It’s Pride Month! This is such an important time for the LGBTQAI+ community to celebrate together and with allies, to speak up and fight for LGBTQAI+ rights and to bring awareness to others. It’s also a great opportunity for a book blogger like me to recommend some of my favourite LGBTQAI+ books and to spend time reading more. As an ally and supporter of the LGBTQAI+ community, I think it is so important to continue learning about the experiences of people all over the world who are celebrating and struggling with their identities every day. I choose to do so by reading a LOT of LGBTQAI+ fiction, especially YA, and for this post I wanted to talk about some of my favourite reads that I feel are must-reads, create a little TBR of my own to read this month and do a little shout out for my most anticipated book of the year!!!
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These six books are my favourite YA reads that focus on boy&boy love (I love so many more but had to drop some because it would literally take me days to write this post if I included all of them!).
We Contain Multitudes is a heavy, heart-warming and thought-provoking story about two boys Jonathan and Adam “Kurl” who fall in love when they become anonymous pen pals as part of their English class. As they get closer and eventually discover the other’s true identity, they struggle with severe homophobic bullying and dark family secrets that threaten everything good in their relationship. This book may be triggering for some people, as it does deal with some very dark themes and experiences. To me it is such a special book and I will never forget both boys.
Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda (which I’m sure many of you have read already) is a much lighter coming-out story that also has the anonymous-pen-pals-become-lovers trope. Always a good choice for a hopeful and adorable romantic reading experience :).
Autoboyography tells the story of a bisexual teen Tanner who is dared by his best friend to enrol in the class elective where students have to write a whole book in a few months. In the class, he meets and falls for the class mentor, who also happens to be Mormon. I loved this book because not only does it include a really wonderful love story full of obstacles, it was also really educational and provided an interesting insight into writing and Mormon life. It’s also pretty heavy at times, but don’t let that stop you from giving it a read!
Ziggy, Stardust and Me is set in 1973, a time in history when homosexuality was considered a mental illness, and is about a boy called Jonathan who is forced by his doctor and alcoholic father to undergo conversion therapy. He is manipulated into believing that once he finishes his treatments, he will be “fixed.” In the meantime, he spends his time escaping into his imagination where Ziggy Stardust and his dead mother keep him company. When he meets Web, a American Indian boy who truly sees him, he is faced with learning to accept himself and who he is truly is. There is so much in this book and it really delves deep into racial and discriminatory issues of the times.
Darius The Great Deserves Better is of course the sequel to Darius The Great Is Not Okay, but it centres more on Darius’s sexuality and his romantic relationships. Darius is one of my all-time favourite YA characters and I just absolutely love these books. Just go read it, it will warm your heart and also really make you feel like some tea and Persian food.
Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe is hands down my favourite LGBTQAI+ book ever written. There is just no going past how incredible this book is. It fills me up with so much happiness. Ari and Dante are just the most adorable pair and I can’t even with them! The writing is wonderful and the story tender-hearted. I just love it so much. Read it please if you haven’t!!!
Here are my favourite gay adult books 😀 These all have some fairly graphic sex scenes, which may not be your cup of tea and neither is it mine, but the romances are so amazing and heart-warming!
Red, White and Royal Blue is simply a LGBTQAI+ MUST READ. A love story between the President’s son and the Prince of England, it is hilarious, extremely romantic, adorable and also heart-breaking at times. This book made me smile for weeks after reading it and I highly, highly recommend it if you want a story that will take you from laughter to tears and everything in between.
Boyfriend Material is another fantastic book set in London about two guys who are pretty much polar opposites. The main character Luc, son of rock star parents, spends the majority of the story adamant that he will not fall in love with Oliver, his fake-boyfriend (“hired” by Luc to strengthen his tainted public image) and everything Luc doesn’t want in a partner. But, oh, is Luc so wrong.
The Greek Creek series, starting with Wolfsong, is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite series. It’s basically about a bunch of gay werewolves and it is extremely awesome. Each book follows different characters in the Bennett family and I love every single couple in each book so much, I can’t even express how much. Just read them!!
These three amazing books focus on transgender characters, but are also representative of gay, lesbian and nonbinary identities.
Luna is about Liam and her sister, who secretly helps Liam become Luna in their basement before Luna bravely comes out into the real world. It is all about Liam’s transition becoming Luna and how her family struggles with that and also supports her to be her true self. I remember reading it in high school and it was one of the first times I really became aware of transgender identities. A very moving and important book.
The Passing Playbook is about Spencer, who enrols into a new school after he experienced severe bullying when he transitioned at his old school. In his new school, he joins the soccer team, which is one of his biggest passions, though at first he joins in secret because his parents are very protective. He ends up being benched at games because his birth certificate says “female,” and has to decide if he has the courage to fight for his rights, which would mean coming out as transgender not only to his team and the whole school, but the boy he’s falling in love with, who happens to be son to extremely Christian parents who see homosexuality as a sin. This is a fantastic book that explores the obstacles that get in the way of being your true self and I thoroughly recommend it!
Felix Ever After is definitely one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. Not only is it fantastically diverse in its representation of different sexualities and identities, it is lead by one of the best characters! Felix is just awesome and his journey throughout the book as he struggles with discrimination and bullying due to being transgender and also questions his identity and deals with his feelings for certain other characters just made for such a great reading experience. I also love his best friend Ezra and man, it’s just such a fantastic, moving story about love, acceptance and calling out on the haters.
Time for the girls to shine! I love each of these books so much, they are amazing!
Skylarks is a wonderful story about two girls who live very different lifestyles – Joni and her family struggle to get by and could lose their house while Annabel has everything money can buy. But when they get to know each other and ultimately fall in love, they both gain the perspective of each other’s lives and learn more from each other than either expected. Written with honesty and courage, this is a story about two girls finding themselves and finding love.
Love Is For Losers is about Phoebe, a girl who is determined she will never fall in love because falling in love is stupid. When she starts volunteering at her aunt’s thrift shop though, she meets Emma and discovers some things are out of her control. I really liked this book because Phoebe is such a unique, witty and flawed character – she is so determined to not to fall in love and accept who she is as an out and proud lesbian that she becomes wrapped up in herself and stops noticing the feelings and lives of others. One can learn a lot from Phoebe’s mistakes, that’s for sure!
Ramona Blue explores the fluidity of sexuality and identity through Ramona as she reconnects with her old childhood friend Freddie. Her whole life, she’s identified as a lesbian but when she develops feelings for Freddie, she has no idea if it’s a fluke or if she’s discovering herself all over again. Not only does this book explore sexuality and identity, it also deals with financial problems and family issues. Ramona and her family lost their home to Hurricane Katrina when she was younger and are now fighting to stay afloat just as her sister falls pregnant, which means a lot of drama! The story also delves into Freddie and Ramona’s shared passion for swimming and having the courage to work hard for your dreams. I love this book so much!
Let’s Talk About Love centres around asexuality. The main character Alice is biromantic asexual and, after being dumped by her girlfriend who decided sex was too important to her in a relationship, Alice swears off romance and dating for the rest of her life. Until she meets new co-worker Takumi who she unexpectedly connects with and develops swooooony feelings for. When they become closer, Alice has to decide if she can afford to risk their friendship and express her romantic feelings for him – feelings that might not be understood or shared. This book is more of an adult book than YA as it does deal with some more adult themes and the characters are in their early twenties. I absolutely loved it and thought it gives such a great insight into asexuality. Plus, Alice and Takumi’s relationship is just…well. All I can say is, go read this book!
Loveless is definitely one of my favourite reads in the last year. It’s about Georgia, who is confused about who she is and why she has never fallen in love, had the desire to kiss anyone or even had a crush before. Despite all of that, she loves romance and just thinks she hasn’t met the right person yet. Throughout her first year at university, as she watches strangers and friends fall in love and hook-up, she starts to hear about terms like asexuality and aromantic and becomes even more confused than ever before and is determined to fall in love for real…even if it means sacrificing one of her greatest friendships. Georgia’s journey of acceptance and self-love makes for such a great read. As Georgia explores her identity, she discovers the power of true friendship and platonic love. And well, I have to mention Pip and Rooney because they are just perfect and make me squeeeeee. Just to add as well, Alice Oseman is phenomenal and all her books are fantastic (you should definitely check out Radio Silence and Heartstopper, two of my other favourites).
Pride Month TBR
Here are the books I plan to read for Pride Month. Cannot wait to read them!!
I am especially excited to read One Last Stop, which I have literally been counting down for and though I haven’t had a chance to start it I will do very soon!!, and I Wish You All The Best, which I’ve wanted to read for way too long.
I cannot write this Pride Month Celebration Post without mentioning….
MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR
I AM SO EXCITED!!!
I just cannot wait. We get to spend more time with Ari and Dante!! It is amazing. I can’t even. October cannot get here soon enough!!!!!!
I hope you enjoyed reading my Pride Month post. I had a lot of fun writing it today and really hope you get something out of reading it. Happy reading and even more importantly, HAPPY PRIDE MONTH. I hope June brings you happiness and please know that if you are struggling, there are so many people who you can reach out to in your time of need including myself.
All the best of wishes,