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September’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books

September’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books

Author: Sam Bovard

August 29, 2020

New LGBTQ Books

And so, a summer unlike any other fades in the rearview mirror. September is a transitory month; The year continues, the weather cools, the leaves begin to change colors. Students go back to school, in altered forms or spaces this year, including virtual ones. Fall begins, and with it comes the continuing dual threats of climate change and racial injustice. 

But with recognition comes change, and with the shifting tides we should also hold up ideas for a better future. We have opportunities to usher in new leaders, new ideas, to make deep changes in this country and in the world. Fall is a very ruminant time, as we reflect on the year behind us, and on the resolutions we promised ourselves way back in January. 

LGBTQ writers and LGBTQ books stand out in this transitional moment by looking at our collective past, examining the troubling present, unpacking our desires, and also boldly imagining utopian futures. 

There is no better example of this than Aiden Thomas’ Cemetery Boys, a groundbreaking new novel about a trans boy who summons a ghost he can’t get rid of, while struggling for acceptance from his Latinx family. 

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

Bestiary, by K-Ming Chang, is a spell-binding debut, tracing a complicated lineage of Taiwanese American women and the stories and magic that comes with it.

One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman’s body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother’s letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth—and that she will have to bring her family’s secrets to light in order to change their destiny.

In Stone and Steel, author Eboni Dunbar has created a fantastical world where Blackness, queerness, and magic hold sway.

In Stone and Steel, when General Aaliyah returns triumphant to the city of Titus, she expects to find the people prospering under the rule of her Queen, the stone mage Odessa. Instead, she finds a troubling imbalance in both the citizens’ well-being and Odessa’s rule. Aaliyah must rely on all of her allies, old and new, to do right by the city that made her.

As temperatures drop, Henri Cole releases his tenth book of poetry, Blizzard, full of quiet intensity.

Daring, tender, truthful, the poems in Blizzard, Henri Cole’s tenth book, build on a reputation for quiet mastery. Whether he is wrestling with the mundane, history and its disasters, or sexual love, he can sound both classical and contemporary, with the modern austerity of Cavafy and Bishop. Often exploring the darker places of the heart, his sonnets do not lie down obediently, but spark with an honest self-awareness.

Surrender Your Sons, by Adam Sass, is the queer thriller willing to take on the evil of conversion therapy, to show that not only can one escape it, but they can possibly destroy the whole system at the same time.

Connor Major’s summer break is turning into a nightmare.

His SAT scores bombed, the old man he delivers meals to died, and when he came out to his religious zealot mother, she had him kidnapped and shipped off to a secluded island. His final destination: Nightlight Ministries, a conversion therapy camp that will be his new home until he “changes.”

But Connor’s troubles are only beginning. At Nightlight, everyone has something to hide—from the campers to the “converted” staff and cagey camp director—and it quickly becomes clear that no one is safe. Connor plans to escape and bring the other kidnapped teens with him. But first, he’s exposing the camp’s horrible truths for what they are—and taking this place down.

Chasten Buttigieg has come to light in the past two years as part of one of the most visible gay relationships in American politics, and it is only right that he tell his own story in his memoir, I Have Something To Tell You.

Throughout the past year, teacher Chasten Glezman Buttigieg has emerged on the national stage, having left his classroom in South Bend, Indiana, to travel cross-country in support of his husband, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Pete’s groundbreaking presidential campaign. Through Chasten’s joyful, witty social media posts, the public gained a behind-the-scenes look at his life with Pete on the trail–moments that might have ranged from the mundane to the surprising, but that were always heartfelt.

Looking for a comprehensive visual look at LGBTQ+ Americans? Check out Self-Evident Truths: 10,000 Portraits of Queer America by iO Tillet Wright.

In the spirit of Richard Avedon, this book contains striking photographic portraits of 10,000 people from across the US, bringing readers face to face with LGBTQ America.

The Declaration of Independence states that it is self-evident that we are all created equal. Millions of people in the US, however, are deprived of basic rights merely because they aren’t heteronormative. Believing that it’s impossible to deny the humanity of anyone once you look into their eyes, iO Tillett Wright embarked on an ambitious project to photograph the faces of people across the country who identify as anything other than 100% straight or cisgender. This enormous undertaking–10,000 people from all fifty states, shot over a nearly ten-year period–is presented in its entirety in this awe inspiring book.

In the riveting These Violent Delights, by Micah Nemerever, intense passions take a destructive turn.

When Paul and Julian meet as university freshmen in early 1970s Pittsburgh, they are immediately drawn to one another. A talented artist, Paul is sensitive and agonizingly insecure, incomprehensible to his working-class family, and desolate with grief over his father’s recent death.

Paul sees the wealthy, effortlessly charming Julian as his sole intellectual equal–an ally against the conventional world he finds so suffocating. He idolizes his friend for his magnetic confidence. But as charismatic as he can choose to be, Julian is also volatile and capriciously cruel. And admiration isn’t the same as trust.

As their friendship spirals into an all-consuming intimacy, Paul is desperate to protect their precarious bond, even as it becomes clear that pressures from the outside world are nothing compared with the brutality they are capable of inflicting on one another. Separation is out of the question. But as their orbit compresses and their grip on one another tightens, they are drawn to an act of irrevocable violence that will force the young men to confront a shattering truth at the core of their relationship.

And on a lighter note, perhaps one of the queerest book coming out in September is Mariah Carey’s memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, where the internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, and icon tells her own story, with Michaela Angela Davis. This book promises to be a lot of things: unfiltered, personal, healing, moving. But boring? In the words of Carey herself, “I don’t know her.”

As always, if our list of LGBTQ releases missed an author or a book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.



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Sam Bovard photo

About: Sam Bovard

Sam Bovard is a student at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

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