Scientists say that the earth is spinning faster than usual and it’s recently recorded its shortest day ever. But what is time really?! So why restrict ourselves to amplifying and celebrating queerness only one month out of the year? For this very reason, I decided to come up with a list of queer books you can read the rest of the year so you can celebrate Pride all year long! These are some of my favorite queer books and I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.
Brown Neon by Raquel Gutiérrez
In this “part-butch memoir, part ekphrastic travel diary, part queer family tree” essay collection, Raquel Guitérrez leads through past and present as she/they explore larger themes of gender, community, art, queer feminism and so much more. This collection of essays felt like an ode to the history and generations of queer-found families, and the way queer folks build community and help each other survive.
The Other Mother by Rachel M. Harper
Easily one of my favorite queer novels out this year, The Other Mother is the queer generational family saga the world has always needed. Jenry is a musical prodigy raised by a single mother and his grandparents in Miami. He decides to accept a scholarship to attend Brown University because there’s a possibility he can learn more about his father, who also attended Brown but passed away when he was two. Through his search for his father, a series of secrets begin to unfold. This novel is packed with so much but my favorite thing about it is that it asks the age-old question: what makes a family, a family? And it answers it with so much nuance and so queer joy.
Nevada by Imogen Binnie
Listed as a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Transgendered fiction, Nevada is a journey of a novel with almost thirty-year-old Maria at the center. This stunning coming-of-age story unfolds along a cross-country road trip with a trans protagonist, and you won’t bet forgetting it any time soon. If you are into dark humor and a deeply self aware main character, you will really love this one.
Concerning My Daughter by Kim Hye- Jin
Many queer folks might have experienced some sort of parental backlash when they first came out. Often it’s because parents have a whole vision of the path they want their children to take, and are afraid of the potential risks that forging a new path can bring—not to mention societal rejection. Well, this short but mighty novel tackles that through the two main characters: a daughter trying to forge her own path and a mother struggling to accept. If you love novels that explore the depth of mother-daughter dynamics, you must read this one.
All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews
Sneha, the main protagonist, is a queer Indian immigrant navigating that often-messy gap between finishing college and figuring out what comes next. This threw me back to the awkwardness that was my own twenties, and for that I really appreciated reading this novel in the heat of the summer! I cringed, laughed and cried when it ended, which is what made it such a perfect summer book. But ultimately, I ended up falling in love with the book because we witness this really messy and complicated character heal and “grow up” which made my heart grow three sizes bigger.
The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Every year or so I’ll read a book that I deeply wish was written and available when I was a young adult. This is one of those books. Following 16-year-old Yami as she navigates Catholic school as a Queer Mexican American girl, this novel is cute, beautifully vulnerable, and will have you cracking up, too. Especially when you find out that Yami has decided to fake being straight, because she’s starting over fresh at a new school and vows to stay out of trouble to make her mom proud. It’s all going great until she meets Bo, the only known Queer girl at the new school, who is so cute and amazing. This one is a lot of fun!
The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela
There’s a chance that a few of you out there reading this really struggled growing up in the town you were raised in, so you told yourself you’d leave and never come back. Well, what if you did go back because your aging parents needed you, and that resulted in attending your twenty-year high school reunion, which then resulted in you reconnecting with that one high school love you thought was the one?! This whirlwind of a novel is such a beautiful portait of what it can be like to “go home” and heal some of those young adult wounds that have unconsiouly made their way into your current reality. It’s funny, insightful and captivating. You’ll fall in love with Andrés the main character!
A Caribbean Heiress’s In Paris by Adriana Herrera
We all need a little more romance in our lives, amirite? So why not add to that romance a historical element? Set in 1889 Paris, Luz Alana Heith-Benzan is the heiress of a family-owned rum business based in Santo Domingo. She is on a mission to expand the family-run business in the City of Light after her father’s sudden death, and the news that she isn’t actually the owner of the business unless she marries. Determined not to fall in love in spite of that new revelation, she sets up shop to try and make new connections for her family’s business. Unfortunately, in the male-dominated rum business, no one is willing to give her a chance except for James Evanston Sinclair, Earl of Darnick. And so Luz and Evan take us on a delicious “will they or won’t they” journey.
Yerba Buena by Nina LaCour
In Yerba Buena we are introduced to Sara and Emillie, two women that find a path toward each other despite all the difficulties they have encountered along the way—and there are many. Though this is a love story, it’s not a traditional one that starts with a meet-cute and ends with some concrete happy ending. This love story embraces and shows the reality of what each individual person can carry into the relationship, such as insecurities and fears stemming from their individually experienced trauma. Added bonus: the plot will have you reading it in one sitting.
Our Wives Under The Sea by Julia Armfield
This novel made it to the top of my TBR for queer books to read, simply because one of my favorite queer authors, Kristin Arnett, said it was one of the best books she’s ever read—and she was not wrong at all. When Miri’s wife, Leah, returns from a deep-sea mission in which she was supposed to be studying the ocean but instead gets stranded on the ocean floor, Miri believes the worst is behind them. However, something is different about Leah. As the novel slowly unfolds we get pulled into this captivating story about grief, marriage and love.
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