You didn’t think that I would let this beautiful month pass by and not do a post about some queer books, right?
Before going on I would like to acknowledge that despite it being pride month, these days haven’t been going very well for the world, especially black people. Without them we wouldn’t have had pride and I really urge you to participate in and spread awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement. Here’s a card with ways to support the movement so please take a few minutes out of your life to go check it out.
I’ve been a bit withdrawn lately and with everything going on around the world I didn’t feel much like celebrating pride. But that said my blog and other social media channels are always a place to uplift diverse voices and I do kinda miss shouting about queer books. So this year the pride celebration is on a smaller scale but today I really want to highlight some books with queer representation which I feel are hugely underrated.
Seriously, I feel like throwing some of these books in people’s faces like are you blind?? Don’t you see these gold mines right in front of your eyes???
10 Underrated LGBTQ+ Reads You’re Sleeping On
1. The Sound of Stars
HOW MANY TIMES DO I NEED TO SCREAM ABOUT THIS BOOK UNTIL YOU READ IT?!
I have a new agenda, make every freaking person read The Sound of Stars because it’s freaking awesome. Oh, you need reasons?
- plus-size, biracial, demisexual MC with anxiety
- gender-queer, non-binary & bisexual side characters
- an appreciation for books and music with amazing references
- soft alien boy!!!
- alien and human romance
- social commentary and smashing the patriarchy
- amazing world-building!
Related Posts: The Sound Of Stars: A Piece Of Art That Spoke To My Soul
2. It’s Not Like It’s A Secret
I feel betrayed by the book community that I had to stumble upon this gem on my own. It’s Not Like It’s a Secret is a beautiful story about Sana who has recently moved to California and now has the biggest crush on Jamie. Not only is this a cute story about love and friendship, it’s about complicated family dynamics and strict Asian mothers. We have such a diverse cast with a Japanese MC and a Mexican love interest among other diverse minor characters. Honestly, a lot of aspects of this book hit home for me and I love how it managed to be a cute romance while navigating some difficult and hard-hitting topics like stereotypes and casteism.
Please do give this one a chance, and do grab the audiobook if you happen to stumble upon it!
3. We Used To Be Friends
We Used To Be Friends probably ranks in the top ten books I’ve read this year. It’s a beautiful story about friendship break-ups that we honestly need more of. Do you ever wonder why break-ups in friendships hurt as much, if not more than romantic break-ups but nobody really talks about them? Well then this book is for you. Told in dual timelines, it explores how two best-friends, James and Kat drift apart over time.
Half the time I felt like someone was telling my life-story. This is a wonderfully written book with two people who are polar opposites. Our girl Kat is coming to terms with her bisexuality and she struggles to find where it really its in her personality. There’s also an aspect of questioning one’s sexuality and I feel a lot of queer readers will relate to that as well.
Related Post: Read the Rainbow Spotlight: We Used To Be Friends
4. None Of The Above
This book was life-changing for me. None Of The Above is the first and unfortunately only book that I’ve read which features an intersex character. Honestly, my knowledge on this subject was minimal at best but this book blew my mind. Kristin leads a pretty normal life but that’s until she discovers she is intersex. Even as she and her father struggle to deal with her diagnosis it’s leaked to her entire school. This book is filled with raw emotions and I can’t recommend it enough. I can’t speak for the rep but I really loved reading about it and we need more books about characters who are intersex. That being said please do read the trigger warnings before reading this book!
5. She Of The Mountains
She Of The Mountains was my first book by Vivek Shraya and good lord I’m infinitely grateful that I discovered this wonderful author. This book is so beautifully written and goes on to explore the relationship between a man and his body along with a re-imagining of Hindu mythology. The author touches upon topics like the policing of gender and sexuality and the complex dynamics our bodies can hold.
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.
6. Funny Boy
I would never in a million years read this book on my own but a good friend recommended me Funny Boy and I can’t even describe how emotional I got after reading this book. We dive into Arjie’s story as he comes to terms with his sexuality ad struggles with the racism around him. The narrator also gives us an insightful look into the politics going around in north Sri Lanka. The cherry on top is the author’s writing and the way he tells us the whole story, it’s just so beautiful I can’t even describe. I know I’m not giving you all much to read on but seriously, try out this book, literally everyone has given it stellar reviews.
7. Playing With Fire
Once in a blue moon I’ll suddenly remember that I read Playing With Fire by Lesley Davis and I just get a warm feeling in my heart and I simply can’t stop smiling when I think of it. This is a story about Takira whose life revolves around her restaurant and her struggle to keep up with it when she’s forced to take care of her sister’s kid who has seperation anxiety. In comes Dante who’s going to be cooking for the restaurant, living with Takira and taking care of the little kid. Sounds too good to be true right? Dante and Takira’s have this adorable romance that is built upon layers of emotion and understanding and turns into something heated and passionate.
This book holds such a special place in my heart, partly because it was the first time I read about butch lesbians and the sort of discrimination they have to face and partly because of the wonderfully crafted characters, especially the kid Finn who added extra fluff in this story.
I don’t know why but I have tears in my eyes as I talk about this book because I don’t know anyone who’s ever read it and I literally have to search the book’s title and author to even find it on Goodreads. It makes me incredibly sad that you all might never discover this gem of a book so please if you’re taking away just one book from this list, pick up this one.
8. Daughter of the Burning City
I’m a huge fan of stories set in circuses and Daughter of the Burning City was no exception! This book is about Sorina who can create illusions that others can touch and feel but suddenly someone starts killing off her family of illusions which was something Sorina didn’t even think was possible. This book has an amazing plot and I absolutely adore every character in this book. Also, my favourite part is that we get a questioning ace in the form of Luca. It’s even more special because I’ve never read about ace rep in the form of male characters so this was breaking new grounds, at least for me 🙂
9. The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali
I feel like The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali got some hype around the time it was released but after that almost nobody talked about it? That’s an absolute shame considering how wonderful this book is. The odds are set against Rukhsana when she gets caught kissing her girlfriend and is shipped off to Bangladesh to be married away. This book is so raw and full of emotions as it touches a number of deep topics and issues and honestly if you don’t cry while reading this you’re a monster.
10. Dare Mighty Things
I hesitated a bit to put Dare Mighty Things because it has questioning-asexual rep that isn’t discussed much but then I realized that it’s still valid! I’ve only heard a couple of people talk about this wonderful book which I put forward as a cross between Hunger Games and The Selection in a sci-fi setting. We get to see Cassandra compete with some talented young people for an opportunity to go into space. Some of these people have been genetically modified and the training they go through are insane. I honestly love the plot and the characters and the plot twist at the end absolutely killed me. Go check this book out and fall in love!
What are some underrated queer books that you would like to recommend?
Have you read any of these books? If yes, what are your thoughts?
What books are you reading for Pride month?