July 20, 2018 at 9:32 am EST | by Grace Perry
Page turners for the beach or pool
summer books, gay news, Washington Blade

Stuck in the summer doldrums? Here are some of the best LGBT books from 2018 to pull you out.

If you loved this spring’s blockbuster, “Love, Simon,” you should read its sequel, “Leah on the Offbeat,” (April; 368 pg.) in which author Becky Albertalli offers readers a deep dive into Simon’s best friend Leah, as she struggles with her body image, self-esteem and sexuality. On top of her personal issues, her tight-knit group of friends also starts to fracture, and things get even more complicated when Leah realizes she may like one of her friends as more than just a friend.

In “Let’s Talk About Love” (January; 308 pg.), Claire Kann tackles the stigma and misunderstanding faced by the asexual community. Kann tells the story of Alice — a college student who’s heartbroken and done with dating after her girlfriend breaks up with her after finding out she’s asexual. However, Alice is forced to revisit her prior condemnation of love when she meets Takumi, a boy who gives her butterflies in her stomach again.

“Sodom Road Exit” (April; 404 pg.), the second novel by Lambda Literary Award winner Amber Dawn, explores Starla Martin’s confrontation with the unresolved traumas of her past after she drops out of college and returns home to Crystal Beach and an overbearing mother. Though the novel may appear at first like a conventional paranormal thriller, “Sodom Road Exit” is far from it. Featuring a queer ghost story, mother-daughter complexities and authentic, raw portrayals of mental illness, the novel brings nuance to the horror genre.  

Camille Perri, author of “The Assistants,” tackles the pervasive societal taboo surrounding female pleasure in her new book “When Katie Met Cassidy” (June; 272 pg.). Katie has her life together; between her wonderful fiancé and successful law career in New York City, she is proud of the person she’s become since leaving her hometown in Kentucky. However, her entire world is turned on its head when her fiancé leaves her and she subsequently agrees to a drink with Cassidy, one of her coworkers. She and Cassidy quickly form a relationship that calls into question everything Katie thought she knew about sex and love. 

In her debut novel, “Little Fish,” (May; 320 pg.) Lambda Literary Award-winner Casey Plett tells the story of Wendy Reimer, a 30-year-old trans woman who comes across evidence that her grandfather may have been trans too. At first, Wendy sets this revelation aside, but as her life continues to unravel, she turns to her grandfather’s story and becomes determined to reveal the truth. 

Uzodinma Iweala takes you into the complicated life of a privileged boy forced to live in the closet in “Speak No Evil” (March; 207 pg.). Set in Washington, D.C., Niru lives a charmed life by most standards; he has attentive parents, attends a prestigious private school and is all set to attend Harvard in the fall. However, he has been forced to remain in the closet for fear of rejection by his Nigerian parents. Unfortunately, his parents eventually discover his secret and the fallout is brutal. The story traces Niru’s journey as he attempts to regain control of his life and redirect his future. 

Jordy Rosenberg queers a historical figure — notorious English thief Jack Sheppard — in his new novel, “Confessions of a Fox” (June; 352 pg.). The book chronicles the journey of Dr. Voth, a trans college professor, who turns up a previously undiscovered biography of Sheppard, which reveals that he was also trans. The biography further details Sheppard’s life including his love affair with a sex worker and criminal history but also his liberation, self-discovery and coming of age. Set in 18th century London, “Confessions of a Fox” reimagines the infamous Jack Sheppard and tells the story of queer love and liberation.   

“Paper is White” (February; 318 pg.) tells a familiar tale — a queer wedding with a snag — with an unfamiliar twist. Set in the 1990s in the Bay Area, Ellen and her girlfriend decide to get married, but Ellen realizes she can’t get married without first telling her grandmother. Only problem is, her grandmother is dead. In her debut novel, Hilary Zaid explores the dilemma between looking back at the past and setting forward into the future. 

If you believe you’ve seen everything worth seeing in D.C., think again. With her new book, “111 Places in Washington That You Must Not Miss,” (June; 240 pg.) Andrea Seiger invites tourists and locals alike to discover often overlooked District gems. Having lived in D.C. for the last 30 years, Seiger brings an expertise and passion to the book only a resident could. This off-the-beaten-path guide will offer new places to explore in the final month of summer and even more reasons to love the city. 

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