Fall Fiction Faves, Part 3

by Jim Piechota

Bay Area Reporter

Friday September 23, 2022

Fall Fiction Faves, Part 3

Here comes the third installment of our Fall book roundup featuring dynamic fiction from Meg Howrey, Courtney Summers, and RM Vaughan (posthumously). There's a lot to choose from. Keep those pages turning!

I'm The Girl, by Courtney Summers, $18.99 (Wednesday Books)

Lesbian author Summers delivers this captivating young-adult contemporary thriller chronicling the life of naïve teenager Georgia Avis, who aspires to someday meet the criteria to become employed at the exclusive members-only resort Aspera. A hit-and-run accident and the violated corpse of another teenager soon become part of her messy reality.

Despite being welcomed at Aspera and befriending (and falling for) the older sister of the dead girl, the truth about the sinister resort commingles with how wealth and privilege can blur the differences between right and wrong. This novel is ideal for a teen readership, as well as for queer adults who enjoy a good suspenseful story infused with menace, brutality, power plays, and a hopeful conclusion. us.macmillan.com

They're Going to Love You, by Meg Howrey, $28 (Doubleday)

This fantastic story of family melodrama centers on former ballet dancer Robert, his partner and ballet instructor James, and his estranged daughter, Carlisle. Since Robert's health is failing, Carlisle swallows her animosity and attempts a reconciliation despite acknowledging a grave mistake made in her 20s, which caused the devastating riff between them all.

The reunion becomes a tense, murky stew of resentment, mistrust, misdirected anger, and sadness. The result is a messy, often explosive battle over inheritance and forgiveness, but one that will keep readers glued to the page. Howrey channels her history as a former ballet dancer to infuse authentic grace into a fraught family drama. www.penguinrandomhouse.com

At Certain Points We Touch, by Lauren John Joseph, $26 (Bloomsbury)
Stylish and dramatic, Joseph's (formerly performance artist La JohnJoseph) queer love story follows the doomed relationship between a transgender writer in Mexico City and a handsome British influencer.

Now deceased, Thomas James was the toxic obsession of narrator JJ, and the novel heatedly recounts their affair a decade prior through passionate letters, anecdotes, and messages. Spanning the spaces of queer London, San Francisco, and Manhattan, the story fluidly moves with the urgency of a first love and the heartbreak of disappointment and unfulfilled yearning. Though the writing is sometimes a bit overwrought and indulgent, JJ and Thomas deliver an engrossing, decadent tale of fiery sexual chemistry and magnetic attraction.
www.bloomsbury.com

Pervatory, by RM Vaughan, $21.95 (Coach House Books)
Serving as the formal public memorial honoring respected Canadian author RM Vaughan's life as an eclectic poet, visual artist, critic, and queer activist (1965-2020), this seductive, juicy novel is all about sex and desire in Berlin, Germany.

The story is told through the journal entries of Martin Heather, an art critic, who, after finding the creative scene in Toronto dull, becomes a slut in Berlin. It is there where he meets Alexandar, a man even more sexually seasoned than he, and from whom lessons on pain, depravity, and same-sex devotion are taught and learned.

But is Martin mentally fit to tell his own story? Interjections from the present-day madness he is living in seems to question everything that has gone before. Fans of provocative visionaries like John Rechy and Dennis Cooper will discover Vaughan's final literary curtain call to push the boundaries of kink, eroticism, and sanity. Though quite a departure from his dark and vulnerable 2015 memoir "Bright Eyed," which chronicled his lifelong battle with insomnia, Vaughan has gifted readers with one last thrust of brilliance and titillation.

Royalties from the sale of this novel will support a scholarship for queer students.
chbooks.com

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