11 LGBTQ+ fiction books sparking queer joy this autumn
It’s been a knockout year for LGBTQ+ fiction, and it looks set to continue with Autumn now upon us. We’ve curated some of this year’s best books to sweep you away as the weather gets chillier.
The world of sapphic novels has seen particularly strong recent releases, including tender friends-to-lovers romance Rosewater by Liv Little, Adiba Jaigirdar’s heart-warming queer YA novel Dos and Donuts of Love, Samantha Shannon’s return to epic fantasy with A Day of Fallen Night, and the Anne Lister romance Learned by Heart, by award-winning author Emma Donoghue.
As LGBTQ+ book bans sweep the US, queer novels have never felt more vital. Authors such as Alice Oseman, Judy Blume and Jacqueline Wilson have all spoken out against the increasingly hostile environment for writers exploring queer characters and themes.
“After the anti-queer backlash I’m seeing in the States now, it’s become urgent again to say that we’ve always been here, there’s no erasing us,” Donoghue told PinkNews in a recent interview.
Here are 11 books to pre-order or buy now.
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Herc – Phoenicia Rogerson
A fresh, queer retelling on the 12 labours of Hercules, told from the perspective of everyone else in his life.
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In her debut novel, Rogerson delves into the world of Herc’s childhood companion Hylas, his wife Megara, his mother Alcmene, and Eurystheus, the overseer of his trials in this “feminist, queer (and sometimes shocking)” tale.
The Borrow A Boyfriend Club – Page Powars
This young adult rom-com is the perfect shot of trans joy to warm your heart this autumn. When 16-year-old Noah joins a new school he concocts a plan for all his classmates to see him as his true gender, by joining the notorious “Borrow A Boyfriend Club”.
In an attempt to prove to the club’s president that he can pose as the perfect sham boyfriend, they strike up a fake relationship. But could there be some truth hidden underneath the ruse, and what happens when true love is in the air?
Brainwyrms – Alison Rumfitt
Autumn also means spooky season and Brainwyrms is an appropriately chilling read for the lead up to Halloween. Described as “brutal and terrifyingly visceral”, the novel follows the fallout after a TERF wrecks Frankie’s work – and her life.
As she begins to spiral out of control, Frankie meets the mysterious Vanya but as their relationship develops, a dark conspiracy is about to be uncovered.
Ryan and Avery – by David Levithan
From New York Times bestselling author David Levithan comes Ryan and Avery, a beautiful queer love story. When the blue-haired Ryan meets pink-haired Avery at a queer prom, sparks immediately fly. From there, the reader follows them over the course of 10 dates as they experience first love, wild parties and heartbreak.
The Undetectables – Courtney Smyth
In the mood for a fantastical mystery? Well, look no further. When a magical serial killer known as The Whistler starts terrorising the town of Wrackton, a detective agency run by three witches known as The Undetectables steps in.
Can Mallory, Cornelia and Diana figure out their own love lives and save everyone from their cruel fates? As the saying goes: “Be gay. Solve crimes. Take naps.”
Blackouts – Justin Torres
From the critically-acclaimed author Justin Torres, comes this tale of queer history. As Juan Grey lies on his deathbed, he trades stories of “lost loves, lives, mothers and fathers” with a young man tending his dying soul.
Blackouts is a reckoning with queer cultural history and how our stories are told, and a “a haunting, dreamlike rumination on memory and erasure, blending fact with fiction”.
A Market of Dreams and Destiny – Trip Galey
When Deri – sold as a child at the Untermarkt, a magical bazaar below Covent Garden – comes across a runaway princess, he thinks he has finally found a way to climb the ranks after a life of servitude. But as forces close in around them, Deri has to fight to save the love of his life. And it may cost him everything.
The Night of the Living Queers – edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown
This YA horror anthology, with contributions from a range of LGBTQ+ Black, indigenous and other POC authors, has it all. Each story is told through the lens of a different teenager and how one fateful Halloween night changes their life for ever. Expect “creative, creepy and queer” stories that will strike terror in the heart.
Authors include Kalynn Bayron, Ryan Douglass, Sara Farizan, Maya Gittelman, Kosoko Jackson, Em X. Liu, Vanessa Montalban, Ayida Shonibar, Tara Sim, Trang Thanh Tran and Rebecca Kim Wells.
Family Meal – Bryan Washington
Growing up, TJ’s home became a safe refuge for Cam, who is taken in by the former’s parents. But when Cam up and leaves, betrayal hangs in the air between the two boys.
Will the pair be able to heal from the hurts of the past and forge a bright future together?
The Manor House Governess – C. A. Castle
This gender-queer Jane Eyre retelling is the period enemies-to-lovers you’ve been waiting for. When Bronte Ellis arrives at Greenwood Manor to work as a live-in tutor, he meets “the elusive and tempestuous eldest son” Darcy.
Inexplicably drawn to Darcy, Bronte soon discovers he might be the answer to all the dark secrets that lie beneath the house.
300,000 Kisses: Tales of Queer Love from the Ancient World – Seán Hewitt & Luke Edward Hall
This new anthology from poet Hewitt and artist Hall brings together neglected stories from ancient Greece and Rome that weave beautiful tales of queer love and identity.
They’ll shed new light on antiquity and make us question the world we live in today, in a “riotous celebration of desire in all its forms”.
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