17 Exciting Queer Books to Savor This Summer

Stash these recent or upcoming releases in your picnic basket or beach bag.

Daydreaming about hitting your local park or beach with a good queer book in tow? Us too, and luckily, we won't have to wait much longer.

Below, find 17 recent or upcoming releases featuring queer storylines and/or authored by LGBTQ writers, all hand-picked by our editors. From rollicking rom-coms to thought-provoking nonfiction, this list has a little something for every reader.

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Penguin Random House

If you haven't heard of Detransition, Baby, where you have been? The groundbreaking novel from trans writer Torrey Peters follows three women — transgender and cisgender — as they embark on a uniquely complicated journey of making a family. It's a messy, glorious, and truly one-of-a-kind tale, but don't just take it from me: Detransition, Baby is a national bestseller with rave reviews, and a television series based on the book is already in the works. —Sam Manzella

Out now

Sarahland by Sam Cohen

Grand Central Publishing

The many Sarahs scattered throughout Sam Cohen's innovative short story collection run the gamut, from an aimless college grad-turned-sex worker to a gender non-conforming reimagining of the biblical Sarah. One thing is consistent, though: These bold, thought-provoking tales are as queer as they come. —SM

Out now

We Are Watching Eliza Bright by A.E. Osworth

Grand Central Publishing

A feminist cyber thriller with a plucked-from-the-headlines premise, this debut novel from nonbinary writer and educator A.E. Osworth is a gripping, smartly structured read — and a brilliant exploration of how male rage endangers women. I encourage everyone to read this book, but if you're a white, cisgender, heterosexual man, it's required reading. —SM

Out now

Queer: Words of Change by Coco Romack

Sasquatch Books

Searching for a pithy queer read that still packs a punch? Queer: Words of Change by journalist Coco Romack fits the bill. A curated collection of quotes, the book highlights diverse LGBTQ activists and creatives past and present, from lesbian writer-activist Audre Lorde to pioneering transgender actress Laverne Cox. Partial proceeds will benefit New York City's Ali Forney Center. —SM

Out May 4

It Had to Be You by Georgia Clark

Atria/Emily Bestler Books

It Had to Be You centers around Liv Goldenhorn, a Brooklyn-based wedding planner who gets the surprise of a lifetime when her late husband-slash-business partner, Eliot, bequeathes half of their business to his secret girlfriend. What follows is a sexy, queer-inclusive ensemble rom-com that promises to "melt your heart like a popsicle." Where do I sign up? —SM

Out May 4

Postcolonial Astrology: Reading the Planets Through Capital, Power, and Labor by Alice Sparkly Kat

Penguin Random House

Nonbinary writer and astrologer Alice Sparkly Kat breaks down the etymology of the planets through the lens of capital and labor, putting contemporary postcolonial theory in dialogue with an ancient spiritual practice. Their analysis strikes that rare balance of being richly contextualized and accessibly written, making this "history and toolkit" an essential addition to any queer astrology lover's library. —SM

Out May 18

May the Best Man Win by ZR Ellor

Roaring Brook Press

ZR Ellor's Young Adult debut follows Jeremy, a newly out trans teen who decides to challenge his ex-boyfriend, football star Lukas, for the coveted title of Homecoming King. Unresolved tensions (and lingering sparks) come to a head as they battle it out for the crown. —SM

Out May 18

Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 by Sarah Schulman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Based on more than 200 interviews with ACT UP members, Let the Record Show is the most definitive history of the activist collective, best known for its militant protest tactics during the height of the AIDS crisis. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel author Alexander Chee called Let the Record Show "a masterpiece of historical research and intellectual analysis that creates many windows into both a vanished world and the one that emerged from it, the one we live in now." It's a timely read, too, since this July marks the 40th anniversary of the first time HIV was covered by The New York Times. —Chris Rudolph

Out May 18

Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books

Another buzzy release that is already being adapted for the screen, Yes, Daddy is a New York City-set modern gothic about a struggling gay playwright whose experience dating an older, more accomplished writer takes a dark turn. It's the debut novel from Jonathan Parks-Ramage, whose writing has appeared in outlets like Vice and and Slate. —SM

Out May 18

Burn It All Down by Nicolas DiDomizio

Little, Brown & Co

Described as a "mother/son, crime-revenge thriller," Burn It All Down is what happens when a gay teenage boy and his best friend-slash-mother are on the run after accidentally committing a series of crimes in an attempt at seeking revenge. James Patterson calls the book "audacious, addictive, [and] highly entertaining," which sounds like the perfect beach read to me. —CR

Out May 25

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

Penguin Random House

The latest from Steven Rowley, author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor, tells the story of a gay uncle who takes in his niece and nephew after a family tragedy strikes. The Palm Springs-set tale promises plenty of kaftans as well as family drama. —CR

Out May 25

Continuum by Chella Man

Penguin Random House

The latest in Pocket Change Collective's ongoing series of short works by LGBTQ activists, Continuum comes from the mind of Chella Man, a transgender activist, artist, and model (you probably already follow him on Instagram). He wrestles deftly with a challenging but important question: What are the constructs we all need to unlearn in order to further liberation for all? —SM

Out June 1

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Saint Martin's Griffin Press

In their highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling Red, White, & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston tackles time travel and sapphic love against an unlikely backdrop: the New York City subway system. August, an NYC transplant by way of Louisiana, falls for a charming girl named Jane on the Q train...only to realize that her leather jacket-clad public transit crush is actually a queer activist from the 1970s who is literally displaced in time. Chaos (and "magical, sexy, big-hearted romance") ensues. —SM

Out June 1

The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon


This debut Young Adult fantasy novel follows Wyatt, a witch and transgender man who is forced to reckon with his traumatic past — and confront his ex-fiancé — in order to save a magical kingdom he left behind. The Witch King is the first of two books in a duology, and it comes on the heels of Cemetery Boys, Aidan Thomas's bestselling YA novel about a trans Latinx witch. Trans and gender non-conforming witches to the front! —SM

Out June 1

¡Hola Papi! by John Paul Brammer

Simon & Schuster

JP Brammer is the man behind ¡Hola Papi!, the popular queer advice column that can be currently found on The Cut. In his new memoir, also titled ¡Hola Papi!, Brammer continues to dole out advice while also telling his story of "growing up biracial and in the closet against the backdrop of America's heartland while attempting to answer some of life's toughest questions." Teaching life lessons with laughter is Brammer's specialty, and this is a must-read for any of his devoted readers. —CR

Out June 8

Bath Haus by P.J. Vernon


The latest book from P.J. Vernon is billed as “Gone Girl with gays and Grindr,” so you know you’ll be seeing copies around a Fire Island pool or two this summer. The story follows Oliver, a recovering addict who visits Haus, a local gay bathhouse. While there, he follows a man into a private room — but the hookup goes horribly wrong, and he barely escapes with his life, a nightmare pretty much every gay guy has feared. It's been described as a “white-knuckler” page-turner, and we can’t wait to read it…from the safety of our own bed. —CR

Out June 15

Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

Scholastic Press

This earnest Young Adult romance follows Olivia and Toni, two teen girls who meet at a music and arts festival over the summer. Sparks fly, and the weekend-long festival turns out to be much more than either of them bargained for. It's the sophomore novel from queer writer Leah Johnson, who made her debut with last year's wildly popular You Should See Me in a Crown. —SM

Out July 6