Tag Archives: Alison Cochrun

Fave Five: Queer Fiction Starring MCs with OCD

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy (MG)

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert (YA)

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (YA)

My Heart to Find by Elin Annalise

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Fave Five: New Queer Holiday Romances

For some older titles, click here for m/m and here for f/f.

In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae

You’re a Mean Once, Matthew Prince by Timothy Janovsky

Season of Love by Helena Greer

Kiss Her Once for Me by Alison Cochrun

The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish

Bonus: Check out Honeymoon for One by Rachel Bowdler and read her post all about queer holiday romance here.

These are all Adult novels, but for a novella, try Felix Navidad by ‘Nathan Burgoine, and in YA, check out How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow 

September 2022 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

Senior marketing executive at Vintage UK Carmella Lowkis‘s SPITTING GOLD, a queer historical debut, set in 19th-century Paris, following two sisters—on the outside, gifted mediums, but in reality, astute con-artists—and when they reunite for one last con at an aristocratic family’s old estate, they begin to question whether they really are at the mercy of a vengeful spirit, and wonder just what other deep, dark secrets the family are hiding, to Loan Le at Atria, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Ginger Clark at Ginger Clark Literary, on behalf of Rachel Neely at Mushens Entertainment (NA).

Author of THE CHARM OFFENSIVE Alison Cochrun‘s HERE WE GO AGAIN, a queer road trip rom-com in which two childhood best friends-turned-rivals team up to help fulfill their former teacher’s dying wish by driving him across the country—only to end up wildly off course, to Kaitlin Olson at Atria, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2024, by Bibi Lewis at Ethan Ellenberg Agency (world).

Charlie Castelletti writing as C. A. Castle‘s THE MANOR HOUSE GOVERNESS, pitched as a love letter to the British Classics—and particularly JANE EYRE—in which a young, queer, nonbinary teacher takes a job as a governess for an eccentric family and becomes swept up in the family’s tangled past while also navigating an inconvenient attraction to his employer’s adult son, to Jess Verdi at Alcove Press, for publication in fall 2023, by Caroline Eisenmann at Frances Goldin Literary Agency (world, excl. UK).

Essayist and author of Lambda Literary Award Finalist SOME HELL Patrick Nathan‘s THE FUTURE WAS COLOR, about a gay Hungarian immigrant working as a studio hack writing monster movies in 1950s Los Angeles, facing the McCarthy-era studio system filled with possible Communists, spies, and the life of closeted men along Sunset Boulevard, whose friendship with a famous actress unlocks memories of his postwar life in Manhattan, pitched as a narrative mix of GODS AND MONSTERS and Eve Babitz, spanning from sun-drenched Los Angeles, to corners of working-class New York, to a virtuosic climax in the Las Vegas desert, to Dan Smetanka at Counterpoint, in a nice deal, for publication in 2024, by Erik Hane at Headwater Literary Management (world English).

Authors of THE VERY NICE BOX Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman‘s TRUST & SAFETY, about a newlywed straight couple who leave NYC in an attempt to buy their way into a “wild and precious” existence in the Hudson Valley, where they encounter—and quickly become entangled with—a queer couple living the dream analog life; examining questions of authenticity, betrayal, paternity, and entitlement, while poking fun at contemporary fear of the “gay agenda,” moving with Pilar Garcia-Brown at Dutton, by Faye Bender at The Book Group (NA).

Colombian poet Fatima Velez‘s GALAPAGOS, following a group of bohemian artists who are dying of AIDS as they embark on a final voyage through the Galapagos islands, their decaying bodies cloaked in the skins of their dead; a lyrical novel in which the alliance between female and queer male bodies is deeply fraught, and the intersection of AIDS and motherhood are interrogated in love, friendship, and abjection, to Deborah Ghim at Astra House, in a pre-empt, for publication in fall 2024, by Maria Lynch at Casanovas & Lynch Agency (world English).

Elaine Tipping‘s PATHWAYS: CHRONICLES OF TUVANA, a queer fantasy epic graphic novel that takes place in a world under siege by an ancient empire bent on restoring its perceived rightful control, following a small band of characters and the journey they take to become heroes, pitched as perfect for fans of Lord of the Rings, The Adventure Zone, and Monstress, to Brett Israel at Dark Horse, in a three-book deal, for publication in fall 2024, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency (world English).

Sex and culture critic Ella Dawson‘s THE REUNION, about a burned-out bisexual young woman who attends her five-year college reunion only to encounter her estranged chosen family, old demons, and the ex she maybe shouldn’t have walked away from, to Maya Ziv at Dutton, in a pre-empt, by Jamie Carr at The Book Group (NA).

Author of NEVER BEEN KISSED and YOU’RE A MEAN ONE MATHEW PRINCE Timothy Janovsky‘s THE GAMES WE PLAY, a queer romance where a man auditions for a Supermarket Sweep-style reality show with a fake boyfriend following a breakup and falls head-over-heels in the process, to John Jacobson at Harlequin Desire, in a three-book deal, by Samantha Fabien at Root Literary.

Author of the Lambda Award-winning THE SAVAGE KIND and the Macavity Award-winning DODGING AND BURNING John Copenhaver‘s HALL OF MIRRORS, the second book in the Nightingale Trilogy, pitched as a twist on the traditional noir exploring LGBTQ issues, race, and corruption during Eisenhower Era DC, in which the suspicious death of a famous mystery author forces the tenacious heroines of THE SAVAGE KIND to face difficult truths about themselves amid the darkest days of McCarthyism and the Lavender Scare, to Claiborne Hancock at Pegasus Crime, by Annie Bomke at Annie Bomke Literary Agency.

Author of PAPER IS WHITE Hilary Zaid’s FORGET I TOLD YOU THIS, about a queer artist who, while toiling away in obscurity, stumbles into a scheme to upend a social media giant gone berserk, to Courtney Ochsner at University of Nebraska Press, in a nice deal, for publication in September 2023 (world).

Karelia Stetz-Waters and wife Fay Stetz-Waters’s SECOND NIGHT STAND, about a high-strung former ballerina and a burlesque dancer who have a memorable one night stand on a lesbian cruise and then meet again when their dance companies make the cut on a reality TV show, to Madeleine Colavita at Forever Yours, by Jane Dystel at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (NA).

Jane Kindred’s MASTER OF THE GAME, the third book in the queer Demons of Elysium series, set in a Russian-inspired heaven, to Rachel Haimowitz at Riptide Publishing, in an exclusive submission, for publication in 2023, by Sara Megibow at kt literary.

Rae Valtera’s HER DARK GRACE, in which a woman, in a queer-normative world of magic, battles gods who despise having a shadow-marked rule their realm, and in order to survive the gods’ wrath, she must find allies among those who sanctioned the killing of her kind, to Brittany Weisrock at Lake Country Press, for publication in fall 2025 (US).

Children’s Fiction

National Jewish Book Award winner Nancy Churnin‘s  picture book THE RAINBOW BRIGADE, pitched as inspired by true events, the story of kids who stood against hate and rallied their neighborhood together to support a lesbian couple whose pride flag and home were vandalized, illustrated by Izzy Evans, to Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books, for publication in spring 2024, by Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary for the author, and by Lucie Luddington at The Bright Group for the illustrator (world).

Young Adult Fiction

Debut author Anthony Nerada‘s SKATER BOY, a queer spin on an Avril Lavigne classic that follows resident a bad boy and his star-crossed romance with a ballet dancer, to Alexa Wejko at Soho Teen, for publication in spring 2024, by Rena Rossner at Deborah Harris Agency (NA).

Author of SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND David Valdes‘s FINDING MY ELF, a queer rom-com about a boy who’s trying to find the “the one” and also trying to find himself while spending winter break working at a hectic Santa’s Village, to Stephanie Guerdan at Harper Teen, for publication in fall 2023, by Annie Bomke at Annie Bomke Literary Agency (world).

Lambda finalist author of CAMP Lev Rosen’s EMMETT, pitched as a queer contemporary take on Jane Austen’s Emma, to Alvina Ling at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication in fall 2023, by Joy Tutela at David Black Literary Agency (world).

Author of MANU Kelly Fernandez‘s PRINCE FELIX AND LA PLUMA MAGIA, a queer YA romantic adventure featuring a prince who receives a magical feather from the bird of many colors and is led to a hunter instead of a princess, to Cassandra Pelham Fulton at Graphix, in a good deal, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2024, by Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary (world).

Leslie Vedder‘s THE CURSED ROSE, the third and final book in her debut LGBTQ+ fantasy trilogy that began with THE BONE SPINDLE, pitched as a gender-flipped retelling of Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones, in which a cursed treasure hunter and an axe-wielding huntswoman must team up in the treasure hunt of a lifetime to save a lost prince—and now the kingdom, to Ruta Rimas at Razorbill, for publication in early 2024, by Carrie Hannigan and Ellen Goff at HG Literary (NA).

Erin Baldwin‘s debut WISH YOU WERE(N’T) HERE, pitched as THE HATING GAME for teens, a f/f rom-com following childhood rivals who are forced to be summer camp cabin mates and must decide what they want more: to kill each other, or to kiss, to Aneeka Kalia at Viking Children’s, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2024, by Lauren Spieller at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world English).

Emily Riesbeck and Bayleigh Underwood‘s LUCKY 555, a queer sci-fi YA graphic novel pitched as The Expanse meets Paper Girls, where the citizens of the sky resign themselves to a slow, miserable decline, and a self-centered orphan teen meets a stowaway android who is hiding a secret that could turn the sky upside down, but her wealthy and domineering father won’t let her—or his secret—go that easily, to Charlotte Greenbaum at Amulet, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2024, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency (world).

Nita Tyndall‘s HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL, a thriller about a North Carolina teen whose father is a notorious imprisoned serial killer, and when another girl is murdered, and signs point to the girl they love being next, they’ll have to confront their father as well as the ghosts that haunt them, to Stephanie Stein at Harper Teen, for publication in winter 2024, by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary Agency (world English).

Author of BEAUTY AND THE BESHARAM Lillie Vale‘s HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST CHARM, a sapphic paranormal adventure pitched as YA THE EX HEX by way of Casey McQuiston, where a skeptic accidentally hexes her romantic rival (and secret crush) with dangerous bad luck and must team up with her rival’s exes on a quest to undo the damage she’s done, to Dana Leydig at Viking Children’s, for publication in fall 2024, by Jessica Watterson at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (world English).

Non-Fiction

Dr. Angelo Robinson PhD’s NOT THE BOY FOR YOU, using both literary and epistolary forms to chart the author’s journey to unapologetic wholeness as young, Black, and gay in the 1960s South and finding internal acceptance after being rejected from all sides via country, culture, family, and religion, while examining the complex reality of how the Black male body has been perceived, exploited, and explored through the lens of James Baldwin’s political and narrative thought, to Alicia Sparrow at Chicago Review Press, for publication in fall 2023 (world).

Poet, director, and songwriter W.J. Lofton‘s SUE CITY, a memoir of the author’s childhood experience of family separation via Chicago’s foster care system, the bond that persevered between him and his sister Willette as they relocated to the South, his discovery of his queer identity, and his development as a young Black queer artist, to Catherine Tung at Beacon Press, by Kent Wolf at Neon Literary (world).

Mark Jason Williams and Amy Scher‘s untitled LGBTQIA-focused travel guide, highlighting inclusive destinations around the world, with itineraries that highlight what to do, where to go, what to see, where to stay, what to eat, and more, to Allyson Johnson at National Geographic, in a pre-empt, by Steve Harris at CSG Literary Partners (world).

Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

This Way Out by Tufayel Ahmed (July 1st)

Amar can’t wait to tell everyone his wonderful news: he’s found The One, and he’s getting married. But it turns out announcing his engagement on a group chat might not have been the best way to let his strict Muslim Bangladeshi family know that his happy-ever-after partner is a man―and a white man at that.

Amar expected a reaction from his four siblings, but his bombshell sends shockwaves throughout the community and begins to fracture their family unit, already fragile from the death of their mother. Suddenly Amar is questioning everything he once believed in: his faith, his culture, his family, his mother’s love―and even his relationship with Joshua. Amar was sure he knew what love meant, but was he just plain wrong?

He’s never thought of his relationship with Joshua as a love story―they just fit together, like two halves of a whole. But if they can reconcile their differences with Amar’s culture, could there be hope for his relationship with his family too? And could this whole disaster turn into a love story after all?

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Continue reading Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

Happy Lesbian Visibility Day 2022!

This post only includes books that were not featured in past posts. For even more visibly lesbian goodness, check out posts from 2021, 2020, and 2019, too!

Books to Read Now

D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins

56918560. sy475 Instant I Do could be Kris Zavala’s big break. She’s right on the cusp of really making it as an influencer, so a stint on reality TV is the perfect chance to elevate her brand. And $100,000 wouldn’t hurt, either.

D’Vaughn Miller is just trying to break out of her shell. She’s sort of neglected to come out to her mom for years, so a big splashy fake wedding is just the excuse she needs.

All they have to do is convince their friends and family they’re getting married in six weeks. If anyone guesses they’re not for real, they’re out. Selling their chemistry on camera is surprisingly easy, and it’s still there when no one else is watching, which is an unexpected bonus. Winning this competition is going to be a piece of wedding cake.

But each week of the competition brings new challenges, and soon the prize money’s not the only thing at stake. A reality show isn’t the best place to create a solid foundation, and their fake wedding might just derail their relationship before it even starts.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Continue reading Happy Lesbian Visibility Day 2022!

Fave Five: Reality TV Romances

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly (f/nb)

D’Vaughn and Kris Plan a Wedding by Chencia C. Higgins (f/f)

True Brit by Con Riley (m/m)

The Final Rose by Eliza Lentzski (f/f)

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun (m/m)

Bonus: Coming in December, Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales (f/f YA)

Fave Five: F/F Winter Holiday Romances

All I Want for Christmas and Christmas in Mistletoe by Clare Lydon

Under the Mistletoe by Everly James

Under a Falling Star by Jae

Collie Jolly by Leigh Landry

Eight Kinky Nights by Xan West z”l

Bonus: For a novella collection, try All I Want for Christmas by Georgia Beers, Maggie Cummings, and Fiona Riley

Double Bonus: Coming in 2022, keep your eyes on In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae, My First Noelle by Helena Greer and Kiss Her Once For Me by Alison Cochrun

New Release Spotlight: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

I know everyone’s moving on to spooky season and so there will be about five billion rec lists accordingly over the next couple of months, but first, let me squeeze in a little bit of delightful joy in the form of this absolutely delightful m/m romance. The Charm Offensive is like the show UnReal meets Red, White & Royal Blue, with both great mental health rep and great ace-spec rep. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and you will too, so check it out!

56898248Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

New Releases: September 7, 2021

Today’s post is sponsored in honor of the paperback release of His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe’s Most Unsettling Tales Reimagined, ed. by Dahlia Adler (Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound). Thirteen authors take on The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Raven, and more, including queer spins on Ligeia, The Purloined Letter, Annabel Lee, Hop-Frog, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Murders at the Rue Morgue, in a collection the New York Times Book Review says “brims over with fierce delight and uncanny invention.”

Picture Book

Small Knight and the Anxiety Monster by Manka Kasha

The worry kept growing day by day, until… one morning Small Knight woke up to see a huge inky black monster in their room.

When Small Knight feels pressure from their parents to be a perfect princess, an anxiety monster shows up. No one else can see the monster, so Small Knight and their best friend Tiny Bear, decide that it is up to them to save themselves. They set off on a magical quest, only to discover that the answer was inside themselves all along. Turning to face the Anxiety Monster, they learn how to keep it under control.

Buy It: Bookshop | Amazon | Indiebound

Middle Grade

Obie is Man Enough by Schuyler Bailar

Obie knew his transition would have ripple effects. He has to leave his swim coach, his pool, and his best friends. But it’s time for Obie to find where he truly belongs.

As Obie dives into a new team, though, things are strange. Obie always felt at home in the water, but now he can’t get his old coach out of his head. Even worse are the bullies that wait in the locker room and on the pool deck. Luckily, Obie has family behind him. And maybe some new friends too, including Charlie, his first crush. Obie is ready to prove he can be one of the fastest boys in the water—to his coach, his critics, and his biggest competition: himself.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

A Touch of Ruckus by Ash Van Otterloo

Tennessee Lancaster has a hidden gift.

She can pry into folks’ memories with just a touch of their belongings. It’s something she’s always kept hidden — especially from her big, chaotic family. Their lives are already chock-full of worries about Daddy’s job and Mama’s blues without Tennie rocking the boat.

But when the Lancasters move to the mountains for a fresh start, Tennie’s gift does something new. Instead of just memories, her touch releases a ghost with a terrifying message: Trouble is coming. Tennie wants to ignore it. Except her new friend Fox — scratch that, her only friend, Fox — is desperate to go ghost hunting deep in the forest. And when Tennie frees even more of the spirits, trouble is exactly what she gets… and it hits close to home. The ghosts will be heard, and now Tennie must choose between keeping secrets or naming an ugly truth that could tear her family apart.

Magic and mayhem abound in this spooky story about family legacies, first friendships, and how facing the ghosts inside can sometimes mean stirring up a little bit of ruckus.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Young Adult

Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan (2nd)

Baby Teeth CoverThe blood
Feeds the hunger
That threatens everything

It starts when Claudia offers her a yellow rose.
Immy has been in love before – many times, across many lifetimes. But never as deeply, as intensely as this.
Claudia has never been in love this before either. But then, this is her first time with a vampire.
The forbidden thirst for blood runs deep in Immy. And within her mind clamour the voices, of all the others she has been, their desires, and their wrongs.

A unique verse novel by the award-winning author of The Deepest Breath and The Space Between.

Buy it: Waterstones | Book Depository | Little Island

Major Detours by Zachary Sergi

It’s the summer before college and four best friends—Amelia, Chase, Cleo, and Logan—are on the first leg of their road trip inspired by the unique tarot deck that Amelia inherited from her grandmother. However, their trip full of visiting occult shops, bonding, and sightseeing quickly takes a major detour when they discover that their tarot deck is more valuable—and coveted—than they could’ve ever imagined. Suddenly pursued by collectors who are after the legendary “lost” work of an infamous cult-following artist, the four friends will discover the fortunes that await those who unearth the deck’s four missing cards.

As the reader, you’ll get to make actual choices to further the friends’ road trip adventure in this first-of-its-kind interactive novel. Will you help the main characters, Amelia and Chase, learn and grow? How will you navigate Amelia’s steamy budding romances and overcome the challenges facing Chase and Logan’s queer-teen relationship?  Will you uncover the mysteries of the tarot deck? The choices are yours to make!

Major Detours is more than the branching-path books from your childhood. Instead, this fresh format bridges the gap between nostalgic choose-your-own-adventure and the modern style of digital interactive fiction, with choices that always lead you forward in the story and feature four diverse, queer characters navigating relationships and self-discovery. In Major Detours, the reader can interactively engage in two queer romances (from 2 alternating POVs), between the challenges facing a teen cis-male monogomous long-term relationship and a budding discovery of pansexual and nonbinary identities.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

A Clash of Steel by CB Lee

Two intrepid girls hunt for a legendary treasure on the deadly high seas in this YA remix of the classic adventure novel Treasure Island.

1826. The sun is setting on the golden age of piracy, and the legendary Dragon Fleet, the scourge of the South China Sea, is no more. Its ruthless leader, a woman known only as the Head of the Dragon, is now only a story, like the ones Xiang has grown up with all her life. She desperately wants to prove her worth, especially to her mother, a shrewd businesswoman who never seems to have enough time for Xiang. Her father is also only a story, dead at sea before Xiang was born. Her single memento of him is a pendant she always wears, a simple but plain piece of gold jewelry.

But the pendant’s true nature is revealed when a mysterious girl named Anh steals it, only to return it to Xiang in exchange for her help in decoding the tiny map scroll hidden inside. The revelation that Xiang’s father sailed with the Dragon Fleet and tucked away this secret changes everything. Rumor has it that the legendary Head of the Dragon had one last treasure—the plunder of a thousand ports—that for decades has only been a myth, a fool’s journey.

Xiang is convinced this map could lead to the fabled treasure. Captivated with the thrill of adventure, she joins Anh and her motley crew off in pursuit of the island. But the girls soon find that the sea—and especially those who sail it—are far more dangerous than the legends led them to believe.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Act Cool by Tobly McSmith

Aspiring actor August Greene just landed a coveted spot at the prestigious School of Performing Arts in New York. There’s only one problem: His conservative parents won’t accept that he’s transgender. And to stay with his aunt in the city, August must promise them he won’t transition.

August is convinced he can play the part his parents want while acting cool and confident in the company of his talented new friends.

But who is August when the lights go down? And where will he turn when the roles start hitting a little too close to home?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh

55588056Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller

Cover for The Night When No One Had SexIt’s the night of senior prom, and eighteen-year-old Julia has made a pact with her friends. (Yes, that kind of pact.) They have secured a secluded cabin in the woods, one night without parental supervision, and plenty of condoms. But as soon as they leave the dance, the pact begins to unravel. Alex’s grandmother is undergoing emergency surgery, and he and his date rush to the hospital. Zoe’s trying to figure out how she feels about getting off the waitlist at Yale―and how to tell her girlfriend. Madison’s chronic illness flares, holding her back once again from being a normal teenager. And Julia’s fantasy-themed role play gets her locked in a closet. Alternating between each character’s perspective and their ridiculous group chat, The Night When No One Had Sex finds a group of friends navigating the tenuous transition into adulthood and embracing the uncertainty of life after high school.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Adult/General

Among Thieves by M.J. Kuhn

In just over a year’s time, Ryia Cautella has already earned herself a reputation as the quickest, deadliest blade in the dockside city of Carrowwick—not to mention the sharpest tongue. But Ryia Cautella is not her real name.

For the past six years, a deadly secret has kept her in hiding, running from town to town, doing whatever it takes to stay one step ahead of the formidable Guildmaster—the sovereign ruler of the five kingdoms of Thamorr. No matter how far or fast she travels, his servants never fail to track her down…but even the most powerful men can be defeated.

Ryia’s path now leads directly into the heart of the Guildmaster’s stronghold, and against every instinct she has, it’s not a path she can walk alone. Forced to team up with a crew of assorted miscreants, smugglers, and thieves, Ryia must plan her next moves very carefully. If she succeeds, her freedom is won once and for all…but unfortunately for Ryia, her new allies are nearly as selfish as she is, and they all have plans of their own.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

55748103One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters.

At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark?

The world will soon find out.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Final Child by Fran Dorricott

Erin and her brother Alex were the last children abducted by ‘the Father’, a serial killer who only ever took pairs of siblings. She escaped, but her brother was never seen again. Traumatised, Erin couldn’t remember anything about her ordeal, and the Father was never caught.

Eighteen years later, Erin has done her best to put the past behind her. But then she meets Harriet. Harriet’s young cousins were the Father’s first victims and, haunted by their deaths, she is writing a book about the disappearances and is desperate for an interview. At first, Erin wants nothing to do with her. But then she starts receiving sinister gifts, her house is broken into, and she can’t shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After all these years, Erin believed that the Father was gone, but now she begins to wonder if he was only waiting…

Buy it: Book Depository

The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

56898248Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

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How to Wrestle a Girl: Stories by Venita Blackburn

56269289Venita Blackburn’s characters bully and suffer, spit and tease, mope and blame. They’re hyperaware of their bodies and fiercely observant, fending off the failures and advances of adults with indifferent ease. In “Biology Class,” they torment a teacher to the point of near insanity, while in “Bear Bear Harvest™,” they prepare to sell their excess fat and skin for food processing. Stark and sharp, hilarious and ominous, these pieces are scabbed, bruised, and prone to scarring.

Many of the stories, set in Southern California, follow a teenage girl in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death and capture her sister’s and mother’s encounters with men of all ages, as well as the girl’s budding attraction to her best friend, Esperanza. In and out of school, participating in wrestling and softball, attending church with her hysterically complicated family, and dominating boys in arm wrestling, she grapples with her burgeoning queerness and her emerging body, becoming wary of clarity rather than hoping for it.

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Witch, Please by Ann Aguirre

Danica Waterhouse is a fully modern witch―daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and co-owner of the Fix-It Witches, a magical tech repair shop. After a messy breakup that included way too much family “feedback,” Danica made a pact with her cousin: they’ll keep their hearts protected and have fun, without involving any of the overly opinionated Waterhouse matriarchs. Danica is more than a little exhausted navigating a long-standing family feud where Gram thinks the only good mundane is a dead one and Danica’s mother weaves floral crowns for anyone who crosses her path.

Three blocks down from the Fix-It Witches, Titus Winnaker, owner of Sugar Daddy’s bakery, has family trouble of his own. After a tragic loss, all he’s got left is his sister, the bakery, and a lifetime of terrible luck in love. Sure, business is sweet, but he can’t seem to shake the romantic curse that’s left him past thirty and still a virgin. He’s decided he’s doomed to be forever alone.

Until he meets Danica Waterhouse. The sparks are instant, their attraction irresistible. For him, she’s the one. To her, he’s a firebomb thrown in the middle of a family war. Can a modern witch find love with an old-fashioned mundane who refuses to settle for anything less than forever?

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Eighty Days by A.C. Esguerra

54303232“Map A Course, Arrive Safe Home. That’s The Measure Of Your Achievement.” A pilot wants nothing more than to fly. Or so he thought, until he crosses paths with a mysterious thief whose tricks draw him into unchartered territory and new adventure. In a life where the truth changes as quickly as clouds in the sky, the pilot must decide for himself what freedom really means. Award-winning cartoonist A.C. Esguerra presents an unforgettable love letter to flight, the quest for freedom and the greatest adventure of all – love.

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The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw

The All-Consuming World - final cover - high-res - 2020-09-17.jpgMaya has died and been resurrected into countless cyborg bodies through the years of a long, dangerous career with the infamous Dirty Dozen, the most storied crew of criminals in the galaxy, at least before their untimely and gruesome demise.

Decades later, she and her diverse team of broken, diminished outlaws must get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade . . . but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir.

The highly evolved AI of the galaxy have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humanity from ever regaining control. As Maya and her comrades spiral closer to uncovering the AIs’ vast conspiracy, this band of violent women—half-clone and half-machine—must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all.

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Non-Fiction

The Breaks by Julietta Singh

In a letter to her six-year-old daughter, Julietta Singh writes toward a tender vision of the world, offering children’s radical embrace of possibility as a model for how we might live. In order to survive looming political and ecological disasters, Singh urges, we must break from the conventions we have inherited and begin to orient ourselves toward more equitable and revolutionary paths.

The Breaks celebrates queer family-making, communal living, and Brown girlhood, complicating the stark binaries that shape contemporary US discourse. With nuance and generosity, Singh reveals the connections among the crises humanity faces—climate catastrophe, extractive capitalism, and the violent legacies of racism, patriarchy, and colonialism—inviting us to move through the breaks toward a tenable future.

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Fave Five: Gay Beach Reads

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick

Little Village series by ‘Nathan Burgoine

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

Bonus: Coming September 7, 2021, The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun; October 12, The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor; and in  2022, I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson and Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky