We are halfway through Pride month, but that does not mean our support for the queer community begins and ends this month. Pride month has become a part of world society thanks to the Stonewall riots of the late sixties by the members of the queer community who spearheaded the way forward for their peers.
Best LGBTQ+ Books To Read!
This month we celebrate our pals from the LGBTQ+ communities and honor the struggles and adversities they have crossed through and are still facing. On the bookish side of things, I have been reading many books by LGBTQ+ authors these past few years. Here are some best recommendations across diverse genres.
1. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Felix Love, the teenage protagonist, is black, queer, and trans, and sometimes he wonders how many minorities are too many minorities. Despite having Love in his surname, he finds himself unlucky in love. His home life is not that great either; he is a little short on love with a mom who left their family to start a new one and a dad who struggles to accept his new identity.
Taking it one step further, he finds himself the focus of a vicious transphobic bully who reveals his dead name and pre-transition photos to his peers. He begins to wonder if those of the LGBTQ+ community struggle to accept him, how will he get the world to accept him. Meanwhile, he still has to cross through teenage hurdles such as getting a college scholarship, continuing on his journey of self-identity, and an inevitable love triangle.
This book is written by Kacen Callender, a black, queer, trans author who debuted their new name with the publication of this book. This is a beautiful book about one trans boy’s journey of discovering who he is while dealing with vicious bullies, making lasting friendships, and finding love. You can get the book here! 📖
2. Last Night in Nuuk by Niviaq Korneliussen (Translator – Anna Halager)
Greenlandic author Niviaq Korneliussen, a part of the LGBTQ+ community, has written this book. This book takes place throughout a night’s party and gives an insight into the lives of five Greenlandic youth. All of them are queer, and how they navigate their identities and sexual life is the basis of the story. Five chapters are told from the perspective of each of the five protagonists.
This brilliant insight into the characters and how they act and react with their peers is played off well. This book also introduces Greenlandic literature to most readers, which is another advantage for people looking forward to reading books from all over the world. You can get the book here! 📖
3. In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune
I concur that T.J. Klune is the only author who can make a dystopian novel feel heartwarming and cozy. This book deals with a world filled with robots and no humans…. except Victor Lawson. He is the son of Giovanni Lawson, an inventor android with a heart who cares about his son more than anything else in the world. They live deep in the forest, in tree houses, along with a trustful small vacuum robot called Rambo and a sadistic nurse robot called Nurse Ratched, forming their small little family.
Their beautiful little world gets disrupted one day with the discovery of Hap, an android that had been decommissioned. The events that lead from this discovery make them leave their comfort zone, aka their home in the forests, and venture into the dangerous world outside. Will the little family be united again, and will Victor meet the love of his life? Read this book, which is a retelling of ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio,’ to find out. You can get the book here! 📖
4. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Fun Home, the name of the Funeral Home owned by Alison Bechdel’s family, is a graphic memoir that is anything but fun. This memoir showcases the author’s complex relationship with her father and the discovery of her sexual identity. The author talks about growing up in a dysfunctional family with an emotionally distant mother and a father who cared more about restoring their Victorian family home than about his family.
Told non-linearly, the author relates how she discovered that she was a lesbian, her struggles to accept it, and the eventual embracing of it. She talks about the similarities between her father and her and how they differ in how they deal with their similarities. She also talks about her father’s untimely death and speculates whether it was intentional or unintentional. The author masterfully illustrates this book and deals with subjects such as gender and sexual identity, mental health struggles, suicide, and emotional abuse. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe
This is by far one of the best graphic memoirs about gender and sexual identity I have come across to date. This book is an intensely private account of the author Maia Kobabe’s life, who uses Spivak pronouns e/em/eir. E identifies as non-binary and asexual, and through this memoir, e takes us through eir journey of self-identity and coming to terms with it.
This book is more than just a memoir; it has the power to be a guide to people, young and old, who struggle to come to terms with their identity. This book shows what it is to be genderqueer and is relatable for even those who identify as cishet. In my opinion, this book is a must-read for everyone, regardless of their sexual and gender identity. You can get the book here! 📖
6. The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Yamilet Flores is a sixteen-year-old Mexican-American closeted lesbian, but the last part is something she wants to hide… at least for now. After her ex–best friend reveals her identity to the students of her old school, she desperately needs a change of place. So she and her brother transfer to a Catholic school, of all schools. She needs to keep her identity a secret, now more than ever, as Catholic schools are not known for their inclusivity.
As if being one of the few people of color in her mostly white catholic school was not hard enough, she also has to hide the fact that she is a lesbian. Her plans to pass as a straight girl are almost flawless except for the part where she finds herself falling for the perfect Bo, the only openly gay girl in her school. She struggles to fight her attraction for her new classmate and convince the world that she is straight, but it is easier said than done. If hilarious dialogues and teenage angst are your thing, then this is the book for you. You can get the book here! 📖
7. Concerning My Daughter by Kim Hye-Jin (Translator – Jamie Chang)
This book is told from the perspective of a mother and deals with her relationship with her daughter and a total stranger. When her daughter Green moves in with her along with her partner Lane, the mother struggles to accept that her daughter’s partner is a woman. On the other hand, she works at a care home for older people. One of her patients is a person with dementia.
In her youth, the old patient used to be an influential diplomat who traveled the world and devoted her life to improving society. Now in her old age, there is no one to advocate for her in her decreased mental state. The mother finds herself caring for this older woman more than the bounds dictated for a carer and her patient. This book takes us through the thought process of a middle-aged mom who struggles to accept the non-traditional life chosen by her daughter while simultaneously defending an older woman who had also chosen a non-traditional life.
Will she understand the hypocrisy of her actions? Will she find it in herself to accept and understand her daughter and her choice of partner? Will she realize that even people who have chosen a non-traditional life deserve to live with dignity and peace? This book is a masterful piece of thought-provoking literature and will lead to much introspection. You can get the book here! 📖
8. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Would you like to know when you will die? Would you like to receive a call informing you that your death will occur within the next twenty-four hours? Would you live your life to the fullest knowing your death is almost at hand, or would you start mourning your life already? This book takes place in an alternate universe where Death Cast is a service that informs individuals that they have twenty-four hours to live, and they can make arrangements for their funeral and decide how they want to spend their last day.
Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio are two teenagers who get the call on the same day. They find each other through an app that helps people who are living their last day meet and make new friends. In that one day, they live a whole lifetime and make new memories and friends. You cannot help but fall in love with both protagonists, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when you know what is in store for them. Nevertheless, this is a poignant novel about love, loss, and making every moment count, and by the end of the book, there will be tears in the eyes of the readers. You can get the book here! 📖
9. Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir by Kai Cheng Thom
This book is a surrealistic, mostly true, coming-of-age memoir by the trans author Kai Cheng Thom. The author runs away from her home at a young age to be her true self. She finds a new sisterhood with the trans femmes in the mysteriously named Street of Pleasures. She embraces this sisterhood and slowly becomes the woman she is meant to be under their tutelage. One day, one of their sisters is murdered, enraging her trans community.
Most of them go up in arms to form a vigilante gang of fierce femmes. As a kung-fu expert, the author becomes a vital part of the gang despite her young age. Violence and danger go hand in hand until something horrible happens. This is a fabulous memoir and innovative work of storytelling interspersed with little poems in between the chapters. This book is a one-of-a-kind trans memoir, just the way the author intended it to be. You can get the book here! 📖
10. The Boy with a Bird in His Chest by Emme Lund
As the title mentions, this book is about Owen, a boy with a bird in his chest. A real bird named Gail and not a metaphorical one. Because a bird is living in his chest, Owen is considered in the medical field as a ‘Terror.’ Terrors are abnormalities that are meant to be dissected and researched. Therefore Owen’s mother decides to hide him from the world, fearing for his safety. One day, her worst fears are realized, and a doctor finds the bird hidden in Owen’s chest and decides to capture him.
Narrowly escaping, Owen’s mother decides to leave Owen with her brother and his daughter and separates from her son for his safety. Owen finally gets to behave like a boy his age should, all the while keeping in mind the fact that he should never show his chest to anyone. But slowly, over the course of the book, he begins to discover himself and finds acceptance and love. He learns that he is deserving of love despite being different than others. This is a cute coming-of-age story filled with magical realism and excellent prose, a testament to the author’s writing skills. You can get the book here! 📖
Every book this list mentions is written by queer authors centering around queer characters. These stories are filled with struggles of self-acceptance, sexual and gender identities, mental health problems, and more. These books will help us understand the struggles faced by the queer community and also act as guides for people still on the fence about their identities.
We hope that we celebrate and accept our friends from the LGBTQ+ community on Pride month and every day of the year because everyone deserves to be treated with dignity despite how they identify themselves and who they love. Here’s to hoping the world becomes acceptable for everyone in the coming years. We will wish that tomorrow brings them a better day, but for now, we shall go forth and show our support however we can.
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