September’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books
Author: Sam Bovard
August 29, 2020
New LGBTQ Books
And so, a summer unlike any other fades in the rearview mirror. September is a transitory month; The year continues, the weather cools, the leaves begin to change colors. Students go back to school, in altered forms or spaces this year, including virtual ones. Fall begins, and with it comes the continuing dual threats of climate change and racial injustice.
But with recognition comes change, and with the shifting tides we should also hold up ideas for a better future. We have opportunities to usher in new leaders, new ideas, to make deep changes in this country and in the world. Fall is a very ruminant time, as we reflect on the year behind us, and on the resolutions we promised ourselves way back in January.
LGBTQ writers and LGBTQ books stand out in this transitional moment by looking at our collective past, examining the troubling present, unpacking our desires, and also boldly imagining utopian futures.
There is no better example of this than Aiden Thomas’ Cemetery Boys, a groundbreaking new novel about a trans boy who summons a ghost he can’t get rid of, while struggling for acceptance from his Latinx family.
When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.
Bestiary, by K-Ming Chang, is a spell-binding debut, tracing a complicated lineage of Taiwanese American women and the stories and magic that comes with it.
One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother’s letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth—and that she will have to bring her family’s secrets to light in order to change their destiny.
In Stone and Steel, author Eboni Dunbar has created a fantastical world where Blackness, queerness, and magic hold sway.
In Stone and Steel, when General Aaliyah returns triumphant to the city of Titus, she expects to find the people prospering under the rule of her Queen, the stone mage Odessa. Instead, she finds a troubling imbalance in both the citizens’ well-being and Odessa’s rule. Aaliyah must rely on all of her allies, old and new, to do right by the city that made her.
Daring, tender, truthful, the poems in Blizzard, Henri Cole’s tenth book, build on a reputation for quiet mastery. Whether he is wrestling with the mundane, history and its disasters, or sexual love, he can sound both classical and contemporary, with the modern austerity of Cavafy and Bishop. Often exploring the darker places of the heart, his sonnets do not lie down obediently, but spark with an honest self-awareness.
Surrender Your Sons, by Adam Sass, is the queer thriller willing to take on the evil of conversion therapy, to show that not only can one escape it, but they can possibly destroy the whole system at the same time.
Connor Major’s summer break is turning into a nightmare.
His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and shipped off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes.”
But Connor’s troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide—from the campers to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director—and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camp’s horrible truths for what they are—and taking this place down.
Chasten Buttigieg has come to light in the past two years as part of one of the most visible gay relationships in American politics, and it is only right that he tell his own story in his memoir, I Have Something To Tell You.
Throughout the past year, teacher Chasten Glezman Buttigieg has emerged on the national stage, having left his classroom in South Bend, Indiana, to travel cross-country in support of his husband, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Pete’s groundbreaking presidential campaign. Through Chasten’s joyful, witty social media posts, the public gained a behind-the-scenes look at his life with Pete on the trail–moments that might have ranged from the mundane to the surprising, but that were always heartfelt.
Looking for a comprehensive visual look at LGBTQ+ Americans? Check out Self-Evident Truths: 10,000 Portraits of Queer America by iO Tillet Wright.
In the spirit of Richard Avedon, this book contains striking photographic portraits of 10,000 people from across the US, bringing readers face to face with LGBTQ America.
The Declaration of Independence states that it is self-evident that we are all created equal. Millions of people in the US, however, are deprived of basic rights merely because they aren’t heteronormative. Believing that it’s impossible to deny the humanity of anyone once you look into their eyes, iO Tillett Wright embarked on an ambitious project to photograph the faces of people across the country who identify as anything other than 100% straight or cisgender. This enormous undertaking–10,000 people from all fifty states, shot over a nearly ten-year period–is presented in its entirety in this awe inspiring book.
In the riveting These Violent Delights, by Micah Nemerever, intense passions take a destructive turn.
When Paul and Julian meet as university freshmen in early 1970s Pittsburgh, they are immediately drawn to one another. A talented artist, Paul is sensitive and agonizingly insecure, incomprehensible to his working-class family, and desolate with grief over his father’s recent death.
Paul sees the wealthy, effortlessly charming Julian as his sole intellectual equal–an ally against the conventional world he finds so suffocating. He idolizes his friend for his magnetic confidence. But as charismatic as he can choose to be, Julian is also volatile and capriciously cruel. And admiration isn’t the same as trust.
As their friendship spirals into an all-consuming intimacy, Paul is desperate to protect their precarious bond, even as it becomes clear that pressures from the outside world are nothing compared with the brutality they are capable of inflicting on one another. Separation is out of the question. But as their orbit compresses and their grip on one another tightens, they are drawn to an act of irrevocable violence that will force the young men to confront a shattering truth at the core of their relationship.
And on a lighter note, perhaps one of the queerest book coming out in September is Mariah Carey’s memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, where the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, and icon tells her own story, with Michaela Angela Davis. This book promises to be a lot of things: unfiltered, personal, healing, moving. But boring? In the words of Carey herself, “I don’t know her.”
As always, if our list of LGBTQ releases missed an author or a book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.
- Bestiary: A Novel by K-Ming Chang, One World
- Compassion, Michigan by Raymond Luczak, Modern History Press
- The Contradictions by Sophie Yanow, Drawn & Quarterly
- Everyone Was Falling by Js Lee, Pent-Up Press
- Finding Tulsa by Jim Provenzano, Palm Drive Publishing
- If We Were Electric by Patrick Earl Ryan, University of Georgia Press
- Like A Bird by Fariha Róisín, Unnamed Press
- Maiden Leap by CM Harris, Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company
- Of Gods and Heroes by Elias Pagonitis, Outskirts Press
- Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo, Akashic Books
- The Appointment: A Novel by Katharina Volckmer, Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
- The Edge of the Continent: The Desert by Jacqueline Suskin, Rare Bird Books
- The End of the Day by Bill Clegg, Gallery/Scout Press
- The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk, Grand Central Publishing
- The Scoop by Cat Walker, RedDoor Press
- Undertow by Jazzy Mitchell, Desert Palm Press
- A World Between: A Novel by Emily Hashimoto, The Feminist Press at CUNY
- Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen, Beacon Press
- For Now by Eileen Myles, Yale University Press
- Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin’s Recent Gay History by R. Richard Wagner, Wisconsin Univ. Press
- Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America by Laila Lalami, Pantheon Books
- Lecture by Mary Cappello, Transit Books
- My White Best Friend (And Other Letters Left Unsaid) by Rachel De-Lay, Oberon Books
- New Queer Photography by Benjamin Wolberg, Verlag Kettler
- Richard Halliburton and the Voyage of the Sea Dragon by Gerald Max, Univ. Tennessee Press
- Self-Evident Truths: 10,000 Portraits of Queer America by iO Tillet Wright, Prestel
- Shifting the Silence by Etel Adnan, Nightboat Books
- Spectrums: Autistic Trans People in Their Own Words edited by Maxfield Sparrow, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
- The Tragedy of Heterosexuality by Jane Ward, NYU Press
- The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage by Sasha Issenberg, Pantheon
- Three Rings: A Story of Exile, Narrative, and Fate by Daniel Mendelsohn, University of Virginia Press
- Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music by Alex Ross, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- A Queer New York: Geographies of Lesbians, Dykes, and Queers by Jack Gieseking, NYU Press
- Angel on a Freight Train: A Story of Faith and Queer Desire in Nineteenth-Century America by Peter C. Baldwin, SUNY Press
- Female Identities in Lesbian Web Series: Transnational Community Building in Anglo-, Hispano-, and Francophone Contexts by Julia Obermayer, Transcript-Verlag
- LGBTQ Health Research: Theory, Methods, Practice by Ron Stall, Brian Dodge, Jose A. Bauermeister, Tonia Poteat, and Christ Beyrer, Johns Hopkins University Press
- Prismatic Performances: Queer South Africa and the Fragmentation of the Rainbow Nation by April Sizemore-Barber, University of Michigan Press
- Queer Representations in Chinese-language Film and the Cultural Landscape by Shi-Yan Chao, Amsterdam University Press
- Same Old: Queer Theory, Literature, and the Politics of Sameness by Ben Nichols, Manchester University Press
- Serpent in the Garden: Amish Sexuality in a Changing World by James A. Cates, Johns Hopkins University Press
- Trans Care by Hil Malatino, University of Minnesota Press
- Lived Experience: Reflections on LGBTQ Life by Delphine Diallo, The New Press
- Confess: The Autobiography by Rob Halford, Hachette Books
- I Have Something To Tell You: A Memoir by Chasten Buttgeig, Atria Books
- Identity: A Story of Transitioning by Corey Maison, Michelle and Anthony E. Zuiker, Zuiker Press
- Lyrics of my Life: My Journey with Family, HIV, and Reality TV by Branden James, Cleis Press
- Other Girls Like Me by Stephanie Davies, Bedazzled Ink Publishing
- Savage West: The Life and Fiction of Thomas Savage by O. Allen Weltzien, University Nevada Press
- Sorted: A Transgender Memoir by Jackson Bird, Tiller Press
- The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey with Michaela Angela Davis, Andy Cohen Books
- Never Turn Your Back on the Tide (Or, How I Married a Lying, Psychopathic Wannabe-Murderer and Kinda Lived to Tell) by Kergan Edwards-Stout, Circumspect Press
- The Rain May Pass by Alan Shayne, Rand Smith
- The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey by Bett Williams, Dottir Press
- Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero by F. Valentine Hooven III, Cernunnos
- Unsaid by Asmita Rajiv, Asmita Rajiv
- Wendy Carlos: A Biography by Amanda Sewell, Oxford University Press
- Bet Against Me by Fiona Riley, Bold Strokes Books
- Black Kitten by Melissa Sweeney, Melissa Sweeney
- Confessions of a Dreamer by Kenna White, Bella Books
- Full Moon in Leo by Brooklyn Ray, Carina Adores
- Just One Taste by CJ Birch, Bold Strokes Books
- Last Resort by Angie Williams, Bold Strokes Books
- Let the Beat Drop by Cheri Ritz, Bella Books
- Longing for You (A Wild For You Novel) by Jenny Frame, Bold Strokes Books
- Moments in Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan, Carrie Ann Ryan
- Passion’s Sweet Surrender by Ronica Black, Bold Strokes Books
- The Love Study by Kris Ripper, Carina Adores; Original edition
- Too Hot to Ride by Andrews and Austin, Bold Strokes Books
- [Un]common Ground by Erica Abbott, Bella Books
- A Friend in the Dark by Gregory Ashe and C.S. Poe, Emporium Press
- In a Midnight Wood: A Jane Lawless Mystery by Ellen Hart, Minotaur Books
- Money Creek by Anne Laughlin, Bold Strokes Books
- Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass, Flux
- These Violent Delights: A Novel by Micah Nemerever, Harper
- When No One Is Watching: A Thriller by Alyssa Cole, William Morrow & Company
- Upon This Rock by David Eugene Perry, Pace Press
- Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne, Tor Books
- The Art of Saving the World by Corinne Duyvis, Amulet Books
- The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, Orbit
- Broken Reign by Sam Ledel, Bold Strokes Books
- Burning Roses by S. L. Huang, Tor.com
- Cheater Code by S.A. Foxe and Daz, Limerence Press
- Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer, HarperTeen
- Cypher by Rich Larson, Orbit
- Depart, Depart! by Sim Kern, Stelliform Press
- The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwe, Atthis Arts LLC
- Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro, Tor Teen
- Falling Light by Crystal L Kirkham, Kyanite Publishing LLC
- The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg, Tachyon Publications
- Hark by John R Gordon, Team Angelica Publishing
- Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots, William Morrow
- The Hellion: Malus Domestica #3 by S. A. Hunt, Tor Books
- Lady of Stone (A Pyradisté Novel) by Barbara Ann Wright, Bold Strokes Books
- Life is Strange 1-3 Boxed Set by Emma Viecieli and Claudia Leonardi, Titan Comics
- The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis, Titan Books
- Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction by Joshua Whitehead (Editor), Arsenal Pulp Press
- Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston, Tor.com
- Moonstruck Volume 3: Troubled Waters by Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, and Claudia Aguirre, Image Comics
- Night Shine by Tessa Gratton, Margaret K. McElderry Books
- Rising from Dust (Light from Aphelion) by Martine Carlsson, Martine Carlsson
- Severed by Ignacio Lopez, 53rd State Press
- Stone and Steel by Eboni Dunbar, Neon Hemlock Press
- Tears of Winter (Light from Aphelion) by Martine Carlsson, Martine Carlsson
- Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling, Neon Hemlock Press
Young Adult and Children’s Literature
- Boy Meets Hamster by Birdie Milano, MacMillan Children’s Books
- Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, Swoon Reads
- Ciel by Sophie Labelle, Second Story Press
- Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp, Sourcebooks Fire
- Every Body Looking by Candice IIoh, Dutton Books for Young Readers
- Flamer by Mike Curato, Henry Holt
- Fence: Striking Distance by Sarah Rees Brennan, C.S. Pacat, and Johanna the Mad, Little Brown Books for Young Readers
- The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass by Adan Jerreat-Poole, Dundurn Group
- Gold Wings Rising by Alex London, Farrar Straus and Giroux
- Iron Heart by Nina Varela, Quill Tree Books
- Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt, Doubleday Children’s
- Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore, Harperteen
- A More Graceful Shaboom by Jacinta Bunnell and Crystal Vielula, PM Press
- Me Inside by Martha Miller, Sapphire Press
- My Family, Your Family! by Kathryn Cole and Cornelia Li, Second Story Press
- My Riot by Rick Spears and Emmett Helen, Oni Press
- A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen, Tor Teen
- The Nightland Express by J. M. Lee, Erewhon
- The Ninth Life by Taylor B. Barton, Inkyard Press
- Pepper’s Rules for Secret Sleuthing by Briana McDonald, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke, Erewhon
- Shelly Struggles to Shine by Kit Rosewater and Sophie Escabasse, Amulet Books
- The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters, Interlude Press
- Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass, Flux
- Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos, Kids Can Press
- Our Subway Baby by Peter Mercurio and Leo Espinosa, Dial Books
- Under Shifting Stars by Alexandra Latos, Houghton Mifflin
- Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall, Harperteen
- Again by Jennifer Perrine, Airlie Press
- The Animal at Your Side by Megan Alpert, Airlie Press
- Blizzard: Poems by Henri Cole, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain, Arsenal Pulp Press
- Coffee Days Whiskey Nights by Cyrus Parker, Central Avenue Publishing
- Daddy by Michael Montlack, NYQ Books
- Emporium by Aditi Machado, Nightboat Books
- Entering Sappho by Sarah Dowling, Coach House Books
- Lesbian Fashion Struggles by Caroline Earleywine, Sibling Rivalry Press
- The Life Assignment by Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, Four Way Books
- My Daily Actions, or the Meteorites by S. Brook Corfman, Fordham University Press
- The Odd Years by Morgan Bassichis, Wendy’s Subway
- Platinum Blonde by Phoebe Stuckes, Bloodaxe Books
- Semiotics: Poems by Chekwube Danladi, University of Georgia Press
- Shifting the Silence by Etel Adnan, Nightboat Books
- Suitor by Joshua Rivkin, Red Hen Press
- the she said dialogues: flesh memory (Reprint) by Akilah Oliver, Nightboat Books
- Un-American by Hafizah Geter, Wesleyan University Press
- ZOM-FAM by Kama La Mackerel, Metonymy Press