In celebration of Pride Month I’ll be sharing 30 books with some awesome queer representation. Will these 30 books be representative of all the varied, amazing works by queer authors? Not at all. These recommendations are personal and are heavily influenced by the genres I love and the types of characters I tend to connect with. All books on these lists are ones that I’m reading, that I’ve loved, and that I’m excited to share with you. In this series of recommendations, it is safe to assume that all books listed are Own Voices unless otherwise noted. Instead of inundating your inboxes with a post every day, these recommendations will be coming out every Saturday in June, with a theme tying each list of books together.
LGBTQ+ Books ‘Coming Out’ Soon
This has been an awesome year for queer fiction and it’s only looking better through the rest of this year into 2020! Here are just a few of my most anticipated upcoming releases from some amazing queer authors, in order of pub. date. See also: last week’s post, in which in I slipped in two upcoming releases that I really enjoyed.
22. To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of galaxy transform themselves. At the turn of the twenty-second century, scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations. They can produce antifreeze in sub-zero temperatures, absorb radiation and convert it for food, and conveniently adjust to the pull of different gravitational forces. With the fragility of the body no longer a limiting factor, human beings are at last able to explore neighbouring exoplanets long suspected to harbour life. Ariadne is one such explorer…Faced with the possibility of returning to a planet that has forgotten those who have left, Ariadne begins to chronicle the wonders and dangers of her journey, in the hope that someone back home might still be listening.
I can’t even pinpoint exactly what has my dying to read Chambers’s forthcoming novella but, simply put, these has a lot of my favorite space sci-fi tropes rolled into one story (from a powerhouse of an author, no less).
Science Fiction| September 3, 2019| Goodreads
23. A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker
In the Before, when the government didn’t prohibit large public gatherings, Luce Cannon was on top of the world. One of her songs had just taken off and she was on her way to becoming a star. Now, in the After, terror attacks and deadly viruses have led the government to ban concerts, and Luce’s connection to the world–her music, her purpose–is closed off forever. She does what she has to do: she performs in illegal concerts to a small but passionate community, always evading the law. Rosemary Laws barely remembers the Before times. She spends her days in Hoodspace, helping customers order all of their goods online for drone delivery–no physical contact with humans needed. By lucky chance, she finds a new job and a new calling: discover amazing musicians and bring their concerts to everyone via virtual reality. The only catch is that she’ll have to do something she’s never done before and go out in public. Find the illegal concerts and bring musicians into the limelight they deserve. But when she sees how the world could actually be, that won’t be enough.
I tried to get my hands of an ARC of this in every way I could I think, but to no avail. A Song for a New Day is a combination of several things Sarah Pinsker excels at: speculative fiction, queer stories with great depth (see Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea) and music (see her career as a prolific indie singer).
Science Fiction| September 3, 2019| Goodreads
24. The Future of Another Timeline
In a modern-day United States that’s just a step away from our own, time travel is possible. But a secret war is brewing over access to history. Tess is a geologist desperately trying to change the past. Beth is a teenage riot grrl who has witnessed a murder that will forever shape her future. Across the timeline, a group of men are trying to destroy time travel. If they succeed, only a small elite will have the power to shape the past, present, and future. A final confrontation is coming. Our only hope lies with an unlikely group of allies, their lives separated by centuries, battling for a world where anyone can change the future.
Tess is a geologist, I’m a geologist, need I say more? Early reviews suggest that this book is just as gorgeous as that phenomenal cover. As someone that’s definitely on a time travel kick right now, this book seems like the perfect fix.
Science Fiction| September 24, 2019 | Goodreads
25. The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Aster, the protector. Violet, the favorite. Tansy, the medic. Mallow, the fighter. Clementine, the catalyst. The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen. When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe. It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
I was lucky enough to read a preview of this book recently, and it is good. And yes, since you asked, I definitely have a crush on Aster, pictured on the cover. Ever since American Hippo I’ve been dying for more stories about queer people in wild-west settings. This action-adventure tale featuring supernatural elements and found family seems like the most promising story since.
Young Adult, Fantasy| October 1, 2019 | Goodreads
26. Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry
In her debut novel, award-winning poet Brynne Rebele-Henry re-imagines the Orpheus myth as a love story between two teenage girls who are sent to conversion therapy after being caught together in an intimate moment. Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya—obsessed with ancient myths—lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors, and to return to the world of the living with her love—only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors’ other teen residents are subjected to abusive “treatments” by the staff.
I’m so ready for this book to smash my heart into a million pieces. Queer retellings are and always will be my kryptonite, folks.
Contemporary, Retelling| October 8, 2019 | Goodreads
27. Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda. The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.
As it stands, this is probably the 2020 release I’m most excited about. American Hippo more than proved that Sarah Gailey can write westerns like nobody else. This time, instead of hippo cowboys we get queer librarian spies! I’m already in love with this novella.
Science Fiction| February 4, 2020 | Goodreads
28. Docile by K. M. Szpara
There is no consent under capitalism. Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future. Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.
Uh I don’t know about you but that tagline gave me instant chills the first time I read it. This is has been described as phenomenal from everyone I’ve talked to that’s read early copies and I couldn’t be more excited.
Science Fiction| March 3, 2020 | Goodreads
Other Great Pride Posts!
I’m so floored by all the amazing content being put out by other reviewers this month, how could I not share? These are of course, just a small selection of the great posts that are all over my feed, but I haven’t been able to sit down and really read so I’ve only got a couple to share this week.
- Pride Flag Book Tag by Amanda @ A Court of Books and Love
- F/F Sapphic Book Recommendations by Cranky Autistic
- Aku: The Very First Malay Novel I Read With LGBT+ Theme by Jessica @ Endless Chapters
If you’re reviewing queer books, sharing recommendations for Pride, hosting reading challenges or anything else, leave a link in the comments or send me a message so I can include it in these posts!