“Love is love is love is love is love, and love cannot be killed or swept aside. Fill the world with music, love and pride.” Lin-Manuel Miranda
I’m a big romantic at heart. I love love. And I don’t see any difference at all whether it’s love between man and woman, man and man or woman and woman. It’s all equally beautiful and normal to me. And since it’s so normal to me, I sometimes wrongfully assume that it’s just as normal and beautiful to the rest of the world. So when I realise that there are still people out there today that do not feel that way at all, it still manages to catch me by surprise. The fact that there are still people out there that look at that love, that is natural and beautiful to me, and feel hate instead, is just completely unbelievable and painful.
Though there is still so much pain, hate and intolerance in the world, at the very least I do think we can say that the book world has slowly been catching up. The selection of LGBTQ books and just the overall diversity in books has been growing steadily. Which I think is a positive thing. After all, aren’t books a good way for people to learn about others, to learn empathy and to broaden your views on the world? Not that books alone will solve everything, far from it, but I do believe they are a good vessel to spread love instead of hate and build awareness.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a moment today to talk about some of my favorite LGBTQ books out there. Some I’ve already read and loved and some are still on my TBR list. I know this is only a small selection, so please let me know in the comments if you have any other book recommendations for me! I’d love to hear about them and check them out.
Note: I personally don’t consider the fact that a book is LGBTQ as a spoiler. However, if you do, please don’t continue. I also talk a bit about books where a secondary character is LGBTQ. I don’t mention any names or give any spoilers as to the story, but again: if you consider this a spoiler in itself, please don’t continue.
The Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat
Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the truthful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.
Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.
For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…
PLEASE ALLOW ME TO RAVE ABOUT THIS SERIES! I love this so, so much and I consider it one of my favorite series of all time. The character development and the interactions are just so well done and the slow burn is exquisite! Not for younger readers though, as the books are fairly violent and graphic.
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
If you love cute and fluffy, you will love this book. Simon is one of my favorite main characters ever and his e-mail correspondence with Blue is adorable. This book put a huge smile on my face and started my Oreo addiction.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Univers by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.
This book has won several awards and it deserves every single one of them and more! It is gorgeously written and has a memorable quote on practically every single page. It reminded me of the Before Sunrise movie series, which is high praise because those are some of my favorite movies ever. And a sequel is in the works, which is kind of the best news ever, because I need more Ari and Dante in my life!
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.
Hilarious and cute, this is the perfect read for any fan of Chosen One stories like Harry Potter. Imagine Harry Potter, except
Harry Simon is actually not that good of a wizard and his roommate is a vampire who hates him. Or doesn’t he? What started of as the fan fiction of the character Cath from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, got a life of its’ own in Carry On. And I’m so glad it did because I loved this story so much. Oh, and Baz is totally my spirit animal.
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.
Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.
When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.
But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.
OK, so this one will only be released in November, but I’m already intrigued. A fantasy story with magic and princes and princesses is always a win with me. But one where the two princesses fall in love? Definitely a must!
Also, I realise this is pretty much the only book on my list where two women fall in love. Is that because I don’t read enough of them, or is there just a general lack of them? And if that is the case, why is that? I’m curious to know, so if you have any thoughts on the matter, please let me know!
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
I have not yet read this myself, but it’s one of the next books on my TBR list. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind feels alone make this a must read for me.
I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.
Another one I haven’t read yet, but I will soon. Honestly, what draw me in was that the writing style, especially in the Noah chapters, is compared a bit to the writing style of Aristotle and Dante. And since I LOVED that one, I must give this one a try as well.
The Half Bad series by Sally Green
Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?
Haven’t read this yet, but I’m all in for morally grey witches!
Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski
Westing is not your typical school. For starters, you have to have one very important quality in order to be admitted—you have to be dying. Every student at Westing has been diagnosed with PPV, or the Peter Pan Virus. No one is expected to live to graduation.
What do you do when you go to a school where no one has a future? Noah Falls, his girlfriend Alice, and his best friend Marty spend their time drinking, making out, and playing video games on awaywego.com. But when an older boy named Zach (who Noah may or may not be in love with) invites Noah and Marty to join his secret Polo Club, the lives of both boys change as they struggle to find meaning in their shortened existence.
Haven’t read this yet, but it sounds super intriguing. Though I feel the premise is already rather sad with the Peter Pan Virus, I think it definitely sounds like it will be worth the read.
Secondary LGBTQ characters
And then there are the books where it’s not the main character, but a secondary character that’s LGBTQ. Mind you, I don’t mean some secondary characters you only see quickly in passing somewhere in chapter 55, but actual big and important characters who may even get their own point of view.
Again, if you consider this a spoiler, please scroll back up.
You have been warned!
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Whether you like or dislike the books by Cassandra Clare, you can’t deny that she is very good in writing diverse books! Not only sexuality, but also race and religion are pretty diverse.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
This is one of my favorite books read this year and I recommend it to everybody!
The Raven Boys quartet by Maggie Stiefvater
I was a bit spoiled myself on this one, but I don’t mind one bit. In fact, it only made me more curious to carry on with the rest of the series (unfortunately only read book one so far, but I’m eager to read the rest soon)
Wonderful post and list of books! I’ve only read The Raven Cycle series, but the rest of these are all on my TBR and I’m suuuuper excited to read all of them!! I can’t wait for Of Fire & Stars!!
Thanks! I hope you’ll enjoy these books when you read them! I can’t wait to continue on with the Raven Cycle and I’m also excited for Of Fire and Stars 🙂
Some great books there!! I can’t wait to read Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, it looks exactly the type of fluffy romance I need atm! 🙂
Thanks! Simon is great, it’s just the cutest fluffy little romance ever, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!