Okay, so I only started reading LGBTQ+ fiction books at the beginning of last year, so I haven’t read all that many of them. But I thought it was about time I shared with you a list of my favourite reads so far, to hopefully help you find some new reads for yourself to enjoy. So here are my 10 favourite LGBTQ+ fiction books, that I’ve read so far… (because you know this list is bound to change the more I read!)
In no particular order:
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
This book is so incredible. It follows Yadriel as he tries to prove to his family that he is a true brujo. In doing so, he and his cousin Maritza undertake a sacred ceremony in secret, and discover the ghost of Julian. From there they must try to figure out what has happened to him, without letting anyone know what they have done.
The deep friendship and trust that exists between Yadriel and Maritza is beautiful. She is truly affirming of Yadriel, even when the rest of his family isn’t. And the unlikely friendship that then develops between Yadriel and Julian is even more of a joy to behold. There is a scene in which Julian does something to Yadriel’s yearbook, and oh my heart!
But not only is this book full of beautiful relationships, it is also jam packed with mystery and mythology and magic, and will take you on such a journey with incredibly vivid descriptions that draw you deep into the narrative. I truly hope that one day this book is adapted into a movie – it would be amazing on screen!
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
This book spoke to me so deeply as a Christian member of the LGBTQ+ Community. My heart broke so much for Sebastian as he struggled to come to terms with his own sexuality, knowing that he would never be accepted within his own church. I wanted to reach within the pages and give him the biggest hug, whilst protecting him from those within his community who would deny him the love and respect he so deserved.
It was, shall we say, not the easiest of reads for me, because it showed me just how much work I have to do within my own community. My own church may well be affirming, but that doesn’t mean I can sit on my laurels. I must acknowledge the hurt that my faith causes so many people!
And yet I still include this book as one of my favourites because it is so beautiful. The love between Tanner and Sebastian, and the strength that they both show in carving their own way forward and choosing their own life beyond the hurt caused by Sebastian’s faith will stay with me forever.
I have a full review of this book here.
Loveless by Alice Oseman
This is the kind of book I wish I had been able to read when I was a teenager! It would have saved me a whole lot of pain and anguish, I’m sure. Because just like the main character, Georgia, I was convinced that love and romance was where I was headed, and yet I did not want to be kissed – what was wrong with me?
It took me until my mid-30s, and 10 years of marriage, to figure out I was asexual. So reading this book where Georgia figured it out and got to join the LGBT Society at university was a kind of bittersweet experience for me, as a lot of LGBTQ+ fiction often is. I’m glad that so many books exist and I can get to know these characters and explore these worlds, but I do so wish I had met them when I were younger and could have had similar experiences myself. Gone are the days of LGBT Societies for me, sadly. But at least I can live vicariously through the characters of books like these!
That’s not to say that Georgia has an easy time of it – oh no! Things get really bad before they get easier for poor Georgia. Figuring things out can be really tough. And Alice doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff.
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
This book packs in so much that it’s hard to know where to start. I think the thing I love most about it is that the overriding story is one of Felix learning what love is all about.
Throughout the book we see him struggle with this – his relationship with his dad is often strained; he writes emails to his mum who is non-existent in his life; his identity pre-transition has been publicly shared for all to see and he’s being sent transphobic messages; and he gets all confused along the way as he tries to deal with it. And all the while, the one person who has always been there, loving him, gets a little lost to it all.
But eventually Felix figures out who he is and exactly what he deserves, and that is the most beautiful and empowering thing of all. And his relationship with both Ezra and Leah develops in such human, sometimes messy ways, but always getting there in the end. I love it so much.
Untouched by Jayme Bean
Untouched is a queer adventure that takes place in the Amazon jungle, and it will draw you in and keep you wondering whether the adventurers are going to make it out alive until the very last chapter!
I’m not usually one to read books with such high stakes, but as I know Jayme on Twitter I bought the book and had a read. And I’m glad I did. Untouched has some incredible storytelling, with both bisexual and anxiety rep, which is right up my street. And it also has an amazing platonic friendship between David and Marisol, and I love a bit of platonic friendship in a story.
If your idea of fun is reading a book about two grad students who get lost in the jungle, without their professor, in an area where the jungle appears to have come to life and is starting to attack them, then this is the book for you!!
I have a full review of this book here.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
This is one of those books that sticks with you because it could so very easily be about your life today, except it is set in an alternative universe. You know the type? An allegory, shall we say?
Linus Baker works for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth and is sent by Extremely Upper Management to an Orphanage where six “dangerous” children live. Except when he gets there, and gets to truly know the children, he realises they aren’t as dangerous as everyone has been led to believe, not even little “Lucy” (short for Lucifer).
Eventually Linus has a decision to make, having got to know the children and their caretaker, Arthur, and becoming very attached to them all, does he do what Extremely Upper Management want him to do, or does he do what is needed to protect the children?
I’m sure you can draw you own conclusions as to how similarities can be drawn between this book and our own world!
Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar
What can I say about this book? It is a typical sunshine/grumpy book, and I love it.
Hani is super popular at her school, but Ishu couldn’t care at all about any of that. Except she wants to be Head Girl to help her University application, and that is partially a popularity contest… And Hani? Her friends are super toxic and biphobic and don’t believe she is into girls. So the pair hatch a plan – they’ll pretend to date, to help each other out.
The only problem is, they begin to realise they actually like each other. And what develops is a super sweet relationship, in which neither one of them realises that the other one also likes them. It’s awkward and you just want them to figure it out already, especially as things get worse for them at school. But, oh, they are so sweet together!
I also love this book because it showed me a culture I knew very little about. I was googling all sorts of words to learn what they meant, it was great!
Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham
I think it’s no surprise to anyone who knows me by now that this book would make it into my top 10! It was the first LGBTQ+ book that I read, and remains my favourite – I just love Will and Dan so much.
Will is a bisexual second year medical student at Keele university who, despite being friends with some members of the LGBT Society, has not yet felt able to come out to anyone as bi. During the first week of term he notices Dan, an older, Russian student, who appears to be in some kind of trouble.
Will can’t help but want to help Dan – it’s in his nature. Plus having seen his sister go through an abusive breakup, he recognises the signs. And Will is nothing if not determined. So he doggedly pursues Dan until he accepts his help, and they become friends. But it causes issues with Will’s other friends, who naturally become concerned about him when he is less than forthcoming about what is going on between him and Dan.
Oh Will, you do like to complicate things!!
I have a full review of this book here.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
This book is incredibly powerful! It isn’t very long, but it manages to cram so much into such a short amount of time.
One of the things I loved most was that the main character, Jam, is a 15 year old black, trans girl who is selectively non-verbal. This is completely accepted in the world she lives in, and so we get to see a world in which this is simply normal.
However, the book is based around the idea that in this world everyone believes monsters no longer exist, because the “angels” got rid of them all. But what happens if monsters still do exist and you’ve simply forgotten what they look like?
Pet is a monstrous looking entity that comes out of a painting that Jam’s mother, Bitter, made. However Pet reminds me of Biblical descriptions of Angels, and Pet says it has come to find a monster in the home of Jam’s friend Redemption’s home. What or who could that monster be?
The Simon Snow Trilogy by Rainbow Rowell
What can I say about the Simon Snow Trilogy (Carry On, Wayward Son, and Any Way The Wind Blows)? Well, it’s kind of like the Magic School storyline that many of us love, but far more queer and diverse than we’re used to. Well at least the first book is based in the Magic School, anyway.
The second and third books focus on what happens after The Chosen One has saved the world, and has a rather large identity crisis. Who is he if he is no longer that? And will Baz, the vampire roommate he’s always hated but now loves, still love him?
I cannot tell you how much I love these books. They made me laugh out loud. They made my heart melt in multiple places. I loved that every single one of the characters all got a happy ending, eventually. I loved how clueless both Simon and Baz could be, and how frustrated Penny could get with them both. Seriously, give it a read.
Well, that’s it. That’s my 10 favourite LGBTQ+ fiction books that I’ve read so far. I still have so many on my TBR list, which is constantly growing faster than I can keep up with, so I’m sure my top 10 will change over the years. But for now, these are my favourites.
Tell me, which books would make your Top 10 list?
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