Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful pride month this June, because I sure did. Every year Pride Month is celebrated during June to spread love and awareness about the LGBTQ+ community and every year I eagerly wait for Pride Month because during this time the bookish community bursts into rainbow colours and everyone is knee deep drafting or posting pride projects for their blogs and booktube channels. In my defense I was working on something for Pride too but somehow I missed writing a post in the beginning of the month and then during the middle of the month I had a hectic time so I thought I would do a wrap-up of the LGBTQ books I read towards the end of the month, but as those of you who follow me on Instagram may know, things just blew up in my face and Goodreads crashed too so that was that.
And now here I am, a few days late but just as much excited to show you all the reading I got done for pride month. For June I tried my best to read mostly LGBTQ books with an added goal of reading 12 books in total and I am very happy to announce that I finished a good total of 13 books in June, 10 of which featured LGBTQ characters 🙂
This post is going to be the place where I give mini reviews regarding those 10 books and tell you about my opinions on the LGBTQ representation and the impact the books had as a whole.
MY READING FOR PRIDE MONTH
1. Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
GAY REP ~ BI REP ~ M/M
This story is about our disaster bi boy Tanner who relocated to Utah and got nudged back into the closet. But his heart decided to fling itself out and go to Sebastian, our adorable gay boy who blushes literally all the time and has a lot of internalised homophobia.
I really like how this is such a soft love story on the surface but we also get the contrast between two families, one who supports their bisexual child and are worried of him getting his heart broken and the other extremely catholic and homophobic family who will make their son’s life a living hell if he ever comes out to them. We see two boys who grew up so differently and hence deal with their sexuality in vastly contrasting ways. Some of their behaviours and actions were probably questionable but quite realistic? Everyone has flaws okay, and in the end this is the perfect cutesy book which manages to break your heart as well.
2. Playing With Fire by Lesley Davis
LESBIAN REP ~ BUTCH WOMEN ~ POC REP ~ F/F
This was one of those reads where you don’t expect much but instead land up with everything you could have dreamt of. The writing style is so fluid and smooth, I got completely wrapped up in the story of Dante and Takira as well as adorable little Finn. Dante is a lesbian butch women who has had a rocky love life and a tough time getting bullied over being butch and Takira is this gay workaholic who loves cooking and but has somehow ended up looking after her dead sister’s little baby, Finn.
I like how so many important themes like queer pride, Butch women being equally feminine as other women, separation anxiety, family issues and so on were brought up and elaborated very well in this book. Dante and Takira’s romance starts off as a cute and careful one as they dance around each other until it turns into something much more deep, heated and meaningful. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a cute romance but also a deep and well told story.
3. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
GAY REP ~ BI REP ~ M/M
Bi disaster: CHECK
Handsome gay: CHECK
Soft boys in love: CHECK, CHECK, CHECK
Squabbly but loving siblings: CHECK
Super amazing queer gang: HELL YES, CHECK
Every single character made my heart beat fast because they were all just so freaking perfect in every single way. The plot was amazing and had a good chunk of politics in it too, something I’m usually running away from, but this book made it bearable? I was full on sobbing at one point because the romance between Alex and Henry isn’t an easy one and people are hella bent on destroying them but somehow my soft boys make it out together and my heart was melting.
This book is worth all the hype in the world!
4. Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai
GAY REP ~ M/M ~ POC REP
I went into this book with almost no idea what to expect and I got hit with a lot of stuff. The narrator tells us his story in an enrapturing manner with a writing style that gripped me from the very beginning. The book is about Arjie, a boy who used to play with his girl cousins and dress up as a bride, who was seen to be ‘funny’ by his parents who did everything in their power to to make sure he didn’t turn out wrong. But Arjie soon discovers that he is gay and struggles as he falls into a sort of relationship with another boy.
I love how this book is not just about the ‘gay boy’ but a story of self-discovery, the restrictions of society, deep caste based politics and much more.
The themes gets darker and deeper as Arjie grows up which is parallel to his road of self discovery and growth.
5. Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody
ASEXUAL REP ~ LESBIAN REP ~ POC REP ~ M/F
I loved the unique idea behind this fantasy book – a girl who can create illusions that seem real in every way and a travelling circus? Hell yes. Add in the murder mystery of who the hell was killing Sorina’s illusions and I was glued to this book. I absolutely loved the vivid descriptions, it felt as if I was smack in the middle of every scene. Each character was amusing and interesting, especially Luca with his amazing talent. I love how the author played out the romance between Sorina and Luca very slowly and that even though Luca struggled to put a label to his asexuality he was firm in what he wanted and Sorina gave him the room to explore at his ease.
But more than than the whole plot was fantastic and intriguing and I swear I was holding my breath the entire time, hoping my favourite illusions would not be killed next. I had some slight issues with the ending but I loved this book and I’m happy to see a fantasy book with casual queer, especially asexual side characters.
6. All Out by Saundra Mitchell(editor)
LESBIAN ~ GAY ~ TRANS ~ ACE SPECTRUM ~ BLACK ~ POC REP ~ M/M ~ M/F ~ F/F
The issue for me with reviewing anthologies always comes down to the fact that some stories were perfect, others were nice and yet others were confusing and poorly developed at best.
Some of my favourites were the ones with the assistants of the magician, the girl who found the golden guardian of the Creek in the woods, the hairdresser and the maid of the princess, the girls going towards piracy and the redhead girl who ran away with Leon.
Most of these held great representations but some of them held no story, simply a poorly developed lgbt romance which didn’t bode well for me.
7. She Of The Mountains by Vivek Shraya
BISEXUAL REP ~ POC REP ~ M/F
She Of The Mountains is a beautiful re-imagining of Hindu mythology and my favourite part about this book is how beautifully parts of the mythology are explained and connected to the story for the ease of non-desi readers.
The story is about a young boy upon whom the gay label is flung ruthlessly, no matter how hard he tries to get rid of it he can’t. And when he develops feelings for guys he accepts the label and tried his best to live with it. But he can’t get her out of his mind and hence he starts questioning his whole identity and existence. The bi-erasure leaves him completely unsure and strips him of every bit of self-confidence. This book is his journey towards self love and self-discovery. I just can’t get over how beautifully the author penned down this book. A true underrated gem.
8. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
GAY REP ~ BI REP ~ M/M ~ BLACK REP ~ POC REP
This was such a wonderfully crafted story! We have our main character Rafe – the chaotic gay teen who is struggling with a new life and sweet little closeted bi Ben who isn’t even sure what his sexuality is. What Ben doesn’t know is that Rafe isn’t straight but has gone back into the closet and Rafe is struggling to keep himself from falling in love with Ben and screwing up the friendship he has with him.
I completely got the point that this book was trying to put across. It can get very exhausting when your entire existence is defined by a single label despite the fact that you’re much more than that. And sometimes you just feel like chucking that label away and starting afresh. Openly Straight tries to say that it’s okay if you want to stray from the your labels but if that label actually defines your core values, who you really are and what your identity is, you can’t run away from it. I sincerely value this lesson and wish that every teenager gets to read and understand this.
Also I was super happy to finally read about a character who is confused with his sexual orientation and is trying to experiment and figure things out for himself. Ben is such a gem! It’s so rare that we get such kind of a rep and I am here for all the confused queer characters. We need more of them.
9. None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio
INTERSEX REP ~ LESBIAN REP ~ M/F
This was such a beautiful and eye-opening book for me. I’ve never read a book with an intersex character and I doubt there are many books out there with such characters. And i know books with any kind of rep are not always for educational purposesof other and nor should they be judged on that parameter but None Of The Above does a really thorough job on explaining the concept of an intersex person.
I loved the voice of our main character Krissy and her story of how she discovered and dealt with the fact that she was an intersex person. So many times we see that she is completely torn over her identity and who she really is and I feel that it was a really important portrayal.
We see such a supportive father who is ready to do anything for his girl. He spent hours researching into intersex people and their lifestyle and was ready to go to the court for her running career. But most of all he was always by Kristen’s side and celebrated who she was. I’m also utterly in love with the positive light that support groups have been broadcasted in. Support groups or even one or two people from a support group can mean the world when it comes to personal growth and development which is something that sadly very few books portray. I feel this can truly be an eye-opening read for everyone.
10. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
ASEXUAL SPECTRUM ~ GAY ~ BISEXUAL ~ LESBIAN ~ POC REP ~ M/M
I can’t get over this book, my thoughts are an explosion of stars. Everything about this book was thoroughly built up
I really liked that the story was told from Frances’ point of view because she was quite an unsure character and that made everything even more interesting. Aled was a very complicated and brilliantly written character. He is struggling with a lot in a life, anyone can tell that and I honestly just want to wrap him in a hug and keep him safe forever. Through Frances, the book emphasised on how you should do what’s on your heart, just because something is expected out of you doesn’t mean that you need to do that. This book just packed a bunch and it’s hard for me to really talk about it without giving any spoilers. But I can say that Radio Silence is very diverse when i comes to the sexualities that were explored 🙂
And those were the 10 books that I read for pride month! As you can see I have nothing but praise for most of these books so yes, I had a great reading month and got to expand my knowledge on the LGBTQ community as well.
Before leaving I would like to talk about a couple of things. Firstly, it is important for readers to not just read the mainstream LGBT books written by white authors but own-voice and diverse LGBT books as well. It’s totally cool if you’re reading a book by a white author featuring a white M/M romance, I love those too. But you should do your best to branch out and read about the lesser known sections of the LGBT community like people on the asexual spectrum, transgenders, intersex and so on. Try to read about POC and disabled LGBT characters as well and if a book is own-voice it’s even better!
And lastly, please don’t stop supporting and showing love to the LGBT community now that pride month is over. Pride is to be celebrated every day, every week, every month and every year. We do not have a pride month because we want to celebrate LGBT people for one month only. We have a pride month so that during these 30 days we can show our love and support and spread awareness about LGBT people and how love is love – to make the celebration of LGBT pride a normal occurrence.
Keep expanding your knowledge about the LGBT community by reading LGBT books throughout the year. Be pro-LGBT and talk about the community in a positive light so your friends and loved ones don’t face a hard time while coming out to you. And treat every person in the LGBT community just like you would treat a straight person because in the end we’re all just people who deserve to be treated and loved equally 🙂
What books did you read for Pride Month? Have you read any of the books I talked about? If so what are your thoughts on them? Do you feel that these books were able to give good reps for the LGBTQ community?