Do you love buzzy new queer books? Then this list is for you! I’ve collected a dozen of the best new LGBTQ books released in the past few months, as well as the books you should look out for through the end of the year. From romance to fantasy to memoir and so much more, make sure you don’t miss these books just because you’ve already put your pride flag back in storage.
As a lover of books and gay stuff, I’ve been thrilled to watch the slow and steady increase in queer literature over the years. Traditional publishing hasn’t always opened their arms to queer narratives, and when they did, it was often only for the most privileged or mainstream voices.
But as we see more and more shades of the queer book rainbow, I’ve started to notice an interesting trend. The biggest queer titles of the year seem to all come out in June. This became more evident in 2021, when many of my most anticipated titles for the year dropped all at once on June 1. I was scrambling to read and shout about books like With Teeth by Kristen Arnett, Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia, The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo, Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C. Ford, One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston, and Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé all at once. And then the amazing reads kept coming, with books like Dear Senthuran by Akwaeke Emezi, Hola Papi by John Paul Brammer, and Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor right behind. How’s one little reviewer to keep up with all the amazing queer books?
I totally get why publishers choose June to release their most anticipated queer titles. Pride month is my favorite holiday (besides Halloween, which everyone knows is Gay Christmas). With rainbows painting the town and LGBTQ voices raised in celebration, it’s a great time to drop books that pride goers might enjoy. But as I said this year when I skipped pride celebrations for the second year in a row due to concerns about the pandemic, I’m gay all year. Why just keep it to one month?
That’s why I made this list: to spread a little love for new LGBTQ books and authors throughout the year. There are some fabulous queer books that hit shelves after June, and many more still to come before the end of 2021. The first half of this list features recent titles published from July through early September. The second half highlights upcoming titles you can preorder now and enjoy later. (And remember — one of the best ways to support authors is by preordering!)
New LGBTQ Books Out Now
All Are Welcome by Liz Parker
Caroline wants a laidback wedding, and her fiancé Tiny isn’t really sure what kind of wedding she wants. But their parents have lots of big plans for the destination wedding in Bermuda. As guests arrive with their own drama in tow, the wedding event spirals out of Tiny and Caroline’s control. This gossipy read is laugh-out-loud funny, full of surprising twists, and has characters readers will love (and love to hate).
Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So
These absurdist, gritty, and ennui-filled short stories follow Cambodian immigrants in California and their first generation Cambodian American children. Each character grapples with generational trauma of the Khmer Rouge genocide in their own way, and must also navigate through family conflict, racism, and complicated relationships. But while each story is touched by shared trauma, they’re also expansive in scope and darkly hilarious. Anthony Veasno So passed away tragically before his debut story collection was released. Afterparties is a testament to his incredible talent and a book you absolutely don’t want to miss.
The King of Infinite Space by Lyndsay Faye
This queer Hamlet retelling brings fresh life to classic characters, set in modern New York City. Ben Dane is a neuroatypical physicist reeling from the sudden loss of his Broadway theatre baron father, followed quickly by the ill-advised marriage of Ben’s mother and uncle. He hasn’t talked to his best friend, Horatio Patel, since their platonic relationship turned into something more. But loyal to a fault Horatio jumps on a plane to New York, where a stranger foretells impending doom. Meanwhile, Ben’s former fiancé Lia meets three mysterious florists from New Orleans whose flower arrangements are more than they seem. The King of Infinite Space packs all the drama of a Shakespearean play with delightful new twists.
We Are Not Broken by George M. Johnson
This new memoir from the author of All Boys Aren’t Blue is a touching story of Black boyhood and brotherhood. Johnson focuses this memoir on their relationship to Nanny, the grandmother who raised them alongside three other boys in their family, Garrett, Rall, and Rasul. Tucked between family stories are sweet letters from the children to their grandmother. Written with vulnerability, honesty, and much love, We Are Not Broken is a love letter to Black boys, and to the matriarchs who raise them.
The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
Dev fully believes in fairytale romances — even if they require a little scripting and engineering, like on the reality dating show he produces, Ever After. But his latest star bachelor, tech mogul Charlie, is a unique challenge thanks to his social anxiety and disbelief in true love. As Dev tries to help Charlie charm the other contestants, Charlie realizes that Dev is the person he connects with most. With endearing characters, reality TV drama, and authentic conversations about mental health, you’re sure to fall in love with The Charm Offensive.
New LGBTQ Books to Preorder
The Insiders by Mark Oshiro (September 21, HarperCollins)
Mark Oshiro’s middle grade debut novel is full of hope, heart, and magic. Héctor Muñoz is struggling to adjust to his new town and school, where being gay makes him feel like an outsider. He spends most school days hiding in the janitor’s closet — until one day the closet changes before his eyes, transporting him to a magical space where he can meet other kids struggling with the same feelings of loneliness across the country. With his hidden portal, Héctor and his friends can find community — and new ways to help each other survive middle school.
The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine (September 21, Grove Press)
Mina Simpson is a successful surgeon and an out trans woman and lesbian. She’s also alienated from her family and has avoided her home country of Lebanon for decades. But when she gets a desperate call from a friend at an NGO in Lesbos, Greece, Mina leaves her job, home, and wife behind to treat Syrian refugees. Although the journey takes her closer to her home country than she prefers, Mina hopes to make a difference during a humanitarian crisis — and she may walk away changed as well.
The Balance Tips by Joy Huang-Iris (October 5, Interlude Press)
Fay Wu-Goodson is used to examining life from the outside, thanks to her videography work documenting the identity journey of New Yorkers. But when Fay’s Taiwanese father passes away and sets off a string of family conflicts, she must examine how her own identity as a queer, multiracial twentysomething has shaped her life and her relationships. It’s a fascinating and nuanced exploration of the experiences of Taiwanese American women, and how their lives are shaped by Confucian patriarchy.
My Name’s Yours, What’s Alaska?: A Memoir by Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 (November 9, Chronicle Books)
Drag superstar Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 is a familiar face to fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race. In this photographic memoir, we get a hilarious and brutally honest look at Alaska’s life pre- and post-Drag Race fame. Alaska doesn’t hold back, even from some of the most unflattering parts of her life. From her small town childhood to experimenting with form in drag to her messy public breakup, this memoir shares the story behind the drag queen with Alaska’s signature humor. The beautiful images included will keep you coming back for more.
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee (November 16, Katherine Tegen Books)
The third book in the Montague Siblings series is coming to a bookstore near you this fall! Adrian Montague is an emerging political writer and activist, and the sole heir to his father’s sizable estate. But he’s also battling debilitating anxiety, much like his mother, who recently passed away unexpectedly. When a keepsake of his mother’s leads Adrian to discover an older brother he never knew he had, he goes on a mission to find more family secrets. This journey across the seas and through ghosts of Montague family past is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Tell Me How to Be by Neel Patel (December 7, Flatiron Books)
A year after her husband passed away, Renu Amin is still grappling with what happens now. She tells her son Akash, an aspiring songwriter in Los Angeles, that she plans to sell the family home, and he returns to say goodbye, hoping it will bring closure from his past heartbreaks and allow him to finally commit to his boyfriend. Packing up the house reveals a long history of secrets between Renu and Akash — and even some new secrets. It’s a funny and moving story about forgiveness and learning to move forward.
Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (December 28, Quill Tree Books)
This upcoming book by beloved YA authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera is a sequel to their first collaboration, What If It’s Us. Ben spent much of his first year of college with his writing partner, Spanish tutor, and kissmate Mario. But now his ex-boyfriend Arthur is back in town for a dream internship on Broadway, and even though he has his own boyfriend back home, Ben and Arthur have to wonder if their feelings for each other ever stopped. As much as they try to focus on their own futures, the universe seems to be pushing them together.
I hope you enjoyed this list of new LGBTQ books to help you celebrate pride all year long! Looking for more queer books? You might enjoy: