11 Queer Books You Need to Read Before Summer Ends


Searching for the perfect queer book (or two, or three) to carry you through the remaining days of your Hot Girl Summer? Look no further. We’ve compiled 11 of our favorite recent releases from a multitude of genres, all featuring LGBTQ themes, characters, or plots—and made damn sure there’s something for everyone. Happy reading!

  1. For the hopeless romantic who’s outgrown YA fiction

    Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

    In her New York Times–bestselling debut, McQuiston imagines an alternate America where the POTUS is a hard-working mother of two biracial kids from a previous marriage—and her son, whip-smart college student Alex, has an enduring feud with Henry, the posh, fair-haired Prince of Wales. Fortunately for us, Alex and Henry’s attempts to squash their beef quickly spiral into a super sexy friends-with-benefits situation. Unfortunately for them, the clandestine tryst-turned-romance threatens to ruin Henry’s chances at ascending to the throne and overshadow Alex’s mother’s reelection campaign.

    Out Now

  2. For the former emo gay with a morbid sense of humor

    Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

    If Arnett’s name looks familiar, it’s probably because you follow her on Twitter. The New York Times–bestselling author is no stranger to the literary world, having penned short fiction and essays for a myriad of esteemed outlets. In her first novel, she broaches mortality with nuance, care, and plenty of laughs. Her protagonist, Jessa-Lynn, walks into her family’s taxidermy shop to find her father has committed suicide. As everything begins to crumble before her eyes, she’s forced to confront feelings she’d long buried—and finally find her place among the band of misfits with whom she shares a last name.

    Out Now

  3. For the lover of all things lyrical

    On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

    The gay writer splashed onto the literary scene with 2016’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds, his debut poetry collection, and his first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, is certainly riding that wave. Billed as one of the most highly anticipated novels of 2019, it follows Little Dog, a queer man in his late 20s who pens a long letter to his mother, a Vietnamese immigrant, as a means of opening himself up and bridging generational divides. Vuong’s prose has been called everything from dazzling to raw, and a review from The Washington Post even likened him to 19th-century literary lion Walt Whitman.

    Out Now

  4. For the fantasy fan looking for that next great escape

    The History of Living Forever by Jake Wolff

    In his “globe-trotting, centuries-spanning” novel, Wolff sets protagonist Conrad on an epic quest. He is bequeathed decades of notes and work from Sammy, his late former teacher-slash-gay lover—and an alchemist on the hunt for a mythical elixir of life. Determined to uncover the truth behind Sammy’s sudden and mysterious death, Conrad digs through his research and begins to suspect that he might have found the potion he was searching for after all.

    Out Now

  5. For the wannabe memoirist with residual mommy issues

    Motherland by Elissa Altman

    What queer woman doesn’t have a bit of mom-related baggage to unpack? Queer author Altman addresses it all in Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing. Lauded as “a wry and moving meditation on aging and the different kinds of love between women” by O: The Oprah Magazine, the book explores Altman’s evolving relationship with her historically flighty, flamboyant mama, Rita, after she suffers an incapacitating fall and becomes entirely dependent on Altman’s care. The two struggle to reconcile their differences, and Altman is forced to confront enduring conflicts between the pair head-on.

    Out Now

  6. For the wanderluster who wants their own Eat, Pray, Love moment

    City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

    Gilbert is best known for her iconic 2007 memoir-turned-film Eat, Pray, Love, and 2019’s City of Girls follows in those intrepid footsteps. Set in 1940s New York City, the novel trails Vivian, a 19-year-old living it up in Manhattan’s Theater District after her affluent parents send her to stay with a relative after a failed attempt at college. Eighty-nine-year-old Vivian narrates, recalling a life of pleasure, promiscuity, and unlikely love in a time when female sexuality—let alone the non-heterosexual kind—was rarely acknowledged.

    Out Now

  7. For the sartorially savvy Queer Eye stan

    Naturally Tan: A Memoir by Tan France

    Can’t get enough of Tan France, resident style guru from Netflix’s hit Queer Eye reboot? You’re in luck: In Naturally Tan, France delves deep into the experiences that made him the stylish, self-assured man he is today, including his journey from Yorkshire, England, as the lone person of color in the room, to marrying the love of his life—a gay Mormon from Salt Lake City, Utah—in the U.S. Expect hilarious cultural clashes aplenty (and, because this Fab Five guru can’t resist, a few fashion tips and tricks).

    Out Now

  8. For the Call Me by Your Name obsessive

    Lie With Me by Philippe Besson

    Besson’s Lie With Me—translated from French to English by none other than actress Molly Ringwald!—tells the story of Philippe, a gay man who recounts his heady, all-consuming first love as a teen growing up in France in the 1980s. The André Aciman–approved coming-of-age tale has already racked up a slew of accolades, including notable mentions from The New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, The Advocate, and more. It’s a No. 1 best-seller en France, too.

    Out Now

  9. For the on-the-go deep thinker

    Black Light: Stories by Kimberly King Parsons

    The queer writer isn’t afraid to get a little dark. In her debut short story collection, Black Light: Stories, Parsons tackles it all, from whirlwind first loves to the myth of the ideal marriage. Her words have garnered high praise from contemporary literary greats, including Her Body and Other Parties author Carmen Maria Machado, who called this book “grimy and weird, surprising, utterly lush.” The glowing recommendation certainly bodes well for Parsons, who is also working on a novel about “Texas, motherhood, and LSD,” according to her website.

    Out August 13

  10. For the LGBTQ history buff

    We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown

    We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation comes from queer power couple Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, a.k.a. the minds behind the popular @LGBT_History Instagram account. The book includes hundreds of historic photographs, artifacts, and factoids from moments that defined—and preceded—the modern fight for LGBTQ civil rights. It’s a veritable treasure trove of in-depth documentation that rings true to Riemer and Brown’s core message: Queer people are and always have been everywhere.

    Out Now

  11. For the dystopia devotee

    Moonflowers by David A. Gray

    In his first novel, writer and creative director Gray—whose résumé includes work for The Independent and Out—transports readers to a dystopian New York City post-Armageddon. Protagonist Petal is a Moonflower, an oddball kid who was born too close to the supernatural forces that prompted the end of days and developed freak powers. After his attempts to solve a simple missing person case go horribly awry, Petal finds himself in a high-stakes chase through the angel-controlled citadel in Manhattan and the demon-run pleasure domes of Brooklyn with a few fellow Moonflowers on his side.

    Out Now

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.

@_sammanzella


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