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Rainbow Reading: This Upcoming Book Is a Queer Retelling of Robin Hood About DYKES ON BIKES

A book in faded colors of the rainbow is open, and the words RAINBOW READING are on top of it.
illustration by A. Andrews

Hey howdy, team!

First up, a hearty, happy congratulations to the HarperCollins Union on (FINALLY) getting management to reach an agreement — I hope all the union members are receiving a warm welcome back at work this week, and I’m wishing all the inbox blessings for them! We’re staring down March, and they’d been on strike since November, but their advocacy has been impressive at every turn. I can’t wait to see the ripple effect this has on the rest of the industry!

This week’s gonna be a beefy one, since I had a week off; it’s great to be back in my inbox and my apartment packed to the gills with very gay books, and I’m stoked to share the results of my queer romance read-a-thon with my friend Caroline from Rainbow Reading’s last installment! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and I’m about to holler myself (metaphorically) hoarse over all the cool queer books coming out this spring, so let’s get to it.

Okiedokie, let’s make like the red carpet and roll out. This week on Rainbow Reading, we’ve got:

Shelf Care: Reviews, Essays, and other Things of Note

LIKE SCHOPENHAUER MEETS GONE GIRL!!! Trashwina Banter Blurb of the Week award right there!!!!

Hijab Butch Blues: A Memoir by Lamya H

“Lamya’s ability to bring seemingly disparate elements together to paint such a vivid picture of what it’s like to have to make the choices they’ve made in the ways they’ve made them is absolutely stunning in its execution. Lamya proves throughout the text the myriad possibilities that are open and available to queer Muslims and queer people of other religions when and if they choose to pursue a life of piety and devotion to something beyond the trappings of our material world.” – Stef on Hijab Butch Blues

Crush Corner: Rounding Up More Romance!

Still hankering for something swoony after Valentine’s Day? My wonderful friend Caroline and I have been reading through my megastack of new and forthcoming queer romance, and she’s devised a genius alignment chart to help you situate the books you’ve enjoyed and find the ones you’ll love next! We had a great time agreeing about how much we loved Dahlia Adler’s latest, and Caroline’s convinced me to give Behind the Scenes a go next. What else should we add to our gay love TBR? Where on the chart would you put your recent reads? Let us know in the comments!

An alignment chart where the X axis is spicy to sweet and the Y axis is funny to earnest. Behind The Scenes is a book that is the spiciest and funniest. Love & Other Disasters is a book that is a little bit funny and a little bit spicy. Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble is a book that is very sweet and very funny. Something Wild & Wonderful is a book that is a little spicy and a little earnest. Season of Love is a book that is very earnest and a little sweet. Home Field Advantage is a book that is very earnest and very sweet.

Caroline’s Dispatches from the Feels:

Home Field Advantage did more to make me love football than living in Texas for eighteen years. A queer spin on the high school cheerleader/quarterback pairing, this YA enemies-to-lovers romance balances the sweetness of young love with heavier issues like homophobia and misogyny. While not always lighthearted, it’s a cute romance that will leave you cheering.”

Spice scale: 🌶️

Season of Love tries to give us what The Happiest Season (2020) never could, putting a queer (and Jewish) spin on the Hallmark Christmas movie framework. It isn’t so much of a rom-com, but it’s a heartwarming story about opening oneself up to emotional risk and undertaking the often arduous task of showing up for our communities, our chosen families, and ourselves. More fat butch representation in romance novels, please!”

Spice scale: 🌶️🌶️

“I’m not going to lie, Behind the Scenes‘ sexy ASMR subplot is a hard sell. Throw in pugs, snappy banter, and Ghost (1990) references, though, and I’m in. This tender lesbian romance also features protagonists in their late 30s/early 40s, which is a refreshing change for the genre.”

Spice scale: 🌶️🌶️🌶️

Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble is like a surprise cake: it skews toward saccharine on the outside, but there’s something surprising and substantial at its core. While a little light on the romance, I nonetheless enjoyed this meditation on how our mental health not only affects us but our relationships. Perfect for Bake-Off lovers and for people with anxiety—a Venn diagram that I suspect is a circle.”

Spice scale: 🌶️

“I can think of no greater punishment than hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with a guy who has subpar social skills and a guy who has a man bun—but Anita Kelly manages to make this grumpy-sunshine romance charming! The second entry in what I’ve affectionately dubbed “the Anita-verse,” Something Wild & Wonderful weaves an endearing story about braving the wilds of one’s deepest insecurities and finding the heart’s true north, and it comes out in a week and a half!

Spice scale: 🌶️🌶️🌶️

“It’s not just that I want all of you to read it; it’s that I want all of you tohave read it already,so that I’m not so alone with the enormity of my feelings about it and you’ll already know exactly what I mean. Crane has not only created a world that opens a door for marginalized people’s deeply felt concerns; they’ve also done the work to shut the door behind us, to preempt any both-sides-ism and make clear that our communities’ fears about oppression and suppression are never the same as reactionary distractions.” — Yashwina (moi) on I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself

Autocorrect: Books content from the last couple weeks at Autostraddle!

Yoooooo, it’s been a PACKED few weeks in the Autostraddle books section — Kayla and the team are bringing the heat!!!

Plus, a few cool lil queer history/politics bits I found on Twitter — I love when people share what they’re reading like this!

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 [email protected] 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.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Yashwina Canter is a reader, writer, and dyke putting down roots in Portland, Oregon. You can find her online at @yashwinacanter.

Yashwina has written 53 articles for us.


  1. Excited for Translation State, thanks for highlighting!

    I’ve been reading a newly reprinted 1930s novel/biography/metafiction about the Ladies of Llangollen, Mary Gordon’s Chase of the Wild Goose. It starts off a bit Austenian and then becomes ‘endearingly odd’ as Sarah Waters put it.

  2. “Perfect for Bake-Off lovers and for people with anxiety—a Venn diagram that I suspect is a circle.“ – I am correctly attacked! My hold for Paris Daillencourt just came in at the library, now even more excited!

  3. It is so weird how the Slate commentariat hates the Lavery years of Dear Prudence, considering how bone-deep wretched their preferred Prudie (Emily Yoffe) was. Just the literal, dirt worst.

    The Lavery years were the peak, for sure. This new lady is kind of a pill.

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