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  • Writer's pictureRory Michaelson

Queer in a Bookcase 2021

I can’t say I’ve read as much as I’d have liked to this year (actually maybe I can’t ever say that...), due to a couple of slumps and an overpacked schedule. The books I HAVE read however are some truly beautiful and miraculous queer books. ‘Which books?’ you ask? WELL THAT’S WHAT I’M HERE FOR 💚

I really went in on YA this year, and honestly loved it. YA kind of puts me in mind if my own time in that age range, and seeing this used as such a landscape for change and beautiful representation kind of allows me to get in touch with the *cough* slightly younger *cough* Rory who so desperately needed those things. My inner teen is being fed, y’all. Jonny Garza Villa’s FIFTEEN HUNDRED MILES FROM THE SUN had me from the start. Loveable MC’s, adorable found family, and of course the presence of a little bit of toxic home trauma to complete the experience and hold everything together with difficult and raw emotions...I almost wish I hadn’t read this book so that I could read it again for the first time right now. FELIX EVER AFTER by Kacen Callender was a fantastic and beautiful read that includes intersectional identity, and really succeeded at pulling me in and investing me in the relationships between the characters and a beautiful conclusion. Lev Rosen dragged me out of my first reading slump of the year with CAMP—a rite of passage queer experience story that is just magical. I was inspired to follow this up with his JACK OF HEARTS, which was also fantastic really nailed a queer, sex-positive approach, and was fantastically funny, well written, and super creepy in turn. Travelling onto the darker side of the YA spectrum—Bernard Jan’s CRUEL SUMMER is a gritty and darker, and touches on supernatural elements and was a really fresh take that brought a really nostalgic 90’s supernatural movie vibe that I enjoyed.

Moving into adult and new adult books: Jayme Bean’s UNTOUCHED was an absolute masterclass in tension building, moderation, and restraint in a thriller—with an immaculately crafted story and relatable characters developed wonderfully throughout. David Slayton’s TRAILER PARK TRICKSTER joined the elite league of ‘book twos surpassing great book ones in trilogies’, and really delivered in giving everything so brilliant about WHITE TRASH WARLOCK and amplifying it to the n’th degree to share a thrilling instalment. EACH LITTLE UNIVERSE by Chris Durston was exactly the slice of life sublime supernatural British caper that I needed it to be—with hilarious dialogue and a fresh style of storytelling making it a really refreshing read. THE STAGSBLOOD PRINCE by Daddy...I mean...Daddy...sorry, I mean...Gideon Wood, was a a dark and wonderfully crafted high fantasy with a great queer lead. This book was the mature queer book I longed for, and I’m just so super excited that such a fantastically written series now exists.

Halo Scot finished up THE RIFT CYCLE with ELEGY OF THE VOID...and when we talk about adult books—this is adult. This series was epic, fantastic, traumatic, shocking, horrifying, disgusting, beautiful, and extremely memorable, with excellent world building and characters that stay with you (looming over your shoulder...). Rue Sparks’ THE STARS WILL GUIDE US BACK is a short story collection that is pensive, poetic, and perceptive—and was a wonderful addition to my reading list. Mario Del’Olio appeared twice in my list—once with COMING ABOUT: LIFE IN THE BALANCE which was a nail biting true story about his terrifying adventures with a very naughty (not in a good way) boat. His other book, NEW MEN, was a bit naughty in the other way, and was a shocking insight into the going’s on around the Vatican and the impact that can have on people who face it. A.C Merkel’s LONDON CALLING (LADY DREAMSCAPES BOOK TWO) was a fun and thrilling adventure with a diverse crew, time travel, romance, and plenty of drama. MJ Aster’s THREE HALVES A WHOLE was a sad and insightful breakdown of...well, broken down relationships, and how these can profoundly impact people forever.

Moving into 2022, I have an ambitious TBR to fit in around publication of THE TORN EARTH, the last instalment in my series LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS, which has ended up being a bit of an epic... I’m also planning to draft a duology in a more high fantasy steampunk vein, and a YA Horror, both just as queer as all my other books so far. I only planning to release the one book in 2022, to really let my first series breathe and settle in its entirety, but I will definitely be using the rest of the year to have some stories ready for 2023 and can’t wait to share them with you 💚

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