If you thought 2021 was a banner year for LGBTQ+ books, wait until you see what the first three months of 2022 have in store for queer book lovers. We’ve got romance between a queer woman and a nonbinary person set at a reality cooking show, thought-provoking nonfiction from Vivek Shraya on the concept of change, acclaimed queer YA author Nina LaCour’s first adult title, Grace Lavery’s much anticipated genre-busting autofiction / memoir, a trans post-apocalyptic horror story, and so much more! We’ve also got some awesome feminist books to look forward to, including a new essential work of abolitionist feminism, analyses of contemporary “confidence culture,” and a look at the history of women and the exercise / fitness industry. Let’s get into these winter 2022 queer and feminist books!
Always by Kris Bryant (January 1)
Private investigator Peri Logan is put to work by her great grandmother, who left her a locket with a woman’s face inside and a note that reads “Find her.” Her sleuthing takes her to Italy, where she meets Camila, who is highly suspicious of the American who turned up with Camila’s great grandmother’s picture in a locket.
The Wedding Set-Up by Charlotte Greene (January 1)
Ryann is planning her best guy friend’s wedding when she butts heads with the attractive maid of honor, Maddie. Maddie has very different ideas about how the wedding should go. Where will this lead except Ryann and Maddie falling in love??
The Helheim Princess by Tiana Warner (January 4)
The first book in a new queer YA fantasy, this novel is a unique take on Norse mythology with a romance subplot. The main character Sigrid is determined to become a fearless valkyrie but the only person who can help her is Mariam, an enemy.
People Change by Vivek Shraya (January 4)
In this contemplative work of nonfiction, Shraya takes on the concept of change, investigating her own relationship to it as a multi-disciplinary artist. She honors our multiple selves, asking why we both fear and crave change and what makes us transform or stay in place.
The latest volume from Cleis Press is just what you’ve come to expect from these anthologies: diverse, challenging stories that showcase a wide spectrum of queer desire. The 23 stories explore kink, ace identity, pansexuality, submission, dominance, and more.
Let’s Get Physical by Danielle Friedman (January 4)
This work of nonfiction blends memoir and reporting to investigate “how women discovered exercise and reshaped the world.” Tracing a path from the 1950s thinking that sweating was unladylike to today’s multibillion dollar fitness industry, Friedman explores how women have sought power and autonomy through working out.
Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire (January 4)
The seventh installment in the Wayward Children series, this book introduces us to the dark twin of Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children: Whitehorn Institute. Student Cora is transferred to Whitehorn, where she discovers it’s far from the friendly, safe school she has come to know.
Love Somebody by Rachel Roasek (January 11)
This YA rom com centers three teens: a popular girl, her ex-boyfriend turned best friend, and the girl both of them fall for. When Sam’s ex/best friend Christian tells Sam he needs help wooing Ros, a smart girl who prefers to stick to herself, the last thing Sam expects is to discover she likes Ros too.
The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (January 11)
A gender-swapped retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a healthy dose of action, Vedder’s YA fantasy features two girls — a book-loving treasure hunter and a tough warrior — and a boy who has been waiting a hundred years for a kiss to awaken him.
If I Were a Weapon by Skye Kilaen (January 11)
In this science fiction romance, Deneve was cursed with visions of the future after dying alien ships appeared worldwide. Jolie was given the power to set things on fire. When the two women meet, they join forces to investigate a series of abductions targeting people with powers.
No Strings by Lucy Bexley (January 13)
A contemporary age-gap sapphic romance, No Strings features Elsie, who is waiting on a good contract from the network for her kids TV show. Unfortunately, her boss has just died and the decision about her show will now be made by his daughter, Jones, with whom she has an immediate attraction!
Return Flightby Jennifer Huang (January 18)
Huang’s debut poetry collection touches on the body, desire, trauma, and familial inheritance, moving between Taiwan, China, and the US. It’s already a winner of the 2021 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry!
Love & Other Disaster by Anita Kelly (January 18)
Two competitors on a reality cooking show — Dahlia, a queer woman freshly divorced and London, the show’s first nonbinary contestant who is set on proving naysayers wrong — fall in love in this heartwarming contemporary romance.
Abolition. Feminism. Now. by Angela Y. Davis, Gina Dent, Erica R. Meiners, and Beth E. Richie (January 18)
This manifesto of international, intersectional, abolitionist feminism is authored by four brilliant scholar-activists. They focus on how feminist organizing — primarily queer, anti-capitalist, grassroots work done by women of color — is central to abolition, especially in its rising today as a political movement and practice.
The Lock-Eater by Zack Loran Clark (January 18)
A middle grade epic fantasy, The Lockeater is about Melanie, a tween with a special power that allows her to unlock any lock. As Melanie embarks on a great adventure, she develops her first crush on a girl!
Under a Kabul Sky translated by Elaine Kennedy (January 21)
This anthology gathers 12 pieces of short fiction by Afghan women writers, translated into English for the first time. The collection includes work by Wasima Badghisi, Batool Haidari, Alia Ataee, Sedighe Kazemi, Khaleda Khorsand, Masouma Kawsari, Mariam Mahboob, Toorpekai Qayum, Manizha Bakhtari, Homeira Qaderi, Parween Pazhwak and Homayra Rafat.
Survivor’s Guilt by Robyn Gigl (January 25)
The second installment in Gigl’s legal thriller series starring a trans attorney finds our protagonist Erin and her law partner on a case that first seems a simple murder, with a confession from the daughter of the victim. But as they dig deeper, they find the family was involved in human trafficking and things get a lot more complicated.
Open by Rachel Krantz (January 25)
This memoir of “love, liberation, and non-monogamy” traces Krantz’s journey after she met and fell in love with Adam, who introduced her to polyamory. She chronicles her experiences of anxiety and connection while dating women and men and searching for a relationship style for her primary partnership that worked.
At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp (January 25)
An infectious disease rips through society and leaves the teenagers exiled at a juvenile treatment center to fend for themselves in this dystopian YA novel. Featuring nonbinary and disability representation!
Faux Queen by Monique Jenkinson (January 25)
Jenkinson is the first cis woman crowned as a pageant winning drag queen in San Francisco. In her memoir she details finding her people at the drag club, becoming a feminist, finding joy in the self-conscious gender performance of drag, and more.
Manywhere by Morgan Thomas (January 25)
Thomas’s short story collection features queer, trans, and genderqueer characters in the American South as they search to find themselves. Roxane Gay says this book is “delightfully, compellingly queer.”
All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes (January 25)
This historical supernatural horror novel is set post the first world war takes place in Antarctica and features a trans man, Jonathan, who stowed away on the ship heading for an expedition. When disaster strikes, Jonathan and the men must spend the winter on land, where they encounter something terrible and deadly.
Confidence Culture by Shani Orgad and Rosalind Gill (January)
Orgad and Gill look critically at current cultural imperatives that tell women to “love your body” and “believe in yourself,” arguing that they ignore the structural and systemic oppression at the root of the issues this confidence messaging claims to address.
Broken Halves of a Milky Sun by Aaiún Nin (February 1)
Angolan writer Nin’s debut poetry collection takes on topics of colonialism, racism, war, and queer love and desire. They write: “How do you measure loss? / tell me of the things you hope to forget. / of the things you hoped you would become before you / were taken from yourself.”
Black Love Matters edited by Jessica P. Pryde (February 1)
This anthology of essays looks at the romance genre (and romantic media) from the perspective of Black romance readers and authors. In addition to the editor, you might recognize queer contributors like Kosoko Jackson and Adriana Herrera. Topics include the history of Black romance, the power of happily ever afters for Black characters, social justice, and more.
Forward March by Skye Quinlan (February 1)
In this YA novel, Harper is a band geek in her senior year of high school dealing with 1) her Republican dad running for president; 2) someone using her picture to create an online gay dating profile; 3) meeting the girl who was catfished by the fake profile and…actually liking her.
Enchanted Autumn by Ursula Klein (February 1)
This paranormal romance features a lesbian love triangle where both Hazel and her best friend Roxy are attracted to the new professor who has come to study the witch trials in their hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. Things get complicated when Hazel discovers the professor is anti-magic … because Hazel is a bonafide witch complete with a black cat, cauldron, and vampire ex-girlfriend.
Her Heart’s Desire by Anne Shade (February 1)
Shade’s contemporary romance features Eve, a woman who has recently left an unhappy marriage and is rebuilding her life — but she’s still in the closet. When she meets Lynette, sparks fly. But Lynette has been down the road of dating a closeted lesbian before and she doesn’t want to go there again.
Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur (February 1)
The third book in Bellefleur’s contemporary queer romance series, this novel is a second chance love story about two former best friends. When Margot finds out Olivia is the best woman at the wedding she has just agreed to plan, both women are shocked to see each other again. For Margot, Olivia was her first love and for Olivia, Margot was “the one who got away.”
The Black Agenda edited by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman (February 1)
Subtitled “bold solutions for a broken system,” this anthology features a variety of Black thinkers on how to implement anti-racism concepts and practices into areas as diverse as mental healthcare, climate change, Covid-19, reparations, artificial intelligence, LGBTQ activism, and more.
Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor (February 1)
This historical YA fantasy is set in the jazz age. Ingrid, a teen girl, is determined to climb the social and political ladder by dating Linden Holt, whose senator dad is running for president. But after striking a deal with his opposition to spy on the senator, Ingrid becomes increasingly unclear on where her true allegiance lies.
Base Notes by Lara Elena Donnelly (February 1)
Vic is a perfumer in New York and like every artist Vic has a side hustle: artisanal murder via perfume. When a former client makes Vic an offer, the money is too good to pass up. But Vic is going to have to recruit other desperate artists as the job is too big — and dangerous — for one person.
Clean Air by Sarah Blake (February 8)
This new work of climate fiction is also part mystery and story of maternal love. Set in a post climate apocalypse, a mother and daughter are living safely in an airtight dome when someone starts slashing the domes at night, letting in lethal amounts of pollen. At the same time, the young daughter begins sleep talking about the nighttime murderer.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour (February 8)
LaCour is an award-winning YA author and Yerba Buena is her first novel for adults. It follows two queer women from teenagehoods of grief and tragedy to life as twentysomethings in LA. They seem destined for each other, but also keep just missing one another.
Pixels of You by Anath Hirsch, Yuko Ota, and J.R. Doyle (February 8)
A science fiction YA graphic novel, this book is about the relationship between a human-presenting AI and a human. Starting as rival intern photographers at a gallery, they are forced to work together and then become friends and artistic collaborators before they start to fall in love.
God Is a Black Woman by Christena Cleveland(February 8)
Activist, social psychologist, and theologian Christena Cleveland shares her personal journey towards a Sacred Black Feminine and away from white patriarchal Christianity.
The Big Book of Orgasms, Volume 2 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (February 8)
The 69 erotic stories in this anthology published by Cleis Press feature all manner of sexy orgasm-focused stories: naked painting, car sex, sex toys, fetishes, exhibitionism and voyeurism, sex on Mars, sex for “research purposes,” and more!
Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis by Grace Lavery (February 8)
In this genre-busting work of memoir (or auto-fiction?), Grace Lavery embarks on a myriad of misadventures, including receiving anonymous letters from cultish clowns and starring in a David Lynch remake of Sunset Boulevard. Throughout it all she stumbles towards a new trans identity.
Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie (February 8)
A queer contemporary YA, Racquel Marie’s debut novel stars Ophelia, a boy-crazy Cuban American teenager nearing the end of high school. When she discovers she’s thinking about a girl named Talia more than the perfect prom with her ex-boyfriend that didn’t happen, her sense of self is thrown into flux.
Blood Feast by Malika Moustadraf (February 8)
A complete collection of short stories by the iconic Morrocan feminist writer is now available in English, translated by Alice Guthrie. Moustadraf explores desire, gender, sexuality, healthcare — particularly drawing on her own experiences with kidney disease that ultimately took her life — and more in these haunting stories.
From Dust, A Flame by Rebecca Podos (February 8)
Podos’s contemporary Jewish YA fantasy novel features Hannah, a teen girl who wakes up on her 17th birthday with yellow eyes surrounding a razor thin pupil. At first she and her brother wait for their mom to return home with answers, but the longer their mom stays away the more convinced they are that they have to find the truth themselves.
Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi (February 15)
Emezi’s latest novel for young people is a prequel / companion book to Pet. The titular character Bitter receives acceptance into a special arts high school where she is sheltered from her town’s injustices. But her new friends are willing to fight, even though the adults say that’s just the way it is.
Moon Witch, Spider King by Marlon James (February 15)
Book number two in James’s Dark Star fantasy trilogy focuses on Sogolon, the witch who was the enemy of and competition for the first book’s protagonist. The events of that book — epic battles across a mythical African landscape — are experienced fresh from Sogolon’s perspective.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You by Ariel Delgado Dixon (February 15)
This tense and suspenseful debut novel follows two sisters throughout their dysfunctional upbringing. With an absentee father and a mother deluded into thinking her art commune is going to flourish, the sisters are sent to a harsh wilderness camp for troubled teen girls that only leaves them more scarred.
Sisters of the Forsaken Stars by Lina Rather (February 15)
The second book in Rather’s Our Lady of Endless Worlds science fiction series, Sisters of the Forsaken Stars finds the sisters in the middle of a revolution. Following their defiance of Earth’s colonial rule of far flung planets, the sisters are on the run, hiding; but with a growing uprising in which their story is central, they must decide what role they want to play.
The Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood (February 15)
Larkwood’s latest novel is the sequel to her debut fantasy, The Unspoken Name. Our lovable queer cast of Csorwe, Shuthmilli, and Tal find themselves dragged back into the mess and mystery they thought they had put behind them when they left the wizard Sethennai. They are confronted by the rising of an undead goddess, an enemy as old as time.
Radiant by Judy Sapphire (February 17)
This dislike-to-lovers contemporary romance is about two very different women. Blake is a conceptual artist focusing on a new museum installation and dealing with her newfound fame and reputation for being difficult to work with. Jenny is a corporate lawyer whose professional and romantic life has taken a turn for the worst.
Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake (February 22)
Ashley Herring Blake is an extraordinary writer of queer middle grade and YA fiction and this contemporary romance is the first book in her new series for adults. Lesbian photographer Delilah returns from New York City to her small hometown to shoot her estranged stepsister’s wedding. She’s not expecting to meet anyone, especially not a bi single mom who’s one of the bridesmaids.
Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin (February 22)
Felker-Martin’s horror science fiction novel is a brilliant response to every gender-based post-apocalyptic story that failed to include or even consider trans people. Beth, Fran, and Robbie are three trans survivors eking out an existence amidst packs of feral men, murderous TERFs, and their own inner demons.
Extasia by Claire Legrand (February 22)
This sapphic YA horror novel tells the story of a heroine destined to save her village from the evil that lives underneath a mountain and has killed many of her town’s men. To do so, she must join a coven — or is it a cult? — called Haven, and become one of its four saints.
City of Deceit by Claudie Arsenault (February 22)
The third book in Arsenault’s political fantasy series City of Spires follows a ragtag all queer cast (including aromantic and ace representation!). This time around the alliances within and outside the city’s Dathiri tower are crumbling and rebuilding as the city’s future hangs in the balance.
The Language of Light by Kathleen Brady (February)
Lu arrives in China in 1982 to study Mandarin at the Beijing Language Institute. She is immediately captivated by a teacher, Ming, but their burgeoning relationship is threatened by the political climate that dictates Lu cannot stay indefinitely and Ming cannot leave.
Her Royal Happiness by Lola Keeley (February)
Princess Alice is the first out lesbian of the British royal family and she’s not thrilled her interaction with Sara, an anti-monarchist education specialist and single mom, goes viral. But when Alice is forced to go to Sara for help with her nephew, an effort to protect the boy’s privacy leads them to claim they are dating. You know where that leads!
The One True You and Me by Remi K. England (March 1)
This queer teen romance is set at a fandom convention! Kay is a fanfic writer who has three goals at the convention: try out they/them pronouns, wear masculine cosplay for the first time, and kiss a girl. Pageant queen Teagan is in the closet about being a big nerd and a lesbian — she just has to keep things under wraps until she’s won the pageant crown that comes with a $25 000 scholarship.
Drew Leclair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury (March 1)
This modern day version of Harriet the Spy is about a queer tween detective on the hunt for a cyberbully posting embarrassing rumors about their classmates. Using her notebooks full of observations about everyone around her she’s sure she can crack the case by profiling her fellow students.
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega (March 1)
Seven is a 12-year-old witchling who is devastated to have been placed in a lowly spare coven instead of her magical town’s five main covens. The only way she and her fellow witchlings can redeem themselves is to defeat the Nightbeast … or else be turned into toads.
Another Appalachia by Neema Avashia (March 1)
Avashia’s memoir tells the her story of being a queer desi Appalachian woman and how her roots resonate in her adult life as a teacher, advocate, lover, and writer. Defying Appalachian stereotypes, her lessons about class, race, gender, and sexuality begin in childhood.
Exclusive by Melissa Brayden (March 1)
Brayden’s latest contemporary romance is about a newbie reporter, Skyler, who has just started a dream job at a TV station where her professional idol and crush, Carolyn, is an anchorwoman. Too bad Carolyn is rude and distant. To make matters worse, the network decides to pit the two women against each other.
Her Duchess to Desire by Jane Walsh (March 1)
In Walsh’s historical romance, Anne, Duchess of Hawthorne, is determined to leave her rocky marriage for someone she can finally love: a woman. Enter interior designer Letitia, who is hoping to jumpstart her career by refurbishing the Duchess’s estate. She will not let her romantic feelings for Anne ruin all that she’s worked for.
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (March 3)
Leah has returned to dry land from a disastrous deep-sea mission where she was assumed dead. But she has come back a changed woman. Her wife Miri can feel the woman she married slipping away. Armfield’s debut novel is a modern fable about grief, love, and what really lies deep at the bottom of the ocean.
Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore (March 8)
Two nonbinary teens are pulled into a magical world that lies beneath a lake in McLemore’s latest YA novel full of their signature magical realism and lyrical prose. Desperate to prevent their secrets from coming to the surface, Bastián and Lore have to work together despite their differences.
In Defense of Witches by Mona Chollet (March 8)
Chollet’s feminist work reclaiming the witch as a symbol of rebellion and independence is translated from the French by Sophie R Lewis and includes a foreword by Carmen Maria Machado. Chollet in particular focuses on three types of women persecuted as witches: women who were independent, childless, and/or elderly.
Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes by Nicky Beer (March 8)
Pop culture references like Dolly Parton, Marlene Dietrich, Law & Order, and Batman mix with musings on truth, suicide, deception, and death in bi/queer poet Beer’s second poetry collection. She asks: is the truth “a diverting flash, / a mirror showing everything / but itself”?
Eleutheria by Allegra Hyde (March 8)
Hyde’s debut work of climate fiction tells the story of optimistic Willa, who time and again chooses hope in the face of dire circumstances. After meeting Sylvia, a Harvard professor who’s the only one smart enough to compel people to climate action, Willa is devastated to find Sylvia has betrayed her — devastated enough to abandon all her plans to join a band of ecowarriors in the Bahamas.
Still Hopeful by Maude Barlow (March 8)
An important Canadian activist in three areas — second wave feminism, water justice, and anti-globalization — Barlow writes an account of her lifetime of experiences. She foregrounds hope, and the magic of building a movement and surrounding yourself with fellow activists to shoulder the burden with you.
Panpocalypse by Carley Moore (March 8)
Set in New York City in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic (but inspired by Greek mythology), this novel follows a queer disabled woman, Orpheus, as she bikes through the eerily quiet city in lockdown. Orpheus looks for her first love, Eurydice, who broke her heart, as well as a mysterious underground lesbian bar.
A Year: And Other Poems by Jos Charles (March 8)
Trans poet Jos Charles’s third collection of free verse poetry centers around the long poem, “A Year,” which is structured through the months of the year. Themes include grief, mourning, living amidst seemingly endless destruction, and how we might love and hope despite loss and sorrow.
Secret Identity by Alex Segura (March 15)
Segura’s queer historical mystery is set in 1975 in the New York City comics world. Carmen has big dreams of writing a superhero comic, so when a colleague asks her to collaborate on a new woman hero, she jumps at the chance. Too bad he turns up mysteriously dead shortly after.
Pennyblade by J.L. Worrard (March 15)
In Worrard’s epic fantasy tale, a noblewoman turned mercenary swordswoman named Kyra has been exiled from her people (the commrach), home (the Isle), and love of her life (Shen). Living amongst the humans of the Main working as a pennyblade, Kyra is tolerated until a regular contract goes awry, exposing how much the ancient Main – Isle conflict still thrives.
Lead Me Astray by Sondi Warner (March 15)
Warner’s queer poly paranormal romance is set in New Orleans and features a newly deceased ghost, a werewolf detective, and a psychic empath. Aurie, the ghost, is determined to solve the mystery of her death. As Mys and Zyr help her discover the truth, sparks fly.
Body Workby Melissa Febos (March 15)
In this book which is at once a deeply personal memoir and an instructional master class of nonfiction, Febos explores “how we think and write about intimate experiences.” She tackles writing about desire and trauma, living a writer’s life, capturing relationships, and more.
The Roads Left Behind Us by Kat Jackson (March 17)
Contemporary lesbian romance set in academia, anyone? Callie is a PhD student intent on finally finishing her English graduate degree: her life will be nothing but work, work, work for the next while. She certainly doesn’t need a distraction in the form of an attractive, intimidating older woman who is her department’s newest professor.
A Million Quiet Revolutions by Robin Gow (March 22)
A contemporary YA novel about two trans guy teenagers, A Million Quiet Revolutions is a love story written in verse. But just as their relationship is flourishing, one of them is forced to move away. Separated from one another, they seek comfort in exploring trans history, discovering the story of two Revolutionary War soldiers who were both trans men and in love like them.
My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi (March 22)
Nonbinary author Stintzi’s science fiction / eco-horror novel is an ambitious, global tale that begins with the discovery of an emergent volcano in Central Park. An eclectic group of characters, from Mexico City, Tokyo, Nigeria, Greece, Mongolia, and more grapple with their personal changes and transformations as the earth undergoes its own.
Beast at Every Threshold by Natalie Wee (March 22)
Wee’s book of poetry explores themes of queer love and identity, immigration, self mythology, diaspora, pop culture, the nation, and more. The poems use language as a “familiar weapon,” as well as Wee’s fierce imagination and shapeshifting abilities.
This Has Always Been a War by Lori Fox (March 22)
Subtitled “the radicalization of a working class queer,” this collection of inspiring essays investigates Fox’s confrontations with capitalist patriarchy and their experiences as a nonbinary, queer, working class person who has been a farm hand, labourer, bartender, bush worker, and more.
Comeuppance Served Cold by Marion Deeds (March 22)
Deeds’s historical fantasy noir is set in Seattle in 1929. Three characters await their comeuppance: a young woman hired as a companion for a rebellious rich girl; a widower seeking revenge on her husband’s murderer; and a thief arrived in the city for a dangerous assignment.
Swollening by Jason Purcell (March 22)
In Purcell’s debut book of poetry, they investigate the intersection of queerness, pain, and illness. Purcell asks: “how might a sick, queer body forgive itself for a natural reaction to living in a sick world and go on toward hope?” The collection is part poetry, part memoir, and all heart.
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (March 29)
This historical fantasy takes place post-WWI. Annie arrives on Crow Island and discovers her neighbor is a witch and magic is everywhere. After seeing a confrontation between her best friend and a notorious Crow Island resident, Annie is pulled into the haunted world of magic.
That’s it folks! Which queer and feminist books are you looking forward to in winter 2022 and why? Let us know in the comments!