In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Tuesday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
As we say goodbye to spring, it’s time to dive into summer reads . From anthologies that cover a wide range of identities to summer romances that makee you swoon, we’ve got you covered for the month of May with a list of LGBTQ+ books you should read.
Special shoutout goes to Netgalley, the premiere source of getting books in advance if you’re looking to review books. All the summary’s were sourced from Netgalley and we hope this helps get readers interested in these creative queer writers!
1. The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak by Grace Lau
Summary: The poems in The Language We Were Never Taught to Speak explore the many identities, both visible and invisible, that a body contains. With influences from pop culture, the Bible, tech, and Hong-Kongese history, these pieces reflect and reveal how the stories of immigrants in Canada hold both universal truths and singular distinctions. From boybands that show the way to become “the kind of girl a girl could love” to “rich flavours that are just a few generations of poverty away,” they invite the reader to meditate on spirituality, food, and the shapes love takes.
2. Sage and King by Molly Ringle
Summary: Zaya expected to be the irresponsible youngest prince his whole life. But when his two older siblings are killed by an unidentified magician, he finds himself crowned king of Lushrain—the end of his liberty as he knows it. As part of his training, he’s sent to Heartwood for a month, the house of the sages high in the mountains. There, to his shock, the sages tell him he must learn about magic—which is illegal to practice, but has nonetheless been among Heartwood’s secret studies for centuries.
They assign Col as his tutor, a charming young sage with unusually strong powers. Zaya abhors and distrusts magic, and Col absolutely doesn’t want the job of attempting to change the king’s mind. But in their lessons and debates, they grow closer and begin envisioning a future in which a sage and a king might make a harmonious couple.
But the assassin still roams, seeking to hurt Zaya, and the budding love affair may be crushed by the secrets that Heartwood—and Col—have kept about this killer.
3. Embodied by Various Authors
Full List: Maggie Smith, Kenzie Allen, Ruth Awad, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, Kendra DeColo, Carolina Ebeid, Jenn Givhan, Caroline Hagood, Laura Hinton, JP Howard, Omotara James, Virginia Konchan, Miller Oberman, Khadijah Queen, Diane Suess, Sokunthary Svay, Venus Thrash, Paul Tran, Vanessa Villareal, Khaty Xiong, Shira Dentz
Summary: Poetry and comics collide in this intersectional feminist anthology featuring twenty-one stories that explore the relationship between gender, identity and the body. A diverse array of award-winning contemporary poets and comic book artists who identify as cis women, trans, and non-binary, work together to create sequential art poems showcasing the relevance, urgency, and power of both genres. Beautifully illustrated and bracingly written, EMBODIED is a memorable collaboration between cis female, trans, and non-binary poets and comics artists showcasing the power of both forms in a stunningly unique keepsake volume that will be treasured for ages. Mystical, rooted, painful, joyous, and ecstatic; visions of the body, our genders, and our very identities from across the spectrum of contemporary poetry come together in this monumental intersectional feminist anthology where verse and comics unite in spectacular new ways. Featuring poetry by New York Times bestseller Maggie Smith, Pulitzer Prize finalist Diane Seuss, and National Endowment of the Arts fellowship recipients Kendra DeColo and Jennifer Givhan. This edition includes a study guide and a process art section. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit International Women’s Health Coalition.
4. Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall
Summary: Following the recipe is the key to a successful bake. Rosaline Palmer has always lived by those rules—well, except for when she dropped out of college to raise her daughter, Amelie. Now, with a paycheck as useful as greaseproof paper and a house crumbling faster than biscuits in tea, she’s teetering on the edge of financial disaster. But where there’s a whisk there’s a way . . . and Rosaline has just landed a spot on the nation’s most beloved baking show.
Winning the prize money would give her daughter the life she deserves—and Rosaline is determined to stick to the instructions. However, more than collapsing trifles stand between Rosaline and sweet, sweet victory. Suave, well-educated, and parent-approved Alain Pope knows all the right moves to sweep her off her feet, but it’s shy electrician Harry Dobson who makes Rosaline question her long-held beliefs—about herself, her family, and her desires.
Rosaline fears falling for Harry is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Yet as the competition—and the ovens—heat up, Rosaline starts to realize the most delicious bakes come from the heart.
5. Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan
Summary: Morgan, an elite track athlete, is forced to transfer high schools late in her senior year after it turns out being queer is against her private Catholic school’s code of conduct. There, she meets Ruby, who has two hobbies: tinkering with her baby blue 1970 Ford Torino and competing in local beauty pageants, the latter to live out the dreams of her overbearing mother. The two are drawn to each other and can’t deny their growing feelings. But while Morgan–out and proud, and determined to have a fresh start–doesn’t want to have to keep their budding relationship a secret, Ruby isn’t ready to come out yet. With each girl on a different path toward living her truth, can they go the distance together?
6. Fat and Queer by Various Artists
Edited by: Bruce Owens Grimm, Miguel M. Morales, and Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini
Summary: This one-of-a-kind collection of prose and poetry radically explores the intersection of fat and queer identities, showcasing new, emerging and established queer and trans writers from around the world. Celebrating fat and queer bodies and lives, this book challenges negative and damaging representations of queer and fat bodies and offers readers ways to reclaim their bodies, providing stories of support, inspiration and empowerment. In writing that is intimate, luminous and emotionally raw, this anthology is a testament to the diversity and power of fat queer voices and experiences, and they deserve to be heard.
7. Hard Sell by Hudson Lin
Summary: Danny Ip walks into every boardroom with a plan. His plan for struggling tech company WesTec is to acquire it, shut it down, and squeeze the last remaining revenue out of it for his Jade Harbour Capital portfolio. But he didn’t expect his best friend’s younger brother—the hottest one-night stand he ever had—to be there.
Tobin Lok has always thought the world of Danny. He’s funny, warm, attractive—and totally out of Tobin’s league. Now, pitted against Danny at work, Tobin might finally get a chance to prove he’s more than just Wei’s little brother.
It takes a lot to get under Danny’s skin, but Tobin is all grown up in a way Danny can’t ignore. Now, with a promising patent on the line and the stakes higher than ever, all he can think about is getting Tobin back into his bed—and into his life for good. If only explaining their relationship to Wei could be so easy…
8. How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole
Summary: Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.
Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.
When a threat to her grandmother’s livelihood pushes Makeda to agree to return to Ibarania, Bez takes her on a transatlantic adventure with a crew of lovable weirdos, a fake marriage, and one-bed hijinks on the high seas. When they finally make it to Ibarania, they realize there’s more at stake than just cash and crown, and Makeda must learn what it means to fight for what she desires and not what she feels bound to by duty.
9. Playing the Palace by Paul Rudnick
Summary: After having his heart trampled on by his cheating ex, Carter Ogden is afraid love just isn’t in the cards for him. He still holds out hope in a tiny corner of his heart, but even in his wildest dreams he never thought he’d meet the Crown Prince of England, much less do a lot more with him. Yes, growing up he’d fantasized about the handsome, openly gay Prince Edgar, but who hadn’t? When they meet by chance at an event Carter’s boss is organizing, Carter’s sure he imagined all that sizzling chemistry. Or was it mutual?
This unlikely but meant-to-be romance sets off media fireworks on both sides of the Atlantic. With everyone having an opinion on their relationship and the intense pressure of being constantly in the spotlight, Carter finds ferocious obstacles to his Happily Ever After, including the tenacious disapproval of the Queen of England. Carter and Price Edgar fight for a happy ending to equal their glorious international beginning. It’s a match made on Valentine’s Day and in tabloid heaven.
10. Pumpkin by Julie Murphy
Summary: Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth.
So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape getting accidentally shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king.
Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.
Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . .
Queerly Not Straight posts every Tuesday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)