Moonflowers and Nightshade: an Anthology of Sapphic Horror ed. by Samantha Kolesnik (1st)
Moonflowers and Nightshade presents eighteen original sapphic horror stories, including works by: Alex Luceli Jiménez, Christina Ladd, G.B. Lindsey, Kat Siddle, G.E. Woods, Rae Knowles, Lowry Poletti, Cyrus Amelia Fisher, Jade Lancaster, Archita Mittra, Ali Seay, Hailey Piper, Anastasia Dziekan, E.F. Schraeder, Tiffany Morris, Nicoletta Giuseffi, Avra Margariti, and Annabeth Leong.
Buy it: Amazon
The Restless Dark by Erica Waters
The Cloudkiss Killer is dead. Now a true-crime podcast is hosting a contest to find his bones.
Lucy was almost the serial killer’s final victim. Carolina is a true-crime fan who fears her own rage. Maggie is a psychology student with a little too much to hide.
All of them are looking for answers, for a new identity, for a place to bury their secrets.
But there are more than bones hiding in the shadows…sometimes the darkness inside is more frightening than anything the dead leave behind.
Anne of Greenville by Mariko Tamaki
In this modern reimagining of Anne of Green Gables, Anne is an ABBA-loving singer/actor/writer of disco-operas, queer, Japanese-American who longs to be understood for her artistic genius. Recently relocated to middle-of-nowhere Greenville and starting at a new school, Anne has a tendency to A) fall in love quickly, deeply, and effervescently and B) fly off the handle in the face of jerks. Both personality quirks quickly come into play when the soccer team boos the premiere of her disco performance, which—in a roundabout way—introduces her to her new BFF, Berry, and she soon after meets the girl of her dreams, Gilly.
Falling quickly into that age-old trap of ignoring the best friend for the new crush, Anne soon becomes embroiled in a series of dramatic and unfortunate events, and quickly finds herself wrapped up in a love triangle she never expected. Is she MTB with Gilly? Or is Berry her true soul mate? Only time (or 304 pages) will tell.
The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
In this prequel to #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon They Both Die at the End, two new strangers spend a life-changing day together after Death-Cast first makes their fateful calls.
It’s the night before Death-Cast goes live, and there’s one question on everyone’s mind: Can Death-Cast actually predict when someone will die, or is it just an elaborate hoax?
Orion Pagan has waited years for someone to tell him that he’s going to die. He has a serious heart condition, and he signed up for Death-Cast so he could know what’s coming.
Valentino Prince is restarting his life in New York. He has a long and promising future ahead and he only registered for Death-Cast after his twin sister nearly died in a car accident.
Orion and Valentino cross paths in Times Square and immediately feel a deep connection. But when the first round of End Day calls goes out, their lives are changed forever—one of them receives a call, and the other doesn’t. Though neither boy is certain how the day will end, they know they want to spend it together…even if that means their goodbye will be heartbreaking.
Hollow by Shannon Watters and Branden Boyer-White (text), Berenice Nelle (art), and Kaitlyn Musto, Kieran Quigley, and Gonçalo Lopes (color)
Isabel “Izzy” Crane and her family have just relocated to Sleepy Hollow, the town made famous by–and obsessed with–Washington Irving’s legend of the Headless Horseman. But city slicker-skeptic Izzy has no time for superstition as she navigates life at a new address, a new school, and, with any luck, with new friends. Ghost stories aren’t real, after all…. Then Izzy is pulled into the orbit of the town’s teen royalty, Vicky Van Tassel (yes, that Van Tassel) and loveable varsity-level prankster Croc Byun. Vicky’s weariness with her family connection to the legend turns to terror when the trio begins to be haunted by the Horseman himself, uncovering a curse set on destroying the Van Tassel line. Now, they have only until Halloween night to break it–meaning it’s a totally inconvenient time for Izzy to develop a massive crush on the enigmatic Vicky. Can Izzy’s practical nature help her face the unknown–or only trip her up? As the calendar runs down to the 31st, Izzy will have to use all of her wits and work with her new friends to save Vicky and uncover the mystery of the legendary Horseman of Sleepy Hollow–before it’s too late.
The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco
An island oasis turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one in this haunting novel from the highly acclaimed author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy.
Pristine beaches, lush greenery, and perfect weather, the island of Kisapmata would be the vacation destination…if not for the curse. The Philippine locals speak of it in hushed voices and refuse to step foot on the island. They know the lives it has claimed. They won’t be next.
A Hollywood film crew won’t be dissuaded. Legend claims a Dreamer god sleeps, waiting to grant unimaginable powers in exchange for eight sacrifices. The producers are determined to document the evidence. And they convince Alon, a local teen, to be their guide.
Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions. Alon knows they are falling victim to the island’s curse. If Alon can’t convince them to leave, there is no telling who will survive. Or how much the Dreamer god will destroy…
Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry ed. by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli
The fiction and poetry of Queer Little Nightmares reimagines monsters old and new through a queer lens, subverting the horror gaze to celebrate ideas and identities canonically feared in monster lit. Throughout history, monsters have appeared in popular culture as stand-ins for the non-conforming, the marginalized of society. Pushed into the shadows as objects of fear, revulsion, and hostility, these characters have long conjured fascination and self-identification in the LGBTQ+ community, and over time, monsters have become queer icons.
In Queer Little Nightmares, creatures of myth and folklore seek belonging and intimate connection, cryptids challenge their outcast status, and classic movie monsters explore the experience of coming into queerness. The characters in these stories and poems—the Minotaur camouflaged in a crowd of cosplayers, a pubescent werewolf, a Hindu revenant waiting to reunite with her lover, a tender-hearted kaiju, a lagoon creature aching for the swimmers above him, a ghost of Pride past—relish their new sparkle in the spotlight. Pushing against tropes that have historically been used to demonize, the queer creators of this collection instead ask: What does it mean to be (and to love) a monster?
Contributors include Amber Dawn, David Demchuk, Hiromi Goto, jaye simpson, Eddy Boudel Tan, and Kai Cheng Thom.
Buy it: Amazon
You’re a Mean One, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky
Bring a little joy to the world?
Not today, Santa.
Matthew Prince is young, rich, and thoroughly spoiled. So what if his parents barely remember he exists and the press is totally obsessed with him? He’s on top of the world. But one major PR misstep later, and Matthew is cut off and shipped away to spend the holidays in his grandparents’ charming small town hellscape. Population: who cares?
It’s bad enough he’s stuck in some festive winter wonderland—it’s even worse that he has to share space with Hector Martinez, an obnoxiously attractive local who’s unimpressed with anything and everything Matthew does.
Just when it looks like the holiday season is bringing nothing but heated squabbles, the charity gala loses its coordinator and Matthew steps in as a saintly act to get home early on good behavior…with Hector as his maddening plus-one. But even a Grinch can’t resist the unexpected joy of found family, and in the end, the forced proximity and infectious holiday cheer might be enough to make a lonely Prince’s heart grow three sizes this year.
A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo
Aria Tang West was looking forward to a summer on Martha’s Vineyard with her best friends–one last round of sand and sun before college. But after a graduation party goes wrong, Aria’s parents exile her to California to stay with her grandmother, artist Joan West.Aria expects boredom, but what she finds is Steph Nichols, her grandmother’s gardener. Soon, Aria is second-guessing who she is and what she wants to be, and a summer that once seemed lost becomes unforgettable–for Aria, her family, and the working-class queer community Steph introduces her to. It’s the kind of summer that changes a life forever.
A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt
In Northern Alberta, a queer Indigenous doctoral student steps away from his dissertation to write a novel. He is adrift, caught between his childhood on the reservation and this new life of the urban intelligentsia. Billy-Ray Belcourt’s unnamed narrator chronicles a series of encounters: a heart-to-heart with fellow doctoral student River over the mounting pressure placed on marginalized scholars; a meeting with Michael, a closeted adult from his hometown whose vulnerability and loneliness punctuate the realities of queer life on the fringe. Amid these conversations, the narrator is haunted by memories of Jack, a cousin caught in the cycle of police violence, drugs, and survival. Jack’s life parallels the narrator’s own; the possibilities of escape and imprisonment are left to chance with colonialism stacking the odds.
Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist by Cecilia Gentilli
In these hilarious and heartbreaking letters, Cecilia Gentili reinvents the trans memoir, putting the confession squarely between the writer and her enemies, paramours and friends. Is she here for revenge, or forgiveness? Both! And more! A story of sex, theft, murder, motherhood, and outrageous fashion choices, FALTAS is a beautiful, messy meditation on what it takes to heal, and even grow.
When They Tell You to Be Good by Prince Shakur
After immigrating from Jamaica to the United States, Prince Shakur’s family is rocked by the murder of Prince’s biological father in 1995. Behind the murder is a sordid family truth, scripted in the lines of a diary by an outlawed uncle hell-bent on avenging the murder of Prince’s father. As Shakur begins to unravel his family’s secrets, he must navigate the strenuous terrain of conquering one’s inner self while confronting the steeped complexities of the Afro-diaspora.
When They Tell You to Be Good charts Prince Shakur’s political coming of age from closeted queer kid in a Jamaican family to radicalized adult traveler, writer, and anarchist in Obama and Trump’s America. Shakur journeys from France, the Philippines, South Korea, and more to discover the depths of the Black experience, and engages in deep political questions while participating in movements like Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock. By the end, Shakur reckons with his identity, his Jamaican family’s immigration to the US before his birth, and the intergenerational impacts of patriarchal and colonial violence.
The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern by Rita Zoey Chin
Born in a carnival trailer, Leah Fern begins her life as the “The Youngest and Very Best Fortuneteller in the World,” taking strangers’ hands and feeling the depths of their emotions. Her mother Jeannie Starr is a captivating magician, but not always an attentive mother, and when Leah is six, Jeannie upends their carnival life with an unexpected exit. With little fanfare and no explanation, she leaves her daughter at the home of Edward Murphy, a kindly older man with whom Leah shares one fierce wish: that Jeannie Starr will return to them.
After fifteen years as a small-town outcast , Leah decides to end her life on the occasion of her twenty-first birthday. But the intricate death ritual she has devised is interrupted by a surprise knock on her door. Her mysterious neighbor, the curmudgeonly and reclusive art photographer Essie East, has died and left Leah a very strange inheritance. Through a series of letters, Essie will posthumously lead Leah on a journey to nine points on the map, spanning from South Carolina to Canada to the Arctic Circle—a journey that, the first note promises, will reveal the story of Leah’s mother.
Driven by a ferocious resurgence of hope, Leah embarks on this bizarre treasure hunt, Essie’s ashes in a jeweled urn in the passenger seat of her truck. Along her way, she visits islands, libraries, diners, and defunct ice cream parlors, meeting a charming cast of eccentric characters and immersing herself in wonders of the natural world.
Ace of Hearts by Lucy Mason
Hesper Stallides and Felix Morlan have been best friends for as long as they can remember, bonding over their troubled home lives. When a horrible sports injury derails Felix’s promising career and results in the loss of his scholarship, Hesper offers a proposition: a year-long marriage of convenience so he can get free tuition at the college where she works.
It isn’t supposed to be complicated…until they fall in love for real. When Hesper reveals that she’s asexual, Felix must reassess everything he thinks about love, and ask himself what he’s willing to sacrifice for a future with Hesper—before the past she’s spent her life running from can take her away from him forever.
Buy it: Amazon
It Came From the Closet: Queer Reflections on Horror ed. by Joe Vallese
Through the lens of horror—from “Halloween” to “Hereditary”—queer and trans writers consider the films that deepened, amplified, and illuminated their own experiences.
Horror movies hold a complicated space in the hearts of the queer community: historically misogynist, and often homo- and transphobic, the genre has also been inadvertently feminist and open to subversive readings. Common tropes—such as the circumspect and resilient “final girl,” body possession, costumed villains, secret identities, and things that lurk in the closet—spark moments of eerie familiarity and affective connection. Still, viewers often remain tasked with reading themselves into beloved films, seeking out characters and set pieces that speak to, mirror, and parallel the unique ways queerness encounters the world.
“It Came from the Closet” features twenty-five original essays by writers speaking to this relationship, through connections both empowering and oppressive. From Carmen Maria Machado on “Jennifer’s Body”, Jude Ellison S. Doyle on “In My Skin”, Addie Tsai on “Dead Ringers”, and many more, these conversations convey the rich reciprocity between queerness and horror.
The Family Outing by Jessi Hempel
Jessi Hempel was raised in a seemingly picture-perfect, middle-class American family. But the truth was far from perfect. Her father was constantly away from home, traveling for work, while her stay-at-home mother became increasingly lonely and erratic. Growing up, Jessi and her two siblings struggled to make sense of their family, their world, their changing bodies, and the emotional turmoil each was experiencing. And each, in their own way, was hiding their true self from the world.
By the time Jessi reached adulthood, everyone in her family had come out: Jessi as gay, her sister as bisexual, her father as gay, her brother as transgender, and her mother as a survivor of a traumatic experience with an alleged serial killer. Yet coming out was just the beginning, starting a chain reaction of other personal revelations and reckonings that caused each of them to question their place in the world in new and ultimately liberating ways.