Maori author Rebecca K Reilly’s GRETA AND VALDIN, a humorous slice-of-life family saga that follows the titular siblings as they navigate queerness, multiracial identity, and their eccentric Maori-Russian-Catalonian family, all while flailing their way to love in contemporary Auckland, to Amy Guay in her first acquisition for Avid Reader Press, for publication in spring 2024, by Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency on behalf of Martha Perotto-Wills (NA).
Author of FERAL CITY and VANISHING NEW YORK under the pen name Jeremiah Moss Griffin Hansbury‘s SOME STRANGE MUSIC DRAWS ME IN, exploring the 1980s friendship between a young trans woman and a teen who will grow into a trans man, as he looks back on his youth from 2019, where he grapples with middle-age, the death of his mother, and the troubles of his right-wing sister amidst his own gender-related scandal, to Tom Mayer at Norton, by Douglas Stewart at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).
Kate Young‘s EXPERIENCED, about a 30-year-old woman whose blissful happiness is shattered when her first girlfriend insists she go explore the queer dating scene she missed out on before recently coming out, leading her to awkward dating mishaps, a few memorable nights, a found family, and unexpected love along the way, to Marie Michels at Pamela Dorman Books, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Zoe Ross at United Agents (NA).
Author duo Kit Rocha‘s THE HIGH COURT OF DREAMERS, the first book in an epic fantasy romance series, in which a princess and her assassin handmaid are sent to kill an ancient dragon god, plunging all three into a darkly sensual world of secrets, power, and love, to Lauren Plude at Montlake, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (world English).
Karmen Lee‘s THE 7-10 SPLIT, pitched as a Black sapphic, second chance romance between two high school teachers forced together to coach the school’s bowling team to victory amidst their long-standing rivalry, a group of meddling kids rooting for their HEA, and memories of that searing-hot kiss they shared as teens, to Errin Toma at an unnamed new imprint at Harlequin, in a three-book deal, for publication in February 2024, by Taj McCoy at Rees Literary Agency.
Courtney Smyth’s THE UNDETECTABLES, a queer fantasy murder mystery in which three witches and a ghost form a supernatural detective agency to track down the magical serial killer who is stalking their town, to George Sandison at Titan Books, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2023, by Zoe Plant at The Bent Agency (world English).
Winner of the 2021 Sewanee Review Fiction Prize Allen Bratton‘s HENRY HENRY, pitched as a queer, contemporary reimagining of Shakespeare’s Henriad that transposes the legend of Henry V’s wayward youth into 21st-century Britain, following the troubled relationship between 22-year-old English Catholic aristocrat Hal Lancaster and the father whose dukedom he will inherit, to Brandon Taylor in his first acquisition at Unnamed Press, by Martha Wydysh at Trident Media Group (NA).
Oisin McKenna‘s EVENINGS AND WEEKENDS, set over the course of one transformative weekend during a heatwave in London when a whale is beached on the banks of the Thames, following a group of friends coming to terms with the sexual, political, and economic challenges they must endure to exist in a 21st-century city, exploring issues of community, polyamory, environmental ruin, and housing instability, pitched for readers of Sally Rooney, Raven Leilani, and Torrey Peters, to Jessica Vestuto at Mariner, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Olivia Maidment at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency (NA).
Adib Khorram‘s Wine Pairing series, pitched as a modern, BIPOC-and queer-centered Sex and the City, following the fierce friendships and many bottles of wine that sustain three gay, Iranian American millennial men as they navigate misguided meet-cutes and steamy second-chance romances, career-altering crushes, serious choices about commitment, and high-heat hookups gone terribly wrong…and occasionally exactly right, to Sam Brody at Forever, in a significant deal, at auction, in a three-book deal, for publication in fall 2024, fall 2025, and 2026, by Molly O’Neill at Root Literary (NA).
A.J. Sass‘s JUST SHY OF ORDINARY, in which a 13-year-old nonbinary homeschooler attempts to find a “new normal” post-pandemic as they start public school, struggle to control their anxiety, meet new friends, and learn about their Jewish identity, to Lisa Yoskowitz at Little, Brown Children’s, with Caitlyn Averett editing, for publication in winter 2024, by Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary & Media (world English).
James Laughlin Award-winning poet and lecturer at Stanford University Sam Sax‘s YR DEAD, a queer Jewish diasporic bildungsroman told through the eyes of a young person as their life flashes in lyric fragments across time and geography during their final act of protest, exploring how historical memory shapes our political and emotional present, to Amanda Uhle at McSweeney’s, with Rita Bullwinkel editing, for publication in spring of 2024, by Rob McQuilkin at Massie & McQuilkin (NA).
Meka James‘s LOVE AND SPORTSBALL, a Black sapphic romance in which an athletic trainer who doesn’t like sports has an accidental one-night stand with the point guard of the women’s basketball team she’s about to work for, to John Jacobson at an unnamed new imprint at Harlequin, in a two-book deal.
Young Adult Fiction
Auburn Marrow’s debut 30 DAY TRIAL PERIOD, an LGBTQIA+ YA romance about two polar opposites who are challenged to date for 30 days to fix their bad dating habits, to Rebecca Sands at Wattpad, for publication in summer 2024 (world).
Matthew Hubbard‘s debut LAST BOYFRIENDS, a coming-of-age novel pitched as Heartstopper meets THE FIRST WIVES CLUB, featuring three queer teenage boys in small-town Alabama who set out to get revenge on their ex-boyfriends and end up fighting their school’s anti-LGBTQ+ initiatives, to Alison Romig at Delacorte, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2024 and summer 2025, by Katie Shea Boutillier at Donald Maass Literary Agency (world English).
Bessie Flores Zaldivar‘s LIBERTAD, set in Honduras, where the protagonist must come into her queerness and to terms with her country’s history of violence, heading into an unprecedented presidential election, to Rosie Ahmed at Dial, in a good deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2024, by Beth Phelan at Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency (NA).
Author of WHAT ARE YOUR WORDS: A BOOK ABOUT PRONOUNS Katherine Locke’s GENDER REBELS, an illustrated history of important trans/nonbinary/gender nonconforming trailblazers for a Middle Grade audience, illustrated by Shanee Benjamin, to Julie Matysik at Running Press Kids, in an exclusive submission, for publication in 2023, by Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency for the author (world).
Cultural worker and stem cell transplant survivor Walela Nehanda‘s BLESS THE BLOOD, a poetry collection exploring what it means to be a young, queer, Black nonbinary medical patient facing racism and abuse within and outside of the hospital, meditating on traumas both physical and unseen, and celebrating the courage to grieve and the strength it takes to go on, to Sydnee Monday at Kokila, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in spring 2024, by Katherine Latshaw at Folio Literary Management (world).
San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.
Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of magic, friendship, and adventure.
In a modern mega-city built around dragons, one boy gets caught up in the world of underground dragon battles and a high-stakes gang war that could tear his family apart.
Once, dragons nearly drove themselves to extinction. But in the city of Drakopolis, humans domesticated them centuries ago. Now dragons haul the city’s cargo, taxi its bustling people between skyscrapers, and advertise its wares in bright, neon displays. Most famously of all, the dragons battle. Different breeds take to the skies in nighttime bouts between the infamous kins―criminal gangs who rule through violence and intimidation.
Abel has always loved dragons, but after a disastrous showing in his dragon rider’s exam, he’s destined never to fly one himself. All that changes the night his sister appears at his window, entrusting him with a secret…and a stolen dragon.
Turns out, his big sister is a dragon thief! Too bad his older brother is a rising star in Drakopolis law enforcement…
To protect his friends and his family, Abel must partner with the stolen beast, riding in kin battles and keeping more secrets than a dragon has scales.
When everyone wants him fighting on their side, can Abel figure out what’s worth fighting for?
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.
For as long as she could remember, all Emry wanted was to be a great magician like her father, the magnificent Merlin. As a kid, she fought to be included in his magic lessons for her twin brother, Emmet, and easily outshone him with each spell she cast. But after her father’s disappearance several years ago, Emry has been feeling a little lost. Fate soon appears in the form of a royal messenger, summoning Emmet to court to serve as Prince Arthur’s right-hand wizard. With Emmett indisposed thanks to a bad spell, Emry has to disguise herself as a teen boy and pretend to be her brother at the castle until they’re able to switch.
Training as a wizard is everything Emry hoped it would be, except working so closely with the unbearably hot Arthur is a growing danger. They soon share adventures and a connection that can’t be denied, but Emry’s secret is a crime punishable by death. When royal scandals involving Lancelot, Guinevere, and Gawain threaten to reveal her truth, Emry must decide whether to stay and risk everything for a love borne out of deceit, or leave and never fulfill her potential to be Camelot’s greatest magician.
Moon Basin has been haunted for as long as anyone can remember. It started when an explosion in the mine killed sixteen people. The disaster made it impossible to live in town, with underground fires spewing ash into the sky. But life in New Basin is just as fraught. The ex-mining town relies on its haunted reputation to bring in tourists, but there’s more truth to the rumors than most are willing to admit, and the mine still has a hold on everyone who lives there.
Clem and Nina form a perfect loop—best friends forever, and perhaps something more. Their circle opens up for a strange girl named Lisey with a knack for training crows, and Piper, whose father is fascinated with the mine in a way that’s anything but ordinary. The people of New Basin start experiencing strange phenomena—sleepwalking, night terrors, voices that only they can hear. And no matter how many vans of ghost hunters roll through, nobody can get to the bottom of what’s really going on. Which is why the girls decide to enter the mine themselves.
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
Julian Jackson has a short to-do list for his senior year at Crenshaw County High School in Meridian, Texas: football, football, and more football. He knows he’s only got one chance to earn a college scholarship and make it out of his small town, and keeping his head down, his grades up, and his cleats on the field is that one chance. And then Elijah Vance walks back into his life, throwing all of his carefully-laid plans into a tailspin.
Elijah and Julian used to be best friends, maybe even on their way to something more than just friends. But three years ago, Elijah broke into the school to steal money from the coach’s office, and Julian was the one who turned him in. After that, Elijah and his family disappeared without a trace. And now he’s back, sitting at Julian’s grandmother’s kitchen table.
But time and distance haven’t erased all of their feelings, and Elijah knows that he finally has a chance to prove to Julian that he’s not the same person he was three years ago. But with secrets still growing between them and an uncertain future barreling towards them, it may be harder to lean on each other than they thought.
By National Book Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award finalist for An Unnecessary Woman, Rabih Alameddine, comes a transporting new novel about an Arab American trans woman’s journey among Syrian refugees on Lesbos island.
Mina Simpson, a Lebanese doctor, arrives at the infamous Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, Greece, after being urgently summoned for help by her friend who runs an NGO there. Alienated from her family except for her beloved brother, Mina has avoided being so close to her homeland for decades. But with a week off work and apart from her wife of thirty years, Mina hopes to accomplish something meaningful, among the abundance of Western volunteers who pose for selfies with beached dinghies and the camp’s children. Soon, a boat crosses bringing Sumaiya, a fiercely resolute Syrian matriarch with terminal liver cancer. Determined to protect her children and husband at all costs, Sumaiya refuses to alert her family to her diagnosis. Bonded together by Sumaiya’s secret, a deep connection sparks between the two women, and as Mina prepares a course of treatment with the limited resources on hand, she confronts the circumstances of the migrants’ displacement, as well as her own constraints in helping them.
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Casey Plett’s 2018 novel Little Fish won a Lambda Literary Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction, and the Amazon First Novel Award. Her latest work, A Dream of a Woman, is her first book of short stories since her seminal 2014 collection A Safe Girl to Love. Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days.
In “Hazel and Christopher,” two childhood friends reconnect as adults after one of them has transitioned. In “Perfect Places,” a woman grapples with undesirability as she navigates fetish play with a man. In “Couldn’t Hear You Talk Anymore,” the narrator reflects on her tumultuous life and what might have been as she recalls tender moments with another trans woman.
An ethereal meditation on partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness, and love, the stories in A Dream of a Woman buzz with quiet intensity and the intimate complexities of being human.
Love All Year is a romance anthology featuring non-Christian holidays and cultural celebrations from around the world.
“The Koufax Curse” by KD Casey: On Tu Bishvat, former baseball rivals—now teammates—plant the seeds of a new romance.
“Kwanzaa Kiss” by Kosoko Jackson: After a breakup, Anthony Jenkins returns home to Atlanta to lick his wounds and help his parents with their annual Kwanzaa scavenger hunt and is paired with his high school crush. Markus Kennedy. Over the next 12 hours, the two men will try to win the scavenger hunt, where finding the pillars of Kwanzaa might be the goal, but love might find its way into their hearts.
“Their Dragonboat” by Hudson Lin: When OB Julie agrees to join the queer women/enby dragon boat team, she didn’t expect to fall in love. But team captain Rae, with their ever-changing hair color, a silver lip ring, and sleeve of flower tattoos is too fascinating to resist.
“Yes, Chef” by Jasmine Luck: A lawyer finds himself in hot water when his injured mother can’t cook the Lunar New Year feast. He needs lessons, fast. Can new London resident Zoey help him turn up the heat in his kitchen?
“Spiraling Closer” by Elsie Marrone: When recently divorced Jenny accidentally lobs a bread roll at her rabbi’s single, hot nephew, the last thing she expects is to find romance. But in the new year, anything can happen–that is, if she can silence her inner critic long enough to give love a second chance.
“Heart and History” by October Rhea: Liberty Stanley is ready to love herself again after leaving a toxic relationship. Black Love Day is the perfect holiday to put her plan into action. Isaac Golden sees Black Love Day as just another thing to teach his students. He likes to run his classroom in his own way, but he won’t admit to his new co-teacher Liberty that he is both fumbling the lesson plan and falling for her. As they get to know each other, Isaac discovers that Black Love Day may have something for him after all.
“A Tangled Truce” by Soumi Roy: Rohini should be thrilled when the hottie on the plane to Kolkata turns out to be the man her parents want her to marry. Hridan came to sell his grandma’s house, not to fall for a girl whose fear of commitment outweighs their attraction. Hridan has five days of Durga Puja to win her over, while Rohini must decide if he is worth risking her heart for.
It’s the person she least expected who provides a much-needed tune up of her life…
For Dr. Irene Johnson-Moore perception is everything. After living most of her life behind facades built from other people’s expectations, she’s ready for a change. At least that’s what she tells herself. But old habits die hard. And when her car breaks down, forcing her to deal with the town mechanic—a woman whose bluntness always irked Irene—her resolve is instantly put to the test.
Remi Martin prides herself on being unapologetically honest. Brutally so at times. No good ever came from pretending to be someone or something she’s not.
When she responds to a call from a stranded motorist, she never imagined she’d be towing the self-proclaimed “town princess” into her world. Irene Johnson embodies everything Remi tries to avoid, yet she can’t seem to shake her one-time adversary.
However, the more time they spend together, the more feelings begin to idle under the surface. But before their relationship can rev to life, they must release their preconceived notions or things could come to a screeching halt.
With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to The Frick, from the Midwest to Florida to Mexico City, the poems range across interior and exterior landscapes. They look to movies, fine art, childhood memory, history, and mental health with melancholy, anger, and playfulness.
Even amidst sorrow and pain, Tenderness uplifts communal spaces as sites of resistance and healing, wonders at the restorative powers of art and erotic love, and celebrates the capaciousness of friendship.