Blogtober Day 11: Top ten LGBT+ reads
To celebrate #NationalComingOutDay, I thought I’d share the ten best LGBT+ books that I’ve read. I have so many rapidly piling up on my TBR, but these are my favourites of the ones that I’ve already gotten through.
It took me a long time to finally embrace the fact that I was bisexual, and these books (particularly the book in the top spot!) really helped me understand who I was, so if you’re not sure of exactly which label to use, hopefully one of these will also help you to find the right word for yourself.
10) A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke
Honestly, I still feel conflicted about A Kiss in the Dark. Alex pretends to be a boy because she finds herself falling deeply in love with Kate, who is straight. In hindsight it is a bit problematic – no one should be lied to in such a horrendous manner, and things get worse for them both throughout the story – but I like the message that it carries: you really can fall in love with someone despite their genitalia.
9) Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Far From You is one of my favourite books on this list, but it does feature Kill Your Gays, so I didn’t want to put it too highly on a list which is all about celebrating sexuality. It’s not done unnecessarily, but a lot of the book is about coming to terms with loss and handling grief, which makes it one of my less optimistic recommendations.
8) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
The next two books on the list are related, because although they contain heterosexual protagonists…
7) Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
…they contain same-sex couples raising teenage kids (and, spoiler alert, they’re good kids!). Lola’s dads are some of the best dads that I’ve ever seen in YA, while her biological mother is an absolute mess. Meanwhile, Lennon’s mums are caring and compassionate, and are far more involved in their child’s life than Zorie’s dad is. I think it’s important to show a range of familial structures in YA literature, and these novels both do great things – particularly for young people who may be feeling abnormal due to the under-representation of LGBT+ parents.
6) Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
Golden Boy is still the only novel I’ve read with an intersex character, but it’s highly educational (if a little heartbreaking). It’s also the perfect book to recommend to people who say that “there are only two genders” because there literally aren’t: people can be born with a combination of both genitalia, because it’s not all black and white.
5) Skylarks by Karen Gregory
I still haven’t been able to write a review of Skylarks, because I loved it so much. It’s been playing on my mind for the last five months, but I can’t put my feelings into words! Not only does Karen Gregory explore the ups and downs of a lesbian relationship, she also tackles the difficulty in dating someone outside of your social class: an issue that can sometimes be an even bigger deal.
4) The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
I loved The Art of Being Normal because it doesn’t use the transgender character for their shock value (something which I’ve sadly seen happen time and again). We’re in David’s head, and we know that he wants to transition and is struggling with his gender identity, and we root for him every step of the way.
3) Run by Kody Keplinger
If you haven’t read Run, you’ll probably recognise the title, as there was a lot of outrage when this book was first released. A review warned against the inclusion of Bo, a bisexual character who does nothing involving her sexuality on the pages of the book (while the straight character goes all the way!). Bo is one of the first openly bisexual characters I can remember reading, and I thought Kody Keplinger did a wonderful job of exploring her sexual orientation while demolishing all of the stereotypes.
2) All of the Above by Juno Dawson
Toria from All of the Above is a character who I hugely relate to. Toria and Nico are instalove at its finest, but she also harbours feelings for her best friend Polly, and she just doesn’t know what to do. She thinks she’s in love with both of them… But is there any way that can be true? I read All of the Above in one sitting and ended up crying my eyes out because I understood Toria’s struggle. I’ve still been unable to bring myself to reread it in case it’s not as magical second time around.
1) Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda had to be top of this list. I’ve recommended it so many times in the past, because I truly came to terms with my sexuality while reading this book. Simon’s narration is so frank and honest, and the way that he was so unapologetic about who he was – despite people trying to make him feel otherwise – made me realise that I just needed to own who I was, no matter what people thought.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click their cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.
I hope you enjoyed these recommendations. Are you celebrating #NationalComingOutDay too?