Breaking my hiatus (oops, did I forget to mention I’m taking a hiatus?) because it’s currently Pride Month and I wanted to quickly share with you my top 5 books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters.
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
OCD-afflicted seventeen-year-old, Griffin, has just lost his first love – his best friend, ex-boyfriend and the boy he believed to be his ultimate life partner – in a drowning accident. In a desperate attempt to hold onto every last piece of the past, a broken Griffin forges a friendship with Theo’s new college boyfriend, Jackson. And Griffin will stop at nothing to learn every detail of Theo’s new college life, and ultimate death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin’s own version of the truth – both in terms of what he’s willing to hide, and what true love ultimately means…
Damn you, Adam Silvera, for writing a book this heartbreaking. This book was beautiful and heart-wrenching. One of my favourite things about it is that it doesn’t hide the messiness of teenage relationships: the writing is raw, and the characters make mistakes, just like real people. This is one of my all-time favourite books, and honestly, I can’t fault it.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
How can you resist that blurb?!! This book blew my mind from the start. Madeline’s writing style is beautiful and absorbing, and I grew so quickly invested in the relationship between the main characters. This was a near-flawless romance, and a fantastic read no matter how much or how little you already know about the story of Achilles.
A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn’t expecting much. The ship, which has seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.
But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix, the friendly reptillian pilot, to Kizzy and Jenks, the constantly sparring engineers who keep the ship running. Life on board is chaotic, but more or less peaceful – exactly what Rosemary wants.
Until the crew are offered the job of a lifetime: the chance to build a hyperspace tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll earn enough money to live comfortably for years… if they survive the long trip through war-torn interstellar space without endangering any of the fragile alliances that keep the galaxy peaceful.
But Rosemary isn’t the only person on board with secrets to hide, and the crew will soon discover that space may be vast, but spaceships are very small indeed.
This was another near-flawless read. It’s the definition of a character-driven sci-fi, and what I loved about it the most is that each character had a rich and interesting story. This is also a great diverse read, that addresses a lot of real-world issues against the backdrop of a spaceship. The relationships between characters also developed beautifully over time, and I loved the way it handles cultural differences between them.
Release by Patrick Ness
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.
Of course, I couldn’t write an LGBTQIA+ list without Patrick Ness. Release was the first Patrick Ness book I read, and I fell instantly love with the way it was written. This is another young adult book that does a great job of depicting the messiness and complexity of teenage relationships, giving it that raw, relatable feeling.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There is Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…
This is the first book in my all-time favourite series. This is a fantasy book that features gay and bisexual characters in leading roles, and does a great job of building sexual tension and complicated relationships, all whilst also creating a captivating world and gripping story. And the good news is, the further into the series you get, the more invested in the characters and relationships you become.
Because five books really just wasn’t enough…
- The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin – this book is a fantastic reminder that fantasy can (and should) be diverse. While the plot doesn’t necessarily revolve around romance, it features several LGBTQIA+ characters in key roles.
- Clean by Juno Dawson – another book that doesn’t revolve around a romance between LGBTQIA+ characters, but makes sure to feature a diverse cast.
- Vicious by V. E. Schwab – yes, another V.E. Schwab book. This one features a canonically asexual character, and is a fantastic and gripping story about power and revenge.