June is Pride Month! Throughout the month, festivals, parades, and other events celebrating LGBTQ2S+ people take place across the country. To reflect this important occasion, independent bookstores will often feature books by LGBTQ2S+ writers and illustrators to amplify their voices and highlight their stories.
Here are some exciting new releases – plus a few backlist favourites! – that we encourage readers to seek out in celebration of Pride Month this year. Click the "Shop Local" button to pick up or pre-order each book from your nearest indie bookstore.
The Romance Recipe
By Ruby Barrett
Published by Harlequin (July 2022)
Amy Chambers will do anything to revive her ailing restaurant, including hiring a former reality-show finalist with good connections and a lot to prove. Sophie Brunet just wants to cook. She doesn’t want to constantly post on social media, she doesn’t want to deal with Amy’s take-charge personality, and she doesn’t want to think about her attraction to her boss. An uneasy truce is struck when a new opportunity arises, but making their dreams come true means making sacrifices. And soon, there’s more than just the restaurant at stake.
Ruby Barrett writes steamy romances about big feelings. She loves to read romance, lift weights, drink tea, watch The Office, stress bake, host overly large and elaborate meals, and cackle with her friends. She lives in Ottawa with her daughter and husband.
Catch and Release
By Liana Cusmano
Published by Guernica Editions (June 2022)
In Catch and Release, twenty-one-year-old Lucca looks back on her childhood and adolescence as she comes to terms with both her sexual orientation and her mental illness. When she falls in love with the brilliant and beautiful Adèle, Lucca is forced to acknowledge not only that she is not and never has been straight, but also that her relationship with a teacher in high school was not as harmless as she might have thought.
Liana Cusmano (they/them/iel/lu) is a writer, poet, spoken word artist, and filmmaker. A participant in the 2019 Spoken Word Residency Program at the Banff Centre, Liana has presented their work across North America, Europe, and Asia. Through writing that focuses on heritage, queerness, and mental health, Liana aims to help others feel seen and safe.
Melissa (formerly published as GEORGE)
By Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic Canada (April 2022)
When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. Melissa thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. Melissa really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, Melissa comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the diversity and complexity of being alive. Their first novel, Melissa, was a winner of the Children’s Stonewall Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and the Children’s Choice Book Award.
By Daniel Sarah Karasik
Published by Book*hug (April 2022)
A non-binary faun wishes their body had a variety of sex organs, interchangeable daily. A prison abolitionist scrutinizes Rothko paintings on the carceral state’s boardroom walls. The insurrectionary tactics of mass social movements spread, like a secret handshake, from Chile to Hong Kong to Toronto. Shaped by the author’s experience of grassroots social and political advocacy, these poems are an offering to those engaged in struggles for a better world – and an acknowledgement of the sometimes-contradictory meanings of those struggles.
Daniel Sarah Karasik (they/them) is the author of five previous books, including the poetry collection Hungry and the short story collection Faithful and Other Stories. Their work has been recognized with the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award, the CBC Short Story Prize, and the Canadian Jewish Playwriting Award.
Before the Parade
By Rebecca Rose
Published by Nimbus Publishing (January 2020)
In Before the Parade, journalist and activist Rebecca Rose brings her queer femme, feminist perspective to this compelling, and necessary, history of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual community in Halifax. A thoroughly researched, narrative history, this foundational collection includes perspectives and insights from the artists, businesspeople, academics, and organizers who made it possible for so many others to exist, to be out, to be proud, to continue to push for change.
Rebecca Rose is a Cape Breton-born queer femme, feminist, and freelance writer. Rebecca's writing focuses on queer and trans people, communities, and histories; misogyny; and social movements. Rebecca's queer activism has spanned the last decade, including as a founding member of the Halifax Dyke and Trans March.
Every Day She Rose
By Andrea Scott and Nick Green
Published by Playwrights Canada Press (May 2022)
Cathy Ann, a straight Black woman, and her roommate Mark, a gay white man, come home from the 2016 Toronto Pride Parade with differing views of Black Lives Matter protest. Cathy Ann agrees with the protest that the police presence at the parade doesn’t make her feel safe, while Mark felt safer with them there, especially in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Frustrated he can’t see the bigger issue, Cathy Ann questions if she can continue living with Mark. Simultaneously, playwrights Andrea and Nick – who share the same identities as their characters – pause throughout the show to figure out how to work together to tell the story of a significant turning point in a friendship.
Andrea Scott has written several award-winning plays including Eating Pomegranates Naked, Better Angels: A Parable, and Don’t Talk to Me Like I’m Your Wife. Her play about Viola Desmond, Controlled Damage, had its sold-out world premiere at Neptune Theatre in 2020 and will open at the Grand Theatre this year.
Nick Green is a Dora and Sterling Award-winning playwright, and the creator of the Social Distancing Festival. Credits include Happy Birthday Baby J, Fangirl, In Real Life Dinner with the Duchess, Body Politic, and Poof! The Musical.
By Vivek Shraya
Published by ECW Press (April 2020)
Indie musician Neela Devaki has built a career writing the songs she wants to hear but nobody else is singing. When one of Neela’s songs is covered by internet artist RUK-MINI and becomes a viral sensation, the two musicians meet, and a transformative friendship begins. Celebrated multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya’s second novel is a no-holds-barred examination of the music industry, social media, and making art in the modern era, shining a light on the promise and peril of being seen.
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theater, and film. Her bestselling book I’m Afraid of Men was heralded by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel,” and her album, Part-Time Woman, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation and an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Calgary.
A Cruel and Fated Light
By Ashley Shuttleworth, illustrated by Mélanie Delon
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada (May 2022)
After thwarting the man behind the gruesome ironborn murders – and breaking several fae laws to do so – all Arlo wants is a quiet summer. As the deity of luck’s Hollow Star this shouldn’t be too much to ask, right? But someone is still trying to summon the mythical Seven Deadly Sins. All signs point to immortal meddling, and if this is the gods’ attempt at returning to the Mortal Realm, it’s Arlo they’re going to use to do it. This gripping sequel to A Dark and Hollow Star is The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones.
Ashley Shuttleworth is a young adult fantasy author with a degree in English literature and a slight obsession with The Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, and Final Fantasy. They currently live in Ontario with their cat named Zack and a growing collection of cosplay swords.
Be a Triangle: How I Went from Being Lost to Getting My Life into Shape
By Lilly Singh
Published by Penguin Random House Canada (April 2022)
Everyone knows that sometimes, life just sucks – even world-famous actress, author, and creator Lilly Singh. In this book, Lilly provides a safe space where readers can learn how to create a sense of peace within themselves. Without sugar-coating what it's like to face adversity – including Lilly's intensely personal struggles with identity, success, and self-doubt—she teaches readers to "unsubscribe" from cookie-cutter ideals.
Lilly Singh is an author, actress, and creator. She has found worldwide fame through her comedic and inspirational content, amassing nearly forty million followers across her social channels, alongside projects with NBC, Netflix, and other major Hollywood studios via her production company. Singh has started her own book club, Lilly's Library, to celebrate South Asian stories, and is also a judge on the upcoming 2022 series of Canada's Got Talent.
By Assiyah Jamilla Touré
Published by Brick Books (November 2021)
We’re often told that we are given only what we can bear. For some of us our first lessons are in how much pain we’re made to think we deserve — and the resulting scars are always meant to be kept secret. Autowar is visceral, vital, unblinking debut collection of poems exploring kinesthetic memory and longing, inherited violence, and the body as a geographical site.
Assiyah Jamilla Touré is a multidisciplinary artist of West African descent. They were born and raised on Skwxwú7mesh land and lived for many years in Kanien’kehà:ka territory (Montreal) and are now based on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Wendat (Toronto). In 2018, their chapbook feral was published by House House Press. Autowar is their first full-length collection.