The Publishing Post
Our Top LGBTQIA+ Spooky Picks!
By Emily Myhill, Emma Holbrook, Becca Binnie and Carly Bennett
The Coldest Touch by Isabel Sterling
Looking for a sapphic vampire tale with plenty of bite? Look no further than The Coldest Touch, a paranormal YA fiction about a lesbian vampire, Claire, and her journey to recruit Elise, a mortal cursed with the power to feel the death of anyone she touches, into the Veil to master her Death Oracle powers. Add a murder mystery, some teenage hormones and difficult decisions about trust and The Coldest Touch will keep you on your toes!
It has plenty of representation; as well as the central sapphic romance we meet plenty of side characters with bisexual, non-binary, pansexual and questioning identities, as well as Korean American and Black characters. It explores tender themes of friendship, family and grief, making for an honest, raw and entertaining storyline with a queer heart. Filled with immersive, expansive worldbuilding, you will get lost within the eerie, spine-chilling world of vampires, secret orders and murder…
Marketed as Twilight but queer, this is an unmissable addition to any vampire-lovers TBR. It makes for perfect spooky reading, especially if, like me, you’re not ready to let go of the spooky season to make way for Christmas just yet! Perfect for fans of Netflix’s recent hit vampire series First Kill – get your next hit of queer vampires right here!
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
Think witches are the coolest to read about during the spooky season? Then A Lesson in Vengeance might just become your new favourite pick! This gothic thriller follows Felicity Morrow who, after spending a year away following the tragic death of her girlfriend, returns to the chilling, ivy-covered Dalloway School where ghosts are said to haunt the campus. Everyone who attends Dalloway knows the occult history of witchcraft surrounding the school; how Godwin house, the most exclusive dormitory, is rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of five former students, labelled as witches who each, one after the other, met a mysterious death right where Felicity now lives. When new girl Ellis, a prodigy novelist, seeks to uncover more about the history of Dalloway for her second book, Felicity finds it hard to ignore the sense of magic in the air and finds herself falling back into the darkness that once took the person she loved most.
For those wondering how this book incorporates the LGBTQ+ community – queerness is the limelight of A Lesson in Vengeance as can be seen with the majority of characters being queer or part of the community. But this isn’t your typical ‘make more characters queer to fit into the genre’ or ‘force the reader into liking queer characters’ kind of book, no. What I love about this book is that it ticked all my boxes for having an equalness between the main character’s complicated feelings towards their sexuality and their battle against the darkness. For me, this book is a hit for those who love gothic, ghost vibes.
On Sundays, She Picked Flowers by Yah-Yah Scholfield
Self-published author Yah-Yah Scholfield released On Sundays, She Picked Flowers in 2020. The gothic horror fiction novel follows the troubled life of Judith Rice. Years after escaping her mother’s hold Jude finds herself in a strange house, deep in an even stranger wood. Ghosts, beasts, haunts and a mysterious woman threaten her peace as she fights against the violence buried within her.
With immersive imagery and intense excitement this novel is perfect if you’re looking to hold on to the spooky Halloween spirit a little bit longer. Scholfield’s novel achieved a 4.6 out of 5 Goodreads rating and is a scarily terrific addition to anyone’s bookshelf!
Things We Say in the Dark by Kirsty Logan
There’s something about the medium of short stories that has always called to horror writers – the sharp bite of immediacy a short story allows is the perfect way to send a shiver down a reader’s spine, and there are plenty of shivers to be had in Kirsty Logan’s sapphic collection, Things We Say in the Dark.
Logan has become synonymous with spooky in recent years, and there’s a lyrical, flowing quality to her writing that makes her work feel timeless. Never is that feeling stronger than in Things We Say in the Dark, with its at once classic and cutting edge. Split into three sections: the House, the Child, and the Past, Logan’s stories are all packed full of spooky atmosphere but not all feature out and out horror, making this an ideal read for book lovers looking for that insidious grip of dread without having to forgo sleep at night in case of a mysterious noise downstairs!
Ranging from a tale of stark isolation in a beautifully wild Icelandic setting, to a story about the seemingly idyllic childhood days that can turn to darkness in an instant, to warm domesticity undercut with a growing fear, Things We Say in the Dark is a queer, feminist powerhouse of a collection that ought to become a Halloween classic.