Forthcoming books for adults highlight an array of queer experiences through memoir, history, and fiction that conveys larger truths.

Fair Play

Katie Barnes. St. Martin’s, Sept.

Three-time GLAAD Award nominee Barnes covers the intersection of sports and gender for ESPN. Their debut expands on their reporting by tracing the history of women’s sports from the passage of Title IX to the present-day controversy surrounding trans athletes, which calls into question the rules surrounding the separation of sports competition by sex.

Family Meal

Bryan Washington. Riverhead, Oct.

Washington, a Lambda Literary Award winner and National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree, explores grief, estrangement, addiction, and friendship in his latest. The novel follows two young gay men—Cam, who returns to Houston after the death of his partner Kai, and TJ,
Cam’s childhood best friend—as they struggle to regain each other’s trust and heal.

The Gulf

Rachel Cochran. Harper, June

Set in a small, religious town on the gulf coast of Texas in the 1970s, this debut literary thriller revolves around secrets and forbidden love. Lou, a closeted 29-year-old woman, is grieving her brother’s death in the Vietnam War when the elderly surrogate mother whose house she’s renovating is murdered. When the woman’s daughter—Lou’s first love—returns to take over the house, the town’s dark history comes to light.

Horse Barbie

Geena Rocero. Dial, May

As a teen in the 1990s, trans activist and filmmaker Rocero competed in popular Filipino trans beauty pageants where her competitors called her a “horse Barbie” because of her height and ponytail. Her memoir reclaims the taunt as she tells her story of moving from Miss Gay Universe in the Philippines to a closeted model in New York before recovering her sense of self.

Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew From It

Greg Marshall. Abrams, June

Marshall traces his experience coming out of two closets—first as gay, and much later, as having cerebral palsy—in this comedic memoir. Growing up, Marshall’s parents told him his limp was caused by “tight tendons”; he didn’t learn about his actual diagnosis until he was almost 30. Amid stories of serving as inspirational fodder for his mom’s weekly newspaper column and crushing on Utah Jazz players, Marshall comes to terms with his disability.

Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go

Cleo Qian. Tin House, Aug.

This debut collection of speculative short stories by Pushcart nominee Qian focuses on Asian and Asian American female characters who grapple with unmet queer desire and the ways technology interferes in their lives. What unites the 11 stories, which travel from L.A. to the virtual world of a dating simulation app to China and Japan, is the characters’ yearning for their lives to change.

Mrs. S

K Patrick. Europa, June

The narrator of Patrick’s debut is a butch Australian woman who has started a new job as the matron of an elite English boarding school for girls. Over the course of a summer, she navigates her desire for the eponymous headmaster’s wife. “Patrick wrings the exotic world of privilege for all that it’s worth,” per PW’s review.

Open Throat

Henry Hoke. MCD, June

Hoke follows his 2022 memoir, Sticker, with an experimental novel that gives voice to a queer mountain lion in Los Angeles as they seek to sate their hunger. “The economical prose reads like poetry, with enjambment in place of punctuation and frequent paragraph breaks,” according to PW’s review. “By turns funny and melancholy, this is a thrilling portrait of alienation.”

A Part of the Heart Can’t Be Eaten

Tristan Taormino. Duke Univ., Sept.

Sex educator and Lambda Literary Award–winning anthology editor Taormino’s memoir recounts her upbringing split between her single mother’s home on Long Island during the school year and summers in Provincetown, Mass., with her father, who came out as gay in the 1970s. She traces her coming-of-age, her grief over losing her father to AIDS in the 1990s, and the early days of her career in the queer sexual subculture.

Sammy Espinoza’s Last Review

Tehlor Kay Mejia. Dell, July

The middle grade and YA author, whose most recent book is the YA fantasy Lucha of the Night Forest, makes her adult debut with a bisexual rom-com. Music critic Sammy’s career is in peril after she used her column to try to save her doomed relationship with an “indie-rock goddess.” In the breakup’s aftermath, she returns to her hometown and reconnects with her teenage crush, a rock star named Max who is rumored to be releasing a solo album.

The Splinter in the Sky

Kemi Ashing-Giwa. Saga, July

Stanford paleobiology PhD student Ashing-Giwa debuts with a space opera set on the planet Gondwana, which is experiencing a fragile peace. The story centers on Enitan, a tea specialist and scribe who lives in a colonized province. With her lover Ajana assassinated by imperial agents and her nonbinary older sibling kidnapped, Enitan embarks on a rescue mission.

Survival Takes a Wild Imagination

Fariha Roísín. Andrews McMeel, Oct.

Roísín, a queer Bangladeshi Muslim, returns to poetry after her 2020 novel, Like a Bird, and her 2022 nonfiction title, Who Is Wellness For?Her new collection takes a hopeful approach to topics including generational trauma, self-love, and freedom, while also exploring her intersecting identities.

To Name the Bigger Lie

Sarah Viren. Scribner, June

Viren had intended to focus this memoir on her high school philosophy teacher, a man who taught his students to question everything and dabbled in conspiracy theories. She wanted to ruminate on truth and lies, and who can be hoodwinked. Then, her wife—like her, a professor—was falsely accused of sexual misconduct, derailing Viren’s reality and complicating her project. PW’s starred review called it “breathtaking stuff.”

We Set the Night on Fire

Martha Shelley. Chicago Review, June

Cofounder of the Gay Liberation Front Shelley explores her life in activism in this memoir. Raised during the McCarthy era in New York City, Shelley came out as a lesbian in the 1960s, when doing so was illegal. She writes of becoming a public speaker for the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights group in the U.S., and later organizing the first gay march in response to Stonewall, and taking part in the Lavender Menace group.

With Bloom upon Them and Also with Blood

Justin Phillip Reed. Coffee House, Oct.

Reed won a National Book Award and a Lambda Literary Award for his 2018 poetry collection Indecency. His latest melds poetry and essays to explore his encounters with horror cinema and cultural iconography as a queer Black Southerner in gore-filled meditations on alienation, perversion, and disillusionment.

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