15 of the Best LGBTQ Beach Reads of 2024

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CJ Connor


CJ Connor is a cozy mystery and romance writer whose main goal in life is to make their dog proud. They are a Pitch Wars alumnus and an Author Mentor Match R9 mentor. Their debut mystery novel BOARD TO DEATH is forthcoming from Kensington Books. Twitter: @cjconnorwrites |

This year, like most that I can remember, what I’ve been looking forward to most about summer is vacation reads. It doesn’t matter where we go or what genre I’ve brought along with me. Beach reads stick with me and seem to capture the good memories when I revisit them later. Whether you’re the same way or you’re in the mood for casual reading, and however you define a beach read, a summer with books is always well spent.

Of course, the best way to pack your beach bag is with delightfully queer reads. These 15 recommendations ahead are some of this season’s most exciting LGBTQ releases. You’ll find a variety of genres to fit your reading tastes—from contemporary to historical, fantasy to horror, and some romance, too. Most of the books included have already come out (ba dum tss) but read to the end for three recs to find at your local library or bookstore in July and August.

Looking for more LGBTQ book recommendations? Sign up for Book Riot’s Our Queerest Shelves! In each newsletter, Danika Ellis rounds up the hottest and highly anticipated queer book of the month. It’s a great way to support queer authors while staying up-to-date on recent and upcoming releases.

Now, onto the best queer beach reads of the season!

15 LGBTQ Beach Reads for 2024

Second Night Stand cover

Second Night Stand by Karelia and Fay Stetz-Waters

Following a one-night stand, burlesque performer Izzy Wells and ballerina Lillian Jackson become unexpected rivals in a televised talent competition to save their respective careers.

When the reality TV stakes get higher, so does navigating their physical chemistry and the feelings they share that go beyond just one fling. What makes this rom-com stand out (among many things) is its authors, an IRL married couple!

The Afterlife of Mal Caldera cover

The Afterlife of Mal Caldera by Nadi Reed Perez

Rockstar Mal Caldera may be recently dead, but she’s determined to contact her sister Cris—despite being excommunicated from her Catholic family. With the help of a medium named Ren, Mal tries to send a message to Cris.

When she grows close to Ren, Mal struggles to gain closure with the knowledge that she must move on and the longing for what could have been.

The Guncle Abroad cover

The Guncle Abroad by Steven Rowley

Set five years after bestseller The Guncle, this sequel checks in on actor Patrick O’Hara when he must again care for his niece and nephew. This time, the occasion is happier: his widowed brother-in-law has announced his remarriage with a destination wedding in Italy.

As he travels across Europe and helps the kids come to terms with so many changes, Patrick also reflects on life at 50 and what he wants his life to look like going forward.

Looking for Love in All the Haunted Places cover

Looking for Love in All the Haunted Places by Claire Kann

After her grad school application is rejected, paranormal expert and ace woman Lucky Hart joins a ghosthunting TV crew at the supposedly cursed Hennessee House, where actors mysteriously quit after three nights. Although she feels drawn to Maverick Hart, a charming showrunner and single dad, her love life and career both take a wild turn when the house itself starts vying for her attention.

All Friends are Necessary cover

All Friends Are Necessary by Tomas Moniz

In the wake of sudden loss, Efren “Chino” Flores leaves his teaching career and returns to his Bay Area hometown. As he searches for answers to his life’s direction, he reconnects with old friends who help him grieve and open up to love again.

Hot Summer cover

Hot Summer by Elle Everhart

Cas Morgan is both shocked and thrilled when she’s chosen as a contestant for her favorite reality dating show: Hot Summer. But the expected behind-the-scenes drama turns out to be the least of her worries. All she wanted from the show was a little fun and a boost to her career, but she finds herself truly smitten with fellow contestant Ada.

A Shore Thing cover

A Shore Thing by Joanna Lowell

A trans-inclusive Regency romance? Yes, please!

To follow his desire for an authentic life, transgender man Kit Griffith hopes to start over in Cornwall. He finds companionship with Muriel Pendrake, an American botanist who shares his passion for cycling and whose work fascinates him.

But their sudden closeness conflicts with the looming end of summer when Muriel will return to New York. Both must decide if a chance at love is worth the possible heartbreak.

Four Squares cover

Four Squares by Bobby Finger

Sixtysomething ghostwriter Artie Anderson tries to rebuild his life following the death of his partner, but he can’t quite make peace with the heaviness of his past. But following a life-changing injury, he’s introduced to the LGBTQ senior center GALS and its lively community.

As he finds purpose and makes new friends at GALS, Artie can finally grieve and gain closure for the relationships he’s lost over the decades.

The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye cover

The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye by Briony Cameron

If you’re in the mood for an adventure this summer, this thrilling novel inspired by real events is a must-read. It explores the life and legendary feats of Jacquotte Delahaye, one of the only female captains during the age of piracy.

After fleeing her home in Santo Domingo, she takes to the seas and faces off against Blackbeard himself alongside fellow refugee Tessa, with whom she has an intimate bond.

Nearlywed cover

Nearlywed by Nicolas DiDomizio

Despite differences that would easily be dealbreakers for some, Ray Bruno and Kip Hayes are happily engaged and ready for their pre-wedding honeymoon. What starts as a New England vacation, however, turns into a test of their marriage viability as secrets and miscommunications bring out usually-ignored tensions.

The Z Word cover

The Z Word by Lindsay King-Miller

Horror novels are the ultimate beach read, with chills that feel refreshing during the hot summer months. This one is described as “queer Zombieland,” with a dry sense of humor that gives an edge to the gory, thrilling plot. It follows chaotic bi woman Wendy through the zombie apocalypse, with a band of queer folks who must not only fight off the undead but save local Pride festivities.

Cash Delgado is Living the Dream cover

Cash Delgado is Living the Dream by Tehlor Kay Mejia

Bartender and single parent Cash Delgado prefers stability, which is usually easy to find in small town Ridley Falls. Not so when her last hookup returns to her bar and threatens to overturn what she loves about her job. To make life even wilder, she’s begun having steamy dreams about her best friend Inez…dreams that make her question her feelings in real life.

You had me at happy hour cover

You Had Me at Happy Hour by Timothy Janovsky (July 23)

Julien Boire is an aspiring sommelier who dreams of life beyond small-town Pennsylvania. Between working toward his dream and managing his OCD, he shouldn’t have time for mixologist Greg Harlow.

Yet he can’t deny the chemistry between them and, against his usually strict nature, he agrees to a friends-with-benefits arrangement. But when emotional intimacy follows, Julien struggles to admit that he wants Greg in his life for more than just a few nights.

the cover of The Pairing

The Pairing by Casey McQuiston (August 6)

Former best friends-turned-partners Theo and Kit are now estranged exes. Years after their painful breakup, both use expiring vouchers for a tour across Europe they never took and discover they’ve been placed in the same group.

To lighten up the trip, they start a casual hookup competition…but what happens when they realize who they really want to be with and that it may be too late? Queer chaos, that’s what.

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Rules for Ghosting by Shelly Jay Shore (August 20)

Ezra Friedman is a medium, albeit a reluctant one. As a child, he started seeing ghosts after his grandfather’s death and never understood why. Because of his gift that feels more like a burden, he distanced himself from the family funeral business in adulthood.

But when family secrets come out over Passover, Ezra returns to support his reeling father and must face the powers he’d rather keep buried.

To build your summer reading list even more, check out the Most Anticipated Books of 2024.