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New Releases Tuesday: Celebrate Pride Month With These LGBTQ Books Out Today!

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Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, though, so stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books, including our YouTube channel, where I talk about each of these! The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.

This week’s post is a little different because June 1 is an absolutely bananas release day! There are so many excellent books out today! I highly recommend checking out the links at the end of this post to find even more great books out today.

I had to narrow it down somehow, so since this is the first day of Pride, I will be talking about all LGBTQ books out today! Most of these I read for the All the Books podcast, and that episode is up now if you want to hear more of my thoughts on each title.

One Last Stop cover

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

For cynical 23-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.

Reasons to read it: This is the kind of book where you have to shake your head when you surface, because you’ve completely forgotten that the real world exists or that time has been passing. All of the reviews I’ve seen for this book talk about how cute and delightful it is, which is fair, but it’s also got depth to it. There are family secrets, betrayals, and tragedies.

This is a love letter to New York, but it’s also a celebration of queerness, found family, and community. We get to see what Jane’s experience was like, growing up in the ’70s as a butch punk Asian lesbian. The Stonewall Riots were not history for her. It’s also sexy and romantic. They have great banter — in fact, the quippy dialogue is a strength in this novel overall. I am fully on board the Casey McQuiston train (puns!), and I highly recommend you come along. Believe the hype!

The Tea Dragon Tapestry cover

The Tea Dragon Tapestry by Katie O’Neill

Over a year since being entrusted with Ginseng’s care, Greta still can’t chase away the cloud of mourning that hangs over the timid Tea Dragon. As she struggles to create something spectacular enough to impress a master blacksmith in search of an apprentice, she questions the true meaning of crafting, and the true meaning of caring for someone in grief. Meanwhile, Minette receives a surprise package from the monastery where she was once training to be a prophetess. Thrown into confusion about her path in life, the shy and reserved Minette finds that the more she opens her heart to others, the more clearly she can see what was always inside.

Told with the same care and charm as the previous installments of the Tea Dragon series, The Tea Dragon Tapestry welcomes old friends and new into a heartfelt story of purpose, love, and growth.

Reasons to read it: I cannot resist O’Neill’s intricate, adorable illustration style. Every part of these books, including the endpapers, have these beautiful little details. Also, tea dragons! Puppy-sized dragons that grow tea leaves with magical properties! This series is diverse, with characters of different races and some with disabilities, including a character who uses sign language in the second volume — and of course, since this is Katie O’Neill, there are plenty of queer characters. This series is my ultimate comfort read: they are the coziest, most calming books I’ve ever read.

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society ― she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer and Asian, a Vietnamese adoptee treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

Reasons to read it: I can’t resist queer retellings, especially literary ones, and this one really impressed me. This book has a languid, dreamy quality with magic just deepening these characters’ excess. In this version of the story, Nick and Gatsby have their own romantic relationship, which makes the love triangle (or square or pentagon) between Daisy, Tom, Gatsby (and Nick and Jordan) even more fraught. This is a beautiful, absorbing story with an overwhelming atmosphere of magic, indulgence, and tragedy — this time with queer and Asian American angles that add depth to the story.

The Girl From the Sea cover

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Ostertag

Fifteen-year-old Morgan has a secret: She can’t wait to escape the perfect little island where she lives. She’s desperate to finish high school and escape her sad divorced mom, her volatile little brother, and worst of all, her great group of friends…who don’t understand Morgan at all. Because really, Morgan’s biggest secret is that she has a lot of secrets, including the one about wanting to kiss another girl. Then one night, Morgan is saved from drowning by a mysterious girl named Keltie. The two become friends and suddenly life on the island doesn’t seem so stifling anymore. But Keltie has some secrets of her own. And as the girls start to fall in love, everything they’re each trying to hide will find its way to the surface…whether Morgan is ready or not.

Reasons to read it: This is a sapphic love story with a selkie! I love the artwork here and the quiet exploration of Morgan’s character. She has to learn that it’s okay to let your life get messy. I do want to give a clear content warning for nonconsensual outing, though it is overall a positive story.

cover image of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

All you need to know is . . . I’m here to divide and conquer. Like all great tyrants do. ―Aces

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Reasons to read it: This is supposed to be a high-octane thriller with social commentary that’s being described as “Gossip Girl meets Get Out.” It’s dark academia, but with queer Black main characters! (Devon is gay and Chiamaka is queer.) This is one of the most highly-anticipated YA releases this year, and it promises to be packed with action and twists.

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia cover

Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Harlem, 1926. Young Black women like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead.

Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Harlem’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends, especially her girlfriend, Rosa Maria Moreno, might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that.

When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore — two other local Black girls have been murdered in the past few weeks. After an altercation with a police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or wind up in a jail cell. Louise has no choice but to investigate and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind hell-bent on taking more lives, maybe even her own…

Reasons to read it: This is the first book in a new historical mystery series set during the Harlem Renaissance. It has a vivid setting, and Louise is a memorable character: smart and irreverent. The author describes this as a “jazz age murder mystery starring a tiny, tired lesbian”!

Honorable Mentions

Even when just picking LGBTQ books out today, it was painful to narrow down, so I had to include some honorable mentions!

  • The Lucky List by Rachael Lippincott: An F/F YA romance about Emily trying to complete her late mother’s bucket list with a friend…until that friendship becomes something more.
  • The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons: Spencer is a trans teen who is passing at his new school, but he’s benched when his soccer coach finds out he has an F on his birth certificate. Now he has to decide whether to come out to fight for his rights. (This also has an M/M romance.)
  • The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver: This is a quiet exploration of grief with a nonbinary main character and gay side characters.
  • Trouble Girls by Julia Lynn Rubin: A sapphic YA Thelma and Louise retelling.
  • With Teeth by Kristen Arnett: A character study of a queer family: a messy and deeply flawed lesbian mom and her unsettling son.
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stetz-Waters: An opposites attract F/F romance between two sex shop owners.

Other Book Riot New Releases Resources

This is only scratching the surface of the books out this week! If you want to keep up with all the latest new releases, check out:

  • Book Riot’s YouTube channel, where I discuss the most exciting books out every Tuesday!
  • All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts (including me!) talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
  • The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
  • Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!