Happy Pride Month everyone!
Every year in June, we celebrate the right to love whoever we want. We take it to the streets and show the world that we’re stronger than homophobia and prejudices. I feel like the world is slowly changing—at least in my country. People are opening up, offering queers a safe space to live and love.
I believe that some of this change is thanks to books. It’s thanks to writers, queer or straight, who aren’t afraid to give the LGBTQ community the representation it deserves. It’s thanks to queer people who speak out for themselves and others.
To honor some of those wonderful writers who made it their mission to include queer people in the fictional world they create, I compiled a list of books that I’ve enjoyed in the past few years.
CREEKWOOD SERIES by Becky Albertalli
No such list should exist without the wonderful SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA. It’s one of the best coming-out stories I’ve ever read and it gives you all the feels. Luckily, Albertalli gifted us with a sequel. LEAH ON THE OFF BEAT is just as adorable and heart-warming as its predecessor and it’s also one of the fewer novels with a bisexual main character. Personally, I’d say this series is an LGBTQ must-read.
ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Saénz
Every once in a while you read a love story that completely shatters your heart before putting it back together. In my opinion, this one is a masterpiece of queer fiction. It’s the perfect summer read that transports you straight into the world of Ari and Dante, two characters you can’t help but fall in love with.
WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
This novel is one of those meet-cute stories we’ve all read and seen before, but with an LGBTQ couple at its center. Other than SIMON VS., this story has none of the coming-out angst, but all the fluffy feels of falling in love for the first time. Albertalli seems to know how to write compelling LGBTQ fiction, though I must admit that this one is not as good as her CREEKWOOD series.
CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell
It took me quite a long time to pick up this book and I must admit that I hadn’t realized it was queer fiction at first. But the moment I did, I wouldn’t let go of the book. In short, this novel is for people who love magical schools and vampires and two adorable guys falling for each other, despite how miserable they make each other in the beginning. Thank god there’s a sequel coming soon!
THE SHADOWUNTER CHRONICLES by Cassandra Clare
Okay, so Clare’s increasingly growing SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES is an entire world in itself. When I read CITY OF BONES back in 2013, I was surprised to find not only one but two queer characters in a fantasy novel: the “freewheeling bisexual” Magnus Bane and shy, closeted Alec Lightwood. Over the years, Clare continued the Malec story and added several other queer characters (among my favorites are Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow). Her latest novel called THE RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC focuses entirely on the adventures of Magnus and Alex. At the end of the book, she mentions how difficult it was to convince publishers of Alec and Magnus back when she started out. I’m glad she persisted, because Malec is one of the best queer couples I’ve ever read about.
All of those books add a little diversity to the literary world. They paint a more authentic picture of the world around us, giving queer people a place in it. When I was growing up, there wasn’t much LGBTQ fiction and most of it wasn’t mainstream. Nowadays, whenever I find a queer book, online or in store, my younger self squeals with joy.
Thankfully, the list of LGBTQ books is gradually growing. I’m always on the lookout for new queer fiction that I can fall in love with. Know of any great LGBTQ books? Let me know in the comments below!