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Why I'm Here For Queer Books In 2021
Today on the blog we are talking 2021 queer books. A few years ago I read an anthology “Meet Cute” that had a bunch of romantic short stories in it. The book as a whole felt pretty lackluster but there were a few stories that were hidden gems, and all of those stories were queer stories. What I’m trying to say is straight stories are boring. 😉
When I was younger there was not a lot of queer representation in mainstream media and that included books. The stories that got told tended to be from a straight white cis lens.
Books allowed me to explore new worlds, and go on all kinds of adventures. But there was always something missing.
Why Are Queer Books Important?
Queer books matter because it gives us a little insight into a different lived experience. Also reading queer books as a queer kid or adult is incredibly validating.
As a kid I don’t think I really examined my sexuality and I can’t really recall a single book I read with a queer main character.
It wasn’t until my early twenties that I defined my sexuality and labeled myself Bi. Though as we normalize queer concepts, I actually think pansexual would be more accurate.
I love reading queer stories that aren’t ONLY about the struggle of being queer. Queer rom coms where the main characters have a romance worthy of a blockbuster movie. Queer fantasy novels where non-binary characters are par for the course. Contemporary fiction with trans representation. Bi characters that no other character feels the need to call “greedy”. I. Am. Here. For. It. Gimme. 2021 promises to be a banner year for queer books.
2020 was the best queer reading year for me. I read so many great stories. As I was perusing good reads one day I ran across Cool For The Summer and the synopsis of this 2021 release sang to me, for some random reason. I’ve always loved Demi’s bi anthem and honestly the title alone had me intrigued but the synopsis convinced me to throw it on my pre-order list.
It got me very hyped for new releases in 2021. So I went forth and did some internet sleuthing to put together a list of 30 2021 queer book releases that I’m excited to read.
What are you waiting for? Pre-order these babies ASAP!
2021 Queer Book Releases
Countdown to COOL FOR THE SUMMER
Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage.
Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
Acclaimed author of Ash Malinda Lo returns with a gripping story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare.
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.
Jamie is San Delgado’s most feared supervillain.
Zoe is San Delgado’s most admired superhero.
When Jamie and Zoe accidentally meet up in an anonymous support group, the most unexpected thing happens: they become friends. Putting their differences aside, Jamie and Zoe decide to discover the origins of their superpowers — and how it might threaten their beloved city.
R.O. Kwon & Garth Greenwell
Kink is a dynamic anthology of literary fiction that opens an imaginative door into the world of desire. The stories within this collection portray love, desire, BDSM, and sexual kinks in all their glory with a bold new vision. Featuring a roster of all-star contributors including Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, Carmen Maria Machado, and more.
Aliette De Bodard
Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with Fireheart Tiger, a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world
“Full of fierce astonishment… Written with the winking intimacy of a Twitter DM, these poems suggest that even aloneness can be a shared experience.”–O, The Oprah Magazine
Alex Dimitrov’s third book, Love and Other Poems, is full of praise for the world we live in. Taking time as an overarching structure–specifically, the twelve months of the year–Dimitrov elevates the everyday, and speaks directly to the reader.
“A miracle of a book. A love letter to queer friendship and queer love . . . that also, in its sparkling prose and exquisite storytelling, announces the arrival of a major talent.” –Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer
What Does It Mean to Be a Gay Man Today? When Sebastien Mote runs into his childhood friend Oscar Burnham at a wedding in Washington, D.C., he can’t help but see it as a second chance.
While Oscar and Sebastian struggle to find their place in a rapidly changing world, each is drawn into a cross-generational friendship.
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
March 2021 Queer Books
The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.
Summer 1999. Long Island, New York. Bored, restless, and lonely, Ali never expected her life would change as dramatically as it did the day she walked into the local Stop & Shop. But she’s never met anyone like Justine, the store’s cashier.
Ali applies for a job on the spot, securing a place for herself in Justine’s glittering vicinity. As Justine takes Ali under her wing, Ali becomes more and more fixated on Justine, reshaping herself in her new idol’s image. Leading to a series of events that spiral from superficial to seismic.
Justine, Forsyth Harmon’s illustrated debut, is an intimate and unflinching portrait of American girlhood at the edge of adulthood–one in which obsession hastens heartbreak.
From spoken word poet Jasmine Mans comes an unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity.
With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself–and us–home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America–and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.
Black Girl, Call Home is a love letter to the wandering Black girl and a vital companion to any woman on a journey to find truth, belonging, and healing.
In this astonishing and powerful work of nonfiction, Green meticulously reports on a series of baffling and brutal crimes targeting gay men. It is an investigation filled with twists and turns, but this is much more than a compelling true crime story. Green has shed light on those whose lives for too long have been forgotten, and rescued an important part of American history.
-David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a bargain to save their queendom.
Tamsin is the most powerful witch of her generation. But after committing the worst magical sin, she’s exiled by the ruling Coven and cursed with the inability to love. The only way she can get those feelings back—even for just a little while—is to steal love from others.
Wren is a source—a rare kind of person who is made of magic, despite being unable to use it herself. Sources are required to train with the Coven as soon as they discover their abilities, but Wren—the only caretaker to her ailing father—has spent her life hiding her secret.
When a magical plague ravages the queendom, Wren’s father falls victim. To save him, Wren proposes a bargain: if Tamsin will help her catch the dark witch responsible for creating the plague, then Wren will give Tamsin her love for her father.
When Otto and Xavier Shin declare their love, an aunt gifts them a trip on a sleeper train to mark their new commitment–and to get them out of her house. Setting off with their pet mongoose, Otto and Xavier arrive at their sleepy local train station, but quickly deduce that The Lucky Day is no ordinary locomotive. Their trip on this former tea-smuggling train has been curated beyond their wildest imaginations, complete with mysterious and welcoming touches, like ingredients for their favorite breakfast. They seem to be the only people onboard, until Otto discovers a secretive woman who issues a surprising message. As further clues and questions pile up, and the trip upends everything they thought they knew, Otto and Xavier begin to see connections to their own pasts, connections that now bind them together.
A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
High school nemeses fall in love in Kelly Quindlen’s She Drives Me Crazy, a queer YA rom com perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Casey McQuisten.
After an embarrassing loss to her ex-girlfriend in their first basketball game of the season, Scottie Zajac gets into a fender bender with the worst possible person: her nemesis, Irene Abraham, who is as beautiful as she is mean. When the damage sends Irene’s car to the shop for weeks’ worth of repairs, the girls are forced to carpool for the foreseeable future.
Their rocky start the only gets bumpier the more time they spend together. But when an opportunity presents itself for Scottie to get back at her toxic ex (and climb their school’s social ladder at the same time), she bribes Irene into playing along.
Jaye Robin Brown
Piper Kitts is spending the summer living with her grandmother, training at the barn of a former Olympic horseback rider, and trying to get over her ex-girlfriend. Much to Piper’s dismay, her grandmother is making her face her fear of driving by taking lessons from a girl in town.
Kat Pearson has always suspected that she likes girls but fears her North Carolina town is too small to color outside the lines. But when Piper’s grandmother hires Kat to give her driving lessons, everything changes.
Piper’s not sure if she’s ready to let go of her ex. Kat’s navigating uncharted territory with her new crush. With the summer running out, will they be able to unlock a future together?
Lara’s had eyes for exactly one person throughout her three years of high school: Chase Harding. He’s tall, strong, sweet, a football star, and frankly, stupid hot. Oh, and he’s talking to her now. On purpose and everything. Maybe…flirting, even? No, wait, he’s definitely flirting, which is pretty much the sum of everything Lara’s wanted out of life.
Except she’s haunted by a memory. A memory of a confusing, romantic, strangely perfect summer spent with a girl named Jasmine. A memory that becomes a confusing, disorienting present when Jasmine herself walks through the front doors of the school to see Lara and Chase chatting it up in front of the lockers.
Lara has everything she ever wanted: a tight-knit group of friends, a job that borders on cool, and Chase, the boy of her literal dreams. But if she’s finally got the guy, why can’t she stop thinking about the girl?
P. Djèlí Clark
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.
So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world fifty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.
Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city–or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems…
A. M. Strickland
A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead, in this dark YA fantasy by A.M. Strickland, author of Beyond the Black Door, whom Richard Kadrey calls “a storyteller of both grace and power.”
In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them–and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league.
So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of Guncle Rules ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that will stop readers in their tracks…
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.
But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.
Penfield R. Henderson is in a rut. When he’s not walking dogs for cash or responding to booty calls from his B-list celebrity hookup, he’s holed up in his dingy Bushwick apartment obsessing over holograms of Aiden Chase, a fellow trans man and influencer documenting his much smoother transition into picture-perfect masculinity on the Gram.
After an IRL encounter with Aiden leaves Pen feeling especially resentful, Pen enlists his roommates, the Witch and the Stoner-Hacker, to put their respective talents to use in hexing Aiden. Together, they gain access to Aiden’s social media account and post a picture of Pen’s aloe plant, Alice, tied to a curse:
Whosoever beholds the aloe will be pushed into the Shadowlands.
When the hex accidentally bypasses Aiden, sending another young trans man named Blithe to the Shadowlands (the dreaded emotional landscape through which every trans person must journey to achieve true self-actualization), the Rhiz (the quasi-benevolent big brother agency overseeing all trans matters) orders Pen and Aiden to team up and retrieve him.
John Paul Brammer
From popular LGBTQ advice columnist and writer John Paul Brammer comes a hilarious, heartwarming memoir-in-essays chronicling his journey growing up as a queer, mixed-race Chicano kid in American’s heartland to becoming the “Picante Carrie Bradshaw” of his generation.
West Finch is one hurricane away from falling into the sea.
Yet sixteen-year-old Harlow Prout is determined to save her small Maine hometown. If only she could stop getting in her own way and find someone, anyone, willing to help. But her best friend Ellis MacQueen “fixes” problems by running away from them–including his broken relationship with his twin brother, Tommy. And Tommy’s depression has hit a new low, so he’s not up for fixing anything.
In the wake of the town’s latest devastating storm, Tommy goes out for a swim that he doesn’t intend to survive. It’s his unexpected return that sets into motion a sea change between these three teens. One that tests old loyalties, sparks new romance, and uncovers painful secrets.
Mulan meets The Song of Achilles in Shelley Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun, a bold, queer, and lyrical reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty from an amazing new voice in literary fantasy.
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo.
Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
December 2021 Queer Books
Get It Right
A butch lesbian parolee. The pretty pansexual nurse who got away. Is this their second chance at a happily ever after?
Finn is finally out of prison, which is great. Having no job, no car, and no place to sleep except her cousin’s couch? Not so great. Plus, her felony theft conviction isn’t doing wonders for her employment prospects, so she can’t afford her migraine meds without the public clinic.
The last thing she ever expected was for the gal who stole her heart to come walking down that clinic’s hallway: Vivi, the manicure-loving nurse who spent two years fighting the prison system to get proper medical care for her patients, including Finn.
Have Fun Folks!
There you have it! The upcoming 2021 queer book releases that caught my eye. There are a TON more than what I included here in this post, but this sampling of upcoming books has me giddy. I’ve already pre-ordered Cool For The Summer and Honey Girl. I also am about to go purchase a few more because this list made me so happy.
Did I miss your most anticipated 2021 queer books? Let me know in the comments!