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LGBTQIA+ Books to Read this Pride and Beyond

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This blog post is going to be a little different. First and foremost, happy Pride Month! While I thoroughly enjoy my time reading, writing, and chatting about books here at Dandy Roll Book Club, I am also an assistant children’s and teen librarian over at Fayetteville Public Library. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I strive to make my library as inclusive and open as possible, especially for the younger generation. So, without further ado, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite queer stories, as well as some newer titles that I am excited about. 

 

Adult Fiction

 
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers puts a queer twist on the classic comedy-of-errors romance trope. Our main character, Grace, just got her PhD and is taking a girls’ trip to Las Vegas to celebrate. After a black-out drunken encounter, she wakes up married to a woman she’s known for less than 24 hours. Grace and her new wife flee to New York for the summer, but the realities of life come crashing down and the couple is left to re-open old wounds, help each other heal, and learn how to heal together. 
Stage Dreams by Melanie Gilman is a historical fiction graphic novel about a bandit falling for a trans woman on the run from her powerful family. Set in the late 1800s in the American West, this book addresses cultural, sexual, and gender identities in ways that I’ve never read before. Stage Dreams is a perfect summer read for a beach trip or a story night in; these characters will steal your heart before you even realize that it’s gone.
Skye Falling is a slower-paced queer story by award-winning author Mia McKenzie. The book follows Skye, a 40-year-old lesbian, as she gets to know her 12-year-old daughter, who is a product of her egg donation 14 years prior. Skye decides that it’s time to find more meaningful connections, if only for the sake of her newfound daughter. Over the course of the novel, Skye reconnects with her family, hashes out some bad blood, and even has a run-in with her daughter’s aunt.

 

Teen

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo is another queer historical account, set in San Fransisco’s Chinatown in the midst of the Red Scare. After meeting at a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club, Lily and Kathleen knew that they wanted each other, but outside forces constantly pull them apart: homophobic social norms, threat of deportation, and xenophobic propoganda. Can their feelings for each other outweigh the damage building up in the world around them?
Here the Whole Time is one of the quickest, sweetest reads I’ve had in a while. The novel takes place over the course of two weeks and follows a gay Brazilian teen as he is forced to come to terms with his childhood crush, his body, and his mental health. When Felipe learns that his next-door neighbor and long-time crush is staying with him over winter break, he spirals. As the boys grow closer, Felipe has to face his fears and dive head-first into confronting his trauma. Written by Vitor Martins and translated by Larissa Helena, Here the Whole Time is another sweet summer read; readers of all ages and backgrounds will find something in Felipe to identify with.


The Prince and the Dressmaker
by Jen Wang is another historical graphic novel, but this time readers are plopped into the middle of the fashion scene of 1800s Paris. The story follows a talented, yet-to-be-discovered seamstress who is recruited to work for a mysterious, wealthy patron. This patron turns out to be none other than the prince himself, requesting dresses that make him feel more at home in his body than he ever has as a prince. The two become close, risking everything to leave the palace at night and show off their creations at night clubs and galas. But what happens when the prince is expected to marry? The Prince and the Dressmaker is my favorite graphic novel, and it’s one that I’m always quick to recommend to all readers. 

Over quarantine, I found another wonderful graphic novel in Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker. Mooncakes follows a queer witch and a nonbinary werewolf as they investigate and battle the mysterious forces eminating from the woods in their small New England town. Complete with childhood crushes, a small bookstore, and plenty of demons, Mooncakes is a great fall read for when you’re yearning for all things cozy and spooky.

Middle Grade

King and the Dragonflies, written by award-winner Kacen Callendar, follows King as he comes to terms with his brother Khalid’s sudden death. King wants to confide in his best friend Sandy, but Khalid told him just days before his passing to break of their friendship because Sandy is gay. But when Sandy goes missing under mysterious circumstances, it’s up to King to make up his own mind, dig deep into his blossoming identity, and mend his aching heart. 


The Deep and Dark Blue
by Niki Smith follows a pair of preteen twins who must transform themselves to stay alive after their family is brutally attacked. Set in a uniquely inventive high fantasy world, Hawke and Grayson become Hanna and Grayce to fit into the Communion of the Blue, a sect of women set apart in power and skill from the rest of the community. As they grow up and plot to overthrow their usurper, Grayce begins to question her place in the world, and whether or not she truly belongs at her brother’s side. Devastatingly beautiful, The Deep and Dark Blue is such an interesting and inclusive way to discuss gender identity and queer relationships (platonic and romantic). 


Thank you so much for visiting the Dandy Roll Book Club blog! There is still time to join us for our June pick: Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho. For more info, visit our Book Club page here at Dandy Roll Home. Happy reading!

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