The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

LGBTQ

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (A Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz

Actual chills at the ending of this novel. ACTUAL. CHILLS. Cam and Brie are the absolute cutest in this story. Cam cannot inherit as a girl, so she happily becomes Count Cam and moves to where she’ll only ever be known as a boy after her father dies. But of course she falls in love with the princess herself! After much fashion and adorable hijinks, we have an exciting happy story. This is perfect for fans of The Prince and the Dressmaker, Heartstopper, and the classic Nimona. Don’t miss out on this darling tale that’s a mix of Victorian and modern age and beautiful artwork.

The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich (A Graphic Novel) by Deya Muniz, (List Price: 17.99, Little, Brown Ink, 9780316538725, May 2023)

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Alabama

Couplets by Maggie Millner

Couplets is a fresh and modern poetry collection that delves into polyamory, identity, and queerness amongst other themes. A love story written in stanzas, but reads like a novel or a short story, I truly cannot get enough of this. We follow one woman’s coming out and the love she yearns and searches for. A fantastic meditation not just on queerness, but also relationships as a whole, I cant recommend it enough.

Couplets by Maggie Millner, (List Price: 25, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374607951, February 2023)

Reviewed by Grace Sullivan, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco by K. Iver

This is a collection about grief, a persistent grief so steady, so patient, that it grows dear. Iver’s words are cinematic, their poems traceable stories by themselves that resonate and interact with each poem that follows it. I think A Medium Performs Your Visit and Who Is This Grief For? are the highlights of the collection. "My acupuncturist says/ you enjoy this, don’t you./ She’s talking about my grief. I say who else will."

Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco by K. Iver, (List Price: 16, Milkweed Editions, 9781639550609, January 2023)

Reviewed by Sam Edge, Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Robin and Her Misfits by Kelly Jacobson

A queer retelling of Robin Hood full of heists, heart, and Florida humidity."Steal from the rich–give to ourselves!" is Robin and her Merry Misfits’ chant as they leave their secret hideout affectionately called Nottingham deep in the north Florida wilderness for fast-speed highway robbery. Each girl has her own secrets and past, and some don’t stay buried for long. I adore classic retellings, especially if they’re gender-bent, full of found family, and set in a familiar setting. Daisy Chain is my favorite character because I enjoyed how she spoke in Shakespearean quotes and only Robin could translate. Also because of how many layers she contained that we weren’t even privy to until we arrived at the chapters in her point-of-view. Jacobson did an amazing job capturing all the nuances of each main characters’ personalities as well as the found family that made Robin Hood and his Merry Men such a beloved classic.

Robin and Her Misfits by Kelly Jacobson, (List Price: 14, Three Rooms Press, 9781953103314, April 2023)

Reviewed by Candice Conner, The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama

Always the Almost by Edward Underhill

I wish I could put this book in a time machine and send it back to my high school youth orchestra friends in the 2000s! I’m so glad that books like this exist for teens to read now. Edward Underhill’s passion for the piano and classical music shines on every page of this book and his trans protagonist Miles who is figuring out who he is and what he stands for as he prepares to enter a big competition will capture your heart. I also loved that this book is set in Wisconsin, a state I don’t know very much about!

Always the Almost by Edward Underhill, (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250835208, February 2023)

Reviewed by Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe

Tate and Penny are not quite enemies. Under other circumstances, maybe they’d be friends, but it’s hard to be friends with someone who is always there, who witnesses the worst moments of your life — and then there is that inconvenient attraction, far too strong and pervasive to ignore. I loved all the tropes, all the stubborn resistance, and I loved these two girls. Angry and resourceful, hopeful and determined. When they kissed, I cheered.

6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe, (List Price: $18.99, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 9780316302791, January 2023)

Reviewed by Robin Wood, Books & Books @ the Studios Key West in Key West, Florida

If I Can Give You That by Michael Gray Bulla

If I Can Give You That is a heartbreaking debut from Michael Gray Bulla covering a variety of issues that will tear at your heartstrings. Gael is a high school senior that’s used to keeping to himself. But when his best friend finally convinced him to go to a local group for LGBTQIA teens, he finds himself finally making some more friends. But that doesn’t come without difficulties, especially with his father back in his life and his mother’s problems.

If I Can Give You That by Michael Gray Bulla, (List Price: 19.99, Quill Tree Books, 9780063091702, February 2023)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

On the cusp of graduation, being named valedictorian, and escaping her small town, Chloe Green is counting down the days. That is, until her academic rival Shara Wheeler kisses her and then disappears, leaving only pink envelopes in her wake. Full of wit, charm, and heart, I Kissed Shara Wheeler fits perfectly into the pantheon of contemporary YA.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston (List Price: $19.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250244451, May 2022)

Reviewed by Chelsea Stringfield, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green

This crazy, madcap YA novel is just the thing you’re looking for! Nate and Jack used to be the best of friends. But after Jack came out, they drifted apart. Now they’re at prom and they’ve just discovered that their boyfriends are cheating on them…with each other. So they decide to team up and make the most fabulous, jealousy-inducing social media account of the summer to make their exes jealous. But that turns out to be a little tougher than they thought.

Heartbreak Boys by Simon James Green (List Price: $18.99, Clarion Books, 9780358617259, December 2022)

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser in Marietta, Georgia

How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow

This is the book I, a Jewish lesbian nerd with bushy hair and a love of corgis, needed as a teen. How to Excavate a Heart has all of the tropes us hopeless romantics love- a meet-cute, enemies-to-lovers, and kissing in the snow. It also has really great advice that teenage me would’ve benefited from: your partner should add to your life, but they shouldn’t be your whole life. There’s so much beauty in the world, and part of that can be your kind of mean, hot Jewish girlfriend, but she doesn’t need to be all of it! Besides the invaluable lessons in the book, the love story is compelling and well-paced, and sweet. Shani and May are learning about themselves and love and how to deal with parents and fish fossils together, which is what love is really about. Fill yourself with holiday cheer and read this book!

How to Excavate a Heart by Jake Maia Arlow (List Price: $18.99, HarperTeen, 9780063078727, November 2022)

Julia Hirschfield from Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

A 2022 December Read This Next! Title

This is one of my top romances of 2022! Gonzales’ YA books are charming and this new adult romcom is a delight. Maya’s cheating ex is about to star on a reality dating show and all of his exes are being called together as contestants – including the other woman that helped break Maya’s heart. Sharing a room with her arch-nemesis can only lead to the best revenge plot of all time, right? This has slow burn, hilarious, sapphic joy on every page. Gonzales does a great job with bi representation and she gets better with every book.

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales (List Price: $18.99, Wednesday Books, 9781250819161, December 2022)

Reviewed by Andrea Richardson, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler

A 2022 December Read This Next! Title

Wholly original, astonishingly informative, and powerfully written. Imbler describes marine life with reverence and compelling detail, and deftly intertwines the lives of the sea creatures with stories of their own experiences with gender, queerness, and identity.

How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler (List Price: $27, Little, Brown and Company, 9780316540537, December 2022)

Reviewed by Sarah Arnold, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee

Spotlight on: Lark Ascending by Silas House

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Silas House Photo Credit C. Williams

I think The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, is one of the greatest pieces of music to ever be created. I cannot listen to it without tearing up. I listened to it the entire time I was writing the novel and the book is my interpretation of it. The composition is a journey, sonically. It captures flight, and it is full of both sorrow and joy, grief and hope, so it was the perfect soundtrack for this book that was centering on those themes. To me, it is a transcendent piece of music, and I hope that readers will seek it out while reading the novel. I’ve already created a playlist for the novel, containing all the music that was important to me while I wrote the book. ” ―Silas House, Interview, Still Journal

 

Lark Ascending by Silas House

What booksellers are saying about Lark Ascending

  • I passed this on to one of good customers who is a huge Silas House fan knowing she would much eloquent than I, and, boy was I right. Here’s what she said “You read other dystopian novels and think, “that could never happen.” You read Lark Ascending and you see that it could. I hope this novel gets the attention it deserves. Lark Ascending could save us ―Pete Mock from McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro, North Carolina
    Buy from McIntyre’s Books

  • The urgency of the opening chapters is breathtaking, and then the source of it is laid bare: this is the imagined not-so-distant future resulting from the chaos and painful transformational change similar to what we’re going through right now in our world. The young man, the dog and the older woman at the center of the story are trying to survive in a world on fire, one burning to the ground with fire and hatred. Each choice they make – big and small – may cost them their lives, or someone else’s. A haunting story, one that makes you really think about the trajectory of our collective lives. I couldn’t put it down!
      ―Cathy Graham from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida
    Buy from Copperfish Books

  • Set in a near future that seems to be closer and closer to becoming a reality, Lark Ascending follows Lark as he survives ordeal after ordeal. As harrowing as Lark’s story is, Silas House manages to imbue it with humanity and hope. This is a story that will stick with you for a long time.  ―Chelsea Bauer from Union Ave Books in Knoxville, Tennesse
    Buy from Union Ave Books

About Silas House

Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, the AdvocateTimeGarden & Gun, and other publications. A former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Storylines Prize from the NAV/New York Public Library, an E. B. White Honor, and many other awards.

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Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih

It is just weeks after the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. in the summer of 2015. We meet two men who grew up together in the D.C. suburbs and are at opposite ends of what it means to be a gay man at this time in American history. Both are involved in obsessive cross-generational friendships. Sebastian has a complicated relationship with one of his out and proud high school students. Oscar is spending time with a Stonewall generation novelist on the decline. Sebastian is anxious to settle down and assimilate. Oscar is infuriated by what he sees as the death of gay culture in favor of what he views as colorless banality. I loved everything about this book. It is beautifully written and full of profound insights on what happens when a formerly ostracized segment of society becomes incorporated into the general population and what that means, good and bad, for the individuals that are part of it. Stunning!

Let’s Get Back to the Party by Zak Salih, (List Price: $16.95, Algonquin Books, 9781643752075, June 2022)

Reviewed by Kelly Justice, Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

Three cheers for Albert Entwistle! I snuggled into this heartwarming "it’s never too late" coming-out story right away and loved watching this gentle man bloom. Albert is painfully lonely, staying far in the back of the closet and avoiding human connections all his adult life. But forced retirement at age 65 pushes him to completely change his life, and he finds that everyone he knows has been rooting for him all along.

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain, (List Price: $15.95, A John Scognamiglio Book, 9781496737755, June 2022)

Reviewed by Serena Wyckoff, Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida

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