Syd (no pronouns, please) has always dealt with big, hard-to-talk-about things by baking. Being dumped is no different, except now Syd is baking at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. And everyone who eats Syd’s breakup brownies . . . breaks up. Even Vin and Alec, who own the Proud Muffin. And their breakup might take the bakery down with it. Being dumped is one thing; causing ripples of queer heartbreak through the community is another.
As I’m writing this, I’m puppysitting my mom’s tornado of a teenage dog. He is adorable, but such a handful. (He’s a Mini Australian Shepherd/Cocker Spaniel mix.) I’m actually done work, but he’s finally settled down for a nap, and I know that as soon as I get up, he’s going to start tearing around the house again… so I might stay put and get a head start on tomorrow instead.
Queer Witch Books for Your October TBR
After many years of anticipation, we’re finally seeing some queer witch books get published, especially in YA! I have all of them on my TBR, but there is happily now more than I can read in the near future. (So long, we waited! We pined for queer witch stories!) Still, I wanted to highlight some of the queer witch books that are most appropriate for your Halloween TBR. They are all atmospheric reads with a real autumnal feel, so get these before the leaves all fall!
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edited by Jessica Spotswood & Tess Sharpe
Start here. This is a YA anthology with lots of different takes on witches. Not every story is queer, but 5 of them are. I loved how different each of these version of witches are, from the classic Halloween version to modern wiccans to a new take on soulmate marks. This makes for a perfect October read.
Another anthology, this one is a collection of different comics about queer witches of color. There is a mix of art styles as well as variations on the idea of witches/witchcraft. Some stories are horror, some humor, as well as drama and romance (mostly F/F).
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
If you like seasonal reads, but you don’t want anything too creepy, this is an adorable graphic novel starring a sapphic witch and a nonbinary werewolf. Both main characters are Chinese American, and Nova is hard of hearing. Also, Nova has two grandmas who own a magical bookstore together! So cute!
The Lost Coast by A. R. Capetta
This is an eerie, atmospheric read about a group of queer witches looking for their lost friend — except their friend is there in front of them, with nothing behind her eyes. This is an unsettling book that is told from many different points of view, including from the trees’ perspective! The setting in the redwoods is so evocative and memorable. There is also a ton of different queer identities represented, including nonbinary characters, and there is queer sexuality on the page in a way that is still rare in YA.
Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper
If you want to get punched in the face by Halloween, this is the read for you. It’s also got a revenge plot against a gross dude, a spellcasting tournament, and a F/F romance with a ton of sexual tension. This is set in a town populated by 4 magical families, but it also doubles as a Halloween tourist trap, so the whole book is dripping Halloween vibes.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
While, unsurprisingly, most queer witch books are sapphic, there are some exceptions, including this one and The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag. Cemetery Boys is about a trans brujo who wants to prove his identity to his family, and so attempts to summon the ghost of his cousin to help solve his murder — magic only brujos can do. Except he accidentally summons Julian instead, who refuses to leave — and soon Yadriel doesn’t want him to. I mean, cemetery is right there in the title, and there’s a romance with a ghost: this is a great October read.
That’s only scratching the surface of queer witch reads, though! Hopefully by this time next year, I have lots more to recommend.
All the Links Fit to Click
- Hundreds of students ask Fairfax schools to return LGBTQ books to libraries.
- Parents in Williamston object to students being given library cards because they might use them to read queer books. (Even though they can opt out of the program.)
- Homophobic rhetoric used to try to ban LGBTQ books hurts queer and trans students.
- This book club helped spark the gay rights movement.
- The queer comics future is bright.
- Dahlia Adler rounded up 16 LGBTQIA+ Young Adult Novels To Devour This Fall.
- Read these queer gothic fiction books and these queer Indigenous YA books.
- Malinda Lo wrote about her upcoming novel, A Scatter of Light, and how publishing queer YA has changed in the 8 years since writing it.
LGBTQ Book Riot Posts
- 20 Must-Read Coming Out Stories for National Coming Out Day
- 20 Must-Read Adult Books by Trans & Genderqueer Authors From 2021
- Queer YA Horror for Your Spooky Season TBR
- 9 of the Best LGBTQ Thrillers
- The Quiet Disappearance of Queer Stories in Nebraska: The Golden Sower Award List Draws Criticism
- Can We Please Retire the Word “Problematic”?: A Plea for Using Precise Language
- Book Riot is 10 years old this month! Pick up some Book Riot merch, available only in October!
New Releases This Week
Another queer book out this week is our sponsor, so check that out, too!
The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor (Gay Fiction)
Ved Mehra is heir to a successful Mumbai business empire and he’s newly engaged. There’s just one problem with his perfect life: he’s closeted and has no interest in the woman he’s been arranged to marry. Then he meets Carlos, and suddenly he can envision a new future for himself, one that’s worth the risk. His engagement party is days away, though, and he’ll have to make some big steps to change his life and get a chance at genuine happiness.
A Snake Falls To Earth by Darcie Little Badger (Asexual Fantasy)
If you’re a fan of Elatsoe, you’ll have been eagerly anticipating Darcie Little Badger’s second YA fantasy. This one follows two main characters: Nina, a Lipan girl who believes in the stories of worlds beyond our own; and Oli, an outcast cottonmouth from a world of gods and monsters. Soon, their worlds collide, and they have to work together to save both worlds. This is based on Lipan Apache storytelling, and it has an asexual main character.
Madder: a Memoir in Weeds by Marco Wilkinson (Queer Memoir)
This is an experimental memoir that explores Wilkinson’s family roots in Uruguay and Rhode Island through the metaphor of plants. The author is a poet and a horticulturalist, and this work blends together the genres of memoir and poetry. Set aside some time to fall into this story, which — like poetry — benefits with some time to sit with it and untangle some of the language and ideas presented.
Just One Wedding by Chelsea M. Cameron (F/F Romance)
Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson (Bisexual YA Contemporary)
Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (M/M YA Contemporary) [Content warning for transmisogynistic violence]
Tonight We Rule the World by Zack Smedley (Bisexual Guy YA Contemporary)
Frankie & Bug by Gayle Forman (Trans Guy YA Historical Fiction)
Party & Prey by Steve Orlando, Steve Foxe, and Mike Marts (Gay Thriller Graphic Novel)
Abbott 1973 by Saladin Ahmed & Sami Kivelä (Bisexual Fantasy Graphic Novel)
Stitch by Stitch: Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph (Gay Nonfiction Picture Book)
Any Kind of Luck at All by Mary Fairhurst Breen (Lesbian Memoir)
The Light Streamed Beneath It by Shawn Hitchins (Gay Memoir)
High Yella by Steve Majors (Queer Memoir)
A Carnival of Snackery: Diaries (2003-2020) by David Sedaris (Gay Memoir)
Never Silent: ACT UP and My Life in Activism by Peter Staley (Gay Memoir)
Oscar Wilde: A Life by Matthew Sturgis (Gay Biography)
Special Topics in Being a Human by S. Bear Bergman and Saul Freedman-Lawson (Queer Nonfiction)
That’s it for me this week! Until next time, you can find me at the Lesbrary as well as on Twitter @danikaellis. You can also hear me on All the Books on the first Tuesday of the month, read my Book Riot posts, and watch my weekly New Releases videos on the Book Riot Youtube channel. You can bet I sneak in as many queer titles as I can.