Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

The Hottest Queer Books of Summer 2024

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Susie Dumond

Senior Contributor

Susie (she/her) is a queer writer originally from Little Rock, now living in Washington, DC. She is the author of QUEERLY BELOVED and the forthcoming LOOKING FOR A SIGN from Dial Press/Random House. You can find her on Instagram @susiedoom.

Summer is here, and you know what that means! It’s time for all the cool queers to pack their swimsuits, load up their bags with excellent LGBTQ+ books, and hit the beach (or stay at home enjoying your nice, sweet air-conditioning while reading those same excellent books on the couch). As long as there are books involved, you’re winning. I’ve rounded up the hottest queer books of summer 2024, from romance to fantasy to literary memoirs and beyond. Some of these books are recently released and getting a lot of buzz from readers; others are coming soon to a bookstore near you. So grab those prescription sunglasses, and let’s hit the hammocks!

Earlier this year, I made a list of twelve of the best queer books coming in 2024. That list is also full of thrilling, chilling, and revealing books that shouldn’t be missed this year, including upcoming releases by must-read queer authors like Akwaeke Emezi, Casey McQuiston, and Danez Smith. If you enjoy this list, double your pleasure by checking out those notable books as well. This year brings a plethora of fantastic queer stories, more than I can safely fit on one list without making your TBR explode!

New & Highly Anticipated Queer Books of Summer 2024

cover of Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again by Alison Cochrun

This second-chance sapphic romance has got everyone talking, and for good reason. Alison Cochrun’s third novel perfectly balances humor and heartache; it’s the kind of book that will make you laugh through your tears. Logan and Rosemary were best friends as kids, but their relationship as adults is rocky, which is extra complicated now that they’re both teachers at their former high school. But when their old favorite English teacher asks them for the favor of a lifetime, they end up stuck together in a highly suspicious van on a road trip from Washington to Maine. With delightfully unexpected stops across the country, Here We Go Again makes for perfect summer vacation reading. But don’t forget to pack tissues!

cover of Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa

Canto Contigo by Jonny Garza Villa

Jonny Garza Villa is legendary for their gorgeous queer YA romances with powerful emotions and uplifting character arcs. Now they’re back with a big-hearted love story about two competing Mariachi band vocalists. Rafael and Rey had a romantic connection when their schools’ Mariachi bands competed at nationals. But when Rafael transfers to Rey’s school, and they’re forced to go head-to-head for the lead vocalist spot, things get a lot less friendly. Come for the musical enemies-to-lovers drama, stay for the meaningful reflection on Mexican culture and family expectations.

women in peril book cover

Women! In! Peril! by Jessie Ren Marshall

Sexbots! Doomed spaceships! Lesbian moms! This short story collection (worthy of every exclamation point) has everything from complicated real-world families to futuristic sci-fi scenarios, and every single story hits the spot. With nuanced reflections on womanhood, queerness, intimate relationships, and Asian American identity, each story finds a woman facing some kind of unexpected peril. Not many short story collections can keep you on the edge of your seat, but this one absolutely does. And that title! That cover! This book is the perfect accessory for your cutest summer looks.

cover of Lavash at First Sight

Lavash at First Sight by Taleen Voskuni

Nothing screams summer like a steamy foodie romance! In Taleen Voskuni’s sophomore novel, Ellie takes a break from her demanding tech marketing job to attend a conference on behalf of her parents’ Armenian food company. And the stakes are high, because one attendee will win an ad spot during the next Super Bowl. Ellie immediately feels a spark with Vanya, who also happens to be representing an Armenian American food brand from the Bay Area. What a coincidence! But when Ellie’s parents clue her in that Vanya is the daughter of their biggest competitors, their easy connection quickly gets messy. It’s a sizzling hot romance you don’t want to miss.

cover of The Poisons We Drink

The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste

This YA fantasy novel is so highly anticipated that the publishing date had to be pushed back to meet preorder demand, but it’s finally here and ready to travel with you to your summer vacation destinations. Venus Stoneheart contains powerful magic that she uses to make and sell illegal love potions. But when her mother is murdered, Venus is moved to use her powers for revenge. She’s offered a dangerous opportunity to get back at her mother’s killer, but first, Venus must brew potions to control some of DC’s most powerful politicians. It’s a twisty, turny tale with a dynamic magical world and political intrigue, plus great bisexual, nonbinary, and asexual representation.

Cover of Truly Madly Deeply

Truly, Madly, Deeply by Alexandria Bellefleur

A five-alarm fiery bisexual romance about a romance novelist and a divorce lawyer? Sounds like “book of the summer” material to me! Truly Livingston may be a successful romance writer, but her love life is secretly a mess. When she’s invited to give relationship advice on a popular podcast, Truly tucks away her doubts about finding her own happily ever after and agrees. Her co-host Colin turns out to be a total babe, but she realizes quickly during their recording session that he’s got a frustratingly grim view on love, and things go off the rails. Colin begs Truly for a fresh start, and they realize they’ve both got a lot to gain from getting to know each other better. If you love chaotic bisexuals, excellent banter, and lots of steam, do not miss Truly, Madly, Deeply.

the z word book cover

The Z Word by Lindsay King-Miller

Finally, a novel that asks the question on everyone’s minds: What would happen if the zombie apocalypse broke out at Pride? This hilarious, fast-paced, super queer dystopian novel makes for the perfect summer read. Wendy thinks the worst thing about Pride in San Lazaro, Arizona, is the corporate takeover by greedy sponsors…or maybe having to face her ex-girlfriend. But when folks in the crowd start behaving strangely and whatever’s afflicting them seems to be spreading, she’s got a much bigger problem on her hands. Wendy’s group — including a drag queen, a sword lesbian, a nonbinary stoner, and, of course, her ex — must do whatever it takes to save the day. It’s further proof that found family is always the answer to any queer problem, be it heartbreak or the end of the world as we know it.

Looking for Love in All the Haunted Places book cover

Looking for Love in All the Haunted Places by Claire Kann

In this paranormal romance, a sentient haunted house and an asexual protagonist with ESP make for a winning combination. Lucky’s gift with the supernatural has long gone unappreciated, but when a paranormal investigation TV show finds a house too haunted to handle, Lucky is just who they need. She agrees to move in and act as Hennessee House’s caretaker, quickly learning it’s not evil, just misunderstood. What Lucky didn’t expect is to find herself so at home with the TV show’s cast and crew. Lucky feels a connection to Maverick, the show’s star, that she’s never felt with anyone else before. The closer Lucky and Maverick grow, though, the more Hennessee House fights for Lucky’s attention. It’s a delightfully creepy and romantic tale with nuanced conversations about asexuality.

cover of Cactus Country

Cactus Country: A Boyhood Memoir by Zoë Bossiere

If you’re looking to take a break from genre fiction during your summer reading and try something more reflective, this literary coming-of-age memoir is just what you need. Zoë Bossiere was 11 when their family moved to a trailer park in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. With a short haircut, baggy clothes, and a big sense of adventure, Zoë found a home in their community as a trans boy. Zoë searches for a sense of self and their place in the world as they grow up amidst violence, addiction, prejudice, and stark gender binaries. It’s a fascinating reflection on gender set against a harsh yet beautiful landscape.

cover of Exhibit by R. O. Kwon; photo of an arm against black and tan paint

Exhibit by R.O. Kwon

Literary fiction with the pace and tension of a thriller, set around a tumultuous relationship between passionate artists? Exhibit is exactly the book you need to spice up your summer reading. Jin, a photographer on the rise whose marriage is on the rocks, attends a high society party in San Francisco where she meets Lidija, a stunning ballerina currently on a career hiatus for an injury. Enchanted by each other’s lust for their work, Jin and Lidija spend all night talking, and Jin reveals a sworn secret about her family’s curse, one that could change everything.

cover of Blessings by Chukwueuka Ibeh

Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh (June 4, Doubleday)

For the literary queer readers looking for powerful coming-of-age reads, Blessings is a June release that’s calling your name. Set in Nigeria at the precipice of passing a same-sex marriage ban, it follows Obiefuna, a young dancer who is sent to boarding school after his father catches him in an intimate moment with another boy. As Obiefuna struggles to fit into his new school, his mother fights to understand why his father sent him away, and their country debates Obiefuna’s right to eventually build a life with the person of his choice. It’s a layered, moving portrait of a Nigerian family grappling with what it means to love each other.

cover of Cuckoo by Gretchen Felker-Martin

Cuckoo by Gretchen Felker-Martin (June 11, Tor Nightfire)

Gretchen Felker-Martin’s gory dystopian debut, Manhunt, introduced the world to a brilliant new voice in trans horror. Now she’s back with the creepy, unforgettable story of a group of queer teens at a late 1990s conversion camp in Utah. There’s something dark and scary lurking behind the camp’s religious facade, and if our heroes don’t find their way out, they’ll never be the same again. It’s wonderfully twisted and a must-read for any horror fans.

We hope this list of the hottest queer books of summer 2024 helped you find the perfect read! You might also enjoy:

9 of the Best Queer Cozy Mysteries

10 Queer Western Books in 4 Genres

Empowering LGBTQ+ Self-Improvement and Wellness Books