The Selector’s Selections: July 2023

How’s your Summer Reading going? If you need a few more books to finish up, try these! I have no theme this month, except general awesomeness.

Give Me a Sign coverGive Me a Sign” by Anna Sortino

Lilah has severe hearing loss, but with hearing aids and lip reading, she’s able to get along well enough. Still, she misses the feeling of connection she had when attending Camp Gray Wolf as a kid, a camp for deaf and/or blind kids. The summer before senior year, she applies to be a counselor at the camp and is accepted. While she never felt like she fully fit in with the hearing world, she also struggles to fit into the Deaf community—especially because her ASL is nowhere near fluent. But she makes patient and supportive new friends as she starts to define and embrace her identity. It doesn’t hurt that her sweet and attractive fellow junior counselor volunteers to help her improve her signing. This debut by a Deaf author explores many different aspects of Deaf culture, including perspectives from people with supportive families and not-so-supportive ones. It also gives good examples of difficulties Deaf folks might face in the hearing world, especially with things like interactions with the police. A summer romance with excellent diverse representation.

Stars, Hide Your Fires coverStars, Hide Your Fires” by Jessica Mary Best

Next up we’ve got a murder mystery sci-fi with a queer romance. Talk about genre-bending! Cass lives on Sarn, a dusty moon at the edge of the Empire, scraping by as a pickpocket and con artist. By stealing from the rich tourists who come to visit the Oasis, the last bit of fertile land on Sarn, she manages to keep herself and her ailing father fed. When she hears about the exclusive Ascension Ball off-planet, she’s intrigued. The Emperor is planning to name his successor at the ball, and all the richest citizens of the empire will be there—dressed in their finest. After a job like this, Cass and her father would be set for the rest of their lives. She manages to con her way in, and things are going swimmingly…until the emperor is murdered. Normally Cass wouldn’t care much, but someone is determined to frame Cass for the murder. Now she needs to clear her name (and hopefully escape with her stolen jewels), so she reluctantly teams up with the beautiful and mysterious Amaris—a rebel leader who has her own reasons for wanting to solve the murder. Read this if you love nonstop action and banter, heists and casually gender-inclusive worldbuilding.

The King is Dead coverThe King is Dead” by Benjamin Dean

When the king of England dies unexpectedly, his seventeen-year-old son James is thrust into his new role as king. He may have been preparing his whole life for this, but James has unique challenges to face. He’s the country’s first Black king, and he’s gay. The world knows he’s Black—and barely tolerates it—but there’s no way they can find out about his sexuality. James struggles with feeling inferior to his cousins and ill-suited for the throne, while also struggling to hide his secret boyfriend, a Black intern who works in the palace. When his boyfriend suddenly disappears and tabloids start hinting at family secrets, James has to race to find both the leak and his boyfriend. The author is a celebrity reporter based in London, so all of James’ interactions with the media ring incredibly true. A royal romantic thriller that thoroughly explores racism and homophobia in the press and society.