Tag Archives: The Romantic Agenda

New Releases: April 2022

Blood Thinners by Heather Novak (4th)

57975569. sy475 The only thing more annoying than a ghost flash mob is a rogue vampire attack…

Supernatural investigator Mina Summers is only one undercover mission away from the promotion she’s worked for her entire career. Her assignment is simple: figure out why several unregistered vampires are going rogue—including one that ruined her best suit—and attacking humans. Her investigation leads her to Thinner, a new celebrity-endorsed weight loss company that’s shrouded in mystery and promises seemingly impossible results.

Mina’s convinced she’ll finish her mission in time for dinner, but when she face-plants into Carma Nicks, Thinner’s smart and sexy vice president, Mina’s suddenly out of her depth. Surely her heart is only racing due to adrenaline, right? Falling for—and sleeping with—a mark goes 100% against protocol, but Mina’s plans to keep her distance are as flimsy as the agency-issued ghost that resides in her apartment.

When Thinner’s secrets disrupt the peace between supernaturals and humans—and threaten Carma’s life—Mina’s forced to choose between protecting her dream career or saving the woman she loves.

Buy it: Amazon

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke (5th)

54886974The Fountains of Silence meets Spinning Silver in this rollicking tale set amid the 1956 Hungarian revolution in post-WWII Communist Budapest from Sydney Taylor Honor winner Katherine Locke.

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

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Little Foxes Took Up Matches by Katya Kazbek (5th)

Little Foxes Took Up Matches by [Katya Kazbek]When Mitya was two years old, he swallowed his grandmother’s sewing needle. For his family, it marks the beginning of the end, the promise of certain death. For Mitya, it is a small, metal treasure that guides him from within. As he grows, his life mirrors the uncertain future of his country, which is attempting to rebuild itself after the collapse of the Soviet Union, torn between its past and the promise of modern freedom. Mitya finds himself facing a different sort of ambiguity: is he a boy, as everyone keeps telling him, or is he not quite a boy, as he often feels?

After suffering horrific abuse from his cousin Vovka who has returned broken from war, Mitya embarks on a journey across underground Moscow to find something better, a place to belong. His experiences are interlaced with a retelling of a foundational Russian fairytale, Koschei the Deathless, offering an element of fantasy to the brutal realities of Mitya’s everyday life.

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Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk (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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Swollening by Jason Purcell (5th)

Jason Purcell’s debut collection of poems rests at the intersection of queerness and illness, staking a place for the queer body that has been made sick through living in this world. Part poetic experiment and part memoir, Swollening attempts to diagnose what has been undiagnosable, tracing an uneven path from a lifetime of swallowing bad feelings—homophobia in its external and internalized manifestations, heteronormativity, anxiety surrounding desire, aversion to sex—to a body in revolt.

In poems that speak using the grammar and logics of sickness, Purcell offers a dizzying collision of word and image that is the language of pain alongside the banality of living on. Beginning by reading his own life and body closely and slowly zooming out to read illness in the world, Purcell comes to ask: how might a sick, queer body forgive itself for a natural reaction to living in a sick world and go on toward hope? In Swollening, Purcell coughs up his own poetics of illness, his own aesthetics of pain, to form a tender collection that lands straight in the gut.

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The Sign for Home by Blair Fell (5th)

58438605Arlo Dilly is young, handsome and eager to meet the right girl. He also happens to be DeafBlind, a Jehovah’s Witness, and under the strict guardianship of his controlling uncle. His chances of finding someone to love seem slim to none.

And yet, it happened once before: many years ago, at a boarding school for the Deaf, Arlo met the love of his life—a mysterious girl with onyx eyes and beautifully expressive hands which told him the most amazing stories. But tragedy struck, and their love was lost forever.

Or so Arlo thought.

After years trying to heal his broken heart, Arlo is assigned a college writing assignment which unlocks buried memories of his past. Soon he wonders if the hearing people he was supposed to trust have been lying to him all along, and if his lost love might be found again.

No longer willing to accept what others tell him, Arlo convinces a small band of misfit friends to set off on a journey to learn the truth. After all, who better to bring on this quest than his gay interpreter and wildly inappropriate Belgian best friend? Despite the many forces working against him, Arlo will stop at nothing to find the girl who got away and experience all of life’s joyful possibilities.

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In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Power (5th)

58529366Rhea and her twin brother, Lexos, have spent an eternity helping their father rule their small, unstable country, using their control over the seasons, tides, and stars to keep the people in line. For a hundred years, they’ve been each other’s only ally, defending each other and their younger siblings against their father’s increasingly unpredictable anger.

Now, with an independence movement gaining ground and their father’s rule weakening, the twins must take matters into their own hands to keep their family—and their entire world—from crashing down around them. But other nations are jockeying for power, ready to cross and double cross, and if Rhea and Lexos aren’t careful, they’ll end up facing each other across the battlefield.

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Reputation by Lex Croucher (5th)

Abandoned by her parents, bookish and sheltered Georgiana Ellers is spending the summer with her stodgy aunt and uncle at their home in the English countryside. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who delights Georgiana with her disregard for so-called “polite society.”

Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana quickly falls in with Frances and her wealthy, wild, and deeply improper friends, who introduce her to the upper echelons of Regency aristocracy, and a world of drunken debauchery, frivolous spending, and mysterious young men. One, in particular, stands out from the rest: Thomas Hawksley, who has a tendency to cross paths with Georgiana in her most embarrassing moments. Sparks fly, but Thomas seems unimpressed with the company she is keeping. And soon, Georgiana begins to wonder whether she’ll ever feel like she fits in––or if the price of entry into Frances’s gilded world will ultimately be higher than she is willing to pay.

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Boss Witch by Ann Aguirre (5th)

58356884. sy475 Clementine Waterhouse is a perfectly logical witch. She doesn’t tumble headlong into love. Rather she weighs the pros and cons and decides if a relationship is worth pursuing. At least that’s always been her modus operandi before. Clem prefers being the one in charge, always the first to walk away when the time is right. Attraction has never struck her like lightning.

Until the witch hunter comes to town.

Gavin Rhys hates being a witch hunter, but his family honor is on the line, and he needs to prove he’s nothing like his grandfather, a traitor who let everyone down. But things in St. Claire aren’t what they seem, and Gavin is distracted from the job immediately by a bewitching brunette with a sexy smile and haunting secrets in her eyes.

Can the bossiest witch in town find a happy ending with the last person she should ever love?

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Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (5th)

Born under different stars—Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic—they should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all. Their environment is a hyper-masculine and sectarian one, for gangs of young men and the violence they might dole out dominate the Glaswegian estate where they live. And yet against all odds Mungo and James become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his big brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. And when several months later Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, together with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to try to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.

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She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick (5th)

58437812Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. She knows how to get the girl. Keeping her on the other hand…not so much. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she’s in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn’t actually talked to her yet.

Alex and Molly don’t belong on the same planet, let alone the same college campus. But when Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly’s hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she’s not a selfish flirt. That she’s ready for an actual commitment. And while Alex is the last person Molly would ever think she could trust, she can’t deny Alex knows what she’s doing with girls, unlike her.

As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they’re the ones falling…for each other.

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Beast at Every Threshold by Natalie Wee (5th)

An unflinching shapeshifter, Beast at Every Threshold dances between familial hauntings and cultural histories, intimate hungers and broader griefs. Memories become malleable, pop culture provides a backdrop to glittery queer love, and folklore speaks back as a radical tool of survival. With unapologetic precision, Natalie Wee unravels constructs of “otherness” and names language our most familiar weapon, illuminating the intersections of queerness, diaspora, and loss with obsessive, inexhaustible ferocity—and in resurrecting the self rendered a site of violence, makes visible the “Beast at Every Threshold.”

Beguiling and deeply imagined, Wee’s poems explore thresholds of marginality, queerness, immigration, nationhood, and reinvention of the self through myth.

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New to Liberty by DeMisty D. Bellinger (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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Time is a Mother by Ocean Vuong (5th)

58582927How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
The page so it points to the good part

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

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

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School Days by Jonathan Galassi (5th)

Sam Brandt is a long-term denizen of Connecticut’s renowned Leverett School. As an English teacher he has dedicated his life to providing his students with the same challenges, encouragement, and sense of possibility that helped him and his friends become themselves here half a lifetime ago.

Then Leverett’s headmaster asks Sam to help investigate a charge brought by one of his classmates that he was abused by a teacher. Sam is flooded with memories, above all of his overwhelming love for his friend Eddie and the support of his most inspiring mentor, Theodore Gibson.

Sam’s search for the truth becomes a quest to get at the heart of Leverett, then and now. The school has changed enormously over the years, but at its core lie assumptions about privilege and responsibility untested for more than a century. And Sam’s assumptions about his own life are shaken, too, as he struggles to understand what really happened all those years ago.

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Dreams Bigger than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders (5th)

53446531. sy475 Sequel to Victories Greater Than Death, this is the second book in the Unstoppable series

They’ll do anything to be the people they were meant to be — even journey into the heart of evil.

Rachael Townsend is the first artist ever to leave Earth and journey out into the galaxy — but after an encounter with an alien artifact, she can’t make art at all. Elza Monteiro is determined to be the first human to venture inside the Palace of Scented Tears and compete for the chance to become a princess — except that inside the palace, she finds the last person she ever wanted to see again. Tina Mains is studying at the Royal Space Academy with her friends, but she’s not the badass space hero everyone was expecting. Soon Rachael is journeying into a dark void, Elza is on a deadly spy mission, and Tina is facing an impossible choice that could change all her friends lives forever.

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Night & Day by Lily Seabrooke (9th)

Night & Day (Taste of Port Andrea) by [Lily Seabrooke]Parker Ferris needed a roommate, but for the crabby ball of snark she is, maybe upbeat Instagram lifestyle influencer Cassie Peterson wasn’t the best choice.

Not like she had a choice: with her business rival Gary Founders crushing her coffee supply business, and her family still needing money, she’s eager to save rent. But it’s only delaying the inevitable.

When a contentious roommate agreement becomes an alliance to keep Parker’s business alive, the attraction between them is nothing but a spark to Parker, a bit of fun to pass the nights with. Cassie, on the other hand, doesn’t know how to feel anything in half measures when it comes to the girl she’s crushed on for months—which is even more of a problem when her fans don’t know she’s gay.

Stopping Gary Founders’ company seems like an impossible task. But confronting feelings both of them have spent a lifetime hiding from might be even more of a challenge.

Buy it: Amazon

Different Kinds of Fruit by Kyle Lukoff (12th)

58925325Annabelle Blake fully expects this school year to be the same as every other: same teachers, same classmates, same, same, same. So she’s elated to discover there’s a new kid in town. To Annabelle, Bailey is a breath of fresh air. She loves hearing about their life in Seattle, meeting their loquacious (and kinda corny) parents, and hanging out at their massive house. And it doesn’t hurt that Bailey has a cute smile, nice hands (how can someone even have nice hands?) and smells really good.

Suddenly sixth grade is anything but the same. And when her irascible father shares that he and Bailey have something big–and surprising–in common, Annabelle begins to see herself, and her family, in a whole new light. At the same time she starts to realize that her community, which she always thought of as home, might not be as welcoming as she had thought. Together Annabelle, Bailey, and their families discover how these categories that seem to mean so much—boy, girl, gay, straight, fruit, vegetable—aren’t so clear-cut after all.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Blaine for the Win by Robbie Couch (12th)

58437823High school junior Blaine Bowers has it all—the perfect boyfriend, a pretty sweet gig as a muralist for local Windy City businesses, a loving family, and awesome, talented friends. And he is absolutely, 100% positive that aforementioned perfect boyfriend—​senior student council president and Mr. Popular of Wicker West High School, Joey—is going to invite Blaine to spend spring break with his family in beautiful, sunny Cabo San Lucas.

Except Joey breaks up with him instead. In public. On their one-year anniversary.

Because, according to Joey, Blaine is too goofy, too flighty, too…unserious. And if Joey wants to go far in life, he needs to start dating more serious guys. Guys like Zach Chesterton.

Determined to prove that Blaine can be what Joey wants, Blaine decides to enter the running to become his successor (and beat out Joey’s new boyfriend, Zach) as senior student council president.

But is he willing to sacrifice everything he loves about himself to do it?

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Sedating Elaine by Dawn Winter (12th)

Frances was not looking for a relationship when she met Elaine in a bar. She was, in fact, looking to drown her sorrows in a pint or twelve and nurse a broken heart, shattered by the gorgeous, electric Adrienne. But somehow (it involved a steady stream of beer and weed, as things often did with Frances) Elaine ended up in Frances’s bed and never left. Now, faced with mounting pressure from her drug dealer, Dom (and his goon, Betty), Frances comes up with a terrible idea: She asks Elaine to move in with her for real. Unfortunately, this seemingly romantic overture makes Elaine even more sex-crazed and maniacal with love. Frances fears she may never escape the relationship, so, given no choice, she makes the obvious decision: She will sedate Elaine.

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The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (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?

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Ripped Bodice

No Rings Attached by Rachel Lacey (12th)

Lia Harris is tired of being the odd one out. She’s never quite fit in with her uptight family, and now that her roommates have all found love, she’s starting to feel like a third wheel in her own apartment. Fed up with her mother’s constant meddling in her love life, Lia drops hints about a girlfriend she doesn’t have. But with her brother’s London nuptials approaching, she needs to find a date to save face. Lia turns to her best friend, Rosie, for help, and Rosie delivers–with the fun, gorgeous Grace Poston.

Grace loves to have a good time, hiding her insecurities behind a sunny smile. Her recent move to London has provided her with a much-needed fresh start. Grace isn’t looking for love, and she hates weddings, having weathered more than her fair share of heartache. Friendships are different, though, so for Rosie’s sake, she reluctantly agrees to pose as Lia’s adoring girlfriend for the wedding festivities.

Both Grace and Lia are prepared for an awkward weekend, complete with prying family members and a guest room with only one bed. As it turns out, they get along well–spectacularly, in fact. Before they know it, the chemistry they’re faking feels all too real. But is their wedding weekend a fleeting performance or the rehearsal for a love that’s meant to last?

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Queer Carnival by Amy L. Stone (12th)

Queer CarnivalFestivals like Mardi Gras and Fiesta have come to be annual events in which entire cities participate, and LGBTQ people are a visible part of these celebrations. In other words, the party is on, the party is queer, and everyone is invited. In Queer Carnival, Amy Stone takes us inside these colorful, eye-catching, and often raucous events, highlighting their importance to queer life in America’s urban South and Southwest.

Drawing on five years of research, and over a hundred days at LGBTQ events in cities such as San Antonio, Santa Fe, Baton Rouge, and Mobile, Stone gives readers a front-row seat to festivals, carnivals, and Mardi Gras celebrations, vividly bringing these queer cultural spaces and the people that create and participate in them to life. Stone shows how these events serve a larger fundamental purpose, helping LGBTQ people to cultivate a sense of belonging in cities that may be otherwise hostile.

Queer Carnival provides an important new perspective on queer life in the South and Southwest, showing us the ways that LGBTQ communities not only survive, but thrive, even in the most unexpected places.

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With a Twist by Georgia Beers (12th)

With a Twist (A Swizzle Stick Romance Book 3) by [Georgia Beers]Amelia Martini’s favorite things are traveling, animals, and peanut butter. When she left her job to explore the world with her wife, she didn’t expect Tammy’s plans to include leaving her. Now, Amelia is starting over again and facing middle age alone. It’s a struggle, but she doesn’t want to be bitter forever.

Thirty-something Kirby Dupree loves life. Not always easy when you’ve lost as much as she has and carry as much sadness as she does. But she made a promise to always look for beauty, so she does her best…even when she has to squint to see it.

When Kirby’s job as an interior painter brings her into Amelia’s life, they don’t exactly hit it off. Amelia finds Kirby irritatingly cheerful, and Kirby thinks Amelia’s far too serious. Forced to work together, they start to see beyond their first impressions and prove opposites really do attract. But are they brave enough to go after the love they really want?

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Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life by Jonathan Van Ness (12th)

59952624. sy475 In Jonathan Van Ness’ New York Times bestselling memoir Over the Top, he showed readers how the incredibly difficult moments from his life (surviving sexual abuse and addiction, being diagnosed with HIV) have existed alongside great joy and positivity (landing a breakout role on Netflix’s Queer Eye, becoming an amateur figure skater and professional standup comedian, doting on his cats). If Jonathan has learned anything from these experiences, it’s that in order to thrive, he had to push past the shame and fear of being his true self. To embark on that journey, he had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

In this candid and curious essay collection, Jonathan takes a thoughtful, in-depth look at timely topics through the lens of his own personal experience—instances that have required him to learn, grow, and back handspring layout to a better understanding of the world around him. He dives deeply and widely—from a poignant reflection on grief and embracing body neutrality to an examination of the HIV safety net and white privilege—to share the ways in which he has learned to embrace change. These stories speak to doing the work to challenge internalized beliefs, finding compassion and confidence, and learning more about what makes us all so messy and gorgeous.

Balancing the dark and the light, the serious and the signature humor that is Jonathan Van Ness, these essays will encourage readers to examine their individual assumptions and expand their horizons. Ultimately, it is about giving ourselves the permission to be the flawed and fabulous humans we are, and loving our stories.

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Sanctuary by Andi C. Buchanan (12th)

59684041. sy475 Morgan’s home is a sanctuary for ghosts.

The once-grand, now dilapidated old house they live in has become a refuge for their found family. From Morgan’s partner Araminta, an artist with excellent dress sense, to Theo, a ten-year-old with an excess of energy, to quiet telekinesthetic pensioner Denny, all of them consider this haunted house their home. In a world that wasn’t built for their queer, neurodivergent selves, they’ve made it into a place they belong.

Together they welcome not just the ghosts of the house’s former inhabitants, but any who need somewhere to belong. Both the living and the dead can find themselves in need of a sanctuary.

When a collection of ghosts trapped in old bottles are delivered to their door, something from the past is unleashed. A man who once collected ghosts – a man who should have died centuries before – suddenly has the house under his control. Morgan must trust their own abilities, and their hard-won sense of self, to save their home, their family, and the woman they love.

Buy it: Amazon

Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, trans. by Anton Hur (12th)

49092634. sx318 We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.

We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop’s mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San’s moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.

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The Language of Roses by Heather Rose Jones (14th)

A Beauty. A Beast. A Curse. This is not the story you know.

Join author Heather Rose Jones on a new and magical journey into the heart of a familiar fairytale. Meet Alys, eldest daughter of a merchant, a merchant who foolishly plucks a rose from a briar as he flees from the home of a terrifying fay Beast and his seemingly icy sister. Now Alys must pay the price to save his life and allow the Beast, the once handsome Philippe, to pay court to her.

But Alys has never fallen in love with anyone; how can she love a Beast? The fairy Peronelle, waiting in the woods to see the culmination of her curse, is sure that she will fail. Yet, if she does, Philippe’s sister Grace and her beloved Eglantine, trapped in an enchanted briar in the garden, will pay a terrible price. Unless Alys can find another way…

Buy it: Queen of Swords Press

The Forgotten Dead by Jordan L. Hawk (15th)

The Forgotten Dead (OutFoxing the Paranormal Book 1) by [Jordan L. Hawk]Parapsychologist Dr. Nigel Taylor doesn’t work with psychic mediums. Until, that is, a round of budget cuts threatens his job and an eccentric old woman offers him a great deal of grant money. The only catch: he must investigate a haunted house with a man she believes to have a true gift.

Oscar Fox, founder of the ghost-hunting team OutFoxing the Paranormal, has spent his life ignoring the same sort of hallucinations that sent his grandmother to an insane asylum. When he agrees to work with the prestigious—and sexy—Dr. Taylor, he knows he’ll have to keep his visions under wraps, so his team can get a desperately needed pay day.

Soon after Nigel, Oscar, and the OtP team arrive at the house, the questions begin to pile up. Why is there a blood stain in the upstairs hallway? What tragedy took place in the basement? And who is the spirit lurking in the closet of a child’s bedroom?

One thing is certain: if Oscar can’t accept the truth about his psychic abilities, and Nigel can’t face the demons of his past, they’ll join the forgotten souls of the house…forever.

Buy it: Amazon | Books2Read

The Meaning of Pride by Rosiee Thor (text) and Sam Kirk (illustration) (19th)

53405140. sx318 A vibrant ode to the culture and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community, The Meaning of Pride, written by Rosiee Thor and illustrated by Sam Kirk, celebrates the beauty, significance, and many dimensions of the concept of Pride as celebrated by millions of people around the world!

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Howl by Shaun David Hutchinson (19th)

57042299Virgil Knox was attacked by a monster.

Of course, no one in Merritt believes him. Not even after he stumbled into the busy town center, bleeding, battered, and bruised, for everyone to see. He’d been drinking, they said. He was hanging out where he wasn’t supposed to, they said. It must’ve been a bear, or a badger, or a gator—definitely no monster.

Virgil doesn’t think it was any of those things. He’s positive it was a monster. But being the new kid in a town where everybody knows everybody is hard enough as it is without being the kid who’s afraid of monsters, so he tries to keep a low profile.

Except he knows the monster is still out there. And if he isn’t careful, Virgil’s afraid it’ll come back to finish him off, or worse—that he’ll become one himself.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse (19th)

This is the sequel to The Black Sun

Fevered Star (Between Earth and Sky Book 2) by [Rebecca Roanhorse]There are no tides more treacherous than those of the heart. —Teek saying

The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.

The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?

As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.

And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?

Welcome back to the fantasy series of the decade in Fevered Star—book two of Between Earth and Sky.

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I am the Ghost in Your House by Maria Romasco Moore (19th)

Pie is the ghost in your house.

She is not dead, she is invisible.

The way she looks changes depending on what is behind her. A girl of glass. A girl who is a window. If she stands in front of floral wallpaper she is full of roses.

For Pie’s entire life it’s been Pie and her mother. Just the two of them, traveling across America. They have slept in trains, in mattress stores, and on the bare ground. They have probably slept in your house.

But Pie is lonely. And now, at seventeen, her mother’s given her a gift. The choice of the next city they will go to. And Pie knows exactly where she wants to go. Pittsburgh—where she fell in love with a girl who she plans to find once again. And this time she will reveal herself.

Only how can anyone love an invisible girl?

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Jordie and Joey Fell From the Sky by Judi Lauren (19th)

59040556Twin brothers Jordie and Joey have never met their parents. Maybe it’s because they aren’t from this planet?

When another kid at school tried to force Jordie to show him the “crop circles” on his back that prove he’s an alien, it was Joey who took the kid to the ground. And when the twins got kicked out of their foster home because Joey kissed the other boy who lived there, it was Jordie who told him everything would be okay. And as long as Jordie and Joey are together, it will be. But when the principal calls their current foster mother about a fight at school, the boys know she’ll be done with them. And, from spying in their file, they also know they’re going to be separated.

Determined to face the world side by side rather than without one another, Jordie and Joey set off to find their birth parents. From Arizona to Roswell to Area 51 in the Nevada desert, the twins begin a search for where they truly belong. But Jordie’s about to discover that family isn’t always about the ones who bring you into the world, but the ones who help you survive it.

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The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman (19th)

50986306. sy475 Six years ago, three Long Island teenagers were murdered—their drowned bodies discovered with sand dollars placed over their eyes. The mystery of the drowning summer was never solved, but as far as the town’s concerned, Evelyn Mackenzie’s father did it. His charges were dropped only because Evelyn summoned a ghost to clear his name. She swore never to call a spirit again. She lied.

For generations, the family of Mina Zanetti, a former friend of Evelyn, has worked as mediums, using the ocean’s power to guide the dead to their final resting place. But as sea levels rise, the ghosts grow more dangerous and Mina has been shut out of the family business. When Evelyn performs another summoning that goes horribly wrong, the two girls must navigate their growing attraction to each other while solving the mystery of who was really behind the drowning summer…before the line between life and death dissolves for good.

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Spear by Nicola Griffith (19th)

She left all she knew to find who she could be . . .

She grows up in the wild wood, in a cave with her mother, but visions of a faraway lake drift to her on the spring breeze, scented with promise. And when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she decides her future lies at his court. So, brimming with magic and eager to test her strength, she breaks her covenant with her mother and sets out on her bony gelding for Caer Leon.

With her stolen hunting spear and mended armour, she is an unlikely hero, not a chosen one, but one who forges her own bright path. Aflame with determination, she begins a journey of magic and mystery, love, lust and fights to death. On her adventures, she will steal the hearts of beautiful women, fight warriors and sorcerers, and make a place to call home.

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Sofi and the Bone Song by Adrienne Tooley (19th)

58437788Music runs in Sofi’s blood.

Her father is a Musik, one of only five musicians in the country licensed to compose and perform original songs. In the kingdom of Aell, where winter is endless and magic is accessible to all, there are strict anti-magic laws ensuring music remains the last untouched art.

Sofi has spent her entire life training to inherit her father’s title. But on the day of the auditions, she is presented with unexpected competition in the form of Lara, a girl who has never before played the lute. Yet somehow, to Sofi’s horror, Lara puts on a performance that thoroughly enchants the judges.

Almost like magic.

The same day Lara wins the title of Musik, Sofi’s father dies, and a grieving Sofi sets out to prove Lara is using illegal magic in her performances. But the more time she spends with Lara, the more Sofi begins to doubt everything she knows about her family, her music, and the girl she thought was her enemy.

As Sofi works to reclaim her rightful place as a Musik, she is forced to face the dark secrets of her past and the magic she was trained to avoid—all while trying not to fall for the girl who stole her future.

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Patience, Patches! by Christy Mihaly (text) and Sheryl Murray (illustration) (19th)

58607795Patches the puppy is very good at waiting—or at least that’s what he thinks. But his patience is put to the test when his two moms arrive home with an unexpected bundle. Is it a new toy? No! It’s a new baby. Suddenly, everything Patches wants to do takes a little bit longer. But patience, it turns out, is a lesson worth learning.

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The Red Zone: A Love Story by Chloe Caldwell (19th)

54442552. sy475 Chloe Caldwell’s period has often felt inconvenient or uncomfortable or even painful, but it’s only once she’s in her thirties, as she’s falling in love with Tony, a musician and single dad, that its effects on her mood start to dominate her life. Spurred by the intensity and seriousness of her new relationship, she soon realizes that her outbursts of anxiety and rage match her hormonal cycle.

Compelled to understand the truth of what’s happening to her every month, Chloe documents attitudes toward menstruation among her peers and family, reads Reddit threads about PMS, goes on antidepressants, goes off antidepressants, goes on antidepressants again, attends a conference called Break the Cycle, and learns about premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD, which helps her name what she’s been going through. For Chloe, healing isn’t just about finding the right diagnosis or a single cure. It means reflecting on other underlying patterns in her life: her feelings about her queer identity and writing persona in the context of a heterosexual relationship; how her parents’ divorce contributed to her issues with trust; and what it means to blend a family.

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Pride: An Inspirational History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Stella Caldwell (19th)

56845051. sx318 This inspirational history of the international LGBTQ+ movement will teach readers to accept and have pride in themselves and others, whatever their sexuality.

It details the struggles and successes of LGBTQ+ movements around the world, looking at decriminalisation, the Stonewall riots and their legacy, global Pride movements, the HIV/AIDS crisis and equal marriage.

It also includes profiles of significant LGBTQ+ figures from history and messages from young, modern-day members of the LGBTQ+ community, explaining why they have pride in themselves – and why you should, too.

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Like a House on Fire by Lauren McBrayer (26th)

After twelve years of marriage and two kids, Merit has begun to feel like a stranger in her own life. She loves her husband and sons, but she desperately needs something more than sippy cups and monthly sex. So, she returns to her career at Jager + Brandt, where a brilliant and beautiful Danish architect named Jane decides to overlook the “break” in Merit’s résumé and give her a shot. Jane is a supernova—witty and dazzling and unapologetically herself—and as the two work closely together, their relationship becomes a true friendship. In Jane, Merit sees the possibility of what a woman could be. And Jane sees Merit exactly for who she is. Not the wife and mother dutifully performing the roles expected of her, but a whole person.

Their relationship quickly becomes a cornerstone in Merit’s life. And as Merit starts to open her mind to the idea of more—more of a partner, more of a match, more out of love—she begins to question: What if the love of her life isn’t the man she married. What if it’s Jane?

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In the Key of Us by Mariama J. Lockington (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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Book Boyfriend by Kris Ripper (26th)

Book BoyfriendThere are three things you need to know about Preston “PK” Kingsley:

  1. He’s a writer, toiling in obscurity as an editorial assistant at a New York City publishing house.
  2. He is not a cliché. No, really.
  3. He’s been secretly in love with his best friend, Art, since they once drunkenly kissed in college.

When Art moves in with PK following a bad breakup, PK hopes this will be the moment when Art finally sees him as more than a friend. But Art seems to laugh off the very idea of them in a relationship, so PK returns to his writing roots—in fiction, he can say all the things he can’t say out loud.

In his book, PK can be the perfect boyfriend.

Before long, it seems like the whole world has a crush on the fictionalized version of him, including Art, who has no idea that the hot new book everyone’s talking about is PK’s story. But when his brilliant plan to win Art over backfires, PK might lose not just his fantasy book boyfriend, but his best friend.

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Arden Grey by Ray Stoeve (26th)

58667398Sixteen-year-old Arden Grey is struggling. Her mother has left their family, her father and her younger brother won’t talk about it, and a classmate, Tanner, keeps harassing her about her sexuality—which isn’t even public. (She knows she likes girls romantically, but she thinks she might be asexual.) At least she’s got her love of film photography and her best and only friend, Jamie, to help her cope. Then Jamie, who is trans, starts dating Caroline, and suddenly he isn’t so reliable. Arden’s insecurity about their friendship grows. She starts to wonder if she’s jealous or if Jamie’s relationship with Caroline is somehow unhealthy—and it makes her reconsider how much of her relationship with her absent mom wasn’t okay, too.

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Love, Hate & Clickbait by Liz Bowery (26th)

Cover for Love, Hate & ClickbaitCutthroat political consultant Thom Morgan is thriving, working on the governor of California’s presidential campaign. If only he didn’t have to deal with Clay Parker, the infuriatingly smug data analyst who gets under Thom’s skin like it’s his job. In the midst of one of their heated and very public arguments, a journalist snaps a photo, but the image makes it look like they’re kissing. As if that weren’t already worst-nightmare territory, the photo goes viral—and in a bid to secure the liberal vote, the governor asks them to lean into it. Hard.

Thom knows all about damage control—he practically invented it. Ever the professional, he’ll grin and bear this challenge as he does all others. But as the loyal staffers push the boundaries of “giving the people what they want,” the animosity between them blooms into something deeper and far more dangerous: desire. Soon their fake relationship is hurtling toward something very real, which could derail the campaign and cost them both their jobs…and their hearts.

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Every Word You Never Said by Jordon Green (26th)

59204680Skylar Gray is adopted, nonverbal, and he feels most comfortable wearing skirts. Life has never been easy, but with a fresh start at a brand-new school, with new parents and in a new state, he just might finally make some friends. Maybe. Honestly it′s hard to focus on anything when gorgeous rocker boy Jacob is around. But it′s hard for Skylar to trust anyone when people have always been quick to ditch him at the first inconvenience; they always seem more than ready to judge him as defective. And the bullies love to confirm it. Skylar has only ever had himself, so why would anything be different this time? Especially for an anxious boy with literally no voice.

Jacob doesn′t give a damn, especially not since he came out over the summer. He expected the hate he got from his father, who mostly acts as if it never happened, but he refuses to let it hold him back. It doesn′t matter, Jacob′s over it. He’s going to paint his nails, dye his hair, and strike a heavy rift on his guitar if he wants to, even if it means being grounded most of senior year. But when the cute nonverbal transfer student, Skylar, wears a skirt to school, prompting a sexist new dress code proposal, Jacob decides it′s time to take a stand, no matter the risk to himself.

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Burn the Page by Danica Roem (26th)

58492102. sy475 Danica Roem made national headlines when–as a transgender former frontwoman for a metal band and a political newcomer–she unseated Virginia’s most notoriously anti-LGBTQ 26-year incumbent Bob Marshall as state delegate. But before Danica made history, she had to change her vision of what was possible in her own life. Doing so was a matter of storytelling: during her campaign, Danica hired an opposition researcher to dredge up every story from her past that her opponent might seize on to paint her negatively.

In wildly entertaining prose, Danica dismantles all the stories her opponents tried to hedge against her, showing how through brutal honesty and loving authenticity, it’s possible to embrace the low points, and even transform them into her greatest strengths. Burn the Page takes readers from Danica’s lonely, closeted, and at times operatically tragic childhood to her position as a rising star in a party she’s helped forever change. Burn the Page is so much more than a stump speech: it’s an extremely inspiring manifesto about how it’s possible to set fire to the stories you don’t want to be in anymore, whether written by you or about you by someone else–and rewrite your own future, whether that’s running for politics, in your work, or your personal life. This book will not just encourage people who think they have to be spotless to run for office, but inspire all of us to own our personal narratives as Danica does.

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Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen (26th)

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?

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Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel (26th)

“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.”

So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.

Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.

But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.

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No Stopping Us Now by Lucy Jane Bledsoe (26th)

58665979It’s 1974. Title IX has passed two years ago, but Louisa’s high school still refuses to fund an all girls basketball team. After hearing Gloria Steinem speak, Louisa learns an important lesson: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Now what can she do but stand up and fight back?

When Louisa asks her principal to start a girls team, she’s soon viciously targeted by male coaches at her school, lied to by the school board, and dismissed as “out of line” as she fights for a fair chance to be an athlete. No Stopping Us Now is a story about finding one’s own voice through the joys of sports, love, and the power of sisterhood. Based on the author’s true story, it is a compelling examination of the courage it takes to stand up for what’s right.

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Collector’s Items, Vol. 1: Adult Fiction

This series is for helping you track down cool editions of your favorite books, be they special or international editions or what have you! (Available while supplies last, of course; I am not responsible for a fave selling out!))

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (Signed UK Hardcover)

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake (Waterstones Exclusive Edition)

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (Signed UK Hardcover)

They by Kay Dick (McNally Edition)

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Illumicrate)

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi (Signed UK Hardcover)

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Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James (Signed Exclusive UK Edition) (Signed US Hardcover)

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (Signed US Paperback)

Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly (Book of the Month)

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (Signed UK Hardcover) (Indigo Exclusive Edition)

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (Signed UK Edition)

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Hardcover Collectors’ Edition) (Book of the Month)

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (Illumicrate) (Indigo Exclusive Edition)

Best Laid Plans and Better Than People by Roan Parrish (Signed US Paperbacks)

The Verifiers by Jane Pek (Book of the Month)

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (German hardcover)

Detransition, Baby

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Book of the Month)

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (Book of the Month)

Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski (Waterstones Special Edition)

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (B&N Exclusive Edition) (Special Edition)

Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So (Book of the Month)

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart (Signed UK Hardcover)

Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon (and others) (Signed US paperbacks)

To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara (Waterstones Special Edition)

 

Happy Asexual Awareness Week!

Books to Buy Now

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

54539799. sy475 Caiden’s planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope for survival is a crew of misfit aliens and a mysterious ship that seems to have a soul and a universe of its own. Together they will show him that the universe is much bigger, much more advanced, and much more mysterious than Caiden had ever imagined. But the universe hides dangers as well, and soon Caiden has his own plans.

He vows to do anything it takes to get revenge on the slavers who murdered his people and took away his home. To destroy their regime, he must infiltrate and dismantle them from the inside, or die trying.

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The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.

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Goddess of the Hunt by Shelby Eileen

A poetry collection about the mythic life of Artemis, Greek Goddess of the hunt. Told through the perspective of Artemis herself with the contributions of a few other Greek Goddesses. This collection reimagines and follows Artemis navigating her lifelong vow of chastity and, rather than suffering through it, owning it as a facet of her aromanticism and asexuality. Immerse yourself in a cultivated tempest of poems illustrating Artemis as a warrior, whose shoulders have known an excessive weight of responsibility, and who always fights to remain her authentic self among people who would change her.

Buy it: Amazon

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet–her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place–because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

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Create My Own Perfection by E.H. Timms

“It’s not every day you get to put the fear of Medusa into a god.”

Emma Stone, medusa, is the groundskeeper for Olson College of Extensive Education, a place where everyone is welcome, from the mythical to the magical. When her selkie best friend loses her skin in Fresher’s week, the race is on to find it before someone uses it against her.

The search brings Emma face to face with her oldest enemy – and forces her to confront the worst nightmares of her past.

Buy it: iBooks | Kobo | B&N

Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace

Like everyone else she knows, Mallory is an orphan of the corporate war. As a child, she lost her parents, her home, and her entire building in an airstrike. As an adult, she lives in a cramped hotel room with eight other people, all of them working multiple jobs to try to afford water and make ends meet. And the job she’s best at is streaming a popular VR war game. The best part of the game isn’t killing enemy combatants, though—it’s catching in-game glimpses of SpecOps operatives, celebrity supersoldiers grown and owned by Stellaxis, the corporation that runs the America she lives in.

Until a chance encounter with a SpecOps operative in the game leads Mal to a horrifying discovery: the real-life operatives weren’t created by Stellaxis. They were kids, just like her, who lost everything in the war, and were stolen and augmented and tortured into becoming supersoldiers. The world worships them, but the world believes a lie.

The company controls every part of their lives, and defying them puts everything at risk—her water ration, her livelihood, her connectivity, her friends, her life—but she can’t just sit on the knowledge. She has to do something—even if doing something will bring the wrath of the most powerful company in the world down upon her.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

50638223The Descendants meets Pretty Little Liars in this story of four reimagined fairytale heroines who must uncover connections to their ancient curses and forge their own paths… before it’s too late.

After the mysterious death of their best friend, Ella, Yuki, and Rory are the talk of their elite school, Grimrose Académie. The police ruled Ariane’s death as a suicide, but the trio are determined to find out what really happened.

When Nani Eszes arrives as their newest roommate, it sets into motion a series of events that no one could have predicted. As the girls retrace their friend’s final days, they discover a dark secret about Grimrose—Ariane wasn’t the first dead girl.

They soon learn that all the past murders are connected to ancient fairytale curses…and that their own fates are tied to the stories, dooming the girls to brutal and gruesome endings unless they can break the cycle for good.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Books to Preorder

A-Okay by Jarad Greene (November 2, 2021)

When Jay starts eighth grade with a few pimples he doesn’t think much of it at first…except to wonder if the embarrassing acne will disappear as quickly as it arrived. But when his acne goes from bad to worse, Jay’s prescribed a powerful medication that comes with some serious side effects. Regardless, he’s convinced it’ll all be worth it if clear skin is on the horizon!

Meanwhile, school isn’t going exactly as planned. All of Jay’s friends are in different classes; he has no one to sit with at lunch; his best friend, Brace, is avoiding him; and–to top it off–Jay doesn’t understand why he doesn’t share the same feelings two of his fellow classmates, a boy named Mark and a girl named Amy, have for him.

Eighth grade can be tough, but Jay has to believe everything’s going to be a-okay…right?

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath (November 2, 2021)

It’s 1904 on an island just west of Norway, and Asta Hedstrom doesn’t want to marry her odious betrothed, Nils. But her mother believes she should be grateful for the possibility of any domestic future, given her single-sided deafness, unconventional appearance, and even stranger notions. Asta would rather spend her life performing in the village theater with her fellow outcasts: her best friend Gunnar Fuglestad and his secret boyfriend, wealthy Erlend Fournier.

But the situation takes a dire turn when Nils lashes out in jealousy—gravely injuring Gunnar. Shunning marriage for good, Asta moves with Gunnar and Erlend to their secluded cabin above town. With few ties left to their families, they have one shot at gaining enough kroner to secure their way of life: win the village’s annual horse race.

Despite Gunnar’s increasing misgivings, Asta and Erlend intend to prove this unheard-of arrangement will succeed. Asta trains as a blacksmith; Erlend cares for recovering Gunnar. But as race day approaches, the villagers’ hateful ignorance only grows stronger. With this year’s competition proving dangerous for the trio, Asta and Erlend soon find they face another equally deadly peril: the possibility of losing Gunnar, and their found family, forever.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger (November 9, 2021)

Nina is a Lipan girl in our world. She’s always felt there was something more out there. She still believes in the old stories.

Oli is a cottonmouth kid, from the land of spirits and monsters. Like all cottonmouths, he’s been cast from home. He’s found a new one on the banks of the bottomless lake.

Nina and Oli have no idea the other exists. But a catastrophic event on Earth, and a strange sickness that befalls Oli’s best friend, will drive their worlds together in ways they haven’t been in centuries.

And there are some who will kill to keep them apart.

Darcie Little Badger introduced herself to the world with Elatsoe. In A Snake Falls to Earth, she draws on traditional Lipan Apache storytelling structure to weave another unforgettable tale of monsters, magic, and family. It is not to be missed.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp (January 25, 2022)

53403613. sy475 The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named. No one has hope for the delinquent teenagers who have been exiled there; the world barely acknowledges that they exist.

Then the guards at Hope start acting strange. And one day…they don’t show up. But when the teens band together to make a break from the facility, they encounter soldiers outside the gates. There’s a rapidly spreading infectious disease outside, and no one can leave their houses or travel without a permit. Which means that they’re stuck at Hope. And this time, no one is watching out for them at all.

As supplies quickly dwindle and a deadly plague tears through their ranks, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust and figure out how they can survive in a world that has never wanted them in the first place.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Forward March by Skye Quinlan (February 1, 2022)

All Harper McKinley wants is for her dad’s presidential campaign to not interfere with her senior marching band season.

But Harper’s world gets upended when the drumline’s punk-rock section leader, Margot Blanchard, tries to reject her one day after practice. Someone pretending to be Harper on Tinder catfished Margot for a month and now she’s determined to get to know the real Harper.

But the real Harper has a homophobic mother who’s the dean and a father who is running for president on the Republican ticket. With the election at stake, neither of them are happy about Harper’s new friendship with out-and-proud Margot.

As the election draws closer, Harper is forced to figure out if she even likes girls, if she might be asexual, and if it’s worth coming out at all.

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

The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (March 8, 2022)

Hunted by those who want to study his gravity powers, Jes makes his way to the best place for a mixed-species fugitive to blend in: the pleasure moon where everyone just wants to be lost in the party. It doesn’t take long for him to catch the attention of the crime boss who owns the resort-casino where he lands a circus job, and when the boss gets wind of the bounty on Jes’ head, he makes an offer: do anything and everything asked of him or face vivisection.

With no other options, Jes fulfills the requests: espionage, torture, demolition. But when the boss sets the circus up to take the fall for his about-to-get-busted narcotics operation, Jes and his friends decide to bring the mobster down. And if Jes can also avoid going back to being the prize subject of a scientist who can’t wait to dissect him? Even better.

Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Target | Angry Robot

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann (April 12, 2022)

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?

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Ripped Bodice

Arden Grey by Ray Stoeve (April 26, 2022)

58667398Sixteen-year-old Arden Grey is struggling. Her mother has left their family, her father and her younger brother won’t talk about it, and a classmate, Tanner, keeps harassing her about her sexuality—which isn’t even public. (She knows she likes girls romantically, but she thinks she might be asexual.) At least she’s got her love of film photography and her best and only friend, Jamie, to help her cope. Then Jamie, who is trans, starts dating Caroline, and suddenly he isn’t so reliable. Arden’s insecurity about their friendship grows. She starts to wonder if she’s jealous or if Jamie’s relationship with Caroline is somehow unhealthy—and it makes her reconsider how much of her relationship with her absent mom wasn’t okay, too.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (May 10, 2022)

(Lou is demisexual.)

58782872. sy475 Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (August 9, 2022)

(Firuz is aroace.)

Firuz-e Jafari is one of the fortunate ones who have emigrated to the Democratic Free State of Qilwa. Firuz has escaped the slaughter of other traditional Sassanid blood-magic practitioners. They have a good job at a free healing clinic in Qilwa; a kindly new employer, Kofi; and a gifted new student, Afsoneh, a troubled orphan refugee.

But Firuz and Kofi have discovered a terrible new disease which leaves mysterious bruises on its victims. The illness is spreading quickly through Qilwa, and there are dangerous accusations of ineptly-performed blood magic.

In order to survive, Firuz must break a deadly cycle of prejudice while finding a fresh start for their both their blood and found family.

Buy it: Amazon | IndieBound

Add to Your TBR

Exclusive Cover Reveal: The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann

It’s a fabulous year for YA authors shifting over to Adult Romance, and if you’re as excited as I am about Claire Kann being one of the writers to make the shift, then just wait until you see this cover. The Romantic Agenda releases from Berkley on April 12, 2022, and here’s the story:

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?

And here’s the gorgeous cover with art by Alex Cabal and design by Rita Frangie!

Buy it: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | The Ripped Bodice

(c) Annie Clark

Claire Kann is the author of Let’s Talk About Love, If It Makes You Happy, The Marvelous and an award-winning online storyteller. In her other life she works for a non-profit you may have heard of where she daydreams like she’s paid to do it.

March 2021 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

Lambda finalist author of Camp Lev AC Rosen’s LAVENDER HOUSE, pitched as Knives Out meets Carol, following a police inspector in 1950s San Francisco, who after being caught in a raid on a gay bar and fired, is hired by a mysterious widow to investigate a death at a wealthy household with more than a few secrets to hide, to Kristin Sevick at Forge, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Joy Tutela at David Black Literary Agency.

Charlotte Anne Hamilton’s LITTLE LOSS OF INNOCENCE, in which a Scottish woman travels to America on the Titanic and unexpectedly falls for the exhilarating woman she has to share a cabin with, to Jen Bouvier at Entangled Embrace, for publication in summer 2021 (world).

Author of the Out in Portland series Karelia Stetz-Water‘s ADULTS ONLY, about a director of feminist adult films and her newly hired personal assistant who is looking for a change; as the two women sort out their past relationships and professional challenges, they find themselves falling for each other, to Madeleine Colavita at Forever Yours, by Jane Dystel at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (NA).

University of Wisconsin-Madison MFA graduate Kathryn Harlan‘s FRUITING BODIES, comprising mostly queer, often genre-bending stories ranging from the fantastical to the Gothic to the eerily realistic, seeking to answer the call for a new age of storytelling in the face of insufficient myths and fairy tales, to Jill Bialosky at Norton, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Meredith Kaffel Simonoff at DeFiore and Company (NA).

K.D. Casey’s UNWRITTEN RULES, a contemporary male/male romance in which a struggling Jewish catcher and his superstar ex-boyfriend work to reconcile after they unexpectedly reunite at the MLB all-star game, to Stephanie Doig at Carina Press, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world English).

Verity Lowell’s MEET ME IN MADRID, an #OwnVoices BIPOC f/f romantic comedy, in which a museum courier is unexpectedly reunited with her grad school crush, an art historian who provides shelter in a Spanish blizzard, and then ends up chasing her back to the States to try to solve the two-body problem of long distance life, love, and work, to Kerri Buckley at Carina Press Adores, for publication in November 2021, by Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds.

Electric Literature associate editor Alyssa Songsiridej’s LITTLE RABBIT, about a queer writer’s unexpectedly intense involvement with an older choreographer; a book about power, desire, and patronage, to Callie Garnett at Bloomsbury, in a good deal, at auction, by Kate Johnson at MacKenzie Wolf (NA).

Sid Karger’s BEST MEN, pitched as a gay spin on Bridesmaids or My Best Friend’s Wedding, about a man who thinks he has everything figured out, until his best friend announces her engagement, forcing him to navigate his shared wedding party duties with the groom’s charming, infuriating, and (really, really) hot gay brother, and not make his best friend’s wedding all about himself, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House (NA).

Author of LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE Claire Kann’s THE ROMANTIC AGENDA, her debut adult rom-com, about a young, Black, ace woman who decides to finally let her best friend know she is in love with him during a romantic weekend trip that goes awry, to Kristine Swartz at Berkley, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Carrie Pestritto at Laura Dail Literary Agency (world).

R.A. Frumkin’s CONFIDENCE, a humorous takedown of the American Dream, featuring two con men, lifelong friends and sometimes lovers, who attempt to pull off a major global scheme on the scale of Theranos or Herbalife, pitched in the vein of Succession meets Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley series; and BUGSY, a collection of transgressive, radical, and darkly humorous stories that are considerations of mental illness, sexuality, and Kimye, to Zachary Knoll at Simon & Schuster, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Ross Harris at Stuart Krichevsky Agency (world).

British Eritrean Ethiopian author of SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE and THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE Sulaiman Addonia’s THE SEERS, exploring an Eritrean unaccompanied minor refugee’s first weeks in London, giving a glimpse into the U.K. asylum system and what it does to the mental health of young refugees, and how the intergenerational history of colonization affects intimate relationships; also detailing the sexual conquests of young queer African immigrants in London, who are fluid, trans and androgynous, to Fiona McCrae and Steve Woodward at Graywolf, in a nice deal, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2023, by Jessica Craig at Craig Literary (NA).

TJ Alexander’s CHEF’S KISS, an #OwnVoices LGBTQ+ rom-com starring a type-A pastry chef whose professional goals are interrupted by not only a career transition, but the introduction of her wildly attractive nonbinary kitchen manager, who happens to be undergoing a transition of their own, to Lara Jones at Emily Bestler Books, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Larissa Melo Pienkowski at Jill Grinberg Literary Management (world).

Poet and co-editor of COLONIZE THIS: YOUNG WOMEN OF COLOR ON TODAY’S FEMINISM Bushra Rehman‘s ROSES IN THE MOUTH OF A LION, about female friendships and queer love within a Pakistani community in Corona, Queens, pitched as combining the structure of Sandra Cisneros’s A House on Mango Street with the lyricism of Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, to Caroline Bleeke at Flatiron Books, in a pre-empt, for publication in summer 2022, by Ayesha Pande at Ayesha Pande Literary (world).

Sondi Warner‘s debut LEAD ME ASTRAY, a LGBTQIA+ paranormal, polyamorous romance following a newly dead medium who can see her ghost and a P.I. werewolf who band together to solve the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death, all while falling for each other, to Deanna McFadden at Wattpad, in a nice deal, for publication in winter 2022 (world).

New Yorker fiction contributor Taymour Soomro’s OTHER NAMES FOR LOVE, on legacy, queerness, and violence in Pakistan, about a young man whose sexual and intellectual awakening in the feudal lands leads to an estrangement from his family and a difficult reunion after several decades, to Mitzi Angel at Farrar, Straus, at auction, by Adam Eaglin at The Cheney Agency, on behalf of Natasha Fairweather at Rogers, Coleridge & White (NA).

Tara Sim’s THE CITY OF DUSK, the first in an adult epic fantasy trilogy, in which the four heirs of four noble houses, each gifted with a divine power, must form a tenuous alliance to keep their kingdom from descending into a realm-shattering war, to Priyanka Krishnan at Orbit, in a three-book deal, for publication in spring of 2022, by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Agency (world).

Juno Dawson’s HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL COVEN, about a covert supernatural government department established by Queen Elizabeth I, as their oracle foretells the genocide of all witches, and conflict over how to tackle the prophecy threatens to tear apart a group of lifelong friends; exploring gender, feminism, the patriarchy, and the corrupting nature of power, to Margaux Weisman at Penguin, at auction, in a three-book deal, by Alyssa Reuben and Katelyn Dougherty at Paradigm, on behalf of Sallyanne Sweeney at MMB Creative (NA).

Children’s Fiction

Young Adult Fiction

Author of THE HENNA WARS and HANI AND ISHU’S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING Adiba Jaigirdar’s DONUT FALL FALL IN LOVE, about a Bangladeshi Irish girl still healing from a breakup with her ex-girlfriend, and who can think of nothing batter than to win the Junior Irish Baking Show, a Great British Bake Off-style reality competition; even if it means competing against her ex and another contestant that she may be falling for, to Foyinsi Adegbonmire at Feiwel and Friends, for publication in spring 2023, by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (NA).

SURRENDER YOUR SONS author Adam Sass‘s THE 99 BOYFRIENDS OF MICAH SUMMERS, in which an artsy teen who posts sketches of his imaginary boyfriends to Instagram finally has a meet cute with the much-anticipated Boy 100, but when it turns into a missed connection, he embarks on a Prince Charming-like quest throughout Chicago to find true love, to Kelsey Murphy at Philomel, in a six-figure deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in fall 2022 and fall 2023, by Chelsea Eberly at Greenhouse Literary Agency on behalf of Dovetail Fiction/Working Partners and Eric Smith at P.S. Literary Agency (NA).

Sonora Reyes’s debut THE LESBIANA’S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL, following a 16-year-old who has just started at a new Catholic school after being outed by her ex-best friend and crush at her old school; her new goals: make her mom proud, keep her brother out of trouble, and most importantly, don’t fall in love, but that’s not easy when the only openly queer girl at school is so funny, cute, and seems like she might be interested, to Alessandra Balzer at Balzer & Bray, in a good deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Alexandra Levick at Writers House (NA).

Author of THE HENNA WARS and HANI AND ISHU’S GUIDE TO FAKE DATING Adiba Jaigirdar’s A MILLION TO ONE, a high-stakes romantic heist novel set on the Titanic, in which four girls team up to steal a priceless jewel-encrusted book, to Claudia Gabel at Harper Children’s, for publication in spring 2022, by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Leslie Vedder’s debut THE BONE SPINDLE, an #OwnVoices LGBTQ fantasy pitched as a gender-flipped retelling of Sleeping Beauty meets Indiana Jones, in which a cursed treasure hunter and an axe-wielding huntswoman must team up in the treasure hunt of a lifetime to save a lost prince, to Arianne Lewin at Putnam Children’s, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Carrie Hannigan and Ellen Goff at HG Literary (NA).

Non-Fiction

Advocate for LGBTQ+ issues and gun violence prevention, and survivor of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting Brandon Wolf’s SAFE SPACE, recounting how the support of the greater Orlando community inspired him towards activism in the wake of that tragic night, and exploring the struggles he faced to find a sense of belonging, the resiliency required to maintain it in an increasingly chaotic and fearful world, and the essential role that community has in effecting positive social change during times of crisis, to Selena James at Little A, in a pre-empt, by Jud Laghi at Jud Laghi Agency (world).

Lambda Literary Fellow Lamya H’s MARYAM IS A DYKE, a memoir in essays about her experience as a queer hijabi Muslim immigrant seeking to make sense of herself, her faith, and her place in the world through the lens of radical, lyrical interpretations of the Quran, to Katy Nishimoto at Dial, at auction, by Julia Kardon at HG Literary (NA).

Author of the 2021 PEN Open Book Award finalist and NAACP Image Award-nominated poetry collection UN-AMERICAN, and literary agent at Janklow & Nesbit Hafizah Geter’s THE BLACK PERIOD: ON PERSONHOOD, RACE & ORIGIN, a genre-bending memoir that explores how the origin stories we inherit can be remade by delving into the author’s personal and political experiences with Blackness, queerness, Islamophobia, shame, and grief as they cross continents from Nigeria and Gambia to the U.S., to Jamia Wilson at Random House, at auction, by Ayesha Pande at Ayesha Pande Literary (NA).