Here's What Your Favorite Authors Are Reading for Pride Month (Exclusive)

Steven Rowley, Nekesa Afia, Andrea Bartz and more pick their top LGBTQ+ books for June and beyond

<p>G.P. Putnam

G.P. Putnam's Sons; Pegasus Crime; HarperTeen; Dutton; HarperCollins; Hogarth

'The Guncle Abroad' (top left), 'Hall of Mirrors,' 'The Lilies,' 'Trust & Safety,' 'Desert Echos' and 'House Mates'

As Pride Month draws to a close, that doesn't mean our bookshelves have to get less rainbow-hued. Our celebration of LGBTQ+ voices and stories keeps going all year round! One of the best ways to learn more about the queer community is through taking in their own stories, in their own words. Diverse books are important because they make people feel seen, heard and included, and can be a lifeline for teens and young adults who are trying to find their place in the world.

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And besides, reading about lives and experiences that differ from our own is just plain fun. That's why we asked a few of our favorite authors to close out June by sharing their recommendations for Pride Month and beyond. Whether you’re interested in poignant explorations of family dynamics, gripping mysteries or touching stories of love and letting go of the past, there’s a book on this list that deserves a place of honor on your TBR pile.

Steven Rowley recommends 'The Bump' by Sidney Karger

<p>Berkley</p> 'The Bump'


'The Bump'

Wyatt Wallace, a practical TV commercial director, and Biz Petterelli, a spontaneous magazine writer, couldn’t be more different. However, the two men do have one thing in common: They’re both freaking out in advance of their surrogate baby's arrival.

With emotions running high, the couple decides to forgo their original plan to go to California before the birth and instead embark on a babymoon road trip. The Bump explores the daunting uncertainties of impending fatherhood through a spontaneous excursion and a couple bumps along the way. — Steven Rowley, author of The Guncle Abroad.

Byron Lane recommends 'Hall of Mirrors' by John Copenhaver

<p>Pegasus Crime</p> 'Hall of Mirrors'

Pegasus Crime

'Hall of Mirrors'

After witnessing his apartment go up in flames with his writing partner and lover Roger Raymond inside, Lionel Kane is certain that it wasn’t suicide. Simultaneously, longtime fans of them both, Judy Nightingale and Philippa Watson, try to elicit the writers’ help to catch Adrian Bogdan, a serial killer shielded by influential government figures.

But the two parties might be more interconnected than they realize. Set against the backdrop of 1950s Washington, D.C., Hall of Mirrors is a riveting mystery imbued with secrecy and a relentless pursuit of truth. — Byron Lane, author of Big Gay Wedding

Related: Essential Reading for Pride: PEOPLE Picks Our Favorite LGBTQ+ Books For Adults

Christina Clancy recommends 'The Guncle Abroad' by Steven Rowley

<p>G.P. Putnam's Sons</p> 'The Guncle Abroad'

G.P. Putnam's Sons

'The Guncle Abroad'

It’s been five years since Patrick O’Hara spent the summer taking care of his niece Maisie and nephew Grant after their mother passed away. Now, the kids are back with their father in Connecticut, and Patrick has relocated to New York, where his career has skyrocketed.

However, this came at the cost of his personal life, leaving him newly single at 50. When his brother Greg announces he’s getting remarried, much to Maisie and Grant’s dismay, Patrick knows that he must take the two under his wing once more. The Guncle Abroad explores family, love and the act of rediscovering yourself, no matter how old you are. — Christina Clancy, author of Shoulder Season and the forthcoming The Snowbirds

Janet Fitch recommends 'The Sons of El Rey' by Alex Espinoza

<p>Simon & Schuster </p> 'The Sons of El Rey'

Simon & Schuster

'The Sons of El Rey'

Ernesto Vega went from pig farmer to infamous luchador El Rey Coyote, but stardom nearly cost him his marriage to Elena. Years later, Ernesto’s son, Freddy, struggles to keep his father’s gym alive. Meanwhile, Freddy’s son, Julian, navigates his identity as a Mexican American gay man in a world of hook-up apps and lucha burlesque shows.

Told through alternating perspectives, The Sons of El Rey takes readers from the ranches of Michoacán to the dark underbelly of contemporary West Hollywood as this family of luchadors contends with secrets and forbidden love. — Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

John Copenhaver recommends 'Big Gay Wedding' by Byron Lane

<p>Henry Holt and Co</p> 'Big Gay Wedding: A Novel'

Henry Holt and Co

'Big Gay Wedding: A Novel'

Barnett Durang is preparing to marry the love of his life on his widowed mother's farm in their small Louisiana town. The only catch? His mother doesn't know about it yet. When forces within the family and town oppose the wedding, will the two grooms still be able to make history with the biggest, gayest event the town has ever seen? Big Gay Wedding is a heartwarming tale that celebrates the power of love and a mother’s unwavering devotion to her son. — John Copenhaver, author of Hall of Mirrors and The Savage Kind

Jason June recommends 'Desert Echoes' by Abdi Nazemian

<p>HarperCollins </p> 'Desert Echoes'


'Desert Echoes'

Fifteen-year-old Kam finds himself infatuated with Ash, a boy who has a habit of mysteriously disappearing for days at a time. Despite misgivings from his family and best friend, Kam accepts an invitation from Ash to go on a trip to Joshua Tree. But only Kam returns.

When fate brings Kam back to Joshua Tree, he’s determined to finally get closure about what happened. Coming out this September, Desert Echoes is a suspenseful, moving story about reckoning with a past relationship and the resilience of human connection. — Jason June, author of Out of the Blue and Jay’s Gay Agenda

Marie Rutkoski recommends 'The Spare Room' by Andrea Bartz

<p>Ballantine Books</p> 'The Spare Room: A Novel'

Ballantine Books

'The Spare Room: A Novel'

Kelly’s life is in shambles — she's friendless, unemployed and stuck in an apartment with her fiancé, who just called off their wedding. The only bright side is her renewed friendship with Sabrina, a childhood friend. When Sabrina and her husband Nathan offer an escape to their remote Virginia mansion, Kelly eagerly accepts.

There, she finds herself drawn to both hosts, and a spontaneous threesome leads to an invitation to join their open marriage. However, Kelly’s excitement quickly dies down when she discovers the last woman to enter a similar arrangement with the couple is missing. A gripping, tension-filled read. — Marie Rutkoski author of Real Easy

Related: Here's What Your Favorite Authors are Reading This Summer (Exclusive)

Nekesa Afia recommends 'This Spells Disaster' by Tori Anne Martin

<p>Balaji Publications</p> 'This Spells Disaster'

Balaji Publications

'This Spells Disaster'

Self-proclaimed “messy witch” and potion-maker, Morgan Greenwood, has royally screwed up… twice. First, she drunkenly offered to fake date the woman of her dreams, Rory Sandler, a brilliant elemental witch, and by some miracle she accepted. Then, when feelings between them start to feel real, Morgan realizes that she might’ve given Rory a love potion by accident.

To break the spell, Morgan must prove to Rory that they’re incompatible, which wouldn’t be too hard if Morgan didn’t start feeling that Rory might have bewitched her. Not only does Tori build her magical world so it feels so real and so livable but her main characters are so fun to follow.

Morgan and Rory really are a couple to root for despite the twists and turns that Tori so masterfully gives them along the way. Watching these two fall in love is such a delight, and I would happily turn to this book whenever I need a pick-me-up. — Nekesa Afia, author of A Lethal Lady

Sidney Karger recommends 'Four Squares' by Bobby Finger

<p>G.P. Putnam's Sons </p> 'Four Squares'

G.P. Putnam's Sons

'Four Squares'

Whether he's an advertising copywriter in his 30s looking for love or a ghostwriter in his 60s joining a local senior center, Artie Anderson is forever on a quest to find his people in New York City. A chance encounter with Abe, an uptight lawyer, during his 30th birthday celebration at his favorite bar pushes Artie to want and ask for more for himself.

Thirty years later, a lively group of queer seniors takes him under their wing after a surprising injury and a daunting realization. Four Squares is beautifully told in a dual timeline, shifting from Artie's life in the 1990s to the present day. Prepare yourself for laughs, tears and best of all, that rare gem of a contemporary gay character heading into his life's third act. — Sidney Karger, author of The Bump

Related: PEOPLE’s Most-Anticipated Summer Books: Best Beach Reads, Thrillers, Fiction, YA and More

Jo Piazza recommends 'The Housemates' by Emma Copley Eisenberg

<p>Hogarth</p> 'Housemates: A Novel'


'Housemates: A Novel'

Leah, a writer, and Bernie, a photographer, both seek to capture the world around them through their medium. When the two creatives become housemates, an indefinable friendship sparks. After Bernie’s former photography professor passes away, leaving her a complicated inheritance, Leah accompanies her to his home in rural Pennsylvania.

The trip evolves into a mission to capture America through words and photographs, leading them to encounter a diverse array of people and experiences. The Housemates shows readers what it means to embrace your artistic (and even romantic) potential. — Jo Piazza, author of The Sicilian Inheritance

Related: How Writing 'The Sicilian Inheritance' Led Jo Piazza to Investigate a Murder in the Family

Andrea Bartz recommends 'Trust and Safety' by Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman

<p>Dutton</p> 'Trust and Safety: A Novel'


'Trust and Safety: A Novel'

Newlywed Rosie, disenchanted with NYC, dreams of a rural life upstate. She convinces her tech-savvy husband, Jordan, to buy a historic fixer-upper in Hudson Valley, but when he suddenly loses his job, the couple is forced to rent out the property’s dysfunctional outbuilding.

Enter Dylan and Lark, a charming queer couple who offer help and who are also living Rosie’s dream life. As Rosie becomes more enamored by the couple, Jordan’s concerns escalate. Trust and Safety humorously explores authenticity, betrayal, belonging and entitlement while playfully critiquing modern anxieties about the “gay agenda." — Andrea Bartz, author of The Spare Room

Kyrie McCauley recommends 'The Lilies' by Quinn Diacon-Furtado

<p>HarperTeen</p> 'The Lilies'


'The Lilies'

At Archwell Academy, everyone wants to be a Lily, and although the prestigious Lily Society promises success, it comes at a chilling cost. When four students become entangled in a mysterious time loop, they’re forced to confront their darkest memories and uncover the sinister secrets buried within the academy.

As truths come to light, the students discover how deeply corruption has infiltrated their institution, threatening their futures and those of their peers. The Lilies is a don’t-you-dare-look-away dark academia thriller you don’t want to miss. — Kyrie McCauley, author of Bad Graces

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