April may be the cruelest month or whatever, but the May flowers those April showers promised are giving us a joyous rainbow explosion of queer lit as we head into the summer. It’s amazing, and I’m feeling pleasantly ~whelmed at the prospect of a TBR that’s about to balloon exponentially. At the moment I’m enjoying The Weeds and revisiting Lucky Red, both of which I’m working on reviews of, and I can’t wait to discuss them more with y’all. This one’s gonna be a long one, so I’ll keep my remarks short for now. This queer abundance, this variety of form and genre and audience, is a delight.
Let’s make like frogs and jump in! This week on Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:
Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note
- Another big one for the YA crowd: Imogen, Obviously is Becky Albertalli’s latest and it’s out now! Check out this excerpt in Cosmo.
- IT IS FINALLY LESBIAN LOVE STORY MONTH. Preorder your copy of Amelia Possanza’s debut (or enter to win one on Goodreads!), and it’ll be here on 5/30!
- Jen St Jude’s If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come is coming! I’m gonna make so many title puns next Monday to celebrate this one’s book birthday next week.
- My friends have alllllllll been talking about Couplets: A Love Story — I haven’t gotten to it yet, but when everyone I know with a cool haircut and a penchant for quirky-hot outfits is reading something, well, that speaks for itself.
- Noted Rainbow Reading Fav Dahlia Adler (hi Dahlia!) says that Love at First Set features “the most hilarious disaster bisexuals you’ll ever meet.” Say less!
- This random old lady slandered the good name of erasure poetry, and the QTs are full of fun rebuttals. (She said “Fight me” and lord knows the internet provideth! 😅)
- Kayla put me on to Dykette, and for that she has my infinite gratitude. This “portrait of a certain corner of queer culture that is part satire, part ode, and full of delightful cringe” (in the words of Melissa Febos) will be out in a couple weeks!
- Another One Bites The Dust: Once the home of edgy news and culture commentary, VICE is moving toward closure. The media landscape continues to contract, and it’s a bummer — all the more reason to support Autostraddle and other indie media!
- Calling all fans of keen social observation, yearning, knitwear, and award-winning prose — we’re getting new Brandon Taylor this month!!! The Late Americans is out in a few weeks (and if you weren’t already sold, they’re calling this one his “richest and most involving work of fiction to date”, which is 👀💖)
- The Gay Best Friend offers such an interesting take on a frustrating trope, and Timothy Janovsky says “The Gay Best Friend captures all the kinetic energy of a 90s Julia Roberts film and queers it.” Blurb of the week, right there! The author will be signing preorders at his local indie bookstore here.
- Solomon’s Crown is a “sumptuous love story” according to the NYT that is the story of two medieval kings falling in love in 12th century Europe, and as soon as I heard it called “The Song of Achilles for medievalists” I knew I had to get my lil mitts on it. Noted Rainbow Reading bestie Caroline has already started it and tells me it’s awesome!!
- There are so many exciting queer Muslim voices getting published this year, and I’m here for it — refugee advocate Luma Mufleh’s memoir From Here will be out in a couple weeks, and you can enter its Goodreads giveaway here or preorder your copy here.
- Calling my sports gays and Charming Bisexuals — R. K. Russell, the first active NFL player to come out as bi, has written a memoir that’s offers unique insight on Black queer masculinity.
- This middle grade novel-in-verse caught my eye last fall, and now it’s showtime for The Song of Us! (Pun CLEARLY intentional, you know me).
- Y’all know I love an academic press, and this new series from the University of Nebraska Press has caught my eye! The first installment, Forget I Told You This by Hilary Zaid, will be out in September.
- Illustrated by THEEE Tillie Walden of On A Sunbeam/ Spinning/ Are You Listening/ Alone in Space fame, Tegan and Sara’s memoir High School‘s middle-grade graphic novel adaptation will be out on the 30th (and has an open giveaway now!)
- Ander & Santi Were Here is the story of a nonbinary Mexican teen who falls in love while working at their family’s taqueria, and it’s getting amazing reviews.
- Sonora Reyes of The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School said “With a swoony romance full of sex positivity, humor, and PAIN, Jonny Garza Villa will destroy your heart and piece it back together and you will thank them for it.”
- Cosmopolitan said “Perhaps one of the most daring romances of the year, Ander & Santi Were Here incorporates subtle elements of racism, homophobia, and politics into a tender love story between a nonbinary Mexican American teenager and the new waiter at their family’s restaurant. Both poignant and vulnerable, this romance asks readers what does home really mean? Is it a place, person, or both?”
- “A sex and relationship columnist bares it all in a series of essays — part memoir, part manifesto–that explore the author’s coming-of-age and coming out as a bisexual man and move toward embracing and celebrating sex unencumbered by shame.” Boyslut by Zachary Zane comes out next week!
- This YA novel is a cheeky meta take on the usual queer romance tropes — fake dating, love triangle(s), second chances, and more abound in The Girl Next Door.
- Once again I am reminding you that this memoir from the Central Park birder is gorgeous and thought-provoking; Christian Cooper turns the aftermath of that awful viral Karen confrontation into a queer Black communion with nature.
- This satirical encyclopedia details why everything from trees to magnets to both left- and right-handedness are gay. Obviously they’re right.
“WithJust As You Are, Kellogg has made me feel so seen. I recognize that I’m more than just a little biased. I live in Liz’s neighborhood, I work at Autostraddle, and like Liz, I’ve used Instagram Stories as a way to project into the mind of my crush. But even without any of that, Kellogg’s references to queer pop culture feel like a shared language that only exists among queer people. I don’t know if a straight person would enjoy this book the same way that queer person would — and that’s okay. This is for us.”
Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!
- A. Tony Jerome gathered 8 new poetry collections to round out your National Poetry Month!
- Ashni declared Just As You Are “the gayest rom-com she’s ever read” and Ashni’s right
- Em reviewed poetry collection Rose Quartz!
- Kayla collected more poetry collections you can preorder to tide you over until next National Poetry Month
- Analyssa reviewed Stars Collide!
- Sara Elise launched her book A Recipe for More: Ingredients for a Life of Abundance and Ease with an awesome essay!
One for the road ⤵️
Prompt time! There’s a ton of middle grade and YA that I’m excited about, and it’s gotten me thinking about what younger queer me would’ve been into. In the comments, tell me which queer book (of any genre) you’d travel back in time to give your younger self?
That’s all she wrote, folks! If you’re a queer writer, particularly an early-career queer writer: I’d love to hear about the cool things you’re up to so that I can share links to your published essays, book reviews, short stories, poems, and longform features on LGBTQ+ topics! Please email me links for consideration at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Rainbow Reading Submission” — I’m an avid browser-tab-collector, and I especially want to hear from you if you’ve just landed your first publication or first major byline.