2020 TBR: Queer books (Part 3)

Hi everyone,

YES OKAY I NEED THREE PARTS TO GET ALL THESE QUEER BOOKS ANNOUNCED. So blessed we are for the year that is 2020. And all I can think, is there are some I haven’t even included in these lists because they’ll go in my other lists…like sequels! And more retellings! And just! so! many! queer! books! Here is another 27 for you to feast your eyes and hearts upon!

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Wranglestone – Darren Charlton 

Quick summary: Gay zombies 

Genres: Science fiction

Release date: February 6

Goodreads blurb: Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared…

In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.

Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.

But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.

An action-packed and thought-provoking debut, for fans of Patrick Ness, Marcus Sedgwick, DREAD NATION and The Walking Dead.

Finna – Nina Cipri

Quick summary: Be gay, do multiverse time travel 

Genres: Science fiction, adult 

Release date: February 25 

Goodreads blurb: When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but our two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.

Can friendship blossom from the ashes of a relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.

A Pale Light in the Black – K.B Wagers

Quick summary: Military competition to see who’s the best at boarding ships and other space military things 

Genres: Military science fiction 

Release date: March 3

Goodreads blurb: The book centers on the rivalry between military branches, which plays out through the Boarding Games—a competition pitting service members against each other to see just who is best in events like tactical problem is solving, piloting, fencing and martial arts, and, of course, boarding actions. And while other military science fiction features the exploration and defense of far-flung reaches of space, the Neo-G protects the area closer to home—a force we could very well see in our own lifetime. Made up of a band of retired veterans and raw recruits with sub-par equipment and the scorn of the military establishment, the NEO-G are the ultimate underdogs.

The first book in the NEO-G series comes out in hardcover in Spring 2020 from Harper Voyager, starting with A Pale Light in the Black. There are currently two books planned in the series, with the option to continue.

Look – Zan Romanoff

Quick summary: Accidentally comes out after a video is unintentionally released, coming of age story 

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: March 31 

Goodreads blurb: Things Lulu Shapiro’s 10,000 Flash followers don’t know about her:

* That the video of her with another girl was never supposed to go public.

* That Owen definitely wasn’t supposed to break up with her because of it.

* That behind the carefully crafted selfies and scenes Lulu projects onto people’s screens, her life feels like a terrible, uncertain mess.

Then Lulu meets Cass. Cass isn’t interested in looking at Lulu’s life, only in living in it. And The Hotel–a gorgeous space with an intriguing, Old Hollywood history and a trust-fund kid to restore it–seems like the perfect, secret place for them to get to know each other. But just because Lulu has stepped out of the spotlight doesn’t mean it’ll stop following her every move.

It’s a story about what you present vs. who you really are, about real intimacy and manufactured intimacy and the blurring of that line. It’s a deceptively glamorous, feminist, emotionally complex, utterly compelling, queer coming-of-age novel about falling in love and taking ownership of your own self–your whole self–in the age of social media.

King and the Dragonflies – Kacen Callender

Quick summary: might be one of the first MGs I will read in a veeery long time. In the death of his brother, Kingston tries to understand who he is. 

Genres: Contemporary, mystery, fantasy, middle grade

Release date: April 7 

Goodreads blurb: In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family.

It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy-that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?”

But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

The Thing About Jellyfish meets The Stars Beneath Our Feet in this story about loss, grief, and finding the courage to discover one’s identity, from the author of Hurricane Child.

Elysium Girls – Kate Pentecost

Quick summary: I saw ‘scrap metal horses’ and immediately added

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: April 14

Goodreads blurb: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

Stay Gold – Tobly McSmith

Quick summary: Trans boy love story, falling in love with a cheerleader 

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: May 5

Goodreads blurb: Debut author Tobly McSmith delivers a coming-of-age teen love story about a transgender boy who’s going stealth at his new Texas high school and a cisgender girl who is drawn to him, even as she’s counting down the days until graduation. Perfect for fans of David Levithan, Becky Albertalli, and Jenny Han.

Pony just wants to fly under the radar during senior year. Tired from all the attention he got at his old school after coming out as transgender, he’s looking for a fresh start at Hillcrest High. But it’s hard to live your best life when the threat of exposure lurks down every hallway and in every bathroom.

Georgia is beginning to think there’s more to life than cheerleading. She plans on keeping a low profile until graduation…which is why she promised herself that dating was officially a no-go this year.

Then, on the very first day of school, the new guy and the cheerleader lock eyes. How is Pony supposed to stay stealth when he wants to get close to a girl like Georgia? How is Georgia supposed to keep her promise when sparks start flying with a boy like Pony?

Funny and poignant, clear-eyed and hopeful, Stay Gold is a story about finding love—and finding yourself.

Date me, Bryson Keller – Kevin van Whye 

Quick summary: Arrogant jock boy dared to date the first person who asks every Monday morning, doesn’t count on falling in love 

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: May 19

Goodreads blurb: What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com!

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new–the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he’s never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn’t expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there’s more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he’s awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this “relationship” will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world–and with each other.

Camp – Lev A.C Rosen 

Quick summary: Comedic commentary on toxic masculinity within the queer community 

Genres: Contemporary, humour, young adult 

Release date: May 26

Goodreads blurb: From the author of the acclaimed Jack of Hearts (and other parts) comes a sweet and sharp screwball comedy that critiques the culture of toxic masculinity within the queer community.

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s where he takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for Hudson Aaronson-Lim – who’s only into straight-acting guys and barely knows not-at-all-straight-acting Randy even exists.

This year, though, it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine, and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish, and his unicorn bedsheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much is he willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

The Ship We Built – Lexie Bean 

Quick summary: Learning how to stand up for yourself, this sounds utterly heartbreaking 

Genres: Contemporary, middle grade 

Release date: May 26 

Goodreads blurb: “Sometimes I have trouble filling out tests when the name part feels like a test too. . . . When I write letters, I love that you have to read all of my thoughts and stories before I say any name at all. You have to make it to the very end to know.

Rowan has too many secrets to write down in the pages of a diary. And if he did, he wouldn’t want anyone he knows to discover them. He understands who he is and what he likes, but it’s not safe for others to know. Now, the kids at school say he’s too different to spend time with. He’s not the “right kind” of girl, and he’s not the “right kind” of boy. His mom ignores him. And at night, his dad hurts him in ways he’s not ready to talk about yet.

But Rowan discovers another way to share his secrets: letters. Letters he attaches to balloons and releases into the universe, hoping someone new will read them and understand. But when he befriends a classmate who knows what it’s like to be lonely and scared, even at home, Rowan realizes that there might already be a person he can trust right by his side.

Tender and wise, The Ship We Built is about the bravery it takes to stand up for yourself–even to those you love–and the power of finding someone who treasures you for everything you are.

Hideous Beauty – William Hussey

Quick summary: Boyfriend killed in car crash, now have to unravel the mystery of his life as secrets come to light…

Genres: Contemporary, mystery/thriller

Release date: May 28

Goodreads blurb: When Dylan and Ellis’s secret relationship is exposed on social media, Dylan is forced to come out. To Dylan’s surprise they are met with support and congratulations, and an amazing reception at their highschool dance. Perhaps people aren’t as narrow-minded as he thought?

But Dylan’s happiness is short-lived. Ellis suddenly becomes angry, withdrawn, and as they drive home from the dance, he loses control of the car, sending it plunging into Hunter’s Lake. Barely conscious, Dylan is pulled free of the wreck, while Ellis is left to drown.

Grief-stricken, Dylan vows to discover what happened to Ellis that night and piece together the last months of his boyfriend’s life – and realises just how little he knew about the boy he loved.

If We Were Us – K.L Walther

Quick summary: queer love….square?!

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: June 1

Goodreads blurb: Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be….that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love.

When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick.

But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

Six Angry Girls – Adrienne Kisner 

Quick summary: Feminist novel set within mock trial teams, with a side of knitting

Genres: Contemporary, young adult

Release date: June 2 

Goodreads blurb: A story of mock trial, feminism, and the inherent power found in a pair of knitting needles.

Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.

Things aren’t much better for Millie Goodwin. Her father treats her like a servant, and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes her out, even after she spent the last three years helping to build its success.

But then, an advice columnist unexpectedly helps Raina find new purpose in a pair of knitting needles and a politically active local yarn store. This leads to an unlikely meeting in the girls’ bathroom, where Raina inspires Millie to start a rival team. The two join together and recruit four other angry girls to not only take on Mock Trial, but to smash the patriarchy in the process.

Where We Go from Here – Lucas Rocha

Quick summary: Shining the light on HIV, set in Brazil

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: June 2

Goodreads blurb: Ian has just been diagnosed with HIV.

Victor, to his great relief, has tested negative.

Henrique has been living with HIV for the past three years.

When Victor finds himself getting tested for HIV for the first time, he can’t help but question his entire relationship with Henrique, the guy he has — had — been dating. See, Henrique didn’t disclose his positive HIV status to Victor until after they had sex, and even though Henrique insisted on using every possible precaution, Victor is livid.

That’s when Victor meets Ian, a guy who’s also getting tested for HIV. But Ian’s test comes back positive, and his world is about to change forever. Though Victor is loath to think about Henrique, he offers to put the two of them in touch, hoping that perhaps Henrique can help Ian navigate his new life. In the process, the lives of Ian, Victor, and Henrique will become intertwined in a story of friendship, love, and self-acceptance.

Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this utterly engrossing debut by Brazilian author Lucas Rocha calls back to Alex Sanchez’s Rainbow Boys series, bringing attention to how far we’ve come with HIV, while shining a harsh light on just how far we have yet to go. 

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows – Olivia Waite

Quick summary: Beekeeper falling in love 

Genres: Historical romance 

Release date: June 9

Goodreads blurb: In this historical f/f romance you’ll find: 

• a grumpy widowed engraver working far too hard to keep her print-shop going until her son is old enough to take over

• a middle-aged lady beekeeper who goes striding about in trousers and loves bucolic poetry

• a Queen on trial in Parliament and the press

• luxuriant English gardens with extremely naughty statues

• satirical ballads about tight pants

• …and more than you probably ever wanted to know about early 19th century beekeeping!

Afterlove – Tanya Byrne

Quick summary: Afterlife story, girl-reapers not grim-reapers, collecting souls

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: July

Goodreads blurb: The story follows 16-year-old Ash Persaud who is hit by a car on New Year’s Eve. Afterwards, Ash exists in the afterlife where she is one of three fierce girl-reapers who collect the souls of the city’s dead to be taken to await their fate. But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy Morgan, and she’s determined to see her again, dead or alive.

The Summer of Everything – Julian Winters 

Quick summary: Geek culture, comics, 90s alt rock and working in a bookshop 

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: August

Goodreads blurb: Comic book geek Wesley Hudson excels at two things: slacking off at his job and pining after his best friend, Nico. Advice from his friends, ‘90s alt-rock songs, and online dating articles aren’t helping much with his secret crush. And his dream job at Once Upon a Page, the local used bookstore, is threatened when a coffeeshop franchise wants to buy the property. To top it off, his annoying brother needs wedding planning advice. When all three problems converge, Wes comes face-to-face with the one thing he’s been avoiding—adulthood.

Now, confronted with reality, can Wes balance saving the bookstore and his strained sibling relationship? Can he win the heart of his crush, too?

Full Moon in Leo – Brooklyn Ray 

Quick summary: Yule romance between an ex-convict and witch! 

Genres: Contemporary romance, Adult 

Release date: October 

Goodreads blurb: A Yule-set romance in which a recently released ex-convict seeks the safety and solitude of his aunt’s small town, only to find himself unexpectedly charmed by the owner of the local apothecary—a handsome witch determined to show him both the joys of the holiday season and the magic in the mundane.

Master of One – Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett

Quick summary: Thief accompanies evil sorcerer to kidnap a fae prince and then falls in love with said prince 

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: November 17 

Goodreads blurb: Alice Jerman at HarperTeen has bought Danielle Bennett (l.) and Jaida Jones’s YA fantasy, Master of One. When a common thief finds himself on the wrong side of the law, his punishment is to join an evil sorcerer on a perilous journey to uncover a lost fae relic. The relic turns out to be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince. Together they must save the world from the evil sorcerer, while trying not to fall in love with each other. Publication is set for fall 2020

Ruinsong – Julia Ember 

Quick summary: Phantom of the Opera retelling!! Music magic! Possible enemies to lovers? Rival factions need to unite a country? 

Genres: Fantasy, romance 

Release date: November 24 

Goodreads blurb: Revolution or silence?

In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence is forced to use her power to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.

But when Cadence is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must make a choice: take a stand to free her country from a tyrant — or follow in her queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.

In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.

Jake in the Box – Ryan Douglass

Quick summary: Get Out inspired horror about spirit of school shooter trying to possess a kid to finish the job 

Genres: Horror, young adult

Release date: Fall 2020

Goodreads blurb: Stacey Barney at Putnam has bought HuffPost writer Ryan Douglass’s YA debut, Jake in the Box, a Get Out-inspired horror story about one of the only black kids at an elite suburban Atlanta prep school who is being haunted by the ghost of a school shooter. Publication is planned for fall 2020; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

Until You Came Back – Jay Coles

Quick summary: Sportsmance + all the feels with a complicated mother/son relationship 

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: Winter 

Goodreads blurb: Little, Brown has acquired Until You Came Back, a contemporary YA novel by Jay Coles. The book is about a teen whose world is turned upside down when he develops feelings for a new recruit on his basketball team at the same time that the mother who abandoned him eight years earlier returns home. Publication is planned for winter 2020.

Elatsoe – Darcie Little Badger

Quick summary: Ace MC, indigenous ancestral magic, tracking down murderer 

Genres: Fantasy, mystery, young adult 

Release date: Unknown

Goodreads blurb: Elatsoe is a ghostly YA set in a contemporary America shaped by the ancestral magics and knowledge of its Indigenous and immigrant peoples. When Elatsoe’s beloved older cousin dies under mysterious circumstances, Elatsoe must track down his murderer in a town none too willing to give up its dark secrets. The book will be illustrated by Rovina Cai, illustrator of And the Ocean Was Our Sky.

The Passing Playbook – Isaac Fitzsimmons

Quick summary: Another sportsmance! Trans kid falling in love with Christian teammate. And told they can’t play soccor due to the F on his birth certificate!

Genres: Contemporary, romance 

Release date: Unknown

Goodreads blurb: Ellen Cormier at Dial has acquired, at auction, debut author Isaac Fitzsimons’s The Passing Playbook, and an untitled second project. The #OwnVoices YA contemporary novel features a queer, biracial, transgender protagonist fighting for his rights and falling in love for the first time on the soccer field. When Spencer is benched due to the “F” on his birth certificate, he has to make a choice: cheer from the sidelines or fight the ruling even though it would mean coming out to everyone, including the conservative Christian teammate he’s falling for. Publication is set for summer 2020; Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.

Ghost Dragon – David R Slayton 

Quick summary: Gay dragons 

Genres: Fantasy 

Release date: Unknown 

Goodreads blurb: An apprentice mage must solve the murder of his seditious master at the hands of the impossible–a ghost dragon–while uncovering secrets that will force him to choose between the magical empire of his people and the mundane province of the boy he loves.

Burning Roses – S.L Huang

Quick summary: Mix of western and Chinese folklore, fairytale, old women kicking ass

Genres: Fantasy, young adult 

Release date: Unknown 

Goodreads blurb: When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of middle age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.

Burning Roses, a gorgeous fairy tale of love and family, of demons and lost gods, arrives in 2020.

How it All Blew Up – Arvin Ahmadi

Quick summary: Social commentary on immigration policy after interrogation on journey back home 

Genres: Contemporary

Release date: Unknown 

Goodreads blurb: The story of a gay, Muslim, Iranian-American teenager named Amir, How It All Blew Up opens with Amir declaring that he is not a terrorist, but is gay, as he, his immigrant parents, and his younger sister are separated and then interrogated by U.S. Customs officers upon their arrival at JFK Airport from a trip abroad to Rome.

***

Pheewwwww – we got there! Now of course, these are just some of the amazing range of queer books coming in 2020, but these three posts are filled with the books I am incredibly excited for. I know there is absolutely no way I will ever be able to read all of these, but I can dream!

I hope everyone is having an amazing holiday period – see you at the next post where I’ll be looking at the fantasy releases coming in 2020….and it be chonky!!

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

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