I keep a close watch on LGBTQ new releases both for writing Our Queerest Shelves, Book Riot’s queer books newsletter, as well as for my sapphic book blog, the Lesbrary. One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that July has become a less prolific month for queer book new releases: many of the bigger publishers scheduled queer books to come out in June — preferably the beginning of June — to coincide with Pride month coverage. That means that July tends to be a bit quieter.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that July has no queer books to check out! LGBTQ publishers put out their books every month (queer all year!), and there are always exceptions to the rule even with the big five publishers. This is far from a comprehensive list (you can sign up for OQS for weekly queer new releases updates), but here are some of the biggest and most exciting LGBTQ books out this month, including a few horror novels, a trifecta of sapphic YA fantasy novels, a hopeful queernorm sci-fi series, and a queer TTRPG graphic novel!
Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander (F/F Romance) – July 19
Lesbihonest, I’m sold from that cover alone. This is a second-chance, rivals-to-lovers story about Summer, a teacher who moved back to her hometown to try to save the school her grandmother founded, which is scheduled to be demolished. That’s when she bumps into Aiko, who is on the architectural team for the project — and who she shared an unforgettable kiss with senior year. They both won’t back down on their plans for the neighborhood, but they also can’t deny the heat between them.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher (Nonbinary Horror) – July 12
Speaking of great covers, this one is stunning in a very different way. You might remember T. Kingfisher for The Twisted Ones, and What Moves the Dead promises to be another haunting horror novel. It’s a retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” with a nonbinary main character, and the setting includes a “nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake.”
They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe (Lesbian Horror) – July 12
I keep mixing this up with Our Wives Under The Sea, because we have two unsettling water-based sapphic books out this year. They Drown Our Daughters promises to be “part queer modern gothic, part ghost story.” It follows Meredith, who has just gotten divorced from her wife and is now raising her daughter while caring for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Her mother is convinced that the stories about Cape Disappointment are true, and that all three of them will be lost to the dark depths of the water.
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot #2) by Becky Chambers (Nonbinary, Queernorm World Sci-Fi) – July 12
Becky Chambers is perhaps best known for the Wayfarers series, beginning with The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet, but the Monk & Robot books are another addition to her catalogue of cozy queer sci-fi stories. In this world, robots abandoned humans when they gained self-awareness hundreds of years ago. Then, a nonbinary tea monk comes face to face with a robot checking in with humanity. Together, they’ll try to answer the deceptively simple question, “What do people need?”
A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows (M/M Fantasy) – July 26
Velasin is expected to make a political marriage, but this planned union is upended when he is outed as being attracted to men. In his kingdom, relationships between men are forbidden — which is why it comes as a shock when the kingdom of Tithena offers the elegant solution of having his marry his fiancee’s brother Caethari instead. Problem solved. Now, Velasin and Caethari have to find a way to trust each other, especially as they face a threat willing to kill to prevent this political union from happening.
Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min (M/M, Trans Guy Love Interest YA Contemporary) – July 26
Would you believe this is the second of three queer marching band YA books out this year? It’s true! Check out Forward March by Skye Quinlan (F/F and asexual) and It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano (questioning main character, ace/aro secondary character — out August 2nd) to complete the trifecta. In Beating Heart Baby, two musical rivals in marching band form a friendship and then relationship that is threatened when they are pitted against each other for a solo part.
Dauntless by Elisa A. Bonnin (Sapphic YA Fantasy) 19
This is a Filipino-inspired YA fantasy novel where beasts roam the forests, attacking the People whenever they get a chance. Seri is an apprentice to the group of hunters who keep the beasts at bay. When Tsana walks into her life, though, Seri begins to question everything she thought she knew about her world. Tsana claims to come from a group who can communicate with beasts. The divide between their communities threatens to break into war, and it’s up to the two of them to find a way to prevent it.
The Witchery by S. Isabelle (Sapphic YA Fantasy) – July 26
Logan has just entered Mesmortes Coven Academy and is struggling to control her powers. Luckily, she has help: she’s been taken in by three of the most powerful witches at the school. They’ll need every bit of power they can get to prepare for the Haunting Season, when the Wolves emerge from the swamp to kill witches and humans. But the peace between humans and witches is shaky, and now students keep dying mysteriously. This one has multiple queer Black point of view characters!
Youngblood by Sasha Laurens (Lesbian YA Fantasy) – July 19
Yes, we have sapphic witches and sapphic vampire YA novels out this month. What a gift. Kat and Taylor are both going to Harcote, an elite (secret) vampire boarding school, but they there from different places. While Kat grew up poor in the human world, Taylor is used to wealthy vampire society. Now, they’re roommates, and they have both stumbled on a secret about the synthetic blood vampires rely on that could turn Harcote and vampire society upside down.
The Last Session Vol. 1: Roll for Initiative by Jasmine Walls and Dozerdraws (Queer, Nonbinary Fantasy Graphic Novel) – July 19
If you’re a TTRPG fan, you’ve got to pick this one up. It follows a group of friends who are graduating college and trying to wrap up their long-running Dice & Deathtraps game before they part ways. But that’s made complicated when one of them brings their partner, who joins the game as a new player in this very last session. These friends all met at a GSA group, so there are lots of queer characters! We see both the “real world” people as well as the world of the characters.
Taproot by Keezy Young (M/M YA Fantasy Graphic Novel) (Reissue) – July 5
Finally, this is a reissue of a graphic novel that first came out several years ago. Taproot is a love story between a ghost and a gardener. Hamal has the ability to talk to ghosts, and Blue is grateful for the company and even begins to hopelessly fall for him — until he begins to suspect that Hamal’s ability might be putting him in danger.