Real Bad Things by Kelly J. Ford (1st)
Beneath the roiling waters of the Arkansas River lie dead men and buried secrets.
When Jane Mooney’s violent stepfather, Warren, disappeared, most folks in Maud Bottoms, Arkansas, assumed he got drunk and drowned. After all, the river had claimed its share over the years.
When Jane confessed to his murder, she should have gone to jail. That’s what she wanted. But without a body, the police didn’t charge her with the crime. So Jane left for Boston—and took her secrets with her.
Twenty-five years later, the river floods and a body surfaces. Talk of Warren’s murder grips the town. Now in her forties, Jane returns to Maud Bottoms to reckon with her past: to do jail time, to face her revenge-bent mother, to make things right.
But though Jane’s homecoming may enlighten some, it could threaten others. Because in this desolate river valley, some secrets are better left undisturbed.
Murder at Union Station by David S. Pederson (1st)
This is the second book of the Private Detective Mason Adler Mysteries
Phoenix, May 6, 1946
At close to midnight in the Union Station baggage room, the air is hot, still, and thick. The eleven forty-five Golden State Limited to Los Angeles is approaching rapidly when the baggage handler, Alfred Brody, notices a stray hound dog sniffing around one of the steamer trunks. The horrific discovery of a body inside the trunk can mean only one thing: there’s a murderer among them.
The young woman was certainly murdered, but who did it, and why? Suspects and motives abound as Private Detective Mason Adler investigates. He soon realizes that nothing, and no one, are what they seem to be as he races to uncover the truth and bring the real murderer to justice without becoming the next victim.
Moonflower by Kacen Callender (6th)
Moon has been plunged into a swill of uncertainty and confusion. They travel to the spirit realms every night, hoping never to return to the world of the living.
But when the realm is threatened, it’s up to Moon to save the spirit world, which sparks their own healing journey through the powerful, baffling, landscape that depression can cause.
From this novel’s very first utterance, author Kacen Callender puts us behind Moon’s eyes so that we, too, are engulfed by Moon’s troubling exploration through mental illness.
Moon’s mom is trying her best, but is clueless about what to do to reach the ugly roiling of her child’s inner struggles. At the same time, though, there are those who see Moon for who they are – Blue, the Keeper, the Magician, Wolf. These creature-guides help Moon find a way out of darkness. The ethereal aspects of the story are brilliantly blended with real-world glimmers of light. Slowly, Moon grows toward hope and wholeness, showing all children that each and every one of us has a tree growing inside. That our souls emerge when we discover, and fully accept, ourselves.
A Costume for Charly by C.K. Malone (text) and Alejandra Barajas (illustration) (6th)
Halloween is always tricky for Charly, and this year they are determined to find a costume that showcases both the feminine and masculine halves of their identity. Digging through their costume box, they explore many fun costumes. Some are masc. Some are femme. Some are neither. But all are lacking. As trick-or-treating looms, they must think outside the box to find the perfect costume–something that will allow them to present as one hundred percent Charly.
The Trouble with Robots by Michelle Mohrweis (6th)
Eighth-graders Evelyn and Allie are in trouble. Evelyn’s constant need for perfection has blown some fuses among her robotics teammates, and she’s worried nobody’s taking the upcoming competition seriously. Allie is new to school, and she’s had a history of short-circuiting on teachers and other kids.
So when Allie is assigned to the robotics team as a last resort, all Evelyn can see is just another wrench in the works! But as Allie confronts a past stricken with grief and learns to open up, the gears click into place as she discovers that Evelyn’s teammates have a lot to offer—if only Evelyn allowed them to participate in a role that plays to their strengths.
Can Evelyn learn to let go and listen to what Allie has to say? Or will their spot in the competition go up in smoke along with their school’s robotics program and Allie’s only chance at redemption?
Magical Boy vol. 2 by The Kao (6th)
Although he was assigned female at birth, Max is your average trans man trying to get through high school as himself. But on top of classes, crushes, and coming out, Max’s life is turned upside down when his mom reveals an eons old family secret: he’s descended from a long line of Magical Girls tasked with defending humanity from a dark, ancient evil!
For decades, Devoid and his minions have been sealed away, with each generation’s magical girl protecting the seal and our world. But as the millennia have passed, more and more cracks have appeared in the weakening seal. Now, the seal is open, evil is pouring into our world, and only Max can defeat it.
Self-Made Boys by Anna-Marie McLemore (6th)
New York City, 1922. Nicolás Caraveo, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Wisconsin, has no interest in the city’s glamor. Going to New York is all about establishing himself as a young professional, which could set up his future—and his life as a man—and benefit his family.
Nick rents a small house in West Egg from his 18-year-old cousin, Daisy Fabrega, who lives in fashionable East Egg near her wealthy fiancé, Tom—and Nick is shocked to find that his cousin now goes by Daisy Fay, has erased all signs of her Latina heritage, and now passes seamlessly as white.
Nick’s neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious young man named Jay Gatsby, whose castle-like mansion is the stage for parties so extravagant that they both dazzle and terrify Nick. At one of these parties, Nick learns that the spectacle is all for the benefit of impressing a girl from Jay’s past—Daisy. And he learns something else: Jay is also transgender.
As Nick is pulled deeper into the glittery culture of decadence, he spends more time with Jay, aiming to help his new friend reconnect with his lost love. But Nick’s feelings grow more complicated when he finds himself falling hard for Jay’s openness, idealism, and unfounded faith in the American Dream.
Coven by Jennifer Dugan (text) and Kit Seaton (illustration) (6th)
In this queer, paranormal YA graphic novel debut from the author of Some Girls Do and the illustrator of Wonder Woman: Warbringer, a young witch races to solve the grisly supernatural murders of her coven members before the killer strikes again.
Emsy has always lived in sunny California, and she’d much rather spend her days surfing with her friends or hanging out with her girlfriend than honing her powers as a fire elemental. But when members of her family’s coven back east are murdered under mysterious circumstances that can only be the result of powerful witchcraft, her family must suddenly return to dreary upstate New York. There, Emsy will have to master her neglected craft in order to find the killer . . . before her family becomes their next target.
The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas (6th)
As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all—they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.
Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya—daughter of Tierra, the god of earth—is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.
But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.
Funeral Girl by Emma K. Ohland (6th)
Sixteen-year-old Georgia Richter feels conflicted about the funeral home her parents run―especially because she has the ability to summon ghosts. With one touch of any body that passes through Richter Funeral Home, she can awaken the spirit of the departed. With one more touch, she makes the spirit disappear, to a fate that remains mysterious to Georgia. To cope with her deep anxiety about death, she does her best to fulfill the final wishes of the deceased whose ghosts she briefly revives.
Then her classmate Milo’s body arrives at Richter―and his spirit wants help with unfinished business, forcing Georgia to reckon with her relationship to grief and mortality.
Destination Unknown by Bill Konigsberg (6th)
The first thing I noticed about C.J. Gorman was his plexiglass bra.
So begins Destination Unknown — it’s 1987 in New York City, and Micah is at a dance club, trying to pretend he’s more out and outgoing than he really is. C.J. isn’t just out — he’s completely out there, and Micah can’t help but be both attracted to and afraid of someone who travels so loudly and proudly through the night.
A connection occurs. Is it friendship? Romance? Is C.J. the one with all the answers… or does Micah bring more to the relationship than it first seems? As their lives become more and more entangled in the AIDS epidemic that’s laying waste to their community, and the AIDS activism that will ultimately bring a strong voice to their demands, whatever Micah and C.J. have between them will be tested, strained, pushed, and pulled — but it will also be a lifeline in a time of death, a bond that will determine the course of their futures.
In Destination Unknown, Bill Konigsberg returns to a time he knew well as a teenager to tell a story of identity, connection, community, and survival.
The Holiday Trap by Roan Parrish (6th)
The Holiday but make it gay. Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don’t always understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.
Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.
Enter Greta and Truman’s mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over Christmas, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life…and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.
Luda by Grant Morrison (6th)
Luci LaBang is a star: For decades this flamboyant drag artist has cast a spell over screen and stage. Now she’s the leading lady in a smash hit musical. But as time takes its toll, Luci fears her star is beginning to dim.
When Luci’s co-star meets with a mysterious accident, a new ingenue shimmers onto the scene: Luda, whose fantastical beauty and sinister charm infatuate Luci immediately . . . and who bears a striking resemblance to Luci herself at a much younger age.
Luda begs Luci to share the secrets of her stardom and to reveal the hidden tricks of her trade. For Luci LaBang is a mistress of the Glamour, a mysterious discipline that draws on sex, drugs, and the occult for its trancelike, transformative effects.
But as Luci tutors her young protégée, their fellow actors and crew members begin meeting with untimely ends. Now Luci wonders if Luda has mastered the Glamour all too well . . . and exploited it to achieve her dark ambitions.
What follows is an intoxicating descent into the demimonde of Gasglow, a fantastical city of dreams, and into the nightmarish heart of Luda herself: a femme fatale, a phenomenon, a monster, and, perhaps, the brightest star of them all.
Sacrificio by Ernesto Mestre-Reed (6th)
Rafa, an Afro-Cuban orphan, moves to Havana with nothing to his name and falls into a job at a café. He is soon drawn into a web of bizarre, ever-shifting entanglements with his boss’s son, the charismatic Renato, leader of the counterrevolutionary group “Los Injected Ones,” which is planning a violent overthrow of the Castro government during Pope John Paul II’s upcoming visit.
When Renato goes missing, Rafa’s search for his friend takes him through various haunts in Havana: from an AIDS sanatorium, to the guest rooms of tourist hotels, to the outskirts of the capital, where he enters a phantasmagorical slum cobbled together from the city’s detritus by Los Injected Ones.
A novel of cascading prose that captures a nation in slow collapse, Sacrificio is a visionary work, capturing the fury, passion, fatalism, and grim humor of young lives lived at the margins of a society they desperately wish to change.
Winning Move by Skye Kilaen (6th)
No dating. That’s longtime divorcée Gina Kersey’s rule, and she’s sticking to it. Comfortably settled in her hometown of Clover Hill, she’d rather play board games than risk getting played herself. For company, she has her beloved if slightly meddlesome Great Aunt… who’s somehow made Gina promise to break her rule. She has to ask someone out. On a date. Maybe she could skip town instead?
Outgoing video game translator Marek Haas flew across the country to pick up the sports car of his teenage dreams—to celebrate getting over a breakup from the absolute worst boyfriend, not because he’s having a midlife crisis at thirty-five. In his automotive fantasies, though, the car didn’t break down in the middle of small-town nowhere.
Marek’s not a damsel in distress, but when Gina comes to his rescue on the side of the road, she can’t believe her luck. He’s handsome, charming, and most importantly, just passing through. Promise, meet loophole! When he turns out to be adorably nerdy as well, they skip drinks at the pub for a fun-filled night in Gina’s bed.
The problem? Marek’s vintage car needs parts the garage doesn’t have, so he’s stuck until they’re found. Meaning every time Gina turns around, her hot one night stand is still in her town, being all cute and friendly and sometimes taking his shirt off. Even worse, he seems to be falling for Clover Hill… and Gina might be falling for him.
Can Gina overcome her fears and take a chance on a geeky sweetheart who makes her weak at the knees, or will their unforgettable one night stand end up as nothing more than a memory?
Buy it: Amazon
Doughnuts and Doom by Balacz Lorinczi (6th)
When Margot meets Elena, emotions run high, magic is in the air, and doughnuts…float? One is a stressed-out witch trying to get her potions business off the ground, the other is a struggling rock musician whose band is going nowhere. Neither of them are having a good time! No wonder things quickly escalate from words to literal sparks flying when they first meet. Could this be the start of a delicious new relationship…or is a bad-luck curse leading them to certain doom?
I’m the Girl by Courtney Summers (13th)
When sixteen-year-old Georgia Avis discovers the dead body of thirteen-year-old Ashley James, she teams up with Ashley’s older sister, Nora, to find and bring the killer to justice before he strikes again. But their investigation throws Georgia into a world of unimaginable privilege and wealth, without conscience or consequence, and as Ashley’s killer closes in, Georgia will discover when money, power and beauty rule, it might not be a matter of who is guilty―but who is guiltiest.
A spiritual successor to the 2018 breakout hit, Sadie, I’m the Girl is a masterfully written, bold, and unflinching account of how one young woman feels in her body as she struggles to navigate a deadly and predatory power structure while asking readers one question: if this is the way the world is, do you accept it?
Death by Society by Sierra Elmore (13th)
Seventeen-year-old Carter Harper may have created an award-winning iPhone app and have a 3.93 GPA, but her successes are overshadowed by brutal bullying, debilitating depression, and biting loneliness. Tired of being treated as the popular girls’ plaything, Carter hatches a plan to gain their respect, and maybe even gain a bit of popularity of her own. When that doesn’t work, she thinks her only choice is to die by suicide.
Abby Wallace is a member of “the POPS” (the Petty, Oppressive, and Popular Shitbags, according to Carter)—subordinate only to Kelsey, her best friend with benefits. The ambitious poet destroys reputations without care—especially Carter’s—to prove how cool, cruel, and strong she is, all while pushing down her past trauma and secret guilt. But she faces an unexpected adversary when Kelsey tries to make Carter her new pet project. Angry and betrayed, Abby pushes Carter to the edge—facing consequences she never could have imagined.
Carter and Abby’s tumultuous relationship comes to a boiling point when Abby stops Carter from attempting suicide. But what happens when their shared enemy tries to come for them both again, and they end up in the unfortunate position of trying to protect one another? If Carter and Abby can stand each other for more than three minutes, they can stop Kelsey’s court of misrule from harming more girls.
Book of Dreams by Kevin Craig (13th)
Gaige’s curiosity gets the better of him when he discovers a bookstore on an abandoned street where no bookstore should be. He steps inside and is immediately enthralled by its antiquarian sights and smells. But one book in particular calls to him. It isn’t long before he gets a bad feeling about it, but it’s already too late. The store’s aged bookseller gives him no alternative: once he touches the book, it’s his—whether he wants it or not.
The book leads Gaige on a horrific descent into the unknown. As he falls into the depths of its pages, he loses blocks of time, and his friends become trapped inside ancient cellars with seemingly no means of escape.
Gaige soon learns that the ancient bookseller is a notorious serial killer from previous century, and fears that he has fallen into a predicament from which he may not escape. When all seems lost, he finds the one person he can turn to for help—Mael, a sweet boy also trapped inside the book who didn’t fall for the bookseller’s tricks. Together, they race against time to protect Gaige from joining a long string of boys who vanished without a trace inside the Book of Dreams.
Aces Wild by Amanda DeWitt (13th)
Six of Crows goes to Las Vegas in debut author Amanda DeWitt’s suspenseful casino heist, starring an entire crew of asexual teens.
Some people join chess club, some people play football. Jack Shannon runs a secret blackjack ring in his private school’s basement. What else is the son of a Las Vegas casino mogul supposed to do?
Everything starts falling apart when Jack’s mom is arrested for their family’s ties to organized crime. His sister Beth thinks this is the Shannon family’s chance to finally go straight, but Jack knows that something’s not right. His mom was sold out, and he knows by who. Peter Carlevaro: rival casino owner and jilted lover. Gross.
Jack hatches a plan to find out what Carlevaro’s holding over his mom’s head, but he can’t do it alone. He recruits his closest friends—the asexual support group he met through fandom forums. Now all he has to do is infiltrate a high-stakes gambling club and dodge dark family secrets, while hopelessly navigating what it means to be in love while asexual. Easy, right?
Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco (13th)
Remy Pendergast is many things: the only son of the Duke of Valenbonne (though his father might wish otherwise), an elite bounty hunter of rogue vampires, and an outcast among his fellow Reapers. His mother was the subject of gossip even before she eloped with a vampire, giving rise to the rumors that Remy is half-vampire himself. Though the kingdom of Aluria barely tolerates him, Remy’s father has been shaping him into a weapon to fight for the kingdom at any cost.
When a terrifying new breed of vampire is sighted outside of the city, Remy prepares to investigate alone. But then he encounters the shockingly warmhearted vampire heiress Xiaodan Song and her infuriatingly arrogant fiancé, vampire lord Zidan Malekh, who may hold the key to defeating the creatures—though he knows associating with them won’t do his reputation any favors. When he’s offered a spot alongside them to find the truth about the mutating virus Rot that’s plaguing the kingdom, Remy faces a choice.
It’s one he’s certain he’ll regret.
But as the three face dangerous hardships during their journey, Remy develops fond and complicated feelings for the couple. He begins to question what he holds true about vampires, as well as the story behind his own family legacy. As the Rot continues to spread across the kingdom, Remy must decide where his loyalties lie: with his father and the kingdom he’s been trained all his life to defend or the vampires who might just be the death of him.
TRAGIC by Dana Mele (Text) and Valentina Pinti (Illustrations) (13th)
In a contemporary re-telling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, TRAGIC follows the 17 year-old Harper Hayes as she unravels the mystery and grief surrounding her father’s death.
After her father Hamilton Hayes dies a mysterious and tragic death, Harper Hayes is convinced that he was murdered and her first suspect is her uncle Clayton, who has been sleeping with her mother, Greta. With the help of her ex-girlfriend Talia and her best friend (sometimes with benefits) Holden, Harper is determined to find her father’s killer. But when Caius, Talia’s father and Hamilton’s business partner, is found dead, Harper realizes the answer to Hamilton’s murder is more complicated than she had initially realized. And when Harper starts seeing his ghost in the form of a teenage Hamlet everywhere and slipping into hallucinations of his murder that end with blood on her hands, one thing becomes clear—in order to uncover the truth about what happened to her father, Harper has to confront her own demons and ones that haunt the Hayes family.
Pink Triangle Legacies by W Jake Newsome (15th)
Pink Triangle Legacies traces the transformation of the pink triangle from a Nazi concentration camp badge and emblem of discrimination into a widespread, recognizable symbol of queer activism, pride, and community. W. Jake Newsome provides an overview of the Nazis’ targeted violence against LGBTQ+ people and details queer survivors’ fraught and ongoing fight for the acknowledgement, compensation, and memorialization of LGBTQ+ victims. Within this context, a new generation of queer activists has used the pink triangle―a reminder of Germany’s fascist past―as the visual marker of gay liberation, seeking to end queer people’s status as second-class citizens by asserting their right to express their identity openly.
The reclamation of the pink triangle occurred first in West Germany, but soon activists in the United States adopted this chapter from German history as their own. As gay activists on opposite sides of the Atlantic grafted pink triangle memories onto new contexts, they connected two national communities and helped form the basis of a shared gay history, indeed a new gay identity, that transcended national borders.
Pink Triangle Legacies illustrates the dangerous consequences of historical silencing and how the incorporation of hidden histories into the mainstream understanding of the past can contribute to a more inclusive experience of belonging in the present. There can be no justice without acknowledging and remembering injustice. As Newsome demonstrates, if a marginalized community seeks a history that liberates them from the confines of silence, they must often write it themselves.
The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass (20th)
Will Boy 100 be the One?
Micah is rich, dreamy, and charming. As the “Prince of Chicago,”—the son of local celebrity sports radio host known as the King of Chicago—he has everything going for him. Unfortunately, he’s also the prince of imaginary meet-cutes, since he’s too nervous to actually ask boys out.
Instead, Micah draws each crush to share on Instagram with a post about their imaginary dates. Ninety-nine “boyfriends” later, his account is hugely popular, and everyone is eagerly awaiting Boy 100. So is Micah. He’s determined that Boy 100 will be different. This time, Micah will sweep the boy off his feet, for real!
So when Micah flirts with a hot boy on the L who’s wearing a vegan leather jacket and lugging a ton of library books, he is sure this is Boy 100. But right before he can make his move and ask for the boy’s number, the guy rushes off the train, leaving behind his pumpkin-embroidered jacket. The jacket holds clues to the boy’s identity, so Micah and his friends set off on a quest to return it. Along the way, Micah will discover that the best relationships aren’t fairy tales. In fact, the perfect fit—and true love—might be closer than he thinks.
The Killing Code by Ellie Marney (20th)
Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signal Intelligence facility. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.
Less is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer (20th)
“Go get lost somewhere, it always does you good.”
For Arthur Less, life is going surprisingly well: he is a moderately accomplished novelist in a steady relationship with his partner, Freddy Pelu. But nothing lasts: the death of an old lover and a sudden financial crisis has Less running away from his problems yet again as he accepts a series of literary gigs that send him on a zigzagging adventure across the US.
Less roves across the “Mild Mild West,” through the South and to his mid-Atlantic birthplace, with an ever-changing posse of writerly characters and his trusty duo – a human-like black pug, Dolly, and a rusty camper van nicknamed Rosina. He grows a handlebar mustache, ditches his signature gray suit, and disguises himself in the bolero-and-cowboy-hat costume of a true “Unitedstatesian”… with varying levels of success, as he continues to be mistaken for either a Dutchman, the wrong writer, or, worst of all, a “bad gay.”
We cannot, however, escape ourselves—even across deserts, bayous, and coastlines. From his estranged father and strained relationship with Freddy, to the reckoning he experiences in confronting his privilege, Arthur Less must eventually face his personal demons. With all of the irrepressible wit and musicality that made Less a bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning, must-read breakout book, Less Is Lost is a profound and joyous novel about the enigma of life in America, the riddle of love, and the stories we tell along the way.
Fraternity by Andy Mientus (20th)
A queer, dark academia YA about a mysterious boarding school, a brotherhood that must stay in the shadows, and an ancient evil that could tear it all apart.
In the fall of 1991, Zooey Orson transfers to the Blackfriars School for Boys hoping for a fresh start following a scandal at his last school. However, he quickly learns that he isn’t the only student keeping a secret. Before he knows it, he’s fallen in with a group of boys who all share the same secret, one which they can only express openly within the safety of the clandestine gatherings of the Vicious Circle––the covert club for gay students going back decades. But when the boys unwittingly happen upon the headmaster’s copy of an arcane occult text, they unleash an eldritch secret so terrible, it threatens to consume them all.
A queer paranormal story set during the still-raging AIDS crisis, Fraternity examines a time not so long ago when a secret brotherhood lurked in the shadows. What would Zooey and his friends do to protect their found family?
No Gods for Drowning by Hailey Piper (20th)
IN THE BEGINNING, MAN WAS PREY.
WITHOUT THE GODS, THEY’LL BE PREY AGAIN.
The gods have fled. Monsters threaten to invade the city of Logos, hunting mankind as they did in the olden days. In the midst of it all, a serial killer has begun ritually sacrificing victims—to lure the gods back and stop the imminent destruction, or for a more sinister purpose?
Lilac Antonis wants to stop the impending destruction of her city by summoning her mother, a blood god—even if she has to slit a few throats to do it. But evading her lover Arcadia and her friends means sneaking, lying, and even spilling the blood of people she loves.
Alex and Cecil of Ace Investigations have been tasked with hunting down the killer, but as they close in—not knowing it is their close friend they’re hunting—the detectives realize the gods may not have left willingly, and must uncover the truth before Lilac summons the wrong god, who may have come back just to destroy them all.
Set in an alternate reality which updates mythology to near-modern day, NO GODS FOR DROWNING is part hunt for a serial killer, part noir detective story, and unlike anything you’ve ever read before.
Other Ever Afters by Melanie Gillman (20th)
Once upon a time . . . happily ever after turned out differently than expected. In this new, feminist, queer fairy-tale collection, you’ll find the princesses, mermaids, knights, barmaids, children, and wise old women who have been forced to sit on the sidelines in classic stories taking center stage. A gorgeous all-new collection in graphic novel format from a Stonewall Honor-winning author and artist.
What if the giant who abducted you was actually thoughtful and kind? What if you didn’t want to marry your handsome, popular, but cold-inside suitor? What if your one true love has all the responsibilities that come with running a kingdom?
The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (20th)
The Unbalancing is R. B. Lemberg’s new novel in their acclaimed Birdverse. It is the tale of Erígra Lilún, an autistic nonbinary poet, and Ranra Kekeri, a new Starkeeper, as they try to save their island home from sinking. The Unbalancing explores deep names, the magic system of Birdverse, as well as the starlore unique to Lemberg’s world. Readers will learn the origin of the stars and what they are made of through Ranra and Lilún’s efforts to understand the Star of the Tides. Birdverse fans may recognise the story from R. B.’s 2015 poem, “Ranra’s Unbalancing,” which placed 1st in the Strange Horizons Readers Poll that year.
Visible Mending by M. Arbon (20th)
Edd’s self-expression through pretty dresses and sparkly jewellery leads some people to misjudge him, and his soft spot for strays has bitten him on the keister in the past. But when his shy new neighbour Carey, who turns threadbare fabrics into works of art, seems to need help settling into their new town, Edd can’t help but offer a hand.
Rebuilding their life after a crushing divorce, Carey buys a little house in queer-friendly Clover Hill. Their cute neighbour, Edd, keeps bringing them delicious baked goods, and soon even the sound of his knock on their door makes Carey happy. But Carey’s breakup made it obvious how unworthy they are of a relationship, and anyway, Edd’s probably just being kind. Isn’t he?
Yet Carey begins to flourish in their new life as cheerful, patient Edd shows them around town. Edd finds in Carey a gentleness he’s always craved, and a slow, sweet attraction takes root between the two of them.
Then news from Carey’s ex shatters their fragile confidence. How can they be a good partner to Edd when they failed so badly the last time? Edd is torn between giving Carey comfort and keeping the distance Carey says they need, even when it’s making them both miserable.
Can Carey and Edd work together to mend their relationship? Or can some things just not be fixed?
Buy it: Amazon
WARHOLCAPOTE: A Non-Fiction Invention by Rob Roth (20th)
In 1978 Andy Warhol and Truman Capote decided to write a Broadway play. Andy suggested that he record their private conversations over the period of a few months, and that these tapes would be the source material for the play. The tapes were then filed away and forgotten. Their play was never completed.
Now, award-winning director Rob Roth brings their vision to life after a years-long search to unearth the eighty hours of tapes between two of the most daring artists of postwar America. WARHOLCAPOTE, based on words actually spoken by the two men, is set in the ’70s and ’80s, toward the end of their close connection and not too long before their untimely deaths. Their special, complex friendship is captured by Roth with bracing intimacy as they discuss life, love, and art and everything in between. Every word in the play comes directly from these two 20th century geniuses. The structure of the conversations springs from Roth’s imagination.
So Tall it Ends in Heaven: Poems by Jayme Ringleb (20th)
With lush and deeply intimate language, Jayme Ringleb’s debut collection So Tall It Ends in Heaven explores sexuality, estrangement, and the distances we travel for love. Following the end of a marriage, the book’s queer southern speaker tries to restore a relationship with his father. His father lives across an ocean, but more keeps them apart than just that: the father rejected his son long ago after learning that his son is gay. The poems search for answers across the United States and Europe, in and out of historical imagination, as the speaker struggles to separate his understanding of devotion and belonging from the constant losses in his life. Drawing from—and subverting—the formal traditions of love poems, parables, and elegies, the collection claims a vital space for one’s own solace. “Nobody will love you / like this poem does,” the speaker says; “Tell this poem / what you want. // Anything.”
In turns that are ruminative, funny, and tender, So Tall It Ends in Heaven questions what and whom one lets go of by coming out—can love, in all its complexities, ever be uncoupled from grief
The Lost Century by Larissa Lai (20th)
Lambda Literary Award winner Larissa Lai (The Tiger Flu) returns with a sprawling historical novel about war, colonialism and queer experience during Japan’s occupation of Hong Kong during World War II.
On the eve of the return of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong to China in 1997, young Ophelia asks her peculiar great-aunt Violet about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II and the disappearance of her uncle Theo. From Violet, she learns the story of her grandmother, Emily.
Emily’s marriage—three times—to her father’s mortal enemy causes a stir among three very different Hong Kong Chinese families, as well as among the young cricketers at the Hong Kong Cricket Club, who’ve just witnessed King Edward VIII’s abdication to marry Wallis Simpson. But the class and race pettiness of the scandal around Emily’s marriage is violently disrupted by the Japanese Imperial Army’s invasion of Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941, which plunges the colony into a landscape of violence none of its inhabitants escape from unscathed, least of all Emily. When her situation becomes dire, Violet, along with a crew of unlikely cosmopolitans determines to rescue Emily from the wrath of the person she thought loved her the most, her husband, Tak-Wing. In the middle of it all, a strange match of timeless Test cricket unfolds, in which the ball has an agency all its own.
With great heart, The Lost Century explores the intersections of Asian relations, queer Asian history, underground resistance, the violence of war, and the rise of modern China― a sprawling novel of betrayal, epic violence and intimate passions.
Ancient History by A.J. Truman (26th)
The guy who broke my heart is back and teaching at my school. I’m really trying not to give an F.
A long time ago, in a suburban high school not so far away, a closeted nerd (me) and a closeted soccer star (Hutch) fell in love and planned to make their public debut at prom. Until Hutch bailed at the last minute, leaving me with a broken heart and unworn tuxedo. Tale as old as time, right?
I spent the past ten years working to forget Hutch, returning to our old high school to teach and make new memories that could erase ones of him. I thought Hutch was ancient history, off living his professional athlete life. But he’s suddenly back in Sourwood, coaching soccer at South Rock High, and sexy as ever. Just when I’d gotten over him, we’re now colleagues.
As Hutch leads the soccer team to victory once again, and we find ourselves trading stolen glances in the halls, it feels like a reboot of our high school bad romance. Especially after a late night encounter where I find myself climbing him like the rope in gym class. Oops.
Hutch wants to give us another try, but what if history is doomed to repeat itself?
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Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution by Kacen Callender (27th)
Lark Winters wants to be a writer, and for now that means posting on their social media accounts––anything to build their platform. When former best friend Kasim accidentally posts on Lark’s Twitter a thread declaring his love for a secret, unrequited crush, Lark’s tweets are suddenly the talk of the school—and beyond. To protect Kasim, Lark decides to take the fall, pretending they accidentally posted the thread in reference to another classmate. It seems like a great idea: Lark gets closer to their crush, Kasim keeps his privacy, and Lark’s social media stats explode. But living a lie takes a toll—as does the judgment of thousands of Internet strangers. Lark tries their best to be perfect at all costs, but nothing seems good enough for the anonymous hordes––or for Kasim, who is growing closer to Lark, just like it used to be between them . . .
In the end, Lark must embrace their right to their messy emotions and learn how to be in love.
Forest Hills Bootleg Society by Dave Baker and Nicole Goux (27th)
When Brooke, Kelly, Maggie, and Melissa buy a bootleg anime DVD at a gas station, they get much more than they bargained for with Super Love XL, a risqué move featuring—among other things—a giant mecha who shoots lasers out of her chest. The four girls are horrified (and maybe a little fascinated). It’s so unlike anything they’ve seen, would probably shock everyone else in their town, and definitely would take over their extremely conservative Christian school. That’s when they have the idea to sell copies to local boys…for twenty dollars a pop.
At first, everything goes perfectly, with the friends raking in cash—pretty soon they’ll even have enough money to buy the matching jackets they’ve always dreamed of! But as the market for mildly titillating anime DVDs grows, the girls realize they’ll need new material. On top of figuring out how to replicate their first success, there’s growing tension within the group. Brooke and Kelly’s romance is on its last legs, and hurt feelings are guaranteed when Melissa starts falling for one of them.
Will the four girls’ shared history be strong enough to see them through this upheaval? Or will they learn that some things can only end in heartbreak?
How to Succeed in Witchcraft by Aislinn Brophy (27th)
Magically brilliant, academically perfect, chronically overcommitted—
Shay Johnson has all the makings of a successful witch. As a junior at T.K. Anderson Magical Magnet School, she’s determined to win the Brockton Scholarship—her ticket into the university of her dreams. Her competition? Ana freaking Álvarez. The key to victory? Impressing Mr. B, drama teacher and head of the scholarship committee.
When Mr. B asks Shay to star in this year’s aggressively inclusive musical, she warily agrees, even though she’ll have to put up with Ana playing the other lead. But in rehearsals, Shay realizes Ana is . . . not the despicable witch she’d thought. Perhaps she could be a friend—or more. And Shay could use someone in her corner once she becomes the target of Mr. B’s unwanted attention. When Shay learns she’s not the first witch to experience his inappropriate behavior, she must decide if she’ll come forward. But how can she speak out when her future’s on the line?
Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong (27th)
It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.
Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.
Code name: Fortune.
But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.
To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.
Lark Ascending by Silas House (27th)
As fires devastate most of the United States, Lark and his family secure a place on a refugee boat headed to Ireland, the last country not yet overrun by extremists and rumored to be accepting American refugees. But Lark is the only one to survive the trip, and once ashore, he doesn’t find the safe haven he’d hoped for. As he runs for his life, Lark finds an abandoned dog who becomes his closest companion, and then a woman in search of her lost son. Together they form a makeshift family and attempt to reach Glendalough, a place they believe will offer protection. But can any community provide the safety that they seek?
My Name is Magic by Xan van Rooyen (27th)
Taika Turunen has no magic.
Despite coming from a long line of powerful Finnish mages, and their name literally meaning magic, Taika can’t perform the simplest of spells.
Forced to attend Myrskyjärvi International School for the Magically Gifted on account of their mom being principal, Taika has a hard time fitting in. Sometimes, they wonder if not having magic has something to do with the fact they’re neither a girl nor a boy and if they’re fated to be Taika the Talentless forever.
Life goes from bad to worse when Taika sees a liekkiö and recognizes the spirit’s voice begging for help as that of their former BFF and major crush, Natalie Khumalo, whose recent absence from class hadn’t gone unnoticed. When more students go missing, Taika must take the lead in a race against time to save friends old and new before a powerful cabal of chaos mages can unleash the legendary Sampo, an artifact capable of either renewing the world’s waning magic or destroying everything Taika holds dear.
To rescue Natalie, Taika will have to journey to the liminal space between worlds where they’ll be forced to battle mythical monsters and their own flagging self-esteem. In doing so, Taika might just discover that magic—and love—comes in many different forms.
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson (27th)
Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she know. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a peculiar listing in the newspaper seeking a bloodmaid.
Though she knows little about the far north—where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service—Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery. At the center of it all is Countess Lisavet.
The countess, who presides over this hedonistic court, is loved and feared in equal measure. She takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when she discovers that the ancient walls of the House of Hunger hide even older secrets, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home—and fast—or its halls will soon become her grave.
The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang (27th)
This is the story of Misery Nomaki (she/they) – a nobody from a nowhere mining planet who possesses the rare stone-working powers of a saint. Unfortunately, these saint-like abilities also manifest in those succumbing to voidmadness, like that which killed Misery’s mother. Knowing they aren’t a saint but praying they aren’t voidmad, Misery keeps quiet about their power for years, while dreaming and scheming up ways off their Forge-forsaken planet.
But when the voice of an angel, or a very convincing delusion, leads Misery to the center of the Empire, they find themself trapped between two powerful and dangerous factions, each hoping to use Misery to win a terrible war.
Still waiting to be convinced of their own divinity and secretly training with a crew of outlaws and outcasts, Misery grows close to a rebel royal, Lady Alodia Lightning, who may know something of saints and prophecy herself. The voice that guides Misery grows bolder by the day, and it seems the madness is catching…
Broken Beyond Repair by Emily Banting (30th)
Sydney Mackenzie is taking a well-earned break from her intense job as a PA to the rich and famous. Her tour around England in Gertie, her beloved VW camper, is cut short when her boss calls in a favour.
Beatrice Russell is an esteemed actress, adored by her fans worldwide, disliked by anyone that knows her. Following an accident on set in the US, she’s forced home to her English country estate to convalesce for the summer, where she finds herself in need of yet another new assistant.
Enter Syd, who doesn’t take kindly to the ice queen’s attitude and whims, or her own body’s reaction to the beautiful diva. With Bea’s teenage son, Xander, joining them for the summer, she has a chance to observe their relationship, which she finds is just as broken as Bea’s leg.
As the summer heats up, the ice queen begins to thaw, and Syd sees a glimmer of the troubled woman under the celebrity bravado, drawing her closer to the enigmatic actress — sometimes too close.
Can Syd reach the real Bea and draw her out before the summer ends and she returns to filming in the States, or is Bea broken beyond repair?
The Bride Hunt of Elk Mountain by Lumen Reese (30th)
Every five years the girls of Elk Mountain wake up in the woods, where the simple farm boys they grew up with become predators and hunt them for brides.
Dan Lightman returns to the mountain to help the Marlow sisters. Lizzie is twenty, deaf since childhood and worried that she could end up married to a man who won’t learn to communicate with her, that she won’t have a voice in her own home. Beck is seventeen, exchanging secret letters with a girl from the other side of the mountain, and she’ll kill or die before she’ll marry anyone else. Nellie is only fourteen, and all she wants is a few more years, to grow up on her own terms.
All three girls live in the shadow of their beautiful eldest sister, Julia. Five years ago -at the last Bride Hunt- she refused the man who caught her, and she was killed for it. The barbaric ritual is a sacred rite of passage to a fringe sect of Catholicism in post-apocalyptic, small-town Appalachia. Dan is one of the hunt’s only critics. He was once too afraid to fight for the girl he loved, but now he’s back with a hired cutthroat and a plan to save the remaining Marlow sisters from their gruesome fate…
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