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    15 Books Centering Around Queer Joy To Pick Up This International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia

    Fifteen books of all different genres to read if you're in need of some queer joy this International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia!

    1. The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters

    Interlude Press / Via interludepress.com

    About: Comic-book nerd Wesley 'Wes' Hudson has been pining after his best friend, Nico, for as long as he can remember, and with the two of them heading off to separate colleges in a month, the time to confess his true feelings is running out. To make matters worse, Wes' dream job at his beloved safe space and local used book store, Once Upon a Page, is put at risk when a coffeeshop franchise shows interest in buying the space. And to top it all off, his older brother, who he cannot stand, has enlisted him to help with wedding planning. When newly 18-year-old Wes is confronted with all of these adult issues, will he be able to show up for the challenge? Julian Winters' third young adult novel absolutely delivers with a hopeful story full of life, love, and laughter with an effortlessly youthful and diverse cast of characters at the center of it all. 

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    2. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

    macmillan publishers / Via us.macmillan.com

    About: Despite never having been in a relationship herself, bisexual high school student Darcy Phillips has been running a successful anonymous relationship advice service out of a locker at her school for some time with no one discovering her identity — until Alexander Brougham. When he catches Darcy in the act of collecting letters from the widely-known locker 89, Brougham, who Darcy already loathes, blackmails her with the promise to keep her identity a secret in exchange for helping him win back his ex (at a generous hourly rate, anyway). The more time she spends with Brougham, the more Darcy finds there is to like about him, and the more confused she becomes about her own validity as bisexual and part of the queer community. This heartwarming enemies-to-lovers romcom about finding yourself in the midst of finding first love spits in the face of biphobes everywhere, and the story and characters are bound to stick with you long after you've finished.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    3. The Guncle by Steven Rowley

    Penguin Random House / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    About: Patrick, aka Gay Uncle Patrick, or GUP for short, is a self-centered former sitcom star who has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant, despite never having spent any real alone time with them. He is used to spending time with his niece and nephew in small doses, so when his brother heads to rehab after the death of his wife and decides that Patrick is the most qualified person to care for his kids, Patrick himself couldn't disagree more. Despite having a set of "Guncle Rules" ready to go, Patrick couldn't be more unprepared to deal with two grieving children under the age of 10. He must quickly learn to adjust his lifestyle and make room for his family, and the aging Hollywood star may learn just how much life has to offer him when he drops the cynicism and faces life head-on. 

    The Guncle is an adult contemporary that will resonate with anyone who has experienced grief, but will not leave you feeling sad. This book has so many beautiful moments and great lessons, and twice as many laughs — I dare you not to smile while reading it.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    4. Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales Edited by Ashley Herring Blake & Rebecca Podos

    Hachette Book Group / Via hachettebookgroup.com

    About: Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales is a young adult anthology that collects 15 short stories by bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming young adult authors. Each tale reimagines a popular trope in the romance genre, all with a fresh take, many of which star LGBTQ+ characters of varying identities. From contemporary to fantasy to sci-fi, there's a story in this one for any and every lover of the romance genre, and the stories are each sure to leave you with those warm and fuzzy feels you've come to expect from the genre.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    5. We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan edited by Ellis Martin and Zach Ozma

    nightboat books / Via nightboat.org

    About: Drawn from the meticulously-kept journals of arguably the first openly gay trans man to publicly medically transition, these journals follow Lou Sullivan through his early years of confusion and gender dysphoria living as a young girl in the '60s all the way to his death of AIDS in 1991. So much of what Sullivan grapples with still resonates today: his anxieties of fitting into the queer community as a gay trans man, the medical gatekeeping he is subjected to throughout his transition, and most of all, the love and acceptance he finds and creates for others within the community. It could be argued that Sullivan's story is a sad one, but I'd fight tooth and nail to say it's not — he carved out his place in history as a gay man, and over 30 years after his death, gay trans men are fighting for their rights out in the open, because of Lou and others like him.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    6. Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

    macmillan publishers / Via us.macmillan.com

    About: When Wallace Price only sees one person at his funeral, he's in utter disbelief, but when that person, Mei, turns out to be a Reaper tasked with taking him to the afterlife, he starts to believe he may actually be dead. Instead of taking him directly to the afterlife, Mei guides Wallace to a small village with an odd little home/teashop called Charon's Crossing, run by a man named Hugo, who is supposed to help guide Wallace to his next phase of existence. When confronted with death, Wallace realizes how little he really lived, and how much he still has left to do. With Hugo's help, he starts to finally learn everything he missed out on in life. When a powerful being called The Manager arrives at Charon's Crossing and gives Wallace only one week to cross over into an afterlife unknown to himself and to Hugo, he sets out to live the rest of his life in only seven days.

    This adult fantasy was pitched as "a comedy about grief," and that's exactly what it reads as. This book is beautiful, quirky, and heartfelt with an incredibly pure achillean romance at the center of it all.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    7. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

    Source Books / Via read.sourcebooks.com

    About: Luc O'Donnell has never met his father, a famous rockstar who has been in and out of rehab for the past 20 years and is finally returning to the public eye, and managing to drag Luc right back there with him. When the paparazzi snaps a photo of Luc in a compromising position, it puts Luc's job at risk, leaving him to decide he needs to clean up his image by finding a nice, normal relationship. Enter Oliver Blackwood, the nicest and most normal person Luc knows. Oliver is a barrister, a vegetarian, and has never done anything even nearing scandal-worthy in his life. The only problem is, apart from being queer and in need of a date for an upcoming event, the two have nothing in common, so they strike up a deal to fake-date for the cameras until Luc's image is fixed, after which they have agreed to go their separate ways. But when the fake-dating stops feeling so fake, and Luc and Oliver start to let down their walls around each other, they may find they have more in common than they'd have ever thought. Chock-full of cheesy romance tropes and endlessly witty dialogue, Boyfriend Material is the fake-dating rom-com we all need in our lives.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    8. There Are Trans People Here by H. Melt

    Haymarket Books / Via haymarketbooks.org

    About: Coming in at exactly 100 pages, There Are Trans People Here is a short but powerful collection of poems honoring transgender people of the past, present, and future fighting for trans liberation. Melt's writing manages to be simultaneously heart-wrenching and hopeful, and this collection is a beautiful ode to the love and power of the queer and trans community.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    9. Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

    Harper Collins Canada / Via harpercollins.ca

    About: This debut adult contemporary follows 23-year-old artist, Andrea Morales, who ran away from her strict Midwestern Catholic parents to make a life for herself in the lesbian community in Portland, Oregon. One night, hurting from a bad breakup and a friend's betrayal, Andrea hooks up with a man for the first time and finds herself pregnant. Despite the concern expressed by her close-knit group of friends, Andrea decides to go through with having the baby. A decade later, Andrea's daughter Lucia begins asking questions about the father she's never known, and Andrea is forced to confront a past she had hoped she left behind forever. Stray City is a heartwarming story of chosen family and of finding yourself in queer community that'll make you feel homesick for Portland whether you've been there or not.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    10. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

    Penguin Random House / Via penguinrandomhouse.ca

    About: It's 2002, and 19-year-old Juliet Milagros Palante just came out to her family, and is subsequently fleeing the Bronx for Portland, Oregon, fearing that her mother may never speak to her again. Despite her life being a mess, Juliet has a plan to figure out her identity as a Puerto Rican lesbian — she is going to intern with the author of her favorite book, Harlowe Brisbane, a queer feminist author who seemingly knows everything Juliet longs to learn. Except she's white, and not from the Bronx, and she definitely doesn't know everything Juliet hoped she would. With her only real plan not panning out how she thought it would, will one summer be enough for Juliet to figure out who she really is, all on her own? Is that even possible? 

    This character-driven YA has so much to say about finding yourself and fighting for what's right, about the importance of finding community, especially for those of intersecting identities; Juliet, being a queer person of color, truly finds herself in BIPOC spaces where she really feels seen and ultimately less alone. This book is something special, and I think we can all find a bit of belonging in it.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    11. A Star Is Bored by Byron Lane

    macmillan publishers / Via us.macmillan.com

    About: Charlie Besson's life isn't going how he'd planned. He is at the end of his rope with his job working the night shift as a news writer, and he can't even stand the men he sleeps with to escape. When the job as an assistant to award-winning actress and best-selling author Kathi Kannon all but falls into his lap, Charlie jumps at the opportunity to find a purpose through Kathi. As time goes on and Kathi's problems begin to take center stage in Charlie's life, he must decide if he really wants to play the role of assistant for himself as well, or if it's time to step out of his comfort zone and take the leading role in his own life. A Star Is Bored is a beautiful, fun story based partly on the author's own time as personal assistant to the late Carrie Fisher. It doesn't shy away from the tough topics, but is sure to leave you feeling hopeful about the future.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    12. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

    Hachette Children's Group / Via hachettechildrens.co.uk

    About: Recently adapted into a popular Netflix series, this graphic novel is the first of four following Charlie Spring, a year 10 student at Truham Grammar School for Boys. Charlie was outed in year 9 and is just trying to get by this year, happy to finally not be bullied. Nick Nelson, a popular rugby player in year 11, is the last person Charlie thought he'd be friends with, and he knows he's the last person Charlie should be falling for, too, because Nick is straight, and they'll never be more than friends. Right?

    This young adult graphic novel based on Oseman's webcomic is just as fun and heartwarming as the TV series! The books are very quick reads with adorable art and are guaranteed to have you reaching for the next one as soon as you close the first book!

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    13. Care Of by Ivan Coyote

    Penguin Random House / Via penguinrandomhouse.ca

    About: Canadian writer and performer Ivan Coyote has spent decades on the road, and over that time has gotten a lot of communications from fans, the most special of which he compiled into a file, untouched until the spring of 2020. Isolated due to a global pandemic, with all events with the promise of a live audience suddenly and abruptly cancelled, Coyote made room for a different kind of connection with fans, and these letters that were put off for so long finally had the time to be answered. Care Of is a collection of the most powerful of these letters followed up with Coyote's responses, allowing for Coyote's most vulnerable and honest collection yet.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    14. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

    macmillan publishers / Via us.macmillan.com

    About: This young adult contemporary follows Alice, a 19-year-old college student who would like to think she has it all figured out — she has a wonderful summer planned with her friends and a part-time job at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing Alice feels like she's missing is her girlfriend, who ended things when she found out Alice was asexual, leaving her to swear off romance going forward. But when Alice meets and befriends Takumi, she can't stop thinking about him, and will have to decide if confessing her feelings for him is worth risking their friendship for a love that may not even be understood. Let's Talk About Love is a heartwarming story with an asexual and biromantic lead learning to love herself for everything she is, and to accept love from others. This gem of a book belongs on your TBR. 

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.

    15. Chef's Kiss by TJ Alexander

    Simon & Schuster / Via simonandschuster.com

    About: Simone Larkspur has her dream job — a pastry expert working for the popular cookbook publisher, The Discerning Chef. She should be happy, but instead of developing the perfect sourdough recipe like she had hoped, her new job keeps throwing her new and bizarre challenges. Their newest request thrusts Simone into the spotlight when they decide to make a video cookbook, and she couldn't be less thrilled to be failing at something for the first time in her life. As if things couldn't get any worse, Simone is forced to work with bright and cheery kitchen manager, Ray Lyton, whose sunny attitude she immediately can't stand. When Ray accidentally becomes a viral internet sensation after posting a series of home-brewing videos, their editor in chief forces Simone to work side-by-side with Ray or risk losing her job. Despite her initial reluctance, Simone finds herself warming up to Ray (and maybe even falling for them?) the more time they spend together, so when Ray comes out as nonbinary at work to mixed reactions, Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who may have won her heart. 

    Chef's Kiss is a fun adult contemporary queer rom-com with a perfectly executed grumpy/sunshine trope and a wonderful story about finding your people (and your person) at its core. Highly recommend this one.

    Get it from Bookshop or from your local indie bookstore via Indiebound here.