Genre: YA Horror
Queer Rep: Bi/Pan, Lesbian (maybe)
Warnings: Body Horror, graphic violence, gore, depictions of panic attacks
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Lord of the Flies x Annihilation x Holy Shit Dude
I was still deep in my cave of F/F thirst when I decided to pick this up, drawn to the promise of horror with an all-female cast. The first paragraph enchanted me, and just like that I was in, diving headfirst into this haunting world full of nature that wasn’t quite natural, and girls with teeth and grit for days.
Genre: YA Fantasy
Queer Rep: Lesbian
Warnings: Off page sexual assault and discussions of sexual assault, violence
Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.
My thirst for fantasy remained high while perusing the shelves of Barnes and Noble, and my thirst for F/F even higher. When I found this gem—with a gorgeous cover and POC protagonist—it was love at first sight. Lucky for me, this rich, intricately woven world and believable characters made sure the love remained until the very last page.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Queer Rep: Lesbian
Warnings: Violence, some gore
In the late 19th century, Laura lives a lonely life in a schloss by the forest, Styria, with only her doting father and two governesses for company. A chance accident brings a new companion, however – the eccentric and beautiful Carmilla.
With charm unparalleled and habits as mysterious as her history, Carmilla’s allure is undeniable, drawing Laura closer with every affectionate touch and word. Attraction blossoms into a temptation Laura fears to name, a tantalizing passion burning brighter than the fires of hell. But when a mysterious plague begins stealing the lives of young women in her home and the village beyond, Laura wrestles to reconcile the truth – that the gentle, fragile woman she loves may be a monster cast out of heaven.
“Carmilla and Laura” is a retelling of the classic vampire novella “Carmilla” written by J Sheridan LeFanu. If one thing is certain, it is the love S. D. Simper feels for the original. This story was crafted dearly and devoutly, the essence of the original sewn between lines and pages while casting light on the queer relationship we all want to see. The prose is gorgeous—perfectly fitting and a joy to read—and the story and pacing are a sight for a sore heart. Anyone interested in vampires, sapphic tales, or just plain pretty writing should be giving this novella their attention.
Queer Rep: Pansexual, Non-Binary side characters
Warnings: Minor fatphobia against an MC who absolutely does not give a shit what you think.
Princess Esofi of Rhodia and Crown Prince Albion of Ieflaria have been betrothed since they were children but have never met. At age seventeen, Esofi’s journey to Ieflaria is not for the wedding she always expected but instead to offer condolences on the death of her would-be husband.
But Ieflaria is desperately in need of help from Rhodia for their dragon problem, so Esofi is offered a new betrothal to Prince Albion’s younger sister, the new Crown Princess Adale. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.