reading room

Twinks from hell, con artist lesbians & guncles who’ll make you ugly cry: 12 books to devour this Pride Month

banned books

You know what they say. Reading is fundamental – especially during Pride Month!

Anyone whose ever been in their Reading Era knows there is nothing quite like pouring a glass of red (or white!), cozying up on the couch, and cracking open a new book.

And with so many books out there, we felt it was our duty to find the gayest books of all for you to enjoy this June (and beyond). Whether you’re in the mood for a totally unhinged student/professor romance, a hilarious whodunit with lesbians galore, or a heartbreaking coming of age that details what it’s like to be Black and LGBTQ, Queerty‘s got plenty of recommendations to help you discover your next great read.

So go ahead. Fill your bookshelf with these 12 queer-centric books, most of which are written by LGBTQ authors…

Fiction

The book that will fill the Saltburn-sized hole in your heart: Providence by Craig Willse

The Plot: Mark Lausson has everything he thought he wanted: a coveted job at elite Sawyer College in Ohio. But at the start of his second year, stuck in a small town with deadlines piling up and paychecks falling short, Mark can already feel the fantasy crumbling. 

And then, a few weeks in, sophomore Tyler Cunningham shows up in class. In Tyler—confident, mysterious, and popular—Mark glimpses another way of being in the world. He finds Tyler’s self-possession both compelling and unsettling. Caught in the rush of sex and secrets, Mark ignores the increasing evidence that Tyler can’t be trusted. But by the time Mark comes to his senses, the irreparable damage is done. 

What readers are saying: “Willse’s writing style is captivating and provocative, drawing readers into this complicated relationship and building tense narrative moments with dynamic and intriguing dialogues. Definitely, a must-read!” – André Segurado on Goodreads

The whodunit that has sisterly love, fake spirit mediums, and lesbians: Spitting Gold by Carmella Lowkis

The Plot: Paris, 1866. When Baroness Sylvie Devereux receives a house call from Charlotte Mothe, the sister she disowned, she fears her shady past as a spirit medium has caught up with her. But with their father ill and Charlotte unable to pay his bills, Sylvie is persuaded into one last con.

Their marks are the de Jacquinots: dysfunctional aristocrats who believe they are haunted by their great aunt, brutally murdered during the French Revolution.

The scheme underway, the sisters deploy every trick to terrify the family out of their gold. But when inexplicable horrors start to happen to them too, the duo question whether they really are at the mercy of a vengeful spirit. And what other deep, dark secrets may come to light?

What readers are saying: “Told from each sister’s perspective, the story unravels to reveal the tricks of their trade, each character’s different points of view and the unexplainable acts that are out of their control. A fast paced well written debut that mixes mystery, sapphic romance and family bonds in a gothic atmosphere.” – APH on Amazon

“Highly suspenseful with spooky spirits, this novel is perfect for lovers of historical fiction who want a story driven by strong female characters.” – Chella Thornton on Goodreads

For the one who is jaded about love but also a hopeless romantic: Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly

The Plot: It’s been a year since his ex-boyfriend dumped him and moved from Auckland to Buenos Aires, and Valdin is doing fine. He has a good flat with his sister Greta, a good career where his colleagues only occasionally remind him that he is the sole Maaori person in the office, and a good friend who he only sleeps with when he’s sad. But when work sends him to Argentina and he’s thrown back in his former lover’s orbit, Valdin is forced to confront the feelings he’s been trying to ignore—and the future he wants.

Greta is not letting her painfully unrequited crush (or her possibly pointless master’s thesis, or her pathetic academic salary…) get her down. She would love to focus on the charming fellow grad student she meets at a party and her friendships with a circle of similarly floundering twenty-somethings, but her chaotic family life won’t stop intruding: her mother is keeping secrets, her nephew is having a gay crisis, and her brother has suddenly flown to South America without a word.

What readers are saying: “What a showstopping debut!! I absolutely loved this story about two queer siblings and their eccentric Māori-Russian-Catalonian family. It’s a hard task to write a novel that makes you laugh out loud throughout but also makes you cry and also makes you think. Rebecca K. Reilly makes it look effortless.” -CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian on Goodreads

“I could go on all day about this smart and funny debut novel.” – Claire on Goodreads

The gay, erotic fantasy that will have you traveling through time: The Emperor and the Endless Palace by by Justinian Huang 

The Plot: In the year 4 BCE, an ambitious courtier is called upon to seduce the young emperor—but quickly discovers they are both ruled by blood, sex and intrigue.

In 1740, a lonely innkeeper agrees to help a mysterious visitor procure a rare medicine, only to unleash an otherworldly terror instead.

And in present-day Los Angeles, a college student meets a beautiful stranger and cannot shake the feeling they’ve met before.

Across these seemingly unrelated timelines woven together only by the twists and turns of fate, two men are reborn, lifetime after lifetime. Within the treacherous walls of an ancient palace and the boundless forests of the Asian wilderness to the heart-pounding cement floors of underground rave scenes, our lovers are inexplicably drawn to each other, constantly tested by the worlds around them.

As their many lives intertwine, they begin to realize the power of their undying love—a power that transcends time itself…but one that might consume them both.

What readers are saying: “Weaving three timelines together and examining sex, obsession, and the all-consuming nature of love, Justinian Huang’s The Emperor and the Endless Palace is a triumph of a queer Asian fantasy story that is as compelling as it is expansive.” – Lance on Goodreads

“This was some of the most erotic, lusty reincarnation stories I have read to date AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!” – ivanareadsalot on Goodreads

The heartwarming book that literally every gay uncle needs to read: The Guncle by Steven Rowley

The Plot: Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is, honestly, overwhelmed.

So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick’s brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of “Guncle Rules” ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled acting career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting–even if temporary–isn’t solved with treats and jokes, Patrick’s eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you’re unfailingly human.

And bonus alert! When you finish The Guncle, check out it’s sequel, The Guncle Abroad.

What readers are saying: “Laugh out loud funny, heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Without a doubt, my favorite book I’ve read so far in 2024.” – Gabi on Amazon

“Steve Rowley has written such a wonderful book which is such a breath of fresh air that gives you hope for all that life has to offer. It is funny, it’s heartbreaking, it’s stylish and it’s clever. But most of all it’s joyous. The comedy is off the charts funny, but the insights he has are so profound and moving.” – SebFox on Amazon

The Veronica Mars-esque LGBTQ mystery that’s equal parts funny and suspenseful: Devil’s Chew Toy by Rob Osler

The Plot: Seattle teacher and part-time blogger Hayden McCall wakes sporting one hell of a shiner, with the police knocking at his door. It seems that his new crush, dancer Camilo Rodriguez, has gone missing and they suspect foul play. What happened the night before? And where is Camilo?

Determined to find answers, pint-sized, good-hearted Hayden seeks out two of Camilo’s friends—Hollister and Burley—both lesbians and both fiercely devoted to their friend. From them, Hayden learns that Camilo is a “Dreamer” whose parents had been deported years earlier, and whose sister, Daniela, is presumed to have returned to Venezuela with them. Convinced that the cops won’t take a brown boy’s disappearance seriously, the girls join Hayden’s hunt for Camilo. 

The first clues turn up at Barkingham Palace, a pet store where Camilo had taken a part-time job. The store’s owner, Della Rupert, claims ignorance, but Hayden knows something is up. And then there’s Camilo’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan, who’s suddenly grown inexplicably wealthy. When Hayden and Hollister follow Ryan to a secure airport warehouse, they make a shocking connection between him and Della—and uncover the twisted scheme that’s made both of them rich.

The trail of clues leads them to the grounds of a magnificent estate on an island in Puget Sound, where they’ll finally learn the truth about Camilo’s disappearance—and the fate of his family.

What readers are saying: “If you are a fan of suberb writing, fast-paced plotting, and vibrant characters, you should read this book.” – Kindle Reader SNGriff on Amazon

“It was so good to read a queer book that is not either young adult high school drama or adult steamy romance or some really depressive tragedy stuff. This book is a cozy mystery thriller just like the ones you can buy everywhere. But with queer characters.” – Andreas on Goodreads 

The one that’s basically a gay Court of Thorns and Roses: Fractured Souls by Ava Marie Salinger

The Plot: When Cassius Black moves to San Francisco for a fresh start, the angel’s hopes of staying below the radar of the supernatural organizations that oversee the otherworldly and magic users in the city are dashed when he stumbles across a dead body in the sewers. His grim discovery soon puts him in the sights of the Argonaut Agency and Francis Strickland, the bureau director who knows his darkest secrets.

Morgan King and his team of Argonaut agents have been on the hunt all summer for the culprits behind a series of gruesome killings that have rocked the city. Killings that bear sinister hallmarks of human sacrificial rituals where the victims’ souls have been stolen. When Fate puts Cassius in Morgan’s path, he realizes the angel everyone likes to call The Devil may very well be the only person who can help them track down the murderers.

Morgan and Cassius soon find themselves crossing paths with a mysterious warlock whose actions evoke disturbing echoes of an incident from Cassius’s past. Cassius and Morgan must work together to defeat their common enemy and save the city from destruction, all while fighting their growing attraction.

What readers are saying: “The romance between Cassius and Morgan is explicit, so this book is definitely for fans of urban fantasy romance; if you prefer clean romances or no romance at all, Fractured Souls may not be for you.” -Jen on Goodreads

The coming-of-age queer novel that will pierce your heart: Blessings by Chukwuebuka Ibeh 

The Plot: Obiefuna has always been the black sheep of his family—sensitive where his father, Anozie, is pragmatic, a dancer where his brother, Ekene, is a natural athlete. But when Obiefuna’s father witnesses an intimate moment between his teenage son and another boy, his deepest fears are confirmed, and Obiefuna is banished to boarding school.

As he navigates his new school’s strict hierarchy and unpredictable violence, Obiefuna both finds and hides who he truly is. Back home, his mother, Uzoamaka, must contend with the absence of her beloved son, her husband’s cryptic reasons for sending him away, and the hard truths that they’ve all been hiding from. As Nigeria teeters on the brink of criminalizing same-sex relationships, Obiefuna’s identity becomes more dangerous than ever before, and the life he wants drifts further out of reach.

What readers are saying: “Wow, I didn’t stop reading until the very last page. I just couldn’t stop until I had consumed every last word… Queer Nigerians will especially relate to how Obiefuna felt.” – Diamond-Hope Kingston on Goodreads

“This coming-of-age novel offers incredible nuance… and pain.” – Darkowaa on Goodreads

The queer, supernatural rom-com with an asexual, Black heroine: Looking for Love in All the Haunted Places by Claire Kann

The Plot: Lucky Hart has a special affinity for the supernatural but almost no one takes parapsychology seriously. She’s estranged from her family, lost her friends, and has been rejected from graduate school. Twice. But her big break finally arrives when she gets insider info about a troubled production company. Every actor on their new show mysteriously quits after spending three nights inside Hennessee House, an old Victorian with a notorious reputation.

After scheming her way onto the show to investigate, Lucky meets Maverick Phillips and chemistry instantly crackles between them. He tempts her in ways no one ever has, challenging and supporting her, and making her finally feel seen. Their connection is so palpable everyone notices it–including Hennesee House.

Now Lucky and Maverick’s relationship has a challenger: the lonely, sentient house desperate for her undivided attention. As love begins to clash with career, Lucky refuses to choose one over the other because everyone deserves a happily ever after, even houses with haunted hearts. But when all her plans begin backfiring one-by-one, she realizes that if she wants to have it all? She’ll have to risk everything.

What readers are saying: “I want to cry with how much I loved this book. I honestly want to read it again, even though I just finished it. The characters are amazing and well thought out. The whole concept of the house was weird at first but I genuinely loved it.” – Sarah Gerkin on Goodreads

“The balance between the paranormal and the romance was fairly even and I love how those two plot point effected each other. It was fun and.. the asexuality rep was fantastic and eye-opening to those maybe a little less informed about the different experiences within the asexual community.” – Claire C on Goodreads

Non-Fiction

The book that’ll teach you about LGBTQ+ history, through the lens of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Legendary Children by Tom Fitzgerald & Lorenzo Marquez 

About the Book: Legendary Children centers itself around the idea that not only is RuPaul’s Drag Race the queerest show in the history of television, but that RuPaul and company devised a show that serves as an actual museum of queer cultural and social history, drawing on queer traditions and the work of legendary figures going back nearly a century.

In doing so, Drag Race became not only a repository of queer history and culture, but also an examination and illustration of queer life in the modern age. It is a snapshot of how LGBTQ folks live, struggle, work, and reach out to one another–and how they always have–and every bit of it is tied directly to Drag Race.

Each chapter is an examination of a specific aspect of the show–the Werk Room, the Library, the Pit Crew, the runway, the Untucked lounge, the Snatch Game–that ties to a specific aspect of queer cultural history and/or the work of certain legendary figures in queer cultural history.

What readers are saying: “I just finished reading this book, and sobbing my way through half of it. So much I didn’t know. As an LGBTQ ally who has lived through the worst of the AIDS epidemic, I’ve seen the bravery and humanity of the LGBTQ community first hand. But I had no idea of all the people who came before. And all the people yet to come. This is a beautifully researched book.” M. Hudon on Amazon

“This book taught me so much about LGBTQ herstory and I found myself going to the internet to look up images, pages and videos of the many people discussed in this one.” – Elizabeth on Goodreads

The memoir that belongs on the front page: Another Word for Love by Carvell Wallace

About the Book: In Another Word for Love, Carvell Wallace excavates layers of his own history, situated in the struggles and beauty of growing up Black and queer in America.

Wallace is an award-winning journalist who has built his career on writing unforgettable profiles, bringing a provocative and engaged sensitivity to his subjects. Now he turns the focus on himself, examining his own life and the circumstances that frame it―to make sense of seeking refuge from homelessness with a young single mother, living in a ghostly white Pennsylvania town, becoming a partner and parent, raising two teenagers in what feels like a collapsing world.

With courage, vulnerability, and a remarkable expansiveness of spirit―not to mention a thrilling, and unrivaled, storytelling verve―Another Word for Love makes an irresistible case for life, healing, the fullness of our humanity, and, of course, love. It could be called a theory of life itself―a theory of being that will leave you open to the wonder of the world.

What readers are saying: “A memoir as a series of essays, themed around the experience of love in all forms—familial love as a child, a partner, and a parent, friendship, romantic love, sex, self love, loss and grief. Occasionally meandering, ultimately quite beautiful.” – Audrey on Amazon

“I raced through Carvel Wallace’s miraculous, courageous memoir and then slowed down, not wanting it to end. I learned so much from Wallace: how he survived a difficult childhood and discovered how to heal; what our society puts boys and men through, at everyone’s expense; and so much about love in all its forms.” – Piper on Goodreads

The book that will make you a queer history buff: A Place of Our Own: Six Spaces That Shaped Queer Women’s Culture by June Thomas

About the Book: For as long as queer women have existed, they’ve created gathering grounds where they can be themselves. From the intimate darkness of the lesbian bar to the sweaty camaraderie of the softball field, these spaces aren’t a luxury—they’re a necessity for queer women defining their identities. In A Place of Our Own, journalist June Thomas invites readers into six iconic lesbian spaces over the course of the last sixty years, including the rural commune, the sex toy boutique, the vacation spot, and the feminist bookstore.

Thomas blends her own experiences with archival research and rare interviews with pioneering figures like Elaine Romagnoli, Susie Bright, and Jacqueline Woodson. She richly illustrates the lives of the business owners, entrepreneurs, activists, and dreamers who shaped the long struggle for queer liberation. Thomas illuminates what is gained and lost in the shift from the exclusive, tight-knit women’s spaces of the ’70s toward today’s more inclusive yet more diffuse LGBTQ+ communities.

What readers are saying: “I liked that the book emphasized how queer owned or queer focused spaces, particularly those for lesbians, trans, and non-binary individuals, face unique challenges on top of those (that) others face. The book helps to preserve their histories, how they’ve evolved, and the impacts these spaces had and continue to have. Similarly, I think Thomas did a good job highlighting the class and racial disparities that impacted how lesbians interacted with these institutions, whether it be ability to enter a bar or playing on a softball team.” – Elizabeth Sanders on Goodreads

What books will you be reading this Pride? Share more recommendations in the comments…

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated