19 Must-Read Queer Books Out in May

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Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

This is far, far from a complete list of queer books out this month: in fact, it was very difficult to narrow this down. And I expect there will be even more abundance in June, to coincide with Pride month! Of course, many of us read LGBTQ books all year round, and this month has some great options in a wide range of genres. Do you want a sapphic dragon book? A bisexual pie maker who doles out revenge against misogynists with sweet treats? A queer Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

I haven’t even mentioned all of the amazing authors of queer books you already love who have new books out this month, like Nina LaCour’s first adult fiction book, Akwaeke Emezi’s foray into romance, and Casey McQuiston’s YA debut.

So get ready to fall for some bisexual disasters, nonbinary chefs, and sapphic witches. And what better way to ring in Pride month than with a picture book called ‘Twas the Night Before Pride?

If you want even more LGBTQ new releases, be sure to sign up for Book Riot’s Our Queerest Shelves newsletter, where we showcase queer new releases every week, as well as recommending LGBTQ backlist titles you can’t miss. But now, let’s get into the new queer books out this month you need to read!

Adult LGBTQ New Releases

the cover of Yerba Buena

Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (Sapphic Fiction) – May 31

Nina LaCour has a big fanbase for her YA books, including We Are Okay and Everything Leads To You. This is her adult debut, and I’ve only just started it reading it, but it’s already an absorbing, wistful read with beautiful writing. It’s a love story between two damaged women who aren’t sure whether they can overcome their pasts to be together.

the cover of Magic Lies and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp (Bisexual Cozy Mystery) – May 10

I can’t describe this better than the first line of the back cover: “The first time Daisy Ellery killed a man with a pie, it was an accident. Now, it’s her calling.” Daisy revenge business slash pie shop, Pies Before Guys, delivers sweet treats and revenge against men who’ve wronged women in town, but now she’s being blackmailed, and she has to find out who’s doing it before her secret is exposed. This one has a bisexual main character.

Cover of Chef's Kiss by TJ Alexander.

Chef’s Kiss by TJ Alexander (F/NB Romance) – May 3

Simone has her dream job working at a cookbook publisher, developing recipes — until she hears the words all online content writers fear: “We’re pivoting to video.” Now she’s stuck having to be on camera, and worse, she has a new overly chipper kitchen manager, Ray, who’s determined to break through her grumpy exterior. When Ray comes out as nonbinary, though, not everyone handles it well. If you followed the rise and fall of Bon Appetit video, this should be on your TBR.

Cover of You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi.

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Queer M/F Romance) – May 24

Awkaeke Emezi has written a broad range of acclaimed queer books in different genres and age categories, including the middle grade novel Pet and the literary fiction title The Death of Vivek Oji. Now they’re diving into romance. Feyi’s partner died five years ago, and now she’s tiptoeing back into the dating world. But just when she finds the perfect guy, she starts to fall…for his father.

Cover of A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall (Trans Woman Historical Romance) – May 24

This premise is hard to resist. Viola was presumed dead at Waterloo, and she used the opportunity to become the person she’s always known herself to be. Years later, she reunites with her old best friend, Justin, who’s still mourning the death of his friend. As they start to fall for each other, Viola’s life just got even more complicated.

the cover When Women Were Dragons

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill (Lesbian Fantasy) – May 3

In 1955 was the Mass Dragoning, during which many women (trans and cis) transformed into dragons, including Alex’s aunt. But Alex’s mother took in her sister’s daughter and raised her as her own — in fact, no one mentions the dragons; it’s unseemly. This is a story about misogyny and women’s rage, and the main character is a lesbian.

the cover of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (Sapphic Fantasy) – May 31

As girls, Helena, Leonie, Niamh and Elle vowed to join Her Majesty’s Royal Coven: a secret society of witches started by Queen Elizabeth I. As adults, though, the witch community has been scattered, and they all have different ideas of what their roles should be, especially as witches are being captured. This story is an exploration of gender and a commentary on the UK’s entrenched transphobia.

Cover image of Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Siren Queen by Nghi Vo (Sapphic Fantasy) – May 10

I absolutely adored Vo’s dreamy and compelling Gatsby retelling, The Chosen and the Beautiful, so I can’t wait for this one. Luli is a queer Chinese American girl trying to break into Hollywood during its golden age, and she’s willing to do anything — which is good, because it turns out that Hollywood is run on blood bargains and sacrifices. Becoming a star might mean becoming a monster.

YA and Children’s LGBTQ New Releases

only on the weekends book cover

Only On the Weekends by Dean Atta (M/M YA Contemporary) – May 24

This is from the author of The Black Flamingo, which won the Stonewall Award. Atta’s newest follows Mack, who finds himself in a love triangle when he and his father move from the U.S. to Scotland. He’s has a crush on Karim for a long time, but he can be hard to read, and long distance only makes that worse. Meanwhile, he meets Finlay in Scotland and is swept off his feet. What now?

melt with you book cover

Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan (F/F YA Contemporary) – May 17

This is an ice cream truck road trip F/F romance!! It’s from the author of Hot Dog Girl, a sapphic YA romance I really enjoyed, so I’m confident this will be as amazing as it sounds. Fallon and Chloe were best friends. Then they hooked up one night, and nothing’s been the same since. After a series of misunderstandings, they don’t speak to each other anymore. But their moms own an ice cream truck together, and now they’re expected to work a series of festivals across the country together.

Cover Image of Café con Lychee by Emery Lee.

Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee (M/M YA Contemporary) – May 10

Meet Cute Diary was a fantastic trans M/M YA novel, so sign me up for Lee’s second book. This one follows Theo and Gabriel, whose parents run rival companies: an Asian American café and a Puerto Rican bakery. But then a new fusion café threatens to put both spots under, and the two of them join forces to try to fend it off.

Cover of Flip the Script by Lyla Lee

Flip the Script by Lyla Lee (Bisexual F/F YA Romance) – May 31

There are so many books out today by beloved authors of queer YA! You might remember Lyla Lee from her fat bisexual K-Pop book I’ll Be the One. This one is set in the world of K-dramas, where Hana has signed up for a contract romance with her on-screen boyfriend, Bryan. But when Bryan’s character gets another love interest, Hana finds herself falling for the competition. Oops.

the cover of I Kissed Shara Wheeler

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (F/F YA Contemporary) – May 3

Speaking of books by superstar authors of queer YA, the author of Red, White, and Royal Blue and One Last Stop is making their YA debut! Chloe’s competition with Shara for valedictorian gets interesting when Shara 1) kisses her, 2) disappears, and 3) leaves a series of cryptic clues for where to find her. Together with the two boys Shara also kissed that night, Chloe is determined to find her, and delighted when the letters prove Chloe wasn’t the golden girl everyone thought she was. This is a book about growing up queer in a conservative Christian town, and it’s also a romance between two ridiculous, stubborn, clueless academic rivals.

book cover of Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda (Bisexual YA Contemporary) – May 24

Look, I’m sold on this just from the title. Maggie needs a date for her sister’s quinceañera, and she’s torn between the ex-boyfriend she can’t seem to quit, her first crush, and the new girl in town. Things are about to get very messy, and Maggie has to confront that being true to herself might mean uncomfortable conversations and making some big changes.

Cover Image of The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (Lesbian YA Contemporary) – May 17

Speaking of great titles, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one ever since I saw the author’s description of this book in the form of a Reddit post: “I (16F) got sent to a Catholic school with my brother (15M) after getting outed at my old school. I’m not out at the new school, but there’s this openly queer girl (16F) there who makes my gay heart do happy little flips. How do I date her without letting her know I’m gay?”

the cover of Kings of B’More

Kings of B’More by R. Eric Thomas (Queer YA Contemporary) – May 31

Harrison and Linus have one last summer together before college — at least, that was the plan. But then Linus drops the bomb that his family is moving at the end of the week. Inspired by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Harrison is determined to fit a summer’s worth of experiences into a day together, including a Pride parade, a mini road trip, and a rooftop dance party.

Cover of Burn Down Rise Up by Vincent Tirado

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (Sapphic YA Horror) – May 3

When people from the Bronx start going missing and her mom goes into a coma after coming in contact with someone covered in a strange mold, Raquel is drawn into the Echo: a nightmare version of the 1970s Bronx Burning. Now she has to save her mom, her friends, and her crush Charlize, without getting trapped in this world of monsters, mold, zombie-like victims, and unending flames.

the cover of Here and Queer

Here and Queer: A Queer Girl’s Guide to Life by Rowan Ellis (Sapphic YA Nonfiction) – May 24

Rowan Ellis is known for her YouTube channel, where she discusses LGBTQ+ pop culture and history. In Here and Queer, she’s put together a guide to the basics of being a queer teenage girl. I had to learn this through Tumblr posts and other questionable means, but now queer girls have an accessible jumping off point to the questions they have, including about community, relationships, facing prejudice, and more.

Twas the Night Before Pride cover

‘Twas the Night Before Pride by Joanna McClintick and Juana Medina (Picture Book) – May 3

You guessed it: this is a picture book modeled after ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but looking forward to Pride! It offers a little bit of history, as well as colorful illustrations of what Pride parades look like today.

For more new queer books, check out the March and April LGBTQ new releases!