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 Pride here, there’s plenty to read this June. From controlling the monsters inside to witches shaking up towns and love guiding a journey against gods, we’ve got you covered for the month of June 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 we hope this helps get readers interested in these creative queer writers!
1. Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White
Summary: Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
2. Witch 13 by Patrick Delaney
Summary: On the eve of her resignation, Sheriff Sterling Marsh prepares for a bleak winter in Drybell, Connecticut, after a string of bad decisions leaves her life in shambles. Two weeks before Christmas and expecting a long night of paperwork and quiet celebration with the friends she’s grown to know and love, she’s surprised when an unnerving stranger appears in the form of a witch.
A silent, menacing figure, the witch appears to be ripped straight out of a fairy tale, complete with a tall, pointed hat, and black clothing. But when strange things begin happening all over town, Sterling begins to suspect that there may be more to the witch than meets the eye.
As she works to maintain order as the world crumbles around her, the witch’s mysterious presence throws her world into a frenzy, threatening to send the sleepy town spiraling face-first into the darkest night it’s ever seen.
3. The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian
Summary: Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her—and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…
A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?
As they flee across the country—stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats—they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.
4. Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane
Summary: The gods wanted blood. She fought for love.
Achilles has fled her home and her vicious Myrmidon clan to live as a woman with the kallai, the transgender priestesses of Great Mother Aphrodite. When Odysseus comes to recruit the “prince” Achilles for a war against the Hittites, she prepares to die rather than fight as a man. However, her divine mother, Athena, intervenes, transforming her body into the woman’s body she always longed for, and promises her everything: glory, power, fame, victory in war, and, most importantly, a child born of her own body. Reunited with her beloved cousin, Patroklos, and his brilliant wife, the sorceress Meryapi, Achilles sets out to war with a vengeance.
But the gods—a dysfunctional family of abusive immortals that have glutted on human sacrifices for centuries—have woven ancient schemes more blood-soaked and nightmarish than Achilles can imagine. At the center of it all is the cruel, immortal Helen, who sees Achilles as a worthy enemy after millennia of ennui and emptiness. In love with her newfound nemesis, Helen sets out to destroy everything and everyone Achilles cherishes, seeking a battle to the death.
An innovative spin on a familiar tale, this is the Trojan War unlike anything ever told, and an Achilles whose vulnerability is revealed by the people she chooses to fight…and chooses to trust.
5. Out There: Into the Queer Yonder by Saundra Mitchell
Summary: Explore new and familiar worlds where the human consciousness can be uploaded into a body on Mars…an alien helps a girl decide if she should tell her best friend how she feels…two teens get stuck in a time loop at a space station…people are forced to travel to the past or the future to escape the dying planet…only a nonbinary person can translate the binary code of a machine that predicts the future…everyone in the world vanishes except for two teen girls who are in love.
6. Unforgettable You by Ava Olsen
Summary: Never fall in love…
Callum Pattison is an artist on the rise. But his career dreams are on hold when a stalker threatens his safety. Add to that the reappearance of Greyson Ineja, a man he shared one unforgettable night with, and another threat looms—this one aimed closer to Cal’s heart.
Never fall in love again…
Greyson Ineja is a widower whose life is all about work until he meets free-spirited Cal. Since that night, Grey sees light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Until he becomes the focus of Cal’s stalker, and his life is again thrown into turmoil.
Never say never.
A fake wedding is hatched to lure the stalker out of hiding. For Cal and Grey, one night together was incendiary… pretending to be married could be even more dangerous.
The stakes are higher the second time around, and love is the ultimate risk.
7. Body Grammar by Jules Ohman
Summary: By the time Lou turns eighteen, modeling agents across Portland have scouted her for her striking androgynous look. Lou has no interest in fashion or being in the spotlight. She prefers to take photographs, especially of Ivy, her close friend and secret crush.
But when a hike ends in a tragic accident, Lou finds herself lost and ridden with guilt. Determined to find a purpose, Lou moves to New York and steps into the dizzying world of international fashion shows, haute couture, and editorial shoots. It’s a whirlwind of learning how to walk and how to command a body she’s never felt at ease in. But in the limelight, Lou begins to fear that she’s losing her identity—as an individual, as an artist, and as a person still in love with the girl she left behind.
A sharply observed and intimate story of grief and healing, doubt and self-acceptance set against the hyper-image-conscious industry of modeling and high fashion, Body Grammar shines with the anxieties of finding your place in the world and the heartbreaking beauty of pursuing love.
8. The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach
Summary: The port city of Hainak is alive: its buildings, its fashion, even its weapons. But, after a devastating war and a sweeping biotech revolution, all its inhabitants want is peace, no one more so than Yat Jyn-Hok a reformed-thief-turned-cop who patrols the streets at night.
Yat has recently been demoted on the force due to “lifestyle choices” after being caught at a gay club. She’s barely holding it together, haunted by memories of a lover who vanished and voices that float in and out of her head like radio signals. When she stumbles across a dead body on her patrol, two fellow officers gruesomely murder her and dump her into the harbor. Unfortunately for them, she wakes up.
Resurrected by an ancient power, she finds herself with the new ability to manipulate life force. Quickly falling in with the pirate crew who has found her, she must race against time to stop a plague from being unleashed by the evil that has taken root in Hainak.
9. To Strip the Flesh by Oto Toda
Summary: Chiaki Ogawa has never doubted who he is, although the rest of the world hasn’t been as kind. Bound by his mother’s dying wish, Chiaki tries to be a good daughter to his ailing father. But when the burden becomes too great, Chiaki sets out to remake himself in his own image and discovers more than just personal freedom in his transition—he finds understanding from the people who matter most.
Get it HERE.
10. This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron
Summary: Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. To locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage.
But Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Strengthened by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?
11. The Loophole by Naz Kutub
Summary: Sy placed all his bets for happiness on his boyfriend, Farouk . . . who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Now, the timid seventeen-year-old Indian Muslim boy is stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job and all he can do is wish for one more chance . . .
Sy never expects his wish to be granted. But when a mysterious girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help and proves she can grant at least one wish with an instant million-dollar deposit into Sy’s struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And can Sy find the courage to leave Los Angeles and cross the Atlantic Ocean to lands he’d never even dreamed he could visit, all to track down his missing ex? With help from his potentially otherworldly new friend, will Sy go all the way for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and refinding love?
12. I’m Not In Love by Mia Kerick
Summary: Having lost his parents to a tragic accident when he was nine-years old, wealthy hotel heir Remi (Julian Remington III) refuses to form intimate emotional bonds, fearing a repeat of the crushing loss that destroyed his childhood. This means no deep friendships, no heartfelt family ties, and God forbid should he ever fall in love… Well, it’s safe to say that will never happen.
However, as a senior at the top art college in Garner City—his last year of freedom before he’s required to take his place at the top of the Remington family empire—Remi freely explores sexual intimacy with “distractingly” beautiful men. And he does so with great enthusiasm—how better to distract himself from the temptation to experience tender human connection?
Remi’s plans for emotional isolation are shook up when he meets Tristan Wilder, a nude model for his life drawing class. Stunningly beautiful from head to toe—and inside his heart, as well—Tristan struggles to scrape together enough money to support his twin sister, Tara, and her three young children. Like Remi, “Uncle Tris” is unwilling to enter a romantic relationship—his responsibility to his family is all-consuming. As the men take a chance on casual friendship, Remi comes to admire Tristan’s devotion to his family. And with Remi’s surprisingly doting attention to Tara’s children, he works his way into Tristan’s heart.
Tristan is finally all in, but can commitment phobic Remi lower his walls enough to allow Tristan—and the entire Wilder family—into his heart?
13. Like Silk Breathing by Camille Duplessis
Summary: When Tom Apollyon returns to Cromer to help oversee his uncle’s pub, it’s a difficult adjustment. Overwhelmed by his born ability to sense auras, Tom relies on constant drinking and drifting to function normally. Coming back is too much to handle and one night, he decides to end it all. He just doesn’t expect to encounter a bewitching stranger when he tries.
While on an annual seaside holiday with his lover, Theo Harper takes a solitary evening stroll near the water. He thinks it’s just the thing a landlocked selkie needs, yet instead of being soothed, he stops a troubled man from drowning. The earnest good deed sparks a romance that makes Tom and Theo hope for a happier, gentler life together.
While both need to decide to trust themselves and each other, they’re not daunted until an alarming problem presents itself. Theo’s skin — which can definitely be used to capture or kill him, to Tom’s horror — has gone missing.
To build the future they want, they have to get the skin back…
14. Godslayers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Summary: The only way to kill a god is from the inside…
The Gearbreakers struck a devastating blow against Godolia on Heavensday, but the cost of victory has been steep. Months later, the few rebels who’ve managed to escape the tyrannical empire’s bloody retribution have fled to the mountains, hunted by the last Zenith—Godolia’s only surviving leader.
Eris has been held prisoner since the attack on the capital city, which almost killed her. And she begins to wish it had when she discovers Sona—the girl she loves, the girl she would tear down cities for—also survived, only to be captured and corrupted by the Zenith. The cybernetic brainwashing that Sona has forcibly undergone now has her believing herself a loyal soldier for Godolia, and Eris’ mortal enemy.
With the rebellion shattered and Godolia moving forward with an insidious plan to begin inducting Badlands children into a new Windup Pilot program, the odds have never been more stacked against the Gearbreakers. Their last hope for victory will depend on whether Eris and Sona can somehow find their way back to each other from opposite sides of a war…
15. Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality by Julia Shaw
Summary: Despite all the welcome changes that have happened in our culture and laws over the past few decades in regards to sexuality, the subject remains one of the most influential but least understood aspects of our lives. For psychologist and bestselling author Julia Shaw, this is both professional and personal—Shaw studies the science of sexuality and she herself is proudly and vocally bisexual.
It’s an admission, she writes, that usually causes people’s pupils to dilate, their cheeks to flush, and their questions to start flowing. Ask people to name famous bisexual actors, politicians, writers, or scientists, and they draw a blank. Despite statistics that show bisexuality is more common than homosexuality, bisexuality is often invisible.
In BI: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Shaw probes the science and culture of attraction beyond the binary. From the invention of heterosexuality to the history of the Kinsey scale, as well as asylum seekers trying to defend their bisexuality in a court of law, there is so much more to explore than most have ever realized. Drawing on her own original research—and her own experiences—this is a personal and scientific manifesto; it’s an exploration of the complexities of the human sexual experience and a declaration of love and respect for the nonconformists among us.
What did you think about these LGBTQ+ books for June? 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.)