I skipped queertember and I’m really sorry, but now it’s queertober! No that doesn’t sound right.. octoqueer? That kinda sounds like a very weird octopus. Well, we’re just going with queertober. There were a lot of really awesome queer books coming out in September, but that’s in the past (if you want to know which ones, I can let you know in the comments!). This is about October! Spooky time! But, as far as I know, there are no spooky queer books in my selection, let’s see, shall we!
Into the Real by Z Brewer
rep: trans MC
TW: homophobia, conversion therapy, parental abuse, death, blood, gore
Three Quinns. Three realities. Three Brumes.
The first Brume is a waking nightmare, overrun by literal monsters and cutthroat survivors. For Quinn, who is openly genderqueer, the only silver lining is their friendship with Lia—and the hope that there might still be a safe place somewhere else in the world.
The second Brume is a prison with no bars. Forced to “sort out” their sexuality with other teens at Camp Redemption, Quinn must also figure out why presenting as female has never felt quite right.
The third Brume is a warzone. For Quinn, who presents as male, leading the Resistance against an authoritarian government is hard, since even the Resistance might not accept them if they knew Quinn’s truth.
As Quinn starts to realize that they might be one person alternating among these three worlds and identities, they wonder: Which world is the real one? Or do they all contain some deeper truth?
You can’t run from the monster. The monster is you.
Into the Real is out October 6
Junk Boy by Tony Abbott
rep: gay sidecharacter
Junk. That’s what the kids at school call Bobby Lang, mostly because his rundown house looks like a junkyard, but also because they want to put him down. Trying desperately to live under the radar at school—and at the home he shares with his angry, neglectful father—Bobby develops a sort of proud loneliness. The only buffer between him and the uncaring world is his love of the long, wooded trail between school and home.
Life grinds along quietly and hopelessly for Bobby until he meets Rachel. Rachel is an artist who sees him in a way no one ever has. Maybe it’s because she has her own kind of junk, and a parent who hates what Rachel is: gay. Together the two embark on journeys to clean up the messes that fill their lives, searching against all odds for hope and redemption.
Narrated in Bobby’s unique voice in arresting free verse, this novel will captivate readers right from its opening lines, urging them on page after page, all the way to its explosive conclusion.
Junk Boy is out October 13
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
rep: Vietnamese-American gay mc, Vietnamese mc, Vietnamese characters, sapphic characters
TW: cannibalism, off and on page death, murder, blood, homophobia
Real life isn’t a fairytale.
But Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through?
Is there a way to tell them he’s gay?
A beautifully illustrated story by Trung Le Nguyen that follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what—we can all have our own happy endings.
The Magic Fish is out October 13
The Shadow War by Lindsay Smith
rep: seems like all 5 MCs are queer
World War II is raging, and five teens are looking to make a mark. Daniel and Rebeka seek revenge against the Nazis who slaughtered their family; Simone is determined to fight back against the oppressors who ruined her life and corrupted her girlfriend; Phillip aims to prove that he’s better than his worst mistakes; and Liam is searching for a way to control the portal to the shadow world he’s uncovered, and the monsters that live within it–before the Nazi regime can do the same. When the five meet, and begrudgingly team up, in the forests of Germany, none of them knows what their future might hold.
As they race against time, war, and enemies from both this world and another, Liam, Daniel, Rebeka, Phillip, and Simone know that all they can count on is their own determination and will to survive. With their world turned upside down, and the shadow realm looming ominously large–and threateningly close–the course of history and the very fate of humanity rest in their hands. Still, the most important question remains: Will they be able to save it?
The Shadow War is out October 13
Ana on the Edge by A.J. Sass
rep: non binary, Chinese-American Jewish MC
TW: misgendering, misnaming, transphobia, bullying, coming out scenes
Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.
Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.
Ana on the Edge is out October 20
My Heart Underwater by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo
rep: Filipino-American MC, queer MC
After Corazon’s mother catches her kissing her older female teacher, Corazon is sent to the Philippines to live with a half brother she barely knows. There she learns more about loss and love than she could have ever imagined.
Corazon Tagubio is an outcast at her Catholic school. She’s attending on scholarship, she keeps to herself, and her crush on her teacher Ms. Holden doesn’t help anything. At home, Cory’s less-than-perfect grades disappoint her mom and dad, who are already working overtime to support her distant half brother in the Philippines.
When an accident leaves her dad comatose, Cory feels like Ms. Holden is the only person who really sees her. But when a crush turns into something more and the secret gets out, Cory is sent to her half brother. She’s not prepared to face a stranger in an unfamiliar place, but she begins to discover how the country that shaped her past might also change her future.
My Heart Underwater is out October 20
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Black Sun is out October 13
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth
Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.
Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.
Plain Bad Heroines is out October 20
That’s it for October! At least from the books that I bookmarked and found during my search. Feel free to le tme know if there are more in the comments, and please also let me know if you’ll be picking up one or more of these!