Slide Into Spring And Summer With These Fabulously Gay Reads

From groundbreaking memoirs to rereleased favorites to joyful romances, these titles have something for everyone—and they’re all very, very gay.

It’s finally getting warm, we can all go out again, and there is a plethora of new (and new-ish) queer books to enjoy on the patio with Prosecco, on your couch with the AC blasting, or on your love’s lap in the sunshine. From groundbreaking memoirs to rereleased favorites to joyful romances, these titles have something for everyone—and they’re all very, very gay. (Because we stan small businesses, links go to IndieBound or directly to the press, but titles are also available on larger sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or you can ask for them at your fave feminist bookshop.)

If you’re all about boarding school intrigue, try “The World Cannot Give” by Tara Isabella Burton. Introverted Laura Stearns enters St. Dunstan’s Academy, the alma mater of her hero, author and “prep school prophet” Sebastian Webster. Soon, Laura falls prey to the exclusive school choir—and the machinations of magnetic born-again Christian Virginia Strauss. (Out now)

If (like me) you’re hankering for a new bi classic, hit Buy on “The Best Bad Things” by Katrina Carrasco. It’s 1887, and cross-dressing spy Alma Rosales hunts for stolen opium on behalf of the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and her hot boss-slash-lover Delphine Beaumond. But one wrong move could undo everything. (Out now)

For hilarious and wonderful trans goodness, devour “Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis” by Grace Lavery. Professor, activist and Brooklynite Lavery stumbles through sobriety and settles into identity with the help of sinister clowns, David Lynch and Ghostbusters porn parodies. Carmen Maria Machado calls it “the queer memoir you’ve been waiting for.” (Out now)

For fans of “Women” (which is all of us) and stellar personal reflection, pick up “The Red Zone: A Love Story” by Chloe Caldwell. Caldwell turns her focus on her period, forever a source of anxiety and rage that’s now threatening her relationship. Through interviews, conferences and Reddit threads, the author explores the boxes we put ourselves, and one another, in—at any time of the month. (Out now)

If you’ve ever asked yourself “What if Julius Caesar was a teenage lesbian?” look up “Take Her Down” by Lauren Emily Whalen. (In the interest of transparency—yup, that’s me!) Two queer ex-best friends run against one another for student body president at a cutthroat magnet school, leading to conspiracy and bloodshed, in this femme-driven Shakespeare reimagining about politics, identity and the price of trust. (Out now)

For a glimpse into the brilliant mind of a non-binary musical legend, look no further than “The Memory Librarian” by Janelle Monáe. What happens when Jane 57821, a citizen of a futuristic totalitarian society, finally decides to break free? In this collection of speculative stories, the themes of Monáe’s groundbreaking album Dirty Computer come together thanks to the artist and creative collaborators like Eve L. Ewing, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Yohanca Delgado. (Out now)

For all the gay AF recovering Catholics out there, grab “Burning Butch” by R/B Mertz. Mertz was still in conservative homeschooling when they realized their own queerness, and clung to religion through college. As they come out as trans/non-binary, Mertz navigates a still-oppressive world with authenticity and grace in this memoir that is sure to please. (Out now)

If you adore nostalgia and a good murder mystery, order “In The Trap” by Jessica Cranberry. Wisecracking Hazel starts college in the early 2000s, and finds herself drawn to her beautiful roommate Maeve…but when a body is found on campus and Hazel is implicated, can a student’s anonymous online diary provide answers? (May 6)

If you wish The Wicker Man featured queer girls instead of Nicolas Cage, try “Primal Animals” by Julia Lynn Rubin. Outcast Arlee Gold enters an elite college-prep summer camp in the North Carolina woods, and falls in with a secret society, led by enigmatic Lisa, who goes above and beyond to “protect the girls”—even if it means grave danger to Arlee’s friends. (May 24)

If you still miss Black Mirror, especially “San Junipero,” choose “Girl One” by Sara Flannery Murphy. Josie, aka Girl One, was conceived using only her mother’s DNA as part of an experimental commune. Now a medical student, Josie joins forces with—and develops feelings for—Cate (Girl Three) to uncover the truth behind her mother’s disappearance. (Out now in hardcover, in paperback May 31)

If you squeed at that queer-as-hell viral image of a cheerleader doing a female quarterback’s hair, pick up: “Home Field Advantage” by Dahlia Adler. In small-town Florida, Amber wants to be cheer captain and Jack, the high school’s first-ever female QB, wants the respect of her teammates. It’s dislike at first sight…so why can’t Amber and Jack stop thinking about each other? (June 7)

If you’re already dreading the hell that is straight wedding season, devour: “So Happy for You” by Celia Laskey. In this dark comedy, queer academic Robin is a reluctant maid of honor for her straight childhood best friend Ellie…but when the wedding rituals take a decidedly dark turn, Robin must fight for her unwed life. (June 7)

If you’re all about life-changing road trips, take this along for the ride: “Nevada” by Imogen Binnie. Back in print with a new afterword by the author, this cult classic and Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Trans Fiction follows punk NYC bookseller Maria Griffiths as she journeys west in a stolen car courtesy of her now-ex girlfriend. (June 7)

For the gayest of Jazz Age noir, don’t miss: “Last Call at the Nightingale” by Katharine Schellman. Impoverished seamstress Vivian Kelly finds solace in the Nightingale, an underground club for women who love women in Prohibition-era New York. When someone ends up dead, Vivian decides to play sapphic sleuth. The first in a new series! (June 7)

If you’re craving a home-cooked romantic dinner for you and your sweetie(s), savor “Please Wait to Be Tasted” by ​​Carla Kaya Perez-Gallardo, Hannah Black, and Wheeler. Lil Deb’s Oasis is an LGBTQ+ inclusive restaurant and community hub in Hudson, NY, but with this cookbook you can treat yourself to their “tropical comfort” specialties. Foreword by queer icon Meshell Ndegeocello. (June 21)

If you love “Great British Baking Show” and wish it were even gayer, get a taste of “The Romance Recipe” by Ruby Barrett. Micromanaging restauranteur Amy reluctantly hires skilled chef and reality-show finalist Sophie in the hopes of saving her ailing eatery. They’re like oil and water, until a new opportunity brings them together in more ways than one. (June 28)

If lesbian detective novels are your go-to, preorder “Dirt Creek” by Hayley Scrivenor. While nursing heartbreak over her drag king ex-girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Sarah Michaels investigates the mysterious vanishing of 12-year-old Esther in the tiny, secret-filled Australian town of Durton, better known as Dirt Creek. (August 2)

For fans of Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison and hella gay second-act stories, look into “The Days of Afrekete” by Asali Solomon. Middle-aged Liselle Belmont prepares a dinner party for her husband before receiving a life-changing phone call. Across town, sensitive Selena Octave remembers the one time she was truly happy, back in college with Liselle. Is it time to reconnect at last? (Out now in hardcover, in paperback October 18) 

Everything’s better with a good, gay book, and with this fabulous roundup you’re all set for the season. Happy reading! 

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