24 Must-Read LGBTQ Books Out in March
I have a running list of upcoming LGBTQ books, which I cover at both the Lesbrary and the Our Queerest Shelves newsletter, and it’s truly gotten out of hand. I can only record the books that I’ve heard have queer content, so I always miss some, but even with the missing titles, it’s a substantial list every week.
In fact, it took a lot of careful contemplation to narrow this down to only these releases: believe me, this is far from a comprehensive list. Instead, it’s a selection of both YA and adult releases, selected on my own personal criteria that is absolutely not an objective assessment. (Which is all to say that if I missed your book, I’m sorry!)
This month has a wealth of riches, including an F/F asexual marching band YA romance, the newest from the author of My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, a M/M YA pirate adventure, and more. If you want to keep up with all the queer book releases (or as many as I can contain in an email), sign up for Our Queerest Shelves!
Adult LGBTQ New Releases
The One True Me and You by Remi K. England (Queer Romance)
Kaylee has a long list of things to accomplish at GreatCon, including 1) trying out they/them pronouns, 2) cosplaying masculine characters, and 3) kissing a girl.
Teagan might just be able to help Kay with that last part. She’s a pageant queen competing for a scholarship and is staying in the same hotel. She’s rather be sneaking off to GenCon, though, and when Teagan and Kay bump into each other, they immediately hit it off.
This is a celebration of fandom and conventions, as well as a joyful queer romp!
Last Exit by Max Gladstone (F/F Fantasy) (March 8)
You might remember Max Gladstone’s name as the co-author of the beloved sapphic sci fi novel This Is How You Lose the Time War, and now he’s back with a new sapphic SFF title. A SFFic book, if you will. Zelda, her girlfriend Sal, and their friends used to go on epic adventures, until Sal got lost in another reality. Ten years later, they’ve all moved on, except for Zelda — until she gets proof that Sal is still alive, and gets the band back together to rescue her (and fight back the rot that threatens to devour all the realities).
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (Lesbian Fantasy) (March 29)
I’m tempted to just pitch this to you with sentence fragments: The Great Gatsby, but with sapphic witches. Gothic. Pining. Blood curses. This is an atmospheric fantasy story about a woman who finds herself pulled into the glamorous and dangerous world of Crow Island — she just travelled there to settle her father’s estate, but the neighbor is tempting, and soon she’s in over her head in a world of dark magic that could destroy them all.
The City of Dusk (The Dark Gods #1) by Tara Sim (Queer Fantasy) (March 22)
Buckle up for a truly epic fantasy novel. There are seven point of view characters, four heirs to four gods, and one city at the center. The once thriving city is dying, abandoned by the gods, and the heirs step in to try to save it — and all the realms. But that means going against their gods’ wishes. Expect intricate worldbuilding, a complex magic system, and, of course, a cast of queer characters.
The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (Asexual Sci-Fi) (March 8)
This was pitched to me as “found-family, queer space fantasy by way of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet meets Cirque du Soleil.” This is the same publisher who also pitched a book as “lesbian gunslingers in space,” so Angry Robot really has a handle on marketing to me, specifically. This is set at a circus on the moon, with an asexual mixed-species main character who is on the run from people who would want to perform experiments on him — and there’s a bounty on his head. This one promises to be gritty, even verging on horror, but with a core of found family and queer community.
Flung Out of Space: Inspired by the Indecent Adventures of Patricia Highsmith by Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer (Lesbian Graphic Nonfiction) (March 15)
I’ve been excited about Surely Books, the LGBTQ graphic novel imprint curated by Mariko Tamaki, ever since it was first announced. This title is an exploration of the complex lesbian literary legacy of Patricia Highsmith, author of a classic of queer literature — The Price of Salt, AKA Carol — while also being notorious for her antisemitism, among other problematic stances. This book promises to dive into the whole complicated mess of the story of Highsmith’s writing of The Price of Salt, including the relationship that inspired it, without trying to gloss over any of it.
Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese-American by Laura Gao (Sapphic Graphic Memoir) (March 8)
This is a coming of age story that start’s with Gao’s emigration from Wuhan, China to her upbringing in Texas — and how being a Wuhanese American dramatically shifted as COVID-19 made Wuhan a household name. It alternates between past (growing up crushing on girls and trying to make the basketball team) to the present (dealing with both a pandemic and an increase in anti-Asian racism).
My Wandering Warrior Existence by Nagata Kabi (Lesbian Manga Memoir) (March 15)
This is the latest manga memoir from the author of My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness. Her previous books have tackled mental health, alcoholism, struggling with her sexuality, and more. This one is focused on trying to find a relationship, and that’s about all the information the publisher has given — which is fair, because they really just needed to say “a new Nagata Kabi manga memoir” to sell most readers on it.
Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place by Neema Avashia (Queer Memoir)
While there has been a boom in queer book publishing, particularly in mainstream publishing, there are still some gaps. One is that there are still disproportionately fewer authors of color getting publishing contracts for their queer books, which is frustrating. That’s why stories like this are so needed. Another Appalachia explores what it’s like to grow up Indian and queer in an environment often assumed to be all white and conservative. This story complicates that narrative.
Burning My Roti: Breaking Barriers as a Queer Indian Woman by Sharan Dhaliwal (Queer Memoir) (March 29)
Yes, while there have not been a lot of queer Indian American memoirs published, there are two out this month! This is equal parts Dhaliwal’s own experiences as well as advice for other South Asian women. She discusses stifling beauty standards, body hair, colorism, mental health, her intersecting identities, and more, sharing what she’s learned in order to help guide the next generation.
Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz (Lesbian Essays) (March 8)
This is one of the most anticipated queer releases of the year, and claims to be a perfect read-alike for Samantha Irby fans. It’s a collection of essays about queerness and pop culture, and how those intersect in Gutowitz’s life. It follows her from the ’90s to the present, and will have particular resonance for queer millennial readers (that’s me!)
Young Adult LGBTQ New Releases
Every Variable of Us by Charles A. Bush (Bisexual YA Contemporary)
Alexis Duncan has a way out of her impoverished neighborhood. She’s going to use her basketball skills to secure a scholarship and then go pro. But before she can even get started, she’s injured in a gang shooting, and all of her plans are shattered. Then she meets the new girl, Aamani Chakrabarti, who offers her hope that she has a future (and value) outside of sports. As they get closer, though, Lex realizes that she might be feeling something other than friendship for Aamani, and that’s a whole other identity crisis to handle.
Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram (Gay YA Contemporary) (March 22)
This is the age of the queer boy band YA novel! Let us rejoice! (In case you missed it, the 2021 book in this sub-genre was If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich.) Hunter is out, but his label controls his image to be the most palatable version of a gay boy band star possible. When he has a messy, public breakup with his first boyfriend, that doesn’t match the queer role model he’s expected to be. Then, he begins to fall for Kaivan, who’s part of the band opening for Kiss & Tell on tour, and that’s definitely not allowed.
Live, Laugh, Kidnap by Gabby Noone (Sapphic YA Contemporary) (March 29)
I was sold from the title alone, so it’s really just the cherry on top that this has a sapphic point of view character. Hope Harvest Ministries runs the town of Violet, Montana. For Zoe, it’s holding her hostage. Despite countless unglamorous shifts at the diner to save enough money for her and her girlfriend to start a new life, that money has shrunk away to nothing. Instead, it goes to debt collectors, because Zoe’s mother was pulled into the church’s multi-level marketing scheme. Now Zoe and two other teenage girls with their own vendettas against Hope Harvest Ministries have banded together to scam the scammers — and it just requires a little bit of blackmail and just a dash of kidnapping their golden boy son. What could go wrong?
Loveless by Alice Oseman (Asexual/Aromantic Girl YA Contemporary) (U.S. Release)
This is the American release for this title, and it’s been the victim of the pandemic publication date shuffle, but it’s finally come out! Loveless follows Georgia, who’s just starting university with her friends Pip and Jason. She’s confused about her identity, and is pushing back against the idea of being asexual and aromantic, even as it becomes increasingly obvious that these are labels that make sense for her. In order to convince herself that she not aro, she starts dating Jason — which quickly gets messy, because Jason has real feelings for her. This also has a F/F romance between two side characters, Pip and Georgia’s roommate Rooney. Georgia is going through a lot of internalized hatred of being ace and aro, so do be prepared for that going in.
Forward March by Skye Quinlan (F/F Asexual YA Contemporary) (March 22)
I feel like I shouldn’t have to say more than “queer marching band YA,” but I’ll try. Harper’s dad is running for President (as a Republican), and she just wants to be as under the radar as possible until it’s over. Instead, someone makes a fake gay dating app profile as her, which is awkward on several levels, including that she’s not sure if she likes girls. When she finds out that the girl who matched with her, Margot, is also part of the marching band, she begins to fall for her — and has to decide whether to come out or not, knowing her parents won’t approve. This has an asexual lesbian main character.
Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters (M/M YA Contemporary) (March 15)
Is it too early to choose a cover of the year? Because I nominate this one. Isaac was supposed to spend the summer with his best friend Diego, including going to a con together. But then he got distracted with a crush, Davi, and missed the chance for tickets, so it’s not the epic summer before college they had planned. Still, as Davi and Isaac get closer, the summer is turning out well — until Diego finds out why Isaac flaked on the tickets, and there may be other reasons he resents Isaac’s time with Davi. This is part romance, part coming-of-age story.
Survive the Dome by Kosoko Jackson (M/M YA Dystopia) (March 29)
Jamal travelled into Baltimore to document the protests against police brutality, after a Black man is murdered by police. But the aspiring journalist finds himself trapped: the city has a new security feature for the protests, and it’s the Dome. It has sealed the city, letting no one in or out. Jamal finds some allies in Marco, a hacker, and Catherine, who has gone AWOL from basic training. Together, they’re trying to survive the lockdown — and maybe even confront the corruption inside the police department. This has a gay main character and an M/M relationship.
So This Is Ever After by F.T. Lukens (M/M YA Fantasy) (March 29)
We’re getting so many gorgeous illustrated covers this month! This is being pitched as “Carry On meets Arthurian legend.” Arek didn’t mean to be king. He was just fulfilling his destiny to kill the Kingdom of Ere’s evil ruler, and now he’s stuck on the throne. Worse: if he doesn’t get married by 18, he’ll wither away to nothing. So that’s a bummer. He’s only told his best friend and the mage of their group, Matt, about this inconvenience, and now Arek is clumsily trying to woo his other party members. It’s not going well. But true love might be closer than he thought.
Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore (Nonbinary YA Fantasy) (March 8)
This is the highly anticipated newest release from Anna-Marie McLemore, whose queer and nonbinary magical realist YA has gathered a passionate following. Lakelore is about two nonbinary teens who are the only ones above land who have ever gone under the lake to the otherworldly realm below. That world is rising to the surface, though, and Bastián and Lore will have to (reluctantly) work together to keep it from appearing, or else both their secrets will come to light.
From Dust, a Flame by Rebecca Podos (Sapphic YA Fantasy) (March 8)
When Hannah wakes up on her 17th birthday, she is changed. She has golden, cat-like eyes, and other mutations follow. Her mother has kept their family on the road their whole lives, without ever telling them why, and now she’s left her and her brother Gabe, with the promise that she can find a cure. When she doesn’t return for weeks, Hannah and Gabe begin to look for their own answers, finding a hidden family with connections to Jewish mysticism that stretch back to Prague under the Nazi occupation. Now she has to uncover all of their secrets to break the curse. This has a sapphic main character and an F/F relationship.
Children’s LGBTQ New Releases
Drew Leclair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury (Queer Middle Grade)
I’m always so excited when a new queer middle grade book comes out, because it’s only been in the last handful of years that they’ve been around! This one is a new take on Harriet the Spy, so it only makes sense that it has a queer main character. Drew is on the trail of a cyberbully who is exposing classmates’ secrets — it’s certainly motivating that she has her own secret to hide, about her mother running off with the school guidance counsellor. As she begins to profile her classmates, though, she soon realizes that she might have to choose between cracking the case and keeping her friends.
Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle by Nina LaCour and Kaylani Juanita (Two Moms Picture Book) (March 29)
How adorable is that cover? This is about a little girl who is missing her Mommy, who had to go on a work trip. It follows her and her Mama at the library, visiting a garden, and talking to Mommy on the phone — but she still misses her “as deep as the ocean.” This is a great book to read with kids who have to be away from a parent sometimes.
Looking for more queer books? Check out our other LGBTQ books posts, and sign up for Our Queerest Shelves for weekly LGBTQ new releases and other queer bookishness.