Happy Pride 2019! To celebrate we have decided to compile a list of books featuring LGBTQ+ characters that we have read recently. We are both so happy more and more books are being published that are breaking the mould when it comes to diverse characters and sexualities. If you have any recommendations, make sure to share them with us in the comments!
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”
Despite being published in 2017, I’m finally getting to this book after constantly hearing amazing reviews. This book follows Monique, a reporter who has been gifted the ultimate job, writing a biography for Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo. Up until now, Evelyn’s private life has been a mystery. What really happened with her seven husbands? And who was the true love of her life? This story features a bisexual main character and both a gay and lesbian secondary character.
Heartstopper: Volume One
by Alice Oseman
Introducing the world’s cutest graphic novel featuring a gay main couple. We follow the story of Nick and Charlie – teenagers attending an all boy’s school in England. Alice Oseman is one of the best at writing LGBTQ+ characters and she doesn’t disappoint in this style either. This story is also an ongoing webcomic so you can read on if you subscribe to her Patreon. These two boys are adorable together and the book handles all the cuteness up against the fear of coming out and what it means to be gay in an all boy’s school. The second volume is set to be released soon. Full review here!
After the Eclipse
by Fran Dorricott
This mystery thriller is unlike a lot on the market right now as it features a lesbian MC and a bisexual love interest. This book follows the events after a full solar eclipse in 1999 where a young girl was abducted. Sixteen years later, the UK is scheduled for another solar eclipse and this time, another girl has gone missing. Are the two disappearances connected? We follow Cassie who lost her sister in 1999 and is now the journalist following the disappearance of the latest victim. The classic unsolved disappearance teamed with interesting and diverse characters is a sure way to get you hooked. Full review here!
Other Words for Smoke
by Sarah Maria Griffin
This strange but beautiful novel tackling real life issues isn’t just a page-turner in itself but also features a house of magical and queer ladies. Flicking through the years, we follow Mae and her brother, Rossa who spend strange summers with their aunt Rita, her ward Bevan and a cat who is more than a cat and a strange owl who lives in the walls. However, this metaphorical book explores the problems people living in Ireland have faced and continue to face. Make sure to check out Becky’s full review to hear more.
Perfectly Preventable Deaths
by Deidre Sullivan
Featuring a lesbian MC, this book follows fifteen year old twins, Madeline and Catlin. Despite being close, the two sisters couldn’t be any more different. However, after moving to a new town, they discover that Ballyfran is infamous for the teenage girls who have gone missing over the years. The two girls follow different paths – Catlin falls in love whilst Madeline discovers her suppressed magic but when Catlin finds herself in grave danger, it’s up to Madeline and her newly discovered powers to save her and discover the town’s secrets. Full review here!
All the Bad Apples
by Moira Fowley – Doyle
This book (released August 1st) is an intense tale of the crimes committed by the Catholic church and the women whose stories have been buried over the years and another delve into the history of Ireland and its people. Our main character, Deena is a lesbian and she begins a relationship with a queer girl throughout the novel. Deena’s best friend also identifies as bisexual. However, this book follows Deena after her sister has gone missing and is presumed dead. However, it isn’t long until letters start arriving from her missing sister confessing that their family has a curse passed down through generations. Now it’s up to Deena to try and find her sister and try and solve the mysterious curse.
I Hope You Get This Message
by Farah Naz Rishi
Another book yet to be released (October 22nd) but one that is not only an Own Voices book by a Pakistani author but also features a gay MC. This sci-fi novel explores a world that will end in seven days. The story switches between high school truant, Jesse who can’t find anything permanent in his life whether its jobs or boys he hooks up with. Cate, who wants to find the father that she’s never met before time is up and Adeem, a computer expert who is struggling to forgive his sister after she abandoned him. Ultimately, the three teenagers find their paths crossing at the end of the world.
Red, White and Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
Could I have compiled this list without including the book that everybody is talking about this year? Obviously not. This book features a bisexual, biracial main character and a gay love interest. We follow the story of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the closest thing you can find to a prince in the US and Prince Henry from the UK. To stop the threat against British/American relationships after photos are leaked to the press, both men must stage a fake friendship. However, when they find themselves falling for each other in secret, will they risk everything and tell the world?
An Unkindness of Ghosts
by Rivers Solomon
This sci-fi novel takes place on a spaceship called HSS Matilda, responsible for rescuing the last of humanity to the mythical Promised Land. We follow the story of Aster, used to the constant names she gets called and struggling to deal with her mother’s suicide. Aster is an autistic, intersex characters and the book is Own Voices. The rest of the book hosts a big variety of diverse characters both in sexuality and gender and challenges the idea of cisheteronormative environments aboard the space ship. Subjects such as slavery, systemic oppression, racism and sexism are also explored. Hard-hitting but definitely worth it.
by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang
Not only is this book graced with the most beautiful cover but it also features Mei, a transgender girl struggling to cope with the death of her cousin and her new identity. Now living in an empty house in a small town, Mei finds herself delving deeper into her family’s history, including her aunt’s secret long-term relationship, and learning about local trans mysteries. A short but beautiful Own Voices story.
Tarnished Are the Stars
by Rosiee Thor
For Own Voices aro & ace rep, we have this sci-fi novel set to be released on October 15th. One of our main characters is Nathaniel, the Commissioner’s son determined to earn his father’s respect. Nathaniel goes on a journey with his queerness throughout the novel and despite not having the words for it as first, he realises he won’t be able to experience attraction and realises he identifies as aromantic asexual (terms actually used!) Another character, Eliza who is an assassin and spy identifies as a lesbian and her conversation with Nathaniel about queerness and identity is an important one for YA literature. This book also features a beautiful f/f relationship.
The House of Impossible Beauties
by Joseph Cassara
Set during the 1980s AIDS epidemic, this book takes place in the House of Xtravaganza, the first all-Latinx house in the Harlem Ball Circuit. Joseph features a book full of queer characters of many different identities and cultures including four transgender characters and multiple gay characters. The group must deal with the threat of sex work, addiction and abuse but with the ability to rely on each other for comfort. Although this is a hard-hitting book, it deals with important messages and real life history. The House of Xtravaganza is still going strong today but not a lot of people know about it or what the people there have done for the LGBTQ+ community today.
Out of Salem
by Hal Schrieve
Fourteen year old genderqueer Z comes back from the dead after a car crash that killed his entire family and they now have to deal with the trauma of losing everything and living with being a zombie. Once a talented witch, Z now struggles to access their magic and after being rejected by the rest of their friends and family, Z must move in with an elderly witch and classmate, Aysel. As the two begin a friendship, Z struggling to cope with their undead body and Aysel trying to keep her werewolf status a secret, they must come together to face the town’s overall monster threat. Overall rep is a nonbinary MC, a muslim lesbian main and multiple LGTBQ+ secondary characters.
I Wish You All the Best
by Mason Deaver
This Own Voices book follows the story of Ben De Backer who after coming out to their parents as nonbinary, are thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their sister and her husband. Having to deal with their parent’s rejection and ongoing anxiety, Ben attempts to keep a low profile in school and only reveals their identity to a few select people. However, all this ends when they meet Nathan and get taken under his wing. As their friendship grows, so do feelings and hopefully a happy and free live for Ben.
Once again, Happy Pride 2019!
Stay safe and be happy!
Lots of Love,
Angharad & Becky @