ANNOUNCEMENT: In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Sunday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, 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.
With Winter in the rearview and Spring ahead, there’s plenty to read this March. From messages about the power of body positivity to a queer retelling of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, we’ve got you covered for the month of March with a list of LGBTQ+ books you should check out.
A special shoutout goes to Netgalley, the premier source of getting books in advance if you’re looking to review books. All the summaries were sourced from Netgalley (and from Amazon) and we hope this helps get readers interested in these creative queer writers!
1. Eleutheria by Allegra Hyde
Summary: Willa Marks has spent her whole life choosing hope. She chooses hope over her parents’ paranoid conspiracy theories, over her dead-end job, over the rising ocean levels. And when she meets Sylvia Gill, renowned Harvard professor, she feels she’s found the justification of that hope. Sylvia is the woman-in-black: the only person smart and sharp enough to compel the world to action. But when Sylvia betrays her, Willa fears she has lost hope forever.
And then she finds a book in Sylvia’s library: a guide to fighting climate change called Living the Solution. Inspired by its message and with nothing to lose, Willa flies to the island of Eleutheria in the Bahamas to join the author and his group of ecowarriors at Camp Hope. Upon arrival, things are not what she expected. The group’s leader, author Roy Adams, is missing, and the compound’s public launch is delayed. With time running out, Willa will stop at nothing to realize Camp Hope’s mission—but at what cost?
2. Girls Can Kiss Now by Jill Gutowitz
Summary: Jill Gutowitz’s life—for better and worse—has always been on a collision course with pop culture. There’s the time the FBI showed up at her door because of something she tweeted about Game of Thrones. The pop songs that have been the soundtrack to the worst moments of her life. And of course, the pivotal day when Orange Is the New Black hit the airwaves and broke down the door to Jill’s own sexuality. In these honest examinations of identity, desire, and self-worth, Jill explores perhaps the most monumental cultural shift of our lifetimes: the mainstreaming of lesbian culture. Dusting off her own personal traumas and artifacts of her not-so-distant youth she examines how pop culture acts as a fun house mirror reflecting and refracting our values—always teaching, distracting, disappointing, and revealing us.
Girls Can Kiss Now is a fresh and intoxicating blend of personal stories, sharp observations, and laugh-out-loud humor. This timely collection of essays helps us make sense of our collective pop-culture past even as it points the way toward a joyous, uproarious, near—and very queer—future.
3. Take Her Down by Lauren Emily Whalen
Summary: Overnight, Bronwyn St. James goes from junior class queen to daughter of an imprisoned felon, and she lands in the care of her aunt and younger cousin Cass, a competitive cheerleader who Bronwyn barely knows. Life gets worse when her ex-best friend, the always-cool Jude Cuthbert, ostracizes Bronwyn from the queer social elite for dating a boy, Porter Kendrick.
Bronwyn and Jude are both running for student body president, and that means war. But after Bronwyn, Porter, and Cass share a video of Jude in a compromising position, Jude suddenly goes missing. No one has seen her for weeks and it might be all Bronwyn’s fault.
Will Jude ever be found? Or will Bronwyn finally have to reckon with what she’s won—and what she’s lost?
Content Advisory: Depictions of sexual assault.
4. Murder on Monte Vista by David S. Pederson
Summary: It’s 1946, and on a hot spring night in Phoenix, Arizona, things are only beginning to heat up at the Monte Vista Road home of flamboyant decorator Walter Waverly Wingate.
Private detective Mason T. Adler isn’t thrilled to be turning fifty, and the party Walter throws him makes him even more uncomfortable. Walter has arranged a special birthday present for Mason: a private hour with the handsome, young Henry Bowtrickle in Walter’s upstairs bedroom. But the night turns deadly when his birthday gift turns up murdered.
The room was locked, no way in or out, and only Henry and Mason were inside. Mason Adler is on the case, but he is also a suspect, along with the other assorted party guests who were all downstairs at the time of the stabbing. Or were they?
5. Her Duchess to Desire by Jane Walsh
Summary: Anne, the Duchess of Hawthorne, is tired of her reputation as the Ice Queen of London society. She resolves to leave behind her cold-hearted marriage to the duke—and to find a woman to keep her warm at night. Perhaps the dashing designer she hires to transform her Mayfair estate can also help her to transform her life.
Letitia Barrow has big dreams of running her own interior design business. The opportunity to reinvent the Hawthorne estate is the job that will finally establish her as a leading designer among the ton. The duchess might make her weak in the knees, but giving in to temptation could risk everything she’s working so hard to build.
The designer and the duchess embark on an affair, with renovations to the house in full swing—and the renovations in their hearts well underway. Then, unexpectedly, the duke returns home and their feelings are tested. Can London’s hottest new designer melt the Ice Queen forever?
6. Lead Me Astray by Sondi Warner
Summary: Welcome to Overlay City in New Orleans—a shadowy in-between where the paranormal and the real world meet. Its newest resident: Aurie Edison.
A victim of a hit-and-run, Aurie now exists as a ghost in this mysterious realm. Convinced there is more to her death than what she remembers, Aurie sets out to uncover the truth. She soon finds herself in the company of Mys, a psychic empath, whose need to help others trumps all else, and Zyr, a werewolf detective able to work both the human and occult worlds.
As they begin to piece together the events leading up to her death, Aurie can’t deny the deeper connection developing between them. Yet, with each new secret suggesting a more sinister danger at play, they realize they may not make it out (dead or) alive.
7. Business of the Heart by Claire Forsythe
Summary: Abby Archer should be content. Her coffee shop, Haze, is thriving, and she has a great group of friends. There’s just one thing missing: love. Despite past betrayals, Abby hasn’t given up on finding the one, waiting with increasing impatience to experience the sparks she’s always dreamed of.
Lexi Finn lives for her career. At least her job won’t break her heart. Unlike Abby, she’s most definitely not searching for the one or anyone for that matter. Avoiding relationships isn’t all that difficult when she’s become so skilled at keeping people at a distance.
So imagine Lexi’s shock when, walking into Haze, she feels instant attraction and an unshakeable connection with Abby. Abby has a picture of her perfect woman in her mind, and it certainly isn’t the intolerable Lexi Finn. When a hopeless romantic meets a toughas-nails cynic, they’ll need to overcome the wounds of the past to discover that their hearts are the most important business of all.
8. Dying for You by Jenny Frame
Summary: Victorija Dred, Principe of the Dred clan, is one of the most feared vampires to walk the earth, but since her unwanted blood bond with Daisy, she’s slowly losing herself to blood sickness. Her clan is dismayed by her reluctance to order Daisy brought to her. The old Victorija would have used her for her blood without a second thought. However no one knows of the age-old vow holding her back.
Daisy MacDougall is struggling to cope with the vampire bite that is urging her to seek out Victorija. Secrets and history bind them in unfathomable ways, and when she discovers her family’s past and a very different Victorija, she vows to find the truth even if she must force their meeting.
Victorija and Daisy travel a dark and seductive path even as Victorija fights every instinct to take Daisy’s blood, and love seems all but impossible. As if that wasn’t bad enough, neither expects the real threat to Daisy’s life to be hiding inside the Dred clan.
9. Queer Body Power by Essie Dennis
Summary: As a young, queer, plus-size person, Essie Dennis has spent a lot of time feeling like they weren’t enough – not queer enough, not feminine enough, not perfect enough. When they took to social media to share how they felt, they were overwhelmed by how many others felt the same.
I look too masculine to be non-binary
I look too feminine to be a lesbian
Am I too fat for drag?
Inviting you to challenge accepted beauty standards and the concept of ‘the perfect body’, Essie takes everything they have learned on their journey to self-acceptance and body satisfaction to help guide you towards loving your queer body. From gender, sexuality and reclaiming your body, through to food, politics, social media and fatphobia, this radical book starts a conversation about body image and mental health that queer people are so often left out of.
Fiercely and unapologetically written, and with honest advice and powerful stories from a diverse range of queer people throughout, this is an inspiring and necessary book that will show you that you are enough.
10. Going Public by Hudson Lin
Summary: As an operating partner at Jade Harbour, Raymond Chao prides himself in fixing even the most disastrous of portfolio companies—no matter the cost. While his colleagues might not always like his methods, they love his results. But his latest business partner isn’t cooperating, and what’s worse, Raymond’s underhanded tactics have landed him in hot water with the law.
Elvin Goh has been Raymond’s assistant for years, and he’s been in love with the charming, ruthless playboy for just as long. There’s very little that Elvin won’t do—or hasn’t done—for Raymond. Impossible crush aside, it’s his job. But this time, even Elvin can’t see a way out.
When long nights in the office lead to whispered confessions and a newfound intimacy, it seems like a dream come true—for both of them. But with the prospect of failure on the horizon, can this dream team beat the odds and come out the victors in the office and in their hearts?
What did you think about these LGBTQ+ books for March? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!
Queerly Not Straight posts every Sunday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)