Happy Pride Month, I know that there’s a lot going on in the world right now, and so much of it is so important, especially Black Lives Matter and their movement really gaining a foothold finally. [And remember, ALL Black Lives Matter, you can’t be part of the movement and then not care about the Black LGBTQ Community!]
Today I will focus on Queer Books, give you all some recs, and tell you my hopeful TBR for this month, and I would LOVE to hear your recs and TBRs too ❤
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
Rep. and/or Pairing: Bisexual, Gay, M/M
Content Warnings From the Author:
The Electric Heir is, at its core, about what it means to be a survivor—both the experience of surviving, and the expectations that society places on survivors. Like Noam and Dara, I survived childhood sexual abuse and violence. Like Lehrer, my abuser was attractive and powerful and charismatic. Like Dara, I was not believed when I came forward…not until other girls said he’d done it to them too. Girls who more closely fit the stereotype of abuse survivors.
So many victims are afraid to speak up, a fear their abusers manipulate to say no one would believe you, not when they could believe me instead. Abuse takes a massive toll on victims’ mental health, and this, in turn, can be used as a justification for the abuser’s behavior—he’s just looking for attention; she misunderstood the situation. In The Electric Heir, Noam struggles to define what’s happening to him as abuse, even as Dara begins the slow road to recovery. Noam and Dara experienced the abuse differently, reacting in very different ways—and each must face Lehrer on his own terms.
If there is anything I want the reader to understand when they read The Electric Heir, it is this: there’s no one way to be a survivor. To understand Noam and Dara’s story is to understand a story of not being believed—of facing your abuser alone—of not being the kind of victim people expect. And all I want is for these characters to be believed.
It’s really important to me that everyone who reads this book has a safe experience. I posted detailed content warnings for The Fever Kingon my website, and most of them also apply to this book–so I recommend checking out that post as well.
However…this book is a lot darker than TFK. The Electric Heir is an exploration of the narratives we tell ourselves in order to survive abuse while it’s happening, and the slow journey of being able to define and face our trauma after it’s over.
One thing I want to make clear is that some characters in this book will initially express ideas and narratives about abuse that are harmful and false, such as denying that abuse is occuring or denying that certain acts constitute abuse. Many abuse victims, including myself, once believed similar narratives–it was the only way we were able to survive the abuse while it was going on.
However, these narratives are ultimately challenged. That’s part of the characters’ journeys in this book. So I just wanna be clear that even if a character expresses a certain belief or beliefs at a given point, that is not an endorsement on my part. I also wanna be clear that there is a lot of denial going on in this book, especially in the first half–and although the denial doesn’t last, if this is something that will be difficult for you to read, you should know this up front.
I wrote this book based off my own lived experiences as a survivor, which are not universal, and which are not always clean. To survive is to fight for your life, for your self-concept, for the right to your own agency and autonomy. That’s messy business. This book reflects that messiness.
Okay. Now that’s been said, let’s move on to the specific content warnings. First, I’ll list a general set of content warnings. Details will be linked on my blog, and may contain spoilers.
* intergenerational trauma, genocide
* attempted rape
* mental health and suicide
* drug and alcohol abuse
* parental death
* ableist language
To view the full list of content warnings with detail, please click through to my blog here.
Standalone: The Priory of the Orange Tree
A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Lesbian, F/F
Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!
All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.
As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.
This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Gay, M/M, And An Evil Drag Queen Sorceress which I will never, ever, stop talking about.
Standalone: Wilder Girls
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Please see author’s website for trigger and content warnings.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Lesbian, F/F
Sidekick Squad Series: Not Your Sidekick
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Trans, Bisexual, Lesbian, F/F
Dangerous Remedy [Series, Duology, Trilogy? IDK]
Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?
In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, F/F
The Wise and the Wicked [Again don’t know how many will be in it]
Ruby Chernyavsky has been told the stories since she was a child: The women in her family, once possessed of great magical abilities to remake lives and stave off death itself, were forced to flee their Russian home for America in order to escape the fearful men who sought to destroy them. Such has it always been, Ruby’s been told, for powerful women. Today, these stories seem no more real to Ruby than folktales, except for the smallest bit of power left in their blood: when each of them comes of age, she will have a vision of who she will be when she dies—a destiny as inescapable as it is inevitable. Ruby is no exception, and neither is her mother, although she ran from her fate years ago, abandoning Ruby and her sisters. It’s a fool’s errand, because they all know the truth: there is no escaping one’s Time.
Until Ruby’s great-aunt Polina passes away, and, for the first time, a Chernyavsky’s death does not match her vision. Suddenly, things Ruby never thought she’d be allowed to hope for—life, love, time—seem possible. But as she and her cousin Cece begin to dig into the family’s history to find out whether they, too, can change their fates, they learn that nothing comes without a cost. Especially not hope.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Trans > M/F Pairing
Girls of Paper and Fire Trilogy [Books 1 & 2]
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king.
It’s the highest honour they could hope for…
And the most demeaning.
This year, there’s a ninth girl.
And instead of paper,
She’s made of fire.
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl whose golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
Please be aware that this contains scenes of violence and sexual assault.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Lesbian, F/F
Hell’s Library Series: The Library of the Unwritten
Join the library and raise hell in the first book of a stunning new fantasy series, where books unfinished by their authors reside within the Unwritten Wing of the devil’s own library, and restless characters will emerge from out of their pages…
Every book left unfinished by its author is filed away in the Unwritten Wing, a neutral space in Hell presided over by Claire, its head librarian. Along with repairing and organizing books, her job consists of keeping an eye on restless stories whose characters risk materialising and escaping the library.
When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto. But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong, in a chase that threatens to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell… and Earth.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Gay, Lesbian, Pan, F/F
Teixcalaan Series: A Memory Called Empire
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident–or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.
Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion–all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret–one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life–or rescue it from annihilation.
A fascinating space opera debut novel, Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire is an interstellar mystery adventure.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Bi/Pan [Not yet really discussed enough to state which one], Lesbian, Bisexual, F/F, M/F, M/M
Standalone: The Secrets We Kept
Two female spies. A banned masterpiece. A book that changed history.
A BANNED MASTERPIECE
1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.
But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation.
TWO FEMALE SPIES
The CIA plans to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.
Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.
A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY
It will not be easy. There are people willing to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Lesbian, F/F
Standalone: The Mercies
On Christmas Eve, 1617, the sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardo is thrown into a reckless storm. As Maren Magnusdatter watches, forty fishermen, including her father and brother, are lost to the waves, the menfolk of Vardo wiped out in an instant.
Now the women must fend for themselves.
Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of Vardo to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In Vardo, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty and terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardo storm and the 1621 witch trials, Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s The Mercies is a story about how suspicion can twist its way through a community, and a love that may prove as dangerous as it is powerful.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Lesbian, F/F
Dark and Deepest Red
Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.
Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.
With McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Trans > M/F
The Midnight Lie, The Midnight Lie Book 1
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Lesbian, F/F
The Eldest Curses: The Red Scrolls of Magic
The first book in a new series that follows High Warlock Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood as they tour the world after the Mortal War. The Red Scrolls of Magic is a Shadowhunters novel. All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation-a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world.
A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke. Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever-even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Gay, M/M
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: Book One
A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Gay, M/M
Sidekick Squad: Not Your Villain (Book 2)
Bells Broussard thought he had it made when his superpowers manifested early. Being a shapeshifter is awesome. He can change his hair whenever he wants, and if putting on a binder for the day is too much, he’s got it covered. But that was before he became the country’s most-wanted villain.
After discovering a massive cover-up by the Heroes’ League of Heroes, Bells and his friends Jess, Emma, and Abby set off on a secret mission to find the Resistance. Meanwhile, power-hungry former hero Captain Orion is on the loose with a dangerous serum that renders meta-humans powerless, and a new militarized robotic threat emerges. Everyone is in danger. Between college applications and crushing on his best friend, will Bells have time to take down a corrupt government?
Sometimes, to do a hero’s job, you need to be a villain.
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Trans, Bisexual, Lesbian, F/F, M/F
Standalone: The Intoxicating Mr. Lavelle
When Benjamin and Edgar Bowen embark on a Grand Tour of Europe, they are ready to meet People of Quality. They have trunks full of powdered silver wigs and matching suits, a hunger to experience the architectural wonders of Ancient Rome and an ability to quote Voltaire (at length). They will make connections and establish themselves in high society, just as their mother has planned.
But it soon becomes apparent that their outfits are not quite the right shade of grey, their smiles are too ready, their appreciation of the arts ridiculous. Class, they learn, is not something that can be studied.
Benjamin’s true education begins when he meets Horace Lavelle. Beautiful, charismatic, seductive, Lavelle delights in skewering the pretensions and prejudices of their milieu. He consumes Benjamin’s every thought.
Love can transform a person. Can it save them?
Rep. And/Or Pairing: Gay, M/M [Unsure if there’s more, will update!]
Cinderella Is Dead
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.