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LGBTQA+ Book Recommendations


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Aphoride

Writing and reading are very personal things - with the growing diversity across all media streams, books are becoming more representative, and diversity in a bookshelf is as important as anywhere. Post here with your LGBTQA+ recommendations, from any genre and for any age group! :)

 

(Of course, please remember that books can sometimes include sensitive topics, so try to note if they contain any themes other readers might find disturbing or upsetting, but stay within the forum guidelines/ToS/etc. ;))

 

[b]Title:[/b]
[b]Author:[/b]
[b]Genre:[/b]
[b]Year published:[/b]
[b]Summary:[/b]
[b]Why I would recommend it:[/b]

 

 

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Unwritten Curse

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Author: John Green and David Levithan

Genre: YA

Year published: 2010

Summary: This is the summary from Wikipedia:

The novel follows two boys who both go by the name Will Grayson. The first Will, whose POV always has correct capitalization, is described as trying to live his life without being noticed. This is complicated by the fact that his best friend, Tiny Cooper, described as "the world's largest person who is really, really gay" and "the world's gayest person who is really, really large", is not the type to go around unnoticed. Tiny is also throughout the novel trying to create an autobiographical musical, which further draws attention to himself and everyone around him.

 

The other Will Grayson, whose POV never has capitalization, goes through his life without anything good to hold on to besides an online relationship with someone who goes by the name Isaac. Intent on meeting up with Isaac, Will Grayson sets up an encounter one night in Chicago [eliminating part here to avoid spoilers]. What ensues brings both characters together and changes both of their lives forever in ways they could never have guessed or imagined.

Why I would recommend it: I love this novel because it is at times laugh-out-loud funny and at times genuinely moving. The cast of characters is something that I would best describe as a motley crew and the friendships are raw and authentic--this isn't a fairy tale depiction where everyone is best friends all the time; they have ups and downs and moments that make you want to shake them silly.

 

I also love this novel for rewriting the narrative for gay teenage boys. Tiny is not the normative gay boy--he is NOT tiny or delicate or feminine, but he is his own person and he just happens to be gay. Same goes for the second Will Grayson, who is quite boyish and very standoffish, yet also gay. The novel gives an honest look at homosexuality in all its forms, showing readers that you don't have to fit a stereotype to be gay, which ultimately gives a very human voice to members of the LGBTQA+ community.

 

Also, John Green and David Levithan are gods. They are two of my favorite authors and together, they make magic.

 

 

Title: Every Day

Author: David Levithan

Genre: YA

Year published: 2012

Summary: From Goodreads:

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

 

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Why I would recommend it: This is a stunning novel. I tried to write a novel like this once, where the protagonist wakes up in a different body every day, but then I read Levithan's book and knew I could never approach the subject matter with such delicacy and depth.

 

On top of that, the main character, A, is genderless. A has no tie to a permanent body and therefore no tie to a gender identity. Levithan handles this issue with grace. A is a beautiful character with emotional resilience and wisdom far beyond their years. In this novel, A is in love with a character named Rhiannon, and as Rhiannon falls in love with A in return (despite the body A is in--male or female) a beautiful love story unfolds that showcases what it's like to love someone for their heart regardless of their gender.

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nott theodore

I've read a couple of really good books that fit in this category lately :D

 

Title: The Art of Being Normal

Author: Lisa Williamson

Genre: Young Adult

Year published: 2015

Summary: Summary from Amazon:

Two boys. Two secrets. David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he's gay. The school bully thinks he's a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth - David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal - to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long ...

Why I would recommend it: This is the first YA novel I've read that features trans characters, and I think it's really important for visibility.  The author's actually worked with the youth gender identity services in Britain so she already has some experience of the sort of issues that young trans people face (I have read some reviews and spoken to some people who think the depiction of trans characters is a little simplified though, and there are problems with the pronouns which wouldn't help someone who's not had much experience with trans issues/people transitioning).

 

I think what I loved most about this story was the fact that the characters were so likeable and realistic - I really warmed to them, and they're portrayed as people rather than feeling like trans characters that have been inserted into the story just because.  There are all sorts of other plots going on in the story but I really love the characters the most and I couldn't stop reading it until I found out what happened with them.  There's lots that could be improved on, but it's a really wonderful, heartwarming story and it's really refreshing to read a book that includes trans characters too.

 

 

Title: The Danish Girl

Author: David Ebershoff

Genre: Historical, Contemporary Fiction

Year published: 2015

Summary: Summary from Amazon:

Loosely inspired by a true story, this tender portrait of marriage asks: What do you do when the person you love has to change?

 

It starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires.

 

The Danish Girl is an evocative and deeply moving novel about one of the most passionate and unusual love stories of the 20th century.

Why I would recommend it: A lot of people will probably have seen the film of The Danish Girl when it came out earlier this year, but the book version is a really beautiful story.  It's slightly more fictionalised than the film but Lili Elbe is such a wonderful character, and you can't help but love her and be moved by her story.  Lili was assigned male at birth (it's actually thought that she was intersex, though all the correct terminology etc. doesn't play a big part in the story since it takes place way before people were aware/accepting of trans people) and the novel follows her journey trying to discover who she really is and wants to be.

 

I think one of my favourite things about this novel is the fact that, even though most of us have certain ideas of the early 20th century and tolerance, Lili actually finds a lot of acceptance from the people around her; it's really heartwarming to think that there have been tolerant and generous people like that around throughout the years and kind of gives you more hope for the future, too.

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scooterbug8515

Title:  Afterworlds

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Paranormal, tiller, suspense, General real life

Year published: 2014

Summary:

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

 

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

Why I would recommend it: As a writer, Darcy's story hit home a bit and and I found myself eating up the details of her life as an author.  I know some of what happened can't be true to life because it is a novel but it is still a good tale. 

 

Then there is Lizzie's story which is just a little bit creepy, full of suspense.  The story is a bit dark but so intriguing and such a unique tale about death. Also watching the story unfold and be crafted at the same time is really interesting.

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MuggleMaybe

I GET TO RECOMMEND ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS RIGHT NOW AND I AM SO PLEASED.

 

Sorry, I'm excited. Sometimes I gotta all caps. :P

 

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Genre: YA

Year published: 2012

Summary: from Amazon--

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Why I would recommend it: As you could probably tell from the all caps, I really love this book. It is beautifully written, and the characters are richly and genuinely drawn. Also, its full of angst in the best way. I mean, check out this intro line: The problem with my life was that it was someone else's idea. So lovely, so angsty.

 

Also, if you're into audio books, you may be interested (Read: ecstatic) to know that the audio version is read by LIN MANUEL MIRANDA.

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ShazaLupin

Title: Read me like a book

Author: Liz Kessler

Genre: YA

Year published: 2015

Summary: From Amazon:

Ashleigh Walker is having a difficult year. She's struggling at school, and coming home to parents who are on the verge of divorce. She knows she should be happy spending time with her boyfriend - but, for some reason, being around him just makes her worry more. It's only in her English teacher, Miss Murray, that she feels she's found a kindred spirit. Miss Murray helps Ashleigh develop her writing skills and her confidence - but what happens when boundaries begin to blur? What will the repercussions be for Ashleigh? And how will she navigate her own sexuality?

Why I would recommend it: I loved this book when I first got it. Kessler writes and portrays teenagers as actual teenagers and one of my favourite things about it is how realistic it is. Not everything is black and white, there is a lot of grey areas and I think that's important to show in books.

 

Ashleigh really struggles with what she thinks is right and should be feeling and what she is actually is feeling and I loved the ending and how it was left. This is a really well written book, with some great characters.

 

Title: I'll give you the sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Genre: YA

Year published: 2015

Summary: From Amazon:

ude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

Why I would recommend it: This is quite a tragic read but I think that's what makes it such a good read. You're reading it because you're hoping for the best and it's not obvious weather the character's will get that or not.

 

One of my favourite things about the novel is how it shows how different people react to their own sexuality. Both Noah and Brian are gay, but their situations and how they react are completely different. Noah, while not completely out, is happy to accept himself while Brain is terrified of others finding out, especially at his school where he is a sports star. The best part of their stories, especially Brian's is that it could have been so stereotypical but it's not, and that's what makes this such a great read!

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:D

 

Title:Fan Art

Author: Sarah Tregay

Genre: Young Adult

Year published: 2014

Summary:

When the picture tells the story…

 

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

 

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

 

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

Why I would recommend it:It's such a sweet story about falling in love with your best friend, art, and dealing with families as a teenager. I really love that it talks about why being able to see LGBT in art and media is so important, and you'll definitely fall in love with all of the characters.

 

Title:Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author:Becky Albertalli

Genre:Young Adult

Year published:2015

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

 

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Why I would recommend it:When people ask my what my favorite book is, it's Harry Potter. When they roll their eyes and say "besides Harry Potter", it's this one. Simon is a great character, a harry potter fan (a hufflepuff:D), and it's such a good, addicting read. You'll fall in love with him the same way Blue does.

 

Title:Carry On

Author:Rainbow Rowell

Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy

Year published:2016

Summary:

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

 

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Why I would recommend it:It's gay Harry Potter. If that's not enough to make you run to the book store, I don't know what else to tell you. This book sucked me in and actually made me like vampires.

 

(I should stop, but you need a f/f too)

 

Title:The Gravity Between Us

Author:Kristin Zimmer

Genre:New Adult novel (17+)

Year published:2013

Summary:

At just 19, Kendall Bettencourt is Hollywood’s hottest young starlet with the world at her feet – but behind the glamour and designer dresses is a girl who longs for normal.

 

Payton Taylor is Kendall’s best friend since childhood, and the one person who reminds her of who she really is – her refuge from the craziness of celebrity life.

 

With her career taking off, Kendall moves Payton to LA to help keep her sane. But Payton is hiding a secret that could make everything ten times worse. Because to her, Kendall is more than a best friend – she is the only girl that she has ever loved.

 

Just as they need each other more than ever, they’ll have to answer the question of where friendship stops and love begins? And find out whether the feelings they have can survive the mounting pressure of fame…

Why I would recommend it:If it hasn't been made already painfully obvious, I love friends-to-lovers stories A LOT. This is a great telling of that idea, where Kendall gets famous and has to figure out how to balance holding on to her old life - her friendship with Payton - and being in the spotlight. It addresses the issues about coming out in the spotlight really beautifully.

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  • 2 months later...
ImaRavenclaw

*pulls out three quarters of the books on her shelf* *takes deep breath* *makes sure she's not putting anything down that's already there* LET'S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!

 

Title: Two Boys Kissing

Author: David Levithan

Genre: YA

Year published: 2013

Summary: From Google books.

Seventeen-year-olds Craig and Harry are trying to set a new Guinness World Record for kissing.

Around them, Ryan and Avery are falling in love, Neil and Peter are falling out of love, and Cooper might be somewhere, but he is also, dangerously, nowhere.

Why I would recommend it: This book is super powerful. It is narrated by the generation of people who were lost in the AIDS epidemic (which I think is so cool), and it explores different boys and their different feelings. This books is full of good times, bad times, and hopeful times. I really loved it!

 

 

Title: Frannie and Tru

Author: Karen Hattrup

Genre: YA

Year published: 2016

Summary: From Google Books.

Frannie has always idolized her cousin Tru. At seventeen, Tru is charismatic, rich, charming—everything fifteen-year-old Frannie wants to be, and everything she’s not. So when Frannie overhears her parents saying that after a bad coming-out experience Tru will be staying with them in Baltimore for the summer, Frannie is excited and desperate to impress him. But as Frannie gets swept up in Tru’s worldly way of life, she starts to worry that it may all be a mask Tru wears to hide a dark secret. And if Tru isn’t the person Frannie thought he was, what does that mean for the new life she has built with him?

 

Confronting issues of race, class, and sexuality, Karen Hattrup weaves a powerful coming-of-age story that’s at once timeless and immediate, sharply observed, and recognizable to anyone who has ever loved the idea of a person more than the reality.

Why I would recommend it: Though this story is quite simple and is a fast read, it has really powerful messages. I wouldn't consider it an LGBTQA+ books, but it is one of those nice books where a character happens to be gay but that is not really what the story is about. Those are rather rare. Tru is a very damaged boy, and some of the things going on in his life are easy to relate to, which makes it an interesting read despite the simplicity of it all.

 

 

Title: The Mortal Instruments series (6 books in total).

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Fantasy and YA.

Year published: First book - 2007. Last book - 2014

Summary: (First book) From Goodreads.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

 

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...

 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Why I would recommend it: Again, this is one of those great books/series where on of the main characters happen to be gay, but that isn't the focus of the story. Later on in the series there is a relationship between this gay main character and another character that last for a long time and is integral in the series. Besides that this series has got to be my favourite besides Harry Potter, I love it so much and the world that Cassie Clare has created is one of my favourite places to be.

 

Title: The Bane Chronicles

Author: Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Genre: Fantasy and YA.

Year published: 2014

Summary: (This is a companion book to The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices series). From Goodreads.

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Why I would recommend it: ANOTHER one of my books where a character happens to be LGBTQA+. This books also has a few chapters between Magnus and his boyfriend (Alec Lightwood) that are oh so sweet. Besides that this story is humorous, insightful, witty, and brilliant. I LOVE MY SHINING WARLOCK!

 

Title: Openly Straight

Author: Bill Konigsberg

Genre: YA

Year published: 2013

Summary: From Goodreads.

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He's won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

 

And, oh yeah, he's gay. He's been out since 8th grade, and he isn't teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

 

So when he transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate break down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn't even know that love is possible.

Why I would recommend it: This is probably a concept every LGBTQA+ person has thought of. A scenario that a lot of people do. They came out, and it was kind of eh, so now they want to see how people treat them when they're straight. Interesting! But Rafe's plan completely falls to pieces because of this Ben thing. He struggles through a lot of the things that he has to go through as a straight kid, but he also believes that it is a good way to find himself. Rafe's pretty funny, and when he does

get with Ben

it's the sweetest thing ever until of course

they break up awkwardly in a not really "official" way.

Anyway I love this story to pieces.

 

Title: In Real Life

Author: Joey Graceffa

Genre: Memoir

Year published: 2015

Summary: Shortened version of Goodreads summary.

In the pages of his first book, he opens up about his years of struggling with family hardships and troubles at school, with cruel bullying and the sting of rejection. He tells of first loves and losses, embarrassing moments and surprising discoveries, loneliness, laughter, and life-changing forks in the road, showing us the incalculable value of finally finding and following your true passion in this world. Funny, warm-hearted, and inspiring, Joey Graceffa’s story is a welcome reminder that it’s not where you begin that matters, but where you end up.

Why I would recommend it: This is a real life story, and those are always great... Especially when they're funny. And yes, Joey Graceffa happens to be gay, so some of the stories are about that. This is such a heartfelt book, and I really enjoyed it. You don't even have to watch Joey Graceffa's videos, I didn't until after.

 

Title: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Author: Written and photographed by Susan Kuklin.

Genre: Non-fiction and photography.

Year published: 2014

Summary: From the back of the book.

Six unwaveringly honest young adults tell what it is like for them to be members of the transgender community.

Why I would recommend it: More real stories. The stories in this book are powerful, spirited, and true. And they come with awesome pictures photographed by the author. These teens were so brave in telling the world their stories.

 

I'll put some more down later, but I'm super late for something. Enjoy!

 

EDIT: Just fixing the bold tags...  8)

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  • 2 years later...
scooterbug8515

Title: This is Kind of an Epic Love Story
Author: Kheryn Callender
Genre: YA, Romance, Comedy
Year published: 2018
Summary:  (Taken from Nashville Public Library)

A fresh, charming rom-com perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Boy Meets Boy about Nathan Bird, who has sworn off happy endings but is sorely tested when his former best friend, Ollie, moves back to town.

 Nathan Bird doesn't believe in happy endings. Although he's the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate's seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

 Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel--but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

 After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?

Why I would recommend it:  This book is brilliant every character comes to life on the page and each character has their own issues and problems in this book and that helps to add layers beyond the MC having his issue be the only issue in the story.   The characters are very relatable having common everyday interest as well as a few geeky interests as well.  The characters are alive and fresh.  I particularly love that the POV character is a bi POC.  I also appreciate how labels are not used.  Everyone can love whoever they want without worrying about it.  No one questions this idea and the characters are all rather accepting of who people choose to love.  What sold me all the more on this story is that the love interest is deaf.  The author handled this is such a lovely way describing different signs and indicating their meaning and also having the main characters naturally accept the differences that deafness creates using their phones to aid communication without a second thought as if they had always done it when majority of the characters meet the love interest for the first time in the book.

As a warning, this book is certainly a more mature YA novel and does address sex and male pleasure.  I know some readers are not always comfortable with this topic and I did want to give that warning here.

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  • 1 month later...
BookDinosaur

Title: Witchmark
Author: C.L Polk
Genre: Fantasy / Mystery / Romance
Year Published: 2018

Summary: 

Quote
In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

Why I would recommend it: This was one of my favourite books from last year - I'm such a sucker for a good fantasy, and the worldbuilding here is excellent, from the environment to the magic, at once familiar enough that it sort of rings a bell and obscure enough to be totally fascinating. Not to mention the characters were really well-drawn, and Miles especially had a lot of conflict re his family and his duty and his magic that all got wrapped up in the case he's trying to solve and explored really effectively. The plot is just the right amount of twisty for a mystery, and the romance is really sweet; the whole book just hums along really nicely, and I devoured it in one or two days flat :wub: 

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  • 1 year later...
Renacerá

Ohhhhh man. Ya girl reads so many LGBTQIA+ books. Prepare yourselves! :D  (Also, thank you to @crowsb4bros for the graphics I'm using below!)

*all summaries are from Goodreads*

 

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Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Powers
Genre: YA, horror, mystery
Year published: 2019
Summary: (c/w for pandemic)

Quote

It's been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty's life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don't dare wander outside the school's fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there's more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Why I would recommend it: This is a fantastic mystery story, and the young women at its center are so compelling. I read it at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, which was probably not the best time for it, but I didn't mind since I knew what I was getting into. All-in-all, this is just a really good queer horror/mystery. I really liked it.

 

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Title: Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, fantasy, adventure, heist
Year published: 2015 and 2016
Summary: x (content warnings)

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Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes


Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets - a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Why I would recommend it: Holy eff. These books are two of my favorites ever published. They are stunning in their diversity—from LGBTQIA+ to POC to persons with disabilities—and absolutely nothing feels forced. The worldbuilding that Leigh Bardugo spends so much time on isn't just evident, it shines. Every character is unique and you'll love each of them. The plot is captivating, and there's no end to the twists and turns. I can't say enough positive things about the quality of these books. I promise, promise that you won't regret reading them.
 

 

[More to come soon!]

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Aphoride

Title: Mr Loverman
Author: Bernadine Evaristo
Genre: Fiction
Year Published: 2013

Summary: 

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Barrington Jedidiah Walker is seventy-four and leads a double life. Born and bred in Antigua, he's lived in Hackney since the sixties. A flamboyant, wise-cracking local character with a dapper taste in retro suits and a fondness for quoting Shakespeare, Barrington is a husband, father and grandfather - but he is also secretly homosexual, lovers with his great childhood friend, Morris.

His deeply religious and disappointed wife, Carmel, thinks he sleeps with other women. When their marriage goes into meltdown, Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris, but after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away?

Mr Loverman is a ground-breaking exploration of Britain's older Caribbean community, which explodes cultural myths and fallacies and shows the extent of what can happen when people fear the consequences of being true to themselves.

Why I would recommend it: The summary describes this as 'trailblazing' and it's the first book I've ever seen which depicts older LGBTQA+ people, and especially older, Black LGBTQA+ people. It deals with issues of racism and homophobia, the difficulties of aligning religion and religious views with LGBTQA+ identities, the trials of living in a community where it's not acceptable to be openly gay, and the way that secrets can wear on you over time and how deeply they can cut a family. Despite the heavy topics, the narrative voice - Barry - is humorous and witty; it's a really perfect kind of novel, as you'd expect from a Booker Prize-winning author, though it's perhaps a hidden gem in her catalogue of glories :wub: 

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Hawksquill

Title: The Mercies
Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Genre: Fiction/Historical fiction
Year Published: 2020

Summary: 

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After a storm has killed off all the island's men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft.

Why I would recommend it: STUNNING prose.  Truly interesting, unique setting for historical fiction (not just your usual medieval France and regency England!), amazing characters.  I wanted to just curl up into this book and fall asleep.  It's deeply feminist in style, approach, and theme.  I've read a million and one historical fiction books and a million and one witchcraft books, and this one was special.  Sensitive portrayal of Indigenous people.  Realistic depiction of grief (which is my jam), and tense relationships and messy situations that don't just magically clear up at the end of the book.  Highly, highly recommend! 

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maraudertimes

Title: Her Royal Highness
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Genre: Contemporary Romance, YA
Year published: 2019

Summary:

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Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can't believe her luck when she's accepted into one of the world's most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille's roommate Flora is a total princess.

She's also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other--Flora is both high-class and high-key--but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn't a fairy tale . . . or is it?

Why I would recommend it: You start off the story with Millie, a really sweet girl who has a flirtationship going on with one of her good friends, before essentially getting dumped and yeeting herself right out of there all the way to Scotland (healthy coping, I'm here for it!). The roommates-to-lovers trope (is it a trope?) in this story is so cute, and although there are some criticisms re: the monarchy structure/the possibility of a Scottish monarchy/poor research into Scottish culture, I really did enjoy the modern royal au spin (then again, I'm a sucker for those). But the really amazing moments in this book come from Millie and Flora, and everything that happens between them is quintessential romcom-level romantic, and they are just so sweet ❤️ We stan some wlw literature!

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