This list of 2021 LGBTQ horror books was originally published in our horror newsletter, The Fright Stuff. Sign up for it here to get horror news, reviews, deals, and more!
Welcome to week two of celebrating queer horror here on The Fright Stuff! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Pride, and getting plenty of reading done in between events! Fun fact: I didn’t plan it this way, but there is actually one new queer horror book on this list for every month from July through November. So. You’re welcome. Let’s all pretend that I was actually that organized on purpose.
Really, though, it worked out that way because there are so many fantastic queer horror titles coming out this year! More than are even listed here because I literally ran out of words to tell you about them all. We may still be short on in-person Pride events this year (for good reasons, obviously), but at least we have books!
The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (July 13)
Being able to see the dead is just a part of who Jake Livingston is, just like being one of the only Black kids in his exclusive prep school, or being less popular than his well-liked older brother. But while being a teenager can be an endless series of threats — social, emotional, physical — some are more serious than others; at least the dead can be relied upon to be predictable. Most are just harmless fragments of lost life, stuck in a loop of their own death. Sad but safe. Until Sawyer, a powerful vengeful ghost with the ability to put Jake’s very life in danger. In life, Sawyer committed a terrible act of violence, shooting six kids at a local high school and then himself. In death he has plans, and those plans require Jake.
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould (August 3)
There are a lot of amazing horror books coming out this summer (Seriously. My bank account weeps.), but this one is particularly high on my radar. Two girls — Logan, whose dads are the stars of the popular TV ghost hunting show ParaSpectors, and Ashley, a Snakebite native whose boyfriend has gone missing — face off against a small town full of secrets, slipping slowly into chaos. The ghost of Ashley’s boyfriend has begun haunting her and the only only one she can trust is Logan, even as their investigation into the town’s secrets threatens everything they believe they know about Snakebite, their families, and themselves.
Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo (September 28)
Sometimes friendships end quietly. Transitions in our lives nudge us apart from the people we thought we knew better than everyone, and who we thought we’d know forever, and we just drift apart. It’s so gradual you don’t even notice it happening until they’re gone. Andrew and Eddie were best friends, closer than brothers. And when Eddie left to start his graduate program, Andrew knew that he’d be only six months behind him. Until that day, a few days before Andrew was supposed to leave for Nashville, when Eddie died by suicide and left behind a life that Andrew realizes he knew nothing about. A secret life full of strangers and grisly phantoms, lies, secrets; a dark, ugly family history and an Eddie he never knew who spent his days bouncing from a cutthroat academic world to a seedy underground world of vice and violence. Now it’s up to Andrew to discover who his friend really was before Eddie’s secret life can consume him as well.
Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn (October 19)
Are you tired of me talking about this book yet? Not sorry! I’m so excited about this book. I finally have an ARC on my Kindle and it is just staring me down, waiting for me to finish my pre-determined reading list for this month. Though if any book can tempt me to break from The List, it will probably be Flowers for the Sea. Survivors of a flooded land exist in isolation, fighting for their continued survival on an ark. Supplies are dwindling, hungry, terrifying sea monsters circle — in other words, circumstances are NOT ideal. Among the survivors is Iraxi, pregnant with a child that may not be entirely human. The future of the ark and its survivors is uncertain, and Iraxi’s own fate may be darker still.
Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper (November 1)
Jessica, is there anything that Hailey Piper writes that you won’t buy? Probably no. Particularly when it has to do with vagina dentata — because you know that’s going to be wild. Also have you seen that cover? It’s so pink! I love it! When Yaya Betancourt discovers that she has spouted teeth in her vagina, she assumes that it is a side effect of a pharmaceutically-induced genetic condition that she and thousands of others developed in the womb with a little help from AlphaBeta Pharmaceutical. Whoops. But when she realizes that ABP is determined to hunt her down after her incident of toothy sprouting, and when her condition suddenly…worsens, Yaya has to consider the possibility that there may be another, darker motive behind ABP’s pursuit.
Quick Note: If you don’t want to wait until the trade paperback release in November, there are still a few weeks to preorder a special hardcover edition!