Karine Jean-Pierre
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The 15 Best LGBT Summer Reads Include Anne Rice, Kevin Sessums

Lost Boi by Sassafras Lowrey (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Fans of children’s tales and the genderqueering of literature will adore Sassafras Lowrey’s queer punk reimagining of the Peter Pan story in which orphaned, abandoned, and runaway bois of the street have sworn allegiance and service to Pan, the fearless leader of the Lost Bois Brigade. It’s like a subversive alternate take on the classic story, with undercurrents that tackle some real issues like LGBT youth homelessness, BDSM, addiction, love, family, gender, and so much more. Tootles (Pan’s best boi) narrates the story, in which the bois make their own family in a squat called Neverland. But despite their loyalty to Pan and their refusal to join ranks with Hook's leather pirates or the needle-fueled Crocodile, nothing has prepared the bois for the arrival of newly corrupted Mommy Wendi and tomboy John Michael, who bring irreversible change to Neverland. Lowrey won the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, and this perverted, fantastic novel is proof that was money well spent.

Searching for Celica by Elizabeth Ridley (Bold Strokes)
In this captivating lesbian page-turner, Dayle, a best-selling spy novelist from Wisconsin, arrives in London for a writers’ conference only to be told that her best friend and former lover, Celia, has died under mysterious circumstances. Or so they say; there's no body, and her apartment seems to suggest Celia was planning to leave. So Dayle teams up with Celia's Nigerian-British ex-girlfriend, Edwina, to investigate. What they and the local detectives find leaves Dayle questioning everything she knows in this fast-paced, twisted, philosophical mystery.

Harold and Maude by Colin Higgins (Chicago Review Press)
A whole new generation of fans discovered the classic film Harold and Maude when Netflix recently added it. Now the much-loved original novel by late gay screenwriter and activist Colin Higgins is getting a re-release as well, with a new cover meant to appeal to a new generation of audiences. A must-read (or watch), this 1971 dark romantic comedy follows the unlikely but wonderful relationship that develops between Maude, a quirky 81-year-old optimist, and death-obsessed 19-year-old Harold. Higgins, who was also writer-director of Nine to Five and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, died in 1988, shortly after his 47th birthday, of complications related to AIDS. His legacies, however, will be lasting. Two years before he died, he established the Colin Higgins Foundation to support LGBTQ youth in underserved communities. The foundation has given $3 million over the years to numerous LGBTQ organizations, including the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, youth outreach efforts, and AIDS prevention programs. With the book’s re-release, royalties will all go to the foundation, which just this month gave out $10,000 each to three Youth Courage Award winners: Victoria, 19, an undocumented queer transgender immigrant who first came to the U.S. at age 3; Alex, 20, a queer transgender man was raised Muslim and battled drug addiction, and like Victoria, he endured homelessness and bullying; and AJ, 20, a bisexual man raised in a poor black Southern neighborhood, who’s a staunch advocate for workers’ rights, including an increase in the the minimum wage. Do the Courage Award winners have anything to do with the book? Maybe so. Like them, Harold and Maude handle themselves with grace and dignity in the face of overwhelming hardship. And if you buy this book, you help put money in the pockets of great LGBT kids like these.

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