They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I’m not so sure you that applies in this case. In these 14 novels by out women writers this year, all of the covers are aesthetically pleasing, with even better content inside.
The Ghost Network by Catie Disabato
The Los Angeles-based writer details the case of a missing young pop star and those who are hoping to find her. Unraveling the mystery is only part of the fun in this expertly crafted novel that utilizes modern technology like blog posts and Twitter feeds to aid in its reality.
Lost Canyon by Nina Revoyr
Four backpackers try a secret trail and find they aren’t alone in the wilderness. Told from very different perspectives (male, female, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic classes), each chapter advances the thrilling story at the center while informing how people can see the same mundane or horrific experiences through very different eyes.
Bright Lines by Tanwi Nandini Islam
A coming-of-age story, Ella is a queer college student with all kinds of secrets. Adopted, she doesn’t feel close to her family and would rather spend time in her make believe world, made colorful by rampant hallucinations.
The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
The legendary lesbian author tries her hand at adapting Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. She modernizes the plot and the characters, and even creates a new city called New Bohemia for them to inhabit. It’s a well-written mix of melancholy and comical, as are most of Jeanette’s works.
Dryland by Sara Jaffe
One of the best books written from a teen girl’s perspective, Dryland is a forthright conversation with the protagonist, Julie, and her rainy world. She feels a lot, but isn’t sure why and doesn’t feel the need to tell us. We figure it out together.
What We Left Behind by Robin Talley
The young adult author pens a great story of a same-sex couple whose world is changed when one of them transitions. It’s a contemporary queer love story about identity, both as an individual and part of a relationship.
Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
This young adult treats its clinically depressed narrator and her young, lost friends with the respect teens deserve. It’s incredibly queer and ultimately encouraging, showing how the love of chosen family can keep you going, even when you’re at your lowest point.
The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan
Fans of fairytales will appreciate The Gracekeepers, which tells the stories of the landlockers and the damplings whose lives are forever changed when a storm forces them to create a new world together. Intrigued? You should be.
Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas
A Greek father tries to rectify and atone for his wrongdoings in this novel about familial relationships. An intense but pleasurable character study, Annie Liontas puts her focus on people: their motivations, their actions, and the consequences of the choices they make.
Call Me Home by Megan Kruse
Call Me Home follows a family whose experiences in rural Texas and Idaho are dictated by something as simple and complex as love. Told from three different perspectives (a mother, a gay son and his sister), the lesbian author’s tale of guilt, reasoning and reckoning is equally heart wrenching and engrossing.
The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch
The Small Backs of Children imagines the aftermath of a moment stuck in time. A photographer takes a snapshot of a young girl during a violent moment of war, but what happens next? The girl, the photographer (a bisexual woman) and several others try to put the pieces together for one coherent story, but is that even possible?
The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys
Set during the WWII, a couple is torn apart when a husband is sent to war camp. On the outside, the wife befriends his sister, and they bond over loss, among other things. Historical fiction fans will enjoy this read, especially when the lesbian relationship unfolds.
The First Bad Man by Miranda July
A relationship between a much older woman and a young pregnant girl might be uncomfortable for some readers to consider, but not for those who enjoy Miranda July‘s eccentric imaginings of messy lives. It’s esoteric, to be sure, but The First Bad Man is also unlike anything you’ve ever read before.
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
The out Nigerian-American author took inspiration from her life for this carefully-crafted (and necessary!) work of art. The narrator, Ijeoma, is coming to terms with her lesbianism while also desperately desiring her religious mother’s approval. But their world is rocked when Ijeoma’s father dies, and she begins to examine where she comes from and how much it should inform who she is.