It’s the 17th day of Pride and I haven’t published any Pride-themed content yet.
As penance, here is a list of some of my favorite queer books.
(I should mention that Sahi @ My World of Books did an excellent Pride recs post that made me want to write one of my own. Her post has A TON of great SFF recommendations. Go read it pronto.)
For this list, I stuck with books that I’ve already read with one exception.
One Last Stop will almost certainly make my Top Ten Books of 2021. I loved this novel so very much. With its loveable characters, time travel romance, and plentiful pancakes, this book truly felt like magic. My heart felt so full after I finished it. It’s over four hundred pages and I still felt like rereading it immediately.
Like OLS, Honey Girl makes use of the found family trope and New York as a setting, though its plot is more grounded in reality. Protagonist Grace studies astronomy; her wife Yuki hunts cryptids. Between the stories about space and the creature myths, this book feels like a dream. Don’t worry, though, because the book comes back down to earth to deliver some PAINFUL MESSAGES ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH. I cried a whole lot. I think a lot of twenty-somethings will see themselves in this book.
I’m an astrology-obsessed bisexual who lives in Seattle and has a thing for redheads. Written in the Stars is about an astrology-obsessed bisexual who lives in Seattle and has a thing for redheads. This book and I were meant to be.
The Falling in Love Montage pitched itself as a coming-of-age rom-com about two girls who plan to have a summer romance without the feelings. JOKE’S ON ALL OF US, THIS BOOK IS NOTHING BUT FEELINGS. Main character Saoirse carries the gene for early-onset Alzheimer’s, which is ROUGH. The book really captures the feelings of first love AND the uncertainty of life with a nebulous diagnosis. It hurts in the best way.
I just want bisexuals to get more rep and have an okay time. Who I Was With Her follows a messy, sad bisexual grieving the death of her secret girlfriend. It’s a two-hankie ugly cry for sure.
Felix Ever After basically has it all. Our boy Felix puzzles out his identity, solves a cyberbullying mystery, catfishes his nemesis on Instagram, falls in love, and completes a self-portrait at art camp. Basically, I think this book is the best and is perfect for Pride month. Also, shout-out to Kacen Callender for their inclusion of demiboy identity. Said identity is rare in mainstream fiction.
You all know how much I love In the Dream House. Even though the content is rough, I’m really comforted by this slim volume, so much so that I refuse to lend it out in case I need to reread it at a moment’s notice.
Why Fish Don’t Exist is a nonfiction/memoir combo. It’s not always a fun read: the author talks about her depression, David Starr Jordan’s questionable past, and the fact that fish DO NOT EXIST. This book still manages to be moving and life-affirming. I love it very, very much.
Ace is also a nonfiction/journalism/memoir combo. It’s INCREDIBLY GOOD. This book is a must-read and will likely become a touchstone of asexual culture. I so appreciate Chen’s research – in talking to people all across the ace spectrum, she documented the diversity of the asexual experience. I’m so glad I read this. Unless another book comes to topple it (unlikely), Ace will also make my Top Ten Books of 2021.
In Burning Roses, middle-aged women fight evil and express regrets while the reader bawls. This slim volume is gorgeous and heart-wrenching. It’s a really well-done novella with A-plus worldbuilding and tons of emotion. It’s also built on an unlikely friendship, which is MY FAVORITE.
I’m only partway through The Wolf and the Woodsman, the debut of trans author Ava Reid. Friends…it’s fantastic. The worldbuilding is so tight. I have fully screamed three times in 60 pages. I can’t wait to read more.
I think The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is so neat. First of all, pirates. Second of all, genderfluid protagonist. Third of all, the author blends history, colonialism, and magic in a way that’s really compelling. If you couldn’t tell, this one is a weeper.
When Winter’s Orbit started pulling out my favorite romance tropes, I screamed in utter delight. I had put on the audiobook for some nice, relaxing listening and found myself plastered to my bed, too engrossed in the story to move. I have nothing but good things to say about this book. It is a treat and a true triumph. My favorite character was the short, by-the-book, nonbinary grump. They deserve a spin-off.
By the end of To Be Taught, If Fortunate, I was bawling. I love that a diverse group of queer people was sent into space to complete an important mission. I love how much the crewmembers loved each other. Becky Chambers included some little touches that evoked VERY BIG FEELINGS. This book is really special. Please check it out. (Be warned, there is a very disturbing animal death in the first half.)
It wouldn’t be a recs list without a book by one of my favorite queer authors. Sarah Gailey mashed cloning, medical ethics, and infidelity together. The results are horrifying. I both love and hate The Echo Wife. I thought about it for a long time after I was done with it. You must know my pain.
My long-awaited copy of The Girl From the Sea finally arrived. I am overjoyed with the final product. The COLORS this book has! I’m in love. I thought this book was very sweet.
Check, Please! is my eternal favorite series. A plucky baker joins a scrappy bunch of sporty misfits and falls for their gruff captain. It’s LOVE and PIE and JOKES from page one. I am not-so-secretly in love with Jack Zimmerman. I want to date a gruff French-Canadian who likes to help me bake.
Beetle and the Hollowbones is so precious. One of the main characters is named BLOB GHOST. They are a BLOB GHOST. They live in the MALL. SURELY YOU WANT TO READ THIS NOW. If you’re not convinced, there are INTENSE EMOTIONAL STAKES. PLEASE READ.
Now to shout-out some underappreciated books from small presses!
Nyx Publishing released both Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology and A Dowry of Blood.
In Dowry, Dracula has a polycule and, oh yeah, is an abusive piece of shit. Fear not: this fantasy, while intense, has a happy ending. Additionally, author S. T. Gibson created a fab Dowry-themed playlist. Take a listen.
Unspeakable offers creepy scenarios and big feelings. One of my favorite stories concerns finding love in the afterlife. Another follows an environmental activist who takes things a tad too far. Wait, I JUST remembered the ace character who is immune to succubi. This book is brilliant.
Now on to the only book on this list I haven’t read yet: Common Bonds is a brand-new aromantic anthology and I just think it’s neat! I don’t see aromanticism represented very often, so this book excites me! Let’s all buy it. Let’s do it.
Those are my Pride month book recs!
Hope y’all are doing well and reading a bunch.
Let me know some of your Pride month faves in the comments.