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I’m a bit of a seasonal horror reader. I tend to crave dark and spooky reads the most around fall as the weather starts to cool and the Halloween decorations come out. It’s not the only time I read horror by any means, but it is when my TBR tends to become most horror-centric. And I’m always especially on the look out for the new queer horror coming out every year. It’s a genre I’m seeing more and more books published in and I couldn’t be happier, even when reading about killer monsters, haunted houses, and existential dread.
There’s a reason queer people so often find a sense of connection in horror. With villains often queer-coded historically and LGBTQ people themselves demonized, it’s no wonder we can relate. And it’s no wonder we can — and do — reclaim these stories as our own. Just take Carmen Maria Machado’s recent edition of Carmilla from Lanternfish Press, full of marginalia that made the original queer subtext explicit. That’s not even to mention the wave of queer horror we’ve seen published in recent years. These ten new queer horror books from 2022 are just more great exampled of that. So let’s dive into them, yeah?
They Drown Our Daughters by Katrina Monroe
Meredith’s childhood home of Cape Disappointment is supposedly haunted. It seems to Meredith the washed up tourist town is more haunted by disappointment than malevolent spirits. But when she returns there with her daughter after an acrimonious divorce, her mother, suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s, is certain someone is watching them, trying to reach out to Meredith’s daughter just as it has every woman in their line for generations.
Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, translated by Sarah Booker
Fernanda and Annelise, two best friends from the Delta Bilingual Academy, were once inseparable. The girls were like mirror images of one another. So how do they wind up estranged and Fernanda held hostage by a former teacher who was obsessed with impersonating her own mother? The schoolyard rituals and perilous secrets they kept led them to this moment, as they tread a fine line between desire and fear.
Dead Flip by Sara Farizan
The author of Here to Stay and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel is back with a 90s YA horror novel for the ages. Former best friends who grew apart after the disappearance of their other friend, Sam, are thrown back together when he reappears as the same 12-year old who went missing five years ago. Now, Cori and Maz must search for answers about what happened to their friend all those years ago, each of them uncovering secrets about each other that they’ve kept hidden over the years. But the truth of what happened to Sam may be the most horrifying of all.
These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall
When Helen Vaughan receives an inheritance alongside an ultimatum from her estranged grandfather, she’s not sure what to think. But if she can live one year at her family’s ancestral home at Harrowstone Hall, the house will be hers along with her grandfather’s money. The only way she’ll make it through the year is by uncovering the house’s — and her family’s — secrets. But the more she learns, the more she wonders how she can possibly stay.
Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey
Sarah Gailey’s newest novel explores the ties that bind a family and the dark history of home. When Vera returns to her childhood home, a home filled with memories of dead bodies, it’s only because her mother is dying. In addition to Vera, her mother has invited in an artist who’s stripping the house of its macabre history one plank at a time. But is he the one leaving notes for Vera in her father’s handwriting? And if not, who — or what — else might be staying with them in this house of haunted memories and horrors?
House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson
An ad calling for a “bloodmaid of exceptional taste” offers a young girl in the slums the opportunity for a better life, even if it means her wealthy employers will drink her blood. For Marion, it seems a worthy trade. But when she becomes the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger, she finds herself swept into a world of debauchery and hedonistic pleasures where bloodmaids go missing in the night. And if Marion can’t figure out the new rules of this game of cat and mouse fast, she may become another one of them.
Our Shadows Have Claws edited by Yamile Saied Méndez and Amparo Ortiz
These Latin American monster stories edited by the authors of Furia and Blazewrath Games feature some of Latine mythology’s most memorable monsters, from goblins to brujas and vampires. Not all of the stories are queer, but several are. These stories are perfect for all the monster lovers out there.
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
This novella based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher” follows a soldier coming to an old friend’s aid only to discover that something strange and sinister is taking place in the remote countryside of Ruritania where the Usher’s live. Something is killing Madeline Usher, but she’s not the only one: nightmarish animals infected with fungal growths roam the hills and Madeline’s brother Roderick acts almost as strangely as she does. What has befallen the Ushers, and will Alex Easton be able to find answers and leave before being consumed by it, too?
Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
Don’t let the cover fool you: this YA book is horror through and through. The Bronx has been plagued by unexplainable disappearances for the past year, but it’s not until her crush Charlize’s cousin becomes one of them that Raquel decides to take matters into her own hands. Soon, Raquel and Charlize discover that these disappearances may be tied to a sinister urban legend called the Echo Game. And if they want to save their home and the people they love, they’re going to have to play — and win.
Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry edited by David Ly and Daniel Zomparelli
This anthology features monsters both old and new reimagined through a queer lens, celebrating the ideas and identities so often stigmatized and feared in monster literature. The stories and poems are filled with kaiju and revenants and creatures from mythology pushed to the margins that LGBTQ people know so well and, this time, given their time to shine.
The queer horror doesn’t stop there! You can find even more great horror reads for the season on these lists:
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