Reading Room

‘Yes, Daddy’…and 9 other wonderful queer books to enjoy at the beach this summer

via Shutterstock

If you haven’t stepped into a bookstore in the past couple of years, you’re not alone. You are, however, missing out on a period of time where the shelves are overflowing with new, diverse, excellent queer books releasing week after week, for readers of all ages and identities.

Find here the top ten queer books we think you should bring to the beach this summer – some that’ll have you saying “I wish I’d had this book when I was in high school,” and some that no high schooler should ever be caught reading.

All of the titles mentioned here landed on shelves in the first half of 2021 and are available now.

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[tps_header] [caption id="attachment_586097" align="alignnone" width="670"] via Shutterstock[/caption]

If you haven’t stepped into a bookstore in the past couple of years, you’re not alone. You are, however, missing out on a period of time where the shelves are overflowing with new, diverse, excellent queer books releasing week after week, for readers of all ages and identities.

Find here the top ten queer books we think you should bring to the beach this summer – some that’ll have you saying “I wish I’d had this book when I was in high school,” and some that no high schooler should ever be caught reading.

All of the titles mentioned here landed on shelves in the first half of 2021 and are available now.

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RISE TO THE SUN by Leah Johnson | YA

Last year, Leah Johnson’s debut You Should See Me in a Crown, a Midwest prom-com with a queer, Black girl in the lead, was the first-ever YA pick for Reese’s Book Club. Her follow-up is an emotional, romantic YA that follows two teen girls at a life-changing music festival. Olivia and Toni are a complicated and hectic lead couple, and Leah Johnson’s writing is full of show-stopping moments that’ll make you want to dance and cry at Lalapalooza.

Available on Amazon.

INDIVISIBLE by Daniel Aleman | YA

After Mateo Garcia’s parents are arrested by ICE officers and face deportation, his life as a queer high school student with great friends, his plans to pursue acting, and the family business running the local bodega get turned upside down. Aleman pens a poignant, compulsively-readable, heartbreaking debut novel; he’s a writer who is clearly just getting started. The fast pace makes for a moving, all-too-real look into the injustice faced by immigrant families, but the writing will leave you filled with Mateo’s resilient spirit.

Available on Amazon

JAY’S GAY AGENDA by Jason June | YA

Jay Collier’s family unexpectedly moves to Seattle, where he starts his senior year at a high school with a robust LGBTQ community. If you’ve ever wished other YA books took it to the next level when it comes to what queer teens experience within their communities, this hilarious, sex-positive, coming-of-age YA will take you there…and then, probably, make you feel like you did high school wrong. (Sorry!)

Available on Amazon.

YES, DADDY by Jonathan Parks-Ramage | Adult

A 25-year-old aspiring playwright in New York seduces his middle-aged gay hero, who quickly manipulates our protagonist down a dark, messy road disguised as a glorious Hamptons vacation. Have you ever thrown a book across the room because it burned your hands? The gay Get Out has arrived. And yes, the title is said in the dialogue.

Available on Amazon.

HOLA PAPI by John Paul Brammer | Memoir

A memoir-in-essays from the popular advice columnist, Hola Papi is more than an extension of what we already know and love of Brammer’s writing – it’s an honest, hilarious, and heartfelt memoir full of hard-won insights about growing up biracial in America’s heartland, and finding (and keeping) your place in the world as a queer person.

Available on Amazon.

DETRANSITION, BABY by Torrey Peters | Adult

A sharp, unreal, and gloriously messy debut novel about three women—transgender and cisgender—whose worlds collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to face their desires and fears around gender, motherhood, and sex. Don’t pick this up unless you’re prepared to question everything about what a book should even be allowed to do. Torrey Peters’ writing is addictive and chaotic, with a gut-punch line on just about every page.

Available on Amazon.

HONEY GIRL by Morgan Rogers | New Adult/Romance

For anyone who has graduated college and entered that period of life that feels like a constant “now what?” Honey Girl follows 28-year-old Grace Porter, fresh off a demanding PhD program, learning to trust her instincts as the shiny life she’s built for herself starts to dim, and she realizes no one is going to make the hard decisions for her when it comes to “the rest of it.” Oh, and there’s also an adorable queer romance.

Available on Amazon.

THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF AIDAN S. (AS TOLD TO HIS BROTHER) by David Levithan | Middle Grade

From a founding father of queer YA (Boy Meets Boy, Two Boys Kissing) comes…a queer middle-grade novel. After Aidan disappears for six days, his brother Lucas wants to believe his impossible story about where he went, but everyone around them claims that Aidan must be lying. What unfolds is a literary middle-grade journey about truth, perspective, and fantasy. The magic of this book is in the level of experiences one reader might have compared to another. Young readers will enjoy it, and probably understand it even more, while older readers will question everything – as Aidan and Lucas learn, that’s the issue with growing up.

Available on Amazon.

LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB by Malinda Lo | YA

A young, queer, Chinese woman comes of age in San Francisco during the Red Scare of the 1950s. Lily Hu is a rule-follower, but learns to take big risks as she falls in love with her classmate, Kathleen, and they start visiting a lesbian bar together – the Telegraph Club. Malinda Lo perfectly balances the heavy history with the bittersweet coming-of-age through the eyes of a protagonist learning to live on her own terms.

Available on Amazon.

ONE LAST STOP by Casey McQuiston | Romance/New Adult

From the author of Red, White and Royal Blue, the queer, enemies-to-graphic-royal-blowjobs blockbuster of 2019, comes an early twenties, NYC, coming-of-age, wild-and-fluorescent rom-com that will have you booking a flight to New York just to ride the Q train to Coney Island. Sadly, you won’t have as much fun on the train as August and Jane do during one particular scene. But you will feel the romance, nostalgia, and picture-perfect detail that Casey McQuiston packs into every page.

Available on Amazon.

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