Tag Archives: Kosoko Jackson

Happy Bi Visibility Day 2022!

Please note that this post only includes titles etc. not included in earlier Bi Visibility Day posts. (Exception made for books posted without a cover last year or whose pub dates significantly changed since last posting.) For even more bi goodness, make sure to check earlier Bi Visibility Day posts

Books to Buy Now

Middle Grade

The Trouble with Robots by Michelle Mohrweis

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?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

No Filter and Other Lies by Crystal Maldonado

57926463. sy475 Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.

Except it’s all fake.

Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love. But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the façade.

But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves.

But it might already be too late.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen

When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she’s more than ecstatic; she’s desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college scholarship and get her away from her abusive father. But when Harleen witnesses the way women are treated across STEM departments–and experiences harassment herself–she decides that revenge and justice are more important than her own dreams.

Harleen finds her place in an intoxicating vigilante girl gang called the Reckoning, who creates chaos to inspire change. And when Harleen falls for another girl in the gang, it finally seems like she’s found her true passions. But what starts off as pranks and mischief quickly turns deadly as one of the gang members is found murdered–and a terrifying conspiracy is uncovered that puts the life Harleen has worked so hard for at stake. Will she choose her future–or will she choose revenge?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

This is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves

53241064Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving LA for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with.

Luckily, Quique’s prospects are each intriguing in their own ways. There’s stoner-jock Tyler Montana, who might be just as interested in Fabiola as he is in Quique; straitlaced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson; and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he’s carne asada fresh off the grill. With all these choices, Quique is sure to forget about Saleem in no time.

But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Melt With You by Jennifer Dugan

58253609Fallon and Chloe used to be best friends. But last summer, the girls hooked up right before Chloe left for college, and after a series of misunderstandings, they aren’t even speaking to one another. Now, a year later, Chloe’s back home from school, and Fallon is doing everything in her power to avoid her. Which is especially difficult because their moms own a business together—a gourmet ice cream truck where both girls work.

But when their moms have the opportunity to make a presentation to some venture capitalists in Texas—something that could seriously expand their business and solve all their money problems to boot—it’s up to Fallon to work a series of food truck festivals across the country. But she can’t do it alone, and Chloe is the only one available to help. As tensions heat up again between the two girls, will Fallon be able to keep her cool?

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster by Andrea Mosqueda

56139267. sy475 Growing up in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, Maggie Gonzalez has always been a little messy, but she’s okay with that. After all, she has a great family, a goofy group of friends, a rocky romantic history, and dreams of being a music photographer. Tasked with picking an escort for her little sister’s quinceañera, Maggie has to face the truth: that her feelings about her friends—and her future—aren’t as simple as she’d once believed.

As Maggie’s search for the perfect escort continues, she’s forced to confront new (and old) feelings for three of her friends: Amanda, her best friend and first-ever crush; Matthew, her ex-boyfriend twice-over who refuses to stop flirting with her, and Dani, the new girl who has romantic baggage of her own. On top of this romantic disaster, she can’t stop thinking about the uncertainty of her own plans for the future and what that means for the people she loves.

As the weeks wind down and the boundaries between friendship and love become hazy, Maggie finds herself more and more confused with each photo. When her tried-and-true medium causes more chaos than calm, Maggie needs to figure out how to avoid certain disaster—or be brave enough to dive right into it.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound

Flip the Script by Lyla Lee

43785625. sy475 As an avid watcher of K-dramas, Hana knows all the tropes to avoid when she finally lands a starring role in a buzzy new drama. And she can totally handle her fake co-star boyfriend who might be falling in love with her. After all, she promised the producers a contract romance, and that’s all they’re going to get from her.

But when showrunners bring on a new girl to challenge Hana’s role as main love interest—and worse, it’s someone Hana knows all too well—can  Hana fight for her position on the show while falling for her on-screen rival in real life?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon |  IndieBound

Summer’s Edge by Dana Mele

I Know What You Did Last Summer meets The Haunting of Hill House in this atmospheric, eerie teen thriller following an estranged group of friends being haunted by their friend who died last summer. 

Emily Joiner was once part of an inseparable group—she was a sister, a best friend, a lover, and a rival. Summers without Emily were unthinkable. Until the fire burned the lake house to ashes with her inside.

A year later, it’s in Emily’s honor that Chelsea and her four friends decide to return. The house awaits them, meticulously rebuilt. Only, Chelsea is haunted by ghostly visions. Loner Ryan stirs up old hurts and forces golden boy Chase to play peacemaker. Which has perfect hostess Kennedy on edge as eerie events culminate in a stunning accusation: Emily’s death wasn’t an accident. And all the clues needed to find the person responsible are right here.

As old betrayals rise to the surface, Chelsea and her friends have one night to unravel a mystery spanning three summers before a killer among them exacts their revenge. 

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Gravity of Missing Things by Marisa Urgo

57216217. sy475 Flight 133 disappeared over the ocean. No wreckage. No distress signal. Just gone.

Suddenly, everyone on the news and social media is talking about whether the pilot intentionally crashed it—everyone but me. Because I know her. The pilot was my mom, and there’s no way she would hurt anyone. No one else knows that before she left, she wrote me a note. Trust me, it said.

Now it feels like someone split my world—and me—in two, and the only person who believes me is Landon. I want to trust him, to let him see who I really am, but I can’t. I have my secrets, the same way Mom has hers. All I know is falling for him will only make things more complicated.

Just as I start to open up, the answer to what really happened to Flight 133 could rip my world apart all over again—for good this time.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

TRAGIC by Dana Mele (Text) and Valentina Pinti (Illustrations)

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.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

Holly Liddell has been stuck with crimped hair since 1987 when she agreed to let her boyfriend, Elton, turn her into a vampire. But when he ditches her at a gas station a few decades into their eternity together, she realizes that being young forever actually means working graveyard shifts at Taco Bell, sleeping in seedy motels, and being supernaturally compelled to follow your ex from town to town—at least until Holly meets Elton’s other exes.

It seems that Holly isn’t the only girl Elton seduced into this wretched existence. He turned Ida in 1921, then Rose in 1954, and he abandoned them both before Holly was even born. Now Rose and Ida want to kill him before he can trick another girl into eternal adolescence, and they’ll need Holly’s help to do it. And once Holly starts falling for Elton’s vulnerable new conquest, Parker, she’ll do anything to save her.

To kill Elton for good, Holly and her friends will have to dig up their pasts, rob a bank, and reconcile with the people they’ve hurt in their search for eternal love. And to win the girl, Holly will have to convince Parker that she’s more than just Elton’s crazy ex—even though she is trying to kill him.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Death by Society by Sierra Elmore

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.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So

(This is the UK edition. It will be published in the US on May 23, 2023 and can be preordered via Bookshop.)

57657443. sy475 Elsie has a crush on Ada, the only person in the world who truly understands her. Unfortunately, they’ve never met in real life and Ada lives an ocean away. But Elsie has decided it’s now or never to tell Ada how she feels. That is, until her long-lost best friend Joan walks back into her life.

In a summer of repairing broken connections and building surprising new ones, Elsie realises that she isn’t nearly as alone as she thought. But now she has a choice to make…

Buy it: Waterstones | Book Depository

A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell

When her siblings start to go missing, a girl must confront the dark thing that lives in the forest – and the growing darkness in herself – in this debut YA contemporary fantasy for fans of Wilder Girls.

Derry and her eight siblings live in an isolated house by the lake, separated from the rest of the world by an eerie and menacing forest. Frank, the man who raised them after their families abandoned them, says it’s for their own good. After all, the world isn’t safe for people with magic. And Derry feels safe – most of the time.

Until the night her eldest sister disappears. Jane and Derry swore to each other that they’d never go into the forest, not after their last trip ended in blood, but Derry is sure she saw Jane walk into the trees. When another sibling goes missing and Frank’s true colors start to show, feeling safe is no longer an option. Derry will risk anything to protect the family she has left. Even if that means returning to the forest that has started calling to Derry in her missing siblings’ voices.

As Derry spends more time amidst the trees, her magic grows more powerful…and so does the darkness inside her, the viciousness she wants to pretend doesn’t exist. But saving her siblings from the forest and from Frank might mean embracing the darkness. And that just might be the most dangerous thing of all.

Buy it: Bookshop | IndieBound | B&N

Adult Fiction

Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress

It’s 2011: America is in a deep recession and Occupy Wall Street is escalating. But at the elite Wrynn College of Art, students paint and sculpt in a rarified bubble. Louisa Arceneaux is a thoughtful, observant nineteen-year-old when she transfers to Wrynn as a scholarship student, but she soon finds herself adrift in an environment that prizes novelty over beauty. Complicating matters is Louisa’s unexpected attraction to her charismatic roommate, Karina Piontek, the preternaturally gifted but mercurial daughter of wealthy art collectors. Gradually, Louisa and Karina are drawn into an intense sensual and artistic relationship, one that forces them to confront their deepest desires and fears. But Karina also can’t shake her fascination with Preston Utley, a senior and anti-capitalist Internet provocateur, who is publicly feuding with visiting professor and political painter Robert Berger—a once-controversial figurehead seeking to regain relevance.

When Preston concocts an explosive hoax, the fates of all four artists are upended as each is unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat New York art world. Now, all must struggle to find new identities in art, in society, and amongst each other. In the process, they must either find their most authentic terms of life—of success, failure, and joy—or risk losing themselves altogether.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae

57730503With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another . . .

Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Rachel Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.

When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Winning Move by Skye Kilaen

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

You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? ​

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman

Not too long ago, Cass was a promising young playwright in New York, hailed as “a fierce new voice” and “queer, feminist, and ready to spill the tea.” But at the height of all this attention, Cass finds herself at the center of a searing public shaming, and flees to Los Angeles to escape — and reinvent herself. There she meets her next-door neighbor Caroline, a magnetic filmmaker on the rise, as well as the pack of teenage girls who hang around her house. They are the subjects of Caroline’s next semi-documentary movie, which follows the girls’ violent fight club, a real-life feminist re-purposing of the classic.

As Cass is drawn into the film’s orbit, she is awed by Caroline’s ambition and confidence. But over time, she becomes increasingly troubled by how deeply Caroline is manipulating the teens in the name of art. When a girl goes missing, Cass must reckon with her own ambitions and ask herself: in the pursuit of fame, how do you know when you’ve gone too far?

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

To Preorder

Season of Love by Helena Greer (October 11, 2022)

Thanks to her thriving art career, Miriam Blum finally has her decoupaged glitter ducks in a row—until devastating news forces her to a very unwanted family reunion. Her beloved great-aunt Cass has passed and left Miriam part-owner of Carrigan’s, her (ironically) Jewish-run Christmas tree farm.

But Miriam’s plans to sit shiva, avoid her parents, then put Carrigan’s in her rearview mirror are spoiled when she learns the business is at risk of going under. To have any chance at turning things around, she’ll need to work with the farm’s grumpy manager—as long as the attraction sparking between them doesn’t set all their trees on fire first.

Noelle Northwood wants Miriam Blum gone—even if her ingenious ideas and sensitive soul keep showing Noelle there’s more to Cass’s niece than meets the eye. But saving Carrigan’s requires trust, love, and risking it all—for the chance to make their wildest dreams come true.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Mistakes Were Made by Meryl Wilsner (October 11, 2022)

59808269When Cassie Klein goes to an off-campus bar to escape her school’s Family Weekend, she isn’t looking for a hookup―it just happens. Buying a drink for a stranger turns into what should be an uncomplicated, amazing one-night stand. But then the next morning rolls around and her friend drags her along to meet her mom―the hot, older woman Cassie slept with.

Erin Bennett came to Family Weekend to get closer to her daughter, not have a one-night stand with a college senior. In her defense, she hadn’t known Cassie was a student when they’d met. To make things worse, Erin’s daughter brings Cassie to breakfast the next morning. And despite Erin’s better judgement―how could sleeping with your daughter’s friend be anything but bad?―she and Cassie get along in the day just as well as they did last night.

What should have been a one-time fling quickly proves impossible to ignore, and soon Cassie and Erin are sneaking around. Worst of all, they start to realize they have something real. But is being honest about the love between them worth the cost?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail by Ashley Herring Blake (November 22, 2022)

58800142. sy475 For Astrid Parker, failure is unacceptable. Ever since she broke up with her fiancé a year ago, she’s been focused on her career—her friends might say she’s obsessed, but she’s just driven. When Pru Everwood asks her to be the designer for the Everwood Inn’s renovation that will be broadcasted on a popular home improvement show, Innside America, Astrid knows this is the answer to everything that is wrong with her life. It’ll be the perfect distraction from her failed love life, and her perpetually displeased mother might finally give her nod of approval.

However, Astrid never planned on Jordan Everwood, Pru’s granddaughter and lead carpenter for the inn’s renovation, who despises every modern design decision Astrid makes. Jordan is determined to preserve the history of her family’s inn, particularly as the rest of her life is in shambles. When that determination turns into a little light sabotage, ruffling Astrid’s perfect little feathers, the showrunners ask them to play up the tension. But somewhere along the way, their dislike for each other turns into something quite different, and Astrid must decide what success truly means. Is she going to pursue the life that she’s expected to lead, or the one she wants?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (November 29, 2022)

What’s more important? Knowing the truth or keeping the peace?

The summer of her senior year, seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson finds herself uprooted from her life in DC and moved into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between her mom and Mama Letty makes for an unwelcoming arrival and unearths some family drama they refuse to talk about. Everytime Avery tries to look deeper, they turn her away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.

Where Mama Letty is cantankerous and closed off, Avery finds friendship in some unexpected places: in Simone, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family— whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.

But as the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into something more—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town start to hint at something more insidious underneath. Turning to Mama Letty for answers only result in more questions, uncovering decades-old secrets that have been brewing for generations, exposing the towns racist history and threatening to topple the new life Avery’s built in Bardell County, Georgia.

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

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales (November 29, 2022)

59808187It’s been two years since Maya dumped her cheating ex-boyfriend Jordy, and she still can’t escape him: his sister married the crown prince of a minor European country, and in the lead up to the wedding he captured hearts globally as the eligible younger brother. So, when Maya receives an invitation to be a contestant on Second Chance Romance, a new reality show in which the now-famous Jordy will re-date his ex-girlfriends in an effort to find “the one that got away,” she isn’t interested…that is, until she realizes she can use this opportunity to exact her revenge. If she can make it to the finale, she can reject Jordy and publicly break his heart. As far as Maya’s concerned, it’s payback with interest: just what a guy like Jordy deserves.

But when she gets to the set, she’s confronted with the one person she hasn’t accounted for: Skye, the beautiful, charismatic girl Jordy cheated on Maya with. How is she supposed to live with this girl for six weeks? Sharing bunkbeds, for crying out loud?

Except, of course, there’s more to Skye than she lets most people see. Skye has her own reasons for being careful with her heart, and might be more willing to take Maya’s side than it initially seems. If they can sustain their reluctant alliance—and keep their unexpected chemistry from interfering—they might just have a chance to take Jordy down.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson (December 6, 2022)

Xavier Reynolds is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he’s right back home in Harper’s Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a prep chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can’t delegate to save his life.

Logan O’Hare doesn’t understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him—he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn’t have many options besides Xavier.

Stuck between a stove and a hot place, Logan and Xavier discover an unexpected connection. But when the heat between them threatens to top the Scoville scale, they’ll have to decide if they can make their relationship work or if life has seasoned them too differently.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni (January 31, 2023)

When Nareh Bedrossian’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.

Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or the wealthy engineer who catch Nar’s eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?

Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on her double life—the Explore Armenia closing banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave and to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

A Good Day to Pie by Misha Popp (February 7, 2023)

This is the second book in the Pies Before Guys mystery series.

61819089Daisy bakes a little murder into every pie she creates, and she and her dog, Zoe, deliver them to the town’s worst cads. Now, Daisy’s entered a televised, elimination-style competition and has a shot at $100k in prize money—but she still has a murder pie to deliver between filming.

In a completely unexpected turn of events, she discovers that her intended victim is one of the competition judges, and he turns up dead before the pie even arrives. Now, Daisy has to solve the murder—even if it means working a bit of magic—before someone calls foul play and exposes her murderous secret.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Immeasurable Depth of You by Maria Ingrande Mora (March 7, 2023)

How do you face your fears when everything is terrifying?

Fifteen-year-old Brynn can’t stop thinking about death. Her intrusive thoughts and severe anxiety leave her feeling helpless—and hopeless. So after her mom interprets one of Brynn’s blog posts as a suicide note, she takes extreme measures, confiscating Brynn’s phone, blocking her Internet access, and banishing her to stay with her father, who lives “off the grid” on a houseboat in the Florida mangroves. Isolated from her online friends—her only friends—Brynn resigns herself to a summer of mind-numbing boredom and loneliness . . . until Skylar appears.

Skylar is everything Brynn isn’t—sultry, athletic, and confident. Yet Brynn feels at home around this fearless girl who pushes her to try new things and makes her belly flutter with nerves that have nothing to do with anxiety. When Brynn discovers that Skylar is trapped in the bayou and can’t tell her why, she resolves to free her new crush from the dark waters, even if it means confronting all of her worst fears.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Alondra by Gina Femia (April 18, 2023)

A contemporary YA debut from award-winning playwright Gina Femia, Alondra is a coming-of-age story of friendship and romance, about a bisexual teen girl and her friends wrestling their way through the summer–sometimes on the playgrounds of Coney Island, sometimes with their feelings and at home.

Sixteen-year-old Alonda loves professional wrestling. So when she meets a group of teens with aspirations of wrestling fame in her Coney Island neighborhood, she couldn’t be happier. So as the ragtag team works to put on a show to remember, Alonda sheds her old self behind and becomes Alondra―the Fearless One. But with her conflicting feelings for King, the handsome leader of their group, and Lexi, the girl with the beautiful smile, Alonda has to ask herself: can she be as fearless outside of the ring as she is inside it?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Sizzle Reel by Carlyn Greenwald (April 18, 2023)

For aspiring cinematographer Luna Roth, coming out as bisexual at twenty-four is proving more difficult than she anticipated. Sure, her best friend and fellow queer Romy is thrilled for her—but she has no interest in coming out to her backwards parents, she wouldn’t know how to flirt with a girl if one fell at her feet, and she has no sexual history to build off. Not to mention she really needs to focus her energy on escaping her emotionally-abusive-but-that’s-Hollywood talent manager boss and actually get working under a real director of photography anyway.

When she meets twenty-eight-year-old A-list actress Valeria Sullivan around the office, Luna thinks she’s found her solution. She’ll use Valeria’s interest in her cinematography to get a PA job on the set of Valeria’s directorial debut—and if Valeria is as gay as Luna suspects, and she happens to be Luna’s route to losing her virginity, too . . . well, that’s just an added bonus. Enlisting Romy’s help, Luna starts the juggling act of her life—impress Valeria’s DP to get another job after this one, get as close to Valeria as possible, and help Romy with her own career moves.

But when Valeria begins to reciprocate romantic interest in Luna, the act begins to crumble—straining her relationship with Romy and leaving her job prospects precarious. Now Luna has to figure out if she can she fulfill her dreams as a filmmaker, keep her best friend, and get the girl. . . or if she’s destined to end up on the cutting room floor.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

No Boy Summer by Amy Spalding (April 25, 2023)

Lydia Jones and her younger sister Penny have had it with boy drama. Last year was marred by relationship disasters for both of them, threatening Lydia’s standing with her school’s theater tech club and Penny’s perfect GPA. Penny has, naturally, diagnosed the problem and prescribed a drastic solution: a summer off from boys.

Lydia and Penny decide to stay with their Aunt Grace and her boyfriend Oscar in Los Angeles while their parents are off on a European cruise. Penny follows her future-business-school dreams with an internship at Oscar’s office, and Lydia gets a part-time job at Grace’s neighborhood coffeeshop, Grounds Control.

Even when they spent hours, days, weeks dissecting their various boy drama, Lydia’s never felt this connected to her sister before, and it makes her wonder what else in her life could be different. She finds herself drawn to a group of friends she meets through her Grounds Control coworker, Margaret, as well as an intriguing customer, Fran, an aspiring filmmaker and—while not the first girl Lydia finds herself attracted to—the first girl who has mutual feelings for her. But she’s not breaking her pledge to Penny, right? That was just about boys. Even though in her heart Lydia knows she’s bending the rules, she hasn’t had a connection with anyone as strong as her connection with Fran, so she thinks it can’t be wrong. And Penny won’t mind as long as she’s happy . . . Right?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

(Title TBA) by Becky Albertalli (May 2, 2023)

All I know about this book comes from Becky’s graphic here, but it is definitely bi!

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Forever is Now by Mariama J. Lockington (May 23, 2023)

54502830I’m safe here.

That’s how Sadie feels, on a perfect summer day, wrapped in her girlfriend’s arms. School is out, and even though she’s been struggling to manage her chronic anxiety, Sadie is hopeful better times are ahead. Or at least, she thought she was safe. When her girlfriend reveals some unexpected news and the two witness a violent incident of police brutality unfold before them, Sadie’s whole world is upended in an instant.

I’m not safe anywhere.

That’s how Sadie feels every day after—vulnerable, uprooted. She retreats inside as the weeks slip by and relies on her phone to stay connected to the outside world. When Sadie’s therapist gives her a diagnosis for her debilitating panic—agoraphobia—she starts on a path of acceptance and healing. Meanwhile, Sadie’s best friend, Evan, updates her on the protests taking place in their city. Sadie wants to be a part of it, to use her voice and affect change. But how do you show up for your community when you can’t even leave your house?

I can build a safe place inside myself.

That’s what Sadie learns over the course of one life-changing summer, with some help from her family, her best friend, an online platform for activists, and a magnetic crush she develops for the new boy next door.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Something Like Possible by Miel Moreland (May 23, 2023)

58363615. sy475 On the worst day of her life, Madison is dumped by her girlfriend, then fired as said (ex)girlfriend’s campaign manager… plus she accidentally rear-ends the student government advisor—the one person whose good word might help her win a spot at a prestigious youth politics summer camp.

But Madison is nothing if not a girl with a plan, and she isn’t going to let a little thing like heartbreak (or a slightly dented bumper) get in her way. Soon, she has a new junior class president candidate to back—although the two of them might be getting a little too close on the campaign trail. Between navigating her growing crush and corralling a less than enthusiastic election team, Madison has had it with unexpected changes to her carefully laid plans. But when she and a group of queer classmates discover a pattern of harassment within the student government, Madison’s forced to shift gears once again.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Monstersona by Chloe Spencer (May 30, 2023)

There’s a little monster in all of us.

After her parents’ divorce, 16 year old Riley Grishin is forced to move from Portland, Oregon all the way to Little Brook, Maine, a small town that serves as the headquarters for Titan Technologies, an international tech laboratory. Having left her friends and father behind, Riley spends most of her days running through the woods with her dog Tigger, and eavesdropping on her classmates—in particular, the gorgeous, but very strange, Aspen Montehugh.

On the night of the homecoming game, Riley wakes up to find her town on fire, terrorized by an unseen monster. With flames spreading rapidly, Riley and Tigger have no choice but to pile into her beat-up pickup truck and flee. Speeding out of town, they come across the only other survivor: Aspen.

When Riley and Aspen finally reach safety, they realize something far more sinister is afoot. According to the news, all other Titan Tech laboratories on the East Coast have been attacked. And even worse, they’re being followed by an SUV with blacked out windows. With all air travel grounded, Riley has no way to fly back to her dad, so she and Aspen embark on a cross country road trip, all the while pursued by men with guns, mad scientists, and the monstrous truth. Slowly, Riley realizes something’s not quite right with Aspen, which puts her feelings for her—and her own humanity—to the ultimate test.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

The Girl Next Door by Cecilia Vinesse (May 30, 2023)

(No official copy yet, but per the deal announcement, it’s a YA fake-dating rom-com; you can read said announcement on the author’s website here.)

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Things I’ll Never Say by Cassandra Newbould (June 6, 2023)

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.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Old Enough by Haley Jakobson (June 6, 2023)

Savannah “Sav” Henry is almost the person she wants to be, or at least she’s getting closer. It’s the second semester of her sophomore year. She’s finally come out as bisexual, is making friends with the other queers in her dorm, and has just about recovered from her disastrous first queer “situationship.” She is cautiously optimistic that her life is about to begin.

But when she learns that Izzie, her best friend from childhood, has gotten engaged, Sav faces a crisis of confidence. Things with Izzie haven’t been the same since what happened between Sav and Izzie’s older brother when they were sixteen. Now, with the wedding around the corner, Sav is forced to reckon with trauma she thought she could put behind her.

On top of it all, Sav can’t stop thinking about Wes from her Gender Studies class—sweet, funny Wes, with their long eyelashes and green backpack. There’s something different here—with Wes and with her new friends (who delight in teasing her about this face-burning crush); it feels, terrifyingly, like they might truly see her in a way no one has before.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Going Bicoastal by Dahlia Adler (June 13, 2023)

Natalya Fox has twenty-hours to make the biggest choice of her life: stay home in NYC for the summer with her dad (and finally screw up the courage to talk to the girl she’s been crushing on), or spend it with her basically estranged mom in LA (knowing this is the best chance she has to fix their relationship, if she even wants to.) (Does she want to?)

How’s a girl supposed to choose?

She can’t, and so both summers play out in alternating timelines – one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the girl she’s always wanted. And one in which Natalya explores the city, tries to repair things with her mom, works on figuring out her future, and goes for the guy she never saw coming.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Ode to My First Car by Robin Gow (June 20, 2022)

Ode to My First CarIt’s a few months before senior year and Claire Kemp, a closeted bisexual, is finally starting to admit she might be falling in love with her best friend, Sophia, who she’s known since they were four.

Trying to pay off the fine from the crash that totals Lars, her beloved car, Claire takes a job at the local nursing home up the street from her house. There she meets Lena, an eighty-eight-year-old lesbian woman who tells her stories about what it was like growing up gay in the 1950s and ’60s.

As Claire spends more time with Lena and grows more confident of her identity, another girl, Pen, comes into the picture, and Claire is caught between two loves–one familiar and well-worn, the other new and untested.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

To Add to Your TBR

June 2022 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction and Poetry

Author of the forthcoming THE ROMANCE RECIPE and HOT COPY Ruby Barrett‘s THE LEARNING CURVE, where a bi, down-on-his-luck ex-firefighter joins a cross-disciplinary academic study teaching millennials how to make friends as adults, but an unexpected flirtation with an earnest people-pleasing female participant jeopardizes the study and their hearts, to Stephanie Doig at Carina Adores, for publication in winter 2024, by Kiana Nguyen at Donald Maass Literary Agency (world).

D’VAUGHN AND KRIS PLAN A WEDDING author Chencia C. Higgins’s untitled novel, set in a woman-owned, queer-friendly adult entertainment club, in which a teddy bear stud music producer breaks her own rules and romances her BFF, the club’s highest earning dancer and a devoted single mom, pitched as BROWN SUGAR meets P-Valley, to Kerri Buckley at Carina Adores, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2023, by Keisha Mennefee at Honey Magnolia Media (world).

Sim Kern’s THE FREE PEOPLE’S VILLAGE, following a queer punk band in Houston swept up in an anti-capitalist revolution, in an alternate timeline where President Al Gore declared a War on Climate Change, transforming U.S. cities into solarpunk paradises—but only for wealthy white neighborhoods, to Irene Vazquez at Levine Querido, by Rebecca Podos at Rees Literary Agency (world).

Author-illustrator of the LA Times Book Award finalist HONOR GIRL Maggie Thrash’s adult debut RAINBOW BLACK, part murder mystery, part gay international fugitive love story, part meditation on queerness and identity, set against the ’90s Satanic Panic and spanning 20 years in the life of a young woman pulled into its undertow, to Noah Eaker at Harper Perennial, for publication in spring 2024, by Stephen Barr at Writers House (NA).

Eugenio Volpe’s I, CARAVAGGIO, pitched as a postmodern retelling of the bisexual, street-fighting godfather of modern painting, to Christoph Paul at Clash, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in July 2023 (world English).

Writer, performance artist, and community healer Kai Cheng Thom’s LOVE LETTERS TO LOST SOULS, a collection of prose poems promising to uplift queer and marginalized people, show grace to those seemingly beyond saving, and affirm the imperfect yet sacred humanity in us all, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial Press, in a pre-empt, by Leonicka Valcius and Marilyn Biderman at Transatlantic Literary Agency (world, excl. Canada). Rights also to David Ross at Penguin Canada.

Audiobook narrator Travis Baldree’s LEGENDS & LATTES, in which an orc mercenary hopes to make a new start in life, opening the first coffee shop in Thune, to Lindsey Hall at Tor, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2022, by Jon Mitchell at Pan Macmillan.

I’M SO NOT OVER YOU author Kosoko Jackson’s WRANGLED AND ENTANGLED, a gay rom-com set on a family ranch in Montana, where a city boy licking his wounds post-breakup finds himself falling for the cowboy who never wanted his family legacy reduced to a tourist attraction in the first place, to Kristine Swartz and Mary Baker at Berkley, for publication in spring 2024, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).

Rachel Runya Katz’s THANK YOU FOR SHARING, pitched for readers of Casey McQuiston, following two biracial former Jewish sleepaway camp crushes (and rivals) as they’re forced put aside their baggage to save their careers and work together 14 years later, only to realize that they can’t ignore their shared history or their growing feelings for each other, to Vicki Lame at Griffin, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Jessica Mileo at Inkwell Management (NA).

Lebanon Valley College Director of Creative Writing Holly M. Wendt’s HEADING NORTH, pitched for fans of THE ART OF FIELDING and the BEARTOWN series, tracking a season in which a gay Russian ice hockey player must rebuild his life in the NHL after tragedy and his general manager wrestles for team control while her marriage deteriorates, in a novel about grief and social change on the global stage of professional sport, to Jeffrey Condran at Braddock Avenue Books, in a nice deal, for publication in November 2023 (NA).

Meredith Mooring’s REDSIGHT, a debut science fantasy with positive bisexual and disability representation that follows a blind priestess who powers warships for the galactic military by manipulating spacetime; when the captain of her ship is murdered by a pirate with a dark past, the priestess must choose between a painful life of service or a chance at freedom with the galaxy’s most wanted criminal, to Amy Borsuk at Rebellion, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2024, by Ernie Chiara at Fuse Literary (world).

A.K. Mulford’s THE FIVE CROWNS OF OKRITH series, a queer fantasy romance series, the first of which is popular on TikTok, to David Pomerico at Voyager, in a major deal, for seven figures, in a five-book deal, for publication in October 2022, by Jessica Watterson at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (world English).

Sheila Connolly’s BLACK SAILS TO SUNWARD, the first in series in which a woman joins the Martian Imperial Navy to save her family’s waning fortunes but somehow ends up sucked into piracy with her ex-girlfriend instead, to Cate Pearce at Hansen, with Elizabeth Jeannel editing, in a nice deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in July 2023.

Melissa Karibian’s A CHORUS OF ASHES AND SHADOWS, the sequel to A SONG OF SILVER AND GOLD, to Elizabeth Jeannel at Hansen, for publication in June 2023.

Children’s Fiction

Chinese Canadian writer, musician, and filmmaker, and author of THIS CITY IS A MINEFIELD Aaron Chan’s THE BROKEN HEART, a picture book pitched with identity-inspired LGBTQ2S+ themes, the story of a young girl who likes to fix things, and who sets out to help her brother mend his heart after his relationship with his boyfriend has ended, illustrated by Josiane Vlitos, to Lauri Hornik at Rocky Pond Books, for publication in spring 2024, by Emmy Nordstrom Higdon at Westwood Creative Artists (world).

Young Adult Fiction

Author of IF YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND Robby Weber’s WHAT IS THIS FEELING?, a rom-com in which a high school theater star just wants to win a scavenger hunt and meet his Broadway idol on the drama club trip to New York City, but when he finds himself stuck sharing a room with his polar opposite, the snarky loner from the tech department, the last thing he expects is to form a friendship—and maybe more, to Connolly Bottum while at Inkyard Press, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2024, by Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency (world English).

Kamilah Cole’s SO LET THEM BURN, pitched as “Jamaican Joan of Arc” and inspired by Zendaya’s 2018 Met Gala look, following a 17-year-old girl who once wielded the magic of the gods to save her island from dragon-riding colonizers and must now save her sister from the same enemy—even if it means bargaining with a long-forgotten god and ending the world, to Alexandra Hightower at Little, Brown Children’s, in a six-figure deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in winter 2024, by Emily Forney at BookEnds (world).

Debut author Carolyn Hill’s MASK OF CELIBACY, a 1990s-set novel featuring two heteroromantic ace characters, to Rebecca Sands at Wattpad, for publication in summer 2024 (world).

Author of YOU’RE NEXT Kylie Schachte’s HEARTS OF GOLD, a queer action-adventure pitched as Our Flag Means Death meets modern-day Indiana Jones, in which the daughter of an archeologist must team up with her archnemesis to uncover the truth about a legendary gang of female pirates—and find their long-lost treasure, to Samantha Gentry at Little, Brown Children’s, for publication in fall 2023, by Margaret Sutherland Brown at Folio Literary Management (world).

Nonfiction

Cohost of the Queer Kids Stuff YouTube series and TED speaker Lindz Amer‘s HOORAY FOR HE, SHE, ZE, AND THEY!, a celebration of pronouns and gender euphoria, illustrated by Kate Alizadeh, to Celia Lee at Simon & Schuster Children’s, for publication in 2024, by Claire Draper at The Bent Agency for the author, and by Mandy Suhr at Miles Stott Agency for the illustrator (world).

Professor of history at Eastern Michigan University John G. McCurdy‘s THE PARSON IS A BUGGERER: HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, the story of the trial of Lieutenant Robert Newburgh, placing LGBTQ+ presence at the founding of the United States, to Laura Davulis at Johns Hopkins University Press, by Christopher Rogers at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (world).

Artist, publisher, and founder of Hello Mr. magazine Ryan Fitzgibbon’s untitled compendium of queer storytelling, collecting material from the magazine’s archives alongside new material from today’s emerging queer artists and writers, contextualizing the magazine’s lasting impact while celebrating a new generation of LGBTQ+ creators, to Zachary Knoll at Abrams, in an exclusive submission, by Michael Bourret at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).

National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of GAY BAR Jeremy Atherton Lin’s DEEP HOUSE, a pre- and post-Obergefell love story weaving the author’s decades-long, transnational romance into a larger inquiry into the many ways queer couples lived and loved before gay marriage became legal, to Jean Garnett at Little, Brown, in a good deal, by Laura Macdougall at United Agents (NA).

Fave Five: New Adult M/M Romance

Never Been Kissed by Timothy Janovsky

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson

Hummingbird Heartbreak by Max Walker

When London Snow Falls by Hayden Stone

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Bonus: By Any Means Necessary by Cam Montgomery is classified as YA, but is an M/M Romance set in college

Double Bonus: All of the above are full-length novels, but for a great novella, check out Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Adult Fiction: July-December 2022

This Way Out by Tufayel Ahmed (July 1st)

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

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

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

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

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

New Releases: March 2022

This post is sponsored in honor of the paperback release of That Way Madness Lies ed. by Dahlia Adler on March 15th, an anthology Kirkus called “A radical reimagining and avant garde interpretation of Shakespeare.”

Buy it in paperback: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound | Target

***

Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez (Author), Danica Brine (Illustrator), Hank Jones (Colorist), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Letterer) (1st)

Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right?

When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Continue reading New Releases: March 2022

Exclusive Cover Reveal: A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoko Jackson

We here at LGBTQReads are big Kosoko Jackson fans, in case you hadn’t noticed, so what better way to close out the month than with one more cover reveal from our featured author? Yes, that’s right, we get another glorious m/m Romance from Kosoko Jackson this year! A Dash of Salt and Pepper releases December 6th from Berkley, and here’s the story of this foodie age-gap rom-com:

Sometimes two cooks in the kitchen are better than one in this swoony romantic comedy from the author of I’m So (Not) Over You.

Xavier Gorman is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he’s right back home in Harpers Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a sous-chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can’t delegate to save his life.

Logan O’Hare doesn’t understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him—he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn’t have many options besides Xavier.

Stuck between a stove and a hot place, Logan and Xavier discover an unexpected connection. But when the heat between them threatens to top the Scoville scale, they’ll have to decide if they can make their relationship work or if life has seasoned them too differently.

And here’s the delicious cover, illustrated by Adriana Bellet!

Preorder links are still to come, but you can add it on Goodreads!

***

Kosoko Jackson is a digital media specialist, focusing on digital storytelling, email, social and SMS marketing, and a freelance political journalist. Occasionally, his personal essays and short stories have been featured on Medium, Thought Catalog, The Advocate, and some literary magazines. When not writing YA novels that champion holistic representation of black queer youth across genres, he can be found obsessing over movies, drinking his (umpteenth) London Fog, or spending far too much time on Twitter.

February 2022 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction and Poetry

Haley Jakobson‘s OLD ENOUGH, a coming-of-age novel about a bisexual college sophomore who is reveling in the joy of discovering and being embraced by a queer community—and nursing a face-burning crush on someone in her gender and sexuality class—while grappling with the tumultuous history between her and her childhood best friend and the promises they made to each other long before they realized how hard it would be to keep them, pitched as for fans of ONE LAST STOP and QUEENIE, to Pilar Garcia-Brown at Dutton, by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at Frances Goldin Literary Agency (world).

Continue reading February 2022 Deal Announcements

Fave Five: 2022 Queer Black Romances

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

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson (M/M)

Stud Like Her by Fiona Zedde (F/F)

Crimes of Passion by Jack Harbon (M/M)

If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis* (M/M)

*Yes this technically came out in 2021, but it was December 28th, so we’re gonna let it slide

Bonus: These are all adult, but for YA, check out The Kindred by Alechia Dow (M/F Sci-Fi) and Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters (M/M)

Double Bonus: For already published titles, make sure you check out this guest post by Katrina Jackson on Finding Queer Black Love in Literature

Better Know an Author: Kosoko Jackson

I’m so thrilled to welcome Kosoko Jackson back to the site, this month of his newest release, I’m So (Not) Over You (Berkley), which publishes on the 22nd! I have been floored by how much he’s been putting out in the world lately, and I’m so excited about everything coming up, so please give him a warm welcome!

I’m so, so excited to see you keep jumping into new spaces, but perhaps the one I’m most excited about is the world of rom-coms! What’s the story behind I’m So (Not) Over You and making the move from YA to Adult?

Thank you! I’m super excited to be here. It’s been so much fun writing them, exploring tropes, and writing HEAs. Honestly, the story isn’t that jaw dropping, haha. About 3 years ago, I really needed to reevaluate what I wanted to write and what brought me joy. I was lying in bed, listening to Taylor Swift, as one does, and thought; I want to write rom-coms. I emailed my agent, and then over the next year or so, I wrote…4 different proposals, each 50 pages each, until we narrowed down the right one, sent it off, and 4 months later, I was signed to Berkley! It was a leap of faith I’m really happy I took.

Of course, that’s not a permanent move; in fact you’ll be back in YA in about five seconds with Survive the Dome, which could not feel like a more relevant story right now. What was it like to write that book against the background of 2020s America, and what do you hope readers take from it?

Don’t remind me! True whiplash! Survive the Dome couldn’t be more different than I’m So (Not) Over You. Survive The Dome was my act of resistance against everything happening in the news. I couldn’t go out and protest, thanks to the pandemic and living in NYC, so I wanted to do something, so I really poured my resistance into this book. I want people to take away that revolutions are often led by people of color, women of color, and youth of color, and we should put them at the forefront of conversations far more often than we do.

Dipping back into adult romance for a sec, you also published a short story last fall in Love All Year, which sounds like the most delightful anthology. How did you get involved, and can you tell us a little bit about “Kwanzaa Kiss”?

Sure! Honestly, it was an open call. I was chatting with Denise Wiliams (read her book The Fastest Way To Fall, by the way), chatting about a Kwanzaa rom com, and she mentioned the Love All Year sequel. The story wasn’t enough for a full book, so this seemed a perfect way to tell the story. “Kwanzaa Kiss” is a scavenger hunt rom com between two men who team up to find seven things that represent each of the core principles of Kwanzaa. And of course, love comes through!

You also have a new essay in the collection Black Love Matters, which released with perfect timing to kick off Black History Month. How was collaborating on an essay collection, and what do you love about it as a whole?

You’re making me realize I need to take a BREAK. I’ve written so much the past year haha. This was so much fun! I’m so honored Berkley put oy name forward, and Jessica was into the idea. I rarely see anthologies that center not only Black people, but Black love. It was so great to work with such rom com and romance titans, and be in an anthology with them and learn from them. I also got to talk about my favorite topics, movies, tv and love, so honestly, I won, haha.

I got the joy (completely coincidentally) of revealing the covers for both of your new books, but you had a fabulous third new cover out this year, for the paperback of Yesterday Is History. How did that cover change come about, and what do you love about the new design?

Yesterday Is HistoryThank you so much for doing them both by the way. The hardest-working person in publishing right here. I LOVE the new cover for Yesterday Is History. Honestly, again, not the most interesting story. My publisher, Sourcebooks, said they wanted a cover that resonated with the key thing people loved about the story; the romance. So they wanted to put that front and center with a speculative hint towards it. Having Andre falling also represents his first jump in time, in chapter 1. And the cover shows he ends up with someone but you don’t know who! It’s so beautiful.

You’ve also been on LGBTQReads before, in a pre-author capacity, in one of my favorite posts in the history of the site. Where is the Black Queer Male Voice in YA? was published back on August 31, 2017, back before authors like you, Ryan Douglass (also featured), Julian Winters, Kacen Callender, and Jay Coles made your way onto shelves and changed the game. How are you feeling about the queer Black male voice in YA now, and where you’d still like to see it go?

2017? That was so long ago and it feels like yesterday. I’m loving to see so many more queer Black boys. Especially in YA and Middle Grade. I wish I had these authors to look up to when I was 13. But it’s awesome to see that teens and young adults will be able to read books that aren’t just about coming out, or the struggles of being Black and queer, but to see stories where Queer characters are fully fledged and well thoguht out people, with motives, feelings, fears, and flaws. That’s crucial, not only for us, to see ourselves, but for others to learn empathy.

Of course, the conversation about being a queer man in romance is one that’s gotten a whole lot of traction lately as well. Given the floor to say your piece about it, what would you like both the industry and readers to know about the experience of publishing m/m romance as a queer (or whatever label you prefer!) man?

I think it’s important that we as a community understand we cannot and should not police who writes what. That’s a dangerous slope and a dangerous path to go down. That being said, I think its also very important we allow queer men to tell their stories authentically. We shouldn’t judge by hetronormative standards and publishing should, along with readers, make more of an effort to uplift queer stories. Marginalized voices within the community should be prioritized when telling those stories. That, to me, isn’t an out-there idea.

I think we’re all out of ways to sugarcoat the fact that publishing during a pandemic sucks, and debuting during a pandemic doubly so, although there are definitely some perks as far as increased access to events goes. What have you found to be the best and worst parts of debuting in 2021, and what fellow pandemic debuts would you like to shout out?

I think the best also goes back to the Great Resignation of workers. I’ve found that I’ve really honed in on what I care about and the stories I want to tell. I’ve become braver and more confident in my writing, because I’ve seen how fleeting everything that we have erected and held dear. I think that’s morbid, sure, but I embrace this confidence I’ve fostered. The saddest thing, as we all know, is no in person events, but also how much stress is being put on publishing employees. We’re losing great talent during this pandemic because of how our industry treats publishing employees, especially marginalized ones and people of color.

With so many different things under your belt, I’m particularly interested in your answer to my final question: what’s up next for you?

By the time this comes out my next YA, coming out in 2023 by Quilltree would have been announced, and I’m so so thrilled to be stepping into fantasy and dark academia. My next rom com also comes out December of this year, A Dash of Salt and Pepper, and it follows a small town DILF chef in a fictional version of Stars Hollow, the 20-something who returns home after losing his job and his boyfriend, and Taming of the Shrew vibes!

***

Happy Black History Month 2022!

Happy Black History Month! Like the other eleven months, it’s always an excellent time to buy queer books by Black authors! (Note: since I felt like the old posts weren’t highlighting individual books enough, I’ve switched to the standard Happy Holigays style, but you can always find more titles in the previous post.)

Please note that only one book per author was included here, but most have others, and I encourage you to check out their catalogs!

To Buy Now

(and through the end of the month)

Meow or Never by Jazz Taylor (MG Contemporary)

Avery Williams can sing, but that doesn’t mean she can sing in front of people. She likes to stay backstage at her new school, which is where, to her surprise, she finds a cat tucked away into a nook. Avery names the stray Phantom and visits any time she’s feeling stressed (which is a lot these days).

As she sings to Phantom one day, her crush, Nic, overhears her and ropes Avery into auditioning for the school’s musical. Despite her nerves, Avery lands the lead role!

She knows she should be excited, but mostly Avery is terrified. Can Phantom help her through her stage fright? And what will happen if anyone finds out about her secret pet?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms by Jamar J. Perry (MG Fantasy)

54456929. sy475 Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents who disappeared one fateful night, two years ago.

Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends Zion and Aliyah decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. Instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the Queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them . . . is Cameron ready to be the hero they need?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Kindred by Alechia Dow (YA M/F Sci-Fi Romance)

57803147To save a galactic kingdom from revolution, Kindred mind-pairings were created to ensure each and every person would be seen and heard, no matter how rich or poor…

Joy Abara knows her place. A commoner from the lowly planet Hali, she lives a simple life—apart from the notoriety that being Kindred to the nobility’s most infamous playboy brings.

Duke Felix Hamdi has a plan. He will exasperate his noble family to the point that they agree to let him choose his own future and finally meet his Kindred face-to-face.

Then the royal family is assassinated, putting Felix next in line for the throne…and accused of the murders. Someone will stop at nothing until he’s dead, which means they’ll target Joy, too. Meeting in person for the first time as they steal a spacecraft and flee amid chaos might not be ideal…and neither is crash-landing on the strange backward planet called Earth. But hiding might just be the perfect way to discover the true strength of the Kindred bond and expose a scandal—and a love—that may decide the future of a galaxy.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron (YA Fantasy)

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.

When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.

When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus (YA Contemporary Romance)

petrusbookTrinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum (YA Speculative Romance)

The Weight of the StarsRyann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .

In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.

Buy it: B&N | Amazon

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (YA Horror)

Sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston sees dead people everywhere. But he can’t decide what’s worse: being a medium forced to watch the dead play out their last moments on a loop or being at the mercy of racist teachers as one of the few Black students at St. Clair Prep. Both are a living nightmare he wishes he could wake up from. But things at St. Clair start looking up with the arrival of another Black student—the handsome Allister—and for the first time, romance is on the horizon for Jake.

Unfortunately, life as a medium is getting worse. Though most ghosts are harmless and Jake is always happy to help them move on to the next place, Sawyer Doon wants much more from Jake. In life, Sawyer was a troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school before taking his own life. Now he’s a powerful, vengeful ghost and he has plans for Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about dead world goes out the window as Sawyer begins to haunt him. High school soon becomes a different kind of survival game—one Jake is not sure he can win.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Things We Couldn’t Say by Jay Coles (YA Contemporary)

There’s always been a hole in Gio’s life. Not because he’s into both guys and girls. Not because his father has some drinking issues. Not because his friends are always bringing him their drama. No, the hole in Gio’s life takes the shape of his birth mom, who left Gio, his brother, and his father when Gio was nine years old. For eight years, he never heard a word from her … and now, just as he’s started to get his life together, she’s back.

It’s hard for Gio to know what to do. Can he forgive her like she wants to be forgiven? Or should he tell her she lost her chance to be in his life? Complicating things further, Gio’s started to hang out with David, a new guy on the basketball team. Are they friends? More than friends? At first, Gio’s not sure … especially because he’s not sure what he wants from anyone right now.

There are no easy answers to love – whether it’s family love or friend love or romantic love. In Things We Couldn’t Say, Jay Coles shows us a guy trying to navigate love in all its ambiguity — hoping at the other end he’ll be able to figure out who is and who he should be.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons (YA Contemporary Romance)

Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother, and a David Beckham in training. He’s also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of isolation and bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio.

At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy’s soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans–he’s passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer’s coach to bench him after he discovers the “F” on Spencer’s birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even though it would mean coming out to everyone– including the guy he’s falling for.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (YA Thriller)

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

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

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson (YA Contemporary Romance)

Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.

Toni is grieving the loss of her roadie father and needing to figure out where her life will go from here — and she’s desperate to get back to loving music. Olivia is a hopeless romantic whose heart has just taken a beating (again) and is beginning to feel like she’ll always be a square peg in a round hole — but the Farmland Music and Arts Festival is a chance to find a place where she fits.

The two collide and it feels like something like kismet when a bond begins to form. But when something goes wrong and the festival is sent into a panic, Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other (and music) more than they ever imagined.

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

Odd One Out by Nic Stone (YA Contemporary Romance)

39848512.jpgCourtney “Coop” Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn’t mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl.

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed “new girl” would be synonymous with “pariah,” but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I’m right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers

Buy It: B&N | Amazon | IndieBound | Google Play | Kobo 

A Phoenix Must Burn ed. by Patrice Caldwell (YA SFF Anthology)

43887961. sy475 Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi.

Buy it: B&N | Amazon | IndieBound

Off the Record by Camryn Garrett (YA Contemporary)

Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this.

Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head.

One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee (YA Contemporary Romance)

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

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

The Sweet Sweet Fruit by David W. Johns (YA Fantasy)

The Sweet Sweet Fruit by [W Johns, David]Several light-years from Earth, Kelley spins his great granddaughter a fanciful story about how a summer job at a theme park changed his life forever. A story about discovery, friendship, and sacrifice. Like, literal human sacrifice. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

In a classic coming of age story, young Kelley arrives at Paradise Parks and Resort seeking a paradise of his own, only to have his hopes and dreams terminated along with his contract. Now, every proper theme park has a princess or two, and at Paradise Parks, Princess Hilola and her gang of feral socialites reign supreme. When they rescue Kelley and show him the finer sides of the island; yacht parties, VIP lounges, and high profile clientele, he thought he’d found his happily ever after…that is, until an ancient island curse turns the park into a very dark and heavy place. Theme rides mysteriously malfunction, people begin disappearing in the jungle, and a string of shark attacks has everyone on high alert. Princess Hilola reveals that in order to set things right, there must be a sacrifice to the massive volcano that looms over the island.

Through Kelley’s story, his great granddaughter learns a valuable lesson: in order to find yourself, you must get a little lost. Also, if a Princess invites you to a party, don’t drink the punch.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh (YA Contemporary)

43699419. sy475 Every Body Looking is a heavily autobiographical novel of a young woman’s struggle to carve a place for herself–for her black female body–in a world of deeply conflicting messages.

Told entirely in verse, Ada’s story encompasses her earliest memories as a child, including her abuse at the hands of a young cousin, her mother’s rejection and descent into addiction, and her father’s attempts to create a home for his American daughter more like the one he knew in Nigeria.

The present-tense of the book is Ada’s first year at Howard University in Washington D.C., where she must finally confront the fundamental conflict between who her family says she should be and what her body tells her she must be.

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

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet (YA Fantasy)

43927569In a world where magic thrives in secret city corners, a group of magicians embark on a road trip—and it’s the “no-love-interest”, found family adventure you’ve been searching for.

Sixteen-year-old Blythe is one of seven Guardians: magicians powerful enough to cause worldwide panic with a snap of their fingers. But Blythe spends her days pouring latte art at her family’s coffee shop, so why should she care about having apocalyptic abilities?

She’s given a reason when magician anarchists crash into said coffee shop and kidnap her family.

Heartbroken but determined, Blythe knows she can’t save them alone. A war is brewing between two magician governments and tensions are too high. So, she packs up her family’s bright yellow Volkswagen, puts on a playlist, and embarks on a road trip across the United States to enlist the help of six strangers whose abilities are unparalleled—the other Guardians.

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Indigo | Apple Books

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson (YA Memoir)

39834234. sy475 In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults.

Buy it: B&N | Amazon | IndieBound

Treasure by Rebekah Weatherspoon (F/F NA Romance)

Her sister’s bachelorette party is the highlight of a miserable year for Alexis Chambers, but once her bridesmaid’s dress is packed away, she’s back to coping with her life as a once popular athlete and violinist turned loner and the focus of her parents’ disappointment. She isn’t expecting much from her freshman year of college until she finds herself sharing a class with Treasure, the gorgeous stripper from her sister’s party.

Trisha Hamilton has finally gotten the credits and the money together to transfer to a four-year university. Between classes, studying, and her job as a stripper, she has little time for a social life, until she runs into the adorably shy baby butch from the club. Trisha can’t seem to hide her feelings for Alexis, even when Trisha discovers what she has been through, but will Alexis have the strength to be just as fearless about their new love?

Buy it: iBooks | Kobo | B&N | Amazon

The Days of Afrekete by Asali Solomon (Litfic)

56269273Liselle Belmont is having a dinner party. It seems a strange occasion—her husband, Winn, has lost his bid for the state legislature and they’re having the key supporters over to thank them for their work. Liselle was never sure about Winn becoming a politician, never sure about the limelight, about the life of fundraising and stump speeches. Now that it’s over she is facing new questions: Who are they to each other, after all this? How much of herself has she lost on the way—and was it worth it? Just before the night begins, she hears from an FBI agent, who claims that Winn is corrupt. Is it possible? How will she make it through this dinner party?

Across town, Selena is making her way through the same day, the same way she always does—one foot in front of the other, keeping quiet and focused, trying not to see the terrors all around her. Homelessness, starving children, the very living horrors of history that made America possible: these and other thoughts have made it difficult for her to live a normal life. The only time she was ever really happy was with Liselle back in college. But they’ve lost touch, so much so that when they run into each other at a drugstore just after Obama is elected president, they barely speak. But as the day wears on, Selena’s memories of Liselle begin to shift her path.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

I’m So (Not) Over You by Kosoko Jackson (M/M Romance)

It’s been months since aspiring journalist Kian Andrews has heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, but an urgent text has them meeting at a café. Maybe Hudson wants to profusely apologize for the breakup. Or confess his undying love. . . But no, Hudson has a favor to ask—he wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, and Kian reluctantly agrees.

The dinner doesn’t go exactly as planned, and suddenly Kian is Hudson’s plus one to Georgia’s wedding of the season. Hudson comes from a wealthy family where reputation is everything, and he really can’t afford another mistake. If Kian goes, he’ll help Hudson preserve appearances and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in media. This could be the big career break Kian needs.

But their fake relationship is starting to feel like it might be more than a means to an end, and it’s time for both men to fact-check their feelings.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

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

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

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

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

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

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Litfic)

A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend–and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends–some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community.

Preorder: B&N | Amazon | IndieBound

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (Sci-Fi)

Vern—seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised—flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future—outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

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

If You Love Something by Jayce Ellis (M/M Romance)

As executive chef at one of the hottest restaurants in DC, DeShawn Franklin has almost everything he’s ever wanted. He’s well-known, his restaurant is Michelin starred and he can write his own ticket anywhere he wants. Until his grandmother calls him home and drops two bombshells:

1) She has cancer and she’s not seeking treatment.

2) She’s willing half her estate to DeShawn’s ex-husband, Malik.

Make that three bombshells. 

3) That whole divorce thing? It didn’t quite go through. DeShawn and Malik are still married.

And when DeShawn’s shady uncle contests Grandma’s will, there’s only one path back to justice: play it like he and Malik have reconciled. They need to act like a married couple just long enough to dispense with the lawsuit.

Once DeShawn is back in Malik’s orbit, it’s not hard to remember why they parted. All the reasons he walked away remain—but so do all the reasons he fell in love in the first place.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr. (Historical)

Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr. fiercely summons the voices of slaver and the enslaved alike to tell the story of these two men; from Amos the preacher to the calculating slave-master himself to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.

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Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (F/F Romance)

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.

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Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia (Historical Mystery)

Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.

Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She”s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie”s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan”s hottest speakeasy. Louise”s friends might say she”s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don”t tell her that.

When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she”s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her.

Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.

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Sweethand by N.G. Peltier (M/F Romance)

After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.

When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.

Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.

Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.

When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.

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Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie (Litfic)

When she was twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye still moves through life entirely—and unrepentantly—on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Maybe her junior high classmates weren’t wrong when they voted her “Most Likely to Be Single” instead of “Most Ride-or-Die Homie,” but at least she’s always been free to do as she pleases.

Then a twelve-year-old girl tracks Skye down during one of her brief visits to her hometown of Philadelphia and informs Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Things get even more complicated when Skye realizes that the woman she tried and failed to pick up the other day is the girl’s aunt, and now it’s awkward. All the while, her brother is trying to get in touch, her mother is being bewilderingly kind, and the West Philly pool halls and hoagie shops of her youth have been replaced by hipster cafés.

With its endearingly prickly narrator and a cast of characters willing to both challenge her and catch her when she falls, this novel is a clever, moving portrait of a woman and the relationships she thought she could live without.

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How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole (F/F Romance)

Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.

Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.

When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas. When they finally make it to Ibarania, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and Makeda must learn what it means to fight for what she desires and not what she feels bound to by duty.

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Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon (M/M Romance)

Jordan Collins doesn’t need a man.

What he needs is for his favorite author to release another one of her sexy supernatural novels and more people to sign up for the romance book club that he fears is slowly and steadily losing its steam. He also needs for the new employee at his local bookstore to stop making fun of him for reading things meant for “grandmas.”

The very last thing he needs is for that same employee, Rex Bailey, to waltz into his living room and ask to join Meet Cute Club. Despite his immediate thoughts—like laughing in his face and telling him to kick rocks—Jordan decides that if he wants this club to continue thriving, he can’t turn away any new members. Not even ones like Rex, who somehow manage to be both frustratingly obnoxious and breathtakingly handsome.

As Jordan and Rex team up to bring the club back from the ashes, Jordan soon discovers that Rex might not be the arrogant troll he made himself out to be, and that, like with all things in life, maybe he was wrong to judge a book by its cover.

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Stone and Steel by Eboni Dunbar (Fantasy)

In Stone and Steel, when General Aaliyah returns triumphant to the city of Titus, she expects to find the people prospering under the rule of her Queen, the stone mage Odessa. Instead, she finds a troubling imbalance in both the citizens’ wellbeing and Odessa’s rule. Aaliyah must rely on all of her allies, old and new, to do right by the city that made her.

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Stud Like Her by Fiona Zedde (F/F Romance)

Stud Like Her: A Lesbian Romance by [Fiona Zedde]Chance has been in love only once, but it wasn’t with the girlfriend she stayed with for far too long. The same girlfriend who dropped Chance when she became too inconvenient. Or maybe just boring.

To bury her disappointment, Chance tries to return to the woman she loved back when she was too afraid to be herself. A stud attracted to other studs.

Instead of her old love, though, Chance finds Garet: a new and persistent admirer with the kind of swagger that leaves Chance weak in the knees. Garet is hot and very popular with her half a million followers on social media. She’s also a lot younger than Chance is used to. Not to mention there’s something familiar about her, something dangerous, that Chance can’t quite put her finger on.

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From Scratch by Katrina Jackson (Polyam Romance)

From Scratch (Welcome to Sea Port Book 1) by [Katrina Jackson]Sea Port is a tiny southern town on the verge of collapse looking to entice people to move to the middle of nowhere and start life anew.

Mary Woods, stinging from her life as a failed academic, takes the opportunity by the reins and resettles in Sea Port to try her hand as a small town baker. A few days before the opening of her shop, Confections by Mary, she runs into small town cop, Miguel Santos, and small town fire chief, Billy Knox and there’s a whole lot of chemistry to go around.

Welcome to Sea Port, where the town baker, cop and fire chief fall heavily in lust.

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Fall Into You by Georgina Kiersten (F/F Romance)

Fall Into You by Georgina Kiersten (cover) A plus size back woman standing a in the woods full of fall autumn flowers.Imari Haines has had it with the gossip. The whole town is acting like she’s their very own Runaway Bride. A plus-size, black version of Julia Roberts that left a perfectly nice boy at the altar.

Her family is no exception. Her mother won’t stop making passive-aggressive comments.

Exhausted by this charged atmosphere, a boss that doesn’t appreciate her, and the never-ending town rumors, Imari makes a bold decision. Come autumn, she moves to Appeley (a small town in Hill Country) and never looks back.

In Appeley, for the first time ever, Imari feels welcome, happy, and unapologetically herself. She tries new things, makes brand-new friends and, while attending the fall apple festival, she accidentally bumps into a very familiar face…

Cassidy Martinez was her childhood best friend and partner in crime. Now, she has grown into a stunning, confident woman, and Imari can’t help noticing.

Should she take a risk?

Can the two of them pick up where they left off, or is being friends not going to be enough this time around?

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Punch Me Up to the Gods by Brian Broome (Memoir)

53968494. sy475 Punch Me Up to the Gods introduces a powerful new talent in Brian Broome, whose early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys propel forward this gorgeous, aching, and unforgettable debut. Brian’s recounting of his experiences—in all their cringe-worthy, hilarious, and heartbreaking glory—reveal a perpetual outsider awkwardly squirming to find his way in. Indiscriminate sex and escalating drug use help to soothe his hurt, young psyche, usually to uproarious and devastating effect. A no-nonsense mother and broken father play crucial roles in our misfit’s origin story. But it is Brian’s voice in the retelling that shows the true depth of vulnerability for young Black boys that is often quietly near to bursting at the seams.

Cleverly framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool,” the iconic and loving ode to Black boyhood, Punch Me Up to the Gods is at once playful, poignant, and wholly original. Broome’s writing brims with swagger and sensitivity, bringing an exquisite and fresh voice to ongoing cultural conversations about Blackness in America.

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To Preorder

Every Variable of Us by Charles A. Bush (YA, March 1st)

57477082After Philly teenager Alexis Duncan is injured in a gang shooting, her dreams of a college scholarship and pro basketball career vanish in an instant. To avoid becoming another Black teen trapped in her poverty-stricken neighborhood, she shifts her focus to the school’s STEM team, a group of nerds seeking their own college scholarships. Academics have never been her thing, but Alexis is freshly motivated by Aamani Chakrabarti, the new Indian student who becomes her mentor (and crush?). Alexis begins to see herself as so much more than an athlete. But just as her future starts to reform, Alexis’s own doubts and old loyalties pull her back into harm’s way.

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Right Where I Left You by Julian Winters (YA, March 15th)

52698124School’s out, senior year is over, and Isaac Martin is ready to kick off summer. His last before heading off to college in the fall where he won’t have his best friend, Diego. Where—despite his social anxiety—he’ll be left to make friends on his own. Knowing his time with Diego is limited, Isaac enacts a foolproof plan: snatch up a pair of badges for the epic comic convention, Legends Con, and attend his first ever Teen Pride. Just him and Diego. The way it should be. But when an unexpected run-in with Davi—Isaac’s old crush—distracts him the day tickets go on sale, suddenly he’s two badges short of a perfect summer. Even worse, now he’s left making it up to Diego by hanging with him and his gamer buddies. Decidedly NOT part of the original plan. It’s not all bad, though. Some of Diego’s friends turn out to be pretty cool, and when things with Davi start heating up, Isaac is almost able to forget about his Legends Con blunder. Almost. Because then Diego finds out what really happened that day with Davi, and their friendship lands on thin ice. Isaac assumes he’s upset about missing the convention, but could Diego have other reasons for avoiding Isaac?

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Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk (YA, April 5th)

56654666. sy475 Two girls.
One wild and reckless day.
Years of a tumultuous history unspooling
like thin, fraying string in the hours after they set a fire.

They were best friends. Until they became more.
Their affections grew. Until the blurry lines became dangerous.
Over the course of a single day, the depth of their past, the confusion of their present, and the unpredictability of their future is revealed.
And the girls will learn that hearts, like flames, aren’t so easily tamed.

It starts with a fire.
How will it end?

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New to Liberty by DeMisty D. Bellinger (Historical, April 5th)

In 1966, Sissily travels across Kansas with an older man, the father of one of her schoolfriends. On their way to California to begin a life together, he insists on stopping at his family ranch to see his mother. This family reunion is a painful reminder for Sissily about the truth about her own heritage, but she also sees a woman who, decades later, is still scarred by the great depression.

In 1947, Nella’s family relocates to Kansas from Milwaukee, and during the summer before her senior year, begins an interracial relationship with a white man called Lucky. They can only meet in secret, or as Lucky is in a wheelchair sometimes Nella pretends to be his nurse. When three white men stumble upon “Nurse Nella” one catastrophic afternoon, the violence of a racist society forces Nella to face the reality of their situation.

In 1933, at the height of the dust bowl and brutal jackrabbit roundups, surrounded by violence and starvation, Greta finds love with another farm woman. Their clandestine encounters will be unsustainable for obvious reasons but will have consequences for generations. A novel told in three parts, New to Liberty showcases the growth and strength of three unforgettable women as they evolve in a society that refuses to. In lustrous prose, DeMisty Bellinger brings the quiet, but treacherous landscape to life, offering a snapshot of mid-century America and keeping readers guessing until the end as to how these three women are connected.

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The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (M/F Romance, April 12th)

Thirty, flirty, and asexual Joy is secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm, but she’s never been brave enough to say so. When he unexpectedly announces that he’s met the love of his life—and no, it’s not Joy—she’s heartbroken. Malcolm invites her on a weekend getaway, and Joy decides it’s her last chance to show him exactly what he’s overlooking. But maybe Joy is the one missing something…or someone…and his name is Fox.

Fox sees a kindred spirit in Joy—and decides to help her. He proposes they pretend to fall for each other on the weekend trip to make Malcolm jealous. But spending time with Fox shows Joy what it’s like to not be the third wheel, and there’s no mistaking the way he makes her feel. Could Fox be the romantic partner she’s always deserved?

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In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington (MG, April 26th)

Thirteen-year-old Andi feels stranded after the loss of her mother, the artist, who swept color onto Andi’s blank canvas. When she is accepted to a music camp, Andi finds herself struggling to play her trumpet like used to before her whole world changed. Meanwhile, Zora, a returning camper, is exhausted trying to please her parents, who are determined to make her a flute prodigy even though she secretly has a dancer’s heart.

At Harmony Music Camp, Zora and Andi are the only two Black girls in a sea of mostly white faces. In kayaks and creaky cabins, the two begin to connect, unraveling their loss, insecurities, and hope for the future.

And as they struggle to figure out who they really are, they may just come to realize who they really need: each other. From the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, For Black Girls Like Me, comes a lyrical story about the rush of first love and the power of one life-changing summer.

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Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta (YA, May 24th)

Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic – he blames the films he’s grown up watching. He has liked Karim for as long as he can remember, and is ecstatic when Karim becomes his boyfriend – it feels like love.

But when Mack’s dad gets a job on a film in Scotland, Mack has to move, and soon hediscovers how painful love can be. It’s horrible being so far away from Karim, but the worst part is that Karim doesn’t make the effort to visit. Love shouldn’t be only on the weekends.

Then, when Mack meets actor Finlay on a film set, he experiences something powerful, a feeling like love at first sight. How long until he tells Karim – and when will his old life and new life collide?

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You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (M/F Romance, May 24th)

Feyi Adekola wants to learn how to be alive again.

It’s been five years since the accident that killed the love of her life and she’s almost a new person now—an artist with her own studio, and sharing a brownstone apartment with her ride-or-die best friend, Joy, who insists it’s time for Feyi to ease back into the dating scene. Feyi isn’t ready for anything serious, but a steamy encounter at a rooftop party cascades into a whirlwind summer she could have never imagined: a luxury trip to a tropical island, decadent meals in the glamorous home of a celebrity chef, and a major curator who wants to launch her art career.

She’s even started dating the perfect guy, but their new relationship might be sabotaged before it has a chance by the dangerous thrill Feyi feels every time she locks eyes with the one person in the house who is most definitely off-limits. This new life she asked for just got a lot more complicated, and Feyi must begin her search for real answers. Who is she ready to become? Can she release her past and honor her grief while still embracing her future? And, of course, there’s the biggest question of all—how far is she willing to go for a second chance at love? ​

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Kings of B’More by R. Eric Thomas (YA, May 31st)

58936406With junior year starting in the fall, Harrison feels like he’s on the precipice of, well, everything. Standardized testing, college, and the terrifying unknowns and looming pressures of adulthood after that—it’s like the future wants to eat him alive. Which is why Harrison is grateful that he and his best friend, Linus, will face these things together. But at the end of a shift at their summer job, Linus invites Harrison to their special spot overlooking the city to deliver devastating news: He’s moving out of state at the end of the week.

To keep from completely losing it—and partially inspired by a cheesy movie-night pick by his Dad—Harrison plans a send-off à la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off that’s worthy of his favorite person. If they won’t be having all the life-expanding experiences they thought they would, Harrison will squeeze them all into their last day together. They end up on a mini road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party, all while keeping their respective parents, who track them on a family location app, off their trail. Harrison and Linus make a pact to do all the things—big and small—they’ve been too scared to do. But nothing feels scarier than saying goodbye to someone you love.

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Boys Come First by Aaron Foley (Romantic Contemporary, May 31st)

Suddenly jobless and single after a devastating layoff followed by a breakup with his cheating ex, advertising copywriter Dominick Gibson flees Hell’s Kitchen and finds himself trying get his life back on track in his hometown of Detroit, where he’s got one objective in mind: To exit the shallow gay dating pool ASAP and be married by 35—and he’s only got two years left.

Dom’s best friend Troy Clements, an idealistic teacher who never left the Motor City, finds himself at odds with all the men in his life: A troubled boyfriend he’s desperate to hold onto, a perpetually dissatisfied father, and his other best friend, Remy. Remy Patton is a rags-to-riches real estate agent in town with his own problems—namely choosing between making it work with a long-distance paramour or settling with a local Mr. Right Now that’s not quite Mr. Right—but his friendship with Troy may be compromised over his latest high-stakes deal.

Follow these three men as they confront their evolving friendship, but also individual hiccups—workplace microaggressions, bad Tinder dates, situationships, frenemies, learning the Tamia hustle—while attempting to navigate the new and changing Detroit.

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All Signs Point to Yes ed. by g. haron-davis, Cam Montgomery, and Adrianne White (YA Anthology, May 31st)

57803148A haunted Aquarius finds love behind the veil. An ambitious Aries will do anything to stay in the spotlight. A foodie Taurus discovers the best eats in town (with a side of romance). A witchy Cancer stumbles into a curious meet-cute.

Whether it’s romantic, platonic, familial, or something else you can’t quite define, love is the thing that connects us. All Signs Point to Yes will take you on a journey from your own backyard to the world beyond the living as it settles us among the stars for thirteen stories of love and life.

These stories will touch your heart, speak to your soul, and have you reaching for your horoscope forevermore.

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Greenland by David Santos Donaldson (Litfic, June 7th)

In 1919, Mohammed el Adl, the young Egyptian lover of British author E. M. Forster, spent six months in a jail cell. A century later, Kip Starling has locked himself in his Brooklyn basement study with a pistol and twenty-one gallons of Poland Spring to write Mohammed’s story.

Kip has only three weeks until his publisher’s deadline to immerse himself in the mind of Mohammed who, like Kip, is Black, queer, an Other. The similarities don’t end there. Both of their lives have been deeply affected by their confrontations with Whiteness, homophobia, their upper crust education, and their white romantic partners. As Kip immerses himself in his writing, Mohammed’s story – and then Mohammed himself – begins to speak to him, and his life becomes a Proustian portal into Kip’s own memories and psyche. Greenland seamlessly conjures two distinct yet overlapping worlds where the past mirrors the present, and the artist’s journey transforms into a quest for truth that offers a world of possibility.

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The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi (Fantasy, June 21st)

In the first book of a visionary African- and Arabian-inspired fantasy trilogy, three women band together against a cruel empire that divides people by blood.

Red is the blood of the elite, of magic, of control.
Blue is the blood of the poor, of workers, of the resistance.
Clear is the blood of the slaves, of the crushed, of the invisible.

Sylah dreams of days growing up in the resistance, being told she would spark a revolution that would free the empire from the red-blooded ruling classes’ tyranny. That spark was extinguished the day she watched her family murdered before her eyes.

Anoor has been told she’s nothing, no one, a disappointment, by the only person who matters: her mother, the most powerful ruler in the empire. But dust always rises in a storm.

Hassa moves through the world unseen by upper classes, so she knows what it means to be invisible. But invisibility has its uses: It can hide the most dangerous of secrets, secrets that can reignite a revolution.

As the empire begins a set of trials of combat and skill designed to find its new leaders, the stage is set for blood to flow, power to shift, and cities to burn.

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Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow (YA, June 28th)

Luca Laine Thomas lives on a cursed island. To the outside world, Parris is an exclusive, idyllic escape accessible only to the one percent. There’s nothing idyllic about its history, though, scattered with the unsolved deaths of young women—deaths Parris society happily ignores to maintain its polished veneer. But Luca can’t ignore them. Not when the curse that took them killed her best friend, Polly, three years ago. Not when she feels the curse lingering nearby, ready to take her next.

When Luca comes home to police cars outside her house, she knows the curse has visited once again. Except this time, it came for Whitney, her sister. Luca decides to take the investigation of Whitney’s death into her own hands. But as a shocking betrayal rocks Luca’s world, the identity Whitney’s killer isn’t the only truth Luca seeks. And by the time she finds what she’s looking for, Luca will come face to face with the curse she’s been running from her whole life.

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Moonflower by Kacen Callender (MG, July 19th)

58713803. sy475 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.

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Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander (F/F Romance, July 19th)

After years away from home, Summer Graves is back in Austin, Texas, to accept a new teaching position. Of all the changes to the old neighborhood, the most dispiriting one is the slated demolition of the high school her grandmother founded. There’s no way she can let developers destroy her memories and her family legacy. But the challenge stirs memories of another kind.

On the architectural team revitalizing the neighborhood, hometown girl Aiko Holt is all about progress. Then she sees Summer again. Some things never change.

Neither can forget the kiss they shared at their senior-year dance. Neither can back down from her unwavering beliefs about what’s right for the neighborhood.

For now, the only thing Summer and Aiko are willing to give in to is a heat that still burns. But can two women with so much passion―for what once was and what could be―agree to disagree long enough to fall in love?

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Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak (Historical, August 2nd)

59575976Sylvie de Rosiers, the biracial daughter of a rich planter in 1791 Saint-Domingue, is both a lady born to privilege and a damning reminder of her father’s infidelity with an enslaved woman. After a violent slave uprising begins the Haitian Revolution, Sylvie and her brother leave their parents and old lives behind to flee unwittingly into another uprising—austere and radical Paris. Sylvie quickly becomes enamored with the aims of the Revolution, as well as with the revolutionaries themselves—most notably Maximilien Robespierre and his mistress, Cornélie Duplay.

As a rising leader and abolitionist, Robespierre sees an opportunity to exploit Sylvie’s race and abandonment of her aristocratic roots as an example of his ideals, while the strong-willed Cornélie offers Sylvie guidance in free thought and a safe harbor. Sylvie battles with her past complicity in a slave society and her future within this new world order as she finds herself increasingly tugged between Robespierre’s ideology and Cornélie’s love.

When the Reign of Terror descends, she must decide whether to become an accomplice while another kingdom rises on the bones of innocents…or risk losing her head.

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The Unfortunates by J K Chukwu (Litfic)

58312003An edgy, bitingly funny debut about a queer, half-Nigerian college sophomore who, enraged and exhausted by the racism at her elite college, sets out to find truth about The Unfortunates—the unlucky subset of Black undergrads who have been mysteriously dying

Sahara is Not Okay. Entering her sophomore year at Elite University, she feels like a failure: her body is too curvy, her love life is nonexistent, her family is disappointed in her, her grades are terrible, and, well, the few Black classmates she has just keep dying. Sahara is close to giving up, herself: her depression is, as she says, her only “Life Partner.” And this narrative—taking the form of an irreverent, piercing “thesis” to the university committee that will judge her—is meant to be a final unfurling of her singular, unforgettable voice before her own inevitable disappearance and death. But over the course of this wild sophomore year, and supported by her eccentric community of BIPOC women, Sahara will eventually find hope, answers, and an unexpected redemption.

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We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds (YA, November 29th)

56777619. sy475 What’s more important? Knowing the truth or keeping the peace?

The summer of her senior year, seventeen-year-old Avery Anderson finds herself uprooted from her life in DC and moved into the hostile home of her terminally ill grandmother, Mama Letty. The tension between her mom and Mama Letty makes for an unwelcoming arrival and unearths some family drama they refuse to talk about. Everytime Avery tries to look deeper, they turn her away, leaving her desperate to learn the secrets that split her family in two.

Where Mama Letty is cantankerous and closed off, Avery finds friendship in some unexpected places: in Simone, her captivating next-door neighbor, and Jade Oliver, daughter of the town’s most prominent family— whose mother’s murder remains unsolved.

But as the three girls grow closer—Avery and Simone’s friendship blossoming into something more—the sharp-edged opinions of their small southern town start to hint at something more insidious underneath. Turning to Mama Letty for answers only result in more questions, uncovering decades-old secrets that have been brewing for generations, exposing the towns racist history and threatening to topple the new life Avery’s built in Bardell County, Georgia.

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