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The Diary of a Sugarbaby
J.Q. Gagliastro. J.Q. Gagliastro, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 979-8-218-25483-4
In this chilling if overwrought dystopian novel from debut author Gagliastro, a gerontocracy engages in human trafficking and sexual slavery. The story takes place in an alternate reality Philadelphia, where Dime Gagliastra, the 26-year-old gender-fluid narrator, has survived the recent Ameriqueerocide, in which all queer people were targeted for killing, by passing as masculine. Declared a Minor along with everyone under the age of 35, he’s held captive by an Elder, a member of the ruling class who forces Dime to have sex with him. The Elder’s hypocrisy is but one example of Gagliastro’s incisive satire of homophobia. When Dime, who grew up poor and financed his education by spending time with older men in return for their financial support, considers how the role of sugar daddy has morphed into something much more sinister under the gerontocracy, it’s clear Gagliastro is satirizing “sugaring” as well. When Dime’s Elder dies, he’s auctioned to another Elder, a retired NBA player who seems gentle at first but turns out to be cruel. The plot ramps up after Dime meets a fellow Minor, and she lets him in on a rebellion plot. Gagliastro’s depictions of sexual violence can feel gratuitous, but Dime’s thoughtful narration of his experiences with sugaring are revelatory. This provocative novel is not for the faint of heart. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 07/05/2024

Release date 11/01/2023