The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet by Jake Maia Arlow (1st)
Twelve-year-old Al Schneider is too scared to talk about the two biggest things in her life:
1. Her stomach hurts all the time and she has no idea why.
2. She’s almost definitely 100% sure she likes girls.
So she holds it in…until she can’t. After nearly having an accident of the lavatorial variety in gym class, Al finds herself getting a colonoscopy and an answer—she has Crohn’s disease.
But rather than solving all her problems, Al’s diagnosis just makes everything worse. It’s scary and embarrassing. And worst of all, everyone wants her to talk about it—her overprotective mom, her best friend, and most annoyingly her gastroenterologist, who keeps trying to get her to go to a support group for kids with similar chronic illnesses. But, who wants to talk about what you do in the bathroom?
Gallowgate by K.R. Alexander (1st)
Sebastian Wight is cursed. As a boy with the forbidden ability to traverse the lands of the dead, he must not only harness his newfound powers to fight the monster that stalks him, but also to navigate a creepy world of hunting ghosts and ghouls with his eccentric classmates.
And that’s only the start of his concerns.
There’s also the tangled on a boy who barely looks at him twice… and the deadly family history that brought him to the halls of Gallowgate Academy in the first place.
For Sebastian Wight, fighting the dead might be hard… but it’s dealing with the living that may bring him down.
Damned if You Do by Alex Brown (1st)
Seven years ago, Cordelia Scott’s abusive father left without a word, and life has been normal ever since. The seventeen-year-old spends her days stage managing the school play (which is going great, if anyone asks), pining over her best friend, Veronica, and failing one too many pop quizzes.
She’s never been sad that her father left, but she knows something is…missing. When her school guidance counselor, Fred, reveals during a session that he’s actually a demon, she learns that something is indeed missing: a piece of her actual soul. Why? She unwittingly made a deal with him to make her father disappear – then bargained to have the memory erased. To make matters worse, Fred is here to make another bargain: Help him with a “little” demonic problem, or she’s doomed to spend eternity in Hell with her father.
The deal? Help Fred neutralize a rival demon, who means to do more harm in her hometown than your average demon deal.
Stars in Their Eyes by Jessica Walton and Aska (1st)
Maisie is on her way to Fancon! She’s looking forward to meeting her idol, Kara Bufano, the action hero from her favorite TV show, who has a lower-leg amputation, just like Maisie. But when Maisie and her mom arrive at the convention center, she is stopped in her tracks by Ollie, a cute volunteer working the show. They are kind, charming, and geek out about nerd culture just as much as Maisie does. And as the day wears on, Maisie notices feelings for Ollie that she’s never had before. Is this what it feels like to fall in love?
The Narrow by Kate Alice Marshall (1st)
Everyone has heard the story of the Narrow. The river that runs behind the Atwood School is only a few feet across and seemingly placid, but beneath the surface, the waters are deep and vicious. It’s said that no one who has fallen in has ever survived.
Eden White knows that isn’t true. Six years ago, she saw Delphine Fournier fall into the Narrow—and live.
Delphine now lives in careful isolation, sealed off from the world. Even a single drop of unpurified water could be deadly to her, and no one but Eden has any idea why. Eden has never told anyone what she saw or spoken to Delphine since, but now, unable to cover her tuition, she has to make a deal: her expenses will be paid in return for serving as a live-in companion to Delphine.
Eden finds herself drawn to the strange and mysterious girl, and the two of them begin to unravel each other’s secrets. Then Eden discovers what happened to the last girl who lived with Delphine: she was found half-drowned on dry land. Suddenly Eden is waking up to wet footprints tracking to the end of her bed, the sound of rain on the windows when the skies are clear, and a ghostly silhouette in her doorway. Something is haunting Delphine—and now it’s coming for Eden, too.
Stuck With You by ‘Nathan Burgoine (1st)
Ben is on a train back to Ottawa after a visit with his dad in Toronto when he runs into the last person he wanted to see: Caleb, the handsome, confident boy who recently and accidentally broke Ben’s phone. Preoccupied by worrying about whether he should take a gap year, Ben has little time for Caleb’s jibes.
But when the two start talking, not only does Ben find himself won over by Caleb’s roguish charm, but he also learns his seatmate is also bisexual..
The Bewitching Hour by Ashley Poston (1st)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan-favorite and LGBTQIA+ icon Tara Maclay becomes the main character in this prequel.
Tara Maclay isn’t thrilled to be in a new town for her senior year of high school. If she can keep her head down, though, then maybe she can make it through unscathed.
Of course, her plan falls apart immediately: dead students start turning up around her, and the girl Tara’s crushing on turns out to be a witch-hunter. So maybe it’s Tara’s magic malfunctioning isn’t the worst thing.
As the body count rises, Tara has to get past her fears and reconnect with her magic to save the town—even if it means putting her new relationship at risk.
K just wants to be an American boy—shooting hoops with his two older brothers and riding his Huffy with his buddies around the San Fernando Valley. But K knows there’s something different about himself, a longing that draws him closer to his best friend while making him feel increasingly alienated from everyone around him. At home, K must navigate another confusing identity: that of the faithful son of Iranian immigrants struggling to survive in the United States. To make his mother proud, he tries to do well in school and help around the apartment, uncertain of whether he can live up to her ideal of a son. On Friday nights, K dutifully attends prayers at the local mosque with his unknowable father, whose affection and violence distort K’s understanding of what it means to be a man and how to love.
Bellies by Nicola Dinan (1st)
It begins as your typical boy meets boy. While out with friends at their local university drag night, Tom buys Ming a drink. Confident and witty, a magnetic young playwright, Ming is the perfect antidote to Tom’s awkward energy, and their connection is instant. Tom finds himself deeply and desperately drawn into Ming’s orbit, and on the cusp of graduation, he’s already mapped out their future together. But shortly after they move to London to start their next chapter, Ming announces her intention to transition.
From London to Kuala Lumpur, New York to Cologne, we follow Tom and Ming as they face tectonic shifts in their relationship and friend circle in the wake of Ming’s transition. Through a spiral of unforeseen crises—some personal, some professional, some life-altering—Tom and Ming are forced to confront the vastly different shapes their lives have taken since graduating, and each must answer the essential question: Is it worth losing a part of yourself to become who you are?
Lush Lives by J. Vanessa Lyon (1st)
For Glory Hopkins, inheriting her Aunt Lucille’s Harlem brownstone feels more like a curse than a blessing. As a restless artist struggling to find gallery representation, Glory doesn’t have the money, time, or patience to look after the aging house of an aunt she barely knew. But when she stumbles into Parkie de Groot, a savvy, ambitious auction house appraiser on the verge of a coveted promotion, her unexpected inheritance begins to look more promising. Glory and Parkie form an unlikely alliance and work to unearth the origins of a rare manuscript hidden in the brownstone’s trove. In doing so, they uncover not only the well-kept secrets of Lucille’s life but also the complex relationships between Harlem and its distinguished residents.
Undeniable as their connection may be, complications arise that threaten to tear apart their newly forged relationship. Between Parkie’s struggle to overcome the heartache of past romances and professional problems that threaten to end her rising career, and Glory’s unbridled and all-consuming drive, they begin to keep secrets from each other. The deeper they dig into the mysteries of the Harlem brownstone, the more fraught their relationship becomes.
The Lookback Window by Kyle Dillon Hertz (1st)
Growing up in suburban New York, Dylan lived through the unfathomable: three years as a victim of sex trafficking at the hands of Vincent, a troubled young man who promised to marry Dylan when he turned eighteen. Years later—long after a police investigation that went nowhere, and after the statute of limitations for the crimes perpetrated against him have run out—the long shadow of Dylan’s trauma still looms over the fragile life in the city he’s managed to build with his fiancé, Moans, who knows little of Dylan’s past. His continued existence depends upon an all-important mantra: To survive, you live through it, but never look back.
Then a groundbreaking new law—the Child Victims Act—opens a new way foreword: a one-year window during which Dylan can sue his abusers. But for someone who was trafficked as a child, does money represent justice—does his pain have a price? As Dylan is forced to look back at what happened to him and try to make sense of his past, he begins to explore a drug and sex-fueled world of bathhouses, clubs, and strangers’ apartments, only to emerge, barely alive, with a new clarity of purpose: a righteous determination to gaze, unflinching, upon the brutal men whose faces have haunted him for a decade, and to extract justice on his own terms.
Falling Back in Love with Being Human by Kai Cheng Thom (1st)
What happens when we imagine loving the people—and the parts of ourselves—that we do not believe are worthy of love?
Kai Cheng Thom grew up a Chinese Canadian transgender girl in a hostile world. As an activist, psychotherapist, conflict mediator, and spiritual healer, she’s always pursued the same deeply personal mission: to embrace the revolutionary belief that every human being, no matter how hateful or horrible, is intrinsically sacred.
But then Kai Cheng found herself in a crisis of faith, overwhelmed by the viciousness with which people treated one another, and barely clinging to the values and ideals she’d built her life around: justice, hope, love, and healing. Rather than succumb to despair and cynicism, she gathered all her rage and grief and took one last leap of faith: she wrote. Whether prayers or spells or poems—and whether there’s a difference—she wrote to affirm the outcasts and runaways she calls her kin. She wrote to flawed but nonetheless lovable men, to people with good intentions who harm their own, to racists and transphobes seemingly beyond saving. What emerged was a blueprint for falling back in love with being human.
With Love, From Cold World by Alicia Thompson (1st)
Lauren Fox is the bookkeeper for Cold World, a tourist destination that’s always a winter wonderland despite being located in humid Orlando, Florida. Sure, it’s ranked way below any of the trademarked amusement parks and maybe foot traffic could be better. But it’s a fun place to work, even if “fun” isn’t exactly Lauren’s middle name.
Her coworker Asa Williamson, on the other hand, is all about finding ways to enliven his days at Cold World–whether that means organizing the Secret Santa or teasing Lauren. When the owner asks Lauren and Asa to propose something (anything, really) to raise more revenue, their rivalry heats up as they compete to come up with the best idea. But the situation is more dire than they thought, and it might take these polar opposites working together to save the day. If Asa thought Lauren didn’t know how to enjoy herself, he’s surprised by how much he enjoys spending time together. And if Lauren thought Asa wasn’t serious about anything, she’s surprised by how seriously he seems to take her.
As Lauren and Asa work to save their beloved wintery spot, they realize the real attraction might be the heat generating between them.
The Way Life Should Be by William Dameron (1st)
Husbands Thomas and Matt are enjoying a second-chance marriage after coming out, leaving their wives, and finding happiness in a summer cottage on the southern coast of Maine. They’ve kept a tenuous peace with their exes. Thomas toils in the garden. There is an ease to their love. This is the way life should be.
But it’s not long before their three children—each nearing adulthood and fleeing personal crises of their own—descend on their fathers’ bliss. The two-bedroom getaway has just enough space for Thomas and Matt’s future. Now they must make room for the past, and all its drama.
During an unintentional family reunion, old lives, broken and in need of repair, converge with the new. Over the course of an unforgettable summer, two fathers and their children will come together. They’ll understand what life still can be. Pain, anger, flaws and all, they’re determined to forge a loving way forward.
Speech Team by Tim Murphy (1st)
Note: This title actually came out last week, but since I missed the pub date move for blogging purposes, I’m keeping it here.
Late one morning, parked in a desk chair at his humdrum job, Tip Murray finds himself reading the suicide note of his long-lost high school friend Pete Stroman. Mentioned in the note as a root cause of Pete’s despair? A disparaging comment made to him about his developmental disability by none other than their high school speech team coach, Gary Gold.
As more thorny memories surface from their eighties adolescence, Tip and his best friend, fellow speech team alum Nat Farb-Miola, decide to reconnect with their other teammates, and they discover an unsettling thread: all were quietly wounded by Mr. Gold’s deeply cutting remarks. The silver lining? Gary Gold is still alive, and a quick Google search tells the quartet that he has retired to Florida. There’s only one thing left to do: confront him.
Fit for the Gods ed. by Jenn Northington and S. Zainab Williams (1st)
An anthology of gender-bent, queered, race-bent, and inclusive retellings from the enchanting and eternally popular world of Greek myth, featuring stories by:
Marika Bailey • Alyssa Cole • Zoraida Córdova • Maya Deane • Sarah Gailey • Zeyn Joukhadar • Mia P. Manansala • Juliana Spink Mills • Susan Purr • Taylor Rae • Jude Reali • Suleikha Snyder • Valerie Valdes • S. Zainab Williams • Wen Wen Yang
Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, and the other denizens of Mount Olympus feel almost as present and larger than life today as they did when they were worshipped as gods. Humanity has been telling and retelling stories about the characters from Greek and Roman myth for centuries—heck, the Romans liked the Hellenic originals so much, they remade them faster than Marvel remakes Spider-Man movies. And from Virgil’s Aeneid to Xena: Warrior Princess to Percy Jackson to The Song of Achilles, the obsession has never waned.
Yet Fit for the Gods shows how these stories still have a power of metamorphosis that would impress Ovid. Brave, bold, and groundbreaking, the stories in Fit for the Gods will be like ambrosia for those craving fresh interpretations of their favorite myths, and give long-time fans a chance to finally see themselves in these beloved legends.
The Pirate and the Porcelain Girl by Emily Riesbeck (text) and NJ Barna (illustration) (8th)
“I want to be beautiful. I want to be interesting. I want to be enough.”
That was Ferra Brickminder’s prayer to win back the love of her life. And the gods answer—just not in the way she expected. After hoping for a miracle, Ferra instead watches her skin turn into delicate and dangerously breakable porcelain.
Elsewhere, Brigantine de la Girona, a disgraced orc pirate captain, has her own problems. Penniless and banished from her home, Brig struggles to make ends meet with her crew as her only support. So, when a desperate Ferra enlists Brig to sail her across the Great Sea to her ex-girlfriend’s home for a very handsome fee, Brig is happy to strike a deal.
Pampered Ferra and tough-as-nails Brig quickly butt heads, bickering their way across the high seas, but as they encounter increasingly perilous obstacles—including the gods themselves—the two become reluctant allies…and maybe more.
Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert (8th)
Aphrodite has never flinched at getting her perfectly manicured hands dirty, and she’s not about to start now―even if that means marrying Olympus’s enemy number one, the new Hephaestus. She has a wicked plan to keep her deadly new husband off-balance, seducing the one person he seems to care about most in this world: Pandora, a woman as beautiful as she is sweet.
Two can play the seduction game, however, and Hephaestus is all too happy to put his new wife in her place. Her ex, Adonis, seems like he’ll do the trick. It doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous in the way of fallen angels, either.
The only problem with using seduction as a weapon? Hearts are all too quick to get involved. With Hephaestus and Aphrodite trading venomous strikes that feel a whole lot like foreplay, lines become blurred and emotions entangled. But a broken heart may be the least of their worries. With unrest in Olympus reaching new heights, these bedroom games may have deadly consequences for themselves, their city, and everyone they’ve come to love.
Congratulations, the Best is Over: Essays by R. Eric Thomas (8th)
After going viral “reading” the chaotic political news, having one-too-many awkward social encounters, and coming to terms with his intersecting identities, R. Eric Thomas is ready to live his best life. Or, if not, at least his best-ish life.
Now, in this collection of insightful and hilarious essays, Eric finds himself doing things completely out of character, starting with moving back to his perpetually misunderstood hometown of Baltimore. They say you can’t go home again, but what if you and home have changed beyond recognition? From attending his twenty-year high school reunion and discovering another person’s face on his name badge, to splattering an urgent care room with blood à la The Shining, to being terrorized by a plague of gay frogs who’ve overtaken his backyard, Eric provides the nitty, and sometimes gritty, details of wrestling with your past life while in the middle of a new one.
With wit, heart, and hope for the future, Congratulations, The Best Is Over! is the not-so-gentle reminder we all need that even when life doesn’t go according to plan, we can still find our way back home.
Late Bloomer: Finding My Authentic Self at Midlife by Melissa Giberson (8th)
Melissa Giberson is a middle-aged suburban wife and mother of two kids, solidly planted in the life she’s always wanted. Yet she longs for something more—something she can’t quite put her finger on until, one day at the Y, she finds herself mesmerized by the sight of a naked woman and asks herself for the first time: Am I gay?
This revelation sends Melissa on a head-spinning journey of self-discovery, one that challenges everything she thinks she knows about herself, forces her to decide exactly how much she’s willing to risk for authenticity, and shakes the foundations of the family she’s fiercely determined to shield from the kinds of wounds she sustained during her own childhood. Torn between her desire to be true to herself and her desire to protect her children, she is consumed by fear and conflicting emotions—and when her husband unexpectedly serves her divorce papers, her confusion only deepens.
Adrift in uncharted waters, Melissa finds fragments of understanding and peace in unexpected places—in a conference room in Israel, a small fishing village in Cape Cod, and at a yoga retreat center—that help her deconstruct her preconceptions about faith and identity and begin to construct a new framework for her life. Over the course of her ten-year journey, she finds hope, love, and more courage than she ever knew she was capable of, and she gradually assembles the puzzle that is her—the real her.
Cinderella and a Mouse Called Fred by Deborah Hopkinson (text) and Paul O. Zelinsky (art) (15th)
If you thought you knew the fairy tale CINDERELLA, think again!
Did you know that the fairy godmother was actually grouchy? Or that the rodent she transformed into the coach’s horse was named Fred? Or that Cinderella hid from the prince when he came looking for her with that uncomfortable glass slipper?!
A best loved fairytale is given the ending it deserves in this clever picture book that shows a heroine shape her own destiny…and find her fairytale princess.
The Last Girls Standing by Jennifer Dugan (15th)
You don’t usually meet the love of your life while running from masked men with machetes, but that’s exactly what happens to Sloan after surviving a ritual killing that left so many of her fellow summer camp counselors dead. Cherry, the only other survivor, becomes a lifeline for Sloan, their traumatic experience bonding them in ways no one else can understand.
As the girls get closer, and Sloan learns more about the motives behind the attack that brought them together, she begins to suspect that Cherry may be more than just a survivor—she may actually have been a part of it. Cherry tries to reassure her, but Sloan only becomes more distraught. Is this gaslighting or reality? Is Cherry a victim or a perpetrator? Is Sloan losing her mind, or seeing things clearly for the first time?
Against all odds, Sloan survived that hot summer night. But will she survive what comes next?
Look No Further by Rioghnach Robinson and Siofra Robinson (15th)
Even masterpieces have messy beginnings.
When seventeen-year-old Niko and fifteen-year-old Ali meet at Ogilvy Summer Art Institute, a selective camp for art students in New York City, they seem like complete opposites. Ali comes across as overeager to laid-back Niko, who feels like a fish out of water surrounded by so many type A peers. So when a teacher assigns them a personal history project, Ali and Niko are shocked to find they have a lot more in common than they bargained for.
As the pair embark on a quest to uncover their shared history, Ali finds herself falling for a girl at Ogilvy—a girl who’s in an intimidating clique of older queer kids—and surfer-bro Niko struggles to find his footing in the glamorous NYC art scene. Soon they’re both questioning their preconceptions about the world and each other. But only when they face real heartbreak can they accept the most transformative revelation of all: The best art is what you make, not just what you see.
Airlock by Tash McAdam (15th)
There’s nothing left for them on the dusty, barren wasteland of Earth anyway. Brick stows away on a cargo ship headed for the moon. They reluctantly allow a local teenage enforcer named Amar to tag along. But the ship ends up containing unusual cargo and the crew members may not be who they appear to be.
Suddenly the spaceship is taken over by pirates, who imprison the crew in the airlock. Brick and Amar come up with a plan to rescue the crew. The only problem is that, in order to succeed, Brick must venture out into the deep darkness of space.
New Adult by Timothy Janovsky (15th)
Twenty-three-year-old Nolan Baker wants it all by the time he’s thirty. Too bad he’s single, barely able to cover his own expenses, and still paying his dues at a prominent NYC comedy club. When faced with his perfect sister’s wedding, Nolan takes it as a wakeup call. It’s time to quit comedy and make good on his practical dreams—most importantly, asking Drew Techler, his best friend, to be his date.
But right as Nolan is about to give it all up, he’s asked to fill a last-minute spot for a famous comedian. Score! He crushes his set, but stands Drew up, misses his sister’s big day, and disappoints his entire family. After major blowouts with everyone he loves, Nolan desperately wishes on a set of gift “magical healing crystals” to skip to the good part of life. When he wakes the next morning, it’s seven years later, he’s a successful comedian, and he has everything he always thought he wanted. Everything, that is, except his friends and family, none of whom are taking his future self’s calls.
With nowhere else to turn, Nolan sets out to find the only person he trusts to help. Except Drew is all grown up now, too. He’s hot, successful…and hates Nolan’s guts. As Nolan works to get back to his younger self—and the life he so carelessly threw away—he’ll have to prove he’s not the man everyone thinks they know in order to regain Drew’s trust, friendship, and maybe, ultimately, his heart.
Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go by Cleo Qian (15th)
The electric, unsettling, and often surreal stories in LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO explore the alienated, technology-mediated lives of restless Asian and Asian American women today. A woman escapes into dating simulations to forget her best friend’s abandonment; a teenager begins to see menacing omens on others’ bodies after her double eyelid surgery; reunited schoolmates are drawn into the Japanese mountains to participate in an uncanny social experiment; a supernatural karaoke machine becomes a K-pop star’s channel for redemption. In every story, characters refuse dutiful, docile stereotypes. They are ready to explode, to question conventions. Their compulsions tangle with unrequited longing and queer desire in their search for something ineffable across cities, countries, and virtual worlds.
With precision and provocation, Cleo Qian’s immersive debut jolts us into the reality of lives fragmented by screens, relentless consumer culture, and the flattening pressures of modern society―and asks how we might hold on to tenderness against the impulses within us.
Peaches and Cream by Georgia Beers (15th)
As a kid, Adley Purcell dreamed of owning Get the Scoop ice cream shop, and now that she does, she’s worried it could go under. She’s trying to focus on her love of ice cream, but she’s edgy and stressed. And how the hell she’ll survive national dessert chain Sweet Heaven opening a store less than two blocks away, she has no idea. Life is a rocky road right now, and there’s only one cherry on top: the sexy business suit-clad blonde at happy hour.
Sabrina James doesn’t stay still. Sweet Heaven takes her all over the country, opening new stores, then moving on to the next city. Smooth and simple. Until the gorgeous woman she meets at a bar who leaves her craving more turns out to own the small-town ice cream shop barely two blocks from the new Sweet Heaven location. Could life get any more complicated?
Have Adley and Sabrina bitten off more than they can chew, or will they swirl the salty with the sweet? In love and ice cream there’s only one rule: When life gives you heavenly hash, eat dessert first.
Crush by Ana Hartnett Reichardt (15th)
Josie Sanchez is the head winemaker at Cadieux Vineyards, and all her dreams ride on the upcoming crush. If she can produce a gold medal pinot noir, the owner will give Josie her own wine label. Finally. She’s worked years for this opportunity, and nothing will stand in her way. Not even Mac, the owner’s annoyingly beautiful niece who doesn’t know anything about wine, but whom Josie’s forced to hire as her only harvest intern. Josie can’t imagine a more ill-suited partner for the most important harvest of her life.
After a lackluster start in her marketing career, Mackenzie Layton is eager to jump headfirst into the illustrious Willamette Valley wine industry. Thanks to her uncle, her first harvest job is with one of the most prestigious wineries in town. But when she meets Josie, it’s clear her presence is a nuisance, even if she does occasionally catch Josie’s gaze lingering on her. Mac has a proclivity for misadventure, and she is unable to resist the one person who is off limits.
This crush will be a messy one, indeed.
Where the Dead Sleep by Joshua Moehling (15th)
This is the second book in the Ben Packard series
A small town’s dark secrets turn deadly…
When an early morning call brings Deputy Ben Packard to the scene of a home invasion, he finds Bill Sandersen shot in his bed. Bill was a well-liked local who chased easy money his whole life, leaving bad debts and broken hearts in his wake. Everyone Packard talks to has a story about Bill, but no one has a clear motive for wanting him dead. The business partner. The ex-wife. The current wife. The high-stakes poker buddies. Any of them―or none of them―could be guilty.
As the investigation begins, tragedy strikes the Sheriff’s department, forcing Packard to make a difficult choice about his future: step down as acting Sheriff and pursue the quiet life he came to Sandy Lake in search of, or subject himself to the scrutiny of an election for the full-time role of Sheriff, a job he’s not sure he wants.
There’s a hidden history to Sandy Lake that Packard, ever the outsider, can’t see. Bad blood and old secrets run deep. But an attempt on Packard’s life means he’s getting uncomfortably close to the dangerous legacy of the quiet Minnesota town. And someone will do anything to keep it hidden.
Thin Skin: Essays by Jen Shapland (15th)
For Jenn Shapland, the barrier between herself and the world is porous; she was even diagnosed with extreme dermatologic sensitivity—thin skin.
Recognizing how deeply vulnerable we all are to our surroundings, she becomes aware of the impacts our tiniest choices have on people, places, and species far away. She can’t stop seeing the ways we are enmeshed and entangled with everyone else on the planet. Despite our attempts to cordon ourselves off from risk, our boundaries are permeable.
Weaving together historical research, interviews, and her everyday life in New Mexico, Shapland probes the lines between self and work, human and animal, need and desire. She traces the legacies of nuclear weapons development on Native land, unable to let go of her search for contamination until it bleeds out into her own family’s medical history. She questions the toxic myth of white womanhood and the fear of traveling alone that she’s been made to feel since girlhood. And she explores her desire to build a creative life as a queer woman, asking whether such a thing as a meaningful life is possible under capitalism.
Nobody Needs to Know: A Memoir by Pidgeon Pagonis (15th)
Pidgeon Pagonis always felt like their life was a constant attempt to fit in with other girls―a feeling that was only exacerbated when puberty failed to hit. They never understood why…until they uncovered the secret that had haunted their childhood.
Bouncing between their Chicago home and the city’s children’s hospital, Pidgeon weathered a series of traumatic surgeries, fabrications, and misdirections. It wasn’t until college that Pidgeon pieced together the puzzle of their identity: they’d been born intersex but raised as a girl, their life shaped by lies that left them physically and mentally scarred. But for Pidgeon, what began as a shameful and traumatic discovery transforms into a painful yet joyous journey of self-love, truth, and healing.
Pidgeon’s inspiring memoir is for everyone whose body and spirit defy expectations, a fierce challenge to a system hell-bent on enforcing binary definitions. Ultimately, it’s a celebration of the freedom and empowerment that come from learning the truth about who you are―and living it.
Cold Girls by Maxine Rae (22nd)
Eighteen-year-old Rory Quinn-Morelli doesn’t want to die; she wants refuge from reality for even a minute: the reality where she survived the car crash eight months ago, and her best friend, Liv, didn’t. Yet her exasperating mother won’t believe the Xanax incident was an accident, and her therapist is making it increasingly hard to maintain the detached, impenetrable “cold girl” façade she adopted from Liv. After she unintentionally reconnects with Liv’s parents, Rory must decide: will she keep Liv’s and her secrets inside, or will she finally allow herself to break? And if she breaks, what will she unearth amid the pieces?
Teach the Torches to Burn by Caleb Roehrig (22nd)
Verona, Italy. Seventeen-year-old aspiring artist Romeo dreams of a quiet life with someone who loves him just as he is. But as the heir to the Montague family, he is expected to give up his womanly artistic pursuits and uphold the family honor–particularly in their centuries-old blood feud with a rival family, the Capulets. Worse still, he is also expected to marry a well-bred girl approved by his parents and produce heirs. But the more Romeo is forced to mingle with eligible maidens, the harder it is to keep his deepest secret: He only feels attracted to other boys.
In an attempt to forget his troubles for just one night, Romeo joins his cousin in sneaking into a Capulet party. During a fateful encounter in the garden, he meets the kindest, most beautiful boy he’s ever encountered, and is shocked to learn he’s Valentine, the younger brother of one of his closest friends. He is even more shocked to discover that Valentine is just as enamored with Romeo as Romeo is with him.
So begins a tender romance that the boys must hide from their families and friends, each of them longing for a world where they could be together without fear. And as the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets escalates out of control, Romeo and Valentine find themselves in danger of losing each other forever–if not by society’s scorn, then by the edge of a blade.
Unexpecting by Jen Bailey (22nd)
Benjamin Morrison is about to start junior year of high school and while his family is challenging, he is pretty content with his life, with his two best friends, and being a part of the robotics club. Until an experiment at science camp has completely unexpected consequences.
He is going to be a father. Something his mother was not expecting after he came out as gay and she certainly wasn’t expecting that he would want to raise the baby as a single father. But together they come up with a plan to prepare Ben for fatherhood and fight for his rights.
The weight of Ben’s decision presses down on him. He’s always tired, his grades fall, and tension rises between his mom and stepfather. He’s letting down his friends in the robotics club whose future hinges on his expertise. If it wasn’t for his renewed friendship (and maybe more) with a boy from his past, he wouldn’t be able to face the daily ridicule at school or the crumbling relationship with his best friends.
With every new challenge, every new sacrifice he has to make, Ben questions his choice. He’s lived with a void in his heart where a father’s presence should have been, and the fear of putting his own child through that keeps him clinging to his decision. When the baby might be in danger, Ben’s faced with a heart-wrenching realization: sometimes being a parent means making the hard choices even if they are the choices you don’t want to make…
Board to Death by CJ Connor (22nd)
Back in his hometown of Sugar House running his family’s board game shop and cafe, Ben Rosencrantz just can’t seem to get his life to pass go, much less collect $200. Once he was a happily married English professor in Seattle. Now he’s a divorced caregiver, looking after his ill father and a chihuahua named Beans while still figuring out the rules of retail management. At least the town has become more LGBTQ+ friendly than when Ben was a teenager—and that flower shop owner Ezra McCaslin enjoys flirting with him.
But despite his usual clientele of gamers, Ben is barely earning enough to keep the store running and stay on top of his father’s medical bills. Then a local toy and game collector named Clive offers him a winning strategy—to purchase a turn-of-the-twentieth-century edition of The Landlord’s Game, the realty and taxation game that inspired Monopoly, at a tenth of the rare edition’s true value. Suspicious of Clive’s shady, low-priced deal, Ben turns the offer down.
Then Clive turns up dead in the dumpster behind Ben’s shop and a backpack full of $100 bills appears on his doorstep. Now Ben is the #1 suspect in Clive’s death, and unless he and Ezra can prove his innocence and find the real killer, he’ll go to jail for murder—and no amount of double dice rolls will set him free . . .
The Water Outlaws by S.L. Huang (22nd)
In the jianghu, you break the law to make it your own.
Lin Chong is an expert arms instructor, training the Emperor’s soldiers in sword and truncheon, battle axe and spear, lance and crossbow. Unlike bolder friends who flirt with challenging the unequal hierarchies and values of Imperial society, she believes in keeping her head down and doing her job.
Until a powerful man with a vendetta rips that carefully-built life away.
Disgraced, tattooed as a criminal, and on the run from an Imperial Marshall who will stop at nothing to see her dead, Lin Chong is recruited by the Bandits of Liangshan. Mountain outlaws on the margins of society, the Liangshan Bandits proclaim a belief in justice—for women, for the downtrodden, for progressive thinkers a corrupt Empire would imprison or destroy. They’re also murderers, thieves, smugglers, and cutthroats.
Apart, they love like demons and fight like tigers. Together, they could bring down an empire.
In Charm’s Way by Lana Harper (22nd)
Seven months after having been hit by an accidental power surge that nearly obliterated her memory, Delilah Harlow is still picking up the pieces. Her once diamond-sharp mind has become shaky and unreliable, and bristly, self-sufficient Delilah is forced to rely on friends, family, and her raven familiar for help. In an effort to reclaim her wits and former independence, she casts a forbidden blood spell meant to harness power with healing capacities.
While the spell does restore clarity, it also unexpectedly turns Delilah into an irresistible beacon for the kind of malevolent supernatural creatures that have never ventured into Thistle Grove before. One night—just as things are about to go terribly sideways with a rogue succubus—a mysterious stranger appears in the nick of time to save Delilah’s soul.
Gorgeous, sultry, and as dangerous as the knives she carries, Catriona Quinn is a hunter of monsters—and half-human half-creature herself, the kind of sly and morally gray fae Delilah would normally find horrifying. Though Delilah balks at the idea of a partnership, she has no choice but to roll the dice on their collaboration. As the two delve deeper into the power that underlies Thistle Grove, they uncover not only the town’s hidden history but also a risky attraction that could upend Delilah’s entire life.
He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan (22nd)
This is the sequel to She Who Became the Sun
How much would you give to win the world?
Zhu Yuanzhang, the Radiant King, is riding high after her victory that tore southern China from its Mongol masters. Now she burns with a new desire: to seize the throne and crown herself emperor.
But Zhu isn’t the only one with imperial ambitions. Her neighbor in the south, the courtesan Madam Zhang, wants the throne for her husband—and she’s strong enough to wipe Zhu off the map. To stay in the game, Zhu will have to gamble everything on a risky alliance with an old enemy: the talented but unstable eunuch general Ouyang, who has already sacrificed everything for a chance at revenge on his father’s killer, the Great Khan.
Unbeknownst to the southerners, a new contender is even closer to the throne. The scorned scholar Wang Baoxiang has maneuvered his way into the capital, and his lethal court games threaten to bring the empire to its knees. For Baoxiang also desires revenge: to become the most degenerate Great Khan in history—and in so doing, make a mockery of every value his Mongol warrior family loved more than him.
All the contenders are determined to do whatever it takes to win. But when desire is the size of the world, the price could be too much for even the most ruthless heart to bear…
The Body in the Back Garden by Mike Waddell (22nd)
Crescent Cove, a small hamlet on Vancouver Island, is the last place out-of-work investigative journalist Luke Tremblay ever wanted to see again. He used to spend summers here, until his family learned that he was gay and rejected him. Now, following his aunt’s sudden death, he’s inherited her entire estate, including her seaside cottage and the antiques shop she ran for forty years in Crescent Cove. Luke plans to sell everything and head back to Toronto as soon as he can…but Crescent Cove isn’t done with him just yet.
When a stranger starts making wild claims about Luke’s aunt, Luke sends him packing. The next morning, though, Luke discovers that the stranger has returned, and now he’s lying dead in the back garden. To make matters worse, the officer leading the investigation is a handsome Mountie with a chip on his shoulder who seems convinced that Luke is the culprit. If he wants to prove his innocence and leave this town once and for all, Luke will have to use all his skills as a journalist to investigate the colorful locals while coming to terms with his own painful past.
There are secrets buried in Crescent Cove, and the more Luke digs, the more he fears they might change the town forever.
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
Back in the Land of the Living by Eva Crocker (22nd)
Back in the Land of the Living brings us a year in the life of Marcy, a young queer woman who moves to Montreal in the fall of 2019 after making a mess of her life in St. John’s. Alone in a big city on the brink of lockdown, Marcy finds herself working an assortment of odd and sometimes dangerous, sometimes ethically questionable jobs, and swept up in a tumultuous romance with a charismatic woman. As friends, loyalties, and philosophies collide, Marcy tries to carve out a future amidst the intertwined crises of late capitalism, the climate apocalypse, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Midnight Kingdom by Tara Sim (22nd)
This is the sequel to The City of Dusk
A cataclysmic battle to save the city of Nexus has left the four noble heirs scattered across the realms.
Taesia, the shadow-wielding rebel of House Lastrider, and Nikolas, the reluctant soldier of House Cyr, have been cast into Noctus, the realm of eternal night. But they are not alone. The dangerous and unpredictable god of light has traveled with them, and he will do anything in his power to destroy Noctus in his bid for cosmic control.
Risha, the peacekeeping necromancer of House Vakara, must navigate her way through Mortri, the realm of death. But still she cannot help the wayward spirits, nor does she have any idea how to return home. All she knows is that no mortal can survive for long in Mortri. And the creatures that prowl the realm of death don’t take kindly to the living.
Angelica, the stubborn elementalist of House Mardova, is on her own in Vitae, trying to keep Nexus from unraveling. But Angelica secretly suffers from an illness that her god left in her veins. And when she is sent on a delicate diplomatic mission, she knows that any weakness will have disastrous repercussions for her family, her kingdom, and her dreams of the throne.
All will encounter old friends and new enemies as they attempt to restore the balance of the universe. But the gods grow stronger. And their descendants will need more than their magic and their wits to survive the war that is coming…
Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon
Night of the Living Queers ed. by Shelly Page and Alex Brown (29th)
No matter its name or occasion, Halloween is more than a Hallmark holiday, it’s a symbol of transformation. NIGHT OF THE LIVING QUEERS is a YA horror anthology that explores how Halloween can be more than just candies and frights, but a night where anything is possible. Each short story is told through the lens of a different BIPOC teen and the Halloween night that changes their lives forever. Creative, creepy, and queer, this collection brings fresh terror, heart, and humor to young adult literature.
Contributors include editors Alex Brown and Shelly Page, Kalynn Bayron, Ryan Douglass, Sara Farizan, Maya Gittelman, Kosoko Jackson, Em Liu, Vanessa Montalban, Ayida Shonibar, Tara Sim, Trang Thanh Tran, and Rebecca Kim Wells.
Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh by Rachael Lippincott (29th)
What if you found a once-in-a-lifetime love…just not in your lifetime?
Audrey Cameron has lost her spark. But after getting dumped by her first love and waitlisted at her dream art school all in one week, she has no intention of putting her heart on the line again to get it back. So when local curmudgeon Mr. Montgomery walks into her family’s Pittsburgh convenience store saying he can help her, Audrey doesn’t know what she’s expecting…but it’s definitely not that she’ll be transported back to 1812 to become a Regency romance heroine.
Lucy Sinclair isn’t expecting to find an oddly dressed girl claiming to be from two hundred years in the future on her family’s estate. But she has to admit it’s a welcome distraction from being courted by a man her father expects her to marry—who offers a future she couldn’t be less interested in. Not that anyone has cared about what or who she’s interested in since her mother died, taking Lucy’s spark with her.
While the two girls try to understand what’s happening and how to send Audrey home, their sparks make a comeback in a most unexpected way. Because as they both try over and over to fall for their suitors and the happily-ever-afters everyone expects of them, they find instead they don’t have to try at all to fall for each other.
But can a most unexpected love story survive even more impossible circumstances?
Eden II by K. Wroten (29th)
In the grungy, punk-inflected world K. Wroten creates, a cast of disaffected Queer young characters struggle to find their purpose in life. Faced with a dying Earth and numbingly useless jobs, protagonists Ellis and Dr. Otis Heck invent an immersive virtual reality game, Eden II. But when Heck betrays Ellis and sells the game to a mysterious corporation, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur. As each chapter highlights a new character in the ensemble, the game’s impact grows as the world becomes consumed by fantasy.
Learned by Heart by Emma Donoghue (29th)
Drawing on years of investigation and Anne Lister’s five-million-word secret journal, Learned by Heart is the long-buried love story of Eliza Raine, an orphan heiress banished from India to England at age six, and Anne Lister, a brilliant, troublesome tomboy, who meet at the Manor School for young ladies in York in 1805 when they are both fourteen.
Emotionally intense, psychologically compelling, and deeply researched, Learned by Heart is an extraordinary work of fiction by one of the world’s greatest storytellers. Full of passion and heartbreak, the tangled lives of Anne Lister and Eliza Raine form a love story for the ages.