Queer in a Bookcase 2022
Well, 2022 has been an... interesting year, right? At least I can say the books I read did NOT disappoint, and it's been possibly one of my favourite reading years ever.
I really wanted to embrace YA this year (especially since I'm currently writing some myself!) and was completely spoiled by some incredible novels. IRON WIDOW, by Xiran Jay Zhao had been recommended to me several times, but even the glowing praise I heard didn't prepare me for how incredible this story was going to be. Described as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale, this brilliant fantasy hits multiple marks perfectly including world building, character development, action sequences, plot twists, and drama. Absolutely could not put this down until it was done and then immediately wanted more. Adam Sass topped my favourites with SURRENDER YOUR SONS last year, and he's up there again this year, this time with a competent different flavour. THE 99 BOYFRIENDS OF MICAH SUMMERS is a sweet and fun read, and fresh spin on a Cinderella story, with oodles of hopeful romance and heavy doses of drama and personal growth. Yes, I am at risk of becoming an Adam Sass Stan account. Another instant favourite was HELL FOLLOWED WITH US, by Andrew Joseph White, with post-apocalyptic monsters, horror, and romance. Needless to say I was completely obsessed, and we need more incredible trans books like this. I also loved CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY, by Steven Salvatore, which filled my heart to see such fantastic representation for genderqueer youth in a brilliant book about being your best self, and so happy for those who have access to it (I wish I had when I was younger). THE OUTRAGE, by William Hussey, was an anxiety inducing window into the world the hard/alt right threaten to create. Terrifying echoes of oppressive control surrounding a few hopeful hearts, and a great reminder of the strength of our community. I also was lucky enough to get an early copy of the now released WICKED LITTLE THINGS, by Justin Arnold, which was a brilliant dark story that I can best describe as Mean Girls meets The Craft (but somehow gayer than both). As I say, I was completely spoiled, and other fantastic YA books I enjoyed included SONG OF ACHILLES (Madeline Miller), THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END (Adam Silver), and HOW IT ALL BLEW UP (Arvin Ahmadi), as well as the more horror leaning offerings of THE FELL OF DARK (Caleb Roehrig), SIXTEEN SOULS (Rosie Talbot), and HOUSE OF HOLLOW (Krystal Sutherland).
I also read some absolutely incredible adult books! I finally got around to reading GIDEON THE NINTH, by Tamsin Muir (in audiobook form), and absolutely loved it. Both the writing and narration are top tier and I have already started listening to the follow-up of this necromantic sapphic dark space-opera. The third book in the Adam Binder Series, DEADBEAT DRUID, by David Slayton was a deeper journey into our heroes dark past, and a great adventure with one of my favourite romances. Speaking of third books in adult urban/dark fantasy trilogies, I definitely read (a few times in the process) THE TORN EARTH, by me! I'm super proud of the finale in the LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS series, and pushed myself creatively and technically to try and craft a bigger, deeper story that still holds our lovable characters and their self-actualisation close to its core, hopefully to give you all a peep at what's next to come. I had a great time with the beautifully written and excellently narrated THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE, but VE Schwab, as well as reading the fun BOYFRIEND MATERIAL and HUSBAND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall. I also enjoyed some incredible graphic novels this year. THE LAST HALLOWEEN, by Abby Howard, is somehow cute, hilarious, and dark, and I can't wait for a follow up to see what happens next. I loved Michael Dialynas and James Tyrion IV’s WYND volume two even more than volume one and will literally wave this beautiful queer fantasy story in front of everyone until they read it. I also enjoyed FENCE (C.S. Pacat), and SPECTRE INSPECTORS (Bowen McCurdy and Kaitlyn Musto), and my appetite for queer graphic novels is only growing! I did slack with short stories and novellas this year, but the one I read was great! A GOOD YEAR, by Polis Loizou was a great spooky Christmas folk-lore book, that really captured dark superstition and paranoia in a way that made it impossible to put down until I was done!
I’m not going to be ambitious and include my current read (because I’m only a quarter of the way through and this year is hitting hard…) but I can’t wait for another great reading year next year!