HAPPY PRIDE! I’m going to keep shouting it every day all day, and today, specifically, we’re going to talk about my favorite LGBTQIA+ books. There are a lot that I haven’t read, and a lot that are written by straight white people, and I am working on reading more #ownvoices rather than just the ones that Instagram shouts about the loudest. This list is definitely going to change by the end of this month because I’m reading so many amazing books right now, and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the future. Let’s get to it!
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is both an excellent book and adaptation, and I cry just thinking about it. One of my absolute favorite parts about it is the way that Simon’s parents responded to him coming out, but particularly his father. Seeing a man cry and remind his son that he loved him and be emotional, both on page and on screen, is so, so important, and I love that it’s featured in a book that I know so many people have read, inside and outside of the queer community.
I do, of course, want to recognize that the relationship in The Wicker King by K. Ancrum is very toxic and unhealthy, but watching Jack & August grow throughout this book, and seeing them in the future setting of The Weight of the Stars just made my heart sing. I still think about the feverish day I spent reading this entire thing, and how I just could not function unless I was reading it. This is such an expertly crafted story.
Hell, I’m going to try my best not to just start screaming about Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy because THIS BOOK. It’s so unapologetically queer, and it’s incredible. It’s the gay space opera of my dreams, and there is not a single thing that I don’t love wholeheartedly in this duology. Sword in the Stars, the sequel, completely blew my expectations out of the park, and I’m just so happy this story exists.
I also have to try really hard not to just weep uncontrollably about Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly. I’m still trying to find a way to fill the void in my heart that Cyril & Aristide left behind, and honestly? I don’t think I ever will fill it. I think I’m just going to be a shell of my former self for the rest of my life thinking about the happy ending they deserved and got.
The very idea of Autoboyography by Christina Lauren had me hooked right from the beginning, but then the actual execution? Godsdamn, this is good. I loved not only the developing relationship between the two MCs, but the friendship that acted as a foundation. I loved the discussion of religion, the way school & religious & familial expectations can be so harmful to queer teens trying to figure things out, and the different time spent lifting up both platonic friendship and romantic interest.
I’m starting to realize that I did a lot of shouting for most of these books when I first read them, and Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno got to the point where I just started tagging endless people on my personal Instagram story because I needed to get this into every person’s heart possible. This book is about a lot, not just the sapphic romance, and so I would definitely say go into it knowing what you’re reading, but it deals with each of its topics with empathy, strength, and beauty.
I remember weeping about The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender and just wishing so desperately that there was a queer version of it, and then When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore came around and wrapped me in the warmest hug. The writing in this is pure magic. There’s always the conversation that fantasy books transport us into a different world, but the writing in this really feels like being transported into raw magic. I don’t even know how to describe it correctly. It’s just gorgeous.
I mean, we all knew Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston was going to show up on this list. I read it twice in less than a year, and I already want to reread it again. I’d somehow forgotten just how outstanding it was, and the second time felt somehow almost better than the first time. It literally has every single thing I have ever wanted in a queer contemporary ever.
Can I rec the entire Heartstopper by Alice Oseman series? Because the whole thing is just beautiful. The artwork is wonderful, the story is delightful, THE CHARACTERS. Nick will destroy my heart forever. Charlie has my heart forever. Everything about this is just the best. And I know it’s on Tumblr, and you can read it for free, but I beg you to support Oseman and buy the physical (or electronic) paperbacks! They’re so well done, and it’s so nice to have the story broken up like that into actual arcs instead of just bingeing everything at 2AM.
I just read On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong recently, and wow. Wow. It absolutely blew my mind. I kept finding myself putting it down every few pages to just try to digest the beauty of the language and the heartache of the story. This was honestly one of the most incredible books I’ve ever read, and I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time.
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