July’s 7 Must-Read LGBTQIA Books: The Lost Story, Bury Your Gays, and more

Book cover for "The Blonde Dies First" in purple, "The White Guy Dies First" in pink, and "Unbecoming" with two women.

Even though Pride Month is over, you can still celebrate your queer identity by reading some of the LGBTQIA books coming out in July. Most of these stories also dive into other issues that affect people worldwide, trying to start conversations surrounding topics of importance.

If you have read the books in our LGBTQIA picks for June, we have 7 new titles to add to your TBR list. Meg Shaffer, Seema Yasmin, and Jared Pechaček are among the authors we highlight this month.

In order of release date, here are 7 LGBTQIA books we are looking forward to reading this July:

1. The Lost Story by Meg Shaffer – July 4

Book cover for "The Lost Story" in blue and orange with the drawing of a tree.

As grownups, Jeremy and Rafe have different recollections of what happened to them when they were kids and disappeared for six months. Rafe remembers nothing, while Jeremy remembers everything that happened to them in a magical realm.

Now, Jeremy must do everything in his power (including telling Rafe the truth) to find a missing girl. He believes she is stuck in the magical realm that captured them when they were little. Can he find her and bring her home safely?

Book Description: Inspired by C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, this wild and wondrous novel is a fairy tale for grown-ups who still knock on the back of wardrobes—just in case—from the author of The Wishing Game.

As boys, best friends Jeremy Cox and Rafe Howell went missing in a vast West Virginia state forest, only to mysteriously reappear six months later with no explanation for where they’d gone or how they’d survived.

Fifteen years after their miraculous homecoming, Rafe is a reclusive artist who still bears scars inside and out but has no memory of what happened during those months. Meanwhile, Jeremy has become a famed missing persons’ investigator. With his uncanny abilities, he is the one person who can help vet tech Emilie Wendell find her sister, who vanished in the very same forest as Rafe and Jeremy.

Jeremy alone knows the fantastical truth about the disappearances, for while the rest of the world was searching for them, the two missing boys were in a magical realm filled with impossible beauty and terrible danger. He believes it is there that they will find Emilie’s sister. However, Jeremy has kept Rafe in the dark since their return for his own inscrutable reasons. But the time for burying secrets comes to an end as the quest for Emilie’s sister begins. The former lost boys must confront their shared past, no matter how traumatic the memories.

Alongside the headstrong Emilie, Rafe and Jeremy must return to the enchanted world they called home for six months—for only then can they get back everything and everyone they’ve lost.

2. The Coin by Yasmin Zaher – July 9

Book cover for "The Coin" in yellow with a woman high-kicking.

A young Palestinian woman looks to thrive in America while teaching at an underprivileged school and participating in a pyramid scheme. However, she comes to realize it is all too much and looks for other ways to regain control of her life.

Her obsession with purity and self-image inevitably ends up affecting her students, while memories from her childhood lead her down an existential crisis. As she tries to take the reins of her life, she struggles with her ideology and her sexuality.

Book Description: A bold and unabashed novel about a young Palestinian woman’s unraveling, far from home, as she gets caught up in a scheme reselling Birkin bags.

The Coin follows a Palestinian woman as she pursues a dream that generations of her family have failed at: to live and thrive in America. She teaches at a school for underprivileged boys in New York, where her eccentric methods cross conventional boundaries. She befriends a homeless swindler and the two participate in a pyramid scheme reselling Birkin bags, the value of which “increases, year by year, regardless of poverty, of war, of famine.” The juxtaposition of luxury and the abject engulfs her as she is able to con her way to bag after bag, preoccupied by the suffering she knows of the world.

Eventually, her body and mind go to war. America is stifling her—her willfulness, her sexuality, her ideology. In an attempt to regain control, she becomes preoccupied with purity, cleanliness and self-image, all while drawing her students into her obsessions. In an unforgettable denouement, her childhood memories converge with her feelings of existential statelessness, and the narrator unravels spectacularly.

Enthralling, sensory, and uncanny, The Coin explores materiality, nature and civilization, class, homelessness, sexuality, beauty—and how oppression and inherited trauma manifest in every area of our lives—all while resisting easy moralizing. Provocative and original, humorous and inviting, The Coin marks the arrival of a major new literary voice.

3. Unbecoming by Seema Yasmin – July 9

Book cover for "Unbecoming" with two women standing in front of a van.

The topic of abortion has been discussed widely for decades, but even more so in recent years. Unbecoming tells the story of two Muslim teenagers who advocate for access to abortion for all. One of them plans to become an OBGYN and the other a journalist, both trying to change the world.

Layla and Noor are working on a guide that will help those looking to have an abortion safely. However, Layla seems to have a sense of urgency that Noor doesn’t understand. Things take a political turn even further when something happens between their mosque and the local politicians.

Book Description: Two Muslim teens in Texas fight for access to abortion while one harbors a painful secret in this funny and heartfelt near-future speculative novel perfect for fans of Unpregnant.

In a not-too-distant America, abortions are prosecuted and the right to choose is no longer an option. But best friends Laylah and Noor want to change the world. After graduating high school, they’ll become an OBGYN and a journalist, but in the meantime, they’re working on an illegal guide to abortion in Texas.

In response to the unfair laws, underground networks of clinics have sprung up, but the good fight has gotten even more precarious as it becomes harder to secure safe medication and supplies. Both Layla and Noor are passionate about getting their guide completed so it can help those in need, but Laylah treats their project with an urgency Noor doesn’t understand—that may have something to do with the strange goings-on between their mosque and a local politician.

Fighting for what they believe in may involve even more obstacles than they bargained for, but the two best friends will continue as they always together.

4. Bury Your Gays by Chuck Tingle – July 9

Book cover for "Bury Your Gays" with the title and the author's name written in different shades of pink, purple, and orange.

The “bury your gays” trope has been criticized by LGBTQIA viewers for decades as it became more and more popular for TV shows to kill off queer characters. In Chuck Tingle’s novel, this is discussed as Misha is asked by studio executives to kill off gay characters for the season finale of their series.

Knowing what doing this will represent, Misha refuses to do so but finds himself with a massive target on his back. On top of that, he is fighting the monsters from his horror movie past and must find a way to get rid of them.

Book Description: Bury Your Gays is a heart-pounding new novel from USA Today bestselling author Chuck Tingle about what it takes to succeed in a world that wants you dead.

Misha knows that chasing success in Hollywood can be hell.

But finally, after years of trying to make it, his big moment is here: an Oscar nomination. And the executives at the studio for his long-running streaming series know just the thing to kick his career to the next level: kill off the gay characters, “for the algorithm,” in the upcoming season finale.

Misha refuses, but he soon realizes that he’s just put a target on his back. And what’s worse, monsters from his horror movie days are stalking him and his friends through the hills above Los Angeles.

Haunted by his past, Misha must risk his entire future―before the horrors from the silver screen find a way to bury him for good.

5. The White Guy Dies First: 13 Scary Stories of Fear and Power by Terry J. Benton-Walker – July 16

Book cover for "The White Guy Dies First" in pink with a green skull drawing.

As an editor, Terry J. Benton-Walker collected 13 different scary stories by authors of color to create a collection for young adult readers. In every single one of these stories, the white guy dies first.

Benton-Walker’s collection includes his own work and the stories of authors such as Adiba Jaigirdar, Kendare Blake, and Mark Oshiro.

Book Description: 13 SCARY STORIES. 13 AUTHORS OF COLOR.


The White Guy Dies First is a powerful and entertaining collection for YA readers featuring thirteen scary stories in which the white guy dies first.

Edited by Terry J. Benton-Walker, including stories from bestselling and critically acclaimed Adiba Jaigirdar, Alexis Henderson, Chloe Gong, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, H. E. Edgmon, Kalynn Bayron, Karen Strong, Kendare Blake, Lamar Giles, Mark Oshiro, Naseem Jamnia, Tiffany D. Jackson, and Terry J. Benton-Walker.

6. The West Passage by Jared Pechaček – July 16

Book cover for "The West Passage" with different figures in color.

After the death of the Guardian of the West Passage, no successor came to the throne, and the West Passage remained unguarded. Because of this, the passage faced several consequences, including a Summer-long snowfall and rats erupting from beneath the earth.

In order to save everyone, the young Mother of Grey Houses and the apprentice of the deceased Grey Guardian have different tasks that lead them on a journey in which their paths cross. Along their journey, they meet different creatures that will help change their fate.

Book Description: A palace the size of a city, ruled by giant Ladies of unknowable, eldritch origin. A land left to slow decay, drowning in the debris of generations. All this and more awaits you within The West Passage, a delightfully mysterious and intriguingly weird medieval fantasy unlike anything you’ve read before.

When the Guardian of the West Passage died in her bed, the women of Grey Tower fed her to the crows and went back to their chores. No successor was named as Guardian, no one took up the fallen blade; the West Passage went unguarded.

Now, snow blankets Grey in the height of summer. Rats erupt from beneath the earth, fleeing that which comes. Crops fail. Hunger looms. And none stand ready to face the Beast, stirring beneath the poisoned soil.

The fate of all who live in the palace hangs on narrow shoulders. The too-young Mother of Grey House sets out to fix the seasons. The unnamed apprentice of the deceased Grey Guardian goes to warn Black Tower. Both their paths cross the West Passage, the ancient byway of the Beast. On their journeys they will meet schoolteachers and beekeepers, miracles and monsters, and very, very big Ladies. None can say if they’ll reach their destinations, but one thing is for the world is about to change.

7. The Blonde Dies First by Joelle Wellington – July 30

Book cover for "The Blonde Dies First" with the drawing of a person's reflection on a knife screaming.

Devon decides to plan the best Summer ever before her sister, Drew, goes off to college. However, her plans include an Ouija board, and things take a turn when something or someone begins to haunt them. Even though they believe it’s a demon, their actions feel human.

As the blonde, Devon is destined to die first, and her crush, Yaya, becomes the final girl who must kill to end this terrible cycle. However, Devon believes they can use their horror movie knowledge to change the rules and put an end to the haunting.

Book Description: A group of friends fight to choose their own fates in this trope-savvy, self-referential young adult thriller from the acclaimed author of Their Vicious Games, about a demonic force that acts according to horror movie rules in the spirit of the Scream movies.

Devon is always being left behind by her genius twin sister, Drew. At this point, it’s a fact of life. But Devon has one last plan before Drew leaves for college a whole year early—The Best Summer Ever. After committing to the bit a little too much, the twins and their chaotic circle of friends learn why you don’t ever mess with a Ouija board if you want to actually survive the Best Summer Ever, and soon find themselves being hunted down by…a demon?

But while there’s no mistaking the creeping, venomous figure is not from around here, their method doesn’t feel very demonic at all. In fact, it’s downright human—going after them in typical slasher movie kill order. And that means Devon, the blonde, is up first and her decade-long crush, Yaya, is the Final Girl who must kill or be killed to end the cycle.

Devon has never liked playing by anyone else’s rules though, not even a demon’s, and the longer this goes on, the more she feels Drew and Yaya slipping away from her even as she tries to help them all survive. Can they use their horror movie knowledge to flip the script and become the hunters instead of the hunted? Or will their best summer ever be their last?

What will you be reading in July? Share your picks in the comments below!


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Lara Rosales is a bilingual writer with a BA in Latin-American Literature. She works in PR, hosts a podcast (Cats, Milfs & Lesbian Things), and writes on the internet about TV and movies. Some of her articles can be found on Tell-Tale TV, Geek Girl Authority, Collider, USA Wire, Mentors Collective, Instelite, Noodle, Dear Movies, and Flip Screened.

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