Is it really pride month if there isn’t a hundred and one different posts giving you the best LGBT+ books to read this month? Definitely not. Sadly, I am a little late with this being posted on the final day of pride month. But really, the way I see it is there’s definitely no excuse not to read LGBT+ literature any day of any month! Especially when there’s so many great ones out there waiting for you to bend open that front cover and sit down with a cuppa tea and have a nice relaxing read. So, here’s my favourite LGBT+ book recommendations.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Recently adapted into movie Love, Simon, this novel has a definite place on your bookshelf. The story follows a gay teenage boy in high school who is still in the closet from his friends and family. But not for long, what this book tells the story of is love, blackmail, tears and laughter. I swallowed it whole, cried almost instantly and then re-read again. It’s wholesome, it’s feel good. It’s honestly a delight and everyone deserves to experience it’s beauty.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Emily M. Danforth
Published in 2012, The Miseducation of Cameron Post is about eponymous Cameron who’s discovering her homosexuality in an environment of conservatism. Feelings flourish for her best friend but sadly, and inevitably, her sexuality is discovered and resultingly she gets sent to conversion camp. Similarly to Simon vs. this movie was also adapted into a movie starring Chloe Grace Moretz. However, I would start with the book because, of course, it is better but it contains so much more raw emotion and scenes that are almost difficult to even read. Trigger warning: this book does however contain a lot of abuse and sex so if that is not your thing, give this one a miss.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Benjamin Alire Saenz
I have three simple steps regarding this recommendation. First of all, obtain a copy of the novel. This is followed by sitting down and reading the book. And finally, the inevitable step: fall in love. Fall in love with the writing, the characters, everything. Read past midnight, read in school, read everywhere and all the time. Slam the book shut and whisper scream oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh. At the end of the book, allow a single tear to run down your right cheek and say a silent prayer of thanks for the fact that you are able to read at all. Saenz tells the story of two young men, Aristotle “Ari” Mendoza and Dante Quintana growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s. W follow their lives from age fifteen to seventeen, watching their relationship slowly grow. And it is so so beautiful. It doesn’t have a “plot”. Not a main story or event that the characters centre around. It’s about a boy who is sad and angry and can’t figure out why. It’s about him trying to love himself and others. In one command: read this book!
On a Sunbeam
For lovers of graphic novels, this is one for the list. Two interconnected timelines follow a crew travelling to the deepest reaches of space rebuilding beautiful, broken structures. But it also follows two girls who fall deeply in love at boarding school only to learn the pain of loss. Blending sci-fi with school drama, this graphic novel is a work which will work itself into your bones and never leave. It’s haunting and mysterious and painful but it’s all worth it in the end for the beauty it offers to the mind.
The Colour Purple
Published in 1982, this novel delves into the intersections of race, gender, family and most importantly sexuality in Georgia 1930. Epic in scope, the novel is in part a story of love between women, it is a tale of perseverance during painful physical and sexual abuse and heartache and empowerment. It is a celebration of love in all its forms and isn’t that was pride is all about? Love for people, not for a gender despite everything that stands in its way.
Tipping the Velvet
Sarah Waters’ 1998 page-turner is a coming-of-age story of Nan who, upon taking in a show in her local theatre develops feelings for a charismatic male impersonator, Kitty. The novel progresses by following Kitty to London, where the more experienced woman schools Nan in the ways of impersonating a dapper dandy on stage. This is a story of performing men alongside a love story. But obviously, there is heartbreak. Most notably, this novel is known for its frank depiction of lesbian desire and of the flirting and crossing the boundaries of gender roles. It is sensuous and unapologetic in its portrayal of LGBT+ matters and because of this, it is definitely worth a read.
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, this is definitely the book you’ve been waiting for. Simon Snow is the chosen one who just so happens to be one of the worst wizards at Watford School of Magicks. Everyone knows it, especially his evil nemesis Baz who may not be so evil and who may just have some romantic feelings for Simon. Reading this is like returning to that Gay Harry Potter fanfic that we all most definitely read in the day. And despite it’s awful plot and it’s awful writing which we can all admit, the romance is worth it.
I’ll Give You the Sun
Noah and Jude are fraternal twins. When we first meet them, they are inseparable. Years later, they hardly speak. Something has happened to divide them…but what? This novel’s gayness comes primarily from Noah who narrates the early years of their story. It’s bittersweet, it’s romantic, it’s cliché and adorable. But most of all, Jandy Nelson’s prise is truly magical as is the story and romance so this is definitely worth a read, even if the LGBT+ aspect doesn’t touch all the characters in the novel.
Boy Meets Boy
I mean, the plot of this book is written in its title. This is a happy, meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy world. It takes a typical heterosexual storyline and makes it gay…what more could we want? I would honestly want to live in the world David Levithan has created. It’s fun, fabulous and extremely feel good to read. I don’t think I stopped smiling AT ALL through the first hundred-odd pages of this book. I asked for a happy gay romance and boy did this story deliver and so, I share it with you all!
The Song of Achilles
A reimagining of Homer’s The Illiad, Madeline Miller creates an action-packed adventure, epic love story and extremely sad and emotional page-turner. I went into this thinking it would be a drag, despite my love for Greek Mythology but boy I was wrong. It was emotional, romantic, beautiful and so much more. You know those books where you just want to share everything that happens and how you feel with everyone else? Even though half the time, they don’t care. That was me. The moment I read the first page I was certain of two things: this would become one of my all-time favourites and I’d gush about it like crazy. The second was that this book wouldn’t only leave me devastated and heartbroken but also sobbing like a little child. Both of these things came true. What I loved the most though and why this book is on this list is how Miller managed to convey Achilles’ and Patroclus relationship. Even though she never goes into detail, never do we see them say they love each other, it is palpable in every single moment they share together. The moments are precious and I wanted them to be happy. So doubt, you will feel the same so get yourself to the shop and buy and read this book ASAP!