Summer isn’t a big time for publishing (that would be fall — get ready!) but that does not mean summer 2022 doesn’t have a lot of queer and feminist books to look forward to. Much anticipated queer science fiction and fantasy sequels like Becky Chambers’ A Prayer for the Crown-Shy and Tasha Suri’s The Oleander Sword are coming your way, as well as a new memoir by Michelle Tea, K-Ming Chang’s debut collection of short stories, Chris Belcher’s highly praised memoir about being LA’s lesbian dominatrix, and so much more. Stay cool this summer with these awesome queer and feminist books!
Florida Woman by Deb Rogers (July 5)
This zany, darkly humorous tale is about Jamie, a born-and-bred Floridian who has become notorious for a crime she didn’t mean to commit. She is set to spend her short sentence at a monkey reserve and rescue, where she might find herself … or not? Also, are the people at this monkey reserve a cult??
Jazzed by Jill Dearman (July 5)
An historical gender-swaped Leopold and Loeb story set in the 1920s, Jazzed follows two musicians who meet as roommates while attending Barnard college. Wilhelmina “Will” and Dorothy “Dolly” begin a romance but are soon thwarted by Dolly’s rebellious interest in crime and their families’ attempts to separate them.
Wash Day Diaries by Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith (July 5)
A graphic novel love letter to Black women’s friendships and hair, Rowser and Smith’s book focuses on the daily lived experiences of four characters (queer inclusive) through five connected short stories. All set in the Bronx, each story features a unique color palette to reflect the protagonist and mood.
The Loudest Silence by Olivia Janae (July 6)
Janae’s opposites attract lesbian romance is set in the classical music world in Chicago. Kate is a rising star cellist at “the Windy City’s Chamber Ensemble,” Vivian is the president of the ensemble’s board. Featuring Deaf and single mom representation!
From Fan to Forever by Tiana Warner (July 6)
This age gap lesbian romance is for all the sapphics crushing on older women celebrities. What if you met her … and it seemed like she might like you back? That’s what happens to Rachel, a medical physics student who finds her famous actress crush, Cate, filming down the street from her Vancouver apartment.
The Society for Soulless Girls by Laura Steven (July 7)
Femininity, (blood)lust, ambition, possession, violence, humor, and the supernatural, what more could you want in a dark YA thriller? Of course, it’s also gay! Two teen girls, Lottie and Alice, are attending the reopened Carvell College for the arts, where ten years ago four students were mysteriously murdered. Can they uncover the school’s dark secret?
They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe (July 12)
A gothic ghost story about motherhood and identity, Monroe’s debut novel is set in haunted Cape Disappointment. Meredith, recently divorced from her wife, goes home to the Cape with her young daughter to find her own mother — suffering from Alzheimers — is convinced the town’s ghost stories are true.
Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (July 12)
Set in 1980s and 1990s Harlem, Sullivan’s debut novel is a queer, fat, Black coming of age story about Malaya. Beginning in her childhood, the book tracks Malaya’s struggles to live up to her mother and grandmother’s expectations while finding solace in 90s musicians like Aaliyah and Biggie Smalls.
The Romance Recipe by Ruby Barrett (July 12)
Rejoice, 2022 has another foodie queer romance for us! This one features a type-A, fiery restaurant owner with a failing business she’ll do anything to save and her new (former celebrity) head chef, described lovingly as “grump in the kitchen / sunshine in the streets.”
Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress (July 12)
Set in Occupy-era New York City, this novel a la The Goldfinch is about art, class, money, professional rivalry, politics, and youth. Four artists at a prestigious art school — three students and a visiting professor — become romantically, artistically, and politically entangled. Angress recently wrote about her book’s place in the disaster bisexual canon on Autostraddle!
Gods of Want by K-Ming Chang (July 12)
These speculative, surreal short stories center the experiences of Asian American women: their bodies, relationships, identities, myths, and memories. Chang’s trademark feminist fabulist style blends themes of queerness, ghosts, migration, the body, and more
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers (July 12)
The sequel to A Psalm for the Wild-Built and the second Monk and Robot book in this cozy science fiction series, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy continues the journey of two lovable oddballs. Nonbinary monk Dex and Mosscap, robot sent to investigate humanity, tour their moon’s cities and towns in search of the answers to life’s big questions.
The Last Lavender Sister by Melissa Brayden (July 12)
In this lesbian romance, Aster — a woman who runs a gourmet donut shop — meets a woman new to her small Kansas town, Brynn. Brynn’s filling in for the local veterinarian, temporarily. Plus she’s older, cooler, and way out of Aster’s league. Or is she?
Worth a Fortune by Sam Ledel (July 12)
Set following World War Two, this book is a second chance historical romance. Harriet is a heiress who discovers upon her father’s death that her family’s finances are in ruins. So she places an ad for a secretary to help sort out the mess — only to find it’s Ava, her long lost love, who applies for the job.
Pretty Baby by Chris Belcher (July 12)
Carmen Maria Machado calls this memoir “a fucking gorgeous book.” That’s probably all you need to know, but here’s more: Belcher tells the story of her journey from life as a queer teen in small town Appalachia to becoming LA’s “renowned lesbian dominatrix.”
Talk to My Back by Yamada Murasaki, Translated by Ryan Holmberg (July 12)
A work of feminist literary alt-manga originally published in Japan in the 1980s, Talk to My Back is available for the first time in English. It investigates Tokyo suburban middle class marriage and motherhood through the story of Chiharu, as she navigates her changing relationships with her two daughters and struggles with her dissatisfaction with her husband.
Hunting Gold by Ann Aptaker (July 12)
The sixth installment in Aptaker’s 1950s noir mystery series, Hunting Gold finds the protagonist Cantor Gold being set up to take the fall for a series of murders she didn’t commit. Gold might be a criminal — an art thief as well as a lesbian flouting homophobic laws — but she’s no killer, and now she’s got to find out who is.
All Made Up by Rae Nudson (July 13)
A look at the “power and pitfalls of beauty culture from Cleopatra to Kim Kardashian,” Nudson’s study of the cultural impacts of makeup focuses on important figures from Elizabeth Taylor to Marsha P. Johnson. It discusses issues such as how beauty standards are steeped in white supremacy, the function of makeup in the workplace, makeup being used as part of a personal narrative, and more!
Can’t Resist Her by Kianna Alexander (July 19)
In this enemies to lovers / second chance romance, two women who went to high school together and shared a passionate kiss at their senior dance meet again as adults. Summer is a teacher returning to her hometown of Austin determined to stop the slated demolition of the high school she attended and which her grandmother founded. On the architectural team working on developing / gentrifying the neighborhood? Aiko, her first love.
Annie on a Bun by A.L. Duncan (July
In this adult coming of age tale, Annie is a recovering alcoholic working two jobs — barista and bookstore accountant — and wondering if there’s more to life. Then she joins Guardian Services to be a “fairy godmother” in their volunteer organization and finds purpose, happiness, and maybe a chance at lesbian love.
Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens (July 19)
If this premise doesn’t draw you in I don’t know what will: a teenage ghost falls in love with famous Victorian author George Sand while Sand is vacationing in Spain with her children and lover Frederic Chopin. Blanca, the ghost who has been haunting this village since her death in 1473, watches as Sand’s unconventional feminist daring makes her increasingly a target in a provincial, conservative town.
The Work Wife by Alison B Hart (July 19)
Zanne is a personal assistant to a movie mogul and his family, a job she’s been perfecting for ten years, hoping to be promoted to chief of staff so she can a) buy a house, b) pay off her student loans, and c) give her girlfriend the lavish life she deserves. But when catastrophe strikes at the Hollywood party of the season, Zanne is forced to rethink her priorities and wonder if all the sacrifices she’s made for this job are worth it.
The Comedienne’s Guide to Pride by Hayli Thomson (July 19)
In this YA contemporary story, Taylor is keeping two big secrets: she’s queer, and she’s a finalist in a sketch contest whose winner gets an internship at SNL. Unfortunately when she applied for the contest, she impulsively included that she was part of the LGBTQ community — if she wins, she will have to come out, whether she’s ready or not.
Youngblood by Sasha Laurens (July 19)
Set at an elite, secretly vampires-only boarding school, this YA paranormal story stars two queer teens who discover a conspiracy at their school that might endanger them and all vampires who rely on synthetic blood to survive. Also, the girls are former best friends and might be falling in love!
Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min (July 26)
This romantic contemporary YA story is about indie rock, anime, internet friendships, and young queer love. Two boys, Santi and Suwa — one trans, one cis — start out as prickly enemies in the marching band, tentatively become friends, and then fall in love!
All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Matthews (August 2)
In sharp, detailed prose, this literary novel brings into focus friendship and work in the life of a queer twentysomething who has recently graduated college and starting her first corporate job. Sneha is the beguiling protagonist, who while being distracted by her heady romance with Maria, comes to see that the relationship that’s been sustaining her all along is her friendship with Tig.
It Sounds Like This by Anna Meriano (August 2)
Were you a marching band nerd who would love to see some representation in a YA novel? I’ve got the book for you! This contemporary story also deals with online gossip and harassment, teen ambitions, unrequited crushes, asexuality, and learning to fix your mistakes.
Asian American Histories of the United States by Catherine Ceniza Choy (August 2)
Choy’s work of nonfiction covers 200 years of Asian American social history, from early migration, labor, and community building to the recent surge in anti-Asian hate in conjunction with Covid-19. Choy aims to cover the life experiences of a huge, diverse group, including immigrants, refugees, Asian Americans born in the US as well as workers in industries from agriculture to health care. She also pays attention to the intersections of anti-Asian violence with misogyny and other forms of hatred.
Knocking Myself Up by Michelle Tea (August 2)
In this memoir of (in)fertility, Tea employs her trademark honesty, humor, and vulnerability to recount her journey to getting pregnant at the age of 40. She’s queer, uninsured, dating a genderqueer person a decade her junior, and she’s willing to be as creative as she needs to in this whole baby making business.
Acceptance by Emi Nietfeld (August 2)
Nietfeld’s debut memoir swings from the extremes of teen homelessness to working as a software engineer at Google. She examines the ideals of the American Dream that led her to pursue Ivy League education in the face of parental abandonment and foster care. Antonia Angress calls this book an exciting new addition to the “disaster bisexual” canon.
Dirt Creek by Hayley Scrivenor (August 2)
Scrivenor’s debut is a slow burn mystery and character study set in rural Australia, where a 12-year-old girl goes inexplicably missing on her way home from school. There’s a lesbian detective, Sarah, on the case finding out this seemingly idyllic town has some dark secrets.
A Broken Blade by Melissa Blair (August 2)
The first book in a new fantasy series called The Halfling Saga, A Broken Blade became well known because the author sent her book anonymously to BookTokers with clues to discover her identity. But there’s also queer and feminist badassery in this novel that follows Keera, a talented spy and assassin as she tracks the movements of an enemy called the Shadow.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (August 9)
In this dark urban fantasy, a strange people live in secret on the Yorkshire moors, eating books for sustenance and retaining the content afterwards. Devon, one of the book eaters, has been fed the usual woman’s diet of fairy tales and morality stories. But she begins to question what she’s learnt when her son is born with a rare and dangerous hunger: for human minds.
The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia (August 9)
This debut epic fantasy is set in a queer normative Persian influenced world in which blood magic is a powerful and healing practice, but also the target of oppressive forces. Firuz-e Jafari is a refugee and practitioner who discovers a new disease that has dangerous and suspicious links to blood magic.
High Times in the Low Parliament by Kelly Robson (August 9)
A light-hearted fantasy novella full of “fairies, scribes, and many many kisses,” High Times in the Low Parliament stars lesbian scribe Lana. When she makes the ill-advised decision to deliver another scribe’s message in exchange for kisses, she ends up being sent to Low Parliament where she works not only transcribing but also, somehow, saving humanity.
These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall (August 9)
Described as a mash up of Knives Out and The Haunting of Hill House, Marshall’s novel is set at a creepy ancestral home where protagonist Helen must reside for a year in order to secure her inheritance. Jump scares and queer romance!
Ask the Brindled by No’u Revilla (August 9)
In this lyrical and formally dynamic debut poetry collection, Revilla takes up her place amongst today’s innovative queer Indigenous and Hawaiian writers. The poems tackle themes like sovereignty, queer desire, Hawaiian history, decolonization, queer grief, sacred stories, and more.
The Oleander Sword by Tasha Suri (August 16)
In this highly anticipated sequel to The Jasmine Throne, the story of Malini and Priya continues. Malini has been declared the empress of Parijatdvipa but needs to dethrone her brother. Priya’s work as a priestess includes ridding the empire of its corrupt rule and of the mysterious sickness affecting all beings. Once again, the two women’s destinies bring them together.
Parallel Paradise by Mayapee Chowdhury (August 16)
When Bindi returns to her home country of India after studying in England, she’s expecting trouble with her family because she’s abandoned the legal career they wanted her to pursue in order to focus on her passion for music. But instead she gets trouble of another kind: falling in love with her cousin’s wife, Rimli, who is struggling with a marriage that is enviable on the surface but rotten underneath.
Soul Culture by Remica Bingham-Risher (August 16)
Subtitled “Black Poets, Books, and Questions that Grew Me Up,” Bingham-Risher’s book combines interviews, literary analysis, and personal essays to examine Black cultural traditions, myths, music (with a special focus on Beyoncé), and more. Highlighting the work of 10 poets such as Lucille Clifton, Sonia Sanchez, and Patricia Smith, the book focuses on the diversity and multitudes contained within each poet and their work.
The Inconvenient Heiress by Jane Walsh (August 16)
Walsh’s latest historical lesbian romance is a best-friends-to-lovers story about two spinsters, Arabella and Caroline, one of whom inherits an unexpected fortune. With the new social and financial gap between their stations, do these ladies still have a chance at love?
Furious Heaven by Kate Elliott (August 18)
The second book in Elliott’s Sun Chronicles science fiction / space opera series (book one is Unconquerable Sun) is here! The action in this gender-swapped queer Alexander the Great retelling is ongoing, with Princess Sun and her Queen Marshal mother rebuilding their forces after heavy losses defeating foreign invaders who are regrouping fast.
Fury by Jen Lawrence (August 18)
Lawrence’s latest lesbian fantasy romance is a story about Shayla returning to the small town she grew up in where her grandmother Ellie still runs the family farm. At first she’s suspicious of August, the woman Ellie has hired as the farm’s new manager of their beehives. But a magical incident at the local farmers market brings the two women together, making Shayla trust August with a big secret.
The Family Compound by Liz Parker (August 23)
In this queer inclusive family saga, five cousins / two sets of siblings are brought together as adults when the last person in their family’s older generation passes away and leaves their inherited land in rural Vermont. The will stipulates that they either all keep it or sell: cue family drama, divisive opinions, and divergent life paths.
Diary of a Misfit by Casey Parks (August 23)
Dubbed a memoir and a mystery, Parks’ book intertwines her own complicated Southern coming out story with her research into an historical trans man country singer who her conservative grandmother claims used to live across the street from her. As Parks investigates the life of this enigma — named Roy Hudgins — she finds herself through learning his story.
La Syrena: Visions of a Syrian Mermaid from Space by Banah El Ghadbanah (August 23)
This queer, feminist, Syrian collection of poetry is a meditation on displacement, migration, and identity. The combination of queer, femme, and syrienne, El Ghadbanah tells us, can feel as strange as being a mermaid in space. As the words and imagery cross galaxies and dimensions, the book also blurs genre, poetry styles, and form.
In the Event of Love by Courtney Kae (August 30)
A steamy queer take on the usual Hallmark holiday movies, this romance features Morgan, a world-class events planner, returning to her small hometown, Fern Falls, for the holidays. Her first love and former best friend, Rachel, still lives in Fern Falls. When Morgan finds out Rachel’s family tree farm is the last holdout against a greedy corporation gobbling up the town, the two women decide to work together to fight.
Dead Flip by Sara Farizan (August 30)
This nostalgic 90s-set queer YA horror centres on three childhood best friends who have been torn apart. By high school, Sam has been missing for five years. One friend is sure Sam is dead, and the other? He is convinced that Sam was kidnapped by a supernatural pinball machine.
Enjoy Me Among My Ruins by Juniper Fitzgerald (August 30)
Fitzgerald’s experimental book combines memoir, theory, and fan writing as she mines her life’s experiences as a queer mom and sex worker to investigate sociology, capitalism, feminism, and dominant narratives. Interspersed with her recent writing on these topics are childhood letters she wrote as an X-Files fan to Gillian Anderson!
Which summer 2022 queer and feminist books are you excited to read? Please share in the comments!