I hope you haven’t set your Best Reads of 2020 list in stone, because there are more book out this month! Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find out which books have queer representation, or what kind of representation they have. So here’s a big list of bi and lesbian books out this month, sorted by genre. I’ve highlighted a few of the books I’m most interested in, but click through to see the other titles’ blurbs!
As always, if you can get these through an indie bookstore, that is ideal, but if you can’t, the titles and covers are linked to my Amazon affiliate link. If you click through and buy something, I’ll get a small percentage. On to the books!
Young Adult & Children’s Books
The Ballad of Ami Miles by Kristy Dallas Alley
A teen girl on a quest to find her long-lost mother finds herself on a journey of self-discovery in Kristy Dallas Alley’s moving YA debut, The Ballad of Ami Miles.
Raised in isolation at Heavenly Shepherd, her family’s trailer-dealership-turned-survival compound, Ami Miles knows that she was lucky to be born into a place of safety after the old world ended and the chaos began. But when her grandfather brings home a cold-eyed stranger, she realizes that her “destiny” as one of the few females capable of still bearing children isn’t something she’s ready to face.
With the help of one of her aunts, she flees the only life she’s ever known and sets off on a quest to find her long-lost mother (and hopefully a mate of her own choosing). But as she journeys, Ami discovers many new things about the world…and about herself.
[lesbian main character]
The Good Girls by Claire Eliza Bartlett
One of Us Is Lying meets Sadie in this twisty, feminist thriller for the Me Too era.
The troublemaker. The overachiever. The cheer captain. The dead girl. Like every high school in America, Jefferson-Lorne High contains all of the above.
After the shocking murder of senior Emma Baines, three of her classmates are at the top of the suspect list: Claude, the notorious partier; Avery, the head cheerleader; and Gwen, the would-be valedictorian.
But appearances are never what they seem. And the truth behind what really happened to Emma may just be lying in plain sight. As long buried secrets come to light, the clock is ticking to find Emma’s killer—before another good girl goes down.
[lesbian and bisexual main character]
A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha
With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies.
There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic–her curse–has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain.
If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food.
Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse–if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss.
As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death? With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more. She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction.
Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an epic tale of mystery, magic, and making the impossible choice between love and duty…
Prom and Other Hazards by Jamie Sullivan
It might take the magic of prom to turn her best friend into her girlfriend.
Frankly, prom is a ridiculous concept. People at school treat it like it’s a test run for a wedding, complete with “promposals.” That’s not even mentioning the dresses, which look like Disney vomited tulle and sparkles onto the nearest mannequin. Sam wants nothing to do with any of it.
But there’s the tiny fact that her best friend, Tash, dreams of the perfect romantic prom. And Sam’s been in love with Tash since they were ten years old. She’s given up hope of ever having the courage to tell Tash how she feels, until she spots The Suit in a shop window. Sleek, androgynous, and flat-out cool—it could finally give her the boost she needs. However, it’s also way out of her price range.
Still, if she can earn the money for the suit, then maybe she can finally tell Tash she loves her, and they can both enjoy the perfect prom.
The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley
Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this #ownvoices romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.
Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.
What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.
Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.
Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.
Coming Out by Kezia Endsley (YA Nonfiction)
Coming Out: Insights and Tips for Teenagers offers compassionate insight into the hows and whys of coming out. Whether you are struggling with coming out yourself or wanting to help a friend or family member, this book seeks to provide answers to some of the questions you may have.
Written from the perspective of the LGBTQIA+ community with firsthand accounts from fellow teenagers, this book addresses the issues and concerns of today that will resonate with anyone wishing to come out and live a happy, fulfilled life surrounded by people who love and accept them.
You will learn
- how to know when you or a loved one is ready to come out
- who to tell first
- how to deal with unsupportive people
- how to deal with homophobia
- how to move into loving self-acceptance
With helpful tips and a list of online resources for making connections and more, this book will provide you with all the important information you might need to come out successfully and build a strong relationship with those around you.
Ritu Weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar (Children’s)
Ayesha is excited to attend her cousin Ritu’s wedding. She can’t wait to dance at the baraat ceremony! But not everyone is happy that Ritu is marrying her girlfriend Chandni. Some have even vowed to stop the celebrations. Will Ayesha be able to save her cousin’s big day?
Centering Ayesha’s love for her cousin as much as it showcases Ritu and Chandni’s love for each other, this warmhearted debut from Ameya Narvankar celebrates the power of young voices to stand up against prejudice and bigotry.
Fiction, Mystery, and Thrillers
Rising Out by M Azmitia (Fiction)
Anaya knows great things are expected of her: go to college, find a good man, and make her mother proud. But going to college means leaving behind her best friend, Eri. Eri is an Afrolatina transgender woman living in a closed-minded world and only Anaya knows her secret. The two decide to take a cross-country road trip, where Eri is finally able to open up to who she is, and Anaya finds out that she might be in love with her best friend.
A butch lesbian parolee. The pretty pansexual nurse who got away. Is this their second chance at a happily ever after?
Finn is finally out of prison, which is great. Having no job, no car, and no place to sleep except her cousin’s couch? Not so great. Plus, her felony theft conviction isn’t doing wonders for her employment prospects, so she can’t afford her migraine meds without the public clinic.
The last thing she ever expected was for the gal who stole her heart to come walking down that clinic’s hallway: Vivi, the manicure-loving nurse who spent two years fighting the prison system to get proper medical care for her patients, including Finn.
Finn could never believe she imagined the attraction and affection between them. But acting on that in prison, especially as nurse and patient, had been a serious No Way. She’s had eight months to get over Vivi, who abruptly left her job without saying goodbye. Finn is over it. Honest! It’s totally and completely fine.
Except Vivi, here and now, doesn’t seem fine. And Finn couldn’t live with herself if she didn’t try to help.
Is fate offering Finn a second chance? Or is finding love as likely as finding a job with health insurance?
Amanda Ellis knows three things: she’s tired of doing what’s expected of her, she hates her job at her family’s business, and the last thing she wants to do is attend her parents’ boring New Year’s Eve ball with a date her mother picked. A few days of fun with her online best friend is exactly what she needs to ring in the New Year on her own terms.
Wren Rebello is impulsive and always ready for fun. A last-minute girls’ getaway sounds like the perfect way to spend New Year’s. But even Wren isn’t prepared for the spark of attraction she feels when she meets Amanda in person for the first time. Good thing Wren loves popping Amanda’s cork.
After days spent sharing end-of-year resolutions and the one bed in their cottage, the clock strikes midnight and the ball drops on their time together. As Amanda and Wren go their separate ways, they leave new resolutions unfulfilled. Is there enough New Year’s magic left to turn their online friendship into real-life love?
A college tradition turned long-term promise means the Payne and Sideris families have spent every Christmas together for the past thirty-something years.
Cass Sideris loves traditions. She’s trying her hardest to follow in her lawyer parent’s footsteps to make them proud, but in all honesty, the only family customs she truly feels inspired by are the ones that involve cutting down a giant Christmas tree, walking through the forest as the snow falls, and sipping eggnog next to the fire, surrounded by loved ones.
She’s grown up alongside the Payne children, including her best friend Dylan, the young twins who exist solely to make her life harder, and, uh, the oldest Payne daughter, Stevie. Stevie, a firefighter with perfect hair and a kind heart. No big deal. Cass hasn’t had an unrequited and unconfessed crush on Stevie since she was eight-years-old or anything.
When Stevie gets her heart broken, Cass doesn’t expect to be the one consoling her. And after a series of unfortunate events and a last-minute road trip bring her closer to Stevie, Cass starts questioning more than just her feelings for Stevie… like her path in life. Still, she definitely shouldn’t be trying to casually catch Stevie under the mistletoe, right?
This is a holiday romance packed with all of the warm fuzzy feelings. You know the ones. Grab your hot cocoa bombs and a cozy blanket to cuddle up and enjoy as the yuletide gets real gay.
Nailah Grant only dates studs, races her Camaro for therapy, and believes in leaving her exes in the past where they belong.
But, with a layoff looming and her retired parents about to take a life-changing step Nailah isn’t ready for, her world becomes far from stable. Enter Scottie, the only femme she’s ever allowed close enough to touch her heart. They say trouble comes in threes, and this femme is one with a capital T.
Scottie is an ex though, and somebody Nailah never should have been with in the first place. Yet, when the foundations of her life collapse, Scottie is the one Nailah finds herself clinging to. Just as things settle into a semblance of something Nailah could only dream about, a shattering secret from Scottie’s past threatens to destroy everything the two women have built together.
Will Nailah stay the course with Scottie, or allow her fears to ruin her chance at a real and passionate love?
Hollow Empire (The Poison Wars #2) by Sam Hawke
Moving from poison and treachery to war and witchcraft, Sam Hawke’s Poison Wars continue with Hollow Empire, a fabulous epic fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik, and Scott Lynch.
Poison was only the beginning…. The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and now the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic. But people and politics are always treacherous, and it will take all of Jovan and Kalina’s skills as proofer and spy to save their country when witches and assassins turn their sights to domination.
[lesbian main character]
Give Way to Night (Aven Cycle #2) by Cass Morris
The second book of the Aven Cycle explores a magical Rome-inspired empire, where senators, generals, and elemental mages vie for power.
Latona of the Vitelliae, mage of Spirit and Fire, is eager to wield her newfound empowerment on behalf of the citizens of Aven–but societal forces conspire to keep her from exercising her gifts, even when the resurgence of a banished cult plots the city’s ruin. To combat this threat, Latona must ally with Fracture mage Vibia, the distrustful sister of Sempronius Tarren.
While Latona struggles to defend their home, Sempronius leads soldiers through wartorn provinces to lift the siege of Toletum, where Latona’s brother Gaius is hemmed in by supernatural forces. Sempronius must contend not only with the war-king Ekialde and his sorcerers, but with the machinations of political rivals and the temptations of his own soul, ever-susceptible to the darker side of ambition.
Though separated by many miles soon after their love affair began, Latona and Sempronius are united by passion as they strive to protect Aven and build its glorious future.
The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of fierce tigers who ache with hunger. To stay alive until the mammoths can save them, Chih must unwind the intricate, layered story of the tiger and her scholar lover—a woman of courage, intelligence, and beauty—and discover how truth can survive becoming history.
Nghi Vo returns to the empire of Ahn and The Singing Hills Cycle in When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, a mesmerizing, lush standalone follow-up to The Empress of Salt and Fortune.
Comics & Manga
Juliet Takes a Breath Graphic Novel written by Gabby Rivera and illustrated by Celia Moscote
The graphic novel adaptation of the hit LGBT coming of age novel!
A NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL ADAPTATION OF THE BESTSELLING BOOK!
Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But don’t worry, Juliet has something kinda resembling a plan that’ll help her figure out what it means to be Puerto Rican, lesbian and out. See, she’s going to intern with Harlowe Brisbane – her favorite feminist author, someone whose last work on feminism, self-love and lots of other things will help Juliet find her ever elusive epiphany. There’s just one problem—Harlowe’s white, not from the Bronx and doesn’t have the answers. Okay, maybe that’s more than one problem but Juliet never said it was a perfect plan…
Critically-acclaimed writer Gabby Rivera adapts her bestselling novel alongside artist Celia Moscote in an unforgettable queer coming-of-age story exploring race, identity and what it means to be true to your amazing self. Even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.
Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author of Harriet the Spy by Leslie Brody
In this inspiring biography, discover the true story of Harriet the Spy author Louise Fitzhugh — and learn about the woman behind one of literature’s most beloved heroines.
Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, has mesmerized generations of readers and launched a million diarists. Its beloved antiheroine, Harriet, is erratic, unsentimental, and endearing — very much like the woman who created her, Louise Fitzhugh.
Born in 1928, Fitzhugh was raised in segregated Memphis, but she soon escaped her cloistered world and headed for New York, where her expanded milieu stretched from the lesbian bars of Greenwich Village to the art world of postwar Europe, and her circle of friends included members of the avant-garde like Maurice Sendak and Lorraine Hansberry. Fitzhugh’s novels, written in an era of political defiance, are full of resistance: to authority, to conformity, and even — radically, for a children’s author — to make-believe.
As a children’s author and a lesbian, Fitzhugh was often pressured to disguise her true nature. Sometimes You Have to Lie tells the story of her hidden life and of the creation of her masterpiece, which remains long after her death as a testament to the complicated relationship between truth, secrecy, and individualism.
Black Futures edited Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • An archive of collective memory and exuberant testimony
A luminous map to navigate an opaque and disorienting present
An infinite geography of possible futures
What does it mean to be Black and alive right now?
Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham have brought together this collection of work—images, photos, essays, memes, dialogues, recipes, tweets, poetry, and more—to tell the story of the radical, imaginative, provocative, and gorgeous world that Black creators are bringing forth today. The book presents a succession of startling and beautiful pieces that generate an entrancing rhythm: Readers will go from conversations with activists and academics to memes and Instagram posts, from powerful essays to dazzling paintings and insightful infographics.
In answering the question of what it means to be Black and alive, Black Futures opens a prismatic vision of possibility for every reader.
How do white queer people portray our own whiteness? Can we, in the stories we tell about ourselves, face the uncomfortable fact that, while queer, we might still be racist? If we cannot, what does that say about us as potential allies in intersectional struggles? A careful analysis of Dykes To Watch Out For and Stuck Rubber Baby by queer comic icons Alison Bechdel and Howard Cruse traces the intersections of queerness and racism in the neglected medium of queer comics, while a close reading of Jaime Cortez’s striking graphic novel Sexile/Sexilio offers glimpses of the complexities and difficult truths that lie beyond the limits of where white queer self-representations dare to tread.
Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic is an exploration of the ways that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer persons exercise power in a Catholic Hispanic heteropatriarchal nation-state, namely the Dominican Republic. Lara presents the specific strategies employed by LGBTQ community leaders in the Dominican Republic in their struggle for subjectivity, recognition, and rights. Drawing on ethnographic encounters, film and video, and interviews, LGBTQ community leaders teach readers about streetwalking, confrontación, flipping the script, cuentos, and the use of strategic universalisms in the exercise of power and agency. Rooted in Maria Lugones’s theorization of streetwalker strategies and Audre Lorde’s theorization of silence and action, this text re-imagines the exercise and locus of power in examples provided by the living, thriving LGBTQ community of the Dominican Republic.