This Summer, Dive Face-First Into a Queer AF Read

There’s no better accessory for the bar, the beach, or your favorite coffee spot than a book.

Sun’s out, buns out books out! There’s no better accessory for the bar, the beach, or the outdoor table at your favorite coffee spot (you know, the one with the really cute barista…) than a book. What’s your pleasure: memoir? YA? Hitchcockian thriller? Celeb-endorsed lesbian classic? These new queer books will have you loving and lusting all summer long.

If you agree that there’s no better pickup line than, “have you read Chloe Caldwell’s ‘Women’?”, look no further than the reissue of “Women.” Get horny and devastated all over again through this short but powerful story of a young woman who moves to a new city and falls under the spell of an older lesbian…who has a girlfriend but can’t stay away. The updated edition of the 2014 cult favorite novella that Tegan Quin called “brief, sharp and utterly consuming” includes brand-new (spicy!) text and a foreword by queer author Katie Heaney.

If dark academia and time travel are your vibe, check out “The Lilies.” In Quinn Diacon-Furtado’s debut YA, four seniors at the exclusive Archwell Academy for Girls—including nonbinary transfer Drew and queer chancellor’s daughter Rory—huddle in a closet during a schoolwide lockdown, forced to live out their worst memories on a loop until past reconciles with present. Tense, nuanced, and socially conscious, this one is a can’t-miss.

This book has everything–a haunted house on a remote island, gay sexual tension, and a heroine whose multiple personalities have their own app: “One of Us Knows.” New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Cole has crafted the perfect gothic thriller. Kenetria Nash’s dissociative identity disorder has gotten in the way of her career as a conservationist, but she can’t pass up a new opportunity living onsite at a splendid historic estate. But when someone ends up dead, can Ken and her “alters”—and her gruff but sexy female coworker—make it out alive?

Historical cozy mystery buffs, snatch up “A Lethal Lady.” In book three of Nekesa Afia’s Harlem Renaissance Mystery series, queer heroine Louise Lloyd is living in Paris, working in a parfumerie by day and clubbing with new friends by night. But when a desperate woman needs help locating her wayward artist daughter, Louise finds herself sleuthing again, and navigating the cutthroat world of ambition and betrayal.

For Dolly Parton and “Cowboy Carter” fans, try “Every Time You Hear That Song.” In the present day, all 17-year-old Darren Purchase wants is to get the hell out of her tiny hometown, pursue a journalism career, and live out and proud as bisexual. Back in 1963, Decklee Cassel runs away from that same town and becomes a country music legend—but feels lifelong pressure to keep her relationship with female songwriter Mickenlee Hooper under wraps. After an elderly Decklee passes away and her estate announces a scavenger hunt with a huge cash prize, Decklee superfan Darren heads out on a road trip in search of the ultimate story and financial freedom. She end up learning more about life, and love, than she ever imagined.

If you adore a queer elder with a zest for life, pick up “Glamb Dimensional.” A lesbian Pentecostal reverend: yes, she exists, and you will fall in love with her. Born Gayle Rabinowitz, Lady Glamb—one of GO’s 2021 Women We Love and the subject of a recent GO interview—knew from a young age she was born to stand out. “Glamb Dimensional” is a rollicking exploration of trauma recovery, finding yourself, and the art of reinvention.

If the title alone doesn’t sell you on it…“SLUTS” by Michelle Tea is the debut publication from her press, Dopamine Books. What does it mean to be a slut in modern-day America? A diverse group of creators from Gabrielle Korn, former editor in chief of Nylon Magazine, to New York Times-acclaimed performer Miguel Gutierrez, and many more, explore that question through memoir, fiction, and experimental work.

If you want a fast and furious paranormal read, grab “A Wolf Steps in Blood.” Diner waitress Yasmine isn’t good at being a human or a red wolf—and as an ancient blessing dissipates, her pack’s future is at stake. When exiled witch Kalta rolls into Yasmine’s small Alabama town, the two are bonded by magic. After an accident threatens Yasmine’s pack once more, she and Kalta hit the road to outrun their pasts.

For those who’ve wondered “what if Jenny Schecter were a married French lawyer and mom when she realized she was gay?”, try “Playboy.” Translated by Holly James, the first installment of Constance Debré’s breakout trilogy is now available stateside. “Playboy”’s 43-year-old narrator leaves her husband, child and lucrative career and embarks on the life of an impoverished writer. As she takes her first two lesbian lovers, she explores gender, privilege and the effects of finally living her truth.

If you’re asking “where my aromantic/asexual rep at?”, order up “Dear Wendy.” In this unexpected love story, first-year college student Sophie makes a splash by doling out relationship advice on Instagram, but only her roommate knows that Sophie is “Dear Wendy.” Meanwhile, fellow aroace classmate Jo’s “Sincerely, Wanda” response account becomes an unexpected hit. As the online rivals grow closer IRL, will their alter egos be revealed—and will their friendship survive?

For stans of the “sapphic opposites attract” romance trope, devour “Late Bloomer.” Tired of endless moochers, recent lottery winner Opal Devlin buys a North Carolina flower farm on the decline, and has a rude awakening upon arrival. Angry but spectacularly beautiful Pepper Boden claims that she is the farm’s rightful owner. As the flowers grow, can the now-cohabitating women find common ground—or even more? (Bonus: the cover is pure high-femme magic.)

Because you know that preorders are the best possible thing you can do for authors and illustrators, and because it’ll be fun to get a surprise in the mail come fall, preorder “Tegan and Sara: Crush”! An offshoot of Tegan and Sara’s wildly popular memoir “High School,” this graphic novel—with illustrations by queer Eisner Award-winner Tillie Walden—follows the sister act as they navigate the ups and downs of junior high. How can you not?

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