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Camp Damascus

Chuck Tingle (Nightfire)

Like most people who spend too much time on Twitter, I know Tingle as the author of such out-there and oft meme-ified queer erotica titles as Trans Wizard Harriet Porber and the Bad Boy Parasaurolophus and Space Raptor Butt Invasion, but his first traditionally published work promises to take a more somber tone: it’s a horror novel set at a gay conversion therapy camp. I couldn’t be more excited to see how it plays out. —Phoebe Cramer, reviews editor


Gone to the Wolves

John Wray (FSG)

I’m not a metalhead exactly—I grew up on punk—but I do listen to metal, so when I heard about the latest from Wray, a deep dive into the death metal scene of the late 1980s, my interest was piqued. The author fully commits to the world of his characters and pulls off a rowdy and moving story of friendship. It’s an ace of spades. —David Varno, reviews editor


I Felt the End Before It Came: Memoirs of a Queer Ex-Jehovah’s Witness

Daniel Allen Cox (Viking Canada)

At the start of his memoir-in-essays, Cox abandons his childhood faith with a “breakup letter to Jehovah”—and the rest proves no less odd and fascinating, as he negotiates his queer identity in New York, witnesses a world swept up in Y2K hysteria, and wrestles fears about becoming a writer given the anti-intellectualism of his religious upbringing. This is sometimes bizarre, sometimes lyrical, and always mesmerizing. —Miriam Grossman, associate reviews editor


Impossible People: A Completely Average Recovery Story

Julia Wertz (Black Dog & Leventhal)

I’m a full-on Wertz fangirl, so I have been eagerly anticipating this newest graphic memoir from the caustic New Yorker cartoonist, which follows her winding recovery from alcohol addiction. These comics are hilarious, and sad and raw—she draws her antics like a jovial comics enfant terrible, but what wins you over is Wertz’s vulnerability. This is poised for a breakout readership; and will delight fellow devotees who’ve cringed at her cartoons since her webcomics days. —Meg Lemke, reviews editor


Jackal, Jackal

Tobi Ogundiran (Undertow Publications)

Alive with witches, griots, restless spirits, and an unfailing capacity for surprise, Ogundiran’s superb weird-fantasy fictions have in recent years dazzled readers of FIYAH, Lightspeed, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and other speculative lit mags and anthologies open to the unexpected. The Nigerian-born physician’s debut collection features the best of these, including the marvelous “The Tale of Jaja and Canti,” an unforgettable story of a construct, a quest, a mother, and much urgent, mythic feeling. —Alan Scherstuhl, BookLife reviews editor


To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse

Howard Fishman (Dutton)

Singer-songwriter Connie Converse, who disappeared in 1974 at age 50, languished in obscurity until a 2004 WNYC broadcast renewed interest in her singular music and her puzzling story. The promise of a comprehensive treatment of her life is tantalizing for fans such as myself who have had to make do with the biographical scraps that have so far come to light. I’m looking forward to getting some answers (and some new mysteries, no doubt) about one of music’s great enigmas. —Marc Greenawalt, reviews editor


The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight

Andrew Leland (Penguin Press)

I’ve been a fan of Leland’s since 2021, when I read his brilliant New York Times Magazine piece “Is There a Right Way to Act Blind?” Leland is, to my mind, part of a new vanguard of writers (among them Chloé Cooper Jones, who blurbed this book) who interrogate disability with refreshing intellectual rigor, and this book-length study of blindness masterfully melds histories both personal and cultural. —Sophia Stewart, news editor


The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

David Grann (Doubleday)

Marooned on an island off the coast of Patagonia in 1741, crewmembers of the HMS Wager scavenged for shellfish, drank barrels of wine, and built cabins on the beach. Sounds like paradise? Not quite—they were starving, scurvy-ridden, and mutinous. Miraculously, two separate groups of survivors made it back to England—where they were court-martialed to determine which one was telling the truth about what happened. Brisk enough to read on a lazy summer afternoon, Grann’s swashbuckling saga will have you praising the lord for lounge chairs and mai tais. —David Adams, adult reviews director


Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club

J. Ryan Stradal (Penguin/Dorman)

Stradal’s novels set in Minnesota always resonate with this Minnesotan. There’s a strong sense of place, quirky characters who remind me of people I know, and dives into regional peculiarities like supper clubs. While Stradal’s voice is firmly an Upper Midwestern one, he explores universal themes: love, loss, regrets for one’s past mistakes, and longings for what might have been— plus, of course, the importance of family. —Claire Kirch, Midwest correspondent


Sing Her Down

Ivy Pochoda (MCD)

Since 2013’s Visitation Street, Pochoda’s gotten better with every book. I don’t know what she’s got up her sleeve for the next one, but it’s going to be tough to top this full-blooded western noir about two women who break out of prison during the pandemic and the detective on their tail. This thing goes big and loud and makes no apologies. —Jonathan Segura, executive editor


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