The 15 LGBTQ+ Books We’re Most Excited About This Year

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Queer life in 2021 is as wide-ranging as it’s ever been, encompassing parties, protests, and, occasionally, sitting down with an iced coffee and a great book. There’s a breadth of exciting, new queer writing coming out this year—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, graphic novels, and beyond—that makes for great reading any time of the year (and not just Pride Month, ahem). Below, find nine of the books by LGBTQ+ authors, including Sarah Schulman, Melissa Febos, Jasmine Mans, and many more, that we can’t wait to read.

Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir by Hari Ziyad (March 1)

Black Boy Out of Time

$22.95.00, Bookshop

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In this memoir, writer Hari Ziyad recounts their origin as one of 19 children raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father; they also skillfully narrate their experience of growing up Black and queer in Cleveland, as well as their coming of age in New York City. Their story is often painful, but it’s full of joy too, and it offers readers a new script for pushing beyond racial and gender binaries.

untold: defining moments of the uprooted edited by Gabrielle Deonath and Kamini Ramdeen (March 2)

Untold

$18.35.00, Bookshop

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This anthology from Brown Girl Magazine compiles the voices of 32 writers who explore myriad facets of the South Asian experience in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, from immigration and mental health to sexual orientation and gender identity. With a powerful foreword penned by Born Confused author Tanuja Desai Hidier, this wide-ranging collection of deeply human experiences is not to be missed.

Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans (March 9)

Black Girl, Call Home

$13.8.00, Bookshop

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Spoken-word poet Jasmine Mans’s gift with words is nothing short of sublime, and the territory she explores in this poetry collection—from waiting for her mother to get home from work and do her hair as a child in Newark to coming into her full as a young, queer Black woman—couldn’t be more necessary.

Sarahland by Sam Cohen (March 9)

Sarahland

$22.08.00, Bookshop

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This short-story collection revolves around a clutch of women named Sarah looking for themselves across a wide range of milieus, from a primarily Jewish college dorm and a rich necrophiliac’s apartment to a fan-fiction site and somewhere beyond the earth itself. It’s an ambitious work, to be sure, but the structural leaps it takes are more than earned, and Cohen’s prose is something to be celebrated all on its own.

Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York by Elon Green (March 9)

Last Call

$24.84.00, Bookshop

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True-crime fans will appreciate this staggering nonfiction work by Elon Green, which tells the story of the Last Call Killer, a serial murderer who preyed upon gay men in New York in the ’80s and ’90s and was able to have his crimes all but forgotten in no small part thanks to America’s deeply ingrained legacy of homophobia.

Girlhood by Melissa Febos (March 30)

Girlhood

$24.84.00, Bookshop

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Her whole life, writer Melissa Febos has been forced to understand her body primarily through other people’s conceptions of it. If that sounds familiar to you, Girlhood—a mix of investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship around what it truly means to be a young woman—might be right up your alley. (And if you’re a parent struggling to understand what your teenage daughter is going through, it’s safe to say this book might help.)

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (May 4)

The Secret to Superhuman Strength

$22.08.00, Bookshop

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Graphic novelist Alison Bechdel (yes, she of the Bechdel Test) changed the landscape of queer comics forever with 2007’s Fun Home, and now she’s back with a new graphic memoir of her lifelong obsession with exercise. Fitness fads from Jack LaLanne to the aughts cult of spin class are set against Bechdel’s continual quest to get stronger and take up more space in the world; the book is hilarious, but it’s moving too.

Stone Fruit by Lee Lai (May 11)

Stone Fruit

$22.99.00, Bookshop

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Adding to the queer graphic-novel canon is Lee Lai’s beautifully drawn and emotionally resonant debut, which revolves around two self-described “weirdo aunties,” Bron and Ray, taking care of their six-year-old niece while attempting to heal fraught sibling bonds in the process. Faith, family, gender, romantic love, and the difficulties of truly knowing another person (even if they happened to be related to you) are on full display in Stone Fruit, to great effect.

Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman (May 18)

Let the Record Show

$36.8.00, Bookshop

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Sarah Schulman is widely known as the author of 2016’s Conflict Is Not Abuse, but in Let The Record Show, she returns with an in-depth and fully realized account of the AIDS activist group ACT UP, a collective that ultimately changed the faces of both medicine and history. Schulman conducted more than 200 interviews with ACT UP members for the book, and the end result is a text that offers younger queer activists a rare study of their own history.

With Teeth by Kristen Arnett (June 1)

With Teeth

$24.84.00, Bookshop

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A mother at her wit’s end is forced to unpack her tenuous bond with her wife and son in this chilling, oddly relatable queer family novel set in central Florida. The time jumps in With Teeth are beautifully executed, leaving the reader with endless questions about what it truly means to share a life with the people you supposedly love.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston (June 1)

One Last Stop

$15.63.00, Bookshop

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If you’re in need of a time-traveling queer romance, look no further; in One Last Stop, beleaguered server and student August falls head over heels for sexy, mysterious Jane, whom she meets on the subway. There’s just one problem: Jane is stuck in the 1970s, and it will take all of her and August’s combined ingenuity (plus no small amount of furtive, sweaty summer romance) to set her free.

Future Feeling by Joss Lake (June 1)

Future Feeling

$15.59.00, Bookshop

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If you’re looking for a book that ties together millennial hustle-culture ennui, magic, trans identity, and influencer culture (plus about a dozen other themes), look no further than Joss Lake’s debut, which is sure to stay on your mind long after you’ve finished the final page.

Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons by John Paul Brammer (June 8)

Hola Papi: How to Come Out in a Walmart Parking Lot and Other Life Lessons

$23.92.00, Bookshop

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Beloved advice columnist J.P. Brammer is perhaps in his finest form in this memoir, which tackles everything from his queer identity to his experience growing up biracial in rural Oklahoma and his initial forays onto the gay dating app Grindr (whence the title of the book sprang).

The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood by Krys Malcolm Belc (June 15)

The Natural Mother of the Child

$23.92.00, Bookshop

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It’s hard to think of an endeavor more traditionally gendered than parenting, which makes Krys Malcolm Belc’s memoir of giving birth and raising children as a nonbinary, transmasculine parent all the more necessary. Hopefully, The Natural Mother of the Child will soon be part of wide array of books encouraging us to appreciate family bonds outside the confines of gender norms.

Filthy Animals by Brandon Taylor (June 22)

Filthy Animals

$23.92.00, Bookshop

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From the author of the novel Real Life comes a truly unmissable follow-up; this series of linked stories set in the American Midwest flips between subjects abruptly yet carefully, ranging from a young man’s sexual relationship with a pair of dancers to a babysitter’s lament at being responsible for a child who leaves a trail of devastation in her wake.

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Originally Appeared on Vogue