Tag Archives: Darkhearts

Happy (Upcoming) Bi Visibility Day 2023!

Happy Bi Visibility Day (tomorrow)! Join us in celebrating by reading lots ‘o bi goodness, and for even more bi goodness, make sure to check earlier Bi Visibility Day posts

Books to Buy Now

Middle Grade

Grounded for All Eternity by Darcy Marks

Malachi and his friends are just your regular average kids from hell. The suburbs that is, not the fiery pit part. But when Hell’s Bells ring out—signaling that a soul has escaped from one of the eternal circles, Mal and his friends can’t help but take the opportunity for a little adventure.

Before they know it, they’ve somehow slipped through the veil and found themselves in the middle of Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween night. And what’s even worse, they’ve managed to bring the escaped soul with them! As the essence of one of history’s greatest manipulators gains power by shifting the balance on Earth, Mal and his squad-mates—along with some new friends that they meet along the way—work desperately to trap the escapee, save the people of Earth from the forces of evil, and find the portal back to their own dimension.

If they can’t manage it before their parents realize they’re gone, they’ll be grounded for an eternity. And an eternity in hell is a very, very long time.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Continue reading Happy (Upcoming) Bi Visibility Day 2023!

New Releases: June 6, 2023

Middle Grade

Will on the Inside by Andrew Eliopulos

Will loves playing center midfield on his middle school soccer team. This year, though, Will hasn’t felt like himself; his stomach has been bothering him, and he has no energy at all. When his new doctor diagnoses him with Crohn’s disease, Will hopes that means he’ll start feeling better soon and he can get back to playing with his team before the season ends.

But Will’s new medicines come with all kinds of side effects, Forced to sit out afternoon practice, Will finds himself hanging out with a kid at school, Griffin. This could be a real problem, seeing as Griffin just asked Will’s best friend to the spring dance. As in, guy friend. What would Will’s teammates say if they knew the whole story? Not to mention Will’s friends at church.

With all these changes happening faster than he can process them, Will knows that he has a lot to figure out about who he really is on the inside.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Young Adult

The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar

The Dos and Donuts of Love“Welcome to the first ever Junior Irish Baking Show!”

Shireen Malik is still reeling from the breakup with her ex-girlfriend, Chris, when she receives news that she’s been accepted as a contestant on a new televised baking competition show. This is Shireen’s dream come true! Because winning will not only mean prize money, but it will also bring some much-needed attention to You Drive Me Glazy, her parents’ beloved donut shop.

Things get complicated, though, because Chris is also a contestant on the show. Then there’s the very outgoing Niamh, a fellow contestant who is becoming fast friends with Shireen. Things are heating up between them, and not just in the kitchen.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Love Letters for Joy by Melissa See

The cover of LOVE LETTERS FOR JOY, featuring Union Square and two white teenagers walking in opposite directions, holding a love letterLess than a year away from graduation, seventeen-year-old Joy is too busy overachieving to be worried about relationships. She’s determined to be Caldwell Prep’s first disabled valedictorian. And she only has one person to beat, her academic rival Nathaniel.

But it’s senior year and everyone seems to be obsessed with pairing up. One of her best friends may be developing feelings for her and the other uses Caldwell’s anonymous love-letter writer to snag the girl of her dreams. Joy starts to wonder if she has missed out on a quintessential high school experience. She is asexual, but that’s no reason she can’t experience first love, right?

She writes to Caldwell Cupid to help her sort out these new feelings and, over time, finds herself falling for the mysterious voice behind the letters. But falling in love might mean risking what she wants most, especially when the letter-writer turns out to be the last person she would ever expect.

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Darkhearts by James L. Sutter

DarkheartsWhen David quit his band, he missed his shot at fame. For the past two years, he’s been trapped in an ordinary Seattle high school life, working summers for his dad’s construction business while his former best friends Chance and Eli became the hottest teen pop act in America.

Then Eli dies. Suddenly David and Chance are thrown back into contact, forcing David to rediscover all the little things that once made the two of them so close, even as he continues to despise the singer’s posturing and attention-hogging. As old wounds break open, an unexpected kiss leads the boys to trade frenemy status for a confusing, tentative romance―one Chance is desperate to keep out of the spotlight. Though hurt by Chance’s refusal to acknowledge him publicly, David decides their new relationship presents a perfect opportunity for him to rejoin the band and claim the celebrity he’s been denied. But Chance is all too familiar with people trying to use him.

As the mixture of business and pleasure becomes a powder keg, David will have to choose: Is this his second chance at glory? Or his second chance at Chance?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Library of Broken Worlds by Alaya Dawn Johnson

As the daughter of a Library god, Freida has spent her whole life exploring the Library’s ever-changing tunnels and communing with the gods. Her unparalleled access makes her unique – and dangerous.

When Freida meets Joshua, a mortal boy desperate to save his people, and Nergüi, a Disciple from a persecuted religious minority, Freida is compelled to break ranks with the gods and help them. But in order to do so, she will have to venture deeper into the Library than she has ever known. There she will discover the atrocities of the past, the truth of her origins, and the impossibility of her future…

With the world at the brink of war, Freida embarks on a journey to fulfill her destiny, one that pits her against an ancient war god. Her mission is straightforward: Destroy the god before he can rain hellfire upon thousands of innocent lives – if he doesn’t destroy her first.

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The Secret Summer Promise by Keah Brown

62675014THE BSE (Best Summer Ever) LIST!

1. Blueberries
2. Art show in ShoeHorn
3. Lizzo concert
4. Thrift shop pop-up
5. Skinny Dipping at the lake house
6. Amusement Park Day!
7. Drew Barrymarathon
8. Paintball day

Oh, and ….

9. Fall out of love with Hailee

Andrea Williams has got this. The Best Summer Ever. Two summers ago, she spent all her time in bed, recovering from the latest surgery for her cerebral palsy. She’s waited too long for adventure and thrills to enter her life. Together with her crew of ride-or-die friends, and the best parents anyone could ask for (just don’t tell them that), she’s going to live it up.

There’s just one thing that could ruin it: Her best friend, Hailee, finding out Andrea’s true feelings. So Andrea WILL fall out of love with Hailee – even if it means dating the cute boy George who keeps showing up everywhere with a smile.

Do we want Andrea to succeed? No! Does she? We’re not telling!

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Things I’ll Never Say by Cassandra Newbould

Ten years ago, the Scar Squad promised each other nothing would tear them apart. They stuck together through thick and thin, late-night surf sessions and after school spodies. Even when Casey Jones Caruso lost her twin brother Sammy to an overdose, and their foursome became a threesome, the squad picked each other up. But when Casey’s feeling for the remaining members—Francesca and Benjamin—develop into romantic attraction, she worries the truth will dissolve them and vows to ignore her heart.

Then Ben kisses Casey at a summer party, and Frankie kisses another girl. Now Casey must confront all the complicated feelings she’s buried—for her friends and for her brother who she’s totally pissed at for dying. Since Sammy’s death, Casey has spilled all the things she can no longer say to him in journals, and now more than ever, she wishes he were here to help her decide whether she should guard her heart or bet it on love, before someone else makes the decision for her.

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Pedro & Daniel by Federico Erebia

Pedro and Daniel are Mexican American brothers growing up in 1970s Ohio. Their mother resents that Pedro is a spitting image of their darker-skinned father, that Daniel likes dolls, that neither boy plays sports.

Life at home is rough, but the boys have an unbreakable bond that will last their entire lives.

Together, the brothers manage an abusive home life, coming out, first loves, first jobs, and the AIDS pandemic, in a coming-of-age story unlike any other.

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Gay Club! by Simon James Green

This is the US release; the book is already out in the UK.

Barney’s a shoo-in for his school’s LGBTQ+ Society President at the club’s next election. But when the vote is opened up to the entire student body, the whole school starts paying attention. How low will the candidates go to win? Buckle up for some serious shade, scandals and sleazy shenanigans. It isn’t long before it’s National Coming Out Day – for everyone’s secrets!

But when the group faces an unexpected threat – and a big opportunity – can the club members put politics aside and stand united?

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Basil and Oregano by Melissa Capriglione

Basil and OreganoPorta Bella Magiculinary Academy is the finest school for the art of cooking with magic, and Basil Eyres is determined to be the top student. On the first day of her senior year, Arabella Oregano, the daughter of a renowned chef, joins the academy for her senior year as well. The two are instantly smitten with each other, but Basil senses there’s something Arabella is hiding from her. Still, the two work together to stand out from the class as the end of year culinary festival approaches. But when Arabella’s secret is reveled, Basil is faced with the hardest decision of her life, which has the potential to throw her future aspirations in jeopardy.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Northranger by Rey Terciero (text) and Bre Indigo (art)

Northranger by [Rey Terciero, Bre Indigo]Cade has always loved to escape into the world of a good horror movie. After all, horror movies are scary—but to Cade, a closeted queer Latino teen growing up in rural Texas—real life can be way scarier.

When Cade is sent to spend the summer working as a ranch hand to help earn extra money for his family, he is horrified. Cade hates everything about the ranch, from the early mornings to the mountains of horse poop he has to clean up. The only silver lining is the company of the two teens who live there—in particular, the ruggedly handsome and enigmatic Henry.

But as unexpected sparks begin to fly between Cade and Henry, things get…complicated. Henry is reluctant to share the details of his mother’s death, and Cade begins to wonder what else he might be hiding. Inspired by the gothic romance of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and perfect for fans of Heartstopper and Bloom comes a modern love story so romantic it’s scary.

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The Grimoire of Grave Fates ed. by Hanna Alkaf and Margaret Owen

A prestigious school for young magicians, the Galileo Academy has recently undergone a comprehensive overhaul, reinventing itself as a roaming academy in which students of all cultures and identities are celebrated. In this new Galileo, every pupil is welcome, but Professor Septimius Dropwort—everyone’s least favorite professor—is among those who aren’t so happy with the academy’s transformation. When the stodgy old professor is found dead on school grounds with a mysterious note clenched in his fist, the students must solve the murder themselves . . . because everyone’s a suspect.

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Adult

Boys Weekend by Mattie Lubchansky

63249715Newly-out trans artist’s assistant Sammie is invited to an old friend’s bachelor weekend in El Campo, a hedonistic wonderland of a city floating in the Atlantic Ocean’s international waters—think Las Vegas with even fewer rules. Though they have not identified as a man for over a year, Sammie’s college buddies haven’t quite gotten the message—as evidenced by their formerly closest friend Adam asking them to be his “best man.”

Arriving at the swanky hotel, Sammie immediately questions their decision to come. Bad enough that they have to suffer through a torrent of passive-aggressive comments from the groom’s pals—all met with zero pushpack from supposed “nice guy” Adam. But also, they seem to be the only one who’s noticed the mysterious cult that’s also staying at the hotel, and is ritually dismembering guests and demanding fealty to their bloodthirsty god.

Part satire, part horror, Boys Weekend explores what it’s like to exist as a transfemme person in a man’s world, the difficulty of maintaining friendships through transition, and the more cult-like effects of masculinity, “hustle” culture, and capitalism—all through the vibrant lens of a surreal, scary, and immensely imaginative romp.

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Translation State by Ann Leckie

Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn’t “optimal behavior”. I’s the type of behavior that results in elimination.

But Qven rebels. And in doing so, their path collides with those of two others. Enae, a reluctant diplomat whose dead grandmaman has left hir an impossible task as an inheritance: hunting down a fugitive who has been missing for over 200 years. And Reet, an adopted mechanic who is increasingly desperate to learn about his genetic roots—or anything that might explain why he operates so differently from those around him.

As a Conclave of the various species approaches—and the long-standing treaty between the humans and the Presger is on the line—the decisions of all three will have ripple effects across the stars.

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Relentless Melt by Jeremy P. Bushnell

The year is 1909, and Artie Quick—an ambitious, unorthodox and inquisitive young Bostonian—wants to learn about crime. By day she holds down a job as a salesgirl in women’s accessories at Filene’s; by night she disguises herself as a man to pursue studies in Criminal Investigation at the YMCA’s Evening Institute for Younger Men.

Eager to put theory into practice, Artie sets out in search of something to investigate. She’s joined by her pal Theodore, an upper-crust young bachelor whose interest in Boston’s occult counterculture has drawn him into the study of magic. Together, their journey into mystery begins on Boston Common—where the tramps and the groundskeepers swap rumors about unearthly screams and other unsettling anomalies—but soon Artie and Theodore uncover a series of violent abductions that take them on an adventure from the highest corridors of power to the depths of an abandoned mass transit tunnel, its excavation suspiciously never completed.

Will Theodore ever manage to pull off a successful spell? Is Artie really wearing that men’s suit just for disguise or is there something more to it?  And what chance do two mixed-up young people stand up against the greatest horror Boston has ever known, an ancient, deranged evil that feeds on society’s most vulnerable?

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Show Girl by Alyson Greaves

Show Girl by [Alyson Greaves]Alex is a young man in the employ of James McCain, founder of McCain Applied Computing and old family friend. But when their trade show models fall ill just days before the event that could make or break the company, someone has to step in and fill their shoes… and their dresses.

Buy it: Amazon

We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian

Nick Russo has worked his way from a rough Brooklyn neighborhood to a reporting job at one of the city’s biggest newspapers. But the late 1950s are a hostile time for gay men, and Nick knows that he can’t let anyone into his life. He just never counted on meeting someone as impossible to say no to as Andy.

Andy Fleming’s newspaper-tycoon father wants him to take over the family business. Andy, though, has no intention of running the paper. He’s barely able to run his life–he’s never paid a bill on time, routinely gets lost on the way to work, and would rather gouge out his own eyes than deal with office politics. Andy agrees to work for a year in the newsroom, knowing he’ll make an ass of himself and hate every second of it.

Except, Nick Russo keeps rescuing Andy: showing him the ropes, tracking down his keys, freeing his tie when it gets stuck in the ancient filing cabinets. Their unlikely friendship soon sharpens into feelings they can’t deny. But what feels possible in secret–this fragile, tender thing between them–seems doomed in the light of day. Now Nick and Andy have to decide if, for the first time, they’re willing to fight.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Open Throat by Henry Hoke

A queer and dangerously hungry mountain lion lives in the drought-devastated land under the Hollywood sign. Lonely and fascinated by humanity’s foibles, the lion spends their days protecting the welfare of a nearby homeless encampment, observing obnoxious hikers complain about their trauma, and, in quiet moments, grappling with the complexities of their gender identity, memories of a vicious father, and the indignities of sentience. “I have so much language in my brain,” our lion says, “and nowhere to put it.”

When a man-made fire engulfs the encampment, the lion is forced from the hills down into the city the hikers call “ellay.” As the lion confronts a carousel of temptations and threats, they take us on a tour that spans the cruel inequalities of Los Angeles and the toll of climate grief, while scrambling to avoid earthquakes, floods, and the noise of their own conflicted psyche. But even when salvation finally seems within reach, they are forced to face down the ultimate question: Do they want to eat a person, or become one?

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All the Right Notes by Dominic Lim

Quito Cruz might be a genius piano player and composer in New York City now but it doesn’t mean that he’s any closer to his Broadway dream. Although Quito knows what the problem is. Or rather who. Because ever since that night in college—with pretty-boy jock Emmett Aoki—his inspiration has been completely MIA…

Now Quito’s dad wants him to put on a charity performance in his hometown. And there’s one hella big string attached: convince Emmett—now one of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities—to perform.

It’s all shaping up to be the biggest musical fiasco of Quito’s life. Especially when Emmett agrees to attend, and Quito realizes that undeniable vibe between them is stronger than ever. Because there’s nothing simple about falling for a movie star… even when he’s pitch-perfect.

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Killingly by Katherine Beutner

Bertha Mellish, “the most peculiar, quiet, reserved girl” at Mount Holyoke College, is missing. One cold November morning the junior is spotted walking through the Massachusetts woods; then, she vanishes.

As a search team dredges the pond where she might have drowned, Bertha’s panicked father and sister arrive at the campus desperate to find some clue as to her fate or state of mind. Bertha’s best friend, Agnes, a scholarly loner studying medicine, might know the truth, but she is being unhelpfully tight-lipped, inciting the suspicions of Bertha’s family, her classmates, and the private investigator hired by the Mellish family doctor. As secrets from Agnes and Bertha’s lives come to light, so do the competing agendas driving each person who is searching for Bertha.

Where did Bertha go? Who would want to hurt her? And could she still be alive?

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The Last Drop of Hemlock by Katharine Schellman

The rumor went through the Nightingale like a flood, quietly rising, whispers hovering on lips in pockets of silence.

Life as a working-class girl in Prohibition-era New York isn’t safe or easy. But Vivian Kelly has a new job at the Nightingale, an underground speakeasy where the jazz is hot and the employees look out for each other in a world that doesn’t care about them. Things are finally looking up for her and her sister Florence… until the night Vivian learns that her friend Bea’s uncle, a bouncer at the Nightingale, has died.

His death is ruled a suicide, but Bea isn’t so convinced. She knew her uncle was keeping a secret: a payoff from a mob boss that was going to take him out of the tenements and into a better life. Now, the money is missing.

Though her better judgment tells her to stay out of it, Vivian agrees to help Bea find the truth about her uncle’s death. But they uncover more than they expected when rumors surface of a mysterious letter writer, blackmailing Vivian’s poorest neighbors for their most valuable possessions, threatening poison if they don’t comply.

Death is always a heartbeat away in Jazz Age New York, where mob bosses rule the back alleys and cops take bootleggers’ hush money. But whoever is targeting Vivian’s poor and unprotected neighbors is playing a different game. With the Nightingale’s dangerously lovely owner, Honor, worried for her employees’ safety and Bea determined to discover who is responsible for her uncle’s death, Vivian once again finds herself digging through a dead man’s past in hopes of stopping a killer.

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Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style by Paul Rudnick

Devastatingly handsome and insanely rich, Farrell Covington is capable of anything and impossible to resist. He’s a clear-eyed romantic, an aesthete but not a snob, self-indulgent yet wildly generous. As the son of one of the country’s most powerful and deeply conservative families, the world could be his. But when he falls for Nate Reminger, an aspiring writer from a nice Jewish family in Piscataway, New Jersey, the results are passionate and catastrophic.

Together, the two embark on a uniquely managed romance that spans half a century. They are inseparable—except for the many years when they are apart. Moving from the ivy-covered bastion of Yale to New York City, Los Angeles, and eventually all over the world, Farrell and Nate experience the tremendous upheaval and social change of the last fifty years. From the freedom of gay life in 1970s Manhattan to the Hollywood closet, the AIDS epidemic, and the profound strides of the LGBTQ+ movement, this witty and moving novel shows how the world changes around us while we’re busy doing other things. A story of chances lost and found (and sometimes just temporarily misplaced), with an epic reach, it reminds us that there is always the possibility of undiluted, unbridled, unstoppable happiness, if, as Farrell says, “You know where to look.” Style has its limits, love does not.

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Mortal Follies by Alexis Hall

It is the year 1814, and life for a young lady of good breeding has many difficulties. There are balls to attend, fashions to follow, marriages to consider, and, of course, the tiny complication of existing in a world swarming with fairy spirits, interfering deities, and actual straight-up sorcerers.

Miss Maelys Mitchelmore finds her entry into high society hindered by an irritating curse. It begins innocuously enough with her dress slowly unmaking itself over the course of an evening at a high-profile ball, a scandal she narrowly manages to escape.

However, as the curse progresses to more fatal proportions, Miss Mitchelmore must seek out aid, even if that means mixing with undesirable company. And there are few less desirable than Lady Georgiana Landrake—a brooding, alluring young woman sardonically nicknamed “the Duke of Annadale”—who may or may not have murdered her own father and brothers to inherit their fortune. If one is to believe the gossip, she might be some kind of malign enchantress. Then again, a malign enchantress might be exactly what Miss Mitchelmore needs.

With the Duke’s help, Miss Mitchelmore delves into a world of angry gods and vindictive magic, keen to unmask the perpetrator of these otherworldly attacks. But Miss Mitchelmore’s reputation is not the only thing at risk in spending time with her new ally. For the reputed witch has her own secrets that may prove dangerous to Miss Mitchelmore’s heart—not to mention her life.

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Countries of Origin by Javier Fuentes

It is 2007, and twenty-four-year-old Demetrio is a celebrated pastry chef in New York at the French restaurant Le Bourrelet. This will be his seventh year as the pâtissier and the chef-owner, stern but paternal, feels he should move on. When Demetrio is offered a position as head of pastries at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, he wants nothing more than to accept it.

But as an undocumented immigrant he is terrified that he will be found out, so Demetrio makes the difficult decision to return permanently to his homeland which he has not seen since he was a small child. It will mean leaving the only family he knows—his beloved uncle Chus who has brought him up. On his flight to Madrid, Demetrio sits next to the handsome, playful, and sensitive Jacobo, a student at NYU going home to his aristocratic, fascist family and there is an instant, unacknowledged electricity between them.

In dimly lit bars in Madrid and on pebbled beaches by the sea far outside the city, Demetrio and Jacobo’s subtle but intense relationship unfolds. Demetrio is tortured by a fear of true intimacy and by anxiety about their class difference. Both are struggling with their identities and sexuality, and they avoid their true feelings until a family tragedy sets them on a collision course back into one another’s lives.

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Dreaming Home by Lucian Childs

When a sister’s casual act of betrayal awakens their father’s demons—ones spawned by his time in Vietnamese POW camps—the effects of the ensuing violence against her brother ripple out over the course of forty years, from Lubbock, to San Francisco, to Fort Lauderdale. Swept up in this arc, the members of this family and their loved ones tell their tales. A queer coming-of-age, and coming-to-terms, and a poignant exploration of all the ways we search for home, Dreaming Home is the unforgettable story of the fragmenting of an American family.

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Non-Fiction

Gender Identity for Kids by Andy Passchier

What is gender and what does it mean to you? What are ways people express their gender? What if you don’t feel like the gender everyone says you are? This new resource is here to help kids make sense of who they are and how they feel.

As you grow up, you receive lots of messages about gender. Most kids start to define their own gender identity as early as age four! But what if the messages you receive don’t seem to describe you? What if the things you like don’t match who people say you are? What if you don’t even know what gender you are?

From the illustrator behind What Are Your Words? and other books on gender and personal identity, comes a resource for all kids, of any gender. This fun, heavily illustrated chapter book explains the basics of gender identity—what it is, what it means, and how to support yourself and others no matter who you are.

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Pageboy by Elliot Page

“Can I kiss you?” It was two months before the world premiere of Juno, and Elliot Page was in his first ever queer bar. The hot summer air hung heavy around him as he looked at her. And then it happened. In front of everyone. A previously unfathomable experience. Here he was on the precipice of discovering himself as a queer person, as a trans person. Getting closer to his desires, his dreams, himself, without the repression he’d carried for so long. But for Elliot, two steps forward had always come with one step back.

With Juno’s massive success, Elliot became one of the world’s most beloved actors. His dreams were coming true, but the pressure to perform suffocated him. He was forced to play the part of the glossy young starlet, a role that made his skin crawl, on and off set. The career that had been an escape out of his reality and into a world of imagination was suddenly a nightmare.

As he navigated criticism and abuse from some of the most powerful people in Hollywood, a past that snapped at his heels, and a society dead set on forcing him into a binary, Elliot often stayed silent, unsure of what to do, until enough was enough. Full of behind the scenes details and intimate interrogations on sex, love, trauma, and Hollywood, Pageboy is the story of a life pushed to the brink. But at its core, this beautifully written, winding journey of what it means to untangle ourselves from the expectations of others is an ode to stepping into who we truly are with defiance, strength, and joy.

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Moby Dyke by Krista Burton

A former Rookie contributor and creator of the popular blog Effing Dykes investigates the disappearance of America’s lesbian bars by visiting the last few in existence.

Lesbian bars have always been treasured safe spaces for their customers, providing not only a good time but a shelter from societal alienation and outright persecution. In 1987, there were 206 of them in America. Today, only a couple dozen remain. How and why did this happen? What has been lost—or possibly gained—by such a decline? What transpires when marginalized communities become more accepted and mainstream?

In Moby Dyke, Krista Burton attempts to answer these questions firsthand, venturing on an epic cross-country pilgrimage to the last few remaining dyke bars. Her pilgrimage includes taking in her first drag show since the onset of the pandemic at The Back Door in Bloomington, Indiana; competing in dildo races at Houston’s Pearl Bar; and, despite her deep-seated hatred of karaoke, joining a group serenade at Nashville’s Lipstick Lounge and enjoying the dreaded pastime for the first time in her life. While Burton sets out on the excursion to assess the current state of lesbian bars, she also winds up examining her own personal journey, from coming out to her Mormon parents to recently marrying her husband, a trans man whose presence on the trip underscores the important conversation about who precisely is welcome in certain queer spaces—and how they and their occupants continue to evolve.

Moby Dyke is an insightful and hilarious travelogue that celebrates the kind of community that can only be found in windowless rooms soundtracked by Britney Spears-heavy playlists and illuminated by overhead holiday lights no matter the time of year.

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And Don’t F&%k it Up: an Oral History of RuPaul’s Drag Race (The First Ten Years) by Maria Elena Fernandez

Told over the first ten years, And Don’t F&%k It Up tells a cultural history through the stories of the people who lived it: the creators of the show, the contestants, the crew, the judges, and even some key (famous) fans. It begins with RuPaul’s decades-long friendship and business relationship with World of Wonder Productions, the entertainment company that helped launch him into superstardom, and later talked him into giving a drag reality show a chance. From there, it follows the growth and evolution of the show—and its queens—through a decade of gag-worthy seasons, serving up all kinds of behind-the-scenes realness. With a history as shady and funny as it is dramatic and inspiring, And Don’t F&%k It Up shows how RuPaul’s Drag Race is a mirror reflecting the cultural and political mores of our time. Its meteoric rise to becoming a once-in-a-generation success story is explored here as never before, in intimate, exuberant, unfettered detail.

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New in Paperback

Middletown by Sarah Moon

Thirteen-year-old Eli likes baggy clothes, baseball caps, and one girl in particular. Her seventeen-year-old sister Anna is more traditionally feminine; she loves boys and staying out late. They are sisters, and they are also the only family each can count on. Their dad has long been out of the picture, and their mom lives at the mercy of her next drink. When their mom lands herself in enforced rehab, Anna and Eli are left to fend for themselves. With no legal guardian to keep them out of foster care, they take matters into their own hands: Anna masquerades as Aunt Lisa, and together she and Eli hoard whatever money they can find. But their plans begin to unravel as quickly as they were made, and they are always way too close to getting caught.

Eli and Anna have each gotten used to telling lies as a means of survival, but as they navigate a world without their mother, they must learn how to accept help, and let other people in.

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A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall

This is the Mass Market Paperback edition

When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.

Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become.

As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.

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Just By Looking at Him by Ryan O’Connell

See our feature on this book here.

Elliott appears to be living the dream as a successful TV writer with a doting boyfriend. But behind his Instagram filter of a life, he’s grappling with an intensifying alcohol addiction, he can’t seem to stop cheating on his boyfriend with various sex workers, and his cerebral palsy is making him feel like gay Shrek.

After falling down a rabbit hole of sex, drinking, and Hollywood backstabbing, Elliott decides to limp his way towards redemption. But facing your demons is easier said than done.

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Rainbow Rainbow by Lydia Conklin

See our feature on this book here.

In this exuberant, prize-winning collection, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heartrending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment.

A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID. A lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, plying him with a potent rainbow-colored cocktail. A lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention. And in the depths of a Midwestern winter, a sex-addicted librarian relies on her pet ferrets to help resist a relapse at a wild college fair.

Capturing both the dark and lovable sides of the human experience, Rainbow Rainbow establishes debut author Lydia Conklin as a fearless new voice for their generation.

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Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
The page so it points to the good part

In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of personal and social loss, embodying the paradox of sitting in grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Shifting through memory, and in concert with the themes of his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong contends with the meaning of family and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. At once vivid, brave, and propulsive, these poems circle fragmented lives to find both restoration as well as the epicenter of the break.

The author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize, and a 2019 MacArthur fellowship, Vuong writes directly to our humanity without losing sight of the current moment. These poems represent a more innovative and daring experimentation with language and form, illuminating how the themes we perennially live in and question are truly inexhaustible. Bold and prescient, and a testament to tenderness in the face of violence, Time Is a Mother is a return and a forging forth all at once.

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December 2021 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

Em Liu‘s THE DEATH I GAVE HIM, a queer, locked-room sci-fi mystery pitched as inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, to David Thomas Moore at Solaris, in a two-book deal, for publication in September 2023, by Penelope Burns at Gelfman Schneider/ICM (world).

Brianna Labuskes‘s THE LIBRARIAN OF BURNED BOOKS, pitched for fans of Kate Quinn and Julia Kelly, about three women who believe in the power of books to triumph over the very darkest moments of war, based on the true story of the Council of Books in Wartime, the World War II organization founded by booksellers, publishers, librarians, and authors to use books as “weapons in the war of ideas,” to Tessa Woodward at William Morrow, in a significant deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Abby Saul at The Lark Group (world).

Author of the forthcoming A BRUSH WITH LOVE Mazey Eddings‘s PINING, a queer holiday rom-com featuring a down-on-her-luck 20-something who wins the lottery and impulsively buys a tree farm to escape her ex, but instead of solitude she finds a grumpy woman claiming she inherited the property, causing sparks to fly as they fight for the disastrously romantic farm, to Eileen Rothschild at St. Martin’s, by Wendy Sherman Associates.

Founder of gal-dem magazine Liv Little‘s ROSEWATER, a coming-of-age story of a young, queer, Black working-class poet in south London, narrating her journey to find a place in the world and discover love where it has always been, to Caolinn Douglas at Get Lifted Books, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2023, by Kate Hibbert at Little, Brown UK (US).

Bloomsbury Children’s editor Camille Kellogg‘s JUST AS YOU ARE, pitched as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE meets The L Word: Generation Q, an enemies-to-lovers rom-com celebrating queer friendship, identity, coming-of-age, and the unpredictable nature of love, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial Press, in a pre-empt, by Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds (world).

Cohost of the long-running Babylon Salon series Dominic Lim‘s untitled book, pitched as RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE meets Glee, draped in CRAZY RICH ASIANS, in which a nerdy piano prodigy meets his high school crush 20 years later, only now the crush is a famous action movie star and he is still a nerdy pianist; and a second untitled book, pitched as Kinky Boots meets Tootsie, to Alex Logan at Forever, in a very nice deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in June 2023, by Gina Panettieri at Talcott Notch Literary Services (world).

Lambda Literary Award Finalist Selby Wynn Schwartz‘s AFTER SAPPHO, a queer collective biography and poetic reimagining of intertwined circles of feminists, sapphists, writers, and artists at the turn of the 20th century as they fight for liberation and forge new identities, to Gina Iaquinta at Liveright, in a pre-empt, by Sam Jordison at Galley Beggar Press (NA).

Lambda Literary Award-winning author of WRITTEN IN THE STARS Alexandria Bellefleur’s THE FIANCEE FARCE, a queer marriage of convenience rom-com in which a shy bookstore owner claims to be dating the beautiful cover model from her favorite romance novel, but when their paths unexpectedly cross, an awkward situation becomes mutually beneficial—because her fake girlfriend is actually in need of a real wife, to Nicole Fischer at Avon, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (world).

Swedish writer and critic Hanna Johansson’s ANTIQUITY, pitched as a queer contemporary LOLITA story, centered on a lonely woman whose feelings for a glamorous older artist are transferred to her 15-year-old daughter when she joins them on holiday in the Greek city of Ermoupoli, and the illicit sexual relationship that follows; a story of desire, power, lust, obsession, observation, and taboo, to Kendall Storey at Catapult, at auction, for publication in 2024, by Linda Altrov Berg at Norstedts (world English).

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and Lambda Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow Santiago Jose Sanchez’s HOMBRECITO, about a young gay man—an immigrant from Colombia to Miami—grappling with his turbulent sexual coming of age, and his fierce, complicated relationship with his mother and their homeland, to Laura Perciasepe at Riverhead, by Jin Auh at The Wylie Agency.

Children’s/Young Adult Fiction

James Sutter‘s DARKHEARTS, a debut contemporary romance pitched as appealing to readers of MORE HAPPY THAN NOT and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, in which an ordinary Seattle high schooler, having dropped out of a band that then went on to become the hottest teen pop act in America, is thrown back into contact with his former bandmate after the other bandmate dies by suicide, and the newly connected boys soon trade their frenemy status for a confusing, tentative romance, to Sara Goodman at Wednesday Books, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring/summer 2023, by Josh Adams at Adams Literary (NA).

Gen Z essayist and feminist advocate Malavika Kannan’s ALL THE YELLOW SUNS, pitched for fans of ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE, telling the story of a 16-year-old Indian American artist living in a conservative Florida suburb who falls for her white, wealthy, complicated female classmate, when she is asked to join a secret society of vandals and mischief-makers who fight for justice at their school, to Samantha Gentry at Little, Brown Children’s, in a pre-empt, for publication in summer 2023, by Stephanie Kip Rostan at Levine Greenberg Rostan (world). Rights: Janelle DeLuise

Stonewall Honor-winning author Melanie Gillman‘s OTHER EVER AFTERS, asking what if the monsters, mermaids, and witchy old women in fairy tales all found the happily ever afters they deserve?, to Gina Gagliano at Random House Graphic, for publication in fall 2022, by Jen Linnan at Linnan Literary Management (world).

Erica Hollis’s debut HEARTS FORGED IN DRAGON FIRE, a f/f high fantasy, in which a lesbian teen who can speak to dragons must get rid of the dragon that’s terrorizing her missing mother’s hometown, but falls for the girl who’s mysteriously sabotaging her mission, to Jen Bouvier at Entangled Teen, for publication in fall 2022 (world).

Non-Fiction

Author of REFUSE and Cave Canem poetry fellow Julian Randall‘s THE DEAD DON’T NEED REMINDING, an essay collection that intertwines pop culture, from BoJack Horseman and T-Pain to the Dallas Cowboys, with the author’s struggle with depression and the search for his great-grandfather’s grave in small-town Mississippi, to tell a story of Black queer life and what it takes to come back from the edge, to Hillary Brenhouse at Bold Type Books, by Abigail Donoghue and Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media (world).

UC Berkeley professor, author of GENDER TROUBLE, and pioneering scholar of queer theory Judith Butler‘s WHO’S AFRAID OF GENDER?, a defense of the study of gender that spans philosophy, history, law, and reportage to analyze the social fantasy of “gender” as a destructive force that has incited new forms of fascism across the world, and argues that to oppose these reactionary tides, we must to come to a radically new understanding and affirmation of gendered lives in their complexity and diversity, to Eric Chinski and Jackson Howard at Farrar, Straus, by Sarah Chalfant at The Wylie Agency (NA).

Stonewall Honoree Robin Stevenson‘s QUEER HISTORY A–Z, covering key people, places, and events that have shaped queer history in North America over the past century, with a focus on the theme of activism, illustrated by Vivian Rosas, to Katie Scott at Kids Can Press, for publication in spring 2024, by Maria Vicente at P.S. Literary Agency for the author (world).

Editor in chief of British Vogue Edward Enninful‘s A VISIBLE MAN, a memoir of the author’s journey through one of the world’s most exclusive industries, and how as a Black, gay, working-class refugee, he found in fashion not only a home, but the freedom to share with people the world as he saw it, to Christopher Richards at Penguin Press, at auction, for publication in September 2022, by Albert Lee and Meredith Miller at UTA (NA).

Author and historian of medicine Brandy Schillace’s THE INTERMEDIARIES: HOW PIONEERS OF SEXOLOGY BUILT THE FIRST TRANS CLINIC IN THE SHADOW OF THE THIRD REICH, chronicling the stories of the pioneers who founded The Institute for Sexual Science in interwar Berlin, a base of operations for the first LGBTQ rights movement of the 20th century as well as women’s rights, sex education and birth control, offering a history as well as a cautionary tale in the face of today’s oppressive anti-trans legislation, to Jill Bialosky at Norton, at auction, by Jessica Papin at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).

Editor-in-chief of frieze magazine and author of the novels SKYLAND and MACARTHUR PARK Andrew Durbin‘s SPEED OF LIFE, an exploration of three foundational, transgressive, and intimately connected gay artists—Paul Thek, Peter Hujar, and David Wojnarowicz—who defined New York’s storied downtown scene and later the international art world, and who ultimately changed contemporary art forever; a book about friendship and death, queerness and community, and the complicated meanings of “legacy,” to Jackson Howard at Farrar, Straus, in an exclusive submission, by Anna Stein at ICM (NA).