Queer Lit Review: January 2023

Hello and welcome to a new year and a new Queer Lit Review! This month we are super excited to introduce three new librarians into our review mix, so without further ado... 

Name: Laura (she/her)

Job Title: Collection Librarian

Location: Central Library

Fast Facts:

  1. I have two cats named Coffee and Yorkie.
  2. Not counting COVID games that were closed to fans, I have missed only 2 Boston College men’s hockey home games since 2006.
  3. 20% of my top Spotify songs this year were by Taylor Swift.
  4. I believe What We Do in the Shadows is the greatest movie ever made.

Two favorite queer titles:

Title/Author: You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre/Sub-Genre: YA Romance

LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian

Quick Review: In an attempt to win a much-needed scholarship for college, Liz decides to run for prom queen at her very white, very straight high school. As a Black lesbian with anxiety, this is basically her worst nightmare...and it only gets more complicated when she starts falling for one of her competitors. I rarely reread books, but I read this twice in the span of a year, which really tells you all you need to know!

Title/Author: The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre/Sub-Genre: YA Horror

LGBTQ+ Orientation: Bisexual/Lesbian

Quick Review: As the daughter of TV’s most popular ghost hunters, Logan is used to life being a little strange. But when she and her dads move to a small town in Oregon just as teenagers begin disappearing, they find themselves at the center of the town’s suspicion. In order to clear her family’s name, Logan teams up with the girlfriend of the first boy to disappear to uncover the truth. I love a moody, atmospheric horror novel, and this is one of my favorites from the past few years.

Name: Puck (ve/ver/vis/verself or they/them/theirs/themself)

Job Title: Cataloger and Classifier I 

Location: Central Library

Fast Facts: 

  1. I’m an immigrant from Ukraine and my first language is Russian. 
  2. I live with two other librarians. 
  3. I have published two short fantasy stories, both with queer main characters. 
  4. I’ve been playing tabletop roleplaying games for nearly 20 years and have never been able to get into Dungeons & Dragons. My favorite TTRPGs are Mythras, Dialect, and Ars Magica. 

 

Two favorite queer titles: 

Title/Author:  Unhallowed by Jordan L. Hawk 

Series/Standalone: First book in the series Rath & Rune 

Genre/Sub-Genre: Romance/Fantasy 

LGBTQ+ Orientation: Gay men 

Quick Review: Jordan L. Hawk returns to the strange New England town of Widdershins and the world of eldritch horrors and gay librarians in this new series. Librarian Sebastian Rath and bookbinder Vesper Rune are caught in a dangerous mystery, because Ves’s predecessor and Sebastian’s friend Kelly O’Neil has disappeared and Sebastian suspects foul play. I had no idea I needed an answer to the question “What if the Dunwich Horror was a good kid actually?” until I read this delightful book. Jordan L. Hawk gives us the best of Lovecraft minus the racism and xenophobia and plus a wonderful queer relationship. 

 

Title/Author:  Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee 

Series/Standalone: First book in the series Machineries of Empire 

Genre/Sub-Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera 

LGBTQ+ Orientation: Queer 

Quick Review: In a galaxy-spanning empire whose technology operates due to a shared religious calendar, disgraced Captain Kel Cheris is given a chance to redeem herself by acting as an anchor for the ghost of tactical genius and mass murderer Shuos Jedao in order to put down a rebellion. This book (and its sequels) is an excellent exploration of the way that empire grinds down the humanity of its subjects, including those who are tasked with upholding its power structures. I fell in love with so many of the deeply flawed and complex characters in the book — not just Cheris and Jedao but also the mysterious instigator Vahenz afrir dai Noum, who gives us the rebels’ perspective and whom we only get to know through their correspondence. 

Name: Morgan (they/them)

Job Title: Youth Services Librarian II

Location: Chinatown

Fast Facts:

  1. I’m a newlywed! My wife and I got married on New Year’s Eve.
  2. I proudly identify as a genderqueer/genderfluid lesbian.
  3. I was born and raised in Dallas, and worked as a journalist there for two years after undergrad.
  4. I enjoy exploring art and history museums, baking, going to concerts and musicals, reading tarot and birth charts, and consuming all types of spooky media.

Two favorite queer titles:

Title/Author: I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre/Sub-Genre: Teen romance

LGBTQ+ Orientation: Queer, non-binary

Quick Review: When Ben comes out as non-binary, their parents kick them out and they move in with their estranged sister and brother-in-law. While Ben grieves and adjusts to a new school— one that they’re not yet out at — they also start falling for a boy named Nathan. As a fellow non-binary gay person from the South, I saw so much of myself in Ben. You can’t help but root for them as they try to start a new life while also dealing with mental health issues. Despite the heavy topics, this book is such a joy, rife with humor and heartwarming moments.

Title/Author: She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Series/Standalone: Standalone

Genre/Sub-Genre: Teen romance

LGBTQ+ Orientation: Lesbian

Quick Review: The same night Scottie loses a basketball game to her ex’s team, popular cheerleader Irene accidentally hits her car. Their moms rope them into carpooling together, and despite their dislike for each other, the girls quickly realize that a fake relationship would prove mutually beneficial. Enemies-to-lovers and fake dating are two of my favorite tropes, and Quindlen executes them perfectly! I love all the characters, the charming setting, and the discussion of just how rigorous cheerleading is. As a bonus, the character development is unparalleled!

And as for our regular crew, here's a little bit about us and something we're each looking forward to!

Name: Veronica (she/her)

Job Title: Reader Services Supervisor

Location: Central Library 

Fast Facts:  

  1. I am originally from Boston — yes, real Boston, not a suburb or neighboring town. Dot Rat for life! However, I do not have a Boston accent and I cannot tell you where to park your car in Harvard Yard.  
  2. I have a cat named Lily and I love her very much, whether she’s snuggling with me like an angel or knocking things off counters at 3 in the morning.  
  3. Before I decided to become a librarian, I thought I was going to become a Classics professor. I can still read Latin pretty well!  
  4. I recently started an MBA at Boston University. I love learning new things, and so far I’m really enjoying it. It’s still a long way to graduation, though.  

A list of my favorite titles: Veronica's Favorite Queer Reads Going into 2023 

A link to a favorite book review from 2022: The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

A queer book I’m looking forward to in 2023: He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan, the sequel to She Who Became the Sun 

Name: Allison (she/her) 

Job Title: Children’s Librarian

Location: Brighton Branch  

Fast Facts:  

  1. “She is small, only five feet tall. She is loud, she is also out and proud.” - a poem by a library coworker 
  2. I have two cats that I’m fully obsessed with. One of them is fluffy and smart and the other one is small and not smart. 
  3. Outside of work I’m part of a dance company and love to do escape rooms. 
  4. I have my BFA in Writing, Literature, & Publishing.  

 A list of my favorite titles: Allison's Favorite Queer Reads 

A favorite book review from 2022: I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston 

A queer book I’m looking forward to in 2023: Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson

Name: Jordan (she/they)

Job Title: Reader Services Librarian

Location: Central Library

Fast Facts: 

  1. I use tarot cards every day, and will be using a new deck, The Gentle Tarot by Mari as my main deck this year!
  2. I practice Tai Chi… though I’m very much still learning the form.
  3. I read and write a lot of fan fiction for the Person of Interest fandom.
  4. I have volunteered as a Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month every November since 2006.

A list of my favorite titles: Jordan's Favorite Queer Books

A link to a favorite book review from 2022: The Agency Series by Ana Maria Soto

A queer book I’m looking forward to in 2023: I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marissa Crane

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