The Wishing Flower by A.J. Irving (text) and Kip Alizadeh (art)
Birdie finds comfort in nature and books, but more than anything she longs for connection, to be understood. At school, Birdie feels like an outsider. Quiet and shy, she prefers to read by herself, rather than jump rope or swing with the other kids. That all changes when Sunny, the new girl, comes along. Like Birdie, Sunny has a nature name. She also likes to read, and loves to rescue bugs. And when Sunny smiles at her, Birdie’s heart balloons like a parachute.
The Song of Us by Kate Fussner
Love at first sight isn’t a myth. For seventh graders Olivia and Eden, it’s fate. Olivia is a capital-P Poet, and Eden thinks she wants to be a musician one day, but for now she’s just the new girl. And then Eden shows up to Poetry Club and everything changes.
Eden isn’t out, and she has rules for dating Olivia: don’t call. Don’t tell her friends. And don’t let anyone know they’re together.
But when jealousy creeps in, it’s Olivia’s words that push Eden away. While Eden sets out to find herself, Olivia begins a journey to bring Eden back—using poetry. Both Olivia and Eden will learn just how powerful their words can be to bring them together . . . or tear them apart forever.
Skating on Mars by Caroline Huntoon
Life isn’t easy on twelve-year-old Mars. As if seventh grade isn’t hard enough, Mars is also grappling with the recent death of their father and a realization they never got to share with him: they’re nonbinary. But with their skates laced up and the ice under their feet, all of those struggles melt away. When Mars’ triple toe loop draws the attention of a high school hot shot, he dares them to skate as a boy so the two can compete head-to-head. Unable to back down from a challenge, Mars accepts. But as the competition draws near, the struggles of life off the rink start to complicate their performance in the rink, and Mars begins to second guess if there’s a place for them on the ice at all.
Sweet & Bitter Rivals by Jessica Burkhart
Abby St. Clair can’t wait to start another season with her elite riding team at her boarding school. She has something to prove after literally falling on her face during the biggest competition of the year the previous season. And she could really use a win after her mom left her family, her dad remarried, and Abby’s new stepsister, Emery, proved to be a strong rider and stiff competition.
Abby wants to return to some semblance of normal but is hiding a secret: she accidentally cost her biggest rival, Selly, a chance at team captain. Then Abby begins to receive anonymous messages, threatening to expose her unwitting sabotage and a video that makes it look like she’s trash-talking Emery. With an important competition on the horizon and the knowledge that someone in her circle knows way too much about her, the pressure is on.
Abby tries to put on blinders and have the perfect meet with her horse, Beau, but she’s about to find out the hard way that secrets don’t make friends at Saddlehill Academy.
Tegan and Sara: Junior High by Tegan and Sara Quin (text) and Tillie Walden (illustration)
When growing up gets messy, find someone to hold on to.
Before the indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara took the world by storm, Tegan and Sara Quin were identical twins trying to find their place in a new home and new school. Tegan and Sara: Junior High tells their story. From first crushes to the perils of puberty, surviving junior high is something the sisters plan to face side by side, just like they’ve always faced things. But growing up also means growing apart, as Tegan and Sara make different friends and take separate paths to understanding their queerness. For the first time ever, they ask who one sister is without the other.
Set in the present day, this inspiring, lightly fictionalized autobiography offers a glimpse at Tegan and Sara before they became icons, exploring their shifting sisterhood, their own experiences coming out, and the first steps of their musical journey.
Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko
It’s summertime and 17-year-old Coley has found herself alone, again. Forced to move to rural Oregon after just losing her mother, she is in no position to risk her already fragile heart. But when she meets Sonya, the attraction is immediate.
Coley worries she isn’t worthy of love. Up until now, everyone she’s loved has left her. And Sonya’s never been with a girl before. What if she’s too afraid to show up for Coley? What if by opening her heart, Coley’s risking it all?
They both realize that when things are pushed down, and feelings are forced to shrivel away, Coley and Sonya will be the ones to shrink. It’s not until they accept the love they fear and deserve most, that suddenly the song makes sense.
The Alchemy of Moonlight by David Ferraro
When Emile’s aunt declares he must marry or be disowned for being gay―he runs away to hide as a servant in Count Montoni’s mansion. In their service, Emile tends to the family who all suffer a strange affliction on the full moon. And after overhearing suspicious family arguments, he finds a body on the estate, drawing the attention of a handsome doctor as well as the count’s charismatic nephew, Henri.
Before Emile can sort out his affections or unravel the growing Montoni family mystery, his identity is revealed and his aunt comes to collect him.
When she arrives, Count Montoni forces everyone to depart to the remote Udolpho Castle―where there are no witnesses and no chance for escape. There, Emile realizes that he will have to risk his life to find the love he deserves―and survive the Montoni family.
The Girl Next Door by Cecilia Vinesse
Film club nerd Cleo Ferrara’s senior year was like a storyboard waiting to be filmed. She knew the scenes, the players, and the eventual happy ending. Attend film school with her boyfriend, Daniel Sheridan. Become a film-making power couple. Take Hollywood by storm. Cut. Print. Fade to black.?
But in a plot twist Cleo never saw coming, Daniel dumps her for Kiki Pearson, the head cheerleader. This would be the point in the movie where the Sad Girl Music plays while the protagonist looks longingly out her window, but when Cleo looks out hers, she sees Marianne Lacerda, her former best friend…and a new storyboard unfolds.
Marianne is also nursing a heartache. When Daniel was dumping Cleo for Kiki, Kiki was dumping Marianne for Daniel. So instead of watching their exes parade around school, Cleo and Marianne start fake dating each other to ignite a little chaos in this bizarre love square. But any movie buff knows that when you introduce fake dating in Act I, it’s going to get real by Act III. With friendship, the future, and love on the line, can Cleo script a happy ending for herself—or will she get her heart broken again?
No Perfect Places by Steven Salvatore
When their father went to prison last year for embezzlement, twins Alex and Olly Brucke lost everything: their house, their college funds, most of their friends, and even their mother, who’s so focused on making ends meet that she’s never around anymore. The only thing they can count on lately is each other.
But after their father dies unexpectedly in prison, the twins start to fracture. Alex is spiraling, skipping classes to spend all of her time drunk or high. And Olly is struggling with a secret his dad ordered him to keep: they have a secret half-brother named Tyler.
When Tyler shows up in their lakeside town for the summer, hoping to get to know his siblings, Olly hides the truth from Alex. But as Alex and Tyler start to form a friendship, the lies become harder to juggle. If they can’t confront their father’s past and fix their relationship, Olly and Alex each risk losing two siblings forever.
An Island Princess Starts a Scandal by Adriana Herrera
For Manuela del Carmen Caceres Galvan, the invitation to show her paintings at the 1889 Exposition Universelle came at the perfect time. Soon to be trapped in a loveless marriage, Manuela has given herself one last summer of freedom—in Paris, with her two best friends.
One scandalous encounter.
Cora Kempf Bristol, Duchess of Sundridge, is known for her ruthlessness in business. It’s not money she chases, but power. When she sees the opportunity to secure her position among her rivals, she does not hesitate. How difficult could it be to convince the mercurial Miss Caceres Galvan to part with a parcel of land she’s sworn never to sell?
One life-changing bargain.
Tempted by Cora’s offer, Manuela proposes a trade: her beloved land for a summer with the duchess in her corner of Paris. A taste of the wild, carefree world that will soon be out of her reach. What follows thrills and terrifies Cora, igniting desires the duchess long thought dead. As they fill their days indulging in a shared passion for the arts and their nights with dark and delicious deeds, the happiness that seemed impossible moves within reach…though claiming it would cause the greatest scandal Paris has seen in decades.
That Summer Feeling by Bridget Morrissey
Garland Moore used to believe in magic, the power of optimism, and signs from the universe. Then her husband surprised her with divorce papers over Valentine’s Day dinner. Now Garland isn’t sure what to believe anymore, except that she’s clearly never meant to love again. When new friends invite her to spend a week at their reopened sleepaway camp, she and her sister decide it’s an opportunity to enjoy the kind of summer getaway they never had as kids. If Garland still believed in signs, this would sure seem like one. Summer camp is a chance to let go of her past and start fresh.
Nestled into the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Carl Cove provides the exact escape Garland always dreamed of, until she runs into Mason—the man she had a premonition about after one brief meeting years ago. No matter how she tries to run, the universe appears determined to bring love back into Garland’s life. She even ends up rooming with Mason’s sister Stevie, a vibrant former park ranger who is as charming as she is competitive. The more time Garland spends with Stevie, the more the signs confuse her. The stars are aligning in a way Garland never could have predicted.
Amid camp tournaments and moonlit dances, Garland continues to be pulled toward the beautiful blonde outdoorswoman who makes her laugh and swoon. Summer camp doesn’t last forever, but if Garland can learn to trust her heart, the love she finds there just might.
Big Gay Wedding by Byron Lane
Two grooms. One mother of a problem.
Barnett Durang has a secret. No, not that secret. His widowed mother has known he was gay for years thanks to an unfortunate internet search history when Barnett was in high school.
The secret is Barnett is getting married. At his mother’s farm. In their small Louisiana town. She just doesn’t know it yet.
It’ll be an intimate affair. Just two hundred or so of the most fabulous folks Barnett is shipping in from the “heathen coasts,” as Mom likes to call it.
It’s no secret that the wedding will be the biggest, gayest event in town’s history, but what no one in town can predict is that after the whirlwind, glitter-filled week, nothing will ever be the same. Big Gay Wedding is an uplifting book about the power of family and the unconditional love of a mother for her son.
You’re all invited to the biggest, gayest wedding of the year. RSVP as fabulous, thank you very much.
Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander
When Luna O’Shea is unceremoniously fired from her frustrating office job, she tries to count her blessings: she’s a proud trans woman who has plenty of friends, a wonderful roommate, and a good life in New York City. But blessings don’t pay the bills.
Enter Jean-Pierre, a laissez-faire trans man and the heir to a huge culinary empire—which he’ll only inherit if he can jump through all the hoops his celebrity chef grandfather has placed in his path. First hoop: he needs a girlfriend, a role that Luna is happy to play…for the right price. She’s got rent to pay, after all! Second hoop: they both need to learn how to cook a series of elaborate, world-renowned family recipes to prove that Jean-Pierre is a worthy heir. Admittedly, Luna doesn’t even know how to crack an egg, but she’s not going to let that—or any pesky feelings for Jean-Pierre—stop her.
The Gay Best Friend by Nicolas DiDomizio
Domenic Marino has become an expert at code-switching between the hypermasculine and ultrafeminine worlds of his two soon-to-be-wed best friends. But this summer—reeling from his own failed engagement and tasked with attending their bachelor and bachelorette parties—he’s anxious over having to play both sides.
The pressure is on. The bride wants Dom to keep things clean. The groom wants Dom to “let loose” with the guys. And Dom just wants to get out of this whole mess with his friendships intact.
But once the rowdy groomsmen show up at the beach house—including a surprise visit from the groom’s old frat brother, handsome and charming PGA star Bucky Graham—chaos (and unexpected romance) quickly ensues. By the time Dom returns for the bachelorette party, he’s accumulated a laundry list of secrets that threaten to destroy everything—from the wedding, to Bucky’s career, to the one thing Dom hasn’t been paying nearly enough attention to lately: his own life.
Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves by Quinn Connor
Years ago, yellow fever gripped the small lakeside town of Prosper, Arkansas. At the height of that summer swelter, in the wake of an unexpected storm, the dam failed and the valley flooded—drowning the town and everyone trapped inside.
The secrets of old Prosper drowned with them.
Now, decades later, when a mysterious locked box is pulled from the depths of the lake, three descendants of that long-ago tragedy are hurled into another feverish summer. Cassie: the reclusive sole witness to an impossible horror no one believes. Lark: a wide-eyed dreamer haunted by bizarre visions. June: caught between longing for a fresh start and bearing witness to the ghosts of the past. Bound together, all three must contend with their home’s complex history—and with the ruins of the town lost far beneath the troubled water.
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Uranians by Theodore McCombs
At the end of the Victorian era, a handful of public intellectuals advocated for tolerance of the “Uranian”—a man who loved other men. Some went so far as to propose that these “intermediate sexes” might, in fact, constitute a totally different species, even serve as intrepid guides in our march toward an uncertain future.
The five speculative stories in Theodore McCombs’s kaleidoscopic collection span several possible worlds, teasing the boundaries between coexisting realities and taking up the question of queer difference from one surprising vantage after another. In “Toward a Theory of Alternative Lifestyles,” a heartbroken gay man waits in line at an exclusive Berlin rave promising visions of parallel lives across the multiverse. In “Six Hangings in the Land of Unkillable Women,” at the turn of an alternate 20th century, a policeman’s wife feels that if you want an execution done right, you just have to do it yourself. And in the operatic novella “Uranians,” an expedition of queer artists, scientists, and one trans priest embark on a lifelong interplanetary voyage that requires them to renegotiate their connections to a remote and hostile Earth, while keeping their ship’s biome—and each other—alive.
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Lesbian Love Story by Amelia Possanza
When Amelia Possanza moved to Brooklyn to build a life of her own, she found herself surrounded by queer stories: she read them on landmark placards, overheard them on the pool deck when she joined the world’s largest LGBTQ swim team, and even watched them on TV in her cockroach-infested apartment. These stories inspired her to seek out lesbians throughout history who could become her role models, in romance and in life.
Centered around seven love stories for the ages, this is Possanza’s journey into the archives to recover the personal histories of lesbians in the twentieth century: who they were, how they loved, why their stories were destroyed, and where their memories echo and live on. Possanza’s hunt takes readers from a drag king show in Bushwick to the home of activists in Harlem and then across the ocean to Hadrian’s Library, where she searches for traces of Sappho in the ruins. Along the way, she discovers her own love—for swimming, for community, for New York City—and adds her record to the archive.
At the heart of this riveting, inventive history, Possanza asks: How could lesbian love help us reimagine care and community? What would our world look like if we replaced its foundation of misogyny with something new, with something distinctly lesbian?
Gender Magic: Live Shamelessly, Reclaim Your Joy, & Step into Your Most Authentic Self by Rae McDaniel
Taking everything they know from more than a decade of working with the queer and trans community, their personal journey of gender exploration, and clinical best practices, licensed therapist, coach and speaker Rae McDaniel created the Gender Freedom Model. A uniquely supportive narrative for gender exploration and transition grounded in queer joy, their nine-pillar model has helped thousands of transgender and nonbinary individuals explore gender through play, pleasure and freedom. And now, it can help you too.
Whether you’re transgender, non-binary, cisgender or still exploring, this compassionate and practical guide will help you experience your gender in new, expansive ways by
· How to move from anxiety, self-doubt, and fear to a confident, proactive state of mind.
· How to navigate discomfort and celebrate your inherent worth as you develop genuine self-love.
· How to design relationships, community and a sex life that lights you up.
· Practical tools to align your gender identity and expression with your most authentic self through play, pleasure and possibility.
Brimming with warmth, celebration and practical advice, Gender Magic is essential reading for anyone who yearns to step into their fullest self and imagine a life beyond gender binaries. Because you – yes YOU – are magic.
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A leading trans scholar and activist explores cultural representations of gender transition in the modern period
In Pleasure and Efficacy, Grace Lavery investigates gender transition as it has been experienced and represented in the modern period. Considering examples that range from the novels of George Eliot to the psychoanalytic practice of Sigmund Freud to marriage manuals by Marie Stopes, Lavery explores the skepticism found in such works about whether it is truly possible to change one’s sex. This ambivalence, she argues, has contributed to both antitrans oppression and the civil rights claims with which trans people have confronted it. Lavery examines what she terms “trans pragmatism”―the ways that trans people resist medicalization and pathologization to achieve pleasure and freedom. Trans pragmatism, she writes, affirms that transition works , that it is possible , and that it happens .
With Eliot and Freud as the guiding geniuses of the book, Lavery covers a vast range of modern culture―poetry, prose, criticism, philosophy, fiction, cinema, pop music, pornography, and memes. Since transition takes people out of one genre and deposits them in another, she suggests, it should be no surprise that a cultural history of gender transition will also provide, by accident, a history of genre transition. Considering the concept of technique and its associations with feminine craftiness, as opposed to masculine freedom, Lavery argues that techniques of giving and receiving pleasure are essential to the possibility of trans feminist thriving―even as they are suppressed by patriarchal and antitrans feminist philosophies. Contesting claims for the impossibility of transition, she offers a counterhistory of tricks and techniques, passed on by women to women, that comprises a body of knowledge written in the margins of history.
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The Male Gazed by Manuel Betancourt
Featuring deep dives into thirst traps, drag queens, Antonio Banderas, and telenovelas—all in the service of helping us reframe how we talk about (desiring) men—this insightful memoir-in-essays is as much a coming of age as a coming out book
Manuel Betancourt has long lustfully coveted masculinity—in part because he so lacked it. As a child in Bogotá, Colombia, he grew up with the social pressure to appear strong, manly, and, ultimately, straight. And yet in the films and television he avidly watched, Betancourt saw glimmers of different possibilities. From the stars of telenovelas and the princes of Disney films to pop sensation Ricky Martin and teen heartthrobs in shows like Saved By the Bell, he continually found himself asking: Do I want him or do I want to be him?
The Male Gazed grapples with the thrall of masculinity, examining its frailty and its attendant anxieties even as it focuses on its erotic potential. Masculinity, Betancourt suggests, isn’t suddenly ripe for deconstruction—or even outright destruction—amid so much talk about its inherent toxicity. Looking back over decades’ worth of pop culture’s attempts to codify and reframe what men can be, wear, do, and desire, this book establishes that to gaze at men is still a subversive act.
Written in the spirit of Hanif Abdurraqib and Olivia Laing, The Male Gazed mingles personal anecdotes with cultural criticism to offer an exploration of intimacy, homoeroticism, and the danger of internalizing too many toxic ideas about masculinity as a gay man.
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