In an article about sapphic novels, author Wendy Heard with a typewriter

6 Sapphic Novels Coming Out in 2021 To Add to Your Radar

Keep an eye out for these six releases that feature bisexual and lesbian representation.
January 29, 2021
7 mins read

There are few things more exciting to a bookworm than finding a new novel to dive into. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find new releases that feature sapphic main characters if you don’t know where to look. Here is a list of six sapphic novels that are being released in the upcoming year to keep on your radar.

1. “Afterlove” by Tanya Burne

The first sentence in the Goodreads description of “Afterlove” reads, “The lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read” in all capital letters. If that didn’t grab your attention, the beautiful cover sure will. On it is a pink and purple illustration of two girls kissing each other, surrounded by a circle of roses.

Of course, you’re never supposed to judge a book solely by its cover, but the summary of “Afterlove” is just as enticing as the image on the novel’s dust jacket. The main character, Ash, passes away in a car crash. In the afterlife, she’s invited to join a gang of female reapers who wrangle up the dead souls within their city. However, Ash keeps thinking about Poppy, her first love. Poppy is still alive, and Ash will stop at nothing to see her one last time.

The release date of this sapphic novel is June 10. So if that description caught your attention, you don’t have to wait too long for your eyes to finally be able to scan the pages of “Afterlove.”

2. “She’s Too Pretty to Burn” by Wendy Heard

“She’s Too Pretty to Burn” is a young adult sapphic novel inspired by Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” The novel is also a thriller, and since a lot of people prefer to go into thriller novels blind, I won’t explain too much about the plot.

Two girls named Veronica and Mick strike up a summer romance, and it appears to go awry. Instead of providing a summary, I’ll just leave a quote from the book’s Goodreads synopsis: “One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.”

If that quote intrigues you, luckily “She’s Too Pretty to Burn” will be published on March 30. You won’t have to wait an unbearably long time to finally dive into this thrilling sapphic novel.

3. “Not My Problem” by Ciara Smyth

“Not My Problem” is the second novel by Ciara Smyth. Her first one, “The Falling in Love Montage,” was loved by readers and highly rated on apps like Goodreads. If “Not My Problem” is even half as good as “The Falling in Love Montage,” then readers are in for a treat.

This sapphic novel follows a girl named Aideen. She’s struggling with a lot in her personal life, but instead of focusing on her own problems, she starts trying to solve the problems of others. Her enemy, Meabh, is overwhelmed and in desperate need of an escape from her hectic extracurricular schedule — so Aideen pushes her down the stairs and sprains Meabh’s ankle.

The stairs incident kicks off a semester where Aideen “fixes” problems for her classmates in unorthodox ways. It’s also a semester where she receives a chance at love. For those interested, “Not My Problem” releases on May 25.

4. “Rise to the Sun” by Leah Johnson

“Rise to the Sun” is another one of the sapphic novels on this list written by an author who has already written a fantastic sapphic romance. Johnson’s first novel, “You Should See Me in a Crown,” was a delightful and heartwarming read. There’s a good chance that “Rise to the Sun” will be just as well-written and enjoyable as Johnson’s debut.

The opening line of the novel’s Goodreads description reads, “Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.” The story follows two girls named Toni and Olivia. Both of them are headed to a three-day music and arts festival called Farmland.

While the two girls are there, their paths collide, and they spend the weekend together. “Rise to the Sun” will be released on July 6. Until then, one can only dream about the riveting romance Johnson has in store for readers of this novel.

5. “Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers

“Honey Girl” follows a 28-year-old named Grace Porter. She has just completed her Ph.D. in astronomy, and she’s a classic overachiever who almost never stops working. Essentially, she’s a character that many people won’t have any problem relating to.

The story takes a turn when Grace goes on a trip to Las Vegas with her friends. When she’s there, she gets drunk one night and marries a woman that she just met. This event causes Grace to rethink her career plans, life goals and what makes her happy.

It seems like a romance filled with a dash of millennial existentialism, perfect for young adults who are experiencing similar struggles. “Honey Girl” will be published on Feb. 23, so there’s less than a month until its release date. If this seems like a novel you might enjoy, there’s barely any wait at all, and that’s always exciting.

6. “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston

The last sapphic novel on this list is “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston. If the author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because they also wrote the wildly popular romance “Red, White, and Royal Blue.” This is McQuiston’s first sapphic novel, and it’s definitely one to get excited for.

The novel follows a girl named August. She has just moved to New York City, and she definitely isn’t excited about it. However, one day she notices a gorgeous girl named Jane who takes the same subway route as her. August develops a huge crush on Jane, and their subway ride becomes the best part of August’s day.

The only problem? Jane is from the 1970s; she’s currently displaced in time. Jane has to return to her own decade, and she needs August’s help to do that. “One Last Stop” will be published on June 1. It seems like it’ll be a perfect, heartwarming summer read.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of all the great sapphic novels that are sure to be released in 2021. But hopefully it left you with at least one book you’re excited to add to your new-release radar. These books are definitely worth looking out for.

Emma Watts, University of Arizona

Writer Profile

Emma Watts

University of Arizona
English and Political Science

My name is Emma Watts and I go to school at the University of Arizona. My majors are political science and English, so I spend about 80% of my time writing and reading.

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