Amanda Jean dishes up the hottest LGBT+ books to keep you cool this summer.
Pride Month is over, and every year at the dawn of July, I feel a little bereft without the plans, parties, activism, and jolt of community that Pride provides. There’s still tons to do — representatives to call, protests to show up to—but sometimes I just want to burrow into a good book, forget the outside world, and try not to overheat as summer intensifies.
For those of you who also want a break and appreciate stories from all across the LGBT+ spectrum, here are 10 recent and forthcoming titles I’m really excited to read while seated by an oscillating fan.
Unfit to Print K. J. Charles A lawyer and an illicit bookseller butt heads in this Victorian-set novella. Charles is my favorite in the queer romance genre; her historicals are a cut above.
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score (Seducing the Sedgwicks #2) Cat Sebastian This is another class clash, with a Regency-era black pub owner breaking into a reclusive gentleman’s home to steal a compromising portrait of a friend. Sebastian writes classic historical romance with a refreshing voice and queer characters.
Marriage of a Thousand Lies (paperback edition) S. J. Sindu A lesbian Sri Lankan-American woman, Lucky, is in a marriage of convenience with her gay best friend, Krishna. Things become even more complicated when Lucky rediscovers her first love — who is on the verge of entering an arranged marriage herself. (This is actually just new in paperback, but I couldn’t resist bringing attention to it; it’s fabulous and wrenching in places.)
Demon in the Machine Lise MacTague Steampunk lesbians! A half-demon who works as an archivist meets a debutante who is much more than just a socialite. I preordered this the second I saw the cover go by.
Hullmetal Girls Emily Skrutskie This YA, female-led, sci-fi novel reportedly has an aromantic asexual lead, and the author described it as “My little standalone sci-fi Battlestar / Pacific Rim / Sense8 / Snowpiercer frolic affectionately known as Cyborg Space Jam.” Um, yes, please.
Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3) Becky Chambers This installment in the Wayfarers series introduces readers to a whole new crew — and it’s no surprise that Chambers populates Record with a mishmash of fascinating characters (including queer humans and a nonbinary alien!), and that, as in the previous books, their relationships are at the heart of everything.
The Descent of Monsters (The Tensorate Series #3) J. Y. Yang The Tensorate series is silkpunk fantasy, which Grace of Kings author Ken Liu describes as “[drawing] inspiration from classical East Asian antiquity” rather than the Western-influenced steampunk genre. And, oh boy, is Yang a master of this genre. The author plays with established notions of gender as deftly as they do magic and machinery.
Broken Metropolis Anthology I love a good anthology, and this looks incredible, with 10 stories uncovering queer corners of a fantasy city.
If They Come for Us Fatimah Asghar This debut poetry collection is already garnering a lot of praise, with starred reviews from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Some may be familiar with Asghar’s excellent work as the writer of the web series Brown Girls. I expect her poetry will be just as beautiful, thoughtful, and cutting as her work on the series.
2° Bev Prescott If, like me, you simultaneously love fictional peril but are filled with existential dread and horror over the looming threat of climate change, this book is probably for you. This book, about a woman on a journey to rescue her kidnapped wife in a ravaged world, speaks to my fears as a queer person and someone very much aware of climate’s ticking clock.