There is already a beautiful selection of 2021 sapphic releases to read this year. As the publishing world diversifies, LGBTQ books emerge left and right from young adult fantasies to historical romances.
The past five years have birthed an era made for the queer bibliophile, in which young LGBTQ readers have the opportunity and time to read about characters with similar struggles and identities. Anyone addicted to books needs to see their life experience reflected in stories, especially queer youths. Without proper representation in culture, many sapphic womxn would suffer with confusion and isolation. So we are happy to share our not-so-short list of the best 2021 sapphic releases to put on your reading list this year.
“Girls of Fate and Fury” – Natasha Ngan
The final installment of Natasha Ngan’s Malaysian-inspired fantasy trilogy will be released in October of 2021. Until autumn, be sure to read the first two books, “Girls of Paper and Fire” and “Girls of Storm and Shadow.” We’ll leave out a synopsis to avoid spoilers, but the last book may look a bit different, as Ngan has revealed that readers will hear from Wren’s point of view. “Girls of Paper and Fire” is a must-read for fantasy-lovers and for teens who have experience sexual assault or harrassment but don’t have the language to express their trauma.
“Last Night at the Telegraph Club” – Malinda Lo
1954. San Francisco’s Chinatown. The Red Scare. This setting makes the love between Lily Hu and Kathleen Miller, two lesbian teens, a perilous relationship. The glowing neon sign of lesbian bar the Telegraph Club sparked a question in Lily that she can’t shake, but her identity poses a threat to her not only because of her sexuality but because of her Chinese American heritage. Read Malinda Lo’s “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” for a mixture of coming of age and historical fiction.
“The Jasmine Throne” – Tasha Suri
If you loved Melissa Brashardoust’s “Girl, Serpent, Thorn,” you won’t be able to put down Tasha Suri’s “The Jasmine Throne,” the beginning of a new trilogy inspired by Indian history and mythology. Unlikely allies fall in love and yearn to dismantle a world that fights against them.
“A Lesson in Vengeance” – Victoria Lee
Fans of Rory Power’s “Wilder Girls” need to pre-order Victoria Lee’s “A Lesson in Vengeance,” a thriller set at a boarding school with a history of witchcraft. A year after the untimely death of her girlfriend, Felicity Morrow has returned to Dalloway School to graduate. Once intrigued by the occult and the history of the Dalloway Five, students rumored to be witches who died under mysterious circumstances, Felicity just wants to focus on school. Ellis Haley, a 17-year-old prodigy novelist, has other plans. She enlists Felicity’s help writing her second book, a research project on the Dalloway Five, and Felicity can’t deny the attraction she feels toward Ellis, even when history begins to repeat itself. Sapphic dark academia, watch out.
“Honey Girl” – Morgan Rogers
Over-achiever Grace Porter doesn’t expect her life plan to unravel on a drunken night in Vegas. Star students don’t complete their PhDs only to disappoint the expectations of their ex-military fathers, right? When Grace gets hitched to a woman she barely knows and moves from Portland to New York, her feelings of burnout and lack of fulfillment throw her off the steady track she’s planned her entire life. She hides from these feelings by diving into the new love she feels for her wife, Yuki Yamamoto, but Grace can only hide for so long.
“She Drives Me Crazy” – Kelly Quindlen
Enemies-to-lovers alert! A petty high-school feud comes to a head when the two are forced to carpool together. Basketball star Scottie Zajack bribes her nemesis Irene Abraham to make Scottie’s ex jealous, a timeless romantic trope. It’s a classic young adult rom com, but queer.
“Detransition, Baby” – Torrey Peters
Three women confront their journeys surrounding sex, gender and motherhood. What happens when your girlfriend detransitions and goes from Amy to Ames? In Reese’s case, she self-destructs.
All Reese wanted was a traditional life: a tolerable job, a loving relationship and a child. When she loses Ames, she can’t see a path to love and motherhood. All Ames wants is a way back to Reese. When he knocks up his boss Katrina, he wonders if this child could be that way. Could Reese, Ames and Katrina form a parental triangle that gets Ames back in Reese’s life and gives Reese the last two pieces to her puzzle?
“Outlawed” – Anna North
If you loved Netflix’s “Godless,” then Anna North’s “Outlawed” will have you glued to the page. The harsh realities of the Wild West are laid bare when Ada can’t fulfill the expectations of womanhood and resorts to joining a band of outlaws. Outcast women fight for survival and find love in this fast-paced novel set in a town where those who defy gender roles are hanged as witches.
“Madam” – Phoebe Wynn
Phoebe Wynn’s modern gothic tale follows Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher hired by a prestigious and mysterious boarding school for girls, Caldonbrae Hall. Her modern beliefs rail against the conservative tradition of the school, challenging her goal to educate the young women of the future. Then there’s the matter of her predecessor. What prompted her abrupt departure? There’s clearly more to the 150-year-old Scottish boarding school than others will let on. Fans of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” will dig this selection.
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