender non-conformity. These are great for starting conversations.

Sexuality: a Graphic Guide cover

Sexuality: A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker

Don’t be fooled by the eye-catching illustrations: this and Queer: A Graphic History don’t shy away from big ideas and philosophical concepts, but the accompanying comics help to make it feel more manageable. These aren’t 101 definitions of terms, but instead look at the theory and history behind these topics. This is a great way to get a little bit more depth in your understanding of queer identities and sexuality.

A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities cover

A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities by Mady G and J.R. Zuckerberg

This one is the most accessible book on this list to someone who really doesn’t know anything about queer and trans identities. The illustrations (snails!) are friendly, and the text assumes very little background. It’s a balance between being aimed at cis/allo/het, questioning, and newly-out readers. Also relevant to your interests: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Stranger Things: Rebel Robin cover

Stranger Things: Rebel Robin by A.R. Capetta (Lesbian YA Fantasy)

If you are a Stranger Things fan, you’re probably ordering this as we speak, because obviously Robin was the stand-out character of the series. This is a prequel story, where she’s trying to sneak off to Europe for the summer to live her full (lesbian) life: Operation Croissant. It also has an accompanying podcast voiced by the actor! I love A.R. Capetta’s previous YA books, like Once & Future and The Lost Coast (both VERY queer–big queer casts with trans, non-binary, asexual, gay, lesbian, bi, etc characters), so this one is sure to be a hit.

Cover of Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta (Sapphic YA Science Fiction)

Think Pacific Rim with an F/F enemies-to-lovers romance between two Asian teenage girls who give each other tattoos as a form of affection. It’s about a dystopian world dominated by Godolia overlords, who enact their will using giant mechanized weapons called Windups. Eris is a Gearbreaker, a rebel who destroys them from within. When she’s caught, she meets Sona, a Windups pilot who’s secretly on the rebels’ side. If you liked Crier’s War, this should be at the top of your TBR.

Bone House by K-Ming Chang (Queer Micropress/Chapbook Wuthering Heights Retelling)

Storm Bound (Cedarwood Beach #4) by Rhys Everly (M/M Romance)

Warn Me When It’s Time (A Charlie Mack Motown Mystery #6) by Cheryl A. Head (Lesbian Mystery)

Cinders of Yesterday by Jen Karner (F/F Fantasy)

A War of Swallowed Stars (Celestial Trilogy Book 3) by Sangu Mandanna (Sapphic YA Science Fiction)

How We Do Family: From Adoption to Trans Pregnancy, What We Learned about Love and LGBTQ Parenthood by Trystan Reese (Trans Memoir)

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

Queer Summer Reads, a JONNY APPLESEED Movie Adaptation, and LGBTQ Books OUT This Week!

The weather is really starting to heat up over here, and that’s gotten me thinking about summer reads. There is healthy debate about what counts as a beach read or summer read, but I consider it something that is engrossing, but can easily read distracted or in fits and starts. I like them to be fairly light, but I know there are people who swear by grisly murder mysteries as their beach reads, or even–and these people are to be feared–dense nonfiction.

Here are a few of my recommendations for queer beach reading this summer, or a book to take with you in a hammock.

Peter Darling updated cover

Peter Darling by Austin Chant

After some sad years of being caught in limbo, this is finally back in print (with a brand new cover)! It’s a Peter Pan retelling where Wendy Darling and Peter Pan are the same person. Not only is this a trans Peter Pan story, but he’s also–of course–in love with Captain Hook. I can never resist a queer classics retelling, and this one has been sorely missed in its time out of print.

You Should See Me In a Crown cover

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Of course, I couldn’t resist adding this one, which exudes queer Black joy just from the cover itself! Liz has to win prom queen in order to secure a scholarship that is her only hope of attending her dream school. Now not only does Liz have to be in a popularity contest that she feels she’s “too black, too poor, too awkward” to win–she also has to compete against Mack, the smart and funny girl she’s crushing on.

How Do We Relationship Vol 1 cover

How Do We Relationship? series by Tamifull

I find manga to be the most compulsively readable format there is, which makes it perfect for beach reading. This is a lesbian manga series that follows adult main characters, which is rare! It’s about two lesbians who bump into each other at college and say, “Hey, what are the chances we’re going to find any other queer women to date? Let’s give this relationship thing a try.” I love the frank discussions about navigating romantic and sexual relationships.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan cover

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

I’m showing my age a little with this one, but I can’t help but think of Boy Meets Boy fondly. It showed a kind of gay utopian high school when that was unthinkable in YA. The quarterback was also a drag queen (who won prom queen). The cheerleaders ride out on motorcycles. This is a delightful YA M/M romance that bursts with positivity–but with the acknowledgement that things aren’t always this easy. It’s also a short read, perfect for finishing in a day on the beach!

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Star Eater cover

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall (Bisexual Woman Fantasy)

I first heard of this as a bisexual fantasy novel with cannibal nuns, and I’ve since heard that might be a little off, but it’s also not NOT about cannibal nuns. Elfreda is part of the Sisterhood of Aytrium, but she can’t stomach what it takes to preserve their magical bloodline, so she takes the first out she can find, which leads her to becoming a spy in the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, where she is surrounded by glittering parties and ritual bloodshed.

Skye Falling cover

Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie (Lesbian Fiction)

Mia McKenzie’s previous novel, The Summer We Got Free, is one of my favorite books–which also happens to be sapphic–so I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. It follows Skye, a queer Black woman in her late 30s living day-to-day, when a 12-year-old shows up on her doorstep, the product of one Skye’s eggs that she sold many years ago and hasn’t thought much about since. Her life has just gotten a lot more complicated.

All the Water I've Seen Is Running

All the Water I’ve Seen Is Running by Elias Rodriques (Queer Man Fiction)

Daniel and Aubrey were best friends during their youth in North Florida, despite their differences. Now, Daniel has escaped the stifling small town life for the freedom of New York, where he has embraced his queerness. When he hears about Aubrey’s death, though, he’s drawn back to his childhood home and has to grapple with the legacy of his and Aubrey’s friendship as well as his family’s history, both in Florida and Jamaica.

Filthy Animals cover

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (Gay Fiction)

You might remember Brandon Taylor from his debut, Real Life. Now he’s back with a series of interconnected short stories following a group of young artists in the American Midwest, including a young man who finds himself involved in “emotionally fraught encounters” with dancers in an open relationship as well as a babysitter being driven to the brink by an out-of-control child. Brandon Taylor is a name to watch.

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison (Gay Fantasy)

The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill (F/F Fantasy)

Catalyst Gate (The Protectorate #3) by Megan O’Keefe (Bisexual Woman Sci Fi)

Transmutation by Alex DiFrancesco (Trans Characters, Horror/Fantasy Short Stories)

Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon (LGBTQ stories, YA Anthology)

The Papercutter by Cindy Rizzo (F/F Dystopian YA)

Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas (Trans Man YA Contemporary)

Bear Boy: The True Story of a Boy, Two Bears, and the Fight to Be Free by Justin Barker (Queer Memoir)

Antiman: A Hybrid Memoir by Rajiv Mohabir (Queer Memoir)

We Should Meet in Air: A Graphic Memoir on Reading Sylvia Plath by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg (Graphic Memoir)

Transitions: Our Stories of Being Trans by Den Casey, Kole Fulmine, et al. (Trans Nonfiction Anthology)


That’s all for this week! Until next time, you can find me 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 add as many queer titles as I can.

Happy reading!

Danika

Categories
Our Queerest Shelves

The Queer Legacy of Harriet the Spy, Rainbow Little Free Libraries, and a Gay Bathhouse Thriller

One of the links I included in this week’s roundup is about Harriet the Spy, including its queer legacy, and it got me thinking about the books I loved as a kid that I didn’t know were queer. The signs were all there! While I didn’t count Harriet the Spy among my top reads, I did feel a kinship with the main character–or maybe that’s something I’m projecting backwards. I’ve always loved stubborn, even prickly female characters in the books I read, and Harriet certainly matches that. She also feels different from everyone around her, like she doesn’t quite belong–and that’s a baby gay experience if I’ve seen one.

I devoured the Baby-Sitters Club series with its bossy tomboy main character, staying up late reading under the covers and collecting all of the volumes I could find. Like many of these childhood queer-authored books, they’re about a tight-knit group of girls. They may not have dated each other, but they loved each other and prioritized those relationship over almost any others in their lives. Turns out, that was by a lesbian author, too. My copy of The Secret Language by Ursula Nordstrom is so worn you can hardly read it anymore–also queer. I mean, it’s about two girls who have an intense, secret friendship. Their word for “good” is “leebossa.”

Even Goodnight Moon was originally a love letter to a woman! It describes the bedroom she and her girlfriend had stayed together–a wistful, longing tone that adds some depth to this simple board book story. And that’s only scratching the surface of kids’ book classics with queer authors! The author of Frog and Toad came out years after becoming famous for his story of a caring domestic relationship between two male characters, and Where the Wild Things Are is another classics of kids’ lit with a gay author.

It makes me happy to know that even before I picked up my first openly LGBTQ children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies, I was surrounded by queer literary family.

All the Links Fit to Click

LGBTQ Book Riot Posts

New Releases This Week

Bath Haus cover

Bath Haus by P. J. Vernon (Gay Thriller)

Oliver finally has the life he imagined for himself. He’s sober and he has a loving (and wealthy) partner in Nathan. There’s no reason he should be visiting a gay bathhouse–but he does. There, he has a frightening encounter he barely escapes from with his life. Caught between the fear of losing his relationship and the threat of the man who left a hand-shaped bruise on his neck, Oliver lies to cover it up–and that choice soon comes to haunt him.

The Hellion's Waltz cover

The Hellion’s Waltz (Feminine Pursuits #3) by Olivia Waite (F/F Historical Romance)

F/F romance readers will have been ancipating this one, the final book in the sapphic historical fiction Feminine Pursuits trilogy. In this one, Maddie is trying to pull off a heist with a greedy draper as her mark in order to fund her weavers’ union. She has a team of weavers, tailors, and merchants behind her–but the plan is put into danger by Sophie, a piano teacher who has a personal vendetta against swindlers. Her family lost their London piano shop to a con artist and moved to start over. Now, Maddie has to seduce Sophie to the cause or risk losing everything.

Indestructible Object cover

Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy (Bisexual Contemporary YA)

I’m in the middle of this one right now and really enjoying it! Lee is devoted to Artists in Love, the podcast she co-hosts with her boyfriend–until he breaks up with her on air. She distracts herself by researching the mystery of her parents’ doomed marriage. They’re separating, and she’s found a passport and book of poetry that suggests they never should have gotten together. With two friends, she starts a new podcast to unravel the mystery: Objects of Destruction. Bonus: this has a polyamorous relationship!

The Legend of Auntie Po cover

The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor (Sapphic Middle Grade Historical Graphic Novel)

Mei is a 13-year-old Chinese girl working at a logging camp in 1885. The Chinese Exclusion Act has brought with it even more racism against her and her family, but she’s determined to focus on the work–and her crush on the foreman’s daughter. To keep her spirits up, she tells stories of Po Pan Yin: a reimagining of Paul Bunyan as an elderly Chinese matriarch.

More LGBTQ new releases:

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris (Gay M/M Historical Fiction)

The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee (Gay Historical Fiction)

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury (Trans Love Interest YA Fantasy)

Sexuality: a Graphic Guide cover

Blue Flag, Volume 8 by KAITO (Bisexual M/M Manga)

The Queer Bible edited by Jack Guinness (LGBTQ Essays)

Sexuality: A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker and Jules Scheele (Graphic Nonfiction)

The Natural Mother of the Child by Krys Malcolm Belc (Non-Binary Memoir)

Nonbinary: A Memoir by Genesis P-Orridge (Non-Binary Memoir)

Disrupting Dignity by Stephen M. Engel & Timothy S. Lyle (LGBTQ Nonfiction)


That’s all for this week! Until next time, you can find me 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!

Danika