The good news is that we’re in the golden age of queer literature, especially YA titles. More queer books are being published than ever before, and it seems to just be increasing—watch out June 2021 for an avalanche of queer YA, just in time for Pride! That bad news is that although there are more queer titles than ever, they haven’t necessarily gotten easier to find. While some books—again, usually YA—wear their identities on their (dust jacket) sleeves, or raise a rainbow flag on the front covers, others aren’t as easy to spot. Science fiction and fantasy titles especially are incorporating more gender and sexuality diversity, but it’s not usually obvious from the front cover or even the description. So how can you get your hands on all these amazing queer books?
As with looking for any kind of representation in books, it’s best to come prepared with a list. Just trying to browse the shelves at your bookstore or library for new queer books is probably going to be disappointing, and keywords can be hit or miss. Some libraries may have LGBTQ books labelled with a rainbow sticker on the spine and/or put into the catalogue by representation, but unless you know that your local library or bookstore is particularly adept at highlighting queer books, it’s better to come prepared. There are plenty of resources online for finding new queer books! The trick is not to rely on sites that only highlight queer books at Pride: those tend to be the same titles over and over. Instead, check out some of these websites that feature queer books all year round.
Lambda Literary is best known for the Lambda Literary Awards, which has been around for 32 years! The “Lammys” recognize queer books published that year in different genres, and they’re a great resource for getting started in a genre you’re not familiar with. You might not know that outside of the awards, they have a blog where they feature reviews all year round. Even better, they do monthly Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books posts! Here’s the post for November. They usually feature a few different books at the beginning with a paragraph about each, and then there’s a list of books out that month by genre.
Lambda Literary covers all kind of identities and genres, but it’s especially valuable for finding literary fiction and nonfiction.
LGBTQ Reads is an incredible resource for queer and trans YA, run by an author of queer YA, Dahlia Adler! (Read Under the Lights now and preorder Cool for the Summer!) It features all kinds of content, including author interviews, cover reveals, themed lists, and more. She also runs a tumblr by the same name where you can request LGBTQ book recommendations. Dahlia Adler answers a staggering amount of these questions, recommending books for every identity, genre, or trope you can think of under the queer and trans umbrella. She also has monthly new releases posts: here is November’s. In these posts, they are organized by publication date, and each book is shown with the cover and blurb. This makes for an easy browsing experience.
LGBTQ Reads features all kinds of identities and genres, but its main focus in on LGBTQ YA of any identity or genre—but she’ll answer tumblr asks for adult recommendations, too!
Reads Rainbow has been active for two years, featuring LGBTQ books of all kinds with wrap-ups, discussion posts, and sometimes discussion of other LGBTQ media. They post a wide variety of content, including listicles and interviews. They also post monthly new releases posts. This is their November post. In them, they list books by release day with thumbnails of the covers. The best part is that beside each book, they specify the representation (mlm relationship, lesbian mc, trans side character, etc). This is great for if you’re looking for books with specific representation. I can’t tell you how long I’ve spent researching books that were categorized as LGBTQ, but didn’t have any other details. Because I highlight books about queer women, I’ve had to sift through Goodreads reviews looking for clues about whether it’s a title I should be featuring on the Lesbrary or not. It’s very helpful to immediately know what kind of representation each book has.
Reads Rainbow does seem to cover all kinds of identities and genres! I tend to associate it with queer women rep, but that might be because that’s what I’m using it for. The genres they read the most are sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, contemporary, and historical.
Most of the resources on this list are book blogs—maybe because that’s what I’m used to, and maybe because it’s an easier format for making regular New Releases features. Either way, it’s not the only way to find new queer books. Cece has a BookTube channel called ProblemsofaBookNerd where she makes tons of videos about queer lit, especially LGBTQ YA and sapphic lit of all kinds. She also makes these giant 40ish minute videos of her most anticipated books of the year (here’s one for 2020). They are obviously a staggering amount of work to make, from tracking books all through the year to filming and editing. She will definitely introduce you to books you’ve never heard of, and her enthusiasm will make you excited for each new release.
Cece talks about all kinds of queer lit, but especially LGBTQ YA and sapphic books.
This is a completely self-serving plug for my own queer lit blog, The Lesbrary! We have been around for more than ten years, and at any given time we have about a dozen reviewers from around the world. Most of our content is review of queer women lit in every genre, but we also have the occasional article, listicle, discussion post, and news post. One of the features we have is new releases, but I will admit to not being as dependable as the sites above! There isn’t a feature every single month. The new releases posts are organized by genre. For shorter posts, each book included has the cover and blurb included. For longer posts, some titles will be featured, while others are listed with a thumbnail of the cover.
The Lesbrary focuses on bi and lesbian literature—with some nonbinary books as well—in every genre. You can browse by genre or check out my Recommendations List for all my favourite sapphic book, listed by genre and linked to their reviews.
That should be enough to keep your TBR overflowing! Of course, you can often find new and upcoming queer releases featured on Book Riot: browse the LGBTQ tag to get started. Book Riot Insiders also have the New Release Index, which includes plenty of queer titles. I hope these lists lead to a budget-busting preorder spree!